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HISTORIC REVISIONISM: Our Government Is NOT And Was NEVER Intended To Be Secular

And That Is Per The Words Of The Men Who Framed It

This is a subject that comes up more and more frequently these days.  If you pay attention, you will hear the claims such as “Our founders were not Christians.”  Or you will hear something like “The founders deliberately designed a secular government.”  And worse, you will hear people saying that they have a right to freedom from religion and that this means the government must be secular.  It is sad that the majority of those who make such claims also think they are grounded in logic and reason.  It is sad because the truth is that none of these claims are true, and that means nothing about them is grounded in reason.  It is sadder still that this is not my opinion; it is the bold and clear assertion of the men whose character is being maligned and whose history is being re-written to push these lies.  And that leads to the most ironic aspect of this issue.  The people pushing these lies are actually doing the very thing they claim they want protection from: using the government to push their religion onto the whole of the American people.

Let me start by sharing just a couple stories that illustrate the problem:

Ron Reagan’s Candid Radio Ad: ‘Not Afraid of Burning in Hell’

“I’m Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and I’m alarmed by the intrusions of religion into our secular government,” he proclaims in the radio spot, which is airing all month on “The Randi Rhodes’ Show,” a progressive radio program.

Atheists Protest Nativity Scene by Erecting a Big Lighted ‘A’ Symbol — and That’s Not All

The banner reads: “At this season of the Winter Solstice, we celebrate the birth of the Unconquered Sun — the TRUE reason for the season. As Americans, let us also honor the birth of our Bill of Rights, which reminds us there can be no freedom OF religion, without having freedom FROM religion in government.”

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It is fitting that these people should invoke Jefferson, Adams and Franklin and our Bill of Rights, because there can be no better or more damming witnesses against their claim than these three men and the Bill of Rights.  So let’s start here, with the idea that these men did not believe in God and that they wanted a secular government and freedom from religion.

First, it needs to be pointed out that, if these men are correct, then they have no rights and no liberty save that which the government grants them.  And, if the government gives them, the government can take them away which – by definition – means they are neither rights nor liberty at all.  True rights and liberty are found only in God, and Franklin said so:

“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.”

–Benjamin Franklin

So did Jefferson:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

–Thomas Jefferson

And so did Adams:

“You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments: rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the universe.”

–John Adams

With those words, all three men testify that they both believe in God and that our rights and liberty come from Him and cannot exist apart from Him.  What’s more, with these words, all three men testify that they were not Deists.  A Deist believes in a ‘watch maker’ god, and a watch maker god has no interest in the affairs of man.  And a god with no interest in the affairs of man cannot and does not grant rights and liberty.  Rights and liberty can only be secured by a God who is involved in the affairs of man and Who will judge us in the next life according to how we treat each other in this life.

This bring us to the second point that we need to understand: that our founders knew a free and self-governing nation can only exist if its people are moral, and that morality is only found in religion.  Here again, all three of the men these Atheist have chosen to represent their cause testify against them:

“Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.”

–John Adams

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

–Benjamin Franklin

“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” 

–Thomas Jefferson

But what did these three men think about Christianity?  Once more, I let them testify for themselves:

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.

–John Adams

“[My views on Christianity] are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.”

–Thomas Jefferson

“Here is my creed.  I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe.  That he governs it by his Providence.  That he ought to be worshiped.  That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children.  That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion.”

 “As to Jesus of Nazareth … I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see;…”

–Benjamin Franklin

So there remains but one point left to discredit: that the men who said these things would then turn and design a secular government.  That is more difficult to do, not because they wanted a secular government, but because the proof they did not is found in their actions and not their words.  Jefferson started Sunday worship services in the capital building and attended for years.  Perhaps the best evidence that the Bill of Rights was never intended to prevent religion from being a part of our government is found in the words of those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added – and even then they warned that it would not be sufficient to stop people such as modern Atheists from destroying the rights and liberty they sought to protect:

“Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is impossible that a nation of infidels or idolaters should be a nation of freemen. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”

–Patrick Henry

“The only foundation for… a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

–Dr. Benjamin Rush

It was because of men such as Hamilton and Rush that the Bill of Rights was written, and anyone who reads the notes from that time will know the 1st Amendment was intended to prohibit the federal government from ever doing what the Atheists are now demanding it do: favor one religion over another.  And yes, Atheism is a religion, and has been recognized as such by the Supreme Court.  So they are guilty of advocating a State-sponsored religion in the name of being ‘free from all religion.’  What they want is the government to trample on the rights of the majority so they can appease their conscience, and the founders had a few words about people who do just this sort of thing.  I start with the closest kin to themselves, Thomas Paine:

“An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates his duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

–Thomas Paine

“What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.”

–Thomas Jefferson

“No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.”

