The Faith of Our Founding Fathers
When you hear the word "thanksgiving" what do you think of? Visions of green beans, gravy, stuffing, and the whole turkey dinner almost immediately come to mind. But how many of us ever think about the Pilgrims or the other Founding Fathers? I am sooo greatful for them. As you read, you will understand why, and hopefully in the process you will learn how to defend your faith against those who try to say that America is not a Christian nation. I am so THANKFUL that it is!
[Before I begin, here is some background: this is the post that spurred me on to write this... The present post goes out to the comment made by nubispertusus under the above mentioned post.... And just to clarify, the commentor DID give credit to the Founding Fathers' Christian beliefs. We disagree when he says (my words), "Because the Founders were Christians, that doesn't mean that when they say 'religion' they mean Christianity; they really meant 'other religions.'" I will begin with the commentor's remarks. Disclaimer: I am NO way attacking the commentor, but I respectfully disagree, and I want to bring out the truth of the issue. I respect the opinions of the commentor, as he is entitled to his own opinion.]
"How about 'One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all'? It served us well during WWII and God did not seem to mind.Moreover, note that between the Declaration of Independence and the adoption of the Constitution, various states limited voting and holding elected office to Christians. When our Founders drew these individual states together to form the republic (via the constitution) they did NOT include such rules. It is therefore hard to argue that the word 'religion' in the First Amendment means in fact just the Christian subset of 'religion'. Consequently, while many of the Founder were ardent believers, the constitution puts religious liberty for all above the favoritism of Judeo-Christian monotheism. Yet the words 'under God' establish that very faith in our national pledge. Tsk Tsk. We hae no business teaching constitutional principles and religious liberty overseas until embracing it at home."
It wouldn't hurt to have the Pledge in its original form. However, that is not the point; the point is that "under God" is there at the present and they want to remove it. The Pledge has had phrases added to it here and there, but from what I can tell, nothing has ever been removed. So my question is "WHY? Why would they remove God from the Pledge?" It's because that's exactly the way they want it: they want a nation that is NOT under God, a nation that is just one nation period. They want a nation WITHOUT God; they want to rid our society of God.
When the First Amendment mentions "religion" it includes all religions (nowadays, as it's been stretched and missinterpreted), though it was originally intended to be the Christian religion (which included all denominations). In fact, that is why the Founding Fathers came to America in the first place; the people were being pressured by the Crown to worship God according to the dictates of the king of the land, and if they didn't there were severe consequences. They wanted to serve God according to His Word, not according to the dictates of some mere man. This is why they would limit voting to Christians only; they had just fled from a country that only included ONE state religion, and, consequently excluded Christianity. Naturally, then, they wanted to exclude all other religions except Christianity, because they didn't want to start the whole dictatorship process all over again. Furthermore, being such strong Christians, they opposed those who did not worship explicitly according to the Bible.
I don't know about liberty topping Christianity, as you said; actually, I think that Christianity is equal, if not superior, to liberty, because, as I said before, the Founding Fathers wanted to keep people FREE to worship God. In fact, William Bradford said that the Pilgrims came to America "...for the propogating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world."
And for your information, even if not all of the Founding Father's were Christians, that does not mean that they did not AGREE with Christianity (i.e. Benjamin Franklin). I believe that there were only a small handful of such Founding Fathers; all the others, without question, were professing Christians. In fact, 99.9% of the Founders were Christians, so if you think that when they say "religion" they mean "other religions" over Christianity, you are wrong. In fact, I remember learning in history that a few people who tried to start their own "religions" in various states were kick-out for hearasy! And just to prove my point a little further, Ben Franklin, who did not profess to be a Christian said these words when the Founders were in the midst of the Constitutional Convention. Suggesting a prayer for guidance, Franklin said, "I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that 'except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: ...I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business." I have heard that Franklin was a deist, but if that's true, who was he referring to here? If he were a deist, he certainly couldn't be referring to God, because deists believe that after creating the world, God went on vacation, never to have any interferrance with His creation again! (Also notice that Franklin quotes a Bible verse here.)
On voting, the Founders made it perfectly clear why they would limit it to Christians: John Jay stated, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." Also, in a letter to Jefferson (1813), John Adams said, "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 those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God…" Notice that both Jay and Adams called America a "Christian nation."
And as far as "separation of church and state" is concerned -- NO, our Founding Fathers never wanted to separate religion from the state; what they wanted to do was limit the government from taking over the people's religious affairs. In other words, the Founding Fathers didn't want what they had before -- a tyrant telling them that this is Christianity -- Do this and don't do that! (And just for the record, Thomas Jefferson, the one famed for "separation of church and state" was not a Deist; he was a Christian. Here is what he said: "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.") It seems that the Founders knew that people would try to downplay Christianity in America. Here is what they had to say:
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." ~ John Adams, October 11, 1798
“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity"? ~ John Adams,1837, at the age of 69, when he delivered a Fourth of July speech at Newburyport, Massachusetts.
"Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments." ~ Charles Carroll - signer of the Declaration of Independence, To James McHenry on November 4, 1800
“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.” ~ Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593
“At the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration [i.e., the First Amendment], the general, if not the universal sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship.” ~ Justice Joseph Story, ibid
“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed...No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” ~ Noah Webster,1828, in the preface to his American Dictionary of the English Language
It's also interesting to note that for a long time, a church service of sorts was held IN THE CAPITAL BUILDING! So you just go ahead and tell me that although the Founders were Christians they didn't mean Christianity when they said "religion." Sure... Okay...
And since were originally talking about "under God"....
“ It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and Bible.” ~ George WashingtonYou might be interested to know that a MINISTER was the one who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in it's original form. And it was also a SERMON by another minister, who preached based on Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, that added "Under God" to the Pledge. This minister "felt that the pledge should reflect the American spirit and way of life as defined by Lincoln." Here is what Congressman Charles Oakman said in 1954 when trying to get the bill passed: "Last Sunday, the President of the United States and his family occupied the pew where Abraham Lincoln worshipped. The pastor, the Reverend George M. Docherty, suggested the change in our Pledge of Allegiance that I have offered [as a bill]. Dr. Docherty delivered a wise sermon. He said that as a native of Scotland come to these shores he could appreciate the pledge as something more than a hollow verse taught to children for memory. I would like to quote from his words. He said, 'there was something missing in the pledge, and that which was missing was the characteristic and definitive factor in the American way of life.' Mr. Speaker, I think Mr. Docherty hit the nail square on the head."
(Source: WIKIPEDIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pledge_of_Allegiance)
Apparently, then, this minister and the congressman believed that God was a part of the American culture. Nubispertusus wrote on his blog that because a man was told to remove a pin promoting religion and he did not, Christians called him a true patriot. Nubispertusus went on to complain that this does NOT make the man a patriot, claiming that he doesn't understand why Christians are so adamant about keeping God in society (and specifically in the pledge). This post has attempted to explain this. But I would also like to add that this is why we Christians are so adamant that "under God" should stay in the Pledge: God is a part of American culture. "Under God" is in the Pledge now, so why take it away? "Under God" is exactly what this nation is and what it stands for, and that's why Christians are so opposed to its removal from the Pledge. If you think that Christianity doesn't make a person a true patriot then listen to this statement made by our first President George Washington: "To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian." ~ May 2, 1778, at Valley Forge
Without question, America was founded on Christianity as one nation under God. Despite my ranting, I am so thankful for what the Founding Father's did for us so that we could be free to worship God. And you know, all you skeptics out there should be thankful, too; because the word "religion" has been stretched to a much broader meaning than was originally intended, and because Christians are so tolerant, you are free to worship whomever or whatever you please -- or to not worship anything at all, if that is your preference! Because of what the Founders did -- some of them even sacrificing their lives and homes for the sake of liberty -- each of us is free to believe what we want; I can't impose my beliefs on you, and you can't impose your beliefs on me. What I mean is, no matter how much one or the other of us tries to impose our beliefs on the other, it's ultimately our choice what we believe. If someone tells me that Christianity is stupid,that doesn't change the fact that I still believe it and that you do not. Likewise, no matter what you or I believe, the fact remains: This nation, America, was founded upon Christianity, and for that, I am thankful! I will end with a question: Have we really fallen SO far from God that we want Him removed from our society in every way? It is sad to admit, but it is true. Our Founding Fathers would be appauled to see what America has become! Honestly, how much do we think we can get away with? God always sees. America, let's wake up and put God back into our Christian nation! Thomas Jefferson stated, "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” ~ Patrick Henry, May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses
Psalm 33:12 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance."
For more information on the Founding Fathers and their Christian faith, visit these sites: