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Guest Post: Today is 400th Anniversary of Jamestown Landing

April 26th, 2007 by Halli

By Bryan Fischer, of the Idaho Values Alliance

Four hundred years ago today, English settlers landed at Cape Henry in Virginia, the settlers who would ascend the James River and, on May 19, 1607, found Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America.

Their first act was to erect a wooden cross and hold a prayer meeting, which certainly represents a data point in the discussion of whether or not America was founded as a Christian nation.

The charter for the Virginia Colony (named for the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth) – which Jamestown tour guides can now mention after the lifting of a gag order which prohibited them from discussing any of the religious motivations for the colony – says, in part:

“Greatly commending . their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God.”

The second charter of Virginia, dated May 23, 1609, stated:

“The principal Effect which we can expect or desire of this Action is the Conversion and reduction of the people in those parts unto the true worship of God and the Christian Religion.”

It continued: “It shall be necessary for all such our loving Subjects . to live together, in the Fear and true Worship of Almighty God, Christian Peace, and civil Quietness, with each other.”

We will leave it to our friends at the ACLU to try to explain these things away, and will content ourselves for the time being with the knowledge that our conviction that America was founded as a Christian nation rests on the most secure basis possible, the plain statements of original sources.

The new settlement contained a mix of upper class “gentlemen” and working men from England, and problems arose when the fustier Englishmen refused to do manual labor, as something beneath them. Resentment naturally grew among the men who were left to do all the heavy lifting, and the colony was threatened with fracture.

John Smith stepped in and saved the colony, as virtually every history of Jamestown reports, by instituting a new rule for the colony: “He who does not work, will not eat.” Faced with this stark choice, the snobbish settlers quickly abandoned their indolence and became full contributing members of the fledgling colony.

What most history books omit (including the textbook my children used at an Idaho public high school) is that this dictum is essentially a direct quote from the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Thus the gospel not only founded Jamestown, it saved Jamestown.

Smith’s example was one of the first occasions on which a principle drawn from the Judeo-Christian tradition was used to establish sound public policy in America’s civic life. Politics, as Henry Hyde famously said, is simply the extension of ethics, and Smith gave us an informative illustration of just how that process can and should work.


Three extensive quotes provide further evidence of the threat that even mainstream Islam has posed in the past to Western civilization, and continues to pose today.

The first comes from an interview Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had with Tripoli’s ambassador to London in March, 1785. Thomas Jefferson was the first U.S. president to face Islamic jihad, in the form of the Barbary pirates. He sent the Marines in to deal with them, which explains the famous line in the Marine hymn, “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli.”

When Jefferson and Adams asked by what right the Barbary states attacked American ships and reduced both crews and passengers to slavery, they were informed that “it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon whoever they could find and to make Slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Musselman (Muslim) who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Fast forward to 2004, when Mohammed Bouyeri, a Muslim wearing traditional Islamic clothing, killed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam. He first shot van Gogh off his bike, then attempted to behead him with a knife, and eventually pinned a note to van Gogh’s body with the knife he had used to stab him to death. The note contained verses from the Koran and threats to other Dutch public figures who were opposing unrestricted Muslim immigration into the Netherlands.

At his trial, Bouyeri was quite clear about why he had murdered van Gogh, holding a Koran in his hands as he spoke. “I did what I did purely out of my beliefs. I want you to know that I acted out of conviction and not that I took his life because he was Dutch or because I was Moroccan and felt insulted . If I ever get free, I would do it again . What moved me to do what I did was purely my faith. I was motivated by the law that commands me to cut off the head of anyone who insults Allah and his prophet.”

Lastly, consider the words of the acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council just two weeks ago, in a sermon broadcast on Sudan television. (He belongs to Hamas.) “America and Israel will be annihilated, Allah willing. I guarantee you that the power of belief and faith is greater than the power of America and Israel. They are cowards, who are eager for life, while we are eager for death for the sake of Allah. That is why America’s nose was rubbed in the mud in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and everywhere.”

He concluded with this prayer: “Oh Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one . defeat the Jews and the Americans, and brings us victory over them.”

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