Founding Fathers Religious Commentsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread
A friend sent this and I thought some of you might like to have these accessible.I've left his comments in. Here you go:
Here are some quotes for you from some of the men who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. (You can check them out for yourself if you don't believe me.) Also, I've thrown in some other miscellaneous facts that clearly show the intent and purpose of our founding fathers:
~~~ James Madison, FATHER of the U.S. Constitution: "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."
~~~ Thomas Jefferson, 1781: "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"
~~~ George Washington: "You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention."
~~~ George Washington, October 3, 1789: "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."
~~~ Samuel Adams: " Let...statesmen and patriots unite their endeavors to renovate the age by...educating their little boys and girls...and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system."
~~~ Benjamin Franklin: "History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion...and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern."
~~~ Benjamin Franklin, June 28, 1787, at the Constitutional Convention: "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."
~~~ Alexander Hamilton's dying words, July 12, 1804: "I have tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty; through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me."
~~~ John Adams, 1756 (our 2nd President) -- MY PERSONAL FAVORITE, BTW: "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 paradise would this region be!" ~~~
Patrick Henry's Last Will & Testament, November 20, 1798: "This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed."
~~~ Fisher Ames (author of the First Amendment) also wrote that the Bible should always remain the principle text book in America's classrooms.
~~~ John Jay (original Chief-Justice U.S. Supreme Court) said it is the duty of all wise, free, and virtuous governments to help and encourage virtue and religion. He also said, "Only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation."
~~~ John Quincy Adams: "The United States of America were no longer Colonies. They were an independent nation of Christians." ~~~
Governor Morris of Pennsylvania (head of the committee that created the final wording of the Constitution AND the most active member of the Constitutional Convention) advocated that "education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God." ~~~
An early House Judiciary Committee affirmed: "Christianity ...was the religion of the founders of the republic, and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants." ~~~ 97% of the founding fathers were practicing Christians and exercised their faith in public office, at work, at home, and had it taught to their children in their schools. ~~~
187 of the first 200 colleges in America were Christian, Bible teaching institutions. Entrance to Harvard required strong knowledge of the Bible.
That's proof enough for me.
-- (XP@noneatthis.time), February 11, 2002
Here's a few more quotes from our founding fathers and others.....
Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear. -- Thomas Jefferson
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize [hu]mankind. -- Thomas Paine
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of [hu]mankind has preserved - the Cross. Consider what calamaties that engine of grief has produced! -- John Adams
Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system. -- Thomas Paine
During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. -- James Madison
When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. -- Benjamin Franklin
Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separated. -- Ulysses S. Grant
Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. -- Thomas Paine
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -- Thomas Jefferson
-- Sherri C (CeltiaSkye@aol.com), February 11, 2002.
I'm sure that the Founding Fathers were human beings and like most humans we have all have moments of doubt. That doubt as well as there faith appears in their writings. Thomas Jefferson wrote often of God but IMHO he was an atheist. So who are we to question anyone's faith anyway. If we should disagree and you see the laser dot appear on your chest from my weapon than who would you have me be ? A man that had been taught all the morals of Jesus Christ--love thy neighbor, forgive those that hate you, treat others as you would treat yourself. Or rather would you like me to be an atheist believing that only I control your destiny. For in that brief moment you will know me and I will know you and once I breath out and my finger twitches all of our fates are inexplicably wound. We all are born with the knowledge that there is a power greater than ourselves and that evil exists. Every race, creed, and generation has struggled with the very delimna that faced Eve in the Garden. A being; given free choice by their Creator. Endowed by their Creator; if you will. I think you would rather have me what I am--A poor sinner that fears God and has had the good fortune to be raised to fear breaking his law. For if I wasn't the laser dot on your chest would become the whole that your soul leaves thru. Teach your Children Well !!!
-- Joel Rosen (JoelnBecky@webtv.net), February 11, 2002.
