America: A Christian Nation
Supreme Court Decision: Holy Trinity v. United States (1892)
“No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, State or national, because this is a religious people … This is a Christian nation.
There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic [legal, governmental] utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people. … 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.”
Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S.; 143 U.S. 457, 458 (1892), 465, 470, 471.
Proclamation by George Washington Issued on October 3, 1789
“Whereas 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 humbly to implore His protection and favor . . . Now, therefore, I do recommend . . . that we may all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection . . . And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions . . . to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue.”
Washington, Writings (1838) Vol. XII, pp. 119-120, October 3, 1789. See also James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897 (Published by the Authority of Congress, 1899), VOl. I, p. 64, October 3, 1789. OI-115.
George Washington: Speech to Delaware Indian Chiefs on June 12, 1779
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and 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, The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1932), Vol. XV, p. 55. OI-270.
George Washington’s Farewell Address
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.”
George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States . . . Preparatory to his Declination (Baltimore: George and Henry S. Keatinge, 1796), pp. 22-23. OI-309.
“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 of the 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, Notes on the State of Virgina (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1794), Query XVIII, p. 237. MS-176.
“In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine protection. Our prayers, sir were heard, and they were graciously answered . . . I therefore beg leave to move–that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business.”
James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree & O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, p. 984-986, June 28, 1787.
“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.”
James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, Henry D. Gilpin, editor (Washington: Langtree & O’Sullivan, 1840), Vol. II, p. 985, June 28, 1787.
John Jay — First Chief Justice of the United States
“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.”
William Jay, The Life of John Jay (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833), Vol. II, p.376, to John Murray, Jr. on October 12, 1816. OI-334.
“Only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation.”
John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, p.52, to Lindley Murray on August 22, 1794. OI-168.
John Adams: Thanksgiving Proclamation
“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgement of this truth is not only an indispensible duty which the people owe to Him . . . I have therefore thought fit to recommend . . . a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer that the citizens of these States . . . offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies.”
John Adams, Works, Volume IX, p. 169, proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on March 23, 1798.
From two of the most scholarly, well documented books I have ever read, Original Intent and The Myth of Separation by David Barton, available from http://www.wallbuilders.com
Misunderstandings About the Tripoli Treaty of 1797
Some people say that the Tripoli Treaty of 1797 states clearly that the United States is NOT a Christian nation. Here’s what it said, and here’s what I think. It said …
…the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen …
This is just my humble opinion, but … like noses, everyone has one.
I think the key to understanding this is context. What is the context? Judging from history, the context seems to be the “Christianity” of Europe which attacked Muslims (Musselmen) during the Crusades and other times. It appears that the treaty was worded in such a way as to give the Muslims great assurance that America is not like those European nations who called themselves “Christian” yet attacked them mercilessly. The American founders detested government control by “Christian institutions,” yet most of them were strong, Protestant Christians themselves, showing their Christian committment in numerous ways–from founding colleges at Harvard, Princeton and Yale for the express purpose of training Christian preachers to go throughout all the land, to forming Bible Societies to help get Bibles distributed everywhere, to having prayer meetings in Congress, to carving Bible verses in stone, etc, etc, etc.
So it seems to me that this treaty could really have been worded …
…the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion [of Europe] as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen …
and it seems that the reason “of Europe” was not inserted in the language was because everyone understood what their meaning was and there was no need to insert this.
Is that an unreasonable opinion?
DEBATE ON “CHRISTIAN AMERICA” AT THE DAWKINS FORUM HERE