Thursday, May 14, 2009


Above is a document signed by Samuel Chase on February 1, 1794. This document is Chase certifying Barnard Lafon's "Declaration of his belief in the Christian religion and the Oath required by the Act of Assembly of this State entitled 'An Act for Naturalization'."

President BO has said that we don't think of ourselves as a Christian nation, but as a nation of citizens.

Maybe (but I don't really think so), but it was not always so.

In his 1796 farewell address, First President, George Washington wrote: "It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Signer of the Declaration and second President of the United States, John Adams, wrote in his diary on February 22, 1756: “Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited.... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be”

From James Madison, the fourth president, we read: "I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way."

John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, closed his inaugural address with these words: “Knowing that ‘except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain,’ with fervent supplications for His favor, to His overruling providence I commit, with humble, but fearless confidence, my own fate, and the future destinies of my country.”

"Give me liberty or give me death," Patrick Henry wrote: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ."

First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay wrote: "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

Constitution signer and Secretary of War under the first two Presidents, James McHenry, insisted: "The Holy Scriptures...can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments around our institutions. Bibles are strong entrenchments. Where they abound, men cannot pursue wicked courses."

Noah Webster asserted: “Citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion”

Webster also insisted that “The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men”

Constitution signer, Gouverneur Morris, wrote: “The reflection and experience of many years have led me to consider the holy writings not only as the most authentic and instructive in themselves, but as the clue to all other history. They tell us what man is, and they alone tell us why he is what he is”

John Adams wrote: “The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity."

Declaration of Independence signer, Dr. Benjamin Rush, declared that the Bible “should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness”

Samuel Adams, Father of the American Revolution, Signer of the Declaration of Independence:
"I . . . recommend my Soul to that Almighty Being who gave it, and my body I commit to the dust, relying upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins."

Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration of Independence: "On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts."

William Cushing, First Associate Justice Appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court: "Sensible of my mortality, but being of sound mind, after recommending my soul to Almighty God through the merits of my Redeemer and my body to the earth . . ."

John Dickinson, Signer of the Constitution: "Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity."

The Framers of the first state constitution of Massachusetts emphasized the necessity of Christian teaching in its third article: "Article III. As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of...teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily..."

By a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of the United States, in Holy Trinity Church v. U.S., 143 U.S. 457 (1892) declared in the Opinion written for the Court by Mr. Justice Brewer, that "These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation."

We will no doubt argue whether it was the intent of the majority of our founders to make this nation specifically Christian, it is absolutely clear that the majority of them were avowed Christians and that their Christianity influenced their decisions and their life-styles.

If nothing else, I hope you found this post both interesting and encouraging.

I hope it was not too long for your particular reading ability.


Susannah said...

Oh how beautiful is the typing of your dear fingers this morning, my brother! Wonderful, fantastic post here. You've been doing your homework, eh?

Funny, that I've come back to this issue too (in my post today), though not with nearly the same exhaustive intellectual prowess as you! Thanks so much. I did, indeed, find it encouraging.

Hope you & yours had a splendid Mother's Day!

Z said...

This is so good I'm bookmarking it, Joe, for future reference.
Thanks SO much!
and how reassuring, absolutely! God is so good he made this great country and it's our duty to keep it for Him!

Joe said...

Susannah & Z: Thank you for your kindness and encouragement as well.

BTW: I TRY to do my homework. But I also make a distinction between what is my opinion and what is demonstrably factual.

I was once asked, "Joe, I need your opinion on something." I said, "Great! I have one on just about everything!"

Someone else said, "Joe, you always think your opinion is right."

I answered, "Make me a list of the opinions you hold that you think are wrong. If you think they are wrong, why do you hold them?"

Ration Al said...

I am a Democrat who considers the Libertarian Party the conscious of American politics. People too soon forget that the foundation of conservatism -- and our country -was not Christianity, but fear of the concentration of power.

Christianity was there at the beginning, but it intentionally took a back seat in the affairs of government.

The Constitution was intended to be a living document, and to be the beginning of a body of laws that build on the inherent ambiguity and tensions designed into the Constitution.

The Constitution was designed to solve a particular problem at a particular point in time, and the Framers knew they couldn't anticipate everything.

The rights of man are maleable - whence the Bill of Rights, which Hamilton argued against btw. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are very broad and ambiguous concepts. Hence the need to amend the Constitution with the Bill of Rights.

The definitions of and relationship between the branches of government, and the role of government, were specifically designed to be maleable as well.

All you have to do is read the Constitution and read the debates at the constitutional convention to understand this.

Now, on a Christian nation.

The Declaration mentions God, but not Christ. And the Constitution doesn't even mention God. Sure, there were, early on, local Christain loyalty oaths, but the fact of the matter is:

The USA was built by a diverse crowd of beliefs, with a majority of them Christian. But there were lots of others, and they were pretty darn vocal at the constitutional convention, and there was a extremely wide array of beliefs within Christians.

Those Christians came to America to large extent because of state sanctioned religion and the concentration of power in the monarchy.

They had Christian values but, CLEARLY, wanted to put a country mile between organized religion and the State.

That's the right answer, and they had no problem dealing with what current day political evangelicals call hypocrisy - going to Church every Sunday and putting aside a bias towards organized religion in matters of government.

It really is interesting - the rapture right of today would consider many of the founders hypocrits.

Joe said...

Ration Al: I am so proud of you!!

You actually presented your case with grace, real thoughts and some points of view!

I happen to disagree, but you said what I disagree with VERY well.

Thank you.

With that kind of rationale, Ration Al, you are welcomed with the same fervor as ol' TAO!

Being Right said...

We DON'T want or need Obama to speak at Notra Dame! No way no how...period.

Shaw Kenawe said...

The valedictorian of the Class of 2009, a biology major on her way to Harvard Medical School, admires and welcomes President Obama, as do a majority of the graduating students today. A vocal minority is trying to make it appear that most of the students and alumni agree with their protests. The fact is that they don't.

BTW, it's NOTRE Dame. If you're going to write about it, at least learn how to spell it.

Joe said...

Being Right & Shaw Kenawe: Whould you two guys (I guess) please get on topic?