You’re probably aware of the countless and increasing instances in which our government is ceasing to acknowledge God as our creator God and to allow any display of religious expression in the public spaces. These efforts range everything from banning nativity scenes in the town square to prohibiting the prayer using Jesus’ name at high school football games.
Well, what all these efforts have in common is they are built upon the principle of the separation of church and state. Listen long enough and you’ll become convinced that the foundational bedrock principle of this nation was that this nation needs to be protected from religion. I realize it is politically incorrect to say this, but it is nevertheless true. America was founded as a Christian nation.
UNCOVER THE CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION OF AMERICA
Let’s look and see what the record of history says. The politically incorrect truth is, the vast majority of the men that founded our nation were evangelical Christians. In fact, 52 out of the 55 signers of the constitution, the framers of the constitution, were evangelical believers. These very same men went on to form organizations like the American Bible Society, the American Tract Society, and the Philadelphia Bible Society. These men were hardly neutral toward Christianity.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
Every state had their own articles of qualification for what it would take to hold office in that state and what it would take to qualify to go to the constitutional convention. Article 22 of the constitution of Delaware said … “every person who shall be chosen a member of either house or appointed to any office or place of trust shall make and subscribe to the following declaration. I do profess faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ his Holy Son and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blest forevermore and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures to the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.”
That is not particular to Delaware. Many of our state constitutions said the very same thing. The very same people who crafted those kind of requirements are the people who attended our constitutional convention. We are told over and over again that our country’s founders were secularists, deists, sprinkled with a few Christians who came to this nation seeking above all other things to build an unscalable wall between the government and Christianity. And most importantly, they wanted to compartmentalize Christianity to the church and to the home. They wanted Christianity to have no influence whatsoever in public policy. That version of American history belongs in the same category as the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. It is complete fiction.
TESTIMONIES FROM OUR FOUNDING FATHERS
From George Washington’s diary:
“Let my heart, gracious God, be so affected with Your glory and majesty that I may discharge those weighty duties which Thou requirest of me. Again I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins. For the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered on the cross for me. Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me and has given me assurance of salvation.”
Patrick Henry, responsible for the Bill of Rights:
“Being a Christian is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast.”
John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States:
“In the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior. The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
What about the wall of separation between church and state? Did you know a recent poll demonstrated that 67% of Americans believe the phrase separation of church and state is found in the first amendment of the constitution? That phrase isn’t found in the first amendment or anywhere else in the constitution. In the year 1800, Thomas Jefferson was the newly elected President of the United States. A group of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut heard the rumor that Thomas Jefferson was going to establish the congregational denomination as the state denomination.
They wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson protesting this rumor that the congregational church was going to be the state church. And so Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1802 wrote this letter to the Baptists.
“I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no all respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof thus building a wall of separation between church and state.’”
Jefferson was referring to an establishment of a denomination, not a religion. The First Amendment that prohibits government from establishing a particular religion deals with denominations not faiths. He was saying, we’re not going to make one denomination the state denomination. More importantly, what I want you to see is, Thomas Jefferson used this phrase to reassure Christians that government would do nothing to prohibit their free exercise of religion.