President Eisenhower on the Christian Nation

Our Government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is. – New York Times, Dec 23 1952

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65 Replies to “President Eisenhower on the Christian Nation”

  1. While the constitution does not allow the federal government to establish a religion, this does not mean the US is not or has not been a Christian nation – the laws were founded on the principles found in the Bible and the majority of its people considered (indeed according to some estimates, still consider) themselves Christians.

    Interestingly, there have been a number of presidents who seemed to agree with that position.

    John Quincy Adams
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29467&st=Christian+Nation&st1=

    In taking a general survey of the concerns of our beloved country, with reference to subjects interesting to the common welfare, the first sentiment which impresses itself upon the mind is of gratitude to the Omnipotent Disposer of All Good for the continuance of the signal blessings of His providence, and especially for that health which to an unusual extent has prevailed within our borders, and for that abundance which in the vicissitudes of the seasons has been scattered with profusion over our land. Nor ought we less to ascribe to Him the glory that we are permitted to enjoy the bounties of His hand in peace and tranquillity — in peace with all the other nations of the earth, in tranquillity among our selves. There has, indeed, rarely been a period in the history of civilized man in which the general condition of the Christian nations has been marked so extensively by peace and prosperity.

    President Teddy Roosevelt
    http://books.google.com/books?dq=Theodore%20Roosevelt%2C%20The%20Man%20As%20I%20Knew%20Him&printsec=frontcover&sig=Ct5Ez-9SyBpPMQRjvojKM-K8HBA&ei=6yM-S4SyO4m1tgfiivD5CA&ct=result&id=VXLGC8L0hJUC&ots=dIuVhYx0GM&output=text&pg=PA307

    Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes what a very large number of people tend to forget, that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally—I do not mean figuratively, I mean literally—impossible for us to figure to ourselves what that life would be if these teachings were removed.

    President Herbert Hoover
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=22855

    This civilization and this great complex, which we call American life, is builded and can alone survive upon the translation into individual action of that fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior 19 centuries ago.

    President Harry Truman
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=12746

    An enduring peace can be built only upon Christian principles. To such a consummation we dedicate all our resources, both spiritual and material, remembering always that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it.

    Your Holiness, this is a Christian Nation. More than a half century ago that declaration was written into the decrees of the highest court in this land. It is not without significance that the valiant pioneers who left Europe to establish settlements here, at the very beginning of their colonial enterprises, declared their faith in the Christian religion and made ample provision for its practice and for its support. The story of the Christian missionaries who in earliest days endured perils, hardship–even death itself in carrying the message of Jesus Christ to untutored savages is one that still moves the hearts of men.

    As a Christian Nation our earnest desire is to work with men of good will everywhere to banish war and the causes of war from the world whose Creator desired that men of every race and in every clime should live together in peace, good will and mutual trust. Freedom of conscience, ordained by the Fathers of our Constitution to all who live under the flag of the United States, has been a bulwark of national strength, a source of happiness, from the establishment of our Nation to this day.

    President Richard Nixon
    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=3597

    Then before we become too arrogant with the most deadly of the seven deadly sins, the sin of pride, let us remember that the two great wars of this century, wars which cost 20 million dead, were fought between Christian nations praying to the same God.

    Let us remember now that fortunately Christian nations in the world live in peace together, and we trust will in the future. Let us remember that as a Christian nation, but also as a nation that is enriched by other faiths as well, that we have a charge and a destiny.

    Congress has also stated similar things over the years.
    http://www.forbes.house.gov/uploadedfiles/Footnoted397.pdf

    Just saying…

    1. Wb, Adams was deistic at best. Further, simply because people feel that they are Christian, doesn’t make it so.

      The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?
      — John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815

      “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion”

      John Adams quotes (American 2nd US President (1797-1801), 1735-1826)

      The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
      — John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88), from Adrienne Koch, ed, The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society (1965) p. 258, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”

      Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.
      — John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88), from Adrienne Koch, ed, The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society (1965) p. 258, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”

      We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions … shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power … we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.
      — John Adams, letter to Dr. Price, April 8, 1785, quoted from Albert Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom (1991)

      As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?
      — John Adams, letter to FA Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816

      John AdamsThe frightful engines of ecclesiastical councils, of diabolical malice, and Calvinistical good-nature never failed to terrify me exceedingly whenever I thought of preaching.
      — John Adams, letter to his brother-in-law, Richard Cranch, October 18, 1756, explaining why he rejected the ministry

      I shall have liberty to think for myself without molesting others or being molested myself.
      — John Adams, letter to his brother-in-law, Richard Cranch, August 29, 1756, explaining how his independent opinions would create much difficulty in the ministry, in Edwin S Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation (1987) p. 88, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”

      When philosophic reason is clear and certain by intuition or necessary induction, no subsequent revelation supported by prophecies or miracles can supersede it.
      — John Adams, from Rufus K Noyes, Views of Religion, quoted from from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      Indeed, Mr. Jefferson, what could be invented to debase the ancient Christianism which Greeks, Romans, Hebrews and Christian factions, above all the Catholics, have not fraudulently imposed upon the public? Miracles after miracles have rolled down in torrents.
      — John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, December 3, 1813, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      Cabalistic Christianity, which is Catholic Christianity, and which has prevailed for 1,500 years, has received a mortal wound, of which the monster must finally die. Yet so strong is his constitution, that he may endure for centuries before he expires.
      — John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 16, 1814, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      I do not like the reappearance of the Jesuits…. Shall we not have regular swarms of them here, in as many disguises as only a king of the gipsies can assume, dressed as printers, publishers, writers and schoolmasters? If ever there was a body of men who merited damnation on earth and in Hell, it is this society of Loyola’s. Nevertheless, we are compelled by our system of religious toleration to offer them an asylum.
      — John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 5, 1816

      Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.
      — John Adams, letter to his son, John Quincy Adams, November 13, 1816, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?
      — John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 19, 1821, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!
      — John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, from George Seldes, The Great Quotations, also from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning…. And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.
      — John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 1814, quoted in Norman Cousins, In God We Trust: The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the American Founding Fathers (1958), p. 108, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      The Church of Rome has made it an article of faith that no man can be saved out of their church, and all other religious sects approach this dreadful opinion in proportion to their ignorance, and the influence of ignorant or wicked priests.
      — John Adams, Diary and Autobiography

      What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France, by order of another pope, because of suspected heresy? Remember the Index Expurgato-rius, the Inquisition, the stake, the axe, the halter, and the guillotine; and, oh! horrible, the rack! This is as bad, if not worse, than a slow fire. Nor should the Lion’s Mouth be forgotten. Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years.
      — John Adams, letter to John Taylor, 1814, quoted by Norman Cousins in In God We Trust: The Religious Beliefs and Ideas of the American Founding Fathers (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958), p. 106-7, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.
      — John Adams, “this awful blashpemy” that he refers to is the myth of the Incarnation of Christ, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

      “The founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [Washington; Adams; Jefferson; Madison; Monroe; Adams; Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity….
      “Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism.”
      — The Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, in a sermon preached in October, 1831. One might expect a modern defender of the Evangelical to play with the meaning of “Christianity,” making it refer only to a specific brand of orthodoxy, first sentence quoted in John E Remsberg, Six Historic Americans, second sentence quoted in Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion, pp. 14-15

  2. just because he does not meet a certain definition of christian does not mean he did not consider himself one.
    In letter to Thomas Jefferson dated 4 Nov 1816
    http://books.google.com/books?id=MZQ8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA226&ots=9FmMaep4lV&dq=he+Works+of+John+Adams,+Second+President+of+the+United+States+vol+III&output=text page 228

    Conclude not from all this that I have renounced the Christian religion…

    From John Quincy Adams’ diary 26 July 1796
    http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2101&layout=html

    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, let the blackguard Paine say what he will; it is resignation to God, it is goodness itself to man.

    As for whether the principles found in the Bible were used to establish this nation, you are in disagreement with at least one person who was there:

    Governor Winthorp on the founding of America
    http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2101&layout=html

    We were Englishmen; we were citizens of the world; we were Christians. The history of nations and of mankind was familiar to us; and we considered the species chiefly in relation to the system of great nature and her all-perfect Author. In consequence of such contemplations as these, it was the unwearied endeavor of our lives to establish a society on English, humane, and Christian principles. This, (although we are never unwilling to acknowledge that the age in which we lived, the education we received, and the scorn and persecution we endured, had tinctured our minds with prejudices unworthy of our general principles and real designs,) we are conscious, was our noble aim. We succeeded to the astonishment of all mankind…

    1. So, we could conclude then, that because Jim Jones declared himself a Christian, then he assuredly was one, regardless if his Christianity was civil or historical or even real?

  3. You are not orthodox Christian, according to trinitarians. So should we not consider you Christian?

    The country united on the principles of Christianity and liberty, according to John Adams in a Letter to Thomas Jefferson. Liberty is not the same as indivdualism.

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2127&layout=html
    28 June, 1813

    The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young men could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. 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; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system.

    1. And you aren’t either to Catholics, Orthodox, Copts, etc… so why should we consider you one? This is the circular logic – why do we insist on calling a spade a heart?

      1. But the thing is, you call yourself a Christian. Some people dont like certain things you believe, but you still consider yourself a Christian. Who is wrong?

    2. Wb,

      Could you tell me how the right to bare arms, slavery, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion is Christian liberty?

      1. Actually, that is not what John Adams said. He said general principles of Christianity and liberty, not Christian liberty.

        I did not originate the above quote from John Adams – he did. I have no idea if he was speaking of those particular things or not (I tend to doubt it, but I dont know). Adams seemed to think it was those principles that united this country. Whether the particular examples flow from general Christian principles or not does not mean he was wrong.

        He was there.

          1. And it may be you are right. But we don’t know. I happen to think that much of what he termed general principles of liberty would fit into what those illustrious people wrote. But I dont know.

            What we DO know is John Adams thought the unity was achieved using general principles of liberty and Christianity.

          2. I would say this, that a key to Christianity first and foremost is as Calvin said – There is one God, Christ is God. Considering that Adams believed against the latter, he might have been a cultural Christian, but as to acknowledge that Christ is indeed God, he did not.

            I have no doubt that unity is achieved only in Christianity and I believe that all of us, as long as we agree that Christ is God, can fully agree to that.

          3. US constitution, Article 1 Section 7 exempts Sunday from when the President can return a bill to congress. This is thought by many to forbid law making on Sundays. Sunday is the holy day of rest for Christians, do you know of any other reason why Sunday would be exempted?

            And as to whether Unitarians were cultural christians only, This is what Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (1812-1847) said concerning Unitarians in a letter dated March 6th 1824:
            http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924021162973/cu31924021162973_djvu.txt

            The Unitarians are universally steadfast, sincere, and earnest Christians.

            They all believe in the divine mission of Christ, the credibility and authenticity of the Bible, the miracles wrought by our Saviour and his apostles, and the efficacy of his precepts to lead men to salvation. They consider the Scriptures the true rule of faith, and the sure foundation of immortality. In short, their belief is as complete of the divine authority of the Scriptures, as that of any other class of Christians.

            It is a most gross calumny, therefore, to accuse them of treating the Bible and its doctrines as delusions and falsehoods, or of an union with Deists. In sincere unaffected piety, they yield to no persons. They differ among them- selves as to the nature of our Saviour, but they all agree that he was the special messenger of God, and that what he taught is of Divine authority. In truth, they principally differ from other Christians in disbelieving the Trinity, for they think Christ was not God, but in the Scripture language “the Son of God.”

            And he, like apparently many of the founding fathers, thought Christianity was needed for this country to survive.
            letter dated March 24, 1801

            I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society, and shall ever attend to its institutions and acknowledge its precepts as the pure and natural sources of private and social happiness.

          4. First, the American Revolution was hardly a revolution against Christianity – further, the populace still was culturally Christian, like it is today. Further, a partition of Sunday does not a Christian nation make. Considering that the setting aside of Sunday is exactly biblical, it is still remains an ode to civil religion.

            Further, you seem to take the words of a generation later, discounting the fact that Unitarianism – which denied the deity of Christ among other things – was rising. Is living a moral life enough to declare oneself a Christian? Considering that Story was a Unitarian, it would make sense for him to defend Unitarianism as a Christian religion. http://www.michaelariens.com/ConLaw/justices/story.htm

          5. I never said it was a revolution against Christianity. I said it was on the general principles of liberty and Christianity that united the people. Many of the founding fathers seemed to have said the same or similar thing. As evidenced by my quotes of Winthorpe and Adams.

            Oh. I think I found why Sunday was exempted – many states had laws forbidding travel on Sunday – in deference to the Christian Sabbath, which were common in the states.

            Jospeh Story was a justice on the supreme court from 1812-1847. He was born 1779, and served at Madison’s request. So I guess that technically, he was a different generation from Adams and Jefferson, but worked with them.

            You asked about which things might be based in Christian principles. I found that Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1954 said he thought our country was founded on Christian principles, and he might have a good point.

            http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,936197,00.html#ixzz0bTk5gCDt

            Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia . . . or to the Charter of New England . . . or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay . . . or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut . . . the same objective is present: a Christian land governed by Christian principles . . .

            “I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it: freedom of belief, of expression, of assembly, of petition, the dignity of the individual, the sanctity of the home, equal justice under law, and the reservation of powers to the people . . . ”

            I found an interesting blog entry that seems to reflect what I am finding in my reading: Jefferson was held to the ethics taught by Christianity, regardless of whether he could be considered a deist – he was a unitarian.
            http://westernexperience.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/was-thomas-jefferson-a-deist/

            Whether he was a deist or not, he did not believe a nation could exist without religion.

            No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion – nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example.

            I believe Ben Franklin claimed to be a deist. Its obvious he did not like organized religion. And he was definitely unitarian (its obvious he did not understand trinity). But he certainly does not sound like a deist as we would understand the term.

            At the Constitutional convention June 28, 1787, he claimed God governs the affairs of men, that unless God builds it its in vain. He asked for prayers for God’s assistance and blessing.

            http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/benfranklin.htm

            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: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

            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, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.

            That makes me wonder what people would say about my religious beliefs based upon my writings – given that I’ve been catholic, agnostic, wiccan, and Christian…

            In showing the importance of the Christian religion (of various denominations), when asked why he went to church, Thomas Jefferson is said to have stated
            ( http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=23909#FN23
            Hutson, Religion, p. 96, quoting from a handwritten history in possession of the Library of Congress, “Washington Parish, Washington City,” by Rev. Ethan Allen. )

            No nation has ever existed or been governed without religion – nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I, as Chief Magistrate of this nation, am bound to give it the sanction of my example.

          6. WB, Story was indeed a Justice but my point was that he was too a Unitarian, so using his words to defend his Christianity is like using a Mormon’s. Let’s see, Warren? 1954 – what about the Treaty of Tripoli in the early 1800’s which said we are not a Christian nation. Its fine to look back and say things, but what about the people on the ground while it happened?

            I think we can look for things which say Christian and say, oh, there were clearly Christian, but their ideas about Christianity was more along the lines of Civil Religion – no not all, but many. Plus, the numbers of Church goers in the early history of this country is nothing compared to even what we have now.

  4. My point with Justice Warren was to give a explanation of a part of what we are founded upon being based upon Christian principles.

    As for a unitarian describing unitarianism, I return to the fact that you call yourself a Christian. Just because they are not trinitarian does not mean they are not Christian.

    I’ve given you examples of the founders themselves saying they had founded a government based upon Christian principles. Go argue with them.

    As for the treaty of Tripoli, I like the explanation given by wall builders.
    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=125
    The actual article in question reads,

    As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] and as the said States [America] have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    The key to the article is ” as it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims]”. the point being that the USA is not founded on the Christian religion because/since it doesn’t hate the laws/religion/tranquility of muslims. The Christian religion would be the excesses which the Christianity of Europe succumbed to, and the USA was not established on those excesses.

    But notice that Noah Webster wrote concerning the basis for a republican government:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=jGcAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA310&ots=LSttRhsyAJ&vq=ecclesiastical+establishments&dq=Noah+Webster+%22History+of+the+United+States%22&output=text

    The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe, which serve to support tyrannical governments, are not the Christian religion, but abuses and corruptions of it. The religion of Christ and his apostles, in its primitive simplicity and purity, unencumbered with the trappings of power and the pomp of ceremonies, is the surest basis of a republican government.

    More about what Noah Webster (1758-1843) said concerning Christian principles as being important to the USA, in his “History of the United States”
    http://books.google.com/books?id=jGcAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA305&ots=LSttRhsyAJ&vq=ecclesiastical+establishments&dq=Noah+Webster+%22History+of+the+United+States%22&output=text
    and
    http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA310&vq=ecclesiastical%20establishments&dq=Noah%20Webster%20%22History%20of%20the%20United%20States%22&id=jGcAAAAAYAAJ&ots=LSttRhsyAJ&output=text

    43. In every condition of life, and in forming your opinions on every subject, let it be an established principle in regulating your conduct, that nothing can be honorable which is morally wrong. Men who disregard or disbelieve revelation often err from the true standard of honor, by substituting public opinion or false maxims for the divine laws. The character of God, his holy attributes, and perfect law, constitute the only models and rules of excellence and true honor. Whatever deviates from these models and rules must be wrong, and dishonorable. Crime and vice are therefore not only repugnant to duty, and to human happiness; but are always derogatory to reputation. All vice implies defect and meanness in human character.

    49. When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just •men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty ; if the citizens neglect their duty, and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good, so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. Intriguing men can never be safely trusted.

    51. For a knowledge of the human heart, and the characters of men, it is customary to resort to the ‘writings of Shakspeare, and of other dramatic authors, and to biography, novels, tales, and fictitious narratives. But whatever amusement may be derived from such writings, they are not the best authorities for a knowledge of mankind. The most perfect maxims and examples for regulating your social conduct and domestic economy, as well as the best rules of morality and religion, are to be found in the Bible. The history of the Jews presents the true character of man in all its forms. All the traits of human character, good and bad ; all the passions of the human heart; all the principles which guide and misguide men in society, are depicted in that short history, with an artless simplicity that has no parallel in modern writings. As to maxims of wisdom or prudence, the Proverbs of Soloman furnish a complete system, and sufficient, if carefully observed, to make any man wise, prosperous, and happy. The observation, that “a soft answer turneth away wrath,” if strictly observed by men, -would prevent half the broils and contentions that inflict wretchedness on society and families.

    52. Let your first care through life, be directed to support and extend the influence of the Christian religion, and the observance of the sabbath. This is the only system of religion which has ever been offered to the consideration and acceptance of men, which has even probable evidence of a divine original; it is the only religion that honors the character and moral government of the Supreme Being; it is the only religion ‘which gives even a probable account of the origin of the world, and of the dispensations of God towards mankind; it is the only religion which teaches the character and laws of God, with our relations and our duties to him; k is the only religion which assures us of an immortal existence; which offers the means of everlasting salvation, and consoles mankind under the inevitable calamities of the present life.

