Fourth of July: Remembering America as Nation Under God
"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." - John Quincy Adams
America became a free country on July 4, 1776, however, what many may not know - or forget - is that America is also a nation under God founded on Christian principles.
54 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were Christians, 27 held theology degrees. Many went on to form Bible societies.
The signers intended the document to officiate the separation between America and Great Britain. However, they based the Declaration which has served as a foundation to the beginnings of the American nation upon a greater foundational belief that God, or as written in the Declaration “Creator”, was the source for men’s irrevocable rights.
Samuel Adams, who signed the historic document and writer of the Rights of the Colonists (November 1772), once said, "Just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty, in matters spiritual and temporal is a thing that all men are clearly entitled to by the eternal and immutable laws of God and nature, as well as by the laws of nations and all well-grounded and municipal laws, which must have their foundation in the former."
Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration, also believed "God who gave us life gave us liberty.”
Two of the Continental Congress’ first actions were to hire military chaplains and to purchase 20,000 Bibles to remedy a national shortage.
Although America was already a free nation during the presidency of George Washington, the first president of the United States, he suggested that only religion could uphold its morality. During his farewell address he said, "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."
Even if America’s roots were traced back to its primitive stages, the marriage between the early inhabitants of the land and Christianity are inseparable. The Pilgrims clearly stated the purpose for their voyage even before stepping off the Mayflower: “...undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith...”
The U.S. Supreme Court also identified America as a Christian nation in 1892, after 10 years of examining hundreds of documents on the foundation of the country. The justices came to the unanimous conclusion that the documents undeniably "add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a religious people, a Christian nation."
John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, summed up the historic event that led to America's independence best when he said, "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
The conviction that God cannot, and should not be moved from the social and governmental construct of America continues to echo in the voice of the USA's more recent leaders.
According to the late Ronald W. Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, "Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience....without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure....If we ever forget that we are one Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under."
Katherine T. Phan