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Religion and Education
Christianity in American Education


Maybe you've seen the article that should go here. Send us the link Or send us the book or journal article and we'll plagiarize it like all our other pages.

Here's what it says:

  • True education in early America meant the holistic nurturing of the spiritual, moral, scientific, and religious dimensions of man.
  • True Education taught children to reverence God and obey His Commandments.

Until you send us this article, readers of this page will have to be content with the following dialogue on American OnLine's "Separation of Church and State" Discussion Board.

Subject: Re: Jefferson the Bible-believer
To: Separation of Church/State?
Date: 8/9/99

In article <19990809091550.10615.00008566@ng-fb1.aol.com>, tulipsis@aol.com (Tulipsis) writes:

>Actually, I would enjoy seeing the part that allegedly forbids teachers to
>keep a Bible on their desk.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in PELOZA v. CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DIST., 37 F.3d 517 (9th Cir. 1994), held that if a student asks a teacher a question about religion during the lunch break, the teacher is forbidden to answer. The court said a school has a right to order a teacher to be silent in order to avoid a costly ACLU lawsuit.

Peloza alleges the school district ordered him to refrain from discussing his religious beliefs with students during "instructional time," and to tell any students who attempted to initiate such conversations with him to consult their parents or clergy. He claims the school district, in the following official reprimand, defined "instructional time" as any time the students are on campus, including lunch break and the time before, between, and after classes:

You are hereby directed to refrain from any attempt to convert students to Christianity or initiating conversations about your religious beliefs during instructional time, which the District believes includes any time students are required to be on campus as well as the time students immediately arrive for the purposes of attending school for instruction, lunch time, and the time immediately prior to students' departure after the instructional day.

Complaint at 16. Peloza seeks a declaration that this definition of instructional time is too broad, and that he should be allowed to participate in student-initiated discussions of religious matters when he is not actually teaching class.6

The school district's restriction on Peloza's ability to talk with students about religion during the school day is a restriction on his right of free speech. Nevertheless, "the Court has repeatedly emphasized the need for affirming the comprehensive authority of the States and of school officials, consistent with fundamental constitutional safeguards, to prescribe and control conduct in the schools." Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506-07, 89 S.Ct. 733, 737, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969). "[T]he interest of the State in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation `may be [a] compelling' one justifying an abridgement of free speech otherwise protected by the First Amendment. . . ." Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., ___ U.S. ___, ___, 113 S.Ct. 2141, 2148, 124 L.Ed.2d 352 (1993) (quoting Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 271, 102 S.Ct. 269, 275, 70 L.Ed.2d 440 (1981)). This principle applies in this case. The school district's interest in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation trumps Peloza's right to free speech.

While at the high school, whether he is in the classroom or outside of it during contract time, Peloza is not just any ordinary citizen. He is a teacher. He is one of those especially respected persons chosen to teach in the high school's classroom. He is clothed with the mantle of one who imparts knowledge and wisdom. His expressions of opinion are all the more believable because he is a teacher. The likelihood of high school students equating his views with those of the school is substantial. To permit him to discuss his religious beliefs with students during school time on school grounds would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Such speech would not have a secular purpose, would have the primary effect of advancing religion, and would entangle the school with religion. In sum, it would flunk all three parts of the test articulated in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S.Ct. 2105, 29 L.Ed.2d 745 (1971). See Roberts v. Madigan, 921 F.2d 1047, 1056-58 (10th Cir. 1990) (teacher could be prohibited from reading Bible during silent reading period, and from stocking two books on Christianity on shelves, because these things could leave students with the impression that Christianity was officially sanctioned), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 3025, 120 L.Ed.2d 896 (1992).