–Thomas Jefferson

“Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

–Thomas Jefferson

“A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

–Benjamin Franklin

These Atheists are advocating that the rights of others be trampled so they can enjoy something to which they have no right.  There is no ‘right’ to be free of religion, nor of offense or any such thing.  One has the right not to listen, or to walk away, but not to force another to be quiet.  This applies to religion.  The Atheists are not harmed by people living their faith – even in government.  But those who are of a different faith are harmed when the Atheists use government to silence all but their own religion – as they are trying to do.  They are violating Natural Law — and the Constitution.  They are seeking to empower government to do that which they do not have the right to do themselves.  And they are seeking to destroy the rights — not of a minority — but of the majority in this nation.  And it is all in connection to their religion.  This is exactly what Franklin meant when he said:

It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

Now I ask you — and be honest with yourself — do you really think Jefferson, Adams and Franklin would have supported what these Atheists are trying to do?

[NOTE: I could have easily written ten times the number of pages with quotes just from these men saying the same thing over and over again.  If I expand out to the whole of the founders, I can fill books with words such as these — because the founders believed in God and did not intend for this nation to be ruled by a secular government.  It is the truth, which is why it is so easy to disprove these lies.]

ADDENDUM — ADDED May 8, 2017

TO THOSE WHO FOCUS ONLY ON JEFFERSON AND FRANKLIN

There have been many readers who have objected to my argument in this post.  Inevitably, they seem to want to focus on Jefferson and Franklin to make what they believe are definitive refutations of my argument.  Sadly, they do nothing of the sort.  Instead, all they do is prove to the rational reader that they are — at best — wholly ignorant of what our founders believed in this matter, and of what they clearly and forcefully spoke to it.  But I fear this is far too kind to the majority of people who use Franklin and Jefferson to refute the facts: that our founders were Christians, and that they did not intend to create a secular government.  No, sadly, it would appear that the majority of those making such arguments are not only irrational, but malevolent to the Truth.

Now, I just used harsh words to reject what has become a rather large part of the population.  Fortunately for me, while my sentiment may be opinion, the facts are not.  The Truth on this issue is a matter of public record, and I — not my objectors — happen to be standing with it.  Allow me to demonstrate.

First, there were more than 260 men who — collectively — are referred to as “the founders.”  Franklin and Jefferson are two of 260+, yet — for some irrational reason – they are treated as the only founders who mattered.  Since when does 0.01% of the whole speak for the whole?  It does not!  No, there is a reason that the people who object to the founders ignore everyone but Franklin and Jefferson.  It is because, in one way or another, nearly every one of the other 258+ founders expressly stated that God had a hand in the making of this nation, and that the government our founders created was meant for and would only work for a religious people.  But let’s set all this aside and look at the two men who are constantly singled out as “proof” this nation’s founders were not religious and wanted a secular government..

Franklin is the easiest to deal with.  He flat-out appealed to God, and not a ‘clock-maker’ God, but a God who pays attention to and works His will into the affairs of man.  What’s more, Franklin made this appeal in the Second Constitutional Convention.  More than that, he made this appeal to save the Convention at a time when it appeared it was doomed to fail.  Christian or not, this is absolute, irrefutable evidence that Franklin was not a ‘deist.’  In fact, it is “religion in government.”  Franklin was making an appeal to the God of the Bible when he said these words, and he did so as an official officer of his State (i.e. member of the Pennsylvania government).  This means Franklin not only stated his beliefs, he demonstrated them by his actions.  Anyone who comes along afterword and tries to change the clear meaning of Franklin’s words and deeds is not only a liar, but utterly contemptible: of the same sort as any slave owner in history.  I say that because, by trying to put words contrary to a man’s expressed beliefs into his mouth, a person seeks to seize ownership of the man’s will.  Therefore, by trying to make Franklin into a deist — when Franklin, himself, confessed that his beliefs did not meet that definition — is to seize ownership of Franklin’s will.  Not only is this fallacious (i.e. irrational), but it is utterly despicable: of the sort of action which civilized society should count right along side Hitler, Stalin and Mao!

This brings us to Jefferson.  Jefferson has been elevated to a position among our founders which he did not enjoy in his lifetime.  True, he penned the first draft of the Declaration, and we owe him a fair measure of gratitude for that.  But he did not pen the final draft: the draft that was approved and signed.  That was a collaborative work, a work that had been somewhat modified by Adams, Franklin, Sherman and Livingston even before it was presented for consideration by the entire body!

Next — and most important to the subject at hand — the whole body added the references to God in the second and last paragraphs!  These were not in Jefferson’s original draft:

We hold these truths to be [sacred and undeniable] selfevident, that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal creation they derive in rights inherent and inalienables,… [Jefferson]

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. [Entire Delegation]

And for the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. [Jefferson]

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. [Entire Delegation]

Understand, these references to the Creator are not “deist.”  They are an acknowledgement of a Creator Who pays attention to and acts in the affairs of man.

The body thought that it was important enough that they rejected Jefferson’s draft and added these words to the document.  This is an affirmative declaration that this nation was — at the very least — founded by religious men who looked to, pointed to and depended upon God to favor and aid them in their actions.  This is not “deism,” and that is by definition!  That means is is a fact and not opinion.  And anyone who argues with fact  is — by definition — irrational!

Now, it could be that the people who want to claim our founders were deists do not know the definition of the term — especially as it was understood in the founders’ time.  Unfortunately for these people, ignorance of the meaning of words does not make their objections true, it just adds to the weight of evidence against their argument!

