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Founding Fathers: Respect for God, Bible, Morality, & Religion


In God We Trust:
Quotations from the Founding Fathers about Religion
(Hobby Lobby Ad - 7/4/2013)


The relationship between government and the Bible, religion, morality, respect for God, and religious freedom according to the American founding fathers and other early influences. Did they believe that a "wall of separation between church and state" should remove God and the Bible from education and government?

These quotations document the views of many founding fathers and others showing their respect for religion and morality. We quote it mainly to show that our country was established by men who generally believed that government should respect and encourage morality, decency, religion, and Bible teaching. They would be shocked to observe modern attempts to limit religious freedom or to exclude God or Biblical morality from influencing our laws and officials. (This is the text of an ad placed by Hobby Lobby in many newspapers across the country on the weekend of July 4, 2013. It apparently appeared in various forms. We have attempted to quote it as it appeared in our local paper.)

Presidents

"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 to implore His protection and favor." - George Washington: Commander-in-Chief in the American Revolution; Signer of the Constitution; First President of the United States

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams: Signer of the Declaration of Independence; One of Two Signers of the Bill of Rights; Second President of the United States

"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." - James Madison: Signer of the Constitution; Fourth President of the United States

"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." - Thomas Jefferson: Signer and the Principal Author of the Declaration of Independence; Third President of the United States

"Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? - that it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? - That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?" - John Quincy Adams: Statesman; Diplomat; Sixth President of the United States

Founding Fathers

"An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!... Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power... Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us... Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry: Patriot and Statesman

"I've 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. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We've been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who 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." - Benjamin Franklin: Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

Supreme Court Justices

"The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts." "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: Co-Author of the Federalist Papers; First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

"Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine ... Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other." - James Wilson, Signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; Original justice on the U.S. Supreme Court

"One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law ... There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying at its foundations ... I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society." - Joseph Story: U.S. Supreme Court Justice; "Father of American Jurisprudence," Placed on the Court by President James Madison

Congress

"We are a Christian people ... not because the law demands it, not to gain exclusive benefits or to avoid legal disabilities, but from choice and education; and in a land thus universally Christian, what is to be expected, what desired, but that we shall pay due regard to Christianity?" Senate Judiciary Committee Report, January 19,1853

"At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged...In this age there can be no substitute for Christianity...That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants." House Judiciary Committee Report, March 27, 1854

Education

"Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Proverbs 2, 3). Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein." Harvard 1636 Student Guidelines

"All the scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God's Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, that fountain of Divine light and truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion." Yale 1787 Student Guidelines

Supreme Court Rulings

"There is no dissonance in these [legal] declarations...These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic [legal, governmental] utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people...These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation." Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S., 1892 Unanimous Decision Declaring America a Christian Nation Significantly, the U. S. Supreme Court cited dozens of court rulings and legal documents as precedents to arrive at this ruling; but in 1962, when the Supreme Court struck down voluntary prayer in schools, it did so without using any such precedent.

"Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in [schools] - its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles morality inculcated? ... Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?" Vidal v. Girard's Educators, 1844 Unanimous Decision Commanding and Encouraging the Use of the Bible in Government-Run Schools

Foreigners

"The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other." "Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country." Alexis de Tocqueville French observer of America in 1831, author of Democracy in America

There is no country in which the people are so religious as in the United States ... The great number of religious societies existing in United States is truly surprising: there some of them for everything; for instance, societies to distribute the Bible; to distribute tracts; to encourage religious journals; to convert, civilize, educate ... to take care of their widows and orphans; to preach, extend, purify, preserve, reform the faith; to build chapels, endow congregations, support seminaries ... to establish Sunday schools... to prevent drunkenness, etc. Achille Murat French observer of America in 1832

Scripture

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD Psalm 33:12a

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.

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