Lee v. Weisman
Vine & Fig Tree's
of Church and State Page
Christianity is Our Preferred Religion
According to the Founding Fathers
There can be no doubt that the Founding Fathers endorsed
Christianity over atheism. They also believed that good government would promote religion, not atheism. But not
just any religion. The Founding Fathers believed there was a true
religion, and all others were "false religions" (to use Madison's words).
- 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
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
George Washington, asked to address the Chiefs of the Delaware Indians
about educating their youth:
- You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of
Jesus Christ. . . . Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise
The Writings of GeoWashington, Jared Sparks, ed., (Boston:
Ferdinand Andrews, 1838) XV:55,
from his speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.
Signer of the Constitution
- Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are
decrying the Christian religion whose morality is so sublime and pure . . . are
undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free
Bernard C. Steiner, The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry
(Cleveland: The Burrows Brothers, 1907), p. 475.
In a letter from Charles Carroll to James McHenry of November 4, 1800.)
Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and close
friend of Thomas Jefferson, explaining the practice of schools in
America teaching the Christian religion, implied that this practice
was not wholly incompatible with non-Christian religions:
- History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public
religion. . . and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or
Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania,
- Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the
attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and
punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or
Mohammed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly
devoid of a system of religious principles. But the religion I
mean to recommend in this place, is that of the New Testament.
Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral and
(Philadelphia: Thomas and William Bradford, 1806), p. 8.