The founding fathers intended for there to be freedom of ALL religion in this country, so long as no one was harmed in the practice of these religions. It seems to me that the founding fathers leaned at least as much toward the pagean, usually Celtic or Norse religions, in their comments as they did towards the Judeo-Christian religion. This new Christian wave makes me extremely nervous. Christians are constantly questioning each other's "Christian-ness" and protesting the "teaching" of the most basic knowledge of the ancient gods that were commonly referred to in literature. If the children do not know about the ancient gods and their myths associated with them, how can they understand even the meaning of "opening Pandora's box"? I have several old school books here that were from the early 1900's or even the late 1800's. They are filled with stories that refer to fairies, elves, ogres, etc. So many of these new-age Christains protest even such mild stories as these. The point is this----if ANYONE is to have freedom of religion, then there must be more tolerance of EVERYONE'S religion. If not, how long will it be before there is only one religion and the inquistions start up again? How long before anyone who isn't Christian, or even "Christain enough" ends up being burned at the stake or some other form of death or torture to "win them over"? I am not Christian, but was raised as one. Trust me, the Baptist church I went to really did think that only the Baptists were going to heaven. Methodists, Presbyterians, etc., were really only poor deluded people who were misled into thinking they were worshiping Christ. And Catholics!!!!! They were going to hell in a handbasket! Baptists are not the only ones that feel they are the only true Christians. The list goes on for quite a while. For once, I have to agree with Ulysses S. Grant....there must be separation of church and state.
-- Green (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 11, 2002.
I was about to ask for references for all those quotes in the original post. Then I read Green's post, and no longer need a reference. I don't care. Green, thank you; your post overrides my concerns for references.
-- joj (email@example.com), February 11, 2002.
Did they ,indeed, mean freedom of all religions? Historically, that is patently not true. Quakerismm was against the laws in all of the original colonies with the exception of Maryland. Quakers in Massachusetts were punished for their first "offense" by being tied naked to the waist to a cannon in the public common and whipped. The second time they continued their practice of Quakerism, they were whipped as before, and then tarred and escorted to the border of the state and told if they returned, the punishment was death. This law was in effect before and after the Declaration of Independence, being only abolished in the early 1800s. Being Catholic in Virgina, during the same time period was punishable by land forfiture to the state. Pioneers moving Westward to Texas via Louisiana in the early 1800s could not be Protestant, since only Catholics could own property and conduct business in that territory. I love historic facts..they clear up so many things for me. It has always been my position that as human beings, the persons who drew up the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were mere mortals who had flaws just as modern man does, yet they had a tenacity of belief in the inherent success of any endeavor which they believed to be sanctioned by God. Hence the motto "In God We Trust". If these men were atheistic in nature as some would purport, or terrified of "religious" fervor overtaking the making of a nation, they would certainly have never placed that motto on a single piece of paper or coin. It is the modern man, wishing to be comfortable in his own denial of the creator, who attempts to alter the historical significance of the founding fathers collective agreement that without God, no nation would survive. Yet, it was not their intent to open the new nation to "all religions",only those established acceptable Christian denominations via Europe. If it were, then there would have been no laws against the practice of any religion..and there were many, many such laws. In that age, to deny the existance of God to ones peers, or to deviate much from the local accepted religious practices was akin to wishing total social and political isolation upon oneself. I find it interesting that in our modern era, one denying the existance of God and even one who flaunts the accepted mores of the general society, has more of a chance of being politically successful than one who declares himself a fundamentalist Christian. Go figure.
-- lesley (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 11, 2002.
sheesh. It started off so nicely and then *****sigh******. For the record, I am firmly against the burning of witches, the flogging of Quakers, the murder of Indians....and trying to figure out Joel's laser dot god(::).
-- Doreen (email@example.com), February 11, 2002.
I loved all the quotes........I have always found it amazing, our history. Lesley, Our PRESIDENT claims to be a fundimentalist Christian...........how much more successful politically can you be?? and...........I liked Joel's laser dot God. He keeps me thinking. :>)
-- diane (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 11, 2002.
If we went by todays standards and laws most of the United States founding fathers were involved in theft(stealing land),vadalism (destroying crops and orchards of indigenous people) arson ( burning the natives homes)international kidnapping and false imprisononment( African slaves)and murder (killing of indigenous men women and children.The god they were serving is no god of mine.
-- SM steve (email@example.com), February 12, 2002.
