Monuments to American Patriotism
The Washington Monument - Latus Deo – praise be to God; lining the walls of the stairwell are carved tribute blocks that declare biblical phrases: Holiness to the Lord, Search the Scriptures, Train up a child in the way he should go, The memory of the just is blessed.
The Bible and American Education
The New England Primer taught the ABC’s to children by memorizing basic biblical truths and lessons about life: A – In Adam’s fall, we sinned all. B – Heaven to find, the Bible Mind. Included were the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Westminster Catechism.
The Founding Fathers stressed the relationship between a sound education based upon biblical absoluters and the future of the nation.
Why then, if these [new] books for children must be retained – as they will be – should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? - Fisher Ames, Founding Father who offered the final wording for the House version of the First Amendment
In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, [if we remove the Bible from schools] I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them. – Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration and Constitution, leading educator
Yale College established in 1701 with a stated goal that “every student shall consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ and answerably to lead a godly, sober life.”
The Separation of Church and State
Many Founding Fathers asserted that religious faith was the most important source of civil virtues.
There is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America – and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth. – Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in America
It seems that today [21st century] in sculpting the faith and values of American culture is the extraconstitutional phrase “separation of church and state.” Significantly, that now-popular phrase is found in none of our governing documents, despite the widespread belief to the contrary. – Barton
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. – US Constitution. They were seeking to prevent what they had experienced in Great Britain: the legal establishment by the national gov’t of a single religious denomination in exclusion of all others. Congress could not establish any one denomination in America. (The founding fathers often used the word “religion” interchangeably with the word “denomination.”
First Amendment- contained two separate clauses , 1 – to prohibit a national denomination, and 2 – to prohibit the interference with people’s public religious expressions. Interpreted this way for 150+ years. The First Amendment is now used to prohibit the very religious activities the Founders themselves once encouraged under that same Amendment.
The Ten Commandments
The tap-root of American order runs deep into a Levantine desert; it began to grow some thirteen centuries before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Through Moses, prophet and law-giver, the moral principles that move the civilization of Europe and America and much more of the world first obtained clear expression. Moses made known that there exists but one God, Jehovah; that God made a covenant or compact with His people; that He had decreed laws by which they should live. From that revelation have grown modern ethics and modern social institutions and much besides. – Russell Kirk, The Root of American Order
Law is much more than a human tool. Flowing from the divine law, it is a reflection of the Creator – it is primarily the Creator’s tool. – Michael Schutt, Redeeming Law
Law is rooted in the created order.
The Founding Fathers embraced the Ten Commandments in both the legal and public arenas. They viewed them and moral laws in Scripture as an indispensable part of sound public policy and gov’t.
The Seven Principles of the Judeo-Christian Ethic
When our Founding Fathers gave us documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and others, they had to lean upon a common understanding of law, government, social order, and morality, which sprang from the common acceptance of the Judeo-Christian Ethic, the system of moral and social values that originate from the Old and New Testaments.
Principle One – The Dignity of Human Life (Ex. 20:13; Mt. 22:39)
Principle Two – The Traditional Monogamous Marriage (Gen. 2:23,24)
Principle Three – A National Work Ethic (2 Thes. 3:10)
Principle Four – The Right to a God-Centered Education (Eph. 6:4)
Principle Five – The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-3; Gal. 3:7)
Principle Six – Common Decency (Mt. 22:39)
Principle Seven – Our Personal Accountability to God (He. 9:27)
What is the most sobering thought that ever entered your mind? wjas asked Daniel Webster. He quickly responded, My personal accountability to God.
Resources: The American Patriot’s Bible, Separation of Church and State: What the Founders Meant by David Barton, The Ten Commandments: Foundation of American Society by Kenyn Cureton