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JOHN PEARRELL: Can we accept our nation was founded on Christian principles?

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

"Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they cannot 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." Those are the words of Thomas Jefferson.

Since about 1963 revisionist historians have worked very hard to convince us that our nation was not founded upon Christian principles. They have argued that our Founding Fathers were not Christian at all and that those of us who persist in insisting they were simply do not understand history. Really?

Since this is July 4th weekend, let's look at some of the statements of those "non-Christian" founding fathers. Let's start with Benjamin Franklin, who I think we can all agree was probably the most irreligious of the bunch, according to modern accounts. This irreligious man in a letter to the French Ministry in March of 1778 wrote, "He who shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world." Now why in the world would such an irreligious man utter such a religious statement? Unless, of course, Mr. Franklin was not as irreligious as modern historians contend.

Then there is Thomas Jefferson, whose letter to the Danbury Baptist Association has become the basis of the modern dogma of separation of church and state. I might add that this phrase which we banter around so glibly today not only isn't a part of the Constitution, but is actually a perversion by isolation and exclusion of Jefferson's actual words. He wrote, "The first amendment had erected a wall of separation, but that wall is a one directional wall; it makes sure that the government will not run the church but it also makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government." (Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association Jan. 1, 1802).

We are told by modern historians that Jefferson was not a Christian but a Deist. While certainly Deism was a prevalent philosophy of the day, I find such a contention that Jefferson was a Deist hard to support when one reads what the man himself wrote, such as, "The reason that Christianity is the best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion in the world that deals with the heart."

George Washington, the Father of our Country, stated in his farewell address, "Do not let anyone claim to be a true American if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics."

Patrick Henry, politician and statesman said, "It cannot be emphasized too often or too strongly that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

John Quincy Adams said, "The highest glory of the American Revolution was that it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil Government with the principles of Christianity."

I could go on and on with such quotes. Volumes have been written on this subject and any honest student must recognize the Christian foundation upon which our country was built. I guess the only question is, will we accept the evidence of history and the testimony of those who lived it, or will we, for our own purposes, rewrite that history to suit our own anti-religious biases?

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org.