Two of our great Founding Fathers, George Washington- our nation’s first President, and John Adams, our second President, both mentioned Religion and Morality as “Indispensable Supports” to our constitution. They believed freedom was dependent on each individual citizen “constraining themselves” or society would break down and our freedoms would be taken away by the government. Washington, in his 1796 farewell address, said: “Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.”
Have you been watching the news lately? You must be wondering “what is happening to our country?”
Perhaps we should take another look at the wisdom of our founders?
Morality is defined as beliefs pertaining to the differences between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. Laws are the rules a country or community mandates its citizens follow in order to regulate society. Religion is a structure of faith and worship. It’s a belief system based on faith in a supernatural power.
America was indeed founded by bible-believing Christians and based on Christian principles. When they founded this country, the Founding Fathers envisioned a government that would promote and encourage Christianity.
All but two of the first 108 universities founded in America were Christian. This includes the first, Harvard, where the student handbook listed this as Rule #1: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”
In 1777, the Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase bibles which were to be distributed throughout the 13 colonies! And in 1782, the United States Congress declared, “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”
So, let us take a look at Founder John Adams. He was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States, from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency, he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain.
John Adams was the son of a deacon, and his personality was shaped by religion since his infancy. Adams developed a deep reverence for God and a simple admiration for those good and holy Puritans who came before him. He was the first to suggest a novel idea: “let man be ruled by a written constitution”. This advance in philosophy had a profound impact; whereupon the law was seen as an infringement of civil liberties, a written constitution was a constraint against government. To Adams, the battle for independence was the battle for the triumph of human liberty and progress over tyrannies of every kind. His idea of freedom was deeply rooted in the American idea of responsibility and self-control. He said: “The general principles upon 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; and that those principals of liberty are as unalterable as human nature. Religion and virtue are the only foundations…of republicanism and of all free governments.”
This change in opinion began the great America experiment with constitutional liberty and self-government. Adams again stated: “We have no government armed with the power of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people, It is wholly inadequate for the government of another. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our people in a greater measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers, and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty – They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.
Today, as we witness more and more chaos in American society, we should ask ourselves what type of government do we want to live by and reconsider the wisdom of our founders.