In stark contrast to the myth of separation, the Founders believed that schools should affirmatively teach religion. Every single person who signed the Constitution believed that religious and moral inculcation was the purpose of schools. Peloza is light-years away from the original intent of the Constitution. Consider Samuel Adams:

As piety, religion, and morality have a happy influence on the minds of men, in their public as well as private transactions, you will not think it unseasonable, although I have frequently done it, to bring to your remembrance the great importance of encouraging our University, town schools, and other seminaries of education, that our children and youth while they are engaged in the pursuit of useful science, may have their minds impressed with a strong sense of the duties they owe to God. If we continue to be a happy people, that happiness must be assured by the enacting and executing of the reasonable and wise laws expressed in the plainest language and by establishing such modes of education as tend to inculcate in the minds of youth the feelings and habits of "piety, religion and morality."
(Addressing the Legislature of Mass., 1/16/1795)

Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity. . . and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country. . . . In short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.
Letter to John Adams, 1790, who wrote back: "You and I agree."
Four Letters: Being an Interesting Correspondence Between Those Eminently Distinguished Characters, John Adams, Late President of the United States; and Samuel Adams, Late Governor of Massachusetts. On the Important Subject of Government (Boston: Adams and Rhoades, 1802) pp. 9-10

It has been observed that "education has a greater influence on manners than human laws can have." [A] virtuous education is calculated to reach and influence the heart and to prevent crimes. . . . Such an education, which leads the youth beyond mere outside show, will impress their minds with a profound reverence of the Deity [and] . . . will excite in them a just regard to Divine revelation.
The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams, Wm.Wells., ed. (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1865) Vol.III, p. 327.

Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
Northwest Ordinance, 1787

In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. . . . No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
The opinion that human reason left without the constant control of Divine laws and commands will preserve a just administration, secure freedom and other rights, restrain men from violations of laws and constitutions, and give duration to a popular government is as chimerical as the most extravagant ideas that enter the head of a maniac . . . . Where will you find any code of laws among civilized men in which the commands and prohibitions are not founded on Christian principles? I need not specify the prohibition of murder, robbery, theft [and] trespass.
Noah Webster, Letters, Harry A Warfel, ed., (NY: Library Publishers, 1953) pp. 453-454, to David McClure, Oct. 25, 1836.

The Father of his Country warned:

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle

And secularists would be quick to point out that Washington was less Biblically-oriented than the most influential educators in the nation, such as Benjamin Rush and Noah Webster.

All the scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God's Word, diligently reading the holy Scriptures, that fountain of Divine light and truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion . . . .
All the scholars are obliged to attend Divine worship in the College Chapel on the Lord's Day and on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving appointed by public Authority.
The Laws of Yale College in New Haven in Connecticut (New Haven: Josiah Meigs, 1787) p. 5-6, ch II, art. 1,4

Early US Supreme Court decisions agreed that in a Christian nation such as America, the Bible must be taught in all government-run schools.

In 1844, the Court was asked, Can the state enforce a will which creates a government-operated school which will not teach the Bible?
The Supreme Court said that the very idea of a school which will not teach the Bible is contrary to the legal foundations of this Christian nation.

It is unnecessary for us, however, to consider what would be the legal effect of a devise in Pennsylvania for the establishment of a school or college, for the propagation of . . . Deism, or any other form of infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country; and therefore it must be made out by clear and indisputable proof.

The government made firm assurances that the Bible would be taught in the school, and the will was approved. (Vidal v. Girard's Executors)

The Vidal Court, as it talks about Christianity and the Bible, sounds more like David Barton than anything one would hear from the post-1947 Court. The Vidal Court said that the government in its school "may, nay must impart to their youthful pupils . . . the Bible, and especially the New Testament," which must "be read and taught as a divine revelation in the college -- its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained, and its glorious principles of morality inculcated." The Court asked rhetorically:

Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament? Where are benevolence, the love of truth, sobriety, and industry, so powerfully and irresistibly inculcated as in the sacred volume?

The Bible MUST be taught in government schools, the 1844 US Supreme Court declared.

You would NEVER EVER hear language like this from the modern secularist Court. But you ALWAYS heard language like this from the Founding Fathers.


