The Moral Foundations of America
America’s God and Country
Whatever America has evolved into today is a separate issue from what America was in the days of the American Revolution. Where did America’s great strength lie then? And what were the moral foundations of America at its inception? The evidence is overwhelming: the founding fathers tell us that our nation was conceived on the principles of the Biblical God and Christianity. Not on Hinduism, not on Humanism, nor Buddhism, nor the writings of Confucius or Islam, or even Deism, but founded on Biblical and Christian principles.
Here are just some of the facts that are seldom taught in America’s public school classrooms:
The most frequently recognized source for political inspiration for the founding fathers was the Bible, which was referenced in some 34% of the founding father’s quotations.
The first reference to God as the foundation of an American colony was noted in the ‘Mayflower Compact,’ dated November 11, 1620:
“….Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and advancement of
the Christian faith, and the honour of our king and country, a
voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia;
Do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the presence of
God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together
into a Civil Body….”
Many of the founding fathers recognized that the principles of civil law were inseparably linked to Biblical truths. James Wilson, one of the original Supreme Court Justices, and a signer of the Constitution, explained,
“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…”
Additionally, the United States Supreme Court specifically recognized America as a Christian nation. In the case “Church of the Holy Trinity vs. the United States” (Feb. 29, 1892, US457-458), Justice Josiah Brewer, following a lengthy and exhaustive search of early American historical literature, commented, “We find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth….that we are a Christian nation….”
In another Supreme Court Case, “Zorach vs. Clauson” (1952, US306 307 313), Justice William O. Douglas categorically stated, “We are a religious people and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” Further, in “United States vs. Macintosh” (1931, 283 US 605, 625), Justice George Sutherland affirmed, “We are a Christian people….affording to one another the equal right of religious freedom, and acknowledge with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God.”
Historical revisionists contend the founding fathers were predominately deists. The facts say otherwise.
According to Dr. M.E. Bradford of the University of Dallas, of the 55 framers, 28 were Episcopalians, 8 were Presbyterians, 7 were Congregationalists, and there were two each of Lutherans, Dutch Reformed, Methodists and Roman Catholics. That left, by Bradford’s counting, three deists and one founder whose religious views cannot be determined definitively.
Concerning the outcome of the American Revolution, John Quincy Adams noted, “The highest glory won from the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
In a letter to Thomas Jefferson dated June 28, 1813, John Adams wrote: “The general principles on which the (founding) fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity.”
Founding father Noah Webster proclaimed much the same message when he said, “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles…This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”
Time after time, the founding fathers declared similar beliefs. From the archives of Patrick Henry’s personal notes (handwritten on the back of his copy of the “Stamp Act Resolutions,” made public after his death) we read:
“Whether this (new government) will prove a blessing or a curse
will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which
a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise they will be
great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be
miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation.”
Thomas Jefferson was hardly speaking from a strict deist standpoint when he said:
“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 the gift of 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.” (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781)
“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we
are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their
native land and planted them in a country flowing with all
the necessities and comforts of life.” (Monday, March 4,
1805, in his 2nd Inaugural Address)
Remember, a strict deist was one who believed God was like a watchmaker, who wound up the universe and thereafter did not involve himself in the affairs of men and nations. Jefferson obviously believed otherwise. So did Benjamin Franklin, whom today’s liberals also say was a deist.
At the Constitutional Convention on June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin noted:
“I’ve 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 the House they labor in vain who 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: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our Projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a Reproach and Bye word down to future Ages.”
Speaking of Godly principles, Jefferson noted:
“A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never
seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian,
that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”
(Jan. 9, 1816 – In a letter to Charles Thomson)
George Washington, the “Father of our Country,” likewise recognized God as supremely important in the American dream. In his first inaugural address on April 30, 1789, Washington remarked:
“It would be improper to omit, in this first official act, my
fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over
On Saturday, October 3, 1789, President Washington said this in proclaiming a day of national thanksgiving:
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of
Today, our public schools are in a moral crisis. Washington once noted, “If you remove religious principles from the schools you are going to lose national morality.” How prophetic he was!
Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence who was also known as the “Father of Public Schools,” once had this to offer: “The only foundation for a republic is…religion. Without it there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty.”
Don’t miss the significance of that last statement: “..without virtue there can be no liberty….” The principle is clear – a lack of virtue engenders bondage. As one writer noted, “Intemperate men can never be free because their passions give rise to their fetters (bindings).” The more liberties a godless people achieve, the more enslaved they ultimately become in their worldly obsessions.
Still another founding father, the Reverend John Witherspoon, mirrored Benjamin Rush when he declared, “…Civil liberty cannot long be preserved without virtue….”
And finally, let’s not forget James Madison, known as the “Chief Architect of U.S. Constitution,” who once had this to say:
“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the Cross of Christ.”
This is just a very short list of thousands of such examples that clearly speak of the Biblical and Christian foundations of our Founding Fathers and early America. Along with these there were the church services in government buildings up to and shortly after the civil war; paid chaplains, government authorized missionaries, reliefs of Moses and the Ten Commandments in the Supreme Court building, and so on and so forth. Whatever moral foundations apart from Christian and Biblical principles one may argue was second, was not even a close second. The record on that is clear.
And so today, the debate over the moral foundations of America continues, but not in this quarter. America is in a moral and spiritual decline due to the ungodly secularization of this country. “Thou shalt not” has been replaced with, “If it feels good do it.” The wisdom of God has been replaced with the tenets of men; absolute truths replaced with moral relativism, and “Father God” has been replaced with “Mother Earth.” America is now paying the price for this ill-conceived venture. The remedy: A return to Godly values and principles, upon which this nation “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” was clearly founded.
God bless America.
1. America’s God and Country – Encyclopedia of Quotations, William J. Federer
2. Faith of our Founding Fathers, Tim LaHaye
3. Original Intent, David Barton
4. Christianity and the Constitution, John Eidsmoe
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