While it is trendy for revisionists to de-Christianize this nation, they have failed to wholly erase the historical evidence. While it is the ardent hope of humanists, deists, and some utilitarian, pseudo-Christian sects to diminish the role of the Holy Trinity and the core principles of ‘pure’ Christian thought – they simply cannot argue away the overwhelming body of evidence to the contrary.
From the Declaration of Independence:
…which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
While we cannot establish if this is the “Christian” God the Founders beseech, let’s take a look at the men who were present at the convention and signed the Declaration.
John Witherspoon, a Presbyterian minister.
Francis Hopkinson, a church music director who edited the Hymnal of 1767, setting all 150 hymns to music. Many churches use them to this day – maybe even Unitarian churches.
Samuel Adams, who once proclaimed “I rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.”
John Adams, from the Adams-Jefferson Letters: A Complete Collection:
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity. Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that these general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.
“It is a great mistake to suppose that the paper we are to propose will govern the United States. It is the men whom it will bring into the government and interest they have in maintaining it that are to govern them. The paper will only mark out the mode and the form. Men are the substance and must do the business.”
Benjamin Rush. Founded the first Bible Society in the United States and once said:
My only hope of salvation is in the love of God manifested to the world by the death of his Son upon the cross, nothing but his blood will wash away my sins. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus.
Thomas Jefferson, whose ‘letter to the Danbury Baptists’ is seized upon humanists as proof that he was – at best – a deist, publically embraced Christianity. His own words:
The practice of morality being necessary for the well-being of society, He has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral precepts of Jesus, and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in his discourses. – TJ to James Fishback, Sept 27, 1809
The purposes of the Brafferton institution would be better answered by maintaining a perpetual mission among the Indian tribes, the object of which, besides instructing them in the principles of Christianity, as the founder requires, should be to collect their traditions, laws, customs, languages, and other circumstances which might lead to a discovery of their relation with one another, or descent from other nations. When these objects are accomplished with one tribe, the missionary might pass on to another. – Notes on the State of Virginia, page 157
Jefferson actually used federal monies and granted federal lands to Christian missionaries who, armed with the Jefferson Bible, went forth to convert the American Indian tribes beyond the frontier.
Even the Jefferson Bible was intended in part, according to Jefferson himself, to provide the Gospels in a simple form that could be readily understood by American Indians and the uneducated.
Perhaps the most telling quote from a letter written by Jefferson:
It was not, however, to be understood that instruction in religious opinion and duties was meant to be precluded by the public authorities as indifferent to the interests of society. On the contrary, the relations which exist between man and his Maker and the duties resulting from those relations are the most interesting and important to every human being and the most incumbent on his study and investigation. Report to the Visitors Oct 7, 1822
Even Ben Franklin,the founding father the secularists love to claim as their own, actively defended Christianity – specifically – against Thomas Paine’s tract ‘In Defense of Reason’. He also called for the establishment of a Chaplain and daily prayer at the Constitutional Convention. As the governor of Pennsylvania, he issued a number of religion proclamations. He was a close friend and admirer of George Whitfield, a minister active in the Great Awakening.
The Constitution makes no mention to God or religion – or does it? Article 1, Section 7, Clause 2 which in part follows:
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law…
This is the clause that provides the Executive with the power of veto and sets limits on his ability to exercise a pocket veto. Why – if the practices of Christianity were not woven into every aspect of social, legal, and political life in the United States does the Constitution expressly commands the Christian Sabbath not be counted? Mind you, this is not the Jewish Sabbath or the Muslim Sabbath, nor is there mention of Ramadan or Passover.
At the end of the Constitution proper:
…Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven…
One could argue that ‘The Year of our Lord’ was merely a legalistic or stylistic convention of the day. Sure you could. Doesn’t mean you are correct.
The Treaty of Paris begins with “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity”.
The preamble begins with “It having pleased the Divine Providence…”.
Yet there are those who will argue that Christian virtues, beliefs, customs, and practices do not permeate the founding of the United States. People continue to argue that this is not a nation based on Christian virtues.
If that was the case, why did the Founders not spell it out more clearly? Do we need to tell any rational, mentally stable adult in these United States not to eat from a stranger’s plate in a restaurant? Does the management have to post signs prohibiting this behavior? No. Why? Common sense is expected to prevail in such situations – this is simply not done in America. For the founders, having to explicitly explain the importance of Christianity in this new Republic would have been equally absurd to them.
But what about the ‘Separation Clause’ of the First Amendment? There is no such thing. The pertinent passage of the amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Couldn’t be clearer, right? Obviously the authors wanted to formally separate religion from government, right?
This clause merely states that Congress will not be permitted to establish a state religion. In order to understand this, the reader must recall that the founders led a revolution against a world power ruled by a monarch who was not merely head of state but the head of a state religion. More than half of the original colonies were founded by people who disagreed with the state religion and desired to worship as they saw fit. A number of states, looking at the creation of a central government vastly more powerful then under the Articles of Confederation, wanted to avoid a bloc of politicians from instituting a specific denomination as the religion of the United States.
What about this separation of church and state business? That would be a concept taken from a letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists. The pertinent passage reads:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
This letter, written in 1802, was political in nature and designed to appease New England Federalists – members of the opposing party. In fact, on New Years Day, Jefferson maintained his letter was meant to ‘gratify public opinion’. If you read the letter the Danbury Baptists sent to the new president, their concern was to avoid the establishment of a national church and to ensure that their minority denomination would be protected. Instead of affirming the First Amendment, Jefferson introduced the language of a ‘wall of separation’.
These arguments should establish the inherently, instinctive, and culturally predominance of Christian perspectives in the United States. Emphasis on Christian.
The language of the Holy Trinity, the reference to the Christian Sabbath, and other explicit and implicit language in the Declaration, the Constitution, and the personal writings of dozens of signers of our founding documents clearly indicate that these were works inspired by Christian concepts of liberty, responsibility, and morality. The men who created these documents and served in local, state, and national government, were overwhelmingly influenced by strong personal Christian beliefs.
For those concerned about the First Amendment, Christian churches aren’t the problem – Islamic madrasas pose a more likely threat. A core tenet of Islam is the creation of a theocratic state. The Citizen would invite the skeptical reader to ask an Iranian woman named Soraya. Unfortunately, she was stoned to death by order of the local religious judge, her sentence confirmed by the mayor of the village.