Monday, April 12, 2010

Revisionist only succeed if the majority remain silent...

After receiving a couple of emails and comments from folks in person, I believe I left a point unclear in my Knowledge is Important series (previous three post). My point of contention wasn't that Christianity didn't play a big part in the founding of our Nation...facts are just the opposite. Christians and Christian principles were a dominant underlying force in the shaping and developing of a governing framework. Revisionist would be hard pressed to rewrite that fact out of our history.

The problem is trying to fit those prominent square pegs into round holes. Some of the more famous characters in our illustrious history were not Christian men, and we do a great disservice not only to our history but to our claim that this Nation was founded on principles of Christ if we argue from the position that they were. I have great respect for Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams, but they were not Christian men (although all three believed in a Supreme Being).

Most scholars agree on a list of 204 unique individuals that make up the group we refer to as our 'Founding Fathers'. These are men who did one or more of the following:
  • Signed the Declaration of Independence
  • Signed the Articles of Confederation
  • Attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787
  • Signed the Constitution of the United States of America
  • Served as Senators or U.S. Representatives in the First Federal Congress
The breakdown of the religious affiliation for the 204 Founding Fathers falling within the above criteria is:
  • 88 Episcopalian/Anglican
  • 30 Presbyterian
  • 27 Congregationalist
  • 7 Quaker
  • 6 Dutch Reformed/German Reformed
  • 5 Lutheran
  • 3 Catholic
  • 3 Huguenot
  • 3 Unitarian
  • 2 Methodist
  • 1 Calvinist
  • 29 unknown (does not necessarily mean no religious affiliation)
Jefferson and Franklin fall under Episcopalian...but as Deist. John Adams and Robert Paine are two of the three Unitarians. What this list doesn't account for, however, is the fact numerous members of this list changed affiliation during the course of their lifetimes. But, it is still plainly apparent that the vast majority of our Founding Fathers were influenced by the Christian faith.

One side note (for my historically-challenged faithful): The early Episcopal Church was formed during the American Revolution after the church was forced to break ties with the Church of England because clergy were required to swear allegiance to the British monarch and faced the penalty of treason.

Of course...breaking from England was the point of the entire American Revolution...but we all know church people have their own way of doing things.

"For my own part, I sincerely esteem [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests."
Alexander Hamilton -1787 after the Constitutional Convention

I would love to hear more of your thoughts. Do you feel there is a concerted effort to rewrite our Nation's history and downplay the role of the Christian faith in the forming of our Nation and subsequent Constitution?


David said...

As your average deformed Christian, I believe the following. Israel and the USA are the only countries founded for the purposes of God. Certainly some of these folks were CINO's (umm not like the pants - "Christian In Name Only").

Another excellent document is the Mayflower Compact - now those were men and woman of faith! And for those that think that Christians escaped persecution in the US, check out the court documents from the Salem Witch Trials for some real religious stupidity.

In the end, I do a lot of thinking and Bible reading. Without the two, mere opions abound.

Long live the Constitution.

Michelle said...

I believe there is more of a downplay on Christianity as a whole in this country. Where it is mentioned, it is treated as mere myth and Christians (TRUE Christians, not UU's that call themselves Christian)are treated as ignorant and bigots. Is there an attempt to rewrite history? I'm not sure. What I seem to be learning more and more is this country probably wasn't as much founded on Christian principles as most of us believe. (I'm very uneducated in this arena so take that with a grain of salt.) For example, the role of the masons and the history of the masons in Christianity as well as this country. just makes me think there may have been something else and I'm a far cry from believing this is God's country. This is straight up modern day Babylon.

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Hey there...stopping by from Finding Michelle. Your comments for her always make me laugh, so I thought I'd come over and check out your place!

I am a homeschooling mama of 3 boys. My oldest is in middle school (6th grade). I was raised in a catholic-but-never-go-to-church home, and educated by the public education system. I am a born-again Christian now, covered in the blood of Jesus.

After reading more primary documents in the last few years teaching my boys than I have ever read in my entire pubic education, do I believe history is being rewritten? Why, yes, yes I do.

The Mayflower Compact is a perfect example. I have seen with my own eyes the "text" of the document in a public school textbook that left out, completely, the purpose of coming here being for the "glorie of God." I was able to read a side-by-side comparison and saw how much was left out. Every bit left out had to do with the Name of Jesus Christ.

Before I started teaching my own children, I had no idea how much God's Word had infiltrated and saturated those who first came here. I had never read, or even heard about, George Washington's prayer journal. What an incredible man of God.

But I sure could say with gusto: "If it feels good, do it" and "There are no absolutes." Both statements being the basic tenants of Humanism.

Religion is being taught in our schools, alright. It's just not what we call "pure and undefiled religion."

I believe there is as strong of an effort to rewrite America's history as there is the effort to rewrite the truths of science. But that's a whole nuther comment. :-)

Robert said...


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Rev. Robert Wright