ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is America a Christian Nation?

Updated on June 30, 2011

Faith of Our Founding Fathers

There is no question virtually all of Americas’ Founding Fathers held a Christian, biblical world view. How do we know this? All one has to do is look at their church membership and correspondence.

Their denominational affiliations were a matter of public record. Among the delegates were 28 Episcopalians, 8 Presbyterians, 7 Congregationalists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Dutch Reformed, 2 Methodists, 2 Roman Catholics, 1 unknown, and only 3 deists…Williamson, Wilson, and Franklin. And during those days church membership demanded a sworn public confession of biblical faith.

This is not to say there were not a few who were not confirmed Christians. There were, but their numbers were decidedly in the minority. However, in any case, this is an illuminating tally. It proves members of the Constitutional Convention, the most influential group of men shaping our nation, were almost all Christians, a full 93%. The records show 70% were Calvinists which included the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and the Dutch Reformed… considered by some to be the most extreme and inflexible form of Christianity.

The question then arises, is Christianity the official, doctrinal religion of this country? Of course not, the non-establishment clause of the First Amendment strictly prohibits it. However, if we mean was our country founded on Biblical principles by Christian men having a deep commitment to the Scriptures, the answer is yes. A majority of Americans held a common set of values which were principally biblical. The founding principles of the Republic were clearly informed by biblical truth.

Our Constitution

What does this have to do with anything today?" It must have something to do with today’s society. The question has inflamed many debates and protests. Within limits, our Constitution dictates, the majority rules. That's the way our government works. But just because Christians were here first doesn’t give them extra political influence in any debate on public policy.

In any event, privilege of citizenship in America remains the same for all, despite ones’ religious beliefs. Even Christians who wrote the rules leveled the field for everyone, every ideology and point of view.

Although, in writing the First Amendment and the non-establishment clause, the current concept of separation of church and state was not what they had in mind. The idea the country was to be completely secular and not influenced at all by religious values was completely foreign. Not just to the Founders, but to the first 150 years of American political thought. Christian thought and values were generally accepted and encouraged in education and expression.

Immortal Words

Anyone doubting this view simply needs to read Lincoln's second inaugural address, some of which is etched into the northern wall of the Lincoln Memorial. It contains no less than three or four biblical references. The address included these immortal words: “Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-men’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”

In the speech’s closing, carved in the walls of the Memorial, Lincoln set a pattern for the nation’s Reconstruction.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

Additionally, Lincolns Thanksgiving Proclamation of October 3, 1863 begins this way: "It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon. And to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord."

There were many others: George Washington, Samuel Adams, James Madison, John Witherspoon, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, John Adams, Patrick Henry and even Thomas Jefferson. Their personal letters, biographies, and public statements, over flow with quotations showing these men had political ideals richly influenced by Christianity.

Even the 81-year-old Benjamin Franklin made a call to prayer on June 28, 1787, in a stalled Convention. James Madison recorded the event in his journals. Franklin's address had no less than four direct references to Scripture.

Franklin stated in part: “…And have we forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have 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. 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, sir, in the sacred writings that 'except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that 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.”

Three of the four major framers of the Constitution, Franklin, Washington and Madison, were confirmed Christians. But skeptics may ask: What about Thomas Jefferson? True, his signature isn’t found at the end of the Constitution, but his spiritual beliefs are found throughout the entire document.

Jefferson was committed to a belief in natural rights, including the self-evident truth all men are created equal. The statesman was a distinctly selective individualistic when it came to religion. He pored over New Testament scripture to find those supporting his views.

The Declaration of Independence contains at least four references to God. Jefferson, at times could be an enigma. In his Second Inaugural Address he asked for prayers to Israel's God on his behalf. At other times he seemed to be distanced from organized Christianity, especially Calvinism.

It's clear that Thomas Jefferson was no overly zealous evangelist, but neither was he an atheist. He was more Unitarian than either deist or Christian.

The most important factor regarding the faith of Thomas Jefferson, or any of our Founding Fathers, isn't whether or not they believed in Jesus Christ. The debate over our religious heritage isn’t about that, but rather what the dominant convictions were which constituted the structuring of America.

In Defending the Declaration, legal historian Gary Amos writes: "Jefferson is a notable example of how a man can be influenced by biblical ideas and Christian principles even though he never confessed Jesus Christ as Lord in the evangelical sense."

We can draw two conclusions from these facts which show the relationship between religion and government in America. First, Christianity was the dominant moral and intellectual influence shaping our nation from the beginning. Christian influence was the material from which the tapestry of our society was woven. Therefore, the present concept of a wall of separation hardly seems historically validated.

In George Washington's Farewell Speech, September 19, 1796, a general sentiment was characteristically present: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports....And let us indulge with caution the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      I appreciate and agree with your sentiments Michael.

    • Michael Adams1959 profile image

      Isaiah Michael 

      7 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

      I thought this was very good info. I especially like what Patrick Henry said about the forming of the United States," It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this country was not founded on religion but by Christianity, not by religionists but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)