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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Why Presidents' Day?

February 18 has been declared a national holiday in honor of our past Presidents' birthdays. I understand some people look upon this day only as having a day off from work.

In reflecting on this holiday, I realize that few people truly know what some of these great men accomplished or what they based their presidency on. The Founding Fathers of this great country and the creators of the U.S. Constitution were great men. President James Madison, considered to be the Father of the U.S. Constitution, along with Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Freedom and the following portion is part of the State of Virginia's Constitution. In Section 1, Jefferson argues that the concept of compulsory religion is wrong for the following reasons:

-The imposition of anything on a human mind, which God made to be free, is hypocritical and wrong.
-Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free, God never coerced anyone to follow him, and the imposition of a religion by government officials is impious.
-The coercion of a person to make contributions—especially monetary—to a religion he doesn't support is tyrannical and crates favoritism among ministers..
-Civil rights do not depend on religious beliefs, and what a person thinks is no business of the government.

There is also a strong possibility that the Iroquois Confederacy influenced the writers of our Constitution. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin are known to have a strong connection with the Iroquois and used parts of the Iroquois Confederacy constitution as a role model for the U.S. Constitution. I find this most interesting because most of our population have looked up the Indians as being savages and pagan. It is time to change that image and to realize their contributions.

The Confederacy consisted of five Indian tribes and recent estimates date the confederacy and its constitution between 1090 and 1150 CE. The initiator of the Iroquois constitution is reportedly the Great Peacemaker Deganawida. Legend has it that his was a virgin birth. He stuttered, was ridiculed and he became an enlightened man through his handicap. He traveled through the various tribes to teach them the way of peace and along the way met Hiawatha, a ferocious warrior. Hiawatha listened to Deganawida and became his disciple as Deganawida's orator.
Deganawida became known as a prophet as he traveled among the tribes counseling peace while unifying them into the League of the Iroquois. He created an advanced political system—primarily democratic and it allowed women a major role.

In celebration of this Presidents ' Day, it should be noted that this country was not founded on religious beliefs, but the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. President John Adams wrote in the Treaty with Tripoli, "As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." President Harry S. Truman is quoted as saying, "We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God."

Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, "Truth is certainly a branch of morality and a very important one to society." President John F. Kennedy said, "Let us resolve to be masters, not victims of our history, controlling our own destiny without giving way to blind suspicions and emotions."

We have a brilliant Constitution and a legacy of wisdom from our Founding Fathers, whom we should honor and insist on the restoration of the Constitution.