I’ll end with one final note about Jefferson.  I have never stated that he was a Christian — not in the sense that Christ and the Apostles defined the term.  I merely quoted Jefferson saying that — by his understanding — he was a ‘Christian’ in that he (Jefferson) agreed with and tried to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, anyone who bothers to investigate will find that Jefferson’s religious beliefs seemed to vacillate throughout his lifetime.  However, for the majority of his life, Jefferson accepted the prevailing or ‘main stream’ views of Biblical teachings.  Now, what does this all mean?  Who can be sure?  But one thing we can know for sure is this: Jefferson was no deist.  heck, his quote on the Jefferson monument proves this.  Jefferson said he feared for this nation because he knew God was just and would not sit still forever.  That implies a God who watches and acts in the affairs of man, and that is no deist!  This means that Jefferson was — at best — confused as to what he believed or didn’t believe about God.  But the evidence shows that Jefferson did hold a general belief in the God of the Bible.

Now, for those who see with spiritual eyes, this is actually the most telling event of all.  Look at what happened during the formation of this nation.  Jefferson penned a draft of the Declaration which did not mention God, but his fellow countrymen rejected it and added God to the document in at least 2 prominent places.  Then, when the Constitution was being drafted, God saw to it that this religiously confused man was totally absent.  The best he could do was offer opinions — through Madison — from an ocean away (Remember, Jefferson was in France at the time).  That is just another of the many signs of God’s Providential hand acting in the formation of this nation — just as Madison said it did!

“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”

–James Madison

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32 responses to “HISTORIC REVISIONISM: Our Government Is NOT And Was NEVER Intended To Be Secular

  1. Pingback: This One’s For You, Don — Straight from the Founders’ Mouths :-) | The Rio Norte Line

  2. Pingback: HISTORIC REVISIONISM: Our Government Is NOT And Was NEVER Intended To Be Secular | Lightship Ministries

  3. Reblogged this on YouViewed/Editorial and commented:
    This post is the finest refutation of the oft-heard progressive notion that the Founding Fathers were not Christians and that they created a secular state because of their antipathy to religion . As will be seen , nothing could be further from the truth .

    In fact , our forefathers were quite direct in expressing their conviction that without Christian morals there can be no republic nor any liberty .

    Read this post if it’s the only thing you do all day .

  4. Richard M Nixon (Deceased)

    Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society and commented:
    This post is the finest refutation of the oft-heard progressive notion that the Founding Fathers were not Christians and that they created a secular state because of their antipathy to religion . As will be seen , nothing could be further from the truth . In fact , our forefathers were quite direct in expressing their conviction that without Christian morals there can be no republic nor any liberty . Read this post if it’s the only thing you do all day .

  5. Great post! I could read the founder’s quotes all day.

    “Changing the traditions, conversations and history” sure makes their progression easier and keeps the uninformed in their place.

    • Thanks, Mike,

      Look it up in Scripture. You’ll find that changing our history and traditions is in line with the spirit of the lawless one, who will try to change the times and laws (calendar and laws). It is all the same “spirit,” and it is the spirit of evil (i.e. Satan).

  6. Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution, much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the first place, the Supreme Court has thoughtfully, authoritatively, and repeatedly decided as much; it is long since established law. In the second place, the Court is right. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of “We the people” (not a deity), (2) according that government limited, enumerated powers, (3) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (4) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (5), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day (by which governments generally were grounded in some appeal to god(s)), the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which affirmatively constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions.

    To the extent that some would like confirmation–in those very words–of the founders’ intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] . . . the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). Indeed, he understood the original Constitution–without the First Amendment–to separate religion and government. He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

    While the religious views of various founders are subjects of some uncertainty and controversy, it is safe to say that many founders were Christian of one sort or another and held views such as you note regarding religion. In assessing the nature of our government, though, care should be taken to distinguish between society and government and not to make too much of various founders’ individual religious beliefs. Their individual beliefs, while informative, are largely beside the point. Whatever their religions, they drafted a Constitution that establishes a secular government and separates it from religion as noted earlier. This is entirely consistent with the fact that some founders professed their religiosity and even their desire that Christianity remain the dominant religious influence in American society. Why? Because religious people who would like to see their religion flourish in society may well believe that separating religion and government will serve that end and, thus, in founding a government they may well intend to keep it separate from religion. It is entirely possible for thoroughly religious folk to found a secular government and keep it separate from religion. That, indeed, is just what the founders did.

    Lest there be any doubt on this score, note that shortly after the founding, President John Adams (a founder) signed, with the unanimous consent of the Senate (comprised in large measure of founders), the Treaty of Tripoli declaring, in pertinent part, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” No need to resort to reading tea leaves to understand that. This is not an informal comment by an individual founder, but rather an official declaration of the most solemn sort by the United States government itself.

    • I got to the first 2-3 sentences and stopped. As usual, Doug, you are asserting historic falsehoods as truth. There is no reasoning with someone who refuses to admit to historic fact. If the separation you claim is as you claim, then how and why did Jefferson establish CHRISTIAN Church services in the Capital building? How do you explain that the States had ‘official’ religions at the time of ratification and that the Constitution did not address that issue? How do you explain away all the U.S. Supreme Court rulings asserting that THIS IS A CHRISTIAN NATION! How do you dismiss the founders’ words to the same.

      The truth — the REAL Truth here — is that the rise of the humanistic Progressive movement is what led to this false assertion that this nation was founded upon a secular government. One of the primary planks of the Progressive movement is to dissolve the religious foundations of this nation. Another of its planks is to revise history so that no one realizes they dissolved them.

      “It may do for other countries, and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.”
      –Robert Winthrop, Speaker of the House and LAWYER, 1833-1892

      If Doug is correct, then how and why would a man such as this be telling us exactly what I am trying to tell you? Why wouldn’t he be espousing what Doug claims? The answer is simple: the Progressive movement was in its infancy when Winthrop was alive, so this nation still knew and understood its history — especially that of its founding.

      Folks, decide for yourself, but please understand this: if you decide Doug is correct, you must understand that the historic record and the words of our founders, themselves, do not support you. But they do support what I am saying, because I am merely repeating what they told us.

      • You claim that I assert “historic falsehoods as truth,” yet fail even to state, let alone show, that any fact I stated is false. Fact: The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the Constitution separates church and state. Fact: The Constitution exhibits the five features I mentioned. Fact: The Constitution’s omission of any appeal to god(s) broke with the norms of that time. Fact: The First Amendment added to the constraints on government with respect to religion. Fact: Jefferson and Madison stated, in those very terms, that the Constitution separated government and religion. Fact: Many founders were Christian of one sort or another and held views such as you noted regarding religion. Fact: The U.S. Government, then comprised largely of founders, declared in the Treaty of Tripoli that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Do you dispute any of these facts? While you may disagree with the inferences I draw from these facts, you cannot seriously claim that the facts themselves are false.

        If we turn to what you offer as facts, though, we find that you play fast and loose with history. You ask if I can explain them. Indeed, I can.

        1. You assert that “Jefferson establish[ed] CHRISTIAN Church services in the Capital (sic, Capitol) building.” This is false; Jefferson did no such thing. To be sure, he attended religious ceremonies in the Capitol building. Caution should be exercised in assessing this historical evidence, since some are motivated to make more of things than may be warranted or even stretch the truth about them. The Speaker of the House did indeed announce in 1800 that the chaplains had proposed holding religious ceremonies in the House chamber on Sundays, the reason initially being that at the time there simply were no churches or other suitable buildings in all the Capitol. Such ceremonies were held and Jefferson attended some of them, and they continued for decades after churches had been built and thus the need to use the House chamber had passed. Contrary to many accounts, neither the Senate nor President Jefferson had a hand in the Speaker’s decision. Not mentioned in some accounts as well is that the ceremonies often were as much social as religious in nature (at a time when Washington otherwise lacked much social life).

        In any event, while Jefferson cannot be saddled with responsibility for this action, it should be recognized that the government nonetheless took this action, and it does not readily square with the Constitution’s separation of government and religion. As it turns out, Madison discussed much this point in his Detached Memoranda. He not only stated plainly his understanding that the Constitution prohibits the government from promoting religion by such acts as appointing chaplains for the houses of Congress and the army and navy or by issuing proclamations recommending thanksgiving, he also addressed the question of what to make of the government’s early actions doing just that. Ever practical, he answered not with a demand these actions inconsistent with the Constitution be undone, but rather with an explanation to circumscribe their ill effect: “Rather than let this step beyond the landmarks of power have the effect of a legitimate precedent, it will be better to apply to it the legal aphorism de minimis non curat lex [i.e., the law does not concern itself with trifles]: or to class it cum maculis quas aut incuria fudit, aut humana parum cavit natura [i.e., faults proceeding either from negligence or from the imperfection of our nature].” Basically, he recognized that because too many people might be upset by reversing these actions, it would be politically difficult and perhaps infeasible to do so in order to adhere to the constitutional principle, and thus he proposed giving these particular missteps a pass, while at the same time assuring they are not regarded as legitimate precedent of what the Constitution means, so they do not influence future actions.

        In its jurisprudence, the Court has, in effect, followed Madison’s advice, though not his suggested legal theories. The Court has confirmed the basic constitutional principle of separation of church and state, while also giving a pass to the appointment of chaplains for the house of Congress and army and navy and the issuance of religious proclamations, as well as various governmental statements or actions about religion on one or another theory. Notwithstanding sometimes lofty rhetoric by courts and commentators about an impenetrable wall of separation, as maintained by the courts, that wall is low and leaky enough to allow various connections between government and religion. Indeed, the exceptions and nuances recognized by the courts can confuse laymen and lawyers alike, occasionally prompting some to question the principle itself, since decisions in various cases may seem contradictory (e.g., depending on the circumstances, sometimes government display of the 10 commandments is okay and sometimes not).

        2. As for the fact that most states had established religions at the time of the founding, it is well recognized that the Constitution and First Amendment imposed constraints only on the federal government, and thus separated only that government from religion. The Constitution was later amended to protect from infringement by states and their political subdivisions the privileges and immunities of citizenship, due process, and equal protection of the laws. The courts naturally have looked to the Bill of Rights for the important rights thus protected by the 14th Amendment and have ruled that it effectively extends the First Amendment’s guarantees vis a vis the federal government to the states. While the founders drafted the First Amendment to constrain the federal government, they certainly understood that later amendments could extend the Bill of Rights’ constraints to state and local governments.

        It is instructive to recall that the Constitution’s separation of church and state reflected, at the federal level, a “disestablishment” political movement then sweeping the country. That political movement succeeded in disestablishing all state religions by the 1830s. (Side note: A political reaction to that movement gave us the term “antidisestablishmentarianism,” which amused some of us as kids.) It is worth noting, as well, that this disestablishment movement was linked to another movement, the Great Awakening. The people of the time saw separation of church and state as a boon, not a burden, to religion.

        This sentiment was recorded by a famous observer of the American experiment: “On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. . . . I questioned the members of all the different sects. . . . I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America, I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835).

        3. Finally, you seemingly would make much of Justice Brewer’s statement in Holy Trinity Church v. United States that “this is a Christian nation,” apparently even thinking this was the Court’s “ruling.” The Court held that a statute restricting importation of any alien under contract to perform labor or service did not preclude a church from contracting with an alien to come to this country and serve as its pastor. The Court based this holding on its finding that Congress intended simply to stay the influx of cheap, unskilled labor and did not intend to address circumstances such as the church’s contract with an alien pastor. It supported this finding, in dictum (i.e., a statement not essential to its holding), with the further thought that as this is a Christian nation, Congress would not have intended to restrict the church in this situation.

        Brewer later clarified that he meant simply to observe that the nation’s people are largely Christian and not that the nation’s government or laws are somehow Christian: “But in what sense can [the United States] be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or the people are compelled in any manner to support it. On the contrary, the Constitution specifically provides that ‘congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’ Neither is it Christian in the sense that all its citizens are either in fact or in name Christians. On the contrary, all religions have free scope within its borders. Numbers of our people profess other religions, and many reject all. […] Nor is it Christian in the sense that a profession of Christianity is a condition of holding office or otherwise engaging in public service, or essential to recognition either politically or socially. In fact, the government as a legal organization is independent of all religions. Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian nation – in fact, as the leading Christian nation of the world.” D. Brewer, The United States: A Christian Nation (1905) 12.

        In short, the “facts” you invoke can be explained in keeping with the Constitution’s separation of church and state.

        • I claim it because it is true. YOU are the one who has failed to refute my case: that the courts switched sides only AFTER the effects of the Progressive movement took hold. Before that, the evidence — which I have repeatedly presented — is very clear that this nation — and its government — held that we were founded as a Christian nation. Not as a theocracy, but as a nation that understood the Judea/Christian ethic was essential to liberty and, therefore, should not be squelched — even in the public domain.

          Nor have you ever dealt with the evidence I have presented. I believe I have even given you a SUPREME COURT RULING in which it claimed we are a Christian people from the 1950’s or 60’s. You simply ignore what you do not want to face, thus it is futile to discuss this with you. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

          Doug, your focus on the letter of the law is exactly why Jefferson said our down-fall would come through the judiciary. Those who think like you are doing the same thing the Pharisees did to their faith. They turned the true principles into a man-made religion, thus destroying their faith. Likewise, those who follow the law are turning the tru principles of liberty into a man-made prison. Nothing of what you cited can be traced to the Declaration, let alone the founders’ intentions for the Constitution. It was all forced on society by an activist court that wants to re-make this nation in its image rather than the one our Declaration and Constitution define.

          Heck, one need go no farther to understand this than the 1st Amendment. There is no mention of this ‘separation’ anywhere in either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, yet you and those who think like you found it. At the same time, the 1st Amendment is very clear: Congress can make NO law about religion — which means the Court cannot rule on it — not even where the States are concerned (as religion is left tot hem by the Constitution). Yet, once again, the Court seems to think it has the authority to kick religion from all public life. NEITHER of these things can be found in the language of the Constitution: they exist only in the minds of those who seek to change history for their own design. And, Doug, that means you, too.

  7. For those tempted to believe Doug has a case, please consider the following:


    “It was under a solemn consciousness of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects [religious denominations]… that is was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject. ”

    Joseph Story, Supreme Court Justice 1811-1845 and author of Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States

    If the Constitution gives the authority for national government to act upon matters of religion, then this includes the courts. Yet the Courts are the very branch that has “found” what the earliest fathers of this nation clearly said is not there!

    As to my assertion that the courts have become activists and pursue a Progressive and revisionist agenda that seeks to separate the historic foundations of our nation, Justice STory prophecied that, too:

    The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.
    –Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

    This is exactly what has and is happening: the courts are ignoring their duty and “finding” things that do not exist simply because they agree with the minority sentiment of the day. In this case, that would be the secular revisionism of the Progressive (i.e. Communist/Fascist) elements within this nation.

