Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Liberty Under God

Congress should
  • follow the advice of James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," and pass no legislation which is "adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity."

The first charter of Virginia, granted by King James I. in 1606, after reciting the application of certain parties for a charter, commenced the grant in these words:

The First Virginia Charter (1606)

"the Glory of God" -- man's chief end

"live in darkness" -- Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance

"true Knowledge and Worship of God" -- we think it odd that an official state document would be concerned about God and true worship. But as the Court notes below, even after the ratification of the First Amendment, every state constitution still mentioned God. As De Tocqueville observed, America believed that religion was the path to true knowledge.

"human civility" -- Christian Civilization is what makes men human.

Instructions for the Virginia Colony (1606)

"We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government; DO, by these our Letters-Patents, graciously accept of, and agree to, their humble and well-intended Desires."

The great Virginian, James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," referred to the Virginia Charter in one of his most famous addresses, the "Memorial and Remonstrance" of 1785, in which he gave his reasons for opposing proposed legislation:

Because, the policy of the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift, ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of (revelation) from coming into the Region of it; and countenances, by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it, with a wall of defence, against the encroachments of error.

Osama bin Laden's forefathers were likely in Madison's mind when he spoke of "false religions." "The light of Christianity" is the answer to terrorism, as we explained on our Iraq page.

Both foreign policy ("the warfare state") and domestic policy ("the welfare state") must consider the light of Christianity and the darkness of "false religions." Madison is known as a defender of "religious liberty," but he was not a defender of "false religions" and practices like cannibalism, polygamy, human sacrifice, and thuggism. He wanted Christianity to cover the globe like the waters cover the sea.

Other Founders had the same kind of globalist optimism. Even Thomas Jefferson, not a Trinitarian, was also not a pure pluralist:

Andrew M. Allison, in Thomas Jefferson: Champion of History (pp.299ff.)
  Once primitive Christianity was fully restored . . . Christianity would
  escape all danger of being eclipsed or superseded. "I confidently
  expect," Jefferson wrote in 1822, "that the present generation will
  see Unitarianism become the general religion of the United States."
  And to the Harvard professor and Unitarian Benjamin Waterhouse,
  Jefferson that same year observed: "I trust that there is not a
  young man now living in the U.S. who will not die an Unitarian.
  Gaustad, Faith of our Fathers, p. 105
On another occasion he wrote,
"I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man."
to Jared Sparks (4 Nov. 1820), Bergh 15:288.
"Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips," Jefferson believed, "the whole civilized world would now have been Christian."
to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (26 June 1822), Bergh 15:385.]

Samuel Adams declared:

I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace.12

As Governor, Adams also called on the State of Massachusetts to pray that . . .

  • the peaceful and glorious reign of our Divine Redeemer may be known and enjoyed throughout the whole family of mankind.13
  • we may with one heart and voice humbly implore His gracious and free pardon through Jesus Christ, supplicating His Divine aid . . . [and] above all to cause the religion of Jesus Christ, in its true spirit, to spread far and wide till the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.14
Josiah Bartlett Signer of the Declaration of  Independence and Governor of New Hampshire called on the people of New Hampshire . . .

to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . [t]hat the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord.16

John Hancock, as Governor of the State of Massachusetts, urged the people to pray . . .

  • that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory.40
  • that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.41
  • to confess their sins and to implore forgiveness of God through the merits of the Savior of the World.42
  • to cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth.43
  • to confess their sins before God and implore His forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.44
  • that He would finally overrule all events to the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom and the establishment of universal peace and good will among men.45
  • that the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be established in peace and righteousness among all the nations of the earth.46
  • that with true contrition of heart we may confess our sins, resolve to forsake them, and implore the Divine forgiveness, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Savior. . . . And finally to overrule all the commotions in the world to the spreading the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ in its purity and power among all the people of the earth.47

William Samuel Johnson signed the Constitution and became the President of Columbia College. He told graduates:

You this day. . . . have, by the favor of Providence and the at¬tention of friends, received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country. You have this day invited this au¬dience to witness the progress you have made. . . . Thus you assume the character of scholars, of men, and of citizens. . . . Go, then, . . . and exercise them with diligence, fidelity, and zeal. . . . Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your minds, and exemplified in your lives and conduct. Imprint deep upon your minds the principles of piety towards God, and a reverence and fear of His holy name. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and its [practice] is everlasting [happiness] . . . . Reflect deeply and often upon [your] relations [with God]. Remember that it is in God you live and move and have your being, – that, in the language of David, He is about your bed and about your path and spieth out all your ways – that there is not a thought in your hearts, nor a word upon your tongues, but lo! He knoweth them al¬together, and that He will one day call you to a strict account for all your conduct in this mortal life. Remember, too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. Adore Jehovah, therefore, as your God and your Judge. Love, fear, and serve Him as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His word and holy ordinances. . . . [G]o forth into the world firmly resolved neither to be allured by its vanities nor contaminated by its vices, but to run with patience and perseverance, with firmness and [cheerfulness], the glorious career of religion, honor, and virtue. . . . Finally, . . . in the elegant and expressive language are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” – and do them, and the God of peace shall be with you, to whose most gracious protection I now commend you, humbly imploring Almighty Goodness that He will be your guardian and your guide, your protector and the rock of your defense, your Savior and your God.69

You don't hear Graduation addresses like that anymore!

John Quincy Adams said:

The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made “bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” [Isaiah 52:10].8

America must again become a "City upon a Hill."

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