Posted by: MTR | November 29, 2010

The Signers and their faith

Samuel Huntington (1731-1796) Congregationalist—Samuel Huntington was a self-made man who distinguished himself in government on the state and national levels. He was the President of Congress from 1779-1781 and presided over the adoption of the Articles of Confederation in 1781.  He returned to Connecticut and was the Chief Justice of the Superior Court in 1784, Lieutenant Governor in 1785 and Governor from 1786-1796.  He was one of the first seven presidential electors from Connecticut.

It becomes a people publicly to acknowledge the over-ruling hand of Divine Providence and their dependence upon the Supreme Being as their Creator and Merciful Preserver . . . and with becoming humility and sincere repentance to supplicate the pardon that we may obtain forgiveness through the merits and mediation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Samuel
Huntington, A Proclamation for a Day of Fasting, Prayer and Humiliation, March 9, 1791, from a proclamation in our possession, Evans #23284

Roger Sherman (1723-1793)Congregationalist—Roger Sherman was a member of the Committee of Five that was chosen to write the Declaration of Independence.  He and Robert Morris were the only individuals to sign the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.   He was the Judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut from 1766-1789, a member of the Continental Congress from 1774-81; 1783-84 and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787.  Sherman proposed the famed “Connecticut Compromise” at the convention and represented Connecticut in the United States Senate from 1791-93.

 believe that there is one only liv¬ing and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Tes¬taments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him. . . . That He made man at first perfectly holy; that the first man sinned, and as he was the public head of his posterity, they all became sinners in consequence of his first transgres¬sion, are wholly indisposed to that which is good and inclined to evil, and on account of sin are liable to all the miseries of this life, to death, and to the pains of hell forever. I believe that God . . . did send His own Son to become man, die in the room and stead of sinners, and thus to lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind, so as all may be saved who are willing to accept the Gospel offer. . . . I believe a visible church to be a congregation of those who make a credible profession of their faith in Christ, and obedi¬ence to Him, joined by the bond of the covenant. . . . I believe that the sacraments of the New Testament are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. . . . I believe that the souls of believers are at their death made perfectly holy, and immediately taken to glory: that at the end of this world there will be a resurrec¬tion of the dead, and a final judgment of all mankind, when the righteous shall be publicly acquitted by Christ the Judge and admitted to everlasting life and glory, and the wicked be sentenced to everlasting punishment
Lewis Henry Boutell, The Life of Roger Sherman (Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Company, 1896), pp. 271-273.

William Williams (1731-1811)Congregationalist—William Williams was a graduate of Harvard, studied theology with his father and eventually became a successful merchant.  He fought in the French-Indian War and returned to Lebanon, Connecticut where he served for forty-four years as the town clerk.  He was elected to the Continental Congress from 1776-1777, and after signing the Declaration of Independence, Williams was a member of the committee that was instrumental in framing the Articles of Confederation.  He was a delegate to vote on the ratification of the Federal Constitution and also served as a Judge of the Windham County Courthouse.

Oliver Wolcott (1726-1797)Congregationalist—Oliver Wolcott was as much a soldier as he was a politician and served as a brigadier general in the New York campaigns from 1776-1777.  As a major general, he was involved in defending the Connecticut coast from attacks by the Royal Governor of New York.  He was Commissioner of Indian Affairs in 1775 and from 1784-89, a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1775-76 and 1778-84, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1786-96 and Governor from 1796-97.

Through various scenes of life, God has sustained me. May He ever be my unfailing friend; may His love cherish my soul; may my heart with gratitude acknowledge His goodness; and may my desires be to Him and to the remembrance of His name….May we then turn our eyes to the bright objects above, and may God give us strength to travel the upward road. May the Divine Redeemer conduct us to that seat of bliss which He himself has prepared for His friends; at the approach of which every sorrow shall vanish from the human heart and endless scenes of glory open upon the enraptured eye. There our love to God and each other will grow stronger, and our pleasures never be dampened by the fear of future separation. How indifferent will it then be to us whether we obtained felicity by travailing the thorny or the agreeable paths of life – whether we arrived at our rest by passing through the envied and unfragrant road of greatness or sustained hardship and unmerited reproach in our journey. God’s Providence and support through the perilous perplexing labyrinths of human life will then forever excite our astonishment and love. May a happiness be granted to those I most tenderly love, which shall continue and increase through an endless existence. Your cares and burdens must be many and great, but put your trust in that God Who has hitherto supported you and me; He will not fail to take care of those who put their trust in Him….It is most evident that this land is under the protection of the Almighty, and that we shall be saved not by our wisdom nor by our might, but by the Lord of Host Who is wonderful in counsel and Almighty in all His operations
Letters of Delegates to Congress: January 1, 1776-May 15, 1776, Paul H. Smith, editor (Washington DC: Library of Congress, 1978), Vol. 3, pp. 502-503, Oliver Wolcott to Laura Wolcott on April 10, 1776

Thomas McKean (1734-1817)Presbytarian—Thomas McKean was the last member of the Second Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence.  He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774-81 and served as a delegate to the Congress of the Confederation from 1781-1783.  After 1783, McKean became involved in the politics of Pennsylvania becoming  Chief Justice of Pennsylvania and the Governor of Pennsylvania from 1799-1812.  He retired from politics in 1812 and died at the age of 83 in 1817.

In the case Respublica v. John Roberts, John Roberts was sentenced to death after a jury found him guilty of treason. Chief Justice McKean then told him:

You will probably have but a short time to live. Before you launch into eternity, it be¬hooves you to improve the time that may be allowed you in this world: it behooves you most seriously to reflect upon your past conduct; to repent of your evil deeds; to be incessant in prayers to the great and merciful God to forgive your manifold transgressions and sins; to teach you to rely upon the merit and passion of a dear Redeemer, and thereby to avoid those regions of sorrow – those doleful shades where peace and rest can never dwell, where even hope cannot enter. It behooves you to seek the [fellowship], advice, and prayers of pious and good men; to be [persistent] at the Throne of Grace, and to learn the way that leadeth to happiness. May you, reflecting upon these things, and pursuing the will of the great Father of light and life, be received into [the] company and society of angels and archangels and the spirits of just men made perfect; and may you be qualified to enter into the joys of Heaven – joys unspeakable and full of glory!

William B. Reed, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1847), Vol. II, pp. 36-37.

George Read (1733-1798)Episcopalian—George Read was the only signer of the Declaration of Independence who voted against the proposal for independence introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.  He was elected to the Continental Congress from 1774-1776, was a member of the Delaware Constitutional Convention in 1776, acting Governor of Delaware in 1777, a Judge on the Court of Appeals in 1780, State Senator from 1791-92, a United States Senator from 1789-1793 and Chief Justice of the State of Delaware from 1793-98.

George Read became the president of the Delaware constitutional convention and helped direct the Delaware Constitution of 1776. The following is one of the requirements for public officials.

“Everyone appointed to public office must say: ‘I do profess faith in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God & blessed forevermore. And I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine inspiration.’”

Caesar Rodney (1728- 1784)Episcopalian—Caesar Rodney took a strong stand in favor of independence and because of that, was not reelected to Congress because of the conservatives in the state of Delaware.  They also blocked his election to the state legislature and his appointment to the state’s constitutional convention.  He was interested in military affairs and was involved in action in Delaware and New Jersey during the Revolutionary War.  He was reelected to Congress in 1777 and was nominated as state president from 1778-1781.  He died in 1784 while serving as Speaker of the Upper House of the Delaware Assembly

Button Gwinnett (1735-1777)Episcopalian Congregationalist—After the Governor died in 1777, Button Gwinnett served as the Acting Governor of Georgia for two months, but did not achieve reelection.  His life was one of economic and political disappointment.  Button Gwinnett was the second signer of the Declaration to die as the result of a duel outside Savannah, Georgia.

