Pastor Roger Anghis
August 1, 2010
Discovering America’s Christian Heritage
Part 6 Faith of the Founders Pt2
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Our three branches of government is based on Isaiah 33:22 “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.” The concept of the separation of powers comes from Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 addresses the innate depravity of man -- the subject of numerous sermons in the Founding Era. Understanding that unregenerate man tended to depravity and degeneracy, it became important to inhibit the opportunity for degeneracy and abuse of power in government by breaking it up and placing power into separate locations. Therefore, if one branch became degenerate, if power was separated and balanced among the three branches (see Isaiah 33:22), it might be possible for the other two branches to counteract the degenerate influence of the one. Even if two branches became degenerate, it was still possible for one to exert a counterbalancing influence.
This was their logic behind separation of powers, based on Jeremiah 17:9's teaching of the innate degeneracy of man. They did not expect a branch that became degenerate to remain that way; they felt it could at some point be restored, and more likely so if the other branches remain upright. Christian political philosophers such as Baron Charles Montesquieu (Spirit of the Laws, 1748) and John Locke's Two Treatises of Government (1688) also contain explanations. – David Barton). Tax exemption for churches was based on Ezra 7:24 “Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.”
There are many examples of our Founding Fathers using scripture as the basis of our laws. In 1892 in a Supreme Court decision, Church of Holy Trinity v. United States, stated “No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state of national, because this is a religious people . . . This is a Christian Nation.” In its decision, which was only 16 pages long, it cited 87 precedents contesting to the fact that the United States was a Christian nation. They referenced the Founding Fathers, they quoted the acts of previous Congresses, state governments, previous Court decisions. Stating precedents is of major importance because it is the only way to maintain a stable society. That is why the 1948 Supreme Court decision which erected the ‘wall of separation’ between church and state is so important, it gave NO precedent for its decision! The case of Church of Holy Trinity v. United States was not the only case brought before the Supreme Court that ended with the declaration that the United States was a Christian Nation. In 1848 in the case Vidal v. Girard where a local college was established by a French immigrant and wanted the secular philosophy that was prevalent in France taught at that school. He believed that morality could be taught without using the Bible.
A policy was even made so that a Christian minister was not even allowed to step foot on the campus. This policy caused a case to be brought before the Supreme Court and the decision brought forth stated; “Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in the school, its general precepts expounded and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” This was a unanimous decision from the Supreme Court that the Bible should be taught in the school. No decision like that could come out of the Supreme Court today. We have a hard time even getting the Court to hear a case where a student’s religious liberties have been denied. In 1811 a case on appeal came before the Supreme Court in a case where a man distributed vulgar and profane writings attacking God, Jesus Christ and the Bible. The Supreme Court’s decision stated; “Whatever strikes at the root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government.” According to the Court, an attack on Christianity was an attack on the foundation of this nation and its government.
The foundation of Biblical principles was so strong in all of the people in the days of our Founding Fathers that Clinton Rossiter, a historian and political scientist who taught at Cornell University from 1946 until 1970, stated that if you removed John Adams, John Hancock, Sam Adams, the course of the Revolution would not have changed because of what had been preached in the pulpit out of the Bible that became the foundation for the Revolution.
For over three hundred years we have been known as a Christian nation. Over three hundred court cases, state and federal, have declared that we are a Christian nation. Many Presidents, governors, mayors and state legislators have declared that we are a Christian nation. Today when we make that declaration we are called the American Taliban, we are compared to Islamic radicals, we are even compared to the people that supported Hitler and his rise to power. However, people like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower all, in official statements as president, stated that the United States is a Christian nation. All three of these men fought Hitler and his fascism. We don’t force people to become Christians. Islam will kill you if you don’t convert, we pray for you.
There are many of the Founding Fathers that have declared that America is a Christian nation: Elias Boudinot, President of Congress during the Revolution; signers of the Declaration Charles Caroll, John Hancock, Benjamin Rush, Stephen Hopkins, and Samuel Adams. The list includes signers of the Constitution, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King, John Dickinson, and Roger Sherman. Samuel Chase a signer of the Declaration and a Supreme Court Justice; the original Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, Justice Joseph Story, Justice James Kent, Zephaniah Swift author of America’s first legal text, the US Supreme Court, US Congress, State courts and state legislatures. Many historical leaders have also stood on the premise that America is a Christian nation: General William Eaton, a commander in the first war after the American Revolution, Daniel Webster the great defender of the Constitution. Presidents have stated that America is a Christian nation, George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Zachary Taylor,, Harry Truman, Andrew Jackson, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, Teddy Roosevelt. We have had only one president that has stated that we are no longer a Christian nation and that is Barack Obama.
Many of our leading educators taught that Christianity was the basis of our country and its government including Noah Webster, the school master to America, Jedediah Morse, the father of American geography, William H. McGuffey author of the McGuffey Reader. Patrick Henry stated: “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!” These and many more Founders, leaders and scholars the Founding era to the modern era have declared that America was founded on Christian principles by Christian leaders. Our republican form of government is Biblical. We are told that we are to elect our leaders and those leaders are to be godly: Exodus 18:21 “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:” This concept was brought to fruition because of the reformation. Up until that time nations had kings or dictators. The prophet Samuel warned Israel about having a king, but they wanted one anyway.
Kings were prominent until America declared independence. Even the separation of church and state, not what is taught today about the church being force out of government, but the government being forced to stay out of the church, came out of the reformation. The third important idea that came out of the reformation was the freedom of conscience. Before this concept if you disagreed with a doctrine of the church, you could be executed.
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Many think that we are a democracy but we are not. We are a republic. Our pledge is “to the republic for which it stands.” Noah Webster taught his students: “Our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.” The difference between a democracy and a republic is its source of authority. In a democracy the people can determine that a particular crime is no longer illegal, such a theft. But is our republican government it will always be a crime because it is a crime in the Word of God. We do not want a theocracy in America. You can believe what you want. But we do believe that people of other religions will be won over to Christianity when they experience the difference between their religion and true Christianity.
� 2010 Roger Anghis - All Rights Reserved
Pastor Roger Anghis is the Founder of RestoreFreeSpeech.org, an organization designed to draw attention to the need of returning free speech rights to churches that was restricted in 1954.
President of The Damascus Project, TheDamascusProject.org, which has a stated purpose of teaching pastors and lay people the need of the churches involvement in the political arena and to teach the historical role of Christianity in the politics of the United States. Married-37 years, 3 children, three grandchildren.
Web site: RestoreFreeSpeech.org