See, that's why it's called "History"..it is things which happened in the past which couldn't possibly be influenced by todays' standards. Who cares that by modern morals the pioneeers were incorrect..they were NOT incorrect in their day by THEIR morals...it becomes a moot point...Manifest Destiny was a widespread popular belief. You cannot change the thinking of people who lived hundreds of years ago to more closely mirror your own. That is somewhat egocentric...doesn't mean we have to say "Yeah" to all that went before, but to judge the actions of historic folks based upon modern values is a waste of time.
-- lesley (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 12, 2002.
I thought this thread was about weather Christians values influenced the the United States constitution and government.I guess according to Lesleys comment if Christianity did influence the U.S. constitution and founders of this government , the words and deeds of Jesus must of had a different meaning 200 years ago then it has today ? Who cares ?, the ones who still feel cheated out of their inheritance of their lands, the Afican Americans who many are still bitter til this day ,they don't even know their true surnames cause even that was taken from them. The ones who have to work or live near the ones who care, because their lives are also affected by the people who hold strong resentment to those that are the decendents of the ones who wronged their ancestors .Lesley your right I can't change the minds of those that have been dead hundreds of years ago any more then I could change the minds of those who still try to live by the morals of a Pirate.And it is a waste of time to judge the immoral actions of historical folks,that's why I don't judge them but state facts that can be ananalyzed by reasoning human beings in hope history doesn't keep on repeating itself.
-- SM Steve (email@example.com), February 12, 2002.
This country was founded on God and the Bible over 200 years ago. People flockled to this country because of religious persecution. For someone to say that who cares what something was found on, it only matters what is going on today, makes me so very sad. Look at the shape of this country now compared to just 30 years ago. Take God out of schools and you get murder, more drugs, gangs and more disrespectful kids. America better wake up and thank God for what they have here. It is ONLY because of God that this nation still stands...Remember that. God gave man a free will from the very beginning of time or there would not have been the Tree of Knowledge or good and evil in the garden of Eden, so your of course it is your choice to believe it or not. God paid for all of mankinds sin on the cross 2000 years ago..Your sins have already been forgiven all that's left is just accepting that gift.,,knowing what the gift is and who the giver is...You may not believe now but one day you will..You may say there is no heaven or no hell but i will leave you with this...what if I am right and you are wrong..Do you really want to risk it?
-- Kim Griffith (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 24, 2002.
Kim, how do you fell about our "president" Bush and his assault on our constitutional rights? He's a self proclaimed bornagain chrisitan. What gives here?
-- joj (email@example.com), June 24, 2002.
Kim...I guess my answer to your question is a question to you. Do you think someone hedging their bets is really a good basis for faith?
-- michael coats (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 28, 2002.
It is unbelievable how far the liberals in this country have gone to rewrite our nations history. To assert that our founding fathers did not believe that our country was founded under the authority of God is flat out wrong.
Our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, asserts that our nation has God-given rights to be a "separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them"; and that our citizens are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights".
The recent attempts to remove any reference to God from public discourse and display, is in effect establishing Atheism as the official religion. Unfortunately, it is impossible for the government to be completely neutral on this issue, for it is impossible to take a position that there is a God and there is not a God at the same time. Clearly, this country was founded on a belief in God and that a person can believe there is not a God, rather than being founded on the belief there is not a God and that a person has a right to believe in God.
-- J. Pierce (email@example.com), July 01, 2002.
J. I certainly don't believe that the absence of the word "god" in a pledge, or any other writing, is an attempt to make atheism the official religion.
Although this seems too obvious to need an example, I'll provide one anyway: the Star Spangled Banner.
I don't believe this is an atheistic song, although maybe it should be...
-- joj (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 02, 2002.
you guyes are gay......homos homos homos
-- trever notch (email@example.com), September 29, 2002.
All the questions and all the answers don't really matter. Trying to find an answer to God is pointless. Why question when your own ignorence won't let you believe it anyways. Put it all aside and just believe, have faith. All that matters is the Lord Jesus Christ and his teachings that are written in the Bible.
-- G (GSelva@aol.com), November 12, 2002.