The "separation of church and state" is a myth.

But it is by the attention it pays to Public Education that the original character of American civilization is at once placed in the clearest light. "It being," says the law, "one chief project of Satan to keep men from the knowledge of the Scripture by persuading from the use of tongues, to the end that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors..." Here follow clauses establishing schools in every township, and obliging the inhabitants, under pain of heavy fines, to support them. Schools of a superior kind were founded in the same manner in the more populous districts. The municipal authorities were bound to enforce the sending of children to school by their parents; they were empowered to inflict fines upon all who refused compliance; and in case of continued resistance society assumed the place of the parent, took possession of the child, and deprived the father of those natural rights which he used to so bad a purpose. The reader will undoubtedly have remarked the preamble of these enactments: in America religion is the road to knowledge, and the observance of the divine laws leads man to civil freedom
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol.1, p.40 - p.41.

Subject:Re:The Dark Side of Kevinian History
To:    	Separation of Church & State
Date:	4/13/99

In article <19990413114347.09759.00000053@ng-fu1.aol.com>, edarr1776@aol.com (EDarr1776) writes:

>Grovelady said:  >>The New England
>>Primer, states that it is to be used in Christian Schools.  These were
>>generaly written and taught in small
>>groups by the local ministers.  They made thier living in this way, since
>>contributions were not that great.   <<<
>Kevin responded:  >>ALL SCHOOLS in America were like this. ALL THE FOUNDING
>FATHERS attended schools like this.>>
>Actually, if you do a web search on Infoseek for "Lawrence Cremin," you'll
>find a couple of websites noting that almost none of the founders attended
>schools like this.  Schools were much, much different.  Kids were often
>expected to be able to read just to get into school.  Madison was educated
>rather informally, boarded out to different families, to get to learn from
>different men in Virginia.  Many were "homeschooled," because there were no
>schools available.  Franklin attended the first public school in America,
>Boston Latin.  He dropped out.  It is clearly in error to say that the major
>founders, or most of the founders went to prearchers' schools -- and it is
>pure balderdash to insist they all did.

This is correct. What I meant to say was
All of the Founders who attended schools at all attended Christian schools which taught the Ten Commandments through the Catechism. The opposition of Secular Humanists to Christian home- schools and parental control of education has no basis in history. I certainly don't want to give a contrary impression.

Ed gives us no reason to doubt that every single Founding Father learned the Ten Commandments in the same way the millions of other students learned them in the New England Primer, whether from tutors, homeschools, or whatever.

>Kevin said:  >> 106 of the first 108 colleges formed in
>America were formed on Christian principles. By 1865 there were
>hardly a half a dozen universities not founded on Christianity, and
>up until 1900 it was extremely rare to find a university president
>who was not an ordained clergyman.
>We should analyze what those "Christian principles" were:  Learn geography,
>learn history, especially of Rome and Greece, and of France and of England;
>learn mathematics.  Learn navigation and literature.  Learn nature and
>The idea was that preachers needed a full grounding in all of these areas
>BEFORE they could start to comprehend the Bible. 

There is certainly evidence that Christians were well-rounded and well-educated (as opposed to the pop-psychology social experimentation that passes for education in the schools created by the religion of Secular Humanism). But there is NO EVIDENCE that anyone (except those way out in left field [e.g., Jefferson]) believed that children should not be taught the Ten Commandments at the earliest age. I have already quoted several founders on the need to do so for "our little boys and girls" and other youth.

> It is true that these
>universities were founded to education clergymen -- it is telling that they
>educated the clergymen, the Men of God, the Teachers of the Faithful, an
>almost everything BUT theology.  This was the time of Natural Law.   Colonists
>thought that we could get closer to God by observing the way nature worked;

True. Very True. But it is now unconstitutional to help students "get closer to God" no matter how they do it. Even employing wholly secular means is "unconstitutional" if the goal is to get kids "closer to God." (See Stone v. Graham [10 Commandments], Aguillard [teaching facts which undermine evolution] and Jaffree [allowing a moment of silence in the unstated hope that kids might "get closer to God"].) Which proves that the current "separationist" mythology was not derived from the Founding Fathers, who would allow non-sectarian religious means to get students closer to God.

>believed and practiced that there were some things so true that the Bible
>couldn't even get close to telling it accurately, such as the truths that all
>men are created equal.

Deceit. Give us a scrap of evidence that the Founders believed the Bible didn't teach this. Where do you get these ideas, Ed? The movement to abolish slavery was led by Christians who took their marching orders from the Bible. Wilberforce in Britain and J.Q. Adams in the U.S. continually cited Scripture in their crusade for equality.

>These universities turned out clergymen who are the antithesis of modern
>fundamentalist preachers.  They were educated in the classics and in history,
>then, often conversant in three or four foreign languages.   They were deeply
>inculcated with learning. 

All the evidence indicates that Ed is right; that Christians were the most educated in the land.

>They had not had their time in school wasted on
>the Ten Commandments

This is unsupportable by any evidence, and is contradicted by the very next line:

>-- but instead could read or figure out the Hebrew
>version, if only by going through the Greek. 

And this they did, and they went on to draft legislation which was consistent with the Ten Commandments.

http://members.aol.com/TenC 4 USA/UShistory/index.htm

>When Thomas Jefferson was appointed to the Board of Visitors of William and
>Mary College (the ruling body of the school), he complained about the
>academic laxity and utter uselessness of having teachers of theology on the
>faculty.  The rest of the board agreed, and they fired the preachers and
>hired a lawyer and a rhetorician.

First, Jefferson was not representative of the views of those who actually signed the Constitution. Many of his "progressive" educational plans were rejected by the Virginia Legislature. All the evidence indicates that Christianity was part of the education of the overwhelming majority of Americans, and all the Founding Fathers.
Second, most teachers of theology ARE useless and should be fired.
Instead of teaching generic Biblical principles (which all the Signers of the Constituiton agreed should be taught in schools) the theology teachers were dragging students down in ecclesiastical squabbles designed to buttress support for their own denominations and institutions. As someone who despises sectarian ecclesiastical squabbles, I have no problem at all with firing a silly cleric and replacing him with a dynamic Christian lawyer like Daniel Webster.
The issue here is whether the lawyer they hired taught that it was unconstitutional for common schools to teach the Ten Commandments.
There is not only no evidence to support this claim, but all the evidence suggests the utter unlikelihood of that being the case. In Jefferson's day there wasn't a school to be found that didn't teach the Ten Commandments.

>Kevin expects that because they wore the label "Christian" they were
>fundamentalist nuts. 

Ed, YOU are the one who thinks that because I say the Founders were Christian that I am saying they were fundamentalist nuts. I hate fundamentalist nuts more than you, because I claim to be a Christian and those nuts are an embarrassment to me.

Your failure to understand that there can be intelligent Christians who appreciate learning in diverse fields and exercise dominion over the earth rather than retreat into speculative and escapist theological squabbles leads to you commit egregious logical fallacies. You falsely assume that "Christian" means "Fundie nut." You prove (rightly) that the men who signed the Constitution were not fundie nuts, and illogically conclude that they were not Bible believing Christians. Your posts are filled with non-sequiturs.

>The fact is that the founders were much more thoughtful
>than Kevin gives them credit for,

No, they were more thoughtful than YOU give me credit for realizing. More thoughtful than you give credit to Bible-believing Christians for being. You judge all Christians throughout history based on the pathetic air-heads who claim to be Christians in our day. In generations past, Christians were men of great intellect, broad education, and their Christianity was the foundation of civilization. Men like J. Gresham Machen, conservative, Bible-believing Christians, were even respected and acknowledged to be men of learning by Secular Humanists. When Machen was defrocked by the liberal presbyterian church in the early part of this century, it was frontpage news in the New York Times. You are right to condemn modern-day fundie nuts. You are very very wrong to conclude that because the men who signed the Constitution were not fundie nuts, they couldn't have been Christian.
Very wrong.