    Now, I can go on with this all day, just as Doug can find things from the Courts to support his argument. But the difference — and this is key — is that I can go to the courts to support my case, as well. HOWEVER, Doug cannot go to the founders to make his. This is because the truth is what I say it is: that the founders’ own words speak against Doug and his revisionist assertions. Here, let me show you what I mean with one last quote:

    “Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
    –John Jay, FOUNDER and 1st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (meaning he know this stuff better than either Doug or I ever will, and he says that there is a connection between faith and the founding of this nation)

    In the end, you have to decide for yourself: will you believe what the founders actually said about this issue, or what those 200 years removed have claimed? Truth only rests with one side in this debate, and — as with most things — it lies with those who actually defined the issue. In this case, I say that is the men who founded the nation and wrote the Constitution. However, if you think the nation needs to be re-shaped, then you might side with those who ignore and re-write history. But understand something else if you stand with them. Scripture — the same Scripture our founders said inspired the form of our government (btw: it was both Madison and Franklin who said that) — that Scripture also says that deception is the work of evil, and revisionism is deception. So choose wisely.

  8. Jefferson and Franklin were Diests. Franklin about 2 3 months before he died replied in a letter to someone that he could not except Jesus as his savior

    • Sorry, no. You are reading history books that quote other history books. Try reading Jefferson and Franklin. Both stated a belief in a God that involves Himself in the affairs of men. Franklin wrote his own epitaph, and it cites a belief in the resurrection — a Judeo/Christian belief! So, while they may not have believed in Jesus, they were NOT deists. This is by definition (and their own words): neither of which can be disputed rationally.

      • Franklin called himself a deist. in a letter to Ezra styles 6 months before he died he wrote this its in the LOC

        As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw, or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his Divinity: tho’ it is a Question I do not dogmatise upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.

        Denying the divinity of Jesus is not a Christian belief. Diesm yes

        • You do not know what the word ‘deist’ means, do you? Nor do you understand the plain meaning of words. Neither are well tolerated here. However, I will demonstrate why you are incorrect on both counts (for your sake, and the sake of those reading along).

          We will deal with the claim that Franklin called himself a deist first. You provided the quote. Do you see the words “I am a deist” ANYWHERE in that quote? NO! Nor do you find words to that affect. Therefore, you have made an unwarranted assumption. In truth, Franklin’s religious beliefs were closer to that of Judaism, which is far from being a deist (and BTW: Jews deny the divinity of Christ, but still believe in God)

          Now for the proof that Franklin was not a deist, and we will use his own words.

          “The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: ‘that God governs in the affairs of men.’ And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”

          –Benjamin Franklin

          Aside from the fact that Franklin is actually quoting the NEW TESTAMENT here, he is also expressing a belief in God, and a God who governs in the affairs of men. Now for the definition of ‘deist:’

          Definition of deism

          : a movement or system of thought advocating natural (see 1natural 8b) religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe

          Notice this part of the definition:

          denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe

          Franklin said he DID believe in a God who DOES interfere with the affairs of men. BY DEFINITION, this means Franklin was not a deist.

          This is why I said a RATIONAL person cannot defend the claims you are making. Now, do you know the definition of ‘rational?’ Look it up before you try this a third time.

          [NOTE: yes, I am being harsh here, but it is because I am tired of the ignorance and lies in relation to this issue. In this day and age, there is no excuse for either — especially on this blog, where the PROOF to the contrary has been repeatedly provided on a silver platter.]

          • Whats the defination of a christian? The biblical defination?
            In his Autobiography Franklin himself said i refer to myself as a diest.
            Where do Jews go that dont accept Jesus as lord and savior?
            The bible calls us to be bereans that should be in all areas of life.
            If your pastor, teacher, parent, congrsssman, president says something you think dont sound right you research it.
            He sat under under preacher in PHILLY that was DEIST and defended him saying he taught the true docrines of Christ. but of which i have to say which Christ.
            Not all who says to me LORD LORD will enter heaven.
            I call out the political and christian left when they present falsehood i call out the political and christian right when they do the same thing. Once you allow a falsehood to become standard then standards are reduced.

            Christian reconstruction is rooted in the same teachings as NAR and Christian dominionist.
            Rushdoony, North, Barton, Bill Johnson, Lance wallnue, and many of the heretical NAR different means but all the same goals

            Pure Deism holds to what youi said but their are different things like “christian Diests” which is an oxymoron in and of itself.
            Christian deism is a standpoint in the philosophy of religion, which branches from Christianity. It refers to a deist who believes in the moral teachings—but not divinity—of Jesus. Some “christian Deists do believe in the divinity of Jesus though.
            Most will deny that the Fall of Adam affected man and you can be a good person.

            I hope brother you are in the one true CHRISTIAN nation the body of Christ.

          • This is another fallacy (mistake in reasoning): you are deflecting from the topic at hand. On top of that, you are mixing and flat-out inventing terms that further serve to confuse things. But, since you reference Christ, I’ll play along.