I stumbled upon this exchange of ideas because I was looking for quotes from the "founding fathers" regarding religion. I am a born again christian. I am an american. For me, the two do not depend on each other. As stated in scripture, I respect my government. My government is that which was founded in 1787 and later agreed to by 13 independent states. My government is the United States of America. Predating this government were a United States of America, colonies joined under Articles of Confederation. My government was formed because 13 states were having problems functioning as separate units and the congress under the Articles of Confederation was weak and ineffectual. They needed to truely unite under a federal government to fend of foreign and local threats. Many compromises were made to form this government. Northerners allowed southerners to own human beings. Each state was allowed 2 representitives to the senate, 1 for every 30.000 people in the house. Slaves were counted as 3/5 person in regard to representation, but of course were not "represented". It was only a manipulation to give the southern states more voice in congress. However, choosing the congressmen and senators was permitted not by women, blacks, unemployed, etc. The very reason we have on house based on proportional represention and one based on 2 votes for each state is back-deals and compromise between the big states and the small states. What is my point? My point is that the argument of whether or not the founding fathers were christian is pointless. our goverment is based on a document that spells out their position clearly, and it is this: they took no official position. The constitution is a legalistic document. '31 of the 55 men at the convention were lawyers. It is commonplace amoung historians that the American Revolution was a "revolution of lawyers" who built their demands for freedon on legal theorizing'- from the Contitutional Convention of 1787, C. Collier, author. The southern states were more materialistic. The northern more puritan. The southern economy based on slavery, the nothern on import/export. The Union needed to embrace both. The contitution when written in the summer of 1787 did not even include a bill of rights, though it was added as soon as the president was sitting. The founding fathers wrote a document that was intended to cut off at the knees any grab for power by one or few. They distrusted man's motivations. "Men love power" stated Hamilton as reported in Madisons "Notes" on the convention. Congress, not the president is specifically given power to "declare war" Sherman said "the executive should be able to repel and not commence war" (Madison's "Notes"). "The founders were determined not to give a potential tyrant an armed force to use as he wished" ('The constitutional Convention..' -C. Collier) As a christian, I am respecting my government by speaking out against it. My faith does not depend on the actions of my president, nor would it depend on the actions of a failed pastor, or a scandalized deacon. My God is bigger than that. So I speak out against an aggressive administration that is acting against the constitution. I am supporting my government, that documented in the constitution. We no longer have slavery, and we no longer have 97% christian population. Things change. The time to declare this a christian nation came and went in 1787. In a side note, Jesus did not imprison those who did not declare Him. Nor will I. If my God wishes to take over the middle east, I am sure that He is able to without me shooting a gun, bombing a sewage treatement plant, or irradiating a population. If we allow foriegn policy to be reduced to a christian/non-christian argument, we are not the thinking individuals the founding fathers trusted to run the government (via representation). Learn! Think! Act!. And that means both the constitution AND the Bible.
-- margaret hampton (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 07, 2003.
I feel that this country was found and based off of religion which society is desperately trying to shut out. One nation under god out of the flag salute. In God we trust off of money, the ten commandments out of a federal building and legal prostitution. Our founding fathers would be so disappointed in the way society is shaped and turned around for the worst.
-- Chris (CShirer99@yahoo.com), November 18, 2003.
If there are no moral absolutes, if there is not higher power and athority than man, then we are reduced to being governed by the relitive whims of whoever has enough power to control the will of others. (might makes right!) Therefore, if Hitler had won, there would be nothing wrong with the murder of 6 million Jews. What would give any person the right to think that "their way" is the "right way, or the better way" than anyone else. We are reduced to a world with no right and wrong. What is right for you is right for you and what is right for me is right for me - and neither one should question the other. If you think, "oh, he's being ridiculous - everyone knows that there are certain things that everyone can agree are not acceptable", then let me give you a couple of places to test your theory: http://enterprise.southofboston.com/articles/2003/11/19/news/news/news 02.txt or http://members.iquest.net/~macihms/Education/youngsodom.html or www.nambla1.de/welcome.htm
If these sites don't shock you and chill your blood them nothing will and we are truely a nation adrift. Wheither people want to admit it or not - this nation was founded (by imperfect men) on the principles of God. You don't have to take my word for it - go read THEIR writings, speeches, journals, etc. DON'T read from some modern - revisionist - interpretation (what they really meant to say was...). Read from the original documents - you will probably be SHOCKED at how much they talked about not only God, but about their personal relationship with Christ. One example is from Patrick Henry, patriot and Founding Father of our country, who said ... "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."
God is Truth (capital T) and no matter how much people don't believe it, don't want to believe it, hate it, despise it, or deny it - it will not change the FACT that it is true. And one day, "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord".