>and they did not advocate teaching the
>Bible to otherwise innocent children.

And this is just plain wrong. Aside from Jefferson's wacked-out theories, you can't name a single Founding Father who would agree with this, and I have quoted several who explicitly say what you deny they say.

Thomas Jefferson's good friend Benjamin Rush, after he signed the Declaration of Independence, was the first Founding Father to call for free public schools. He said:

[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.
(Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, 1798, p.6 ["On the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic"])

Rush was clearly a Christian, but no "fundamentalist nut." In his paper entitled, "A Defense of the Use of the Bible as a Schoolbook," Rush argued,

[T]he only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government . . . is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible. For this Divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.

Daniel Webster reflected the views of every single Signer of the Constitution:

We regard it [public instruction] as a wise and liberal system of police by which property and life and the peace of society are secured. We seek to prevent in some measure the extension of the penal code by inspiring a salutary and conservative principle of virtue and of knowledge. [1]
[However, t]he attainment of knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the larger term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined; the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated. [Four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court would agree that this could only be done by having the government teach the Bible.] [2]
The cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness . . . inspires respect for law and order, and gives strength to the whole social fabric.[3]
[1] Works of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1853) vol I, pp 41-42, Dec 22., 1820.
[2] vol II, pp 107-108, Oct 5: 1840
[3] vol II, p 615, July 4, 1851

>For example, read the stuff Kevin posts next -- and notice that Dartmouth is
>not established to preach, but rather to educate kids to read and write and
>think critically. 

A time-honored Biblical and Christian undertaking.
All the laws in this Christian nation requiring townships and parishes to ensure literacy were motivated by legislatures which wanted to make sure that the Bible could be read and understood, because this was the basis for civilization and republican governments.

>Kevin said:  >>All the Puritans believed that the purpose
>of education (reading, writing,
>etc.) was to build the Kingdom and carry out God's purposes.
>Thus, in 1754, Dartmouth was founded with a very clear purpose:
    Whereas . . . the Reverend Eleazar Wheelock . . . educated a
>    number of the children of the Indian natives with a view to their
>    carrying the Gospel in their own langauge and spreading the
>    knowledge of the great Redeemer among their savage tribes
>    And . . . the design became reputable among the Indians
>    insomuch that a larger number desired the education of their
>    children in said school . . . [Therefore] Dartmouth-College [is
>    established] for the education and instruction of youths . . . in
>    reading, writing and all parts of learning which shall appear
>    necessary and expedient for civilizing and Christianizing the children.

>    The Charter of Dartmouth College, pub 1779 by Isaiah Thomas, pp.1,4.<<
>Notice that the purpose of Dartmouth was to educate first -- not preach. 

Your implication is illogical.
Your premises are contrary to facts, as well. The purpose of the school was to train them to "carry the gospel" and "civilize" and "Christianize" others. I admit that theological squabbles weren't the priority, but this is far closer to "preaching" than you seem willing to admit. Did you actually read the purpose of the founding of Darmouth?

>Bible is not mentioned. 

What a stretch, Ed. How pathetic.

>It was assumed then that if one were broadly
>educated, one would become Christian. 

Prove it. Cite one person who believed this. George Washington, the Father of his Country, in his Farewell Address, completely DENIED what you just asserted. His remarks capture the thinking of every single person who signed the Constitution:

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle

And you would be quick to point out that Washington was less Biblically-oriented than the most influential educators in the nation, such as Benjamin Rush and Noah Webster.

>That is contrary to the assumption
>Kevin makes

And contrary to the assumption of every single person who signed the Constitution.

> -- that knowing a lot makes one Marxist or worse.

