(Quoted from “

“There were fifty-five individuals directly involved in framing the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention, and an additional ninety in the first federal Congress that framed the First Amendment and Bill of Rights. Allowing for the overlap of nineteen individuals who were both at the Constitutional Convention and a part of the first Congress, [10] there were one hundred and twenty-six individual participants in the framing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The records of the Constitutional Convention demonstrate that James Madison was often out of step with these Founders. The other delegates rejected Madison’s Virginia plan in preference for Roger Sherman’s Connecticut plan and voted down 40 of Madison’s 71 proposals (60 percent). [11] Nevertheless, today Madison is cited as if he is the only authority among the Founding Fathers and the only expert on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. Why? Because in his old age Madfison changed some of his ideological views and those who want to erase our Christian foundation narrowly site a few obscure writings that were “discovered” many years after his death.

Was Madison responsible for the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights? Definitely not. In fact, during the Constitutional Convention, history makes clear it was Virginian George Mason that advocated a Bill of Rights be added to the Constitution, [12] but the other Virginians at the Convention – including James Madison – opposed any Bill of Rights and their position prevailed. [13] Consequently, George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, Edmund Randolph, and others at the Convention refused to sign the new Constitution because of their fear of insufficiently controlled federal power. [14]

Mason and the others returned to their home States to lobby against the ratification of the Constitution until a Bill of Rights was added. As a result of their voices (and numerous others who agreed with them), the ratification of the Constitution almost failed in many states   including Virginia,[15] Massachusetts, [16] New Hampshire, [17] and New York. [18] Rhode Island flatly refused to ratify it, [19] and North Carolina refused to do so until limitations were placed upon the federal government. [20] Although the Constitution was eventually ratified, a clear message had been delivered: there was strong sentiment demanding the inclusion of a Bill of Rights.

When the Constitution was considered for ratification, the reports from June 2 through June 25, 1788, make clear that in Virginia, Patrick Henry, George Mason, and Edmund Randolph led the fight for the Bill of Rights, over James Madison’s opposition. [21] Henry’s passionate speeches of June 5 and June 7 resulted in Virginia’s motion that a Bill of Rights be added to the federal Constitution; and on June 25, the Virginia Convention selected George Mason to chair a committee to prepare a proposed Bill of Rights, [22] with Patrick Henry and John Randolph as contributing  members. [23] Mason incorporated Henry’s arguments as the basis of Virginia’s proposal on religious liberty. [24]

Although Madison had opposed a Bill of Rights, he understood the grim political reality that without one, it was unlikely the new Constitution would receive widespread public acceptance. [25] Consequently, he withdrew his opposition, and in the federal House of Representatives he introduced his own versions of the amendments offered by his State.

Very little of Madison’s proposed religious wording made it into the final version of the First Amendment; and even a cursory examination of the Annals of Congress surrounding the formation of that Amendment quickly reveals the influence of Fisher Ames and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, Samuel Livermore of New Hampshire, John Vining of Delaware, Daniel Carroll and Charles Carroll of Maryland, Benjamin Huntington, Roger Sherman, and Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut, William Paterson of New Jersey, and others on that Amendment. [26]

The failure to rely on Founders, other than James Madison,  seems to imply that no other Founders were qualified to address First Amendment issues, or that there exists no recorded statements from the other Founders. Both ideas are wrong as numerous Founders played pivotal roles; and thousands of their writings do exist.

However, if critics of public religious expression believe that only a Virginian may speak for the nation on the issue of religion (they usually cite either Madison or Jefferson), then why not George Mason, the “Father of the Bill of Rights”? Or Richard Henry Lee who not only framed Virginia’s proposals but who also was a Member of the first federal Congress where he helped frame the Bill of Rights? Or why not George Washington? Perhaps the reason that these other Virginians are ignored, as are most of the other Framers, is because both their words and actions unequivocally contradict the image portrayed by the one-sided picture of Madison given by those who cite only his “Detached Memoranda.”

George Washington provides a powerful illustration. During his inauguration, Washington took the oath as prescribed by the Constitution but added several religious components to that official ceremony. Before taking his oath of office, he summoned a Bible on which to take the oath, added the words “So help me God!” to the end of the oath, then leaned over and kissed the Bible. [27] His “Inaugural Address” was filled with numerous religious references, [28] and following that address, he and Congress “proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel, where Divine service was performed.” [29]

Only weeks later, Washington signed his first major federal bill [30] – the Northwest Ordinance, drafted concurrently with the creation of the First Amendment. [31] That act stipulated that for a territory to become a State, the “schools and the means of education” in that territory must encourage the “religion, morality, and knowledge” that was “necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind.” [32] Conforming to this requirement, numerous subsequent State constitutions included that clause, [33] and it still appears in State constitutions today. [34] Furthermore, that law is listed in the current federal code, along with the Constitution, the Declaration, and the Articles of Confederation, as one of America’s four “organic” or foundational laws. [35]

Finally, in his “Farewell Address,” Washington reminded the nation:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness. . . . The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. [36]

Washington – indisputably a constitutional expert – declared that religion and morality were inseparable from government, and that no true patriot, whether politician or clergyman, would attempt to weaken the relationship between government and the influence of religion and morality.