            Christ defined what it means to be His disciple when He said His brothers and sisters are those who do the will of the Father (i.e. keep His commands). Some of the hyphenated Christian sects you mention ALL seek to re-define this command in one way or another. They are free to do so, but, as John and Paul both tell us, that path leads to destruction.

            As for the rest of your implications about your beliefs: if you intentionally confuse and/or deceive, then you are not of Christ, you are of Satan (again, Jesus’ words — not mine). BUT, if you do not mean to do so, yet you refuse correction, you are still in the wrong. In this case, you should look deeper into this issue, as, whether he called himself a deist or not, Franklin did not meet the definition (unless, like so many others believe they are free to do, Franklin created his own meaning for the word — in which case, he would NOT be keeping to the teachings of Jesus).

          • How can deny the divinity of Jesus and be a Christian. Franklins own words. Which Jesus did he follow if he doesn’t believe in the divinity of Christ? It’s not the Christ of the bible. His followings if you read his writings instead of snippets from the faux historian Barton

          • OK, when you cram this many fallacies into that short a comment — especially after I have taken time to point them out and explain them — you are treading on the line where I cut off a conversation.

            1 — I did not introduce the diversion of Christianity into this conversation, you did — after I proved you were wrong about Franklin not being a deist. You do not get to say Franklin was a deist, get proven wrong, and then try to switch to the implication that I said Franklin was a Christian. I have never said that — because I know better. But this sure seems to be what you are trying to imply now.

            2 — Dr. Barton is not only a solid historian, but he supports himself with historical documentation. To date, I have not seen whee he has been proven wrong. Some think they have done so, but they haven’t — because they site other peoples’ opinions and NOT the actual words of our founders. Dr. Barton not only cites the founders, he owns the largest private collection of their original writings outside of the Library of Congress. Therefore, calling him ‘faux’ is an ad hominem attack, and ad hominem is not allowed on this board.

            That’s two strikes. Miss one more and I’ll simply delete any further comments by you as, by that time, you will have demonstrated that you are not interested in learning, only trolling.

          • How can you deny the divinity of Jesus and be a Christian. Lots of people have a knowledge of God and think they are following him but are not. Now he could have repented after that letter but no evidence. David Barton has had to change some of his videos because quotes were not correct. Both right and left both do misquotes. Many that once promoted him are shying away from him. Especially after his Jefferson book was pulled for its mistakes.

          • His Jefferson book was pulled because of lies! This has been proven. It was a political attack not on his book, but on his publisher who pulled the book because they caved. NOTHING in the book is incorrect (and anyone who reads Jefferson’s writings would know this).

            OK, at this point, I want anyone following this conversation to know that dividendsandhobbies has demonstrated that they are not seeking the Truth, or to understand history. Therefore, I will be ending our conversation at this point and deleting any further comments by this reader. It is not that I ‘fear’ differing opinions, I simply do not allow unsupported accusations — especially after the main argument said persons are making has been shown to be false. At that point, it becomes nothing but name calling and character assassination — which is what is happening now. My blog, my rules. Would that more of us would enforce such things in our society today.

          • But consider Mark 8:36: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” For the Christian, this thought is central: nothing is gained from pursuing comfort and happiness here on earth. Nothing is really gained, for a Christian, by “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Christian person pursues other things: “Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19). “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11). Christians are concerned with the spiritual – because they belong to another country; they are citizens of a spiritual country, the Kingdom of Heaven.

          • LOL, you do not know me, do you? You might want to read my other blog before you start mis-quoting and twisting Scripture. I happen to know it fairly well, which is why I know that none of the passages you are quoting have anything to do with the point you think you are making. Jesus said we have to be IN the world, just not OF it. Paul told us this means we must interact with this world less we’d have to be taken out of it. BOTH tell us that our lives here and our citizenship in Heaven are connected: they go hand-in-hand. Your suggestion that Christians are commanded to have nothing to do with this world or its affairs is… Well, WRONG!

          • When we read of the “world” in the New Testament, we are reading the Greek word cosmos. Cosmos most often refers to the inhabited earth and the people who live on the earth, which functions apart from God. Satan is the ruler of this “cosmos” (John 12:31; 16:11; 1 John 5:19). By the simple definition that the word world refers to a world system ruled by Satan, we can more readily appreciate Christ’s claims that believers are no longer of the world—we are no longer ruled by sin, nor are we bound by the principles of the world. In addition, we are being changed into the image of Christ, causing our interest in the things of the world to become less and less as we mature in Christ.

            Believers in Jesus Christ are simply in the world—physically present—but not of it, not part of its values (John 17:14-15). As believers, we should be set apart from the world. This is the meaning of being holy and living a holy, righteous life—to be set apart. We are not to engage in the sinful activities the world promotes, nor are we to retain the insipid, corrupt mind that the world creates. Rather, we are to conform ourselves, and our minds, to that of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1-2). This is a daily activity and commitment.

            We must also understand that being in the world, but not of it, is necessary if we are to be a light to those who are in spiritual darkness. We are to live in such a way that those outside the faith see our good deeds and our manner and know that there is something “different” about us. Christians who make every effort to live, think and act like those who do not know Christ do Him a great disservice. Even the heathen knows that “by their fruits you shall know them,” and as Christians, we should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit within us.

