But why the men who pray? At first blush they would seem superfluous to a social system comprising warring landowners and their virtual slaves. Alfred was a Christian, it's true, but why include the church as a necessary component of a kingdom?
For most of the last 6,000 years of human civilization, religion has been an integral part of government. The Pharaoh was the high priest of Egypt, one of whose duties was to pray to the gods for rain and the fertility of the land, for victory in war , and for the protection of his people from plague and pestilence. Roman emperors assumed the title of pontifex maximus or chief priest, and the Queen of England still holds the title "Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England".
This was more than ceremonial deference to the monarch. Religion has always been seen as one of the components in the glue that holds a nation together. The people are controlled not only by the sword of temporal power but by the scepter of divine guidance. Both are necessary and neither is sufficient without the other.
This situation pertained universally until 1791, when the Constitution of the United States containing the Bill of Rights was ratified by the thirteen States of the United States. The very first words of the Bill of Rights are:
"Article I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; ..."
This was not, as many are asserting today, a prohibition of religion. Far from it. It was rather a declaration that religion is a personal matter beyond the control of the government. It was a condemnation of government, not of religion.
The First Amendment is being misused today to accomplish everything from queer marriage to the prohibition of nativity displays on public property. The priests of the religion of Atheism in an unholy alliance with the Imams of Islam are attacking Christianity under the misappropriate banner of "freedom of religion."
And they are being eagerly assisted in this endeavor by the federal government and by its sycophantic Morally Subjective Media (MSM). Thus we see the inversion of government from a partner with religion to the enemy of religion.
Where have we seen this before?
Oh, yes. In Nazi Germany.
And the purpose in 21st Century America is the same as it was in 20th Century Germany and Italy – the rape of the people through Fascism. Fascism is counter to the traditional partnership between government and religion because Fascist governments are no longer interested in governance – only in pillage.
When we hear or read of the government's violation of the First Amendment, we instantly think of the second freedom granted in that Amendment – freedom of speech. But just as insidious is the curtailment of freedom of religion by "prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
The effect – the intended effect – is to replace God with government as the only source of comfort and guidance and as the sole arbiter of right and wrong.
The First Amendment does not guarantee us freedom from religion. It guarantees us freedom from government imposition or restriction of religion. Those who hate Christianity are free to do so. They are not, however, free to use the government in their crusade against God. Not in America.
As we say in Texas, ""The only connection between the government and God is that one is used to cuss the other."