Lee v. Weisman

Religion is the Foundation of Government
The Founding Fathers Believed Government was of God

Modern secularists have problems understanding the American relationship between religion and government because they do not understand that the Founders believed 

Every single person who signed the Constitution agreed with these premises, and they agreed that the true religion was Christianity. It doesn't matter that they didn't agree among themselves as to the details of the Christian religion. It doesn't matter that they made sure that one variety of Christianity would have no legal power over other varieties of Christianity. What matters is that not a single signer of the Constitution believed in the "separation of church and state" where the word "church" means "Christianity, the true religion." None of them accepted the possibility of a social order separated from true religion and independent of God.

Probably one of the most important Biblical texts in the history of political science in Western Civilization is the thirteenth chapter of the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans. Since the time of Augustine, this passage has been the starting point for all discussions of government. And that starting point led to the conclusion -- universally held by the Founding Fathers -- that the human task of forming civil governments was a religious obligation.

Romans 13 says that the civil magistrate is "the minister of God." Departments of State have been called "ministry" throughout Anglo-American history. Western Civilization still speaks of "the minister of justice."

Yet most Secular Humanists haven't the foggiest idea what this passage of Scripture says, nor have they the remotest sensitivity for how the Founding Fathers reverenced this text. History shows it pervaded their thinking. It was an underlying assumption. Even today, when people speak of "the powers that be" they are using the language from Romans 13, likely without knowing the source.

If you know nothing about Romans 13, start by reading the passage here.

Then review some history. Romans 13 and a Biblical doctrine of government pervades Western thought and influenced the Founding Fathers. (The ironic thing about the use of Romans 13 in Western political science is that the passage, though clearly intended to inculcate non-resistance to the magistrates, has been most frequently cited in treatises which advocate violent revolution.) Richard Gardiner, in his impressive collection of "Primary Source Documents Pertaining to Early American History, lists many sources which introduce the average Secular Humanist to the now-unknown religious foundations of American Revolution and Government. A sampling is found here.

Here is another example of how the Founding Fathers believed Romans 13 was a divine commandment to form civil government, how that government, once formed, was obligated to obey God's Law, and how America was such a Christian nation.

A Proclamation by
President John Adams

MARCH 6, 1799
  • As no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the governing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributer of rewards and punishments are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to the well-being of communities;
  • as it is also most reasonable in itself that men who are made capable of social acts and relations, who owe their improvements to the social state, and who derive their enjoyments from it, should, as a society, make their acknowledgments of dependence and obligation to Him who hath endowed them with these capacities and elevated them in the scale of existence by these distinctions;
  • as it is likewise a plain dictate of duty and a strong sentiment of nature that in circumstances of great urgency and seasons of imminent danger earnest and particular supplications should be made to Him who is able to defend or to destroy;
  • as, moreover, the most precious interests of the people of the United States are still held in jeopardy by the hostile designs and insidious acts of a foreign nation, as well as by the dissemination among them of those principles, subversive of the foundations of all religious, moral, and social obligations, that have produced incalculable mischief and misery in other countries;
  • and as, in fine, the observance of special seasons for public religious solemnities is happily calculated to avert the evils which we ought to deprecate and to excite to the performance of the duties which we ought to discharge by calling and fixing the attention of the people at large to the momentous truths already recited, by affording opportunity to teach and inculcate them by animating devotion and giving to it the character of a national act:

For these reasons I have thought proper to recommend, and I do hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the 25th day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain as far as may be from their secular occupations, devote the time to the sacred duties of religion in public and in private; that they

Some have suggested that Adams was a Unitarian who doubted the divinity of Christ. Yet his official acts as President were Trinitarian. Legal effect is determined objectively, not subjectively.
  • call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence,
  • implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions,
  • and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions in time to come;
Piety, in principle, is a compound of veneration or reverence of the Supreme Being and love of his character, or veneration accompanied with love; and piety in practice is the exercise of these affections in obedience to his will and devotion to his service.
Noah Webster, 1st ed., 1828.
that He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind;
that He would make us deeply sensible that "righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people;" [Proverbs 14:34]
that He would turn us from our transgressions and turn His displeasure from us;
that He would withhold us from unreasonable discontent, from disunion, faction, sedition, and insurrection;
that He would preserve our country from the desolating sword;
that He would save our cities and towns from a repetition of those awful pestilential visitations under which they have lately suffered so severely, and that the health of our inhabitants generally may be precious in His sight;
that He would favor us with fruitful seasons and so bless the labors of the husbandman as that there may be food in abundance for man and beast;
that He would prosper our commerce, manufactures, and fisheries, and give success to the people in all their lawful industry and enterprise;
that He would smile on our colleges, academies, schools, and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of sound science, morals, and religion;
that He would bless all magistrates, from the highest to the lowest, give them the true spirit of their station, make them a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well;
that He would preside over the councils of the nation at this critical period, enlighten them to a just discernment of the public interest, and save them from mistake, division, and discord;
that He would make succeed our preparations for defense and bless our armaments by land and by sea;
that He would put an end to the effusion of human blood and the accumulation of human misery among the contending nations of the earth by disposing them to justice, to equity, to benevolence, and to peace;
and that he would extend the blessings of knowledge, of true liberty, and of pure and undefiled religion throughout the world.

And I do also recommend that with these acts of humiliation, penitence, and prayer fervent thanksgiving to the Author of All Good be united for the countless favors which He is still continuing to the people of the United States, and which render their condition as a nation eminently happy when compared with the lot of others.
    Given etc.

[From C. F. Adams's Works of John Adams, Vol. IX, p. 172.]
Messages and Papers of the Presidents, John Adams, vol. 1, p.274-76

The doctrine of "separation of church and state" has been defined by the U.S. Supreme Court as the impermissibility of government "endorsement" of religion over irreligion, of belief over unbelief. The Court says it

squarely rejects any notion that this Court will tolerate some government endorsement of religion. Rather, [we] recognize[] any endorsement of religion as "invalid," because it "sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community."

Allegheny County v.Greater Pittsburgh ACLU,
492 U.S. 573, 595 (1989)

How would Adams' proclamation make atheists feel? What we have in this official Proclamation is nothing less than the President asking the entire nation to pray that the "separation of church and state" -- that is, the separation of God and country, a nation unattached to pure religion -- would never be true.

See also: March 23, 1798 National Fasting and Prayer Proclamation

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The pages below are designed to expose the myth of pluralism and to show that pluralism was universally denied by the Founding Fathers.

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