Lyman Hall (1724-1790)Congregationalist—Lyman Hall was one of four signers trained as a minister and was a graduate of Princeton College.  During his life he also served as a doctor, governor and planter.  During the Revolutionary War, his property was destroyed and he was accused of treason.  He left Georgia and spent time in South Carolina and Connecticut to escape prosecution.  When the war was over, he went back to Georgia and began to practice medicine.  He served as Governor of Georgia from 1783-1784.

In addition, therefore, to wholesome laws restraining vice, every encouragement ought to be given to introduce religion, and learned clergy to perform divine worship in honor of God, and to cultivate principles of religion and virtue among our citizens. For this purpose it will be your wisdom to lay an early foundation for endowing seminaries of learning; nor can you, I conceive, lay a better than by a grant of a sufficient tract of land, that may, as in other governments, hereafter, by lease or otherwise, raise a revenue sufficient to support such valuable institutions.”
Report of the Secretary Of The Interior being part of the Message And Documents communicated to the Two Houses Of Congress at the Beginning of the Second Session of the Fifty Fourth Congress. Vol V. Part 1.. Page 874. U.S. G.P.O. 1897

George Walton (1741-1804)Episcopalian—George Walton was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776, 1777, 1780 and 1781, Colonel of the First Georgia Militia, in 1778, Governor of Georgia from 1779-1780, Chief Justice of the State Superior Court of Georgia from 1783-89, a presidential elector in 1789, Governor of Georgia from 1789-1790 and a United States Senator from 1795-1796.  During the Revolutionary War, Walton was captured by the British in 1778 during the attack on Savannah and released within the year.  He was the founder of the Richmond Academy and Franklin College which later became the University of Georgia.

Charles Carroll (1737-1832)Catholic—Charles Carroll was one of the wealthiest men in America and was the oldest and longest surviving signer of the Declaration.  From 1789-1792 he served as one of Maryland’s two United States Senators.  He retired from politics in 1804 and spent the rest of his life managing his 80,000 acres of land in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.

I, Charles Carroll. . . . give and bequeath my soul to God who gave it, my body to the earth, hoping that through and by the merits, sufferings, and mediation of my only Savior and Jesus Christ, I may be admitted into the Kingdom prepared by God for those who love, fear and truly serve Him
Kate Mason Rowland, Life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890), Vol. II, pp. 373-374, will of Charles Carroll, Dec. 1, 1718

Samuel Chase (1741-1811)Episcopalian—Samuel Chase was called the “Demosthenes of Maryland” for his oratorical skills.  In 1785 he represented Maryland at the Mt. Vernon conference to settle a dispute between Maryland and Virginia concerning navigation rights on the Potomac River.  He served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1796-1811.  He was the only Supreme Court justice to be impeached in 1805.  He was charged with discriminating against supporters of Thomas Jefferson, and he was found to be not guilty.

In the case of Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799, Justice Chase gave the courts opinion:

“Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people.”

“By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.”
Runkel v. Winemiller, 4 Harris & McHenry 276,288 (Sup. Ct. Md. 1799

William Paca (1740-1799
)Episcopalian—William Paca was elected to the Continental Congress from 1774-78, appointed Chief Justice of Maryland in 1778, Governor of Maryland from 1782-1785 and Federal District Judge for the State of Maryland from 1789-99.  He was also a planter and a lawyer, but was a relatively minor figure in national affairs.  William Paca also served as a delegate to the Maryland ratification convention for the Federal Constitution.

Thomas Stone (1743-1787)Episcopalian—Thomas Stone was one of the most conservative of the signers along with Carter Braxton of Virginia, George Read of Delaware and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina.  He was elected to the Congress from 1775-78 and again in 1783. He was chosen to be a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 but had to decline because of the poor health of his wife.  Shortly after she died in 1787, a grief stricken Stone died a few months later before making a trip to England.

John Adams (1735-1826)Congregationalist—John Adams was the first Vice-President of the United States and the second President.  He was a member (along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman) chosen to draft the Declaration of Independence.  He was the first President to attend Harvard University and the first to have a son become president.

The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost. . . . There is no authority, civil or religious – there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation
Letter from John Adams to Benjamin Rush, from Quincy, Massachusetts, dated December 21, 1809,

Samuel Adams (1722-1803)Congregationalist—Samuel Adams was known as the “Firebrand of the Revolution” for his role as an agitator between the colonists and the British prior to the outbreak of hostilities on April 1775.  He served in the Continental Congress until 1781 and was a member of the Massachusetts State Senate from 1781-1788.  Because he was opposed to a stronger national government, Adams refused to attend the Constitutional Convention in 1787.  He served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts from 1789-1793 and Governor from 1794-1797.

I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace
From a Fast Day Proclamation issued by Governor Samuel Adams, Massachusetts, March 20, 1797, in our possession; see also Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908), Vol. IV, p. 407, from his proclamation of March 20, 1797

Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814)Episcopalian—Elbridge Gerry served for a time as a member of the state legislature of Massachusetts. Although he attended the meetings in Philadelphia to write a new Constitution, at the end he was opposed to it because it lacked a bill of rights.   However, after a “change of heart,” he was a member of the House of Representatives for the first two Congresses from 1789-1793.  He was Governor of Massachusetts in 1810 and 1811 and died in office as Vice-President under James Madison in 1814.

with one heart and voice we may prostrate ourselves at the throne of heavenly grace and present to our Great Benefactor sincere and unfeigned thanks for His infinite goodness and mercy towards us from our birth to the present moment for having above all things illuminated us by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, presenting to our view the happy prospect of a blessed immortality
Elbridge Gerry, Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise, October 24, 1810

John Hancock (1737-1793)Congregationalist—John Hancock was the President of the Second Continental Congress when the Declaration of Independence was adopted.  He, along with Samuel Adams, were the two most wanted men in the colonies by King George III.  He served as a major general during the Revolutionary War.  He was elected Governor of Massachusetts from 1780-1785 and 1787 until his death in 1793.  He was the seventh President of the United States in Congress assembled, from November 23, 1785 to June 6, 1786.  John Hancock was one of the original “fathers” of U.S. independence.

He called on the entire state to pray “that universal happiness may be established in the world [and] that all may bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory.”
John Hancock, A Proclamation For a Day of Public Thanksgiving 1791, given as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Robert Treat Paine (1731-1814)Congregationalist: Unitarian—Robert Treat Paine was elected to the Continental Congress, in 1774 and 1776, Attorney General for Massachusetts from 1777-1796, Judge, Supreme Court of Massachusetts from 1796-1804 and State Counselor in 1804.  During his time in Congress, Paine concentrated primarily on military and Indian concerns.  Because of his opposition to many proposals, he was known as the “Objection Maker.”  Paine was one of the original founders of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

I am constrained to express my adoration of the Supreme Being, the Author of my existence, in full belief of His Providential goodness and His forgiving mercy revealed to the world through Jesus Christ, through whom I hope for never ending happiness in a future state
From the Last Will & Testament of Robert Treat Paine, attested May 11, 1814

Josiah Bartlett (1729-1795)Congregationalist—Josiah Bartlett served in Congress until 1779 and then refused reelection because of fatigue.  On the state level he served as the first Chief Justice of the Common Pleas (1779-1782), Associate (1782-1788) and Chief justice of the Superior Court (1788-1790).  Bartlett founded the New Hampshire Medical Society in 1791 and was the Governor of New Hampshire (1793-1794).

