America was founded on Christian concepts
ur 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,” so ruled the Supreme Court in 1892.
John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, spoke of “our Christian nation.”
However, America was not and is not a Christian nation. Individuals, not institutions, are Christians.
Don’t stop there. America was founded by Christians. Certain organizations propose the signers of the Constitution were not Christians. The truth is 52 of the 55 signers were evangelical Christians. They went on to found the American Bible Society and the National Track Society. They were by no means neutral regarding Christianity.
President John Adams explained our founding as based on “the general principles of Christianity.” Though a nation can’t be a Christian, a nation can be founded upon and foster Christian principles and America was and did.
John Quincy Adams referred to “the principles of civil government and the principles of civil Christianity” forming one “indissoluble bond.”
Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, served under three presidents, was founder of five colleges and is listed by scholars list with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin as one of the three most notable of men of the era, said, “I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old or New Testament.” That statement resonates with the truth: America was founded on Christian concepts.
Noah Webster, compiler of Websters Dictionary, opined, “The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles . ... This is genuine Christianity and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.” He also spoke of the principles of Christianity having a controlling influence.
Back to the ruling of the Supreme Court in 1862, in part it notes, “Our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer.” Though, in a technical sense, America is not a Christian nation, it was based upon Christian principles. To ensure these principles should be perpetuated, Congress in 1782 passed this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.” They paid for the printing. It was, for a period, a textbook.
They even went further in that act noting they “... recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States ... a neat edition for use in schools.” It is still a good idea to include it in one’s personal daily reading and study.
Despite of all this, current courts are ruling differently. Last Christmas, an atheistgroup posted a billboard urging people not to worship at Christmas.
Recently, a billboard in Dallas, Texas, which stated “America is a Christian Nation” was taken down because it was said to be “hate speech.”
Where is freedom of speech — if not freedom of religion — when we need it?
Noah Webster posted this warning, “I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of Christianity have not a controlling influence.”
Are we there yet?
The Rev. Dr. Nelson L. Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta.