Sunday, March 22, 2009

Christian Roots of the United States

It is surprising how often I see articles and blog posts saying that our Founding Fathers intended this to be a secular nation, supposedly proven by the fact that most of our Founders were atheists or deists. The claim is made that only a few were actually Christian. From that point further claims are usually made about how they wanted complete separation of church and state.

But most of our Founders were indeed Christian. They believed that religion is necessary to a healthy society and a successful government. They were clearly not shy about invoking their faith in public. So let me summarize here a small part of the information found in some of my other posts.

I have examined all of the Presidents' Inaugural address, starting with George Washington. For those Presidents who were able to give addresses, all mention God/faith etc.

Presidential Inaugural Addresses - Godly Words

Then I examined all 50 State constitutions and found that ALL make reference to God, our Creator, etc.

God in Our 50 State Constitutions

I did some research on many of our Founding Fathers. It seemed a good place to start was with those who signed the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, or who were delegates to the Constitutional Convention. The lists below could be much longer if I showed names in duplicate for those who were involved in more than one, but I chose to skip the duplicatation.

Christian Signers of the U.S. Constitution

Christian Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Christian Delegates to the Constitutional Convention

The U.S. House of Representatives did some more footwork for me, summarizing some of our religious history in U.S. House Resolution 888. I hope the links above and quotes below will help restore some perspective.

(See the entire text of House Resulution 888)

"Whereas the delegates to the Constitutional Convention concluded their work by in effect placing a religious punctuation mark at the end of the Constitution in the Attestation Clause, noting not only that they had completed the work with `the unanimous consent of the States present' but they had done so `in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven';

"Whereas in 1789, Congress, in the midst of framing the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment, passed the first Federal law touching education, declaring that `Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged';
"Whereas in 1853 the United States Senate declared that the Founding Fathers `had no fear or jealousy of religion itself, nor did they wish to see us an irreligious people ... they did not intend to spread over all the public authorities and the whole public action of the nation the dead and revolting spectacle of atheistical apathy';

"Whereas in 1854 the United States House of Representatives declared `It [religion] must be considered as the foundation on which the whole structure rests ... Christianity; in its general principles, is the great conservative element on which we must rely for the purity and permanence of free institutions';
"Whereas President John Adams, one of only 2 signers of the Bill of Rights and First Amendment, declared `As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him';
"Whereas Thomas Jefferson urged local governments to make land available specifically for Christian purposes, provided Federal funding for missionary work among Indian tribes, and declared that religious schools would receive `the patronage of the government';
"Whereas the United States Supreme Court has declared throughout the course of our Nation's history that the United States is `a Christian country', `a Christian nation', `a Christian people', `a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being', and that `we cannot read into the Bill of Rights a philosophy of hostility to religion';

"Whereas Justice John Jay, an author of the Federalist Papers and original Justice of the United States Supreme Court, urged `The most effectual means of securing the continuance of our civil and religious liberties is always to remember with reverence and gratitude the Source from which they flow';

"Whereas Justice James Wilson, a signer of the Constitution, declared that `Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine ... Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants';

"Whereas Justice William Paterson, a signer of the Constitution, declared that `Religion and morality ... [are] necessary to good government, good order, and good laws';

"Whereas President George Washington, who passed into law the first legal acts organizing the Federal judiciary, asked, `where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths in the courts of justice?';

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