Called on the people of New Hampshire . . . to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . [t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord
Josiah Bartlett, Proclamation for a Day of Fasting and Prayer, March 17, 1792.

Matthew Thornton (1714-1803)Presbytarian—Matthew Thornton served as Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, was an Associate Justice of the Superior Court and was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776.  He was one of six members who signed the Declaration of Independence after it was adopted by the Continental Congress.  He left Congress to return to New Hampshire to become an Associate Justice of the State Superior Court.  He spent his remaining years farming and operating a ferry on the Merrimack River.

William Whipple (1730-1785)Congregationalist—William Whipple was a former sea captain who commanded troops during the Revolutionary War and was a member of the Continental Congress from 1776-1779.  General Whipple was involved in the successful defeat of General John Burgoyne at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.  He was a state legislator in New Hampshire from 1780-1784, Associate Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court from 1782-1785, and a receiver for finances for the Congress of the Confederation.  He suffered from heart problems and died while traveling his court circuit in 1785

Abraham Clark (1726-1794)Presbytarian—Abraham Clark was a farmer, surveyor and politician who spent most of his life in public service.  He was a member of the New Jersey state legislature, represented his state at the Annapolis Convention in 1786, and was opposed to the Constitution until it incorporated a bill of rights.  He served in the United States Congress for two terms from 1791 until his death in 1794.

“Our fates are in the hands of An Almighty God, to whom I can with pleasure confide my own; he can save us, or destroy us; his Councils are fixed and cannot be disappointed, and all his designs will be Accomplished.”

John Hart (1711-1779)Presbytarian—John Hart became the Speaker of the Lower House of the New Jersey state legislature.  His property was destroyed by the British during the course of the Revolutionary War, and his wife died three months after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.  During the ravaging of his home, Hart spent time in the Sourland Mountains in exile.

[T]hanks be given unto Almighty God therefore, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die and after that the judgment [Hebrews 9:27] . . . principally, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent and Christian like manner . . . to receive the same again at the general resurrection by the mighty power of God.
From his last will and testament, attested April 16, 1779

Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)Episcopalian—Francis Hopkinson was a judge and lawyer by profession but also was a musician, poet and artist.  When the Revolutionary War was over, he became one of the most respected writers in the country.  He was later appointed Judge to the U.S. Court for the District of Pennsylvania in 1790.

Richard Stockton (1730-1781)Presbytarian—Richard Stockton was trained to be a lawyer and graduated from the College of New Jersey.  He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776 and was the first of the New Jersey delegation to sign the Declaration of Independence.  In November 1776 he was captured by the British and was eventually released in 1777 in very poor physical condition.  His home at Morven was destroyed by the British during the war and he died in 1781 at the age of 50.

[A]s my children will have frequent occasion of perusing this instrument, and may probably be particularly impressed with the last words of their father, I think it proper here not only to subscribe to the entire belief of the great and leading doctrines of the Christian religion, such as the being of God; the universal defection and depravity of human nature; the Divinity of the person and the completeness of the redemption purchased by the blessed Savior; the necessity of the opera¬tions of the Divine Spirit; of Divine faith accompanied with an habitual virtuous life; and the universality of the Divine Providence: but also, in the bowels of a father’s affection, to exhort and charge [my children] that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, that the way of life held up in the Christian system is calculated for the most complete happiness that can be enjoyed in this mortal state, [and] that all occasions of vice and immorality is injurious either im¬mediately or consequentially – even in this life
Will of Richard Stockton, dated May 20, 1780

John Witherspoon (1723-1794)Presbytarian—John Witherspoon was the only active clergyman among the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  He was elected to the Continental Congress from 1776-1782, elected to the state legislature in New Jersey from 1783-1789 and was the president of the College of New Jersey from 1768-1792.  In his later years he spent a great deal of time trying to rebuild the College of New Jersey (Princeton).

[N]o man, whatever be his character or whatever be his hope, shall enter into rest unless he be reconciled to God though Jesus Christ
John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. V, p. 245, Sermon 15, “The Absolute Necessity of Salvation Through Christ,” January 2, 1758.

William Floyd (1734-1821)Presbytarian—William Floyd had his estate in New York destroyed by the British and Loyalists during the Revolutionary War.  He was a member of the United States Congress from 1789-1791 and was a presidential elector from New York four times.  He was later a major general in the New York militia and served as a state senator.

Francis Lewis (1713-1802)Episcopalian—Francis Lewis was one who truly felt the tragedy of the Revolutionary War.  His wife died as an indirect result of being imprisoned by the British, and he lost all of his property on Long Island, New York during the war.  When his wife died, Lewis left Congress and completely abandoned politics.

Philip Livingston (1716-1778)Presbytarian—Philip Livingston was not in Philadelphia to vote on the resolution for Independence, but did sign the actual Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776.  During the Revolutionary War, the British used Livingston’s houses in New York as a navy hospital and a barracks for the troops.  He was the third signer to die after John Morton of Pennsylvania and Button Gwinnett of Georgia.

In the book Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence (1856), Rev. Charles A. Goodrich states:

“He was a firm believer in the great truths of the Christian system, and a sincere and humble follower of the divine Redeemer.”

Lewis Morris (1726-1798)Episcopalian—Lewis Morris was a delegate to the Continental Congress, from 1775-77, a county judge in Worchester, New York from 1777-1778, served in the New York state legislature from 1777-1781 and 1784-1788 and was a member of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York.  During the Revolutionary War, Morris was a brigadier-general in the New York state militia, and all three of his sons served under General George Washington

John Hewes (1730- 1779)Quaker;Episcopalian—John Hewes was a merchant who was one of the most conservative signers of the Declaration of Independence.  He was a graduate of Princeton College, and he along with John Adams helped to establish the Continental Navy.  He was a member of the state legislature from 1778-1779 and was eventually reelected to the Continental Congress. He died a month after his reelection.

William Hooper (1742-1790)Episcopalian—William Hooper was a graduate of Harvard College and was highly successful in law and politics.  Because of his family situation and financial difficulties, he resigned from Congress to return to North Carolina.  During the war he was separated from his family for ten months and his property was destroyed.  After the war, he was elected to the state legislature and served there through 1786.

John Penn (1740-1788)Episcopalian—John Penn was one of sixteen signers of the Declaration of Independence who also signed the Articles of Confederation.  He was a member of the Continental Congress from 1775-77; 1779-80 and a member of the Board of War in 1780 which shared responsibility for military affairs with the governor. In 1784 he became a state tax receiver under the Articles of Confederation.  After retiring from politics, he practiced law until his death in 1788

George Clymer (1739-1813)Quaker;Episcopalian—George Clymer had a great deal of financial talent and signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  His home was vandalized by the British in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War.  He served in the Pennsylvania state legislature from 1784-1788 and was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1789-1791.  He was later appointed as “collector of taxes” on alcoholic beverages (especially whiskey) in Pennsylvania from 1791-1794.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)Episcopalian;Diest—After the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin helped to negotiate the Treaty of Alliance with France in 1778 and the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War in 1783.  He was one of the framers of the Constitution and was known as the “Sage of the Convention.”  He was also elected President of the Pennsylvania Society for the Promoting of the Abolition of Slavery.

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.
Benjamin Franklin, Works of Benjamin Franklin, John Bigelow, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904), p. 185, to Ezra Stiles, March 9, 1790.

Robert Morris (1734-1806)Episcopalian—Robert Morris has been considered the  “Financier of the Revolution,” and contributed his own money to help such causes as the support of troops at Valley Forge and the battles of Trenton and Princeton.  In 1781 he suggested a plan that became the Bank of North America and was the Superintendent of Finance under the Articles of Confederation.  Morris was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and was later offered the position of Secretary of the Treasury under the administration of George Washington.  He declined the position and suggested Alexander Hamilton who became our first Secretary of the Treasury. He served as a United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1789-1795.

John Morton (1725-1777)Episcopalian—John Morton was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence to die and was one of nine signers from Pennsylvania.   He was elected to the Second Continental Congress from 1774-77, and was the chairman of the committee that reported the Articles of Confederation.  He contracted an inflammatory fever and died in Ridley Park, Delaware County, Pa., in April 1777, and is buried in St. Paul’s Burial Ground in Chester, Pennsylvania.

With an awful reverence to the Great Almighty God, Creator of all mankind, being sick and weak in body but of sound mind and memory, thanks be given to Almighty God for the same
From his last will and testament, attested January 28, 1777

George Ross (1730-1779)Episcopalian—George Ross was elected to the Second Continental Congress from 1776-1777, was a colonel in the Continental Army in 1776; was Vice President of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention in 1776 and Judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania in 1779.  He was not a member of Congress when it voted for independence on July 2, 1776.  Because of illness, he was forced to resign his seat in Congress in 1777.

Benjamin Rush (1745-1813)Presbytarian—Benjamin Rush was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776, appointed Surgeon General in the Middle Department of the Continental Army in 1777, instructor and physician at the University of Pennsylvania in 1778, Treasurer of the U.S. Mint from 1779-1813, and professor of Medical Theory and Clinical Practice at the University of Pennsylvania from 1791-1813.  During the Revolutionary War, Rush was part of an unsuccessful plot to relieve General George Washington of his military command.  He was the most well-known doctor and medical instructor in the United States.  He was a trustee of Dickinson College, helped to found the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and was a member of the American Philosophical Society.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations! . . . My only hope of salvation is in the infinite tran¬scendent love of God manifested to the world by the death of His Son upon the Cross. Noth¬ing but His blood will wash away my sins [Acts 22:16]. I rely exclusively upon it. Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly! [Revelation 22:20]
Benjamin Rush, The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, George W. Corner, editor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1948), pp. 165-166

James Smith (1719-1806)Presbytarian—James Smith was elected to the Continental Congress on July 20, 1776 after the votes had been taken on the resolution for independence and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.  From 1779-1782 he held a number of state offices including one term in the state legislature and a few months as a Judge of the state High Court of Appeals. He was also appointed a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania militia in 1782.

Rev. Charles A. Goodrich Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 291-296.

“He was for many years a professor of religion, and very regular in his attendance on public worship.”

George Taylor (1716-1781)Presbytarian—George Taylor came to the colonies as an indentured servant and eventually was an Ironmaster at the Warwick Furnace and Coventry Forge.  He was a member of the Continental Congress from 1775-1777.  He returned to Pennsylvania and was elected to the new Supreme Executive Assembly, but served for a very short period of time because of illness and financial difficulties.   His Durham Furnace manufactured ammunition for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

James Wilson (1742-1798)Episcopalian;Presbytarian—James Wilson was elected to the Congress from 1775-77 and 1785-87, chosen to be one of the directors of the Bank of North America in 1781, a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and appointed by President George Washington to be an Associate Justice to the US. Supreme Court from 1789-1798.  He experienced personal and financial difficulty in his later years and spent time in debtor’s prison while serving on the Supreme Court.

“Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine.”
James Wilson, The Works of the Honorable James Wilson, Bird Wilson, editor (Philadelphia: Bronson and Chuncey, 1804), Vol. II, pp. 495-497.

Thomas Heyward, Jr. (1746-1809)Episcopalian—Thomas Heyward was a planter and lawyer and was one of three signers from South Carolina captured and imprisoned by the British.  He signed the Articles of Confederation while a member of the Continental Congress.  He returned to South Carolina and became a judge and a member of the state legislature.  The British destroyed Heyward’s home at White Hall during the war and he was held prisoner until 1781.  After the war, he served two terms in the state legislature from 1782-1784.  Thomas Heyward became the first President of the Agricultural Society of South Carolina.

Thomas Lynch, Jr. (1749-1779)Episcopalian—Thomas Lynch, Jr. was an aristocratic planter who was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence to die at the age of thirty.  He was trained as a lawyer and graduated from Cambridge University in England, and was elected to the Second Continental Congress to carry on the duties of his ill father.  Thomas Lynch Sr. and Thomas Lynch Jr. were the only father and son team to serve concurrently in the Continental Congress.  Thomas Lynch, Jr. and his wife were enroute to France in 1779 when their ship was lost at sea.

Arthur Middleton (1742-1787)Episcopalian—Arthur Middleton was chosen to replace his more conservative father in the Continental Congress in 1776, but failed to attend most of the sessions.  He was captured by the British and was held captive for over a year in St. Augustine, Florida.  During the time of his incarceration, the British destroyed most of his property.  After his release in 1781, Middleton returned to politics and served in the Virginia state legislature and was a trustee of the College of Charleston.

Edward Rutledge (1749-1800)Episcopalian—Edward Rutledge was elected to the Continental Congress from 1774-76 and 1779, a captain in the Charleston Battalion of Artillery from 1776-1779, a state legislator from 1782-1798, College of Electors in the presidential elections of 1788, 1792, 1796 and elected Governor for South Carolina in 1798.  He was the youngest of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  During the Revolutionary War, Rutledge was a military captain involved in the campaigns at Port Royal Island and Charleston, South Carolina.  He was captured by the British in 1780 and held as a prisoner until 1781.  From 1782-1798 Rutledge was a member of the state legislature and was elected Governor in 1798

William Ellery (1727-1820)Congregationalist—William Ellery served with distinction in the Congress of the Confederation until 1786 when he accepted the post of Commissioner of the Continental Loan Office of Rhode Island.  He served in that position until 1790 when he was appointed Customs Collector in Newport.   Although the British destroyed his home during the American Revolution, Ellery was later able to rebuild his fortune.

Stephen Hopkins (1707-1785)Episcopalian—Stephen Hopkins was the second oldest signer of the Declaration of Independence (next to Benjamin Franklin).  He served on the committee that was responsible for the creation of the Articles of Confederation.  He was forced to resign from the Congress in 1776 because of health problems, but was elected to the state legislature of Rhode Island upon his return

Carter Braxton (1736-1797)Episcopalian—Carter Braxton was elected to the Virginia state legislature after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and also served on the Governor’s Executive Council.  The American Revolutionary War caused him great hardship and he died in financial ruin in Richmond, Virginia.

Benjamin Harrison (1726-1791)Episcopalian—Benjamin Harrison was nicknamed the “Falstaff of Congress” and was the father of President William Henry Harrison and great-grandfather of President Benjamin Harrison.  He was the Speaker of the Lower House of the Virginia state legislature from 1777-1781 and served three terms as Governor of Virginia from 1781-1783.  He was originally in opposition of the new Federal Constitution, but later favored it when it was decided to add a bill of rights.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)Episcopalian/Diest—Thomas Jefferson was the chief author of the Declaration of Independence.  He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1776-79, elected Governor of Virginia in 1779 and 1780, the Associate Envoy to France in 1784, Minister to the French Court in 1785, United States Secretary of State from 1789-1793, Vice President of the United States from 1791-1801, President of the United States from 1801-1809 and established the University of Virginia in 1810.  He was one of the most brilliant men of his time.

I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ
Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington, D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIV, p. 385, to Charles Thomson on January 9, 1816

Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734-1797)Episcopalian—Francis Lightfoot Lee was the younger brother of Richard Henry Lee.  He signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation as well as serving on both the military and marine committees during his time in Congress.  He left Congress in 1779 and served a few years in the Virginia state legislature.

Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794)Episcopalian—Richard Henry Lee introduced the resolution for independence to the Second Continental Congress in June 1776. He was a Virginia state legislator from 1780-1784 and served in the national Congress again from 1784-1789.  He was initially opposed to the Constitution because it lacked a bill of rights, but he was elected Senator from Virginia from 1789-1792.  However, Lee was forced to resign in 1792 due to poor health.

“It is true, we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion; but when we are making a constitution, it is to be hoped, for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact.”

Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, IV, 12 October 1787

Thomas Nelson, Jr. (1738-1789)Episcopalian—Thomas Nelson, Jr. had his Congressional career shortened because of health problems.  He served as the commanding General of the Lower Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War.  He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1775-77; 1779 and was elected Governor of Virginia in 1781 after Thomas Jefferson declined reelection.  He spent his remaining years handling his business affairs.

George Wythe (1726-1806)Episcopalian—George Wythe was more well-known as being a classical scholar who taught such great men as Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Marshall and Henry Clay.  He was elected to the Continental Congress from 1775-76, Speaker of the Virginia House from 1777-78 and judge of the Chancery Court of Virginia from 1789-1806.  He was also appointed the first chair of law at the College of William and Mary.  Wythe died mysteriously in 1806 by being poisoned

Posted by: MTR | November 29, 2010

A Christian Nation

Quotes From Our Founders

George Washington – first President of the United States of America

 “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.”
- George Washington

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
- George Washington

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”
- George Washington

 “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”
- George Washington We beseech [God] to pardon our national and other transgressions…
- George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation 1789

 “Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work.  Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of Thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy son, Jesus Christ.”
- George Washington, Prayer

 “True religion affords to government its surest support.
- George Washington

Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“I … [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.” - Samuel Adams

 “We have this day [Fourth of July] restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come.”
- Samuel Adams

“The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.”
- Samuel Adams

United States Congressional Endorsement of the Bible and God

Congress printed a Bible for America and said:
“The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.”
- United States Congress 1782

“Congress passed this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”
- United States Congress 1782

 “By Law the United States Congress adds to US coinage:”
“In God We Trust”- United States Congress 1864  

John Adams, President of the United States of America, First Vice President, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Bill of Rights, and Signer of First Amendment

“We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.”
- John Adams and John Hancock

 “The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Adams

 

“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

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
- John Adams

 “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

- John Adams

“I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.”John Adams

 

“The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”

- John Adams

“[The Fourth of July] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” – John Adams

 “As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.” - John Adams

Abigail Adams, Wife of John Adams

“The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a Nation.”

- Abigail Adams

Patrick Henry, Early America Leader

 There is a book [the Bible] worth all the other books ever printed.- Patrick Henry

 It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.- Patrick Henry

John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court  

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty – as well as privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.
- John Jay

The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.
- John Jay

John Hancock, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.
- John Adams and John Hancock


Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“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.”
- Benjamin Rush

John Witherspoon, Continental Congress

“He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”
- John Witherspoon

John Dickinson, Signer Constitution of the USA, Continental Congress

“The rights essential to happiness. . . . We claim them from a higher source — from the King of kings and Lord of all the earth.”
- John Dickinson

Benjamin Franklin

“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
- Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Jefferson, President

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.
- Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man
- Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

Daniel Webster, Early American Politician

Education is useless without the Bible.
- Daniel Webster

Noah Webster, American Schoolmaster

Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.
- Noah Webster

In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
- Noah Webster, Preface Noah Webster Dictionary, 1828

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story


“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law … There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”
- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Harvard Speech, 1829

National Anthem of the United States of America, Francis Scott Key

“And this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust’” - USA National Anthem, Third Verse

Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of America

“[The Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.”
- Andrew Jackson

Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America

“In regards to this great Book [the Bible], I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“I am busily engaged in study of the Bible.” - Abraham Lincoln

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.” – Abraham Lincoln

“This nation under God”
- Abraham Lincoln, Gettysberg Address and inscribed on Lincoln Memorial

“And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
- Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Memorial

“Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation…”
- Abraham Lincoln

United States Supreme Court

“This is a Christian nation”

- United States Supreme Court Decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892 

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian…This is a Christian nation”
- United States Supreme Court Decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892

Washington Monument

“Holiness to the Lord” (Exodus 28:26, 30:30, Isaiah 23:18, Zechariah 14:20)

- Washington Monument

“Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39)

- Washington Monument

“The memory of the just is blessed” (Proverbs 10:7)

- Washington Monument

“May Heaven to this Union continue its beneficence”

– Washington Monument

“In God We Trust”

– Washington Monument

“Praise be to God” (engraved on the monument’s capstone in Latin as “Laus Deo”)

- Washington Monument

James Madison, A Primary Author of the Constitution of the United States of America

“We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.

- James Madison

“Religion [is] the basis and foundation of Government”
- James Madison
“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”
- James Madison

Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America

“The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”

- Calvin Coolidge

Posted by: MTR | November 29, 2010

Prayers by American Presidents

My first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads. Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: “Use power to help people.” For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord. The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways… that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

Posted by: MTR | November 28, 2010

In God we trust

 In God We Trust: The Motto
One of the first found references of the motto “In God We Trust” is heard in the U.S. National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. The song was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 and later adopted as the national anthem. In the last stanza Key writes a variation of the phrase: “…And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” The words were shortened to In God We Trust and first applied to U.S. coins in 1864.

In God We Trust: The History
The U. S. Department of Treasury states “the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST, was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins.

From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861. It was written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. As a result, Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861:

    Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States.”

Pollock suggested “Our Trust Is In God,” “Our God And Our Country,” “God And Our Country,” and “God Our Trust.” Chase picked “In God We Trust” to be used on some of the government’s coins. The first time “In God We Trust” appeared on our coins was in 1864 on the new two cent coin, and by 1909 it was included on most the other coins. During the height of the cold war, on July 11, 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 140 making it mandatory that all coinage and paper currency display the motto. 

In God We Trust: The Foundation
American history demonstrates repeatedly that the nation was founded on Christian principles and its founding fathers wished to acknowledge that fact all over Washington D.C. buildings, in official documents, and historical speeches. Less than a hundred years after its Declaration of Independence, In God We Trust was proclaimed on its coins. America is a free nation, and freedom of religion is still guaranteed in the Constitution’s First Amendment

All about history

Posted by: MTR | November 27, 2010

Treaty of Tripoli

Many secularists use the words of the Treaty of Tripoli in order to prove that America was not a Christian Nation. They cite the following:

The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion. GEORGE WASHINGTON

f you took that single sentence you would conclude that George Washington was indeed stating that we were not a Christian nation. But in order to understand the sentence you also need to know the history of the  Treaty.

That treaty, one of several with Tripoli, was negotiated during the “Barbary Powers Conflict,” which began shortly after the Revolutionary War and continued through the Presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. The Muslim Barbary Powers (Tunis, Morocco, Algiers, and Tripoli) were warring against what they claimed to be the “Christian” nations (England, France, Spain, Denmark, and the United States). In 1801, Tripoli even declared war against the United States, thus constituting America’s first official war as an established independent nation.

Throughout this long conflict, the four Barbary Powers regularly attacked undefended American merchant ships. Not only were their cargoes easy prey but the Barbary Powers were also capturing and enslaving “Christian” seamen in retaliation for what had been done to them by the “Christians” of previous centuries (e.g., the Crusades and Ferdinand and Isabella’s expulsion of Muslims from Granada ). In an attempt to secure a release of captured seamen and a guarantee of unmolested shipping in the Mediterranean, President Washington dispatched envoys to negotiate treaties with the Barbary nations. (Concurrently, he encouraged the construction of American naval warships  to defend the shipping and confront the Barbary “pirates” – a plan not seriously pursued until President John Adams created a separate Department of the Navy in 1798.)

