Faith of our Founding Fathers

Does the United States of America owe its proud heritage to a Judeo-Christian perspective? Were our Founding Fathers Secularists? Deists? Merriam-Webster defines “deist” as “a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe”. In other words, a deist is someone who believes that a Creator started the universe, and then walked off and found better things to do with His time and doesn’t care to interfere with the affairs of men. Although many people commonly believe that the Founding Fathers, notably Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, were deists, their own words show that nothing could be further from the truth.

Perhaps the following quotes from our Founding Fathers (and other notable historical figures) will help shed light on their revolutionary perspective.


“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!”
John Adams – 1756

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
John Adams – 1798

“We ought to be led by religious feelings of gratitude; and to walk before Him in all humility, according to His most Holy Law . . .and humbly supplicate our Heavenly Father to grant us the aids of His grace . . . and vouchsafe His smiles upon our temporal concerns.”
Samuel Adams – 1795

“I rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.”
Samuel Adams

“It being our incumbent duty to acknowledge God in all our ways and to commit all our affairs, both public and private, to all His all wise direction and guidance.”
James Bowdoin
, Governor of Massachusetts – 1776

“On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.”
Charles Carroll, Maryland Senator; the only Roman Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence

“No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.”
Chief Justice Chase – US Supreme Court, 1861

“When the Nazis came to power, I looked to the universities that prided themselves upon their intellectual freedom, and they failed me. I looked to the German press, which prided itself on the freedom of the press, and it failed me. Until at last the churches stood alone, and that for which I once had little regard earned my respect.”
Albert Einstein – after World War II.

“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.”
Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention – June 28, 1787

“The goodness of the Supreme Being to all His rational creatures demands their acknowledgments of gratitude and love; His absolute government of the world dictates that it is the interest of every nation and people ardently to supplicate His favor and implore His protection.”
John Hancock, First signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Governor of Massachusetts – 1782

“An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle Sir, is not to the strong alone. 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, First governor of Virginia

“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.”
Patrick Henry, First governor of Virginia

“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.”
Thomas Jefferson, Draftsman of the Declaration of Independence, Chairman of the American Bible Society, Third President of the U.S. – 1781

“I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator.”
Thomas Jefferson, Written on the inside cover of his Bible

“It is fit and becoming in all people, at all times, to acknowledge and revere the Supreme Government of God; to bow in humble submission to His chastisement; to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and to pray, with all fervency and contrition, for the pardon of their past offenses, and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action.”
Abraham Lincoln – Declaring a National Day of Prayer and Fasting following the Battle of Bull Run

“It is the duty of nations to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scripture, and proven by all history that, ‘Those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.'”
Abraham Lincoln

“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.”
James Madison – The Father of the U.S. Constitution

“To a people who believe the superintending Providence of the Divine Being over all human affairs, that even a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His permission, it will not be unexpected that their civil rulers should call upon them . . . to seek the Divine protection and assistance.”
Massachusetts Governing Council – 1780

“To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“My only hope of salvation is in the infinite transcendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the Cross.”
Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence

“I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God.”
Roger Sherman, Connecticut legislator; Author of the “Great Compromise”, which led to bi-cameral legislature and dual representation.

“I subscribe to the doctrines of the Christian religion and the divinity of the Person and the completeness of the redemption purchased by the blessed Savior.”
Richard Stockton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“Our Laws and our Institutions must necessarily be based upon the teachings of the Redeemer of Mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent, our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”
U.S. Supreme Court – Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, 470 (1892)

“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.”
George Washington

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports… In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens… Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
George Washington – September 17, 1796

“The propitious favorable smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained”
George Washington

“You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.”
George Washington to the Delaware Indians who brought their sons to Washington for education

“It is our indispensable duty to implore the blessing of Heaven upon all occasions.”
John Wentworth
, Governor of New Hampshire – 1775

“I entreat you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other.”
John Witherspoon, the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence.

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