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Sunday, June 17, 2012

3. Our Founding Fathers

1. The First Amendment
2.1 Beginning of a Nation
2.2 Beginning of a Nation

One argument that frequently comes up during debates about the separation of church and state is that the Founding Fathers of the United States were not Christians.  I cannot say that I agree.  There is plenty of evidence to indicate many of the Founders were in fact Christians.  When considering the Constitution, is it necessary to know what the Founding Fathers believed? I think so.  But at the very least, knowing the backgrounds of the men responsible for bringing forth our nation can’t hurt.

In a letter to his father, John Quincy Adams wrote, “My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ.”  See the eighth quote.  Robert Treat Paine, signer of the Declaration of Independence, stated (shown here), “I desire to bless and praise the name of God most high for appointing me my birth in a land of Gospel Light where the glorious tidings of a Savior and of pardon and salvation through Him have been continually sounding in mine ears.”  Benjamin Rush, also a signer of the Declaration, relied upon the blood of Jesus to cleanse him from his sins.  Roger Sherman, signer of the Declaration and the Constitution, believed in God and believed God to be Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  John Witherspoon, yet another signer, declared, “If you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ…you must forever perish.  See page 286, last paragraph.  These are just a few select examples.

Furthermore, Abraham Baldwin and Joel Barlow both served as Chaplains in the American Revolution.  And interestingly, at least forty Founders were involved in a Bible society. (Barton, David, Original Intent, pg. 145-149)

For more evidence regarding the Founding Fathers and their belief in God, you can also review these statements and the last will and testaments of several Founders.

I would encourage everyone to seek out original statements and writings that were made by our Founding Fathers in order to determine their beliefs.  Don’t take my word for it.  Based on the information we have available to us, which is much more than I can list in a blog post, I believe the Founders never intended for people to be prohibited from practicing Christianity outside of their homes.  And yet, people have been prohibited on numerous occasions.  Even worse, based on today’s idea of the separation of church and state, it appears the United States has gone from a country that freely embraced Christianity to a country that supports Christianity’s regulation.  If you do not believe Christianity is or has been regulated, stay tuned.

Next week, we’ll look at:

4. The Supreme Court

1 comment:

  1. I am a student at Hillsdale College, and if you are not familiar with that excellent institution of higher learning, I urge you to acquaint yourself with it.

    What you discuss above is something I learned a lot about in my freshman year. It turns out that the phrase "wall of separation between church and state" has been pulled out of context and used in ways that stray far from its author's intent. Thomas Jefferson is responsible for its original use in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. A copy of the letter can be found here.

    In this letter, Jefferson (who was president at the time) responds to the appeal of the Danbury Baptist Association to help establish freedom of religion in Connecticut. Essentially, he tells them that he believes freedom of religion is extremely important, but that establishing it is a state issue that he, as president, cannot influence without violating the principles of federalism outlined in the Constitution. He says nowhere that politics and religion should be estranged from each other. He says nowhere that the government should restrict or regulate religion. In fact, here and in other writings, he says the exact OPPOSITE—that the government must keep from restricting religion at all costs, and that genuine religion is not only good for but *necessary to* a happy and functional country.

    If anyone doubts these conclusions about Jefferson’s opinion on the so-called “separation” of church and state, let them observe that he—then the *president* of the United States--ends the letter with a prayer to the “Father and Creator of man.”


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!