The American envoys negotiated numerous treaties of “Peace and Amity”  with the Muslim Barbary nations to ensure “protection” of American commercial ships sailing in the Mediterranean.  However, the terms of the treaty frequently were unfavorable to America, either requiring her to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of “tribute” (i.e., official extortion) to each country to receive a “guarantee” of safety or to offer other “considerations” (e.g., providing a warship as a “gift” to Tripoli,  a “gift” frigate to Algiers,  paying $525,000 to ransom captured American seamen from Algiers,  etc.). The 1797 treaty with Tripoli was one of the many treaties in which each country officially recognized the religion of the other in an attempt to prevent further escalation of a “Holy War” between Christians and Muslims.  (Wallbuilders)

Consequently, Article XI of that treaty stated:

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] and as the said States [America] have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

And this leads into my second point. Secularists continually quote the first sentence but don’t bother letting the reader know the rest of the sentence.

as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen and as the said States have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries

The rest of the sentence is clearly stating that America has no animosity against any religion and wishes no harm on Muslims. All America wanted was peace and harmony . But if you only read what the secularists put forward, you’d think Washington was saying basically, hey, we aren’t Christian, so it’s cool. NO, we aren’t a Christian nation in the sense that we don’t allow other religions to be allowed here.

We already had people of the Jewish faith in the states and had been the case for many years. The Treaty was merely letting the Muslims know that we would accept people of other religous beliefs in our country. That was what freedom of religion was all about and what our founders espoused.

Btw, the Muslims violated the Treaty later and still attacked our ships.

Posted by: MTR | November 26, 2010

It Must Rest with the States

I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority.”

Source: Letter of Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Miller, 1808.

Posted by: MTR | November 26, 2010

Historical Documents Showing State Support of Religion

1. Virginia

Official Religion: Anglican/Church of England

Original Charter Date: Apr. 10,1606

Full text of The First Charter of Virginia (PDF) 15.5K

Ended Support: 1830″Every Person should go to church, Sundays and Holidays, or lye Neck and Heels that Night, and be a Slave to the Colony the following Week; for the second Offence, he should be a Slave for a Month; and for the third, a Year and a Day.”

Governor Argall’s Decree
1617


“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

Virginia Declaration of Rights
1776


“Section I. The opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own…

Section II. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
Jan. 16, 1786


“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested or burthened, in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief: but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.

And the legislature shall not prescribe any religious test whatsoever; nor confer any peculiar privileges or advantages on any one sect or denomination; nor pass any law requiring or authorizing any religious society, or the people of any district within this commonwealth to levy on themselves or others any tax for the erection or repair of any house for public worship or for the support of any church or ministry, but it shall be left free to every person to select his religious instructor, and make for his support such private contract as he shall please.”

Virginia Constitution
1830

2. New York

Official Religion: Anglican/Church of England

Original Charter Date: June 7, 1614

Full text of the Charter of the Dutch West India Company (PDF) 22.8K

Ended Support: 1846″The Dutch Colony of the seventeenth century was officially intolerantly Protestant but was, as has been noted, in practice tolerant and fair to people of other faiths who dwelt within New Netherland.

When the English took the province from the Dutch in 1664, they granted full religious toleration to the other forms of Protestantism, and preserved the property rights of the Dutch Reformed Church, while recognizing its discipline.

In 1697, although the Anglican Church was never formally established in the Province of New York, Trinity Church was founded in the City of New York by royal charter, and received many civil privileges and the munificent grants of land which are the source of its present great wealth.”

New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia


“THAT Noe person or persons which professe ffaith in God by Jesus Christ Shall at any time be any wayes molested punished disquieted or called in Question for any Difference in opinion or Matter of Religious Concernment”

New York Charter of Liberties and Privileges
1683


“Article XXXVIII. And whereas we are required, by the benevolent principles of the rational liberty, not only to expel civil tyranny, but also to guard against that spiritual oppression and intolerance wherewith the bigotry and ambition of weak and wicked priests and princes have scourged mankind, this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this state, ordain, determine, and desire, that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall be forever hereafter be allowed, within this state, to all mankind: PROVIDED That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state.

Article XXXIX. And whereas the ministers of the gospel are, by their profession, dedicated to the service of God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function, therefore, no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall, at any time hereafter, under and preference or description whatever, be eligible to, or capable of holding, any civil or military office or place within this state.”

New York Constitution
1777


The New York Constitution of 1846 ended all restrictions against religious officials from holding office or being in the military.

New York Constitution
1846

3. Massachusetts

Official Religion: Congregational Church

Original Charter Date: Mar. 4, 1629

Full text of The Charter of Massachusetts Bay (PDF) 29.1K

Ended Support: 1833″Like many who arrived on these shores in the 17th century, the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay came to America seeking religious freedom… The freedom they sought, however, was for themselves and not for others. The Puritans felt called by God to establish ‘new Israel,’ a holy commonwealth based on a covenant between God and themselves as the people of God. Though there were separate areas of authority for church and state in Puritan Massachusetts, all laws of the community were to be grounded in God’s law and all citizens were expected to uphold the divine covenant…

Very early in the Massachusetts experiment, dissenters arose to challenge the Puritan vision of a holy society. The first dissenter, Roger Williams (c.1603-1683), was himself a Puritan minister but with a very different vision of God’s plan for human society. Williams argued that God had not given divine sanction to the Puritan colony. In his view, the civil authorities of Massachusetts had no authority to involve themselves in matters of faith. The true church, according to Williams, was a voluntary association of God’s elect. Any state involvement in the worship or God, therefore, was contrary to the divine will and inevitably led to the defilement of the church…

Banished from Massachusetts in 1635, Roger Williams founded Rhode Island, the first colony with no established church and the first society in America to grant liberty of conscience to everyone.”

First Amendment Center


“Article II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession or sentiments. provided he doth not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worship.

Article III. And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.

Chapter VI. Article I. Any person chosen governor, lieutenant-governor, councillor, senator, or representative, and accepting the trust, shall, before he proceed to execute the duties of his place or office, make and subscribe the following declaration, viz:

‘I _______, do declare that I believe the Christian religion…'”

Massachusetts Constitution
1780


“[A]ll religious sects and denominations, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good citizens of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.”

Massachusetts Constitution, Article XI
1833

4. Maryland

Official Religion: Anglican/Church of England

Original Charter Date: June 20, 1632

Full text of The Charter of Maryland (PDF) 22.6K

Ended Support: 1867″Article XXXIII. That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons, professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice; unless, under colour of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others, in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any particular place of worship, or any particular ministry; yet the Legislature may, in their discretion, lay a general and equal tax for the support of the Christian religion; leaving to each individual the power of appointing the payment over of the money, collected from him, to the support of any particular place of worship or minister, or for the benefit of the poor of his own denomination, or the poor in general of any particular county: but the churches, chapels, globes, and all other property now belonging to the church of England, ought to remain to the church of England forever…

Article XXXV. That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support and fidelity to this State, and such oath of office, as shall be directed by this Convention or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion.”

Maryland State Constitution
1776


All religious requirements were eliminated in the constitution of 1867.

Maryland State Constitution
1867

5. Delaware

Official Religion: None

Original Charter Date: 1637

Chartered by the South Company of Sweden

Ended Support: 1792″BECAUSE no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship: And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge Our almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the world; and professes him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their consciencious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion.

AND that all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, shall be capable (notwithstanding their other Persuasions and Practices in Point of Conscience and Religion) to serve this Government in any Capacity, both legislatively and executively…”

Charter of Delaware
1701


“That all Men have a natural and unalienable Right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates Of their own conscience and understandings; that no Man ought or of right can he compelled to attend any religious Worship or maintain any Ministry contrary to or against his own free Will and Consent, and that no Authority can or Ought to be vested in, or assumed by any Power whatever that shall in any Case interfere with, or in any Manner control the Right of Conscience in the Free exercise of Religious Worship.

That all Persons professing the Christian Religion ought forever to enjoy equal Rights and Privileges in this State…”

Delaware Declaration of Rights and Fundamental Rules
1776


“Article 22. Every person who shall be chosen a member of either House, or appointed to any office or place of trust… shall take the following oath:

‘I _______, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, One God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’

Article 29. There shall be no establishment of any religious sect in this State in preference to another; and no clergyman or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of holding any civil office in this state, or of being a member of either of the branches of the legislature, while they continue in the exercise of the pastoral function.”

Delaware State Constitution
1776


“No religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, under this State.”

Delaware Constitution, Article I, Section 2
1792

6. Connecticut

Official Religion: Congregational Church

Original Charter Date: Jan. 14, 1639

Full text of The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (PDF) 10.6K

Ended Support: 1818″[O]ur said people, Inhabitants there, may bee soe religiously, peaceably and civilly Governed as their good life and orderly Conversacon may wynn and invite the Natives of the Country to the knowledge and obedience of the onely true God and Saviour of mankind, and the Christian faith, which in our Royall intencons and the Adventurers free profession is the onely and principall end of this Plantacon.”

Connecticut Colony Charter
1662


“Article I. Section 3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in this State, provided that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State.

Article I. Section 4. No preference shall be given by law to any Christian sect or mode of worship.

Article VII. Section 1. It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and their right to render that worship in the mode most consistent with the dictates or their consciences, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, nor be classed with, or associated to, any congregation, church, or religious association; but every person now belonging to such congregation, church, or religious association, shall remain a member thereof until he shall have separated himself therefrom, in the manner hereinafter provided. And each and every society or denomination of Christians in this State shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights, and privileges; and shall have power and authority support and maintain the ministers or teachers of their respective denominations, and to build and repair houses for public worship by a tax on the members of any such society only, to be laid by a major vote of the legal voters assembled at any society meeting, warned and held according to law, or in any other manner.”

Connecticut Constitution
1818

7. New Hampshire

Official Religion: Congregational Church

Original Charter Date: Aug. 4, 1639

Full text of the Agreement of the Settlers at Exeter in New Hampshire (PDF) 5.08K

Ended Support: 1877″Article III. When men enter into a State of society they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others…

Article IV. Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE…

Article V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship GOD according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason; and no person shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in is person, liberty, or estate for worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship.

Senate. Provided, nevertheless, That no person shall be capable of being elected a senator who is not of the Protestant religion…

House of Representatives. Every member of the house of representatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…

President. [H]e shall be of the Protestant religion.”

New Hampshire Constitution
1784


“And be it further enacted, that each religious sect or denomination of Christians in this State may associate and form societies, may admit members, may establish rules and bylaws for their regulation and government, and shall have all the corporate powers which may be necessary to assess and raise money by taxes upon the polls and ratable estate of the members of such associations, and to collect and appropriate the same for the purpose of building and repairing houses of public worship, and for the support of the ministry; and the assessors and collectors of such associations shall have the same powers in assessing and collecting, and shall be liable to the same penalties as similar town officers have and are liable to–Provided that no person shall be compelled to join or support, or be classed with, or associated to any congregation, church or religious society without his express consent first had and obtain–Provided also, if any person shall choose to separate himself from such society, or association to which he may belong, and shall leave a written notice thereof with the clerk of such society or association, he shall thereupon be no longer liable for any future expenses which may be incurred by said society or association–Provided also, that no association or society shall exercise the powers herein granted until it shall have assumed a name and stile by which such society may be known and distinguished in law, and shall have recorded the same in a book of records to be kept by the clerk of said Society, and shall have published the same in some newspaper in the County where such society may be formed if any be printed therein, and if not then in some paper published in some adjoining County.”

The Toleration Act, Section 3D
1819


“House of Representatives. Article 14. Amended 1877 deleting requirement that representatives be Protestants.

Senate. Article 29. Amended l877 deleting requirements that senators be Protestant.”

New Hampshire Constitution
1990

8. Rhode Island

Official Religion: None

Original Charter Date: Mar. 14, 1643

Full text of the Patent for Providence Plantations (PDF) 7.56K

Ended Support: 1842″That [the inhabitants], pursueing, with peaceable and loyall minces, their sober, serious and religious intentions, of goalie edifieing themselves, and one another, in the holy Christian faith and worship, as they werepersuaded; together with the gaining over and conversion of the poor ignorant Indian natives, in thoseparts of America, to the sincere profession and obedience of the same faith and worship…

true pietye rightly grounded upon gospell principles, will give the best and greatest security to sovereignetye, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyaltye: Now know bee, that wee beinge willinge to encourage the hopefull undertakeinge of oure sayd lovall and loveinge subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise and enjovment of all theire civill and religious rights, appertaining to them, as our loveing subjects; and to preserve unto them that libertye, in the true Christian ffaith and worshipp of God…

That our royall will and pleasure is, that noe person within the sayd colonye, at any tyme hereafter, shall bee any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinione in matters of religion, and doe not actually disturb the civill peace of our sayd colony; but that all and everye person and persons may, from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes hereafter, freelye and fullye have and enjoye his and theire owne judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments…

and to direct, rule, order and dispose of, all other matters and things, and particularly that which relates to the makinge of purchases of the native Indians, as to them shall seeme meete; wherebv oure sayd people and inhabitants, in the sayd Plantationes, may be soe religiously, peaceably and civilly governed, as that, by theire good life and orderlie conversations, they may win and invite the native Indians of the countrie to the knowledge and obedience of the onlie true God, and Saviour of mankinde…”

Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
July 15, 1663


“Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; and all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness; and whereas a principal object of our venerable ancestors, in their migration to this country and their settlement of this state, was, as they expressed it, to hold forth a lively experiment that a flourishing civil state may stand and be best maintained with full liberty in religious concernments; we, therefore, declare that no person shall be compelled to frequent or to support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatever, except in fulfillment of such person’s voluntary contract; nor enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in body or goods; nor disqualified from holding any office; nor otherwise suffer on account of such person’s religious belief; and that every person shall be free to worship God according to the dictates of such person’s conscience, and to profess and by argument to maintain such person’s opinion in matters of religion; and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect the civil capacity of any person.”

Rhode Island Constitution, Article I, Section 3
1842

9. Georgia

Official Religion: None

Original Charter Date: 1732

Full text of the Charter of Georgia (PDF) 24.2K

Ended Support: 1798″Article VI. [R]epresentatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…

Article LVI. All persons whatever shall have the free exercise of their religion; provided it be not repugnant to the peace and safety of the State; and shall not, unless by consent, support any teacher or teachers except those of their own profession.”

Georgia Constitution
1777


Article I. Section 3. The ‘representatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…’ requirement was removed.

“Article IV. Section 5. All persons shall have the free exercise of religion, without being obligated to contribute to the support of any religious but their own.”

Georgia Constitution
1789


“Article IV. Section 10. No person within this state shall, upon any pretense, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in any manner agreeable to his own conscience, nor be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall he ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for the building or repairing any place of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged. To do. No one religious society shall ever be established in this state, in preference to another; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles.”

