That issue has come up often in the last few decades. Perhaps the largest group of doubters would the atheists in this country. If you do the research, the information is overwhelming that the answer to the question “Was America founded on Christian beliefs and principals” is a resounding ……..Yes!
The story of Roger Sherman:
Born and died a true American (1721 – 1793), he was a Revolutionary patriot, jurist and politician. He was the only one of our Founding Father’s to sign all ‘four’ major founding documents, the Articles of Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of the Confederation and the Constitution of the United States.
On Thursday, June 28, 1787, during a Constitutional Convention, Sherman seconded a motion to enact Dr. Benjamin Franklin’s request that Congress be opened with prayer each day. That practice continues to this day.
In February 1776, along with John Adams and George Wythe of Virginia, Sherman served on a committee responsible for creating instructions for an embassy headed for Canada.
The instructions directed: You are further to declare that we hold sacred the rights of conscience, and may promise to the whole people, solemnly in our name, the free and undisturbed exercise of their religion. And, that all civil rights and the right to hold office were to be extended to persons of any Christian denomination.
Note the words “any Christian Denomination”.
Even though detractors continue to bad mouth Christianity as it relates to the government of the United States of America and the foundations on which this great country was built, there is much proof that the founders of America were definitely of the Christian faith, quoted scripture and held biblical values in the statements they made both public and private.
The the statements and deeds of the detractors of the Christian faith come as no surprise because that’s the way they play the game. Whether they are atheists, haters of a particular Christian denomination, or whether they are haters of the men, documents or moral values that the founders of our country found redeeming; the detractors are only that, detractors. They have no real basis for the denial of Christianity being part and parcel to the founding documents. They have no standing with God.
The story of Thomas Jefferson:
In Jefferson’s “Republican Notes on Religion” and an “Act Establishing Religious Freedom” passed in the Assembly of Virginia in the year 1786. Reference is made to a law passed in 1705.
By our own act of assembly of 1705, if a person brought up in the Christian religion denies the being of a God, or the Trinity, or asserts there are more gods than one, or denies the Christian religion to be true, or the Scripture to be of divine authority, he is punishable on the first offense by incapacity to hold any office of employment, ecclesiastical, civil or military; on the second by disability to sue, to take any gift of legacy, to be guardian, executor, or administrator, and by three years imprisonment without bail.
Even though it seems harsh punishment for being an atheist, agnostic or for lack of a better term, a “new ager”, this statement by Jefferson gives even more standing to the fact that our founders believed in God. Additionally they thought that the country was given to our citizens by God, that we/they answered to God and when we/they deny God, there could be punishment from Him.
These men were what we call God fearing men. They respected the Creator, the creation, and they new the possible consequences.
Even though it’s difficult for some to grasp the power and the presence of God, it is a reality that Christians can accept. There seems to be a knowing in the hearts of Christians, or at least those who understand the knowing that there is a God, a benevolent God, a loving God and a God who we will all answer to at our appointed time.
There were many men like that within the group that we call our “Founding Fathers”. They seemed to understand where they came from and the prospects of where they might go depending on their conduct. That much is evident from their writings, comments, and newspaper articles. Even that far back in our countries history, there were men of all different faiths within the realm of power, or at least influence within those who would eventually form the foundations of our countries government. There is no doubt that they understood where our freedoms come from, and they knew it wasn’t the government, it was God!
The story of Samuel Adams:
Born in 1722 and died in 1803, he was a Revolutionary leader, signer of the Declaration of Independence, the cousin of John Adams and the second President of the United States. Samuel Adams labored over 20 years as a patriot and leader. He instigated the Boston Tea Party, called for the first Continental Congress and served as a member of Congress until 1781. He was also the Governor of Massachusetts from 1793-1797. In 1722 he wrote, in response to “The Rights of the Colonists as Christians”. He declared that:
The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, the rights of the Colonists as Christians may best be understood by reading and carefully studying the institutions of The Great Law Giver and the Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.
Adams clearly understood what his calling was and who was calling him to undertake the things that he did. No, it wasn’t industry, the dock workers, the farmers or any other group, it was God!
There were others who were instrumental in the formation of our government. Many we do not know for various reasons. There was no TV or Radio, and the newspapers were far and few between just because one had to go to town for a copy. Remember, most folks were in the farming industry back then. If you think times are difficult now, be glad you did not live back in the 1700’s and early 1800’s. They were Patriots just the same.
The early years in our countries history was a terribly difficult time. Settlers raised their own food and meat. They were self reliant. They also knew that one of their God given duties was to help their neighbors with difficulties. Matter of fact, that’s how many survived, by the kindness of others.
One of those people who is less known than Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman or Benjamin Franklin was Nathaniel Freeman.
The story of Nathaniel Freeman:
Freeman was a jurist, soldier and politician. He served as Brigadier General of the Militia (1781–1893). He was also a member of the Massachusetts State Legislature and also served Massachusetts as a representative to Congress from 1795-1799. He also served as a Probate judge for 47 years and a Judge of Common Pleas for 30 years. In 1802, Judge Nathaniel Freeman gave a charge to the Massachusetts Grand Jury. It went like this:
The laws of the Christian system, as embraced by the Bible, must be respected as of hi authority in all our courts and it cannot be thought improper for the officers of such government to acknowledge their obligation to govern by its rule. ……[Our government] originating in the voluntary compact of a people who in that very instrument profess the Christian religion, it may be considered, not a republic like Rome was, a Pagan, but a Christian republic.
Nathaniel Freeman was one of the less visible, or noted people in the early history of this nation, but his words rang true as he spoke to the Grand Jury, and they still ring true today!