I hope you are enjoying this series about our Founding Fathers and the documents they created when our country was founded. If you have not watched and/or read the first two weeks, you can select the links just below this text to read them now, or later. (Links for the entire series are provided at the end of each post in the series)
Declaration Of Independence – 27 Reasons for Separation
The Founding Fathers wanted to ensure the world understood why they were separating from the King of England. They provided a list of 27 reasons in the Declaration of Independence – take a moment to read them and decide which one impacts you the most.
Liberty and Religious Expression
Today, in the United States, we are told that Church and State, Religion and Government should be kept separate, that we should only discuss or teach Christianity in our homes and churches.
We are also told that it is unconstitutional to teach Religion on schools and some states have deemed it illegal to sing Christmas carols (in schools). Many would have us believe that our Founding Fathers did not have a belief in God and that they desired a full separation of Church and State – meaning no prayer, etc should be involved in their daily affairs.
Founding Fathers Requested Prayer and Church Services
It was so important at the time of the founding of America, that Religion was a part of every day life. It was not an intrusion to freedom.
At the time of Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin stated:
“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, & 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………. 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?………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 this City be requested to officiate in that Service”
Benjamin Franklin believed in the importance of public prayer….this is ironic considering he is considered one of the ‘least religious’
At the time of the Ratification Conventions (to ratify the Constitution) several of the leaders also requested clergy or and prayer. This shows that our Founding Fathers did not think that having prayer was a common.
Prayer and Church Service During Inauguration
When George Washington was to be inaugurated, three days before the inauguration, the senate resolved that after the oath was administered to the President, that he, the Vice President and members of Senate and House of Representatives should go to Saint Paul’s for services…”The day before the inauguration, The house approved the same resolution… After being sworn in George Washington stated this: ” It would be peculiarly improper to be to omit in this first official act………..every human.” After his address, the annals state that the fore-mentioned parties went to Saint Paul
Several months later Annals of Congress state that the House requested that President put aside a day to give thanks to God for the many thanks poured down upon them.
he proclamation was issued by George Washington: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to ”recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:…. Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation…… nd also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;…… and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. (paraphrase of George Washington Oct 3, 1789)
Prayer in the US Court System
Prayer was extremely important in Religious service..and even in the court system. When hearings were held and rulings were issued, the judges made sure there were religious ceremonies
“On Monday last the Circuit Court of the United States was opened in this town. The Hon. Judge Paterson presided. After the Jury were impaneled, the Judge delivered a most eloquent and appropriate charge….Religion and morality were pleasingly inculcated and enforced as being necessary to good government, good order, and good laws, for ‘when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice [Proberbs 29:2].’… After the [jury] charge was delivered, the Rev. Mr. Alden addressed the Throne of Grace in an excellent and well adapted prayer.” (stated by William Patterson – read more about the Fifty Five Delegates here)
xpressing gratitude and evoking God was practiced and not considered unconstitutional.
Last example by Edward Kindle from Great Britain. He observed how America functioned, the pulpit (the desk) was filled by three, if not four ….. of these one opened the service with a prayer, another delivered a sermon, a third made a concluding prayer and a fourth pronounced a benediction. Several hymns were sung and a special one for the occasion. The total number of singers was between 40-50. The sermon touched upon matters of government. When matters finished
This event is election day… Prayer and choir singing and religious ceremony as part of election – at the state house!!!
From the founding, Public religious expression was considered a very fabric of liberty in this country.
Note, this information was shared by Lynn Schott, as described in Original Intent by David Barton of Wallbuilders
Please, watch this with your children. My children and I watched it several times…reviewing, reminding, enjoying, learning and growing….to understand that we need to raise up new leaders, founded in the truth of God and his Providential desire for our Country….that He founded it upon!
- Religious Freedom Word Search (This is a two page document with the solution on the second page…so, if you are printing for more than one person, you only need to print page 2…one time.)
- Liberty and Religious Expression Word Tiles
Links for All Posts in this Series
- Week 1: What is the Meaning of Freedom and Liberty
- Week 2: The Mayflower Compact
- Week 3: Liberty and Religious Freedom
- Week 4: Private Property
- Week 5: Rights and Responsibilities
- Week 6: One Nation Under God
- Week 7: US Constitution Article 1: Section 6-10 and Federalism
- Week 8: Political Parties
- Week 9: US Constitution Articles 4-7 and the Federalist/Anti-Federalist views for House of Representatives
- Week 10: Bill of Rights and Federalist Anti-Federalist views on the Senate
- Week 11: US Constitution Amendments 11-14 and The Federalist / Anti-Federalists View of the Presidents
- Week 12: US Constitution Amendments 15-20 and the Electoral College
- Week 13: US Constitution Amendments 21-27 and the US Supreme Court
Reading Schedule: Freedom Fridays Reading Schedule Final