    53. But were we assured that there is to be no future life, and that men are to perish at death like the beasts of the field; the moral principles and precepts .contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles :and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation; and they are adapted to the wants of men. in every condition of life. They are the best principles and precepts, because they are exactly adapted to secure the practice of universal justice and kindness among men; and of course to prevent crimes, war, and disorders in society. No human laws dictated by different principles from. those in the gospel, can ever secure these objects. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.

    54. As the means of temporal happiness then the Christian religion ought to be received. and maintained with firm and cordial support. It is the real source of all genuine republican principles. It teacb.es the equality of men as to rights and duties; and while it forbids all oppression, it commands due subordination to law and rulers. It requires the young to yield obedience to their parents, and enjoins upon men the duty of selecting their rulers from their fellow citizens of mature age, sound wisdom, and real religion—”men who fear God and hate covetousness.” The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe, which serve to support tyrannical governments, are not the Christian religion, but abuses and corruptions of it. The religion of Christ and his apostles, in its primitive simplicity and purity, unencumbered with the trappings of power and the pomp of ceremonies, is the surest basis of a republican government.

    So we see yet another person who stated that the USA was founded upon Christian principles. Now, you may want to believe this has nothing to do Christianity but only civil religion, and maybe you are correct but this idea seems to go against what the founders said.

    Your statement, “Plus, the numbers of Church goers in the early history of this country is nothing compared to even what we have now,” has no bearing on whether this country was founded upon the principles of Christianity.

    Even so, I’ve only seen one person discussing a study of how people might have attended church less during the revolution than now, but no sources were given.

    1. Wb, then let us assume that Jehovah’s Witnesses and all others who claim the name of Christ are truly Christian. Or the Emergent Church crowd, of those who believe that merely acknowledging God then they are always saved, regardless of their life. Perhaps, instead of searching into their Christian too, we simply take everyone at face value, not merely because of doctrine, but because they deny the deity of Christ and live a life unchanged. Can we simply rely upon those who say that they are Christian? Or do we examine the fact that many among the Founders treated Christianity as a civil religion Locke or Hobbs would have done. What then is the Christianity which they supported? Is it close to yours – not in mere doctrine, but in the life which you lead and believe that Christians should lead?

      If they saw Christianity as a means to an end, as a philosophy, would they then be Christian?

      Using Story to defend Unitarianism’s Christianity is like using Joseph Smith to defend Mormonism’s Christianity.

      Noah Webster, again, was writing a generation after the Founding of the Republic. This is why we go back to the sources, which is the Founders themselves, not interpreters of history with agendas.

      Plenty of evidence for a dramatic fall off of church attendance after the Revolution.

  5. You might not like the idea, but Noah Webster served in the Revolutionary War. He wrote some of the Federalist Papers. He was a founding father. He was of the generation which participated in the revolution – not a generation later. He also was not unitarian, but was Congregationalist.

    In fact, the majority of the founding fathers who signed Declaration of Independence (July 1776), the Articles of Confederation (drafted 1777, ratified 1781) or the Constitution of the United States of America (1789), or were members of the First Federal Congress, were Episcopalian/Anglican, Presbyterian, or Congregationalist ( http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html ).

    The same is true for the senators and representatives of the 1st US Congress ( http://www.adherents.com/gov/congress_001.html ).

    From here: http://www.adherents.com/adh_presidents.html
    George Washington was Anglican/Episcopalian
    John Adams was Unitarian
    Thomas Jefferson was unknown (probably unitarian, but never associated with one)
    James Madison was Espicopalian.
    John Qunicy Adams was Unitarian
    Andrew Jackson was Presbyterian
    Martin Van Buren was Dutch Reformed

    And before you say George Washington was a deist or nominal… His granddaughter, whom he adopted almost at birth as his daughter and who lived with he and his wife 20 years said he was episcopalian and a devout Christian ( http://www.christiananswers.net/q-wall/wal-g011.html ). Additionally, George Washington’s private secretary and nephew, Robert Lewis said he had witnessed Washington in his morning and nightly devotions and thought it his habit ( http://books.google.com/books?id=1xmDojRqWo4C&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=%22Robert+Lewis,+at+Fredricksburg%22&source=bl&ots=rygRU7Rp42&sig=Glfi4TxvezOg8kndJdhNFVKCfjQ&hl=en&ei=3jVAS87wLY2Vtgf4sY2HDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CBMQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22Robert%20Lewis%2C%20at%20Fredricksburg%22&f=false ).

    So, while you might want to go along with the history revisionists, I think its clear the majority of the founding fathers were Christian and that this country was founded upon christian principles.

    1. Wb, Noah Webster was in college during the Revolution and only worked on Federalist newspapers: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Webster

      Regarding Washington:

      “Dr. Rush told me (he had it from Asa Green) that when the clergy addressed General Washington, on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to disclose publicly whether he was a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly, except that, which he passed over without notice.”
      — Thomas Jefferson, quoted from Jefferson’s Works, Vol. iv., p. 572. (Asa Green “was probably the Reverend Ashbel Green, who was chaplain to congress during Washington’s administration.” — Farrell Till in “The Christian Nation Myth.”)

      Bell: Stranger to Religious Prejudice

      “[Washington was] a total stranger to religious prejudices, which have so often excited Christians of one denomination to cut the throats of those of another.”
      — John Bell, in 1779, in Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion, Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963, p. 118, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”

      Morris: Washington No Christian

      “I know that Gouverneur Morris, who claimed to be in his secrets, and believed himself to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more in that system [Christianity] than he did.”
      — Thomas Jefferson, in his private journal, February, 1800, quoted from Jefferson’s Works, Vol. iv., p. 572 (“Gouverneur Morris was the principal drafter of the Constitution of the United States; he was a member of the Continental Congress, a United States senator from New York, and minister to France. He accepted, to a considerable extent, the skeptical views of French Freethinkers.” — John E Remsberg, Six Historic Americans.)

      Custis: Never Witnessed Devotions

      “I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them.”
      — Eleanor “Nellie” Parke Custis Lewis, Martha Washington’s granddaughter from a previous marriage, quoted from Sparks’ Washingon, also from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, p. 22

      Abercrombie: Washington a Deist

      “Sir, Washington was a Deist.”
      — The Reverend Doctor James Abercrombie, rector of the church Washington had attended with his wife, to The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, upon Wilson’s having inquired of Abercrombie regarding Washington’s religious beliefs, quoted from John E Remsberg, Six Historic Americans

      Savage: Prayer Paintings Silly Caricatures

      “The pictures that represent him on his knees in the winter forest at Valley Forge are even silly caricatures. Washington was at least not sentimental, and he had nothing about him of the Pharisee that displays his religion at street corners or out in the woods in the sight of observers, or where his portrait could be taken by ‘our special artist’!”
      — The Reverend M J Savage, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, p. 22

      Blanchard: No Mealtime Prayer

      “There was a clergyman at this dinner who blessed the food and said grace after they had done eating and had brought in the wine. I was told that General Washington said grace when there was no clergyman at the table, as fathers of a family do in America. The first time that I dined with him there was no clergyman and I did not perceive that he made this prayer, yet I remember that on taking his place at the table, he made a gesture and said a word, which I took for a piece of politeness, and which was perhaps a religious action. In this case his prayer must have been short; the clergyman made use of more forms. We remained a very long time at the table. They drank 12 or 15 healths with Madeira wine. In the course of the meal beer was served and grum, rum mixed with water.”
      — Commissary-General Claude Blanchard, writing in his journal, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, p. 23

      Abercrombie: Never Received Communion

      “With respect to the inquiry you make, I can only state the following facts: that as pastor of the Episcopal Church, observing that, on sacramental Sundays George Washington, immediately after the desk and pulpit services, went out with the greater part of the congregation — always leaving Mrs. Washington with the other communicants — she invariably being one — I considered it my duty, in a sermon on public worship, to state the unhappy tendency of example, particularly of those in elevated stations, who uniformly turned their backs on the Lord’s Supper. I acknowledge the remark was intended for the President; and as such he received it. A few days after, in conversation, I believe, with a Senator of the United States, he told me he had dined the day before with the President, who, in the course of conversation at the table, said that, on the previous Sunday, he had received a very just rebuke from the pulpit for always leaving the church before the administration of the sacrament; that he honored the preacher for his integrity and candor; that he had never sufficiently considered the influence of his example, and that he would not again give cause for the repetition of the reproof; and that, as he had never been a communicant, were he to become one then, it would be imputed to an ostentatious display of religious zeal, arising altogether from his elevated station. Accordingly, he never afterwards came on the morning of sacrament Sunday, though at other times he was a constant attendant in the morning.”
      — The Reverend Doctor James Abercrombie, in a letter to a friend in 1833, Sprague’s Annals of the American Pulpit, vol. 5, p. 394, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 25-26

      Wilson: Wouldn’t Trouble Clergyman

      “When Congress sat in Philadelphia, President Washington attended the Episcopal Church. The rector, Dr. Abercrombie, told me that on the days when the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was to be administered, Washington’s custom was to arise just before the ceremony commenced, and walk out of the church. This became a subject of remark in the congregation, as setting a bad example. At length the Doctor undertook to speak of it, with a direct allusion to the President. Washington was heard afterwards to remark that this was the first time a clergyman had thus preached to him, and he should henceforth neither trouble the Doctor or his congregation on such occasions, and ever after that, upon communion days, ‘he absented himself altogether from church.'”
      — The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, biographer of Bishop White, in his sermon on the “Religion of the Presidents,” published in the Albany Daily Advertiser, in 1831, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 26

      Wilson: Deist, and Nothing More

      “I have diligently perused every line that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one expression in which he pledges, himself as a believer in Christianity. I think anyone who will candidly do as I have done, will come to the conclusion that he was a Deist and nothing more.”
      — The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, in an interview with Mr. Robert Dale Owen written on November 13, 1831, which was publlshed in New York two weeks later, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 27

      Owen: Wilson Tells Even More

      “I called last evening on Dr. Wilson, as I told you I should, and I have seldom derived more pleasure from a short interview with anyone. Unless my discernment of character has been grievously at fault, I met an honest man and a sincere Christian. But you shall have the particulars. A gentleman of this city accompanied me to the Doctor’s residence. We were very courteously received. I found him a tall, commanding figure, with a countenance of much benevolence, and a brow indicative of deep thought, apparently 50 years of age. I opened the interview by stating that though personally a stranger to him, I had taken the liberty of calling in consequence of having perused an interesting sermon of his, which had been reported in the Daily Advertiser of this city, and regarding which, as he probably knew, a variety of opinions prevailed. In a discussion, in which I had taken part, some of the facts as there reported had been questioned; and I wished to know from him whether the reporter had fairly given his words or not. I then read to him from a copy of the Daily Advertiser the paragraph which regards Washington, beginning, ‘Washington was a man,’ etc., and ending ‘absented himself altogether from church.’ ‘I endorse,’ said Dr. Wilson with emphasis, ‘every word of that. Nay, I do not wish to conceal from you any part of the truth, even what I have not given to the public. Dr. Abercrombie said more than I have repeated. At the close of our conversation on the subject his emphatic expression was — for I well remember the very words “Sir, Washington was a Deist.”‘”
      — Mr. Robert Dale Owen, newspaper reporter, afterwards a member of Congress and later Minister to Naples, after interviewing Dr. Wilson, giving the substance of the interview in a letter written on November 13, 1831, which was published in New York two weeks later, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 26-27

      White: Never Received Communion

      “In regard to the subject of your inquiry, truth requires me to say that General Washington never received the communion in the churches of which I am the parochial minister. Mrs. Washington was an habitual communicant. I have been written to by many on that point, and have been obliged to answer them am as I now do you.”
      — The Right Reverend William White, the first bishop of Pennsylvania, friend of Washington and bishop of Christ’s Church in Philadelphia, which Washington attend for about 25 years when he happened to be in that city, in a letter to Colonel Mercer of Fredericksberg, Virginia, on August 15, 1835, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 27

      Wilson: Never Received Communion

      “Though the General attended the churches in which Dr. White officiated, whenever he was in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, and afterwards while President of the United States, he was never a communicant in them.”
      — The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, from Wilson, Memoir of Bishop White, p. 188, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 27

      Wilson: Never Knelt; No Religious Talk

      “His behavior in church was always serious and attentive, but as your letter seems to intend an inquiry on the point of kneeling during the service, I owe it to the truth to declare that I never saw him in the said attitude…. Although I was often in the company of this great man, and had the honor of often dining at his table, I never heard anything from him which could manifest his opinions on the subject of religion…. Within a few days of his leaving the Presidential chair, our vestry waited on him with an address prepared and delivered by me. In his answer he was pleased to express himself gratified by what he had heard from our pulpit; but there was nothing that committed him relatively to religious theory.”
      — The Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, in a letter to the Rev B C C Parker, dated November 28, 1832, from Wilson, Memoir of Bishop White, pp. 189-191, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 27

