Make Sure Your Children Learn America's Christian History (Proverbs 12:22)
America is a nation founded by Christians based on Biblical principles and values. Unfortunately, this is not a lesson your children are learning anymore if they attend public schools in America. In fact, they are being taught just the opposite. For this reason, you may have to take it upon yourself to ensure your children and grandchildren learn the truth about America’s Christian history. Doing so accords with the message in Proverbs 12:22: “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” God will be delighted when you teach your children and grandchildren the truth about America’s Christian heritage.
In many classrooms across our country, youngsters are being taught that America’s founders were not Christians. This contention is blatantly at odds with the historical record and should not become accepted as truth by children being raised in Christian households. This blog contains information about America’s Christian history all believers should know and be able to convey to their children and grandchildren.
To begin, half of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence held seminary degrees and each session of the Continental Congress was opened with prayer. Concerning the religious views of the fifty-five men who developed America’s Constitution, Christians need to know that: 26 were Episcopalians, 11 were Presbyterians, 7 were Congregationalists, 2 were Lutherans, 2 were Dutch Reformed, 2 were Methodists, 2 were Quakers, 2 were Roman Catholics, and one was Benjamin Franklin (whose religious views are still hard to pin down). Because Franklin’s views are difficult to know with any degree of certainty, he is often cited in modern textbooks as an example of our “non-Christian” founders. However, those who use Franklin to prove America’s founders were not Christians have to choose the quotes they cite from him carefully.
For example, they must studiously avoid this Franklin quote: “God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business.” This is quite a statement coming from a man was supposedly an unbeliever.
Tour our nation’s capital and you will find yourself surrounded by evidence of America’s Christian heritage. In his book, Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in our Nation’s History and Future, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, provides an excellent summary of this evidence. A brief tour of the Capitol itself as well as the Capital City is an education in America’s Christian heritage.
In the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, you will find several historical paintings displayed. Three of these paintings in particular have Christian themes. The first is titled The Embarkation of the Pilgrims. This painting depicts a day of fasting and prayer by the Pilgrims. The second painting is titled Discovery of the Mississippi by DeSoto. It depicts DeSoto standing next to a Monk who prays as a crucifix is placed on the ground. The third painting shows Pocahantas being baptized and is titled, appropriately, Baptism of Pocahantas.
As you walk through the Capitol, references to faith and God abound. For example, in the Cox Corridor you will find this line from America the Beautiful carved into the wall: “America! God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.” Enter the House Chamber and you will see “In God We Trust” inscribed on the wall above the Speaker’s platform. Visit the Senate Chamber and you will find the words “Annuit Coeptis” (Latin for God has favored our undertakings) inscribed at the east entrance. At the southern entrance you will find the words “In God We Trust” inscribed. The Chapel for the Capitol contains a stained-glass window showing George Washington in prayer under the words “In God We Trust.” The window also contains the following words from a prayer: “Preserve me, God, for in Thee I put my trust.”
The Washington Monument is a veritable treasure trove of evidence relating to America’s Christian heritage. The capstone originally placed on top of the monument contained the phrase “Laus Deo” which is Latin for “Praise be to God.” Other inscriptions within the monument include the following: “Holiness to the Lord,” “Search the Scriptures,” “The memory of the just is blessed,” “May Heaven to this union continue its beneficence,” and “In God We Trust” to name just a few. The cornerstone of the monument includes a copy of the Bible.
At the Lincoln Memorial you will find yourself surrounded by the 16th president’s words, words that reflect an abiding belief in God. Contained within Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address inscribed on the walls of the monument are the words, “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” Also inscribed on the wall of the monument is Lincoln’s second inaugural address in which he quoted the Bible twice and mentioned God 14 times.
At the Jefferson Memorial you will find yourself surrounded by references to God made by America’s third president. For example, the interior dome of the monument contains these words from Jefferson: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the minds of man.” A wall panel contains Jefferson’s famous words from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
In another wall panel in the monument, you will find these words from Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia written in 1785: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” These few quotes only scratch the surface of Jefferson’s copious writing, but even a cursory examination of his words belies the claim in modern textbooks that Thomas Jefferson was an unbeliever.
One of the strongest statements made by a Founding Father about America’s Christian heritage came from John Adams, second President of the United States. Adams stated, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were…the general principles of Christianity.” America’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay, who was also President of the Continental Congress and a co-author of the Federalist Papers, made clear his views on Christianity when he proclaimed, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers; and it is the duty—as well as the privilege and interest—of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Then there is the father of our country. The most famous of George Washington’s public speeches is his “Farewell Address.” This is the speech in which he announced his intention to step down from the presidency at the end of his second term, an act that established the two-term precedent now enshrined in law. In this famous speech, Washington 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.”
It would take a book to catalog all of the statements made by America’s Founders concerning their Christian beliefs. Those summarized herein are just the tip of the iceberg, but they are enough to help you set the record straight for your children and grandchildren about their Christian heritage.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Veteran’s Lament: Is This the America We Fought For? and Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press.