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"The Christian right is trying to rewrite the history of the United States as part of its campaign to force its religion on others. They try to depict the founding fathers as pious Christians who wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, with laws that favored Christians and Christianity.
This is patently untrue. The early presidents and patriots were generally Deists or Unitarians, believing in some form of impersonal Providence but rejecting the divinity of Jesus and the absurdities of the Old and New testaments.
"A general dissolution of Principles and Manners will more surely overthrow the Liberties of America than the whole Force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader . . . If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security." Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, ed., Harry Alonzo Cushing (G. P. Putman's Sons, 1908), Vol. 4, p. 124.
“Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples, captivating and noble. In no book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant; and by teaching all the same book, they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well
as of faith.” Fisher Ames: Author of the First Amendment
"We shall not fight alone. God presides over the destinies of nations, and will raise up friends for us. The battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave . . . 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, in a speech March 23, 1775.
"Whether this [new government] will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation [Proverbs 14:34]. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this, and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself and encourage it in others." Patrick Henry, Written on the back of Henry's Stamp Act
"Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and, indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast." Patrick Henry, from a letter to his daughter in 1796
"The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed." Patrick Henry, Wirt Henry's, Life, vol. II, p. 621
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." First Chief Justice of Supreme Court John Jay to Jedidiah Morse February 28, 1797
"God's will be done; to him I resign--in him I confide. Do the like. Any other philosophy applicable to this occasion is delusive. Away with it." John Jay, first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in a letter to his wife, Sally Jay, April 20, 1794, reprinted in The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston (New York, NY: Burt Franklin, 1970), vol. 4, p. 7.
"I have long been of opinion that the evidence of the truth of Christianity requires only to be carefully examined to produce conviction in candid minds . . ." John Jay, in a letter to Rev. Uzal Ogden, Feb. 14, 1796, in CPPJJ, vol. 4, p. 203.
"While in France . . . I do not recollect to have had more than two conversations with atheists about their tenants. The first was this: I was at a large party, of which were several of that description. They spoke freely and contemptuously of religion. I took no part in the conversation. In the course of it, one of them asked me if I believed in Christ? I answered that I did, and that I thanked God that I did." John Jay, in a letter to John Bristed, April 23, 1811, in CPPJJ, vol. 4, p. 359.
"The same merciful Providence has also been pleased to cause every material event and occurrence respecting our Redeemer, together with the gospel he proclaimed, and the miracles and predictions to which it gave occasion, to be faithfully recorded and preserved for the information and benefit of all mankind." John Jay, in an address to the American Bible Society, May 9, 1822, in CPPJJ, vol. 4, p. 480.
"The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it." John Marshall, in a letter to Jasper Adams, May 9, 1833, JSAC, p. 139. Marshall was Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801-1835.
"I believe that there is only one living and true God - - - That the scriptures of the old and new testaments are a revelation from God and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him." Lewis Henry Boutell, The Life of Roger Sherman (Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Co., 1896), pp. 272-273 David Barton, Original Intent (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilders, 2000) Ch. 6 p. 138
"Let us live no more to ourselves, but to Him who loved us, and gave Himself to die for us". M.E. Bradford, A Worthy Company (Marlborough, NH, Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982) p. 29
"Christianity becomes not merely an auxiliary, but a guide, to the law of nature; establishing its conclusions, removing its doubts, and evaluating its precepts." Joseph Story, "The Value and Importance of Legal Studies," a lecture delivered August 25, 1829 at his inauguration as Dane Professor of Law in Harvard University, cited in James McClellan, Joseph Story and the American Constitution (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, 1971), p. 66. Story served as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1811-1845, and founded the Harvard Law School.
"My own private judgment has long been (and every day's experience more and more confirms me in it) that government cannot long exist without an alliance with Religion to some extent, and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundation of all governments. . . . I know not, indeed, how any deep sense of moral obligation or accountableness can be expected to prevail in the community without a firm foundation of the great Christian truths." Joseph Story, in a letter to Jasper Adams, May 14, 1833, in JSAC, p. 139.
“The real object of the (First) Amendment was not to countenance, much less advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Chrisianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects (denominations).” Original Intent, by David Barton, ch. 2, p. 31, Wallbuilder Press, Aledo, TX,
1996; Commentaries, Story, Vol. III, p. 728, 1871
"The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His Apostles.... This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government." Noah Webster
Thomas Jefferson wrote in 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 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.
George Washington wrote in his 1789 Inaugural address: The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.
Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1753: The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but, if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produce any fruit.
George Washington wrote to his troops: The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage of this army, Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission, We have, therefore to resolve to conquer or die.
On March 11, 1792, President George Washington wrote: I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.
Samuel Adams said: Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual--or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.
Benjamin Franklin in 1787 said "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters".
John Adams on October 11, 1798 wrote: We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
John Adams in 1776 wrote: Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue; and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty. They will only exchange tyrants and tyrannies.
Patrick Henry wrote to his daughter in 1796: Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of the number; and, indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast.
John Adams in 1798 wrote: The safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God; and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty, which the people owe to him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety, without which social happiness cannot exist, nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed.
Alexander Hamilton wrote in 1794: Opinions, for a long time, have been gradually gaining ground, which threatens the foundations of religion, morality and society. An attack was first made upon the Christian revelation; for which natural religion was offered as the substitute. The Gospel was to be discarded as a gross imposture; but the being and attributes of a GOD, the obligations of piety, even the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments were to be retained and cherished.
