A thought has been introduced that the U.S. is no longer a Christian nation, rather a faith generic nation. I believe this statement has an element of truth but fully misses the mark. U.S. History is a part of who we are today and cannot simply be erased or declared inconsequential. Our nation’s laws and very constitution as well as common law are based upon a Judeo Christian value set. The overwhelming majority of our founders were of the Christian faith and as such set the values of our country upon those values they held so dear. Our country’s laws, however, dictate that no one version of Christianity or any other religion may assert itself as ‘the religion’ of the land ensuring the FREEDOM to choose a different faith or no faith at all. These values upon which our country was established cannot be dismissed by a mere platitude. It is not dismissed with a change in demographics or even religion of the majority – the concept of Freedom and the moral values that established our country were ingrained since my ancestor joined the Mayflower and Speedwell chartering their course to a new land.
Looking back at a different part of family history, my Great, Great grandfather is Baron Frederick William von Cotzhausen born July 21, 1836 in Cambach, Prussia, the son of Freiherr Heinrich William Ludwig von Cotzhausen, an elector of Prussia under the Napoleonic regime and later created baron of the German empire. Frederick called the U.S. home in Wisconsin since 1856 when he immigrated here in the German revolutionary waves. He came to the shores of the U.S. out of privilege vs. destitution. He came of his Free Will giving up a royal life. He chose to embrace the concept, freedoms and laws of our great country with great enthusiasm.
Frederick’s words penned 90 years ago in the Milwaukee Sentinel entitled “Pleasantries and Platitudes” stand on their own and reflect similar sentiments that ring true today for a changing demographic scene of our great nation.
“I embraced the axioms of our constitution and declaration of independence with enthusiastic warmth. With me loyalty and patriotism never were a stomach question; I hold them to be one of the noblest functions of the brain, emanating from one’s heart. I have accordingly conducted myself, true to my conception and true to others.”
He describes further religion and his relationship to his fellow man. “I have not the honor of being affiliated with any particular church, but I am neither a ‘Hun’ nor a ‘Heathen’. I recognize a vital distinction between animal and human life. With mankind, there is an innate sense of duty and responsibility, inseparable from our nature, which ought to manifest itself throughout our whole career. While no ‘God’ is written into our constitution, this is a Christian country, and Christianity is part and parcel of our common law.”
Embracing our identity embraces those freedoms sought by my ancestor Stephen Hopkins on the Mayflower, Baron Frederick William von Cotzhausen to the present immigrants enjoying these freedoms provided for by our Christian laws. All are welcome; all are free, without pride or prejudice – God Bless America.
This is not a political endorsement for any candidate or political party. It celebrates the great diversity of our nation; all ethnic backgrounds and beliefs. Let us start a conversation; the mere existence of such is a celebration of our constitution uniting us together to determine "why" we believe vs. simply just "what" we believe.