The Charter of our Nation and the Men Who Wrote It
"Where the Sprit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
2 Corinthians 3:17
From the European discovery of the continent of America to the Charter of what is what we know as the United States of America; God, Christianity and the Bible have been integral to our identity as both a people and a country. The original pilgrims were a very religious group and came to the Americas in an attempt to flee religious and political persecution. Many believed the the Anglican split from the Catholic church had not gone far enough and in order to escape both churches authority they fled first to Holland and then to the Americas. The pilgrims were actually comprised of two groups of thoughts. A portion of the original pilgrims were a part of the Puritan movement. These people believed that God only communicated to humans through the Bible and that only through Biblical scholarship could one reach Heaven. This group with their narrow thoughts were responsible fro the Salem witch hunts and other atrocities. The puritan movement died out in the late 1600's in large part due to the influence of the Quaker movement. The Quakers believed that all men could communicate with God through inner light and a strong knowledge of the Bible was not the key to Heaven. This thought process is more in line with the modern Christian churches belief in the Holy Spirit and redemption through Jesus Christ. Below you will find an excerpt from the Mayflower Compact which is the first document forming a government type entity in the Americas. The wording proves that these original American immigrants came here proclaiming a profound faith in God.
The Mayflower Compact
"In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, by the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc.
Haveing undertaken, for the glorie of God, and advancemente of the Christian faith, and honour of our king and countrie, a voyage to plant the first colonie in the Northerne parts of Virginia, doe by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine our selves togeather into a civill body politick, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by vertue hereof to enacte, constitute and frame shuch just and equall lawes, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meete and convenient for the generall good of the Colonie, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witnes whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cap-Codd the .11. of November, in the year of the raigne of our soveraigne lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fiftie-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620" (Wheelwright, 32-33)
Many other documents were written in the formation of this country which referenced to God and government but the most important was the Declaration of Independence. This document which is the first and most important document forming this country makes more than one reference to God. Below you can read the opening lines in which you will see that God was at the forefront of our founding fathers thoughts.
"In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Many people still debate whether our country was founded on Christian principles. I find it impossible to read the words of our founding fathers and not see that they believed in God. To add further proof of our founding fathers intentions I have included some other quotes from their writings that were independent from the official documents forming this great republic.
"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 for the government of any other"
"Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not violated but with his wrath?"
My final argument in this lesson on our founding fathers intentions is the 1892 case of Church of the Holy Trinity vs. United States. In this landmark case the Supreme Court ruled that the church has precedent over state and federal law. Below is the official court opinion written by Justice Brewer in which he states that this is "a Christian Nation." Justice Brewer quoted many examples of our connection to Christianity from court cases that supported Biblical principles to the documents that our country was founded on. He even quoted an argument from the state of Pennsylvania that stated that the defense of Christianity was necessary and that religions such as that of Islam was not.
"no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation.
These and many other matters, which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation." (Holy Trinity Church vs. United States. 143 U.S. 457,465, 471 Feb 29, 1892)
The Supreme Court of the United States of America found this to be "a Christian nation." Why has this obvious fact been abandoned in the present day? I believe that if we don't find our way back to the principles on which our nation was founded then our country will perish into chaos and lose its world dominating position.
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