Georgia Constitution
1798

10. North Carolina

Official Religion: Anglican/Church of England

Original Charter Date: Mar. 24, 1663

Full text of the Charter of Carolina (PDF) 23.6K

Ended Support: 1875″Article XIX. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

Article XXXI. That no clergyman, or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the Senate, House of Commons, or Council of State, while he continues in the exercise of pastoral function.

Article XXXII. That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.

Article XXXIV. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious church or denomination in this State, in preference to any other; neither shall any person, on any presence whatsoever, be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith or judgment, nor be obliged to pay, for the purchase of any glebe, or the building of any house of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes right, of has voluntarily and personally engaged to perform; but all persons shall be at liberty to exercise their own mode of worship: — Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to exempt preachers of treasonable or seditious discourses, from legal trial and punishment.”

North Carolina Constitution
1776


All religious references and requirements were eliminated in the constitution of 1875.

North Carolina Constitution
1875

11. South Carolina

Official Religion: Anglican/Church of England

Original Charter Date: Mar. 24, 1663

Full text of the Charter of Carolina (PDF) 23.6K

Ended Support: 1868″Article XXXVIII. That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State. That all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil privileges. To accomplish this desirable purpose without injury to the religious property of those societies of Christians which are by law already incorporated for the purpose of religious worship, and to put it fully into the power of every other society of Christian Protestants, either already formed or hereafter to be formed, to obtain the like incorporation, it is hereby constituted, appointed, and declared that the respective societies of the Church of England that are already formed in this State for the purpose of religious worship shall still continue Incorporate and hold the religious property now in their possession. And that whenever fifteen or more male persons, not under twenty-one years of age, professing the Christian Protestant religion, and agreeing to unite themselves in a society for the purposes of religious worship, they shall, (on complying with the terms hereinafter mentioned,) be, and be constituted, a church, and be esteemed and regarded in law as of the established religion of the state, and on a petition to the legislature shall be entitled to be incorporated and to enjoy equal privileges. That every society of Christians so formed shall give themselves a name or denomination by which they shall be called and known in law, and all that associate with them for the purposes of worship shall be esteemed as belonging to the society so called. But that previous to the establishment and incorporation of the respective societies of every denomination as aforesaid, and in order to entitle them thereto, each society so petitioning shall have agreed to and subscribed in a book the following five articles, without which no agreement or union of men upon pretense of religion shall entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the established religion of this State:

Ist. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments.

2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped.

3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion.

4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice.

5th That it is lawful and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth.”

South Carolina Constitution
1778


“Article VIII, Section 1. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed within this State to all mankind, PROVIDED, That the liberty of conscience thereby declared shall not be construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of this State.”

South Carolina Constitution
1790


14th Amendment to US Constitution was ratified by South Carolina in July 1868. The US Supreme Court ruled that this amendment ended state support of religion in all US states in ruling of Gitlow v. New York, 1925

12. Pennsylvania

Official Religion: None

Original Charter Date: Feb. 28, 1681

Full text of the Charter for the Province of Pennsylvania (PDF) 20.5K

Ended Support: 1790″Section. 2. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their Own consciences and understanding: And that no man ought or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against, his own free will and consent: nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account or his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship: And that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or In any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.

Section 10… shall each [representative] before they proceed to business take… the following oath or affirmation:

‘I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.’

And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this state.”

Pennsylvania Constitution
1776


“That no person, who acknowledges the being of God and a future state of rewards and punishments, shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this commonwealth.”

Pennsylvania Constitution, Article IX, Section 4
1790

13. New Jersey

Official Religion: None

Original Charter Date: Mar. 12, 1702

Full text of the Surrender from the Proprietors of East and West New Jersey, of Their Pretended Right of Government to Her Majesty (PDF) 14.7K

Ended Support: 1844″XVIII. That no person shall ever, within this Colony, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; nor, under any pretense whatever, be compelled to attend any place of worship, contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall any person, within this Colony, ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rates, for the purpose of building or repairing any other church or churches, place or places of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or has deliberately or voluntarily engaged himself to perform.

XIX. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this Province, in preference to another; and that no Protestant inhabitant of this Colony shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right, merely on account of his religious principles; but that all persons, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government, as hereby established, shall be capable of being elected into any office of profit or trust, or being a member of either branch of the Legislature, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity, enjoyed by others their fellow subjects.”

New Jersey Constitution
1776


“There shall be no establishment of one religious sect in preference to another; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust; and no person shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles.”

New Jersey Constitution, Rights and Privileges, Article I, Section 4
1844

Undergod

Posted by: MTR | November 26, 2010

Freemasonry as described by a Mason

I happened to go onto this forum where a mason was asked about Freemasons and our founders. And this was his conclusion

Regarding Freemasonry and Founding Fathers (again using the term loosely to mean any significant figure in the Revolutionary War) it had two effects…both easily misunderstood.

First; it is a way for people to approach Christianity differently than merely through Church, often which is focused on dogma or doctrine and less on being Christian…while Freemasonry eliminates a need to be “Christian” altogether, which could have several origins to that belief – or could have merely been the result of British experience with non-Christians, and feeling a desire to meet and be Christian around these non-Christians…to act like but not discuss Christianity.

The lack of discussion of Religion or Politics became apart of the Masonic Constitutions as a result of the Civil War in Great Britain so it’s not necessarily that there isn’t a “religious” purpose to the fraternity, but that political necessity negated it to a large extent.

The second aspect is that Freemasonry rarely has its own impact upon a person, it brings little to the table that you yourself do not bring, and because of this Freemasonry itself may be a way for people to relate to one another even more, but it is not itself strong enough to forge ideas, or create actions that themselves are not already created by another force (like religion) and acted upon by the person’s own devotion to those ideas.

Materially, not very many founders were Freemasons…just a good amount of key Generals and senior officers of the military (since Masonry was a fad in the British military at the time that made sense) and then a few good socialites.

Others are stated to be made masons without proof…such as Jefferson (who did attend a lodge once or twice as a guest)…

Posted by: MTR | November 26, 2010

You are the redeemed of the Lord

William Samuel Johnson, Episcopalian, son of Anglican (Episcopalian) minister Samuel Johnson and president of Columbia University from 1787-1800. In his remarks to the first graduating class at Columbia after the War for Independence he said:
   
“You this day, gentlemen, assume new characters, enter into new relations, and consequently incur new duties. You have, by the favor of Providence and the attention of your friends, received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country….”
   
“Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your minds, and exemplified in your lives and conduct.”
   
“Imprint deep upon your minds the principles of piety towards God, and a reverence and fear of His holy name. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and its consummation is everlasting felicity. Possess yourselves of just and elevated notions of the Divine character, attributes, and administration, and of the end and dignity of your own immortal nature as it stands related to Him.”
   
“Reflect deeply and often upon those relations. Remember that it is in God you live and move and have your being, – that in the language of David He is about your bed and about your path and spieth out all your ways, – that there is not a thought in your hearts, nor a word upon your tongues, but lo! He knoweth them altogether, and that he will one day call you to a strict account for all your conduct in this mortal life.”
   
“Remember, too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. Adore Jehovah, therefore, as your God and your Judge. Love, fear, and serve Him as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His word and holy ordinances.”
   
“Make Him your friend and protector and your felicity is secured both here and hereafter. And with respect to particular duties to Him, it is your happiness that you are well assured that he best serves his Maker, who does most good to his country and to mankind.”

Posted by: MTR | November 26, 2010

Nation Founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia, p. iii.

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