Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Was America Founded As a Christian Nation? (Part VI)

5. THE FOUNDERS WEREN’T ATHEISTS, AGNOSTICS OR SECULARISTS; THEY WERE, ALMOST WITHOUT EXCEPTION, DEEPLY SERIOUS CHRISTIANS. The comments of John Adams might count as typical of the Revolutionary generation. In a July, 1796 diary entry, the then-Vice President of the United States declared: “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….” He strongly supported the use of tax money in Massachusetts to support church construction and religious instruction. Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence and leading Colonial physician, in 1800 wrote sketches of his colleagues in the Continental Congress in which he evaluated them based on their personal religiosity.

About Sam Adams of Massachusetts he wrote: “He considered national happiness and the public patronage of religion as inseparably connected; and so great was his regard for public worship, and the means of promoting religion, that he constantly attended divine service in the German church in York town while Congress sat there, when there was no service in their chapel, although he was ignorant of the German language.” 

About Sam’s cousin John Adams, Rush wrote: “He was strictly moral, and at all times respectful to Religion.” Of Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Rush observed: He was not less distinguished for his piety than his patriotism. He once objected to a motion for Congress sitting on a Sunday upon an occasion which he thought did not require it, and gave as a reason for his objection a regard of the commands of his Maker.” Rush praised his Pennsylvania colleague James Wilson who “had been educated for a clergyman in Scotland and was a profound and accurate scholar,” and Charles Thompson as “a man of great learning and general knowledge, at all times a genuine Republican, and in the evening of his life a sincere Christian.”

Of course, many of the Founding Fathers held religious beliefs that challenged the Orthodoxy of their day, but they continued the assiduous study of the Bible (as a lifelong passion in the case of Jefferson and Franklin) and showed little sympathy for the excesses of the French Revolution with its denunciation of Christianity of proclamation of a new “Age of Reason.” Even the most radical of the Founders, pamphleteer Thomas Paine, would fit more comfortably with today’s religious conservatives than with the secular militants who seek to claim his as one of their own. This restless Revolutionary traveled to France to take part in their Revolution and wrote a scandalous book “The Age of Reason,” which proclaimed his “Deism” while attacking traditional Christian doctrine—a position that alienated and offended virtually all of his former American comrades (including many who have been mistakenly identified as “Deists” themselves). 

Nevertheless, in 1797 he delivered a speech to a learned French society insisting that schools must concentrate on the study of God, presenting his arguments with an eloquent insistence on recognizing the Almighty that would delight James Dobson of Focus on the Family, but mortally offend the secular militants of the ACLU.

“It has been the error of the schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the author of them: for all the principles of science are of Divine origin,” Thomas Paine declaimed. “Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles. He can only discover them; and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author.

When we examine an extraordinary piece of machinery, an astonishing pile of architecture, a well executed statue or a highly finished painting where life and action are imitated, and habit only prevents our mistaking a surface of light and shade for cubical solidity, our ideas are naturally led to think of the extensive genius and talents of the artist. When we study the elements of geometry, we think of Euclid. When we speak of gravitation, we think of Newton. How then is it, that when we study the works of God in the creation, we stop short, and do not think of God? It is from the error of the schools in having taught those subjects as accomplishments only, and thereby separated the study of them from the Being who is the author of them.” 

In short, even the least religiously committed of the founders wanted to approach public education in a manner that would deeply offend today’s uncompromising separationists, and those who ludicrously claim that the designers of our Constitution intended a “secular nation.”

Anyone who claims today that our country was not founded as a "Christian Nation" or that we do not today consider ourselves to be a "Christian Nation", needs to go back and study history. 

I suppose the recent comments by Obama the Tele-Prompter should be expected.  That's what happens when we elect someone who was not raised in America to be an American and who may not even be eligible for the office he currently holds.


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This blog is about my opinions and world view.  I am a conservative, evangelical Christian.  Generally speaking, if you post a comment, I'll allow you to express your view.  However, if you say something hateful, untruthful, or just generally something I don't like, I may remove it.

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