This concept of the inalienable interdependence of constitutional order and Christian virtue was not just characteristic of our Founding Fathers. It has continued to be emphasized throughout our history:
Noah Webster (1758-1843) — Considered the “Father of American Education” and publisher of The American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828:
In my view, the Christian Religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed… no truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian Religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.9
John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) — American diplomat, member of the House and Senate, and sixth President of the United States. On the occasion of the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he declared:
The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.10
Daniel Webster (1782-1852) — United States Senator from Massachusetts and Secretary of State:
No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.11
To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.12
William McGuffey (1800-1873) — American educator and author of the McGuffey’s Reader, first published in 1836:
The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our prevalent notions of the character of God, the great moral governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions.13
The New York State Legislature — In 1838 the New York State Legislature declared:
This is a Christian nation. Ninety-nine hundredths, if not a larger proportion, of our whole population, believe in the general doctrines of the Christian religion. Our government depends… on that virtue that has its foundation in the morality of the Christian religion.14
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) — Victorious commander of American forces in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, military governor of Florida, and seventh President of the United States. Speaking of the Bible, he said:
That Book, sir, is the Rock upon which our republic rests.15
Supreme Court of the United States — Case of the United States v. Church of the Holy Trinity (1892):
No purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or national, because this is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation…These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation… We are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity.16
Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) — Governor of Massachusetts, Vice President of the United States, and 30th President of the United States:
The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.17
The United States Supreme Court — Case of United States v. McIntosh (1931):
We are a Christian people, according to one another the equal right of religious freedom, and acknowledging with reverence the duty of obedience to the will of God.18
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945) — Governor of New York and 32nd President of the United States:
We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. Where we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.19
Peter Marshall (1902-1949) — Scottish-American preacher, pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., and Chaplain of the United States Senate, in a prayer offered before the Senate in 1947:
May it be ever understood that our liberty is under God and can be found nowhere else… We were born that way, as the only nation on earth that came into being for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.20
Earl Warren (1891-1974) — Governor of California and 14th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, in a Time magazine interview in February of 1954:
I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses… Whether we look to the first Charter of Virginia… or to the Charter of New England… or to the Charter of Massachusetts Bay… or to the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut… the same objective is present… a Christian land governed by Christian principles. I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it… I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.21
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) — Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II and 34th President of the United States:
Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism.22
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) — Governor of California and 40th President of the United States:
America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are “One Nation Under God,” then we will be a Nation gone under.23
9) Harry A. Warfel (ed.), Letters of Noah Webster, (New York: Library Publishers, 1953), pp. 453-454.
10) Dr. James Kennedy, “Christian Zeal Fueled the American Revolution,” www.coralridge.org.
11) Dr. James Kennedy, “America’s Schools Were Formed to Advance the Christian Faith,” www.coralridge.org.
12) Truth and Reason, “Religious Freedom,” http://truthandreasonblog.wordpress.com/religious-freedom.
13) Dr. James Kennedy, “America’s Schools…”
14) Dr. James Kennedy, “Our Constitution Was Made Only…”
15) William J. Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotes (Coppell, Texas.: Fame Publishing, 1994), page 311.
16) Justia.com: US Supreme Court Center, “Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U. S. 457 (1892), http://supreme.justia.com/us/143/457/case.html.
17) Cal Thomas, “Silent Cal Speaks: Why Calvin Coolidge is the Model for Conservative Leadership Today,” www.heritage.org/Research/Lecture/Silent-Cal-Speaks-Why-Calvin-Coolidge.
18) Google Scholar, “United States v. Macintosh, 283 US 605 – Supreme Court 1931,
19) Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Statement on the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Printing of the English Bible,” October 6, 1935, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=14960.
20) William Federer, “American Minute,” www.amerisearch.net/index.php?date=2004-05-27.
21) Murray Hornsby, “America: Our Christian Heritage, Our History and Faith in God,” www.americanheritagealliance.org/heritage4.htm.
22) Eisenhower Presidential Library, “Dwight D. Eisenhower Quotes,” www.eisenhower.archives.gov/all_about_ike/Quotes/Quotes.html.
23) BrainyQuote, “Ronald Reagan Quotes,” www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/r/ronald_reagan_3.html.