For the people who do not believe: The main reason that people don't like Christians, and Christianity or believe that it is true, is because religion, religionist, and the failings of man, keep them from seeing that Christ is real.
-- PT (email@example.com), November 21, 2003.
Wow, there's a lot of ignorance here. None of those quotes are real. Perhaps you should provide links that show where they are taken from. It's not very smart to just believe anything you read. The founding fathers were diests. Search on the net for 5 seconds and you will find plenty of quotes(from...gasp...actual texts)that are not made up like your list here. Go on believing in your magic man from the sky.
-- Bob Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2003.
http://www.sullivan-county.com/id3/debate.htm This is just one website that proves those quotes wrong(most of them anyway) There are many more like it. They provide links to ACTUAL writings such as letters and signed documents the founding fathers made so you can't just dismiss it. This is not a christian nation. Many things like "In god we trust" being put on money didn't happen until the 50's during the McCarthy era. Violence has actually gone done in the past decade. PT, maybe YOU should read the original documents, you obviously haven't. Seek knowledge out, don't just blindly believe things from bias sources.
-- Bob Martin (email@example.com), November 29, 2003.
The Founding Fathers beleived in God, but not organized religion.
-- Anti-bush (Comrade_bleh@hotmail.com), December 04, 2003.
Many of the founding fathers detested organized religion. Jefferson was a deist and edited his personal bible (available from university of Virginia) to reflect his personal beliefs. Many did not consider themselves 'Christians', as they thought that the worship OF Jesua the Christ was improper, as they practiced a belief in the ways, not the personae of Jesua.
By the way - a little trivia - Nazareth was not formed until 400 ACE. Jesua, one of many 'Christs' related in the only contemporary documentation that mentions the Nazarene Christ, Jesua, was written by Josephus. Josephus wrote more about the other two Christís traveling amongst the Messianic Jews of the area at that same
-- John Galt (voodoo@VermillionCorp.com), December 06, 2003.
Just a few items for the record. The religious belifs of the founders or the People did not make the Constitution more or less valid, nor did the personal beliefs of the People of the U.S. make the constiturion 'christian." When someone uses, or readas a reference to the word 'god', do not assume it is the chritian god.
Thomas Paine was a virtual atheist. Ben Franklin had a very different public and private lifestyle on several levels, 'religion' just being one amongst many.
Etc., etc. The MAIN point is that the founders clearly, proactively, and with specific intent built a wall that would keep religion and religious comtrol, persecution, fanatacism, and genocide out of the houses of law and government.
Government in the early days of this REPUBLIC (we do not have a democracy for many very good reasons...) was focused on raising and printing money, fighting piracy & invasion and punishing treason against the U.S. Killing many of the fellow setllers in the former colonies was a large task for the new country and newly formed government. The revolutionary war and the subsequent formation of the country required re-education of many a loyal british citizen. There were NO other federal laws at the time. The bloodbath that was our revolutioanary war can be found in a new novel (nov 2003) by former president Jimmy Carter. (Pres. Carter was and is a brilliant, genuine and heroic american, by the way.)
The point being that the U.S. was formed as a Republic of laws, bathed in blood and created with little discussion of theology.
In the US, at least as a theory, is run by The People, not Citizens. (until post 14th amendment) The People have natural rights (not privleges), whilst citizens of a democracy live and die at the whim of the majority and have only privileges, with no natural rights.
Socrates was temporariliy unpopular with the Majority in one of the longest existing democracies in history, Athens (70 years). He was executed because there were no minority protections for unpopular ideas.
...and the Rebublic for which it stands...
-- John Galt (voodoo@VermillionCorp.com), December 06, 2003.
There is not a nation on earth fit to live in not touched by the Christian Faith. Many blame the evil men do in the name of God on the Almighty himself, but men fail in all walks of life. I would prefer to live with inalienable rights, bequeathed to man by God. I will never submit that human rights are meted out by secular man. If man can give us rights, he can also remove them. That concept is foriegn to anything American. This is truely a Christian Nation, allowing freedom to worship or not. It is the philosophy of Christ that delivered this vision to the world. Where freedom rings, the Cross shadows that blessed land. God Bless America.
-- D. Saylor (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 03, 2004.