Faith of the Founding Fathers

February 09, 2016

Faith of the Founding Fathers

Let’s suppose for a moment that our founding fathers could time travel into today’s America.  What do you think their reaction might be? What do you think they’d do? Before we can answer this question, we must understand what the founders of America believed in, and who they were.

Were our Founding Fathers God-fearing men?

An excellent case can be made that Christianity had a profound influence on the founders.[1] The The Founding Fathers consisted of over 250 men, including the signers of the Declaration and Constitution, the framers of the Bill of Rights, leading state governors and generals in the Revolution. Although not all of the Founding Fathers were Christians, many of them were. In fact, 29 of the 56 signers of the Declaration held what would be considered seminary degrees today, and many others were outspoken about their Christianity. Even Benjamin Franklin, who is considered to be one of the least religious of the framers, requested that the Constitutional Convention pray before each session.  In his request, Franklin stated, “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?”

Here is a sampling of quotes from just a few of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.


John Adams said, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

If we hold the founders in such high esteem, why does our current American culture seem to be so adamant to destroy the Christian foundation and core principles our framers worked so hard to establish?

What happened?

Several decades ago, a long and systematic attack began to materialize against Christianity in America. Below is a recap of just a few of the turning-point decisions that accelerated the moral decline of our country:

1925 – Scopes Trial: The ACLU recruited John Scopes, a substitute high school teacher from Tennessee, to challenge the recently passed act that forbade public schools to teach that man descended from a lower life form.  Many consider this trial to be a major turning point in U.S. history.

1962 – Engel v. Vitale: The U.S. Supreme Court banned prayer in public schools. The prayer that was considered offensive was this; “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country”.

1963 – The U.S. Supreme Court banned the Lord’s Prayer and Bible reading in public schools.

1973 – Roe v. Wade: Legalized abortion in the U.S.

There have been many other legal decisions and anti-Christian setbacks in our culture since 1973, but many would argue that these were among the most destructive to our Christian roots. In recent decades, America has slowly eroded into an entirely different country, one in which our Founding Fathers would barely recognize.

Perhaps we should heed the wise words of Daniel Webster, an early American Jurist and Senator. Webster stated, “If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”

What can we do?

Protecting and preserving our nation’s liberty must first depend upon a knowledge and understanding of the foundations on which this great country was built, and then taking the initiative to preserving the principles on which it was founded. This includes supporting and voting for godly candidates who embrace the first principles of America, being beacons of light for Christ in our communities, and serving whenever and wherever we can (serving on school boards, attending and speaking up at town hall meetings, being honorable and responsible citizens, etc.).

Let us never forget the purpose for which our nation was established. The Founding Fathers have passed us a bright and blazing torch; let’s not let it go out!

[1] Heritage Foundation.

*Other quotations in this article were taken from

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