I wrote this awhile back for an online class I was taking...thought today a good day to share it.
IN GOD WE TRUST
Our country is founded on religious values. Not many people know that the basis for our constitution and founding documents come from the Bible and religious motivations. Many school textbooks gloss right over any mention of the roots from which our country grew. Look around and you will see many examples of religion. As close as the dollar bill in your pocket you will see “In God We Trust” on the bill. The Ten Commandments are posted in courthouses. The Commandments are also the basis of many of our laws. The founding fathers wrote documents based on their beliefs and relied on guidance from God as they worked diligently to form our country.
President Woodrow Wilson said:
A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we don’t know where we have come from or what we have been about.
Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence signed because they were pursuing religious liberty. The King would not allow them to have a Bible society, a missionary society, or church. Most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were deeply religious. By looking at what they wrote in correspondence or official business one can see the threads of religion and faith woven in. Many of their activities promoted Christianity. Several signers of the Declaration of Independence started the Sunday School movement, along with Bible and missionary societies.
Ben Franklin, one of the least religious of the founding fathers still recommended teaching Christianity in the public schools in Pennsylvania, and worked to increase church attendance across the country. In 1800 when the leaders moved into the capital, one of the first things they did was to approve the capital to be used as a church. Jefferson even had the US Marine core band play at a church service at the capital. It does not appear that the founders had any intention of keeping religion out of public life. John Hancock called for prayer for those to come know Jesus Christ. The founding fathers displayed numerous religious writings and activities promoting Christianity. Ninety-five percent of the signers of the Declaration were strong Christians and have writings to prove it.
American history was taught including this information until about 1900. School children would learn about each of the signers of the Declaration. Children would know who each signer was and what they stood for. In the early days of our country, the Bible was the text school children used to learn to read. Since the early 1900’s we have been slowly moving away from teaching the religious roots of our country. In the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s we started looking at history in a way that left God out of the picture. By the 1960’s all that was taught was an economic, or money related, history. The reasons our current history books give for the birth of our country are purely economic. If we pay attention to history we know that there were economic reasons for coming to America, but they were not as important as religious freedom. Colonists came to promote the gospel, not to search for gold.
George Bancroft was called the father of American history. He taught that God’s providence in history is as important as the events that happened. Thirty-four quotes the Founders made were taken directly from the Bible. Congress oversaw and approved the first printing of the Bible in America. The Liberty Bell has its name because of the verse inscribed on it; Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land, to all the inhabitants thereof.” The New England Primer from 1777 uses Bible stories and examples from the Bible to teach children. Do these sound like examples of a country founded on non-religious beliefs? Or one that seeks to separate itself from any influence of religion?
It’s important to understand where we came from and the intentions that the founders had for our country. Our country is unique to others around the world. We started with a ragtag band of patriots, an army of farmers and merchants, and birthed a country that became a super power. The founders had good reasons for designing our country the way they did. They knew we needed balance in government as well as a moral compass to guide them. Now, it’s up to the citizens today to honor what they created.
John Adams, second president of the U.S. and co-author of the Declaration, said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other”.
Kaufman, Matt. "Founding Documents: Shaped In and By Faith." Citizen Nov. 2011: 4-5.
The American Heritage Series. Perf. David Barton. Wallbuilders, 2007. DVD.