Or why not cite the actions of the entire body of Founding Fathers? For example, in 1800, when Washington, D. C., became the national capital and the President moved into the White House and Congress into the Capitol, Congress approved the use of the Capitol building as a church building for Christian worship services. [37] In fact, Christian worship services on Sunday were also started at the Treasury Building and at the War Office. [38]

John Quincy Adams, a U. S. Senator, made frequent references to these services. Typical of his almost weekly entries are these:

[R]eligious service is usually performed on Sundays at the Treasury office and at the Capitol. I went both forenoon and afternoon to the Treasury.October 23, 1803. [39]

Attended public service at the Capitol, where Mr. Ratoon, an Episcopalian clergyman from Baltimore, preached a sermon. October 30, 1803. [40]

The Rev. Mannasseh Cutler, a U. S. Congressman (as well as a chaplain in the Revolution and a physician and scientist) similarly recorded in 1804:

December 23, Sunday. Attended worship at the Treasury. Mr. [James] Laurie [pastor of the Presbyterian Church] alone [preached]. Sacrament [communion]. Full assembly. Three tables; service very solemn; nearly four hours. Cold day. [41]

By1867, the church in the Capitol had become the largest church in Washington, and the largest Protestant church in America. [42]

There are numerous other public religious activities by the Founding Fathers that might be cited, and Madison participated and facilitated many of them. Yet Madison later privately renounced his own practices, thus distancing himself from his own beliefs and practices as well as those of the other Founders. Therefore, to use Madison’s “Detached Memoranda” as authoritative is a flagrant abuse of historical records, choosing a long unknown ex post facto document in preference to those concurrent with the framing and implementation of the First Amendment.

Such selective use of James Madison is typical of most revisionists: it gives only the part of the story with which they agree and omits the part with which they disagrees. If anyone wants to take the position that the “Founding Fathers” (plural) opposed the use of chaplains, then he must provide evidence from more than one Founder; he must show that the majority of the Founders opposed chaplains – something that is absolutely false and cannot be done.”

My conclusion is, don’t be fooled by the revised version of our American history that basically is a lie. If you go to the source, the conclusion any reasoning person must come to is:  American was built upon Christianity and to stay strong we must remain there!

The Missing Truth

flag celebration

In 1831, Samuel Francis Smith was a student at Andover Theological Seminary. Moved by what he saw and read about of this beautiful, newly-formed country, he wrote a song called “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee” which was later called “America”. This song was loved by all and was soon being sung across the land. It actually became something of a national anthem for the United States during the 1800’s. One person of that day wrote that this song spoke to the heart of the nation. It identified what made America great and so very different from every other nation under heaven.

What most people don’t know about this song is that it was written with 4 verses. Most of us are acquainted with verse 1, and many can even sing a good portion of those patriotic words; “My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing, land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrims’ pride, from every mountain side, let freedom ring”. However few people, if any, know the remaining three verses. These paint a magnificent picture of the national sentiment Smith so eloquently captured in his heart-stirring song.

Verse 1 speaks of the sacrifices that were made by our Forefathers to secure this nation. The shedding of their blood and the surrendering of their comfortable lives was freely given so they could have a place that was free of tyrannical control and afforded them freedom to worship the God of the Bible. Verse 2 speaks of the beauty of the land and the gift of freedom it offers to all who come here. Verse 3 declares that the very breath of the land sings freedom’s song, and even the rocks cry out with that sweet truth. Yet the most powerful verse of all is the last one. In it Smith captures the very essence of what made America great. He identified the foundation that made the nation free and really anchored it to what would keep it strong and stable.

In this 4th and most powerful verse, Smith wrote the following words: “Our Fathers’ God to Thee, author of liberty, to Thee we sing, Long may our land be bright, with freedom’s holy light, Protect us by Thy might, Great God, our King”. With a bold proclamation he openly identified the core of our strength and the source of where our liberty actually came from. Contrary to what modern historians are saying, and in direct opposition to what people are now being taught, the early songwriters and true American patriots all recognized a central truth. God and God alone is the source of our liberty and the author of all our freedom. They wrote about it, they sang about it and they were willing to die defending that truth. My question is, can we afford to do anything less?

As things change, and we prepare to move into the Fall season, perhaps another change is in order as well. Perhaps it is time to have a change of heart about America and what makes this country great. It’s certainly not our political system, because that is filled with differing opinions and party politics that is bankrupting the nation. It is definitely not our independent, self-sufficiency since those traits have done very little to slow our deadly, downward moral spiral. It certainly is not new legislation that now embraces alternate  lifestyles that the Bible has always called sin. What can make a difference? Every heart turning back to God! He is the source of all freedom and liberty, and until we acknowledge that historical and foundational truth, and sing the song that is after Him, we are headed in the wrong direction.

We have written God out of the textbooks. We have legislated Him out of the schools, out of public office and out of biblical marriage. We embrace every false religion that comes along and promote the multicultural quicksand that drags national identity into national obscurity. People and governments can do whatever they want, but it will not change the truth. More than that, it will never erase the historical fact that God alone is what produces honest American character, and He alone made us the greatest nation on earth. Apart from Him we are nothing, and without Him we have embraced our own demise Let me encourage you to read again the 4th verse of “America”. Even sing it with the proud realization that it is the missing truth that can make us great once again.

Life Lessons From A Garden


In the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, home gardens are a way of life. What I mean is, those who are native to the area have a home garden because it is needed to survive the winter and shave off some of the cost of living in that harsh, alpine environment. Most everything is trucked into the region, so it costs a lot more to live there. It’s still cheaper than down the line in New York City, but wages are much smaller here so any increase hits the wallet pretty hard. Thus a home garden helps to make ends meet.

What complicates matters is that the growing season is quite short, about 90 days on average. Our last frost in the Spring comes around Memorial Day, and the first frost of the Fall always hits our area near Labor Day. As a result, what people grow in the rocky, mineralized soil has to be hearty and fast growing. Potatoes do well, as do carrots, beats, squash, eggplant, kale, green peppers and pumpkins. Tender plants like tomatoes, and any of the vegetables that take longer to mature, like sweet corn, just take more care and some creative measures to ensure their chances of survival.

One thing my father used to get a jump on the growing season was a “cold flat”. This was a simple technique that took advantage of a south facing slope and a few glass windows. Old railroad ties were used to create a large raised garden box in a sunny location. This was filled with soil late in the Fall, and then a healthy portion of cow manure and compost were both mixed in as well. Next old windows from a remodeling job were laid over the opening and they were attached to the boxes with heavy hinges. These laid flat over the opening and let the sun in, but could also be propped up when it got too hot, and that allowed for ventilation.

“Cold flats” sit all winter so the soil in them can “season”. Then in the early Spring they become very inexpensive greenhouses and can be used even when there is still some snow on the ground. The large temperature fluctuations common in our area do not impact anything growing in these. Thus, my father planted herbs like chives, thyme, basil, sage and rosemary and they all thrived. He also got an early start on some other plants for his garden well in advance of others. Tomatoes, green peppers, and many other kinds of vegetables got a healthy jump in those beds. These eventually were transplanted into the open air after the danger of frost was gone.

That ingenuity paid off by keeping food on our table. It also managed to stretch dad’s small paycheck so he could pay the bills, keep the heating oil tank full and keep the electricity on all through the long Adirondack winter. To be honest, as a kid I failed to see the point in why my father did all this back bending and time consuming extra effort? He fished and hunted, and that wild game was normal fare at our dinner table. So why did he do all this extra hard work in the garden? What I discovered years later touched me deeply and told me a great deal about the man he was. More than that, it told me about the depth of the love he had for my mother.

Why did he do it? He did it for my mother, who was the only love of his life. Jennie Maria Rossi was the Italian beauty he had married in 1941, and they were totally devoted to each other. To all our joy, she was the creator of the most amazing meals you could imagine, and she had been taught by her mother, Louisa Maria Vincenzo (Rossi). The key that unlocked this heavenly cooking was fresh, garden herbs and vegetables. It was a divine romance between the food of life and the life found in food. In other words, this was dad’s way of continually saying to my mother, “Jennie, I love you. Here is the best I have so you can do what you love to do best”.

The food mom cooked was an event at our house, and no one ever wanted to miss a meal. However, that meal was always preceded by the same daily routine. You could almost set your clock by the things that were undoubtedly going to happen. At 5:30pm dad arrived home from being a caretaker and guide on Upper St. Regis Lake. He drove his 1954 Willies Jeep in the driveway and parked in front of the garage , which also served as a barn. Upon entering the house, he took off his hat and coat, washed his hands and mom called us all to the dinner table and we sat down to eat. She then delivered the food on serving plates and we prayed a blessing over the food that was about to be consumed.

The colors, aromas, textures and tastes were amazing. What sat on those dishes just made our mouths water with anticipation. Each thing on the menu was not only prepared with mom’s loving care, but the vegetables had come from our garden and the main dish was either caught or shot by my father. It was so much more than just a meal. It was an act of love and provision that made us feel special, secure and safe. That food spoke love to us at every level and it settled our world, calmed our minds and made us a family in every possible way. It WAS love, and we enjoyed every steaming, delicious mouthful!

Now that I am older and my mother and father have both gone to be with the Lord, I too have a garden. It is not huge but it is productive and it fills our dinner table with nutrition and joy. My wife Esther loves what I bring in daily and my children and grandchildren enjoy what I drop off for them. They may not know it yet, but in doing this, I am expressing in a tangible way, what my father so wonderfully spoke to my mother. With every tomato and bunch of escarole he handed her, he proclaimed his faithfulness and love to this remarkable woman. More than that, he gave her the very things she needed to express in a meal, the boundless love that was in her heart for us.

By these simple actions, love was made real and our lives were changed forever! My question for you is simple; “who have you given a tomato today?” Why not go and hand a few out….you never know how it might change a life!