A Christian nation

To the Contrary

Special to The HeraldNovember 29, 2008 

Prior to the elections, I had written a letter to the editor lamenting the fact that America lacks a candidate and a party that are focused on returning to the solid foundation laid by Godly men who displayed a wisdom lacking in our leaders of today. A rebuttal was written stating that the founding fathers were men of little faith, committed to the idea of the separation of church and state as stated in the First Amendment. I would like to address this issue with the historical facts.

I urge you to verify this information on your own. Please research the source documents and not the revisionist history appearing in more recent writings, especially schoolbooks. They have been systematically purged of the facts surrounding our Christian beginnings.

If the founding fathers did not want the Christian Bible and religion taught in our public schools, why didn't they remove it immediately? It was 180 years later, 1962, when the Supreme Court reversed our history. The First Amendment, ratified in 1791, reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Religion in 1791 was defined in the writings of the convention as "a single national denomination."

"Separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the Constitution. Fisher Ames, author of the First Amendment, wrote an article in 1801 entitled "School Books." His concern was that by adding so many new textbooks in schools, there would not be enough time for the Bible. He said we must make sure the Bible regained its proper place of pre-eminence in the classroom!

Gouvernor Morris, who physically wrote the Constitution, also wrote: "Religion is the only solid basis for good morals. Therefore, education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man to God."

Revisionists

Revisionist historians would have us believe that the founding fathers were not religious men, but of the 250 founding fathers, perhaps a dozen were not Christian. Of the 56 signers to the Declaration of Independence, 27 had seminary degrees. Our founding fathers started 121 Bible societies. Congress in 1782 commissioned the first English-language printing of the Bible in America. Why? Printed on the cover page of this Bible is "for the use of schools."

Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was considered one of the three most influential Founding Fathers. He is called the Father of Public Schools under the Constitution; therefore, we should pay attention to his "A Defense of the Use of the Bible as a School Book."

John Adams wrote in 1798: "We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Christian founders

There is overwhelming evidence supporting the fact that America was founded by Christian men as a Christian nation. Read, the "Mayflower Compact," George Washington's "Farewell address" (make sure you go to the source documents), Article 3 of "The Northwest Ordinance" of 1789. Read "Democracy In America" written in 1832 by Alexis de Tocqueville and "The United States: A Christian Nation," 1905, by David J. Brewer, associate justice of the Supreme Court. Read the Charters of the first colonies and the original state constitutions.

Here is an excerpt from the Constitution of the State of North Carolina (1776): "There shall be no establishment of any one religious church or denomination in this state in preference to any other ... That no person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State."

In 1835, the word "Protestant" was changed to "Christian."

Nearly all of the original state constitutions contained similar language. America was founded on Christianity, but Americans are free to practice the religion of their choice. Patrick Henry wrote in 1776, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason, alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."

This weekly column features opposing views from readers. These opinions are contrary to those expressed on this page or which otherwise take issue with something that appears in The Herald. All commentaries submitted become the property of The Herald and may be republished in any format.

Steve Bellavita is a Fort Mill resident.

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