      Wilson: No Facts Prove Him a Christian

      “I do not believe that any degree of recollection will bring to my mind any fact which would prove General Washington to have been a believer in the Christian revelation further than as may be hoped from his constant attendance upon Christian worship, in connection with the general reserve of his character.”
      — The Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, in a letter to the Rev B C C Parker, dated December 31, 1832, from Wilson, Memoir of Bishop White, pp. 189-191, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 28

      Jackson: Sorry, No One Remembers

      “I find no one who ever communed with him.”
      — Rev William Jackson, rector of Alexandria, Virginia, in response to a letter from Reverend Origen Bacheler, cited in The Bacheler-Owen Debate, vol. 2, p. 262, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 28

      “I am sorry, after so long a delay in replying to your last, that it is not in my power to communicate something definite in reference to General Washington’s church membership…. Nor can I find any old person who ever communed with him.”
      — Rev William Jackson, rector of Alexandria, Virginia, in response to a second appeal from Reverend Origen Bacheler, cited in The Bacheler-Owen Debate, vol. 2, p. 262, quoted in John E Remsburg’s Six Historic Americans, pp. 110-111, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 28

      Custis: Left Before Communion

      “On communion Sundays, he left the church with me after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back after my grandmother.”
      — George Custis, letter to Mr. Sparks on February 26, 1833, in Sparks’s Washington, p. 521, quoted from Franklin Steiner, The Religious Beliefs of Our Presidents, pp. 29

      Boller: Name of Christ Conspicuously Absent

      “Unlike Thomas Jefferson — and Thomas Paine, for that matter — Washington never even got around to recording his belief that Christ was a great ethical teacher. His reticence on the subject was truly remarkable. Washington frequently alluded to Providence in his private correspondence. But the name of Christ, in any correspondence whatsoever, does not appear anywhere in his many letters to friends and associates throughout his life.”
      — Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion (1963) pp. 74-75, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church.” Had Washington been a pious Christian, he would have at least mentioned the name of Christ!

      Flexner: Terminology of Enlightenment-Era Deism

      “That he was not just striking a popular attitude as a politician is revealed by the absence of of the usual Christian terms: he did not mention Christ or even use the word ‘God.’ Following the phraseology of the philosophical Deism he professed, he referred to ‘the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men,’ to ‘the benign parent of the human race.'”
      — James Thomas Flexner, describing Washington’s first Inaugural Address, in George Washington and the New Nation (1783-1793) (1970) p. 184, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”

      “Washington’s religious belief was that of the enlightenment: deism. He practically never used the word ‘God,’ preferring the more impersonal word ‘Providence.’ How little he visualized Providence in personal form is shown by the fact that he interchangeably applied to that force all three possible pronouns: he, she, and it.”
      — James Thomas Flexner, in George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799) (1972) p. 490, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”

      Wilson: Early Presidents Not Religious

      “The founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [Washington; Adams; Jefferson; Madison; Monroe; Adams; Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity….
      “Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism.”
      — The Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, in a sermon preached in October, 1831, first sentence quoted in John E Remsberg, Six Historic Americans, second sentence quoted in Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion, pp. 14-15

      Schwartz: Conduct Made Him Seem Christian

      “George Washington’s conduct convinced most Americans that he was a good Christian, but those possessing first-hand knowledge of his religious convictions had reasons for doubt.”
      — Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol (1987) p. 170, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”

      Schwartz: Union Based on Difference, Interdependence

      “No citizens … were more sensitive to Washington’s role as an upholder of liberties than the religious minorities. These groups were less anxious to cultivate what they had in common with other Americans than to sustain what kept them apart. Washington recognized this, just as he recognized the tenacity of regional and economic interests, and he took pains to explain precisely what national unity meant to him. He carried to his countrymen a vision of “organic” rather than “mechanical” solidarity, a union based on difference and interdependence rather than uniformity of belief and conduct. Washington’s understanding of the kind of integration appropriate to a modern state was not shared by the most powerful Protestant establishments, the New England Congregationalists and Presbyterians; but other religious groups could not have been more pleased…. Acknowledging in each instance that respect for diversity was a fair price for commitment to the nation and its regime, Washington abolished deep-rooted fears that would have otherwise alienated a large part of the population from the nation-building process. For this large minority, he embodied not the ideal of union, nor even that of liberty, but rather the reconciliation of union and liberty.”
      — Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol (1987) pp. 85-86, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”

  6. From the source you provided regarding Noah Webster ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Webster )

    During the American Revolution, he served in the Connecticut Militia.

    And you’re right about him working on federalist newspapers. my bad, dont know how I made the switch there.

    George Washington took it upon himself to become a god father to various children ( http://books.google.com/books?id=MzWruWAnHM0C&dq=george+washington+christian&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=Dz2OCAjsLd&sig=RH0-E06I-rFqwJN1TnAVS6rJspY&hl=en&ei=EppAS9DpHca0tgeEoYWWCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CA0Q6AEwAjgU#v=onepage&q=&f=false ).

    I think its interesting you chose to use quotes from an atheist site regarding whether Washington was Christian ( http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/washington.htm ) .
    Doubly so, when Sparks, who gathered much of Washington’s writings together said he himself believed George Washington was a Christian.

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moa&cc=moa&xc=1&idno=abp4456.0012.001&g=moagrp&q1=Christian+would+be+to+impeach+his+sincerity&frm=frameset&view=text&seq=419

    To say that he [George Washington] was not a Christian, or at least that he did not believe himself to be a Christian, would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty. Of all men in the world, Washington was certainly the last, whom any one would’ charge with dissimulation or indirectness; and, if he was so scrupulous in avoiding even a shadow of these faults in every known act of his life, however unimportant, is it likely, is it credible, that, in a matter of the highest and most serious importance, he should practise through a long series of years, a deliberate deception upon his friends and the public? It is neither credible nor possible.

    And his first biographer, John Marshall, who would become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, stated he believed George Washington to be a Christian.

    Without making ostentatious professions of religion, he was a sincere believer in the Christian faith, and a truly devout man.