            Being “in” the world also means we can enjoy the things of the world, such as the beautiful creation God has given us, but we are not to immerse ourselves in what the world values, nor are we to chase after worldly pleasures. Pleasure is no longer our calling in life, as it once was, but rather the worship of God.

            America is not the new Isreal Jesus said my Kingdom is not of this world if it was my servants would fight for it.

            What you don’t get is both sides distort the truth to present their version of the truth.

          • How do you get so much so correct and still miss the rest of Christ’s message? Like the part where you imply you are a believer, then commit false witness? Or where you deny the plain meaning of words? That is a deception, and the father of deception is Satan, not Christ.

            Anyway, here again, this is a diversion from the topic at hand. If you want to discuss your religious diversions, go to http://www.theoyl.com and do it there. That is my other blog, and it is based on living the Christian faith in our daily lives. You can talk theology all you’d like on The OYL — but not here.

            This blog is dedicated to Natural law, which is also a part of God’s Law (see Romans 1&2). It is also based on the founders’ beliefs and the founding principle of this nation. This is because the two were tied. The direction you are taking this conversation is too far afield from the focus of this board, especially where your original comment is concerned. Stay on point, or I’ll end these useless diversions.

          • Delete my comments then but I will keep posting till you admit that you are wrong. if you did research you would know over 50 evangelical Christian pastors threatened to protest Thomas Nelson over the lies in the book don’t believe that false historian from the heretical oral Roberts university. You are no better than the liberal left who revise the history to suit their needs. You take their whole body of work not 1 or 2 papers
            Many founders wrote papers for and against religion. But you won’t here that from the fraud historian who supports the heretical NAR.

          • That’s just it; I AM NOT WRONG! I am not the one appealing to authority here, YOU ARE! That is a fallacy, bad reasoning. A FALSEHOOD! I HAVE based my position on the whole body of evidence, and that body being ORIGINAL SOURCES! Not the work of liars who site other liars and wolves in sheep’s’ clothing claiming to be shepherds. I am NOT wrong! I am NOT lying! I am bearing faithful witness to what the founders said and did. YOU ARE THE LIAR, and of your father. Therefore, since you invoked Scripture, I will end your comments now by telling you:

            SATAN, GET BEHIND ME!

  9. Black preacher

    Jefferson believed in a Creator, his concept of it resembled that of the god of deism (the term “Nature’s God” used by deists of the time). With his scientific bent, Jefferson sought to organize his thoughts on religion. He rejected the superstitions and mysticism of Christianity and even went so far as to edit the gospels, removing the miracles and mysticism of Jesus (see The Jefferson Bible) leaving only what he deemed the correct moral philosophy of Jesus.

    Distortions of history occur in the minds of many Christians whenever they see the word “God” embossed in statue or memorial concrete. For example, those who visit the Jefferson Memorial in Washington will read Jefferson’s words engraved: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every from of tyranny over the mind of man.” When they see the word “God” many Christians see this as “proof” of his Christianity without thinking that “God” can have many definitions ranging from nature to supernatural. Yet how many of them realize that this passage aimed at attacking the tyranny of the Christian clergy of Philadelphia, or that Jefferson’s God was not the personal god of Christianity? Those memorial words came from a letter written to Benjamin Rush in 1800 in response to Rush’s warning about the Philadelphia clergy attacking Jefferson (Jefferson was seen as an infidel by his enemies during his election for President). The complete statement reads as follows:

    “The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me. . .”

    Jefferson aimed at laissez-faire liberalism in the name of individual freedom, He felt that any form of government control, not only of religion, but of individual mercantilism consisted of tyranny. He thought that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.

    The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves…these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.
    Thomas Jefferson

    If anything can clear of the misconceptions of Jeffersonian history, it can come best from the author himself. Although Jefferson had a complex view of religion, too vast for this presentation, the following quotes provide a glimpse of how Thomas Jefferson viewed the corruptions of Christianity and religion.
    He wrote to John Adams about the virgin birth, “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”[17] He referred to the Trinity sarcastically as a form of mysticism. Not only did he deny the virgin birth and the Trinity, but he predicted that Christianity would one day disappear. This is interesting since he actually predicted that Unitarianism, the form of “Christianity” that rejected that Christ was God in the flesh, would go on to be the prominent religion of the United States

    • I am so tired of these objections which focus on Jefferson. They are based in ignorance and fallacious reasoning. What’s more, they are just plain WRONG!

      This last comment caused me to go back and add an addendum to my original post. Please read it. if you still want to object, feel free to do so. But understand this: unless the next person to object shows proof — from the actual hand of the man in question — that one of our founders expressed a desire for secular government, THEIR COMMENT WILL NOT BE APPROVED! And before one complains about censorship, STOP! If you show me where Franklin or Jefferson or any other founder said this nation should be run by what they called ‘infidels’ (i.e. atheists), I’ll approve your comment. But unless and until someone who objects or disagrees starts to provide actual evidence FROM THE FOUNDERS (and not revisionist historians), I reject them. Irrational OPINION has no place in this discussion — period!

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