Hey, Secularists: Our Founders Respected Christianity — Get Over It

Written by Steve Pauwels on July 6, 2013

“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. … [W]hat is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” –James Madison

Their treasured nations’ ongoing “happiness and prosperity”? These 18th-century colossi insistently pegged that to its people’s and leaders’ fealty to a holy God and His precepts.

“We have no government … capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion,” admonished John Adams. “Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

In his renowned September 1796 Farewell Address, President Washington echoed Adams’ cautionary counsel (“Religion and morality are indispensable supports … to political prosperity”); as did Adams’ eventual successor Jefferson (“Liberty to worship our Creator … [is] proved by our experience to be [good government’s] best support”); as did, some years later, Chief Justice Joseph Story in his Commentaries (Paraphrase: Religion and public worship neglected? Government imperiled.)

Puzzled to spy Franklin and Jefferson among this religion-esteeming assembly? Don’t be. The revisionist academics have sloppily (mendaciously?) caricatured them as anti-Gospel skeptics, the platonic ideal of pre-modern “Deists”. Hardly on target.

The inexcusable distortion of these men and their peers as bewigged versions of today’s “Freedom From Religion Foundation” has never been historically defensible. Yes, they abhorred the prospect of a National Church. Clearly, several of them hypocritically fell short of the very Bible-saturated standards they espoused — as did the nation, from the get-go.

But table-pounding pronouncements that Washington, Madison, Jefferson, et. al., would have snarled at prayer offered before a football game or a Bible passage read in a classroom or Christmas songs caroled on the town green? Fact-challenged, historically insupportable preposterosities, all of them.

It’s not all that complicated: God played the central role in the universe’s founding – so He played the central role in America’s. Our genius Founding Fathers got that point, even if so many of our contemporary “geniuses” don’t.

Image: US Postage Stamp, Washington at Prayer, 1929 Issue, 2c; source US Post Office / Gwillhickers: public domain

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident.

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.