    His daughter, who said he was a very private man, believed him to be Christian and said he had private devotions morning and night.
    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=moa;cc=moa;xc=1;idno=abp4456.0012.001;g=moagrp;q1=Christian%20would%20be%20to%20impeach%20his%20sincerity;frm=frameset;view=text;seq=420;page=root;size=s

    He attended the church at Alexandria, when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles. In New York and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition. The afternoon was spent in his own room at home; the evening with his family, and without company. Sometimes an old and intimate friend called to see us for an hour or two; but visiting and visitors were prohibited for that day. No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect. My grandmother, who was eminently pious, never deviated from her early habits. She always knelt. The General, as was then the custom, stood during the devotional parts of the service. On communion Sundays, ne left the church with me, after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back for my grandmother. “It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or ten o’clock, where he remained an hour before he went to his chamber. He always rose before the sun, and remained in his library until called to breakfast. I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them. I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those, who act or pray,’ that they may be seen of men.’ He communed with his God in secret. “My mother resided two years at Mount Vernon, after her marriage with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs. Washington. I have heard her say, that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother before the revolution. When my aunt, Miss Custis, died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they could realize the event, he knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most’ affectingly, for her recovery. Of this I was assured by Judge Washington’s mother, and other witnesses. “He was a silent, thoughtful man. He spoke little generally; never of himself. I never heard him relate a single act of his life during the war.

    As for George Washington not taking communion – apparently he did so before the revolution, but not afterwards. I dont know why he didn’t, but there have been periods of time in my life when I did not take communion for years – for various reasons (I did not belong to the church and felt I should know more about the people in question before I shared communion with them; I was not in a good place with the Lord so did not want to bring judgement upon myself; etc).

    But regardless of Washington’s position with Christ, the overwhelming majority of people involved in the founding of our nation were Christian, and those principles – based upon the words of the people involved – were used in the founding of our nation.

    1. Wb, tell me, exactly what where those Christian principles?

      Considering that Sparks had no first hand knowledge, only that Washington communed with God in private, we jump to the conclusion because he used godly terms (which any deist can do) that he was indeed a Christian.

      Further, I want to make it clear – there were severe Christians, pastors, men and women of God who fought for and helped to establish this country, but I am not convinced that it was the over whelming numbers that some make up. Further, considering that the British Army was Christian, as was the Empire, and indeed all of Europe, what does that tell us? There was a pastor, Mason I think, who signed the Declaration who believed that Christianity shouldn’t play a part in the government. Further, by the election in 1800, Christians were waging political wars against Thomas Jefferson and some of the Founders because they were not Christian enough. This is not revisionist history, but true and accurate history. We can quote what others have to say, but it is telling that rarely do we find honest Christian sentiments expressed by the Founders. If we examine the ‘God of nature’, ‘nature’s God’ and ‘Providence’ among other godly terms, we find that the same terms were used by the deists of the day, and many of them considered themselves ‘Christian.’ Why? because unlike the frontier revivals, and the men and women in the hills, the fine educated city folk viewed Christianity as an inheritance, much like Locke and Hobbes did.

      People can speak of Christ, but are they Christian? People can admire Christ and the Bible, the morals contained therein, but does that a Christan make? No.

      Further, you cannot, again, place modern examples against those from history. What was the cultural context of not taking Communion? It was self-excommunication. If we examine the Episcopal Church of the day, we find that it was very much for the wealthier people to showcase their Christianity. I would encourage you to examine the Virginia League. Further, his pastor said:

      Dr. Abercrombie left us these words: “That Washington was a professing Christian, is evident from his regular attendance in our church; but, Sir, I cannot consider any man as a real Christian who uniformly disregards an ordinance so solemnly enjoined by the divine Author of our holy religion, and considered as a channel of divine grace.”

      His pastor would contend that he was a deistist. And yes, we each have our rather biased sources, which is rather telling that we cannot appeal to the people themselves.

      From another place –

      The Reverend Bird Wilson, who was just a few years removed from being a contemporary of the so-called founding fathers, said further in the above-mentioned sermon that “the founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson] _not a one had professed a belief in Christianity_” (Remsberg, p. 120, emphasis added).

      Dr. Wilson’s sermon, which was published in the Albany Daily Advertiser the month it was delivered also made an interesting observation that flatly contradicts the frantic efforts of present-day fundamentalists to make the “founding fathers” orthodox Christians

      When the war was over and the victory over our enemies won, and the blessings and happiness of liberty and peace were secured, the Constitution was framed and God was neglected. He was not merely forgotten. He was absolutely voted out of the Constitution. The proceedings, as published by Thompson, the secretary, and the history of the day, show that the question was gravely debated whether God should be in the Constitution or not, and after a solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it…. There is not only in the theory of our government no recognition of God’s laws and sovereignty, but its practical operation, its administration, has been conformable to its theory. Those who have been called to administer the government have not been men making any public profession of Christianity…. Washington was a man of valor and wisdom. He was esteemed by the whole world as a great and good man; but he was not a professing Christian (quoted by Remsberg, pp. 120-121, emphasis added).

      The publication of Wilson’s sermon in the Daily Advertiser attracted the attention of Robert Owen, who then personally visited Wilson to discuss the matter of Washington’s religious views. Owen summarized the results of that visit in a letter to Amos Gilbert dated November 13, 1831

      I called last evening on Dr. Wilson, as I told you I should, and I have seldom derived more pleasure from a short interview with anyone. Unless my discernment of character has been grievously at fault, I met an honest man and sincere Christian. But you shall have the particulars. A gentleman of this city accompanied me to the Doctor’s residence.

      We were very courteously received. I found him a tall, commanding figure, with a countenance of much benevolence, and a brow indicative of deep thought, apparently approaching fifty years of age. I opened the interview by stating that though personally a stranger to him, I had taken the liberty of calling in consequence of having perused an interesting sermon of his, which had been reported in the Daily Advertiser of this city, and regarding which, as he probably knew, a variety of opinions prevailed. In a discussion, in which I had taken a part, some of the facts as there reported had been questioned; and I wished to know from him whether the reporter had fairly given his words or not…. I then read to him from a copy of the Daily Advertiser the paragraph which regards Washington, beginning, “Washington was a man,” etc. and ending, “absented himself altogether from the church.” “I endorse,” said Dr. Wilson, with emphasis, “every word of that. Nay, I do not wish to conceal from you any part of the truth, even what I have not given to the public. Dr. Abercrombie said more than I have repeated. At the close of our conversation on the subject his emphatic expression was–for I well remember the very words–`Sir, Washington was a Deist.'”

      And as Thomas Jefferson wrote on Washington’s death –

      Dr. Rush told me (he had it from Asa Green) that when the clergy addressed General Washington, on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to disclose publicly whether he was a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly, except that, which he passed over without notice….

      I know that Gouverneur Morris [principal drafter of the constitution], who claimed to be in his secrets, and believed him self to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more in that system [Christianity] than he did” (quoted in Remsberg, p. 123 from Jefferson’s Works, Vol. 4, p. 572, emphasis added).

