Your editorial, that you proudly re-printed, was a commendable reminder of our good fortune of having the Declaration of Independence as the virtual “bible” of our Forefathers. Unfortunately, your prized editorial omits the ideas that were integral to the success of our exceptional great American Dream.
What’s needed is a visit to Prager University, where you’ll find what would have been an ideal editorial written by Joshua Charles under the title, Was America Founded to be Secular?
It is the answer to “knowing” the mind of our Founders. To the Founders–the men who fought the American Revolution and wrote the country’s Constitution—religion and freedom were inextricably linked. The political philosophy of the Founders necessitated a divine foundation.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “all men…are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Jefferson and his compatriots believed that the purpose of government was not to bestow rights; but rather to protect those rights already endowed upon human beings by God; liberty was not the ability to do what one wanted; it came with moral demands and boundaries.
Samuel Adams wrote, “Let Divines, and Philosophers, Statesmen and Patriots unite in instructing citizens in the Art of self-government of leading them in the Study, and Practice of the exalted Virtues of the Christian system.” The Christian system was composed of our Judeo-Christian values rooted in the Old and New Testaments, both of which were referred to by the Founders with equal conviction and frequency.
As President, John Adams replied to a letter from university students in a way that would surprise many today: “Science, liberty, and religion…have an inseparable union. Without their joint influence, no society can be great, flourishing, or happy.”
For the Founders, a free society divorced from religion simply could not work, and would not survive. In his Farewell Address, George Washington chastised those who would claim to be patriots, and who would undermine the influence of religion: “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.”
The Founders did not demand that anyone believe in any particular religion or even in God; they understood the value of a secular government, they feared a secular society without religion.
Prayers for our pre-born American citizens,
Charles N. Marrelli
Writers for Life