Church and State
I’ve accumulated this little collection of quotes that paint a picture of how Christianity was meant to play a role in our nation. While we were never, nor never intended to be a Christian theocracy, we have from the start been a land of predominantly Christians, living in a nation governed by predominantly Christian values.
- “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty. A student’s perusal of the sacred volume will make him a better citizen, a better father, a better husband.” – Thomas Jefferson
- “The Bible is the rock on which our Republic rests.” – Andrew Jackson
- “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.” – Noah Webster
- “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles…to this we owe our free constitutions of government.” – Noah Webster
- “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” – Thomas Jefferson
- “Whereas 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 humbly implore His protection and favor.” – George Washington
- “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited…. What a utopia, what a paradise would this region be.” – John Adams
- “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams
- “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians;not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here”-Patrick Henry
- In 1782 the US Congress voted this resolution: “The congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”
- “I am a Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator and, I hope to the pure doctrine of Jesus also.”-Thomas Jefferson
- “It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”-George Washington
- “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.”-John Jay (our first Supreme Court Justice.)
- “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” George Washington
- “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” John Quincy Adams
Today, politicians and secular social activists try to convince us that our nation was meant to be a secular nation. They tell us that religion, especially Christianity, has no place in government. Yet it is obvious that those who are commonly referred to as our Founding Fathers, not only felt that it did have a place; they also felt that religion, especially Christianity, has an indispensible role in our nation. Interestingly, the rise of socialism around the world during the early part of the last century was paralleled by several US presidents calling on us to hold fast to the Christianity of our nation as an antidote for secular socialism.
- “I consider it my greatest joy and glory that, occupying a most exalted position in the nation, I am enabled, simply and sincerely, to preach the practical moralities of the Bible to my fellow countrymen.” — Theodore Roosevelt
- “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.”-Woodrow Wilson
- “We must all unite in labor and in prayer in achieve victory and to bring back to the world an international order dominated by true Christian principles.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- “The fundamental basis of this nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don’t have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in the right for anybody except the state. — Harry S. Truman
Too bad so many in our nation have not listened to, or perhaps with the state of our increasingly secular public schools, even heard the words of our founding fathers and past presidents. We are deep into the process of losing our proper fundamental moral background and we have just voted in an administration that less resemblance to our founding fathers dream, and more resemblance to the “totalitarian government which does not believe in the right for anybody except the state” predicted by President Truman.
Where one US president after another has praised and railed for more Christianity in our nation, President-elect Obama is railing for just the opposite.
Whatever we once were, we’re no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers. We should acknowledge this and realize that when we’re formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we’ve got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community.
President-elect Obama is asking for us to change the base of our value system away from God’s system and towards a value system derived from our reasoning; exactly opposite the way of presidents before him. In voting for Barack Obama, just over half of American voters asked for this change.
Our Constitution doesn’t require anyone of any faith to translate their “reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens,” In fact, our constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” There are only two things that this portion of our constitution address: First, that there will be no government established religion in the United States; no Church of the US as there was a Church of England. And second, that government should not interfere or impede free religious practice in our nation.
Frankly, a telling me that I have to adjust, or translate, my faith to participate in government is a great example of government impeding my free exercise of religion; that would make President-elect Obama’s line of thought not only out of sync with past presidents, but also highly unconstitutional.
There is no wall of separation in our constitution that prohibits us from injecting our religion and faith into our democratic process. If President-elect Obama wishes a government free from all religious trappings then he should have run for election in the Soviet Union. Only there do you find a constitution guaranteeing the separation of church and state.
… the church is separated from the state and the school from the church, and freedom of religious and anti- religious propaganda is acknowledged to be the right of all citizens. First Constitution of the Soviet Union, 1918
Judging by the number of political and religious refuges that have fled the Soviet Union, let alone the millions that died, the Soviet model for separating church and state seems a bit flawed.
We don’t need that kind of change and we don’t need a president that is bucking for the US to become the next USSR.