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Founding Fathers, Presidents and a few others

 

Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1781:

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of 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 that His justice cannot sleep forever.

 

George Washington wrote in his 1789 Inaugural address:   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.

 

Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1753:   The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but, if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produce any fruit.

 

Woodrow Wilson, our 28th President (not a founding father, though) made some excellent observations. We have forgotten his words:                                            

A man had deprived himself of the best in the world who has deprived himself of this, a knowledge of the Bible. When you have read the Bible, you will know it is the Word of God, because you will have found it the key of your own heart, your own happiness and your own duty.  I am sorry for the men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and the pleasure.

 

George Washington wrote to his troops:   The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage of this army, Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission, We have, therefore to resolve to conquer or die.

 

In 1913 Woodrow Wilson made some more excellent observations. He said:   A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about…The Bible…is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God and spiritual nature and needs of men. It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation.

America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.

 

On March 11, 1792, President George Washington wrote:   I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.


Samuel Adams said:  Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual--or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.


Abraham Lincoln
said:    Now, therefore, in compliance with the request and fully concurring in the view of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.

 


Benjamin Franklin
in 1787 said "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters".



John Adams
on October 11, 1798 wrote:  We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net.  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.                                                  

 

John Adams in 1776 wrote:  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.

 

Patrick Henry wrote to his daughter in 1796:  Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and, indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian.  This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because  I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian.  But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast.

 

John Adams in 1798 wrote:  The safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God; and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty, which the people owe to him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety, without which social happiness cannot exist, nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed.

 

Alexander Hamilton wrote in 1794:  Opinions, for a long time, have been gradually gaining ground, which threatens the foundations of religion, morality and society.  An attack was first made upon the Christian revelation; for which natural religion was offered as the substitute.  The Gospel was to be discarded as a gross imposture; but the being and attributes of a GOD, the obligations of piety, even the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments were to be retained and cherished.

In proportion as success has appeared to attend the plan, a bolder project has been unfolded.  The very existence of a Deity has been questioned, and in some instances denied.  The duty of piety has been ridiculed, the perishable nature of man asserted and his hopes bounded to the short span of his earthly state.   DEATH has been proclaimed an ETERNAL SLEEP-"the dogma of the immortality of the soul a cheat invented to torment the living for the benefit of the dead."   Irreligion, no longer confined to the closets of concealed sophists, nor to the haunts of wealthy riot, has more or less displayed its hideous front among all classes.

 

Benjamin Franklin in 1768 wrote:  Nothing can contribute to true happiness that is inconsistent with duty; nor can a course of action conformable to it, be finally without an ample reward.  For, God governs; and he is good.

 

John Adams in 1787 wrote:  Happiness, whether in despotism or democracy, whether in slavery or liberty, can never be found without virtue.

 

James Madison wrote in 1788:  I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom.  Is there no virtue among us?   If there be not, we are in a wretched situation.  No theoretical checks-no form of government can render us secure.  To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.   If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men.  So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.

 

John Adams wrote in 1756:  Honesty, sincerity, and openness I esteem essential marks of a good mind.   I am, therefore, of opinion that men ought ... to avow their opinions and defend them with boldness.

 

Chief Justice Earl Warren, 1984 Opinion of the Supreme Court, wrote ( in a decision allowing for a nativity scene in Pawtucket, R.I):   There is an unbroken history of official acknowledgement by all three branches of government of the role of religion in American life…The Constitution does not require a complete separation of church and state. It affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions and forbids hostility towards any.

  

Congress and President George Washington in 1789 passed the "United States Annotated Code", Article III states: Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

  

Our 20th President James Garfield wrote:   Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature….

If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.

 

Patrick Henry declared:

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.

 

President Herbert Hoover in an address at Valley Forge (1931) stated:

If those few thousand men endured that long winter of privation and suffering, humiliated by the despair of their countrymen, and deprived of support save their own indomitable will, yet held their countrymen to the faith, and by that holding held fast the freedom of America, what right have we to be of little faith?

 

Thomas Jefferson wrote (March 23, 1801):

The Christian Religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind.

  

 

Abraham Lincoln wrote (calling for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting in 1863):

Whereas, the Senate of the United States devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation:

And whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history; that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord:

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as not other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request and fully concurring in the view of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.

And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessing no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. By the President: Abraham Lincoln.

 

  

James Madison wrote (1785):

It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage…Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe…

Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offense against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered."

 

 James Madison wrote:

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God

  

James Madison wrote:

Religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence;

And, therefore, that all men should enjoy the fullest toleration in the exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished and unrestrained by the magistrate, unless under color of religion any man disturb the peace, the happiness or safety of society, and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity toward each other.

 

 

President George Washington said the following excerpt from his Farewell Speech (1796):

Let it simply be asked where is the security for prosperity, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in the 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.

Tis 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?…Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its virtue?

Though, in reviewing the incidents of my Administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend.

I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

  

 

Noah Webster wrote (1823):

In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.

  

 

Noah Webster wrote (1832):

The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.

The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government.

The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all of our civil constitutions and laws…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.

When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, lit 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 the 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.

 

George Mason (known as the father of our Bill of Rights) wrote in 1787:
Every master of slaves (similar to the abortion ‘issue’ today) is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgement of heaven upon a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.

 

Regarding the judiciary:

September 28, 1820 Thomas Jefferson wrote:
You seem... to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so ... and their power [is] the more dangerous, as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.

 

In 1821, Jefferson wrote:
The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in...the federal judiciary; and irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States.

 

In 1819, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.

 

In 1804, Jefferson wrote:
Nothing in the Constitution has given them [the federal judges] a right to decide for the Executive, more than to the Executive to decide for them... But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.

 

Thomas Jefferson on April 21, 1803 wrote:
My views... are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others...

What about the 'Separation of Church and State'?

Some would try their best to convince us that this is a constitutional concept.   This is what the Constitution of the United States says in regard to dealing with religion.

First Amendment-
  Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If one looks at the previous drafts of the First Amendment during the Constitutional Congress assembly, the first part of the amendment was composed to deal with the founder's greatest fear (and the reason many had left England)- that some would try to establish an official religion for our country.

The Constitution never mentions the 'separation of church and state'.   This line was extracted from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association (Danbury, Connecticut) on January 1, 1802.  This group was concerned that Congress could be establishing a 'state' denomination as was the case with the Anglican Church in England and Virginia.

this is the text in question-

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

Jefferson was quoting the Baptist minister Roger Williams who said,"...the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall..."

Jefferson did not sign the Constitution, nor was he at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  He was not present at the drafting of the First Amendment (he was in France as a U.S. Minister).  This personal letter was written 13 years later to reassure the Danbury Baptists of their safety, although he was not a first-hand witness to the First Amendment's purpose. 

Today the meaning and the constitutionality have been completely distorted.  Of course, since much legislation deals with moral values, we are obliged to embrace a set of values that are biblically based or we find we worship the religion of humanism without a compass.  Thank God we are not all forced to follow a single denomination.   Today, we lack direction  and people suffer as we each seek our own way, ignoring God's word, our anchor to truth, peace and safety.


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Excellent Resource! America's God and Country by William J. Federer

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