Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction

94 percent of the Founding Fathers’ quotes in 15,000 documents were based on the Bible.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 23, 2007

Because of an essay of mine about the Harry Potter book series (link at the end of this essay), I have already received many emails asking, “What makes you think the Founders of our nation really believed in God? Many didn’t go to church.”

Well, here is some of what I do know, based upon years of reading history (and not fiction and fantasy like the Harry Potter books).

Prayer goes hand-in-hand with hope; and America was founded by men deeply governed by their hope and prayer and belief in God.

The Founding Fathers established the United States, wrote the Declaration of Independence; the Bill of Rights and the Constitution; and created a nation firmly rooted in the belief in God and freedom of religion protected by the separation of church and state.

Many of the Founders and their forefathers fled Europe to escape religious persecution.  They wanted this new nation to allow them freedom of religion and thus the very nation is rooted in a belief in God.

The Declaration of Independence starts this way: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 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.”

After signing the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, who was called “the firebrand of the American Revolution,” affirmed his obedience to God by stating, “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. From the rising to the setting of the sun, may His kingdom come.”

James Madison, the fourth president, made the following statement, “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

Madison is often referred to as “The Father of Our Constitution.”
Page one of the original copy of the Constitution
Page one of the original copy of the Constitution

When historians at the University of Houston conducted a 10-year study of the ideas that shaped our republic, they found 94 percent of the Founding Fathers’ quotes in 15,000 documents were based on the Bible.

“God created all men equal,” one of the most fundamental and important acclamations of our government, became an underlying reason for the Civil War, a fundamental reason for the Emancipation Proclamation and a keynote of equality ever since.

Every president of the United States is sworn into office, by reciting an oath while he has one hand on the Bible. The oath ends, “So help me God.”

Every session of Congress since 1777 commenced with a prayer by a minister paid by the taxpayers. (Just today my wife and I attended Catholic Mass at the “Cathedral” adjacent to Catholic University in Washington D.C.  The celebrant was the Catholic Chaplain to the U.S. Congress.)

Every military service of the United States pays uniformed religious ministers for the officers and men in service. These ministers are from all faiths that recognize the importance of God in human life.  Nearly every base has a chapel.

The Ten Commandments are carved into the doors of the Supreme Court and appear prominently in the court’s chambers.Every piece of U.S. currency bears the words “In God We Trust.”

In America, you are even free to start your own religion. Nobody (except possibly the Internal Revenue Service) will interfere, so long as you don’t do anything outside the normal bounds of decent behavior.

So, as we all celebrate the blessings of American freedom, justice and government every day, perhaps we should reflect upon the roots and tenets of our democracy. We are not a Godless people. Or are we?

Yes, our democracy is evolving and we are open and accepting to that evolution. But let us not allow the evolution to turn into a careless revolution or even an unintended erosion of the principles by which we live and we are governed.I am one of those historians that thinks the Founders were pretty smart. Their belief in God, hope and prayer encourages me every day.

Sadly, some and maybe many in our society have moved away from a belief in God and toward beliefs in other things. Money? Drugs? Sex? Harry Potter? I don’t know what all.

I just think there is some merit in reviewing the work of our Founders. It’s time well spent. And certainly time better spent than reading Harry Potter.

The essay that prompted the one above is:
Harry Potter: More Worthless Pop Culture

Related:
Priest Says Harry Potter Helps Devil, Evil

“The great good news about America — The American gospel, if you will – is that religion shapes the life of the nation without strangling it. Belief in God is central to the country’s experience, yet for the broad center faith is a matter of choice, not coercion and the legacy of the Founding is that the center holds.”
–John Meacham, managing editor of Newsweek, is also the author of, American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation.

8 Responses to “Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction”

  1. Harry Potter: More Worthless Pop Culture « Peace and Freedom II Says:

    […] Reading American history about the early years of America and the Founders is enlightening….. Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction […]

  2. Hijacking America « Peace and Freedom II Says:

    […] Related: Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction […]

  3. Jana Says:

    Thank you!! I am relieved that 6 out of seven in our family have never read a Harry Potter book!! and never will… The one that does (a step son) reads them over and over and over again. He walks in Harry potter land forgetting all else like a drugged captive. He is literally unable to function while reading one of those books. Unfortunately he lives only 50% of his time with us so its very hard to encourage change consistently.

    Thank goodness none of my other children have even the faintest desire to read one..

  4. Debbie Says:

    Excellent article and very timely. Of course, the people who need to read this most, may not. I’ll try to spread the word.

  5. Right Truth Says:

    It’s the religion that makes the difference

    Not to beat a dead horse, but it is the religion that makes the difference in our nation. The United States was founded upon Christian values, and yes, on the Bible. Jewish and Christian values, found in the Old and

  6. katherine. Says:

    “When historians at the University of Houston conducted a 10-year study of the ideas that shaped our republic, they found 94 percent of the Founding Fathers’ quotes in 15,000 documents were based on the Bible.”

    Could you provide me with a link…or other information to this reference?

    thank you.

  7. Culture war and meaning of our nation « Peace and Freedom II Says:

    […] Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction […]

  8. Ted Hontz Says:

    John,

    Very good and very well taken. It’s been a while, but wasn’t the use of “God” in the founders context more political than religious. To come up with the justification of severing the political bonds that held us to England REQUIRED that we have something like a God which was or a more basic and fundamental fielty. These wewren’t just things we came up with on our own…these are GOD given rights.

    I also think the God that the founders called upon is not the same God that most folks think of today in our contemporary religious context. It was not necessarily, or only, the Judeo-Christian God. It was natures God. It was the God of the Deists. It was Budda’s God.

    Just a thought!

    Best,

    Ted

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: