Everywhere in America today one hears that America is not a Christian nation. They say that the founding fathers were Deist or Agnostic or Atheist or anything but Christian. While it is true that some of the more prominent ones weren’t Christian in the traditional sense, over 90% of the founding fathers were either openly, avowedly Christian, or seemingly Christian, or had made statements in support of Christianity.
The Constitution of America did not just miraculously arise without any kind of articles of law being published in America before that time. Some of the prior documents that influenced the later Constitution in 1787 were the Mayflower Compact (1620) which showed that the Pilgrims had undertaken their voyage to the new world “for the glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith.”
The Constitution of Connecticut was penned in 1639, and a Christian minister – Rev. Thomas Hooker, was the driving force behind that document.
Basically all the colonies, and what later would become states, based their legal codes upon a Christian legal foundation. These all played important roles in the later writing of the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Second Continental Congress, who made the Declaration of Independence in 1776, did a very interesting thing – they formally sought for an American printer for the Holy Bible, and eventually found a willing printer who would print what would become to be known as the “Aitken Bible”.
Aitken’s Bible was completed by early September 1782. Congress passed the following resolution on September 12: “the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interests of religion … , and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States.” This means that with a congressional endorsement, Aitken’s Bible was the first English-language Bible published in North America.
Over half of the signers of the Constitution had gone to seminary to receive Christian religious training. Charles Thomson was the long time Secretary of Congress in the early days, and an accomplished theologian. His translation of the Septuagint, the Greek New Testament in 1808, was the first translation of the New Testament directly from the Greek into English ever written. All previous English New Testaments were translated from the Latin.
The Northwest Ordinance, which was made by the Continental Congress in 1787, determined how the states would be admitted into the Union. The first article assured the freedom of worship, and the third article placed the government in the role of insuring a special place for “religion” in America: “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Of course in those days, “religion” was synonymous with “Christianity”.
It is interesting too to note that the individual states had to ratify the Constitution in order to make it into binding law. 11 of the 13 states had state recognized churches, so the new federal government was not needed or wanted in taking over the states’ power in the religious realm.
Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are usually triumphantly held up by Agnostics and Atheists as proof that the founding fathers were not Christian and did not intend to instill Christian principles into the U.S. Constitution. However, Franklin signed Pennsylvania’s Constitution in 1776 which said: “I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and the punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.”
Thomas Jefferson had an eclectic view, seemingly his own private religion. It can be fairly said that while he rejected all the miracles regarding Jesus, and many of the doctrines to be found in the Bible, he very much loved the teachings of Jesus that he considered “pure”, and even went so far as to try and promulgate those teachings. He wrote in 1821: “…Jesus, when, in short, we shall have unlearned every thing which has been taught since his day, and got back to the pure and simple doctrines he inculcated, we shall then be truly and worthily his disciples: and my opinion is that if nothing had ever been added to what flowed purely from his lips, the whole world would at this day have been Christian.” Some have said his views align somewhat with the Unitarian denomination.
Patrick Henry, in 1776, stated, “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 that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.”
Ellen White has written that America is the “greatest country on earth”, and makes it clear that it is because America introduced the ideals of the Bible into the country in a way superior to any other country.
May we repent as a nation for our many sins and turning away from our Creator – Jesus Christ, and may we stand up and tell others how great things God has done for us as a nation!