Monica Broussard

A Country Founded on Christian Values

A Country Founded on Christian Values

 

Christian ideology has historically referred to the values derived from the teachings of Jesus Christ and have served as a moral compass for the development of laws, ethics, schools, universities, libraries and hospitals; therefore these values continue to be relevant today.

The indelible footprint that Christianity has left in our culture, our ethics, and our sense of self, has shaped our values and ideas since the birth of the American Republic.  This deep moral Christian truth derived from the bible has been the driving influence since the country’s foundation.

The belief that Religious Liberty must be protected has created a society not only hospitable to Christians but to other religions as well.  Unfortunately, today the Christian view is often distorted. The argument that we are not a Christian nation, nor have we ever been has been set forth by people who choose to ignore our history and the Spirit of the bible.

The Bible was the reason schools were founded and the key component in the development and success of our educational system. In 1647, one of the earliest education laws in our country was passed by the early settlers, called the “Old Satan Deluder Act.” The settlers had escaped religious and political persecution in Europe believing that the persecutions were acts carried out under Satan’s delusion and were allowed to take place because of biblical illiteracy.

The settlers mandated that communities with at least fifty families sponsor a teacher and when the population reached one hundred families, they would establish a grammar school. The motives behind the mandates were to combat the repeat of European history; the school was to teach the children to read; particularly to read and understand the Bible. In 1690 the Connecticut Illiteracy Law was passed in order to equip the citizenry for “reading the Holy Word of God and the good laws of this State.”

Not long after the establishment of our country, the founding fathers passed a federal law that required all existing and incoming states to establish schools that would teach “morality, religion and knowledge,” advocating that the Bible be the primary text in these schools.

The Bible has been the fundamental key to our country’s educational program from the beginning. As late as the 1950’s, public schools required students to pass rigorous Bible study classes in order to graduate. The Bible was removed from the public school curriculum in the early sixties. For the Christian population to have the opportunity to continue to learn and grow from the Holy Bible, Christian schools had to be founded.

Almost all European Americans, with the exception of about twenty-five hundred Jews, identified as Christian in 1776. The majority of the colonists were Protestants, with the remaining settlers being Roman Catholics. Though not all of them joined churches or took communion, the Founders biblical foundational principles reflected their critical perspectives that helped facilitate the most suitable answers for critical situations.

Instrumental in separating church and state, the Puritans clearly thought the two institutions should work in tandem to protect, support and promote true Christianity; embarking on the sacred cause, to mandate regular church attendance.

The Mayflower Compact, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, and Massachusetts Body of Liberties are filled with language that incorporates biblical texts. The Charter of Liberties and Frame of Government of the Province of Pennsylvania, begins by making it clear that God has ordained government. The document further lists “offenses against God”: cursing, profane talk, lying, drunkenness, incest, sodomy, stage-plays, cards, dice, etc., which excite the people to exhibit rudeness, cruelty, looseness, and irreligion which was punishable by the magistrate.

The Declaration of Independence, which is the most famous document produced by the Continental Congress during the War for Independence, proclaims: “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.”

To understand the story of the United States of America, it is imperative to have the proper appreciation for its Christian colonial roots. The colonists of European descent who settled in the New World were serious Christians whose, laws, practices and constitutions reflected the influence of Christianity.

The firm belief that God ordained moral standards and that legislation should be made in accordance with those standards; took precedence over human laws and manifested itself; in that the Court could strike down an act of Congress, if it violated natural law.

The faith understood and taught that humans were sinful. This conviction helped them to avoid utopian experiments and to adopt a constitutional system characterized by separated powers, with checks and balances resulting in a strong, centralized government run by experts.

The American Founder’s original concept of liberty is totally unrelated to the excessively individualistic way the term is often used today. They saw liberty as the freedom to do what is morally correct: “Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness.” Maintaining order in our public lives through politics rather than force was derived from the belief that humans were created in the image of God; making us reasonable, as opposed to the elite. This faith led to the conclusion that religious liberty should be extensively protected and that civic authorities should encourage Christianity; thereby, making it appropriate to use religious language in the public square.

The Declaration of Independence led to the American Revolution. The United States' victory in that revolution, led to the Articles of Confederation which reflect that humans are created in the image of God. Our institutions and laws are meant to protect and promote human dignity with the understanding that humans are sinful; thereby attempting to avoid the concentration of power by framing a national government with specific powers. With the commitment to liberty, the Founders never imagined that provisions of the Bill of Rights would be used to protect unrestraint and licentiousness.  They believed that moral considerations would inform our legislation.

In George Washington’s handwritten Farewell Address, he urged Americans to understand that “all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” The Founders who were profoundly influenced by Christianity, agreed that civic authorities could promote and encourage Christianity and that it was appropriate for elected officials to make religious arguments in the public square.

At that time, there was virtually no support for progressive or contemporary visions that called for a separation of church and state. Today, we have political leaders who shun religious language and require public spaces to be stripped of all religious symbols.  Subsequently, the design of the constitutional order was not only for fellow believers but explicitly prohibited religious tests for federal offices, demonstrating the commitment to the proposition that all men and women should be free to worship God, or not, as their consciences would dictate.

America’s Founding Fathers believed it permissible for the state and national governments to encourage Christianity.  We have drifted from these first principles and would do well to reconsider the wisdom of these changes. The Constitution does not mandate a secular nation, and we should be wary of the current academic culture; along with jurists and politicians who would strip religion from the public square. The baseless argument that America’s Founders intended the First Amendment to prohibit neutral programs that support faith-based social service agencies, religious schools, and the like is totally deceptive.

If we choose to ignore the Founders’ insight that democracy requires a moral people and that our faith is important, if not indispensable, the support for morality will continue to erode. Our faith will continue to exist without government support, but it should not have to undulate from the result of government hostility.

 

Be the first to respond!

Leave a comment:

  •