Right, Ed. I believe that more study makes one evil. This is childish slander. It cannot replace evidence and logic. It will only persuade Grovelady. (That should scare you, Ed.)

>Notice, too, that Kevin misinterprets the demands by Columbia.  They wanted
>kids who knew how to read Greek.  Kevin seems to miss that entire point when
>he posts:  >>Entrance requirements for Columbia Univ in 1785 were something
>only by those who had gone through Christian Readers like McGuffey's:
>    No candidate shall be admitted into the College . . . unless he
>    shall be able to render into English . . . the Gospels from the Greek. <<<
>We should note that by the evidence Kevin posts, his point is disproven. 

My point is that students in a Christian nation are more knowledgeable than students educated in schools created by the religion of Secular Humanism. I have clearly proven that point. No college today requires a knowledge of Greek. I argue also that students were required to have knowledge of Christianity. The requirement was not that they can translate Homer from the Greek, but that they translate THE GOSPELS from the Greek, a requirement which is CLEARLY "unconstituitional" under the establishment of the religion of Secular Humanism.

>requirement clearly requires knowledge of Greek.  Kevin claims it is a
>requirement for knowledge of Christianity. 

It is clearly BOTH, Ed.

>I posit that knowing the verses
>in English will not allow one to fake them in Greek -- and anyone who read
>Greek (as most of the faculty at Columbia did then) would know in a trice.
>McGuffey's Reader doesn't teach Greek.  Those schooled in McGuffey's
>reader alone would be ruled not educated enough to enter Columbia;

Students completed the McGuffey readers when they were 10 or 12. THEN they learned Greek. Most Secular Humanist college students in our day could not successfully complete the last McGuffey Reader.

>schooled ONLY in Greek, without any background in Christianity, would be able
>to pass the test.

This is wrong. Or at least misleading. It misleads us to think that a Secular Humanist, of the type that refuses to stand respectfully while the rest of the class is praying, and asks the federal government to prohibit all the other students from the free exercise of their relgion, would last for any length of time in an American university which required of its students in 1787:

All the scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God's Word, diligently reading the holy Scriptures, that fountain of Divine light and truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion . . . .
All the scholars are obliged to attend Divine worship in the College Chapel on the Lord's Day and on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving appointed by public Authority.
The Laws of Yale College in New Haven in Connecticut (New Haven: Josiah Meigs, 1787) p. 5-6, ch II, art. 1,4

William Samuel Johnson, signer of the Constitution, was appointed Columbia's first president. Under him,

It is expected that all students attend public worship on Sundays.
Columbia Rules (NY: Samuel Loudon, 1785) 5-8

Johnson's views on public education were similar to those of every other signer of the Constitution. In his commencement address, he told the graduates:

You this day, gentlemen, . . . have . . . received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country . . . . Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your minds, and exemplified in your lives and conduct.
Imprint deep upon your minds the principles of piety towards God and a reverence and fear of His holy name. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom [Proverbs 9:10]. Remember too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. . . . Love, fear and serve Him as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His Word and holy ordinances. Make Him your friend and protector and your felicity is secured both here and hereafter.

"Fundamentalist nut," right Ed?

>Kevin said:  >>The purpose of virtually all universities remained constant
>even after the
>signing of the Constitution: to glorify God by producing Godly Christians.
>The universities required daily prayer, chapel and Bible reading. These
>universities produced perhaps the majority of the signers of the
>Constitution, who did not repudiate what they had learned in college.<<
>So what's the point? 

If it isn't clear to you by now, Ed, you're willfully blind.

>Are you arguing that by teaching religion, we get
>people who will write a godless Constitution? 

No, I'm arguing that by teaching religion we get people who write state constitutions which require all office holders to believe in God and a federal constitution which does everything possible to keep the federal judiciary from interfering with the states' established religion. I'm arguing that if education had continued to be Christian, the religion of Secular Humanism would not have been established by law, imposed by the federal judiciary, in clear violation of constitutional principles.

