Amer­ica was founded on Chris­tian con­cepts

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - NEL­SON PRICE

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.

Price

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