Factual history is interesting and never as we really want it to be, but as it truly was. Many listen to and parrot commentators. Those who are learned drive to the source. This was the last encouragement to the readers – drive to the source for factual information. First, one must understand a tenet of deism and especially atheism is, respectively, that God is not directly involved in the life of man, or there is no God at all. This is the base claim – that our founders were of this like mind – atheist or deist.
War drives people to this base, to their foundation, to their principles. The men founding our nation were no different. The decision to separate from England on the second day of our Continental Congress, was sealed in a sermon and extemporary prayer on Psalm 35 by an Episcopal Clergyman Rev. Duche by request (John Adams, letter to Abigail, Philadelphia, Sep 16, 1774).
The Continental Congress set days of thanksgiving, fasting, prayer and repentance 15 separate times throughout the war of independence. Signers of the Declaration of Independence and founding fathers (Samuel Adams, John Witherspoon, John Jay, etc) drafted them. Reading the 900 plus pages of the Journals of the Continental Congress (JOCC) 1774-1789 we find the following: A call for national “day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer” to “confess” sin to the “omnipotent and merciful disposer of all events,” requesting forgiveness, to remove the current troubles and avert God’s desolating judgments to intercede in continental victory that “virtue and true religion may revive and flourish” (JOCC June 12, 1775).
In much the same language there is a call for a public “acknowledge(ment of) the over ruling providence of God” and “supplicat[ion for] His interposition.” Congress implored the people “by a sincere repentance and amendment of life” and God’s “assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies,” also “the Lord of Hosts, God of Armies” to intervene. Congress specifically identifies the religious orientation of the target audience as “Christians of all denominations” (JOCC March 16, 1776).
Referring back to John Adams letter, he names among their audience, “Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Anabaptists, some Presbyterians and some Congregationalists” –all Christian in orientation. No other “religion” is mentioned.
The Continental Congress attributes failure to national sin, in that the “United States …engage(ment) with Great Britain, has not only been prolonged, but is likely to be carried to the greatest extremity…implor(ing) of Almighty God the forgiveness of the many sins…recommend(ing) to all the members of the United States…the exercise of repentance and reformation” (JOCC Dec 11, 1776).
On the first day of thanks ordered for our nation our founding fathers resolved, “it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God.” A need was recognized for salvation in our United States that they might “consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins…through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance” and recognize “virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth ’in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.’” The last quote, taken from the resolution, is Romans 14:17. Our founders recognized God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son of God, and the Holy Ghost as represented in the Holy Bible. This is the triune Christian God, no other. We also find a call to promote seminaries in this resolution (JOCC Nov 1, 1777). The Commander in Chief permitted the granting of furloughs and leave to observe the day (JOCC Mar 7, 1778).
Congress recommended that the people make“humble supplication for pardon, through the merits of our Savior (capitalized in their writings as a proper noun indicating Jesus Christ) so that…our public councils may be directed” (JOCC November 17, 1778). This theme is repeated with further clarifications of Christianity and dependence upon God for deliverance (JOCC Mar 20, 1779, Oct 20, 1779, Mar 11 1780, Oct 18, 1780, Mar 20, 1781, Oct 26, 1781, Mar 19, 1782). A particular resolution thanks God for “interpositions of his providence in their behalf” (JOCC Oct 11 1782). On Oct 18, 1783, James Duane, Samuel Huntington and Samuel Holten wrote a final thanksgiving resolution recorded in JOCC, attesting the entire success to God, the Creator.
George Washington, the embodiment of patriotism, describes it thus:
“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” (Farewell Address, 1792).
The “Bible of the American Revolution” or the “Aitken Bible” was commissioned and paid for by Congress Sept 12, 1782. This was the first Bible ever printed in English in the newly formed United States of America. The petition stated the purpose as, “a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools” (Robert Aitken to Congress Jan 21, 1781). Congress “highly approve(d) the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken” (United States in Congress assembled, Sept 12, 1782).
The Constitution of the United States of America was developed to form “a general government founded on the principles of the Declaration of Independence, from which the Confederation (Articles of Confederation) in question widely departed” (Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, B. J. Lossing, 1848, p329.).
Our children should know our true beginnings.
Tim Senter, Lander