>The delegates to the
>Constiutitonal Convention were not schooled overwhelmingly in these Christian
>academies, and they were not the fundamentalist patsies Kevin wishes us to

Ed, resort to this kind of slur reveals that you just don't have the facts. Christians are not the "fundamentalist patsies" YOU wish us to believe, Ed. The Christians who signed the Constitution were well educated, and believed that teaching religion in the schools could keep people from falling prey to illogical and immoral forms of argumentation like yours.

>Here is how the prize-winning historian Clinton Rossiter describes
>the religion of the delegates (underlines mine):  "Whatever else it might
>turn out to be, the Convention would not be a 'Barebone's Parliament.'
>Although it had its share of strenuous Christians like Strong and Bassett,
>ex-preachers like Baldwin and Williamson, and theologians like Johnson and
>Ellsworth, the gathering at Philadelphia was largely made up of men in whom
>the old fires were under control or had even flickered out.  Most were
>nominally members of one of the traditional churches in their part of the
>coutnry -- the New Englanders Congregationalists  and Presbyterians, the
>Southerners Episcopalians, and men of the Middle States everything from
>backsliding Quakers to stubborn Catholics -- and most were men who could take
>their religion or leave it alone. 

This is more propaganda than scholarship. Name one single signer of the Constitution would agree with this statement:

"My life and thought would not be fundamentally altered if I were an infidel."

Name one signer of the Constituiton who would agree with this statement:

"The social order of America would not be fundamentally altered if all Americans were infidels."

Not a single Signer would agree.

>Although no one in this sober gathering
>would have dreamed of invoking the Goddess of Reason, neither would anyone
>have dared to proclaim that his opinions had the support of the God of
>Abraham and Paul. 

What a silly thing to say. Are we to believe that the Signers of the Constituiton believed that God DISapproved of what they did? There isn't any evidence which can even make sense of Rossiter's remark (the best indication that it is mere propaganda, not scholarship.) One does not have to agree with Declaration Signer Benjamin Rush to see the outrageous falsity of Rossiter's allegation:

I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied that the Union of the States in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.
Benjamin Rush, Letters, L.H.Butterfield, ed., (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951) vol I, p. 475, to Elias Boudinot, July 9, 1788

>The Convention of 1787 was highly rationalist and even
>secular in spirit."
>Clinton Rossiter, 1787, The Grand Convention (Norton 1966), pp. 147-148.

Many "prize-winning" historians are fanatic SecularHumanist fundamentalists. Rossiter's account of history will not withstand close scrutiny. I have analyzed it here:


Many of the men in Philadelphia were in their 20's or 30's. What is Rossiter talking about, "old fires." These remarks are designed to mislead those who are ignorant of the facts of American history. First, the "old fires" weren't just flickers in the hearts of a few. Christianity was a conflagration which engulfed the New World. It was too great a flame to have died out by 1776, and those who met in 1787 had no intention of putting it out. If you can't see the flames from where you're standing, click here.

Second, Rossiter joins other Humanists in confusing anti-clericalism with anti-Christianity. Many who despised organized religion believed that Christian principles were necessary for the success of the new nation. I am a fanatic Theocrat, but I am no fan of organized religion, and I am not a member of any church. The men who signed the Constitution are far closer to my theocratic beliefs than they are to the ACLU.

>If anything, the educational history of the founders suggests that organized
>religion in public schools is not the path to truth.

Only your wishful thinking suggests this. I have quoted primary sources all over this post, and you have quoted only one very biased secondary source. On balance, I would say that the education history of the founders suggests that Christianity [don't try to trip us up with "organized religion"] in public schools was the widespread practice and the perennial expectation.

Nevertheless, even Clinton Rossiter at other times admits the overwhelming Christian character of the Founding Fathers, and the centrality of religion and morality in the social order in which they lived and which they did not repudiate. Read Rossiter here.

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