By Mike Griffith, Staff Writer
Presuming to speak for all Americans, during his recent visit to Turkey, President Obama stated that we Americans do not consider ourselves, America, to be a Christian nation, but just a nation of citizens. Our founding fathers and the great leaders who followed them would be disappointed and puzzled by this claim, to say the least.
John Adams, a key figure in the American Revolution and our second President, said that the principles upon which we achieved independence were "the general principles of Christianity":
“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. . . . I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and the attributes of God.” (Letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 28, 1813)
In his first inaugural address, President Adams said,
“I feel it to be my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of a people who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service, can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.” (First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1797)
John Jay, the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, appointed by George Washington, called America a Christian nation:
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." (Letter to Jedidiah Morse, February 28, 1797)
Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and who later served in the administrations of George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison, had this to say on the matter:
"Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammed inculcated upon our youth, than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles. But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament." (Of the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic, 1798, pp. 87-89)
In his famous Farewell Address to the Nation, George Washington warned that religion and morality were crucial for our political prosperity:
“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. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in 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.” (Farewell Address, September 17, 1796)
And on and on and on and on we could go. I could continue for several pages citing statements like the above from our founding fathers and from early American leaders who followed them. I could also cite the Supreme Court’s exhaustive–and unanimous–Holy Trinity v. U.S. decision in 1892, which delcared America to be a Christian nation.
President Obama may not believe America is a Christian nation, but early American leaders had a much different view. Revisionist historians are fond of quoting a carefully selected handful of early statements, such as the Treaty of Tripoli, to try to prove otherwise, but the record is clear that America was founded as a Christian nation. It should be noted that polls show that most Americans view America as a Christian nation as well. So, I would say to Barack Obama, "Mr. President, you’re wrong–and next time, please speak for yourself."
Visit Mike Griffith’s Real Issues Home Page