This guest column is from my friend Tim Birdnow of St. Louis, Missouri. It's a response to D. K.'s comments on my "Atheist Holiday" post.
Uh, D. K., George Washington made the statement "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible" on September 19, 1796.
This also from Washington:
George Washington as he resigned his commission as general of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783: "I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence of them into His holy keeping."
He also said:
"The time is now and near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us the only choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die."
"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States."
"To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian."
"The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained." (First Inaugural Address)
"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable support. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars." (Farewell Address, 1796)
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." (Farewell Address, 1796)
"I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, then those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them."
Washington was not alone in this. Consider the Mayflower Compact.
(That website had a couple of other interesting quotes-
Edmund Burke (1729-1797), outstanding orator, author, and leader in Great Britain, defended the colonies in Parliament. "There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator."
Patrick Henry (1736-1799), five-time Governor of Virginia, whose "Give me liberty or give me death" speech has made him immortal, said: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly, nor too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. . ."
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), third U.S. president, chosen to write the Declaration of Independence, said: "I have little doubt that the whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator, and, I hope, to the pure doctrines of Jesus also." He proclaimed that it was the God of the Bible who founded America in his 1805 inaugural address: "I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in this country." )
Here is a website that takes the Bible and compares passages to Founding documents and laws.
Here are another and another.
It should be noted that the phrase ``laws of Nature and Nature`s God`` featured in the Declaration of Independence was a specific reference to John Locke`s Second Treatise on Civil Government and William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. In each instance it was a reference to Divine Law, which meant in the culture of the times, BIBLICAL law.
This from John Adams and John Hancock:
"We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!" [April 18, 1775]
This from John Adams:
``The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity, I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.``
``[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.``
-John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress
``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, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity… and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.`` [October 4, 1790]
``God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel``
Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech
"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests." [1787 after the Constitutional Convention]
John Jay [first chief justice of the United States]:
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." Source: October 12, 1816. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed., (New York: Burt Franklin, 1970), Vol. IV, p. 393.
I could go on, but that would be beating a dead horse. American law is unquestionably based on Judeo-Christian principles, and, yes, a judge should consider the Bible a primary source. Oh, by the way, British common law is quite a bit different from Roman law, as anyone who has visited Quebec or Louisiana is aware.