      And, we haven’t begun to touch Thomas Paine.

  7. You know, given how you do not like Catholic revisions made to what the apostles taught, I am surprised you like to believe historical revisionists when it comes to the founding of our nation.

  8. Paine was against any sort of organized religion, it seemed. But every founding father I’ve read spoke against his pamphlet.

    As a possible reason George Washington did not take communion, and whether one was excommunicating one’s self, Bishop Meade stated ( http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA196&id=FhgFAAAAYAAJ&output=text ):

    If it be asked how we can reconcile this leaving of the church at any time of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper with a religious character, we reply by stating a well-known fact, viz.: that in former days there was a most mistaken notion, too prevalent both in England and America, that it was not so necessary in the professors of religion to communicate at all times, but that in this respect persons might be regulated by their feelings, and perhaps by the circumstances in which they were placed. I have had occasion to see much of this in my researches into the habits of the members of the old Church of Virginia. Into this error of opinion and practice General Washington may have fallen, especially at a time when he was peculiarly engaged with the cares of government and a multiplicity of engagements, and when his piety may have suffered some loss thereby.

    There is an interesting observation on this post ( http://americanfounding.blogspot.com/2008/03/washington-on-episcopal-bishop-samuel.html ), which in short states there was a split among the episcopalians between high and low church, and the bishop had had to get ordained by the scots, who had leanings towards catholicism. This might be enough to cause Washington to not want to take communion in the Episcopalian church. Who knows? He seems to have been a private person.

    But having said that, apparently there are stories of George Washington taking communion elsewhere (Morristown). Granted, they dont seem to be first hand accounts, but it does not mean they are false.

    letter Of Rev. James Richards, D.D. 14th of April, 1836.
    http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA91&id=FhgFAAAAYAAJ&output=text

    I became a resident in that town [Morristown] in the summer of 1794, while Doctor Johnes was still living—and was afterwards the regular pastor of that congregation for about fourteen years. The report that Washington did actually receive the communion from the hands of Doctor Johnes, was universally current during that period, and so far as I know, never contradicted. I have often heard it from the members of Doctor Johnes’ family, while they added that a note was addressed by Washington to their father, requesting the privilege, and stating that though connected with the Episcopal Church, he felt a freedom and desire to commune with those of another name, if acceptable to them. Very often, too, have I heard this circumstance spoken of as evidence of that great man’s liberality, as well as piety.

    Apparently, he also took communion in Philadelphia.
    http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA196&id=FhgFAAAAYAAJ&output=text

    General Washington was a pious man, and a member of your church [Episcopal]. I saw him myself on his knees receive the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in Church, in Philadelphia.

    At least one of the principles was rules of order and right, according to Washington’s 1st inaugral address ( http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/american_originals/inaugtxt.html ):

    Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained….

    John Adams wrote in “Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States” ( http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s15.html ), speaking of commandments of heaven – a deist would not consider the Bible to be from God, since God would not be thought to intervene in the world (which is a requirement for God to have commanded things as found in the Bible). In speaking of such, he gave some of the principles of Christianity of which he spoke:

    The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

    George Washington also seemed to think the morality, peace, justice as taught by Christianity were some of the principles of Christianity upon which this nation was founded ( http://books.google.com/books?id=FhgFAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA219&output=text#c_top ).

    Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

    Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature.

    In Washington’s proposed 1st inaugral address ( http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=WasFi30.xml&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=245&division=div1 ), he wrote of the Religion revealed in the word of God – which one would not think a deist would believe.

    If the blessings of Heaven showered thick around us should be spilled on the ground or converted to curses, through the fault of those for whom they were intended, it would not be the first instance of folly or perverseness in short-sighted mortals. The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institutions may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest of purposes.

    In the same speech, it seems he gave thanks for the work God had done in founding the nation, which does not sound like a deist to me.

    it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States.

    I thought deists did not believe in revelation, yet Washington captialized it – it had meaning when he spoke of it in his Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 ( http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch7s5.html ):

    …the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment, and above all, the pure and benign light of Revelation, have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society.

    George Washington believed in miracles and God interfering in the affairs of men, which a deist doesnt ( http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/ot2www-washington?specfile=/texts/english/washington/fitzpatrick/search/gw.o2w&act=surround&offset=9051749&tag=Writings+of+Washington,+Vol.+7:+To+BRIGADIER+GENERAL+SAMUEL+HOLDEN+PARSONS+Morris+Town,+April+23,+1777.+&query=miracle&id=gw070446 ):

    Yet all, or at least, too great a part among us, withhold the means, as if Providence, who has already done much for us, would continue his gracious interposition and work miracles for our deliverance, without troubling ourselves about the matter.

    John Adams in a letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776 ( http://www.founding.com/founders_library/pageID.2144/default.asp ) seemed to believe in Satan, an interesting thought for a deist…

    Who would not exchange the discordant scenes of envy, pride, vanity, malice, revenge, for the sweet consolations of philosophy, the serene composure of the passions, the divine enjoyments of Christian charity and benevolence?

    Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue; and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies. You cannot, therefore, be more pleasantly or usefully employed than in the way of your profession, pulling down the strong-holds of Satan. This is not cant, but the real sentiment of my heart.

    1. Wb, we could go on, of course, but tell me, if I lined up what Washington as said with say, Freemasonary – which is primarily a neutralizing deistic organization – would it be more in line with them or with the Christianity of the Bible?

  9. My point is that just because someone else calls you something (deist) does not make it so.

    I know the masons claim George Washington, and in a cursory view that seems appropriate. But I have no idea if George Washington believed what Masons believe – I’d have to do a study orf masonry in those times and what Washington’s writings show us (not what others claim about him). I think Masonry is worse than merely being a neutralizing deistic organization (I’d have to find my notes to enumerate exactly why, but I may have lost them in the last death of my laptop). But by the same token, many masons (even high ranking ones) have not taken the time to consider the ramifications of what masons teach in comparison to what Scripture teaches. Other masons just do it for the fellowship and care little/nothing about the other things in the craft/society. Others only focus on the moral principles and ignore the rest. *shrug* I dont know what Washington thought about what they taught in terms of spiritual matters, even though he seemed to have thought well of masonry’s principles (but I am uncertain of what he meant by that).

    Also, just because other religions have certain things in common with Christianity does not mean those principles found Christianity were not used to form the government – especially when at least some of the people there have stated that it WAS principles of Christianity which helped form this nation.

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