In proportion as success has appeared to attend the plan, a bolder project has been unfolded. The very existence of a Deity has been questioned, and in some instances denied. The duty of piety has been ridiculed, the perishable nature of man asserted and his hopes bounded to the short span of his earthly state. DEATH has been proclaimed an ETERNAL SLEEP-"the dogma of the immortality of the soul a cheat invented to torment the living for the benefit of the dead." Irreligion, no longer confined to the closets of concealed sophists, nor to the haunts of wealthy riot, has more or less displayed its hideous front among all classes.
Benjamin Franklin in 1768 wrote: Nothing can contribute to true happiness that is inconsistent with duty; nor can a course of action conformable to it, be finally without an ample reward. For, God governs; and he is good.
John Adams in 1787 wrote: Happiness, whether in despotism or democracy, whether in slavery or liberty, can never be found without virtue.
James Madison wrote in 1788: I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks-no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.
John Adams wrote in 1756: Honesty, sincerity, and openness I esteem essential marks of a good mind. I am, therefore, of opinion that men ought ... to avow their opinions and defend them with boldness.
Congress and President George Washington in 1789 passed the "United States Annotated Code", Article III states: Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
Patrick Henry declared:
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. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.
Thomas Jefferson wrote (March 23, 1801):
The Christian Religion, when divested of the rags in which they [the clergy] have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind.
James Madison wrote (1785):
It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage…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…
Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offense against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered."
James Madison wrote:
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 of 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
James Madison wrote:
Religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence;
And, therefore, that all men should enjoy the fullest toleration in the exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished and unrestrained by the magistrate, unless under color of religion any man disturb the peace, the happiness or safety of society, and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity toward each other.
President George Washington said the following excerpt from his Farewell Speech (1796):
Let it simply be asked where is the security for prosperity, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in the Courts of Justice?
And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.
Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.
The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of Free Government. Who that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it?…Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its virtue?
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my Administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend.
I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.
Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
This is a very one sided assessment designed to cast the Founders as irreligious, which they were not.
The "religious right," whatever that is, aren't rewriting history. The radical left, however, is doing its best to do so.
While the Founding Fathers clearly wanted nothing to do with a state church and questioned much of Christian dogma, they simply are not on record as having discounted Christianity or the Bible as strong influences in their lives and their importance as forming the basis of an enduring society.
Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
This is a very one sided assessment designed to cast the Founders as irreligious, which they were not. Most were Diests, but they often made statements that recognized the existance of God and the source of their morality being founded in Judeo-Christian tradition. America is not founded on Christianity or any other religion. The influence of Christianity on American law and culture is indisputable.
The "religious right," whatever that is, aren't rewriting history. The radical left, however, is doing its best to do so.
"Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass."
The five-term U.S. senator from Arizona was equally unimpressed with TV preacher Pat Robertson. When Robertson sought the GOP nomination for president in 1988, Goldwater wasn't about to say amen. "I believe in separation of church and state," observed Goldwater. "Now, he doesn't believe that . . . I just don't think he should be running."
A few years later he told The Advocate, "I don't have any respect for the Religious Right. There is no place in this country for practicing religion in politics. That goes for Falwell, Robertson and all the rest of these political preachers. They are a detriment to the country."
While some Americans might find Goldwater's stand against all interaction between religion and politics too sweeping, many would agree with his strong commitment to individual freedom of conscience on issues as diverse as religion in schools, gay rights or abortion. In 1994 he told The Los Angeles Times, "A lot of so-called conservatives don't know what the word means. They think I've turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right."
Goldwater, an Episcopalian, had theological differences with greedy TV preachers. "I look at these religious television shows," he said, "and they are raising big money on God. One million, three million, five million - they brag about it. I don't believe in that. It's not a very religious thing to do."
But Goldwater was also deeply worried about the Religious Right's long-term impact on his beloved GOP. "If they succeed in establishing religion as a basic Republican Party tenet," he told U.S. News & World Report in 1994, "they could do us in." In an interview with The Post that same year, Goldwater observed, "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."
But most importantly, Goldwater was deeply concerned about the Religious Right's relentless war on the Constitution and basic American freedoms. In a Sept. 15, 1981 senate speech, Goldwater noted that Falwell's Moral Majority, anti-abortion groups and other Religious Right outfits were sometimes referred to in the press as the "New Right" and the "New Conservatism." Responded Goldwater, "Well, I've spent quite a number of years carrying the flag of the 'Old Conservatism.' And I can say with conviction that the religious issues of these groups have little or nothing to do with conservative or liberal politics. The uncompromising position of these groups is a divisive element that could tear apart the very spirit of our representative system, if they gain sufficient strength." Insisted Goldwater, "Being a conservative in America traditionally has meant that one holds a deep, abiding respect for the Constitution. We conservatives believe sincerely in the integrity of the Constitution. We treasure the freedoms that document protects. . . "By maintaining the separation of church and state," he explained, "the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars . . . Can any of us refute the wisdom of Madison and the other framers? Can anyone look at the carnage in Iran, the bloodshed in Northem Ireland, or the bombs bursting in Lebanon and yet question the dangers of injecting religious issues into the affairs of state?"
Goldwater concluded with a warning to the American people. "The religious factions will go on imposing their will on others," [ he said,] "unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives. . . We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now" [ he insisted]. "To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic."
from CHURCH & STATE July / August 1998
Originally posted by Odium
What do people make of this article? I myself am not overly sure about it, however I do find it interesting and a different view point which I have not seen mentioned before.
Canon law is the body of laws and regulations made by or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members.
Originally posted by Odium
What do people make of Louisiana using the Cannon Law system then?
Originally posted by Odium
What do people make of Louisiana using the Canon Law system then?