A monument defined is a statue, building or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event. America is full of them, and for good reason!
From House Resolution 888, which designates the first week of May each year as “American religious history week,” we have these mentions, “Whereas some of the most important monuments, buildings and landmarks in Washington, DC, include religious words, symbols and imagery; Whereas in the United States Capitol the declaration ‘In God We Trust’ is prominently displayed in both the United States House and Senate Chambers.
Whereas in the Washington Monument not only are numerous Bible verses and religious acknowledgements carved on memorial blocks in the walls, including the phrases: ‘Holiness to the Lord’, ‘Search the Scriptures’, ‘The memory of the just is blessed’, ‘May Heaven to this Union continue its beneficence’, and ‘In God We Trust’, but the Latin inscription Laus Deo meaning ‘Praise be to God’ is engraved on the monument’s capstone;” And these are only a small sampling!
The writer in Proverbs says, “Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set”. In seeking the balance of Scripture, notice Paul’s strong admonition to the early church at Thessalonica, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or by our epistle.” Our beliefs and then necessarily our spiritual practices must first come from God.
Practically, when a surveyor runs a landline, he must locate corner stones and run the lines according to them. The surveyor did not just look around and decide on an arbitrary location as being the most likely or pretty close and run from there. He went to where he could clearly locate a corner stone in each direction from the corner to be established.
So, in a survey, the line must be run according to where the original corner stones are found. This is true for a property and for a people!
I’ve heard it said, the way that a people views its own history is the way it behaves. For example, look at the book of judges and the cycle Israel endured as seven times they forgot their heritage, then remembered and returned to God.
Perhaps you remember the reign of King Josiah? He desired to draw his nation back to God which sounds like a great thing to do. They got out the old scrolls and read their history... then they remembered! Simply seeing their history led to a national revival.
Our nation’s history is rich with God’s blessing and goodness. Daniel Webster wrote, “History is nothing more than God’s providence in human affairs.”
Charles Coffin, an early writer of history text books on our nation’s founding, wrote in the early 1900’s, “Notice that while the oppressors have carried out their plans in history there were other forces silently at work which in time undermined their plans as if a divine hand were directing the counter plan, whoever parouses the story of liberty without recognizing this feature will fail to fully understand the meaning of history.”
In other words, if you don’t understand what God has been up to, you won’t get the truth of history! I believe it was Samuel Elliot Morrison who said, “We ought to read history because it will help us behave better!”
So, what in the world is happening today in America? John Daniel Davidson writes this week in The Federalist, “Angry mobs are tearing down and defacing monuments across America. They make no distinction between Confederate and Union, abolitionist and pro-slavery, 15th-century figures and 20th. They don’t care when a monument was erected, who built it or why. They have not come to debate or persuade their fellow citizens to relocate these statues to museums or private property. They believe the debate is over and that they have won. Their target is not the Confederacy. It is the United States.”
It was Karl Marx who said, “Take away a nation’s heritage and they are more easily persuaded.” Let me say that no one I know is blind to the shortcomings of those who came before us in this great land.
It was the Love of God and the power of the Gospel that has seen us through and will see us through our present situation. However, if we forget who we are and where we came from we risk losing the hope of freedom for generations.
As Francis Scott Key so aptly said, “O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation! Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land, Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust.’”
Could what we are seeing today in the destruction of our nation’s monuments be more than just about monuments? Could it be that there are those who want to rob young hearts and minds of their country’s Godly heritage? And in doing so, destroy the last best hope of mankind on the face of the earth. That would be a monumental mistake!
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council, who writes a weekly column published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.