Religion and Politics

I hate it when people subvert the truth in order to win an argument or achieve a goal.  In this era, it is very easy for someone to become an informed American or citizen of the world. And in order not to be led around by the nose, it is our duty not to just believe what someone says, without checking to see if they are truthful.

With the election looming upon us, the religious beliefs of the candidates are often discussed.  Some people believe it is irrelevant, and some people believe that it is important that our president be Christian. But the thing I hear people say that is most annoying is that there was always meant to be a separation of church and state. Even if I had no religion, this would bug me, I just don’t like inaccuracy.

I have some quotes from the Founding Fathers that they would never put in our school history books.  Whether you agree with them or not, when you read these it will be evident that they did not mean for our government to be void of all influence from our Divine Creator.  If you don’t agree with their opinions, then you will be left with the possibility that you do not really believe in our country as it was originally designed to be.

I do believe that the Founding Fathers created our government with their basis for morality being Christianity, but that they conceded that there were other religious beliefs that needed to be protected and that if we do not protect the Christian basis of government, then it will also endanger these other faith’s guarantee of religious freedom.  Some will tell you that the Founders did not base our government on religion and that in their private corrspondence they spoke what they truly believed, and that it was contrary to their public speeches. But as with all things, it’s all in the interpretation and context.

“He is the best friend of American liberty who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion and who sets Himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind…God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable and that the unjust attempts to destroy the one, may in the issue tend to support the establishment of both.”

John Witherspoon, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Member of the Continental Congress, President of Princeton College and Pastor

“What is liberty without virtue? It is madness without restraint. Men are qualified for liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.”

Edmund Burke

“Human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”

George Washington

“Let it simply be asked, 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 the Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the opposition, 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.”

George Washington

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favor.”  Oct. 3, 1789

George Washington

In 778 George Washington wrote a letter to Thomas Nelson, Jr. citing God’s divine intervention in the founding of our nation. “The hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”

“It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness-these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.  The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with the private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are instruments of investigation in courts of justice?

George Washington

“If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the constitution framed by the Convention, might possibly endanger the religious rights of and ecclesiastical society, certainly, I would never have placed my signature to it.”

“That wise men have in all ages thought Government necessary for the good of mankind; and that wise Governments have always thought Religion necessary for the well ordering and well being of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage and protect the Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater respect among common people.”

Ben Franklin

“And if we now cast our eyes over the nations of the earth, we shall find that, instead of possessing the pure religion of the Gospel, they may be divided either into infidels, who deny the truth; or politicians who make religion a stalking horse for their ambition; or professors, who walk in the rammels of orthodoxy, and are more attentive to traditions an ordinances of men than to the oracles of truth.”

“ God governs in the affairs of man. 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 in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” –Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech

“In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered… do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?” [Constitutional Convention, Thursday June 28, 1787]

In Benjamin Franklin’s 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania, he insisted that schools teach “the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.”

In 1787 when Franklin helped found Benjamin Franklin University, it was dedicated as “a nursery of religion and learning, built on Christ, the Cornerstone.”

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams wrote a booklet called “The Rights of the Colonists”, which was circulated in 1772. In it he wrote, “The right to freedom being the gift of the Almighty; The rights of the colonists as Christians may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institution of  The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are ti be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.”

“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 affordes asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here.”

Patrick Henry

In other words, he did not believe the Christian basis for our government should be removed in order to ensure the freedom of people of other faiths.  He believed that the very tenets of Christianity directed us to allow them their freedom.

John Adams served as the first leader of the American Bible Society, which by the way was instituted by an Act of Congress.

He was also quoted as saying in a draft of a Newspaper Communication in about August 1770 as saying, “Human government is more or less perfect as it approaches nearer or diverges farther from the imitation of this perfect plan of divine and moral government.”

In 1813, he wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson, stating: “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could unite.. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity…”

“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.” –October 11, 1798

Interestingly, we are told that Thomas Jefferson believed that all religion should be removed from our government. Yet, he is quoted as saying, “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 a 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.” –“Yes, we did produce a near perfect Republic. but will they keep it, or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction.”

James Madison said. “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 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.”

“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. Religion is the basis and foundation of government.”

John Jay, who was the First Justice of the Supreme Court

“ Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed., (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, p. 393.

“Whether our religion permits Christians to vote for infidel rulers is a question which merits more consideration than it seems yet to have generally received either from the clergy or the laity. It appears to me that what the prophet said to Jehoshaphat about his attachment to Ahab [“Shouldest thou help the ungodly and love them that hate the Lord?” 2 Chronicles 19:2] affords a salutary lesson.” [The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, 1794-1826, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, p.365]

The following quotes are used to say that Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian, but I interpret them to mean that although he was a Christian, he did not share the exact beliefs of some of the clergy and did not believe they should abuse their authority any more than politicians should.

“The clergy…believe that any portion of power confided to me [as President] will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion.” –Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, 1800.

“In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot … they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose.” — Thomas Jefferson, to Horatio Spafford, March 17, 1814

“Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.” — Thomas Jefferson, from “Notes on Virginia”

The following quote is given by some to prove that Benjamin Franklin was against religion in government, however, it really only shows that he is aware that it could be misused, but …so can a lack of religion. He simply believed that power of any basis should be tempered with caution.

“If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both there (England) and in New England.”— Benjamin Franklin

Whatever your religious belief, please do consider freedom of religion does not mean that others should subvert the truth and say that our country was not based on religion.  It was very specifically based on Christianity.  The Founding Fathers, to simplify, said, this is our religion, and because we believe these things, we cannot help but be influenced by them, when we make our laws, but in the interest of fairness, we are implementing failsafes that protect our right to these beliefs as well as your right not to agree with them.

It really doesn’t matter if you are Christian or not, it is wrong to hide history, because you don’t agree with it.  If you truly believe that the Founding Fathers were wrong, silencing their words will not change them.  You cannot win an argument by leaving the room, you have to stay and face your opposition. People who say that there was no religious influence on the Declaration of Independence and on the U.S. Constitution make as much sense as someone who wants to stop discrimination against minorities trying to say slavery did not exist, that the Hollocaust did not happen and neither did Apartheid.

If you want to take away religion in government, you should be able to do it on the up and up; don’t twist the facts in order to achive it.