AMERICA'S CHRISTIAN HERITAGE
George Washington once said: "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States." Washington masterfully expressed the cry of each founding father's heart, for America has a Godly heritage, a Christian heritage. America's founding fathers knew Christian principles and values were the only ideal and feasible tenets on which to found a nation. The public and private statements, beliefs, and personal practices of each of these men demonstrate America's Christian heritage.
The founding fathers' original intentions are easy to cite when studying their actions and statements, such as the following one by Thomas Jefferson: "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we remove their only true basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? On June 28, l787, the Constitutional Convention was halted due to disagreements. Benjamin Franklin reminded the men that earlier, when in danger from Great Britain, they had earnestly prayed for the "Divine protection" and their prayers were heard and "graciously answered." Franklin was quick to admonish those first leaders that a nation must not forget to ask God for His blessings in the time of peace, as well as in the time of war. In another instance, Washington admired John Jay's Christian integrity so greatly that he appointed him as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Jay, one of the first supporters of the American Bible Society, fervently insisted that God must be our source for success as a nation. Without His blessings, all men's efforts will amount to nothing. John Adams, the second president, stated in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, that Independence was only achieved through Christian principles. Adams' words exemplified the attitude held by virtually all the founding fathers. Finally, George Washington used four of these major points in his famous Farewell Address, to warn those who would claim patriotism without religion and morality as supports. Each of these men knew that God would not watch over a nation which did not honor Him in its beliefs and practices.
These men were careful to obey God in deed as well as in word. Several were members of the American Tract Society. In the Society's first volume, printed in 1813, several of the published tracts were written by signers of the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-two of the fifty-five founding fathers who developed the Constitution were members of orthodox Christian churches. Like his parents, John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, read his Bible each day and devoted the study of several of its chapters to his morning duties. Presidents and leaders like this upstanding man who devoted the first portion of the day to God, determined the precepts that the American people would hold dearest. Are not the values, principles, practices, and statements of the individuals who form a nation the most accurate indication of the nation's heritage and foundation? Only in the United States, where Christians held the beliefs of the nation together, could our national anthem have the following truthful lines contained in its final verses:
In the words of William Penn, "If we are not governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants." May we always be governed by God.
(Copyright 1996 Christian Heritage Ministries)