You’ll find the text of Judge Earl McGimpsey’s remarks at this morning’s National Day of Prayer observance at First Presbyterian Church at www.norwalkreflector.com.
The retiring Huron County Court of Common Pleas judge gave a powerful, moving speech on the role faith has played in his life and career.
The role of faith in so many aspects of American society has been the subject of a lot of debate and controversy over the past few decades with some wanting us to dispense with all pretensions to the contrary and declare ourselves a Christian nation, and others arguing that the wall of separation between church and state be maintained.
There was no misunderstanding where Judge McGimpsey stands on this question. He stated emphatically America is not a Christian nation and his is not a Christian court.
Be that as it may, it’s his faith in God that has guided his decisions and it’s that same faith that serves as the basis of our nation’s concept of morality and what is right.
“The United States is not a Christian nation, just as it is not a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. It is not a theocracy, but a dynamic democracy, a secular state,” he said. “Godliness is not an attribute of the United States of America, but hopefully it is an attribute of its people.”
We couldn’t have said it better and wish that combatants in the religion debate in America — and the world — would heed his words.
As McGimpsey noted, throughout history, whenever groups or political movements have claimed exclusive knowledge of what God wants, generally bad things have followed. Those who think that it would not happen here because we are mostly Christian are deluding themselves.
Quoting President Abraham Lincoln at his second inaugural, McGimpsey wound up his remarks as follows: “Pray not that your side will prevail, but pray for wisdom, discernment and understanding. Give thanks to God who has given us this good land; ask for forgiveness and be willing to forgive others; and judge not that you be not judged.”
The debate on the role of religion in our government will no doubt continue to rage, but it’s hard to see how we can go far wrong if we heed those words.