The Religious Nature of the Founding Fathers

I want to acknowledge that I am deeply indebted to the work of David Barton. I have utilized his material and in some cases have checked original sources for myself. But with such a wealth of material, I do not have access to it all. David Barton has done extensive personal research and it is seen in the materials that he and his organization Wall Builders has put together. Their web site is simply www.wallbuiders.com

Almost all of the material found here is taken from a book they have published, Original Intent.

"Before delving into an investigation of their religious nature, it is important first to establish what constitutes a 'Founding Father.' . . . a 'Founding Father' is one who exerted significant influence in, provided prominent leadership for, or had a substantial impact upon the birth, development, and establishment of America as an independent, self-governing nation." Original Intent David Barton 2000 p 123

"This obviously includes the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the fourteen different Presidents who governed America from 1774 to 1789. (Under America's unicameral system prior to the Constitution, the President of the Continental Congress essentially served as the President of America.) Additionally, the handful of significant military leaders who provided leadership for, fought for, and secured our independence must be included. In other words, without the work of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration, the fourteen Presidents of America who led the Continental Congress, or the three-dozen or so prominent military leaders, America as we know it undoubtedly would not exist today." Original Intent David Barton 2000 p 123

"Included next are the fifty-five men at the Constitutional Convention as well as the major leaders responsible for the ratification of the Constitution (on many occasions, these were the State Governors--without whose efforts there would have been no United States of America). Therefore, Without the work of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention and the leaders of the ratification movement, America would not have the form of government it has now enjoyed for over two centuries." Original Intent David Barton 2000 p 123

In his book Original Intent David Barton gives an impressive list of these founders that without doubt claimed to be Christian in their faith. I simply include their names and their positions. The chapter that this information comes from comprises about 15 pages of typed material. Below you will find a list of 79 of our founding fathers who embraced Christian principles. I would challenge someone to find a list 79 deist or atheists from among the founding fathers.

ABRAHAM BALDWIN (SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION): Chaplain in the American Revolution for two years.

ALBION PARRIS (GOVERNOR OF MAINE): Manager of the American Sunday School Union.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON (SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION): Proposed formation of the Christian Constitutional Society to spread Christian government to other nations.

ANDREW KIRKPATRICK (CHIEF-JUSTICE OF NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT): Vice-President of the New jersey Bible Society; Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

BENJAMIN LINCOLN (REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; LT. GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS): Member of the Society for the Propagating of the Gospel among the Indians and Others.

BENJAMIN RUSH (SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION): Founder and manager of the Philadelphia Bible Society.

BUSHROD WASHINGTON (U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE): Vice-President of the American Bible Society; Vice-President of the American Sunday School Union.

CALEB STRONG (CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; U. S. SENATOR; GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS): Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

CHARLES CARROLL, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY (SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION): President of the Charleston Bible Society; Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

CHARLES GOLDSBOROUGH (GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND; U. S. REPRESENTATIVE): Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

DANIEL BOONE, REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; LEGISLATOR

DANIEL TOMPKINS (GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK; VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE U. S.): Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

DANIEL WEBSTER

DAVID BREARLEY, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

DAVID LAWRENCE MORRIL (GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE; U. S. SENATOR): Vice-President of the American Bible Society; Manager in the American Sunday School Union.

DEWITT CLINTON (GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK; U. S. SENATOR; INTRODUCED THE TWELFTH AMENDMENT): Manager and Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

ELLAS BOUDINOT (PRESIDENT OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS): Founder and first President of the American Bible Society;President of the New Jersey Bible Society; of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; member of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

FELIX GRUNDY (U. S. ATTORNEY GENERAL; U. S. SENATOR; U. S. CONGRESSMAN): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

FRANCIS DANA (MEMBER OF CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; CHIEF JUSTICE OF MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME COURT; U. S. MINISTER TO RUSSIA): Member of the Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians and Others.

FRANCIS SCOTT KEY (ATTORNEY; AUTHOR OF 'THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER"): Manager and Vice-President of the American Sunday School Union.

GABRIEL DUVALL, SELECTED AS DELEGATE TO CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

GEORGE MADISON (GOVERNOR OF KENTUCKY): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

GEORGE MASON, FATHER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS

GEORGE WASHINGTON

GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, PENMAN AND SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

GUNNING BEDFORD, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

INCREASE SUMNER (GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS): Member of the Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians and Others.

ISAAC SHELBY (REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; GOVERNOR OF KENTUCKY): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

JACOB BROOM, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

JAMES BOWDOIN (GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS): Member of the Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians and Others.

JAMES BROWN (U. S. SENATOR; DIPLOMAT): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

JAMES BURRILL, JR. (CHIEF-JUSTICE OF RHODE ISLAND SUPREME COURT; U. S. SENATOR): President of the Providence Auxiliary Bible Society.

JAMES IREDELL, U. S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

JAMES KENT, FATHER OF AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE

JAMES MADISON

JAMES MCHENRY (SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION): President of the Baltimore Bible Society.

JAMES SULLIVAN (GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS; U. S. CONGRESSMAN): Member of the Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians and Others.

JOEL BARLOW (DIPLOMAT UNDER WASHINGTON AND ADAMS): Chaplain in the American Revolution for three years.

JOHN ADAMS

JOHN BROOKS (GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS; REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL): President of Middlesex County Bible Society.

JOHN COTTON SMITH (GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT; U. S. CONGRESSMAN): President of the Litchfield County Foreign Missionary Society; first President of the Connecticut Bible Society; President of the American Bible Society; President of the American Board of Foreign Missions.

JOHN DAVENPORT (REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; U. S. CONGRESS): Member of the Missionary Society of Connecticut.

JOHN DICKINSON, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

JOHN HAMILTON (MAJOR~GENERAL IN THE REVOLUTION; U. S. CONGRESS): Member of the New Jersey Bible Society.

JOHN HART, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

JOHN JAY (ORIGINAL CHIEF-JUSTICE OF THE U. S. SUPREME COURT): President of the American Bible Society; member of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

JOHN LANGDON (SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION): Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

JOHN LOWELL (REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS): Member of the Society for the Propagating of the Gospel among the Indians and Others.

JOHN MARSHALL (CHIEF-JUSTICE OF THE U. S. SUPREME COURT; SECRETARY OF STATE; REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL): Vice-President of the American Bible Society; officer in the American Sunday School Union.

JOHN MORTON, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS: Vice-President of the American Bible Society; of the Massachusetts Bible Society.

JOHN RANDOLPH OF ROANOKE, U. S. CONGRESSMAN; U. S. DIPLOMAT

JOHN TREADWELL (GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT; MEMBER OF CONTINENTAL CONGRESS): Member of the Missionary Society of Connecticut.

JOHN WITHERSPOON, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

JONAS GALUSHA (GOVERNOR OF VERMONT): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

JONATHAN TRUMBULL, GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT

JOSEPH BLOOMFIELD (GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY): Member of the New Jersey Bible Society.

JOSEPH NOURSE (REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; U. S. TREASURY): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

JOSIAH BARTLETT, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE (REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL): Member of the American Sunday School Union.

PATRICK HENRY

PETER VROOM (GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY; U. S. CONGRESSMAN): Vice-President of the American Bible Society; member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

RICHARD STOCKTON, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

ROBERT TREAT PAINE (SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION): Military Chaplain.

ROBERT TROUP (FEDERAL JUDGE; SECRETARY OF WAR): Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

ROGER SHERMAN, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

RUFUS KING (SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION): Selected as manager@ of the American Bible Society.

RUFUS PUTNAM (REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; FEDERAL JUDGE): President of the Ohio Bible Society.

SAMUEL ADAMS, SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION

SAMUEL DEXTER (SECRETARY OF WAR UNDER ADAMS; U. S. CONGRESSMAN; U. S. SENATOR): Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians and Others.

SMITH THOMPSON (U. S. SUPREME COURT; SECRETARY OF NAVY): Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

THOMAS POSEY (REVOLUTIONARY OFFICER; GOVERNOR OF INDIANA; U. S. SENATOR): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

THOMAS WORTHINGTON (GOVERNOR OF OHIO; U. S. SENATOR): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

TIMOTHY PICKERING, REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; SECRETARY OF STATE

WILLIAM GASTON (CHIEF-JUSTICE OF NORTH CAROLINA SUPREME COURT; U. S. REPRESENTATIVE): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

WILLIAM GRAY (LT. GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS; U. S. SENATOR): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

WILLIAM JONES (GOVERNOR OF RHODE ISLAND): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

WILLIAM PHILLIPS (LT GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS FOR TERMS): President of the Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians; President of the Massachusetts Bible Society; member of the American Board of Foreign Missions; Vice-President of the American Bible Society; President of the American Society for Educating Pious Youth for the Gospel Ministry.

WILLIAM SAMUEL JOHNSON, SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION

WILLIAM TILGHMAN (FEDERAL JUDGE; CHIEF-JUSTICE OF PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT): Original Officer of the American Bible Society.

WILLIAM WIRT ( U. S. ATTORNEY-GENERAL UNDER TWO PRESIDENTS): Manager of the American Sunday School Union; Vice-President of the American Bible Society.

ZEPHANIAH SWIFT, AUTHOR OF AMERICA'S FIRST LEGAL TEXT

Although Benjamin Franklin is not in this list and never claimed to be a Christian, he has left us a marvelous testimony of the nature of the people of America.

Franklin had previously explained to the French:

[B]ad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practised. Atheism is unknown there; infidelity [a disbelief in the Scriptures and in Christianity ] rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country, without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an atheist or an infidel. Original Intent David Barton 2000 p 134

Thomas Paine, in his discourse on "The Study of God," forcefully asserts that it is "the error of schools" to teach sciences without "reference to the Being who is author of them: for all the principles of science are of Divine origin." He laments that "the evil that has resulted from the error of the schools in teaching [science without God] has been that of generating in the pupils a species of atheism." Paine not only believed in God, he believed in a reality beyond the visible world. Click Here for Source

In Benjamin Franklin's 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania, he insisted that schools teach "the necessity of a public religion . . . and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern." Consider also the fact that Franklin proposed a Biblical inscription for the Seal of the United States; that he chose a New Testament verse for the motto of the Philadelphia Hospital; that he was one of the chief voices behind the establishment of a paid chaplain in Congress; and that when in 1787 when Franklin helped found the college which bore his name, it was dedicated as "a nursery of religion and learning" built "on Christ, the Corner-Stone." Franklin certainly doesn't fit the definition of a deist. Click Here for Source

Again consider Benjamin Franklin's appeal for prayer at the Constitutional Convention:

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.--Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth--that God governs in the affairs of men. 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, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move--that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service-- Click Here for Source

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