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




Liberty Under God
The True American

A True American should:

George Washington helped define the true American:

The commander-in-chief directs that divine service be performed every Sunday at eleven o'clock in those brigades [in] which there are chaplains; those which have none [are] to attend the places of worship nearest to them. It is expected that officers of all ranks will by their attendance set an example to their men. While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian. The signal instances of providential goodness which we have experienced, and which have now almost crowned our labors with complete success, demand from us in a peculiar manner the warmest returns of gratitude and piety to the Supreme Author of all good.
— George Washington, General Orders, May 2, 1778 The Writings of George Washington, JC Fitzpatrick, ed., Wash. DC: US Gov't Printing Office, 1932, Vol. XI:342-343.

John Witherspoon was undoubtedly one of the most influential educators of his day. His students at Princeton University included one President, one Vice President, three Supreme Court Justices, 10 Cabinet members, 12 Governors, 60 Congressmen (21 Senators; 39 Representatives) plus scores of state officials and members of the Constitutional Convention. [See Barton, pp. 92-93]. Witherspoon said:

" . . . he is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not [would not hesitate] to call him an enemy to his country."
John Witherspoon, The Works of the Rev. John Witherspoon (Philadelphia: Wm Woodard, 1802) Vol 3, p. 46; cited in Barton, p. 118.

Samuel Adams, "Father of the American Revolution," declared,

[I] have a thorough contempt for all men . . . who appear to be the irreclaimable enemies of religion.
Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, ed., (NY: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1906) II:381, to William Checkley on Dec. 14, 1772.

On May 12, 1779, in a speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, Washington coached them:

You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention.
The Writings of George Washington, JC Fitzpatrick, ed., Wash. DC: US Gov't Printing Office, 1932, Vol 15, p.55.

"A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox, as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Man, can he be a patriot who by an openly vicious conduct is undermineing the very bonds of Society, corrupting the Morals of Youth, and by his bad example injuring that very Country he professess to patrionize more than he can possibly compensate by his intrepidity, Generosity and honour? The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a Nation."
I wish there was more of it to be seen among all orders and professions, but the Continental Connextion will not improve the Morals of our youth. A little less snearing at our New England puritanism would be full as honorary to our Southern Breathren.
Abigail Adams,
wife of President John Adams in letter to Mercy Otis Warren 1775.

... a true patriot must be a religious Man. I have been led to think from a late Defection that he who neglects his duty to his Maker, may well be expected to be deficient and insincere in his duty towards the public. Even suppose Him to possess a large share of what is called honour and publick Spirit yet do not these Men by their bad Example, by a loose immoral conduct corrupt the Minds of youth, and vitiate the Morrals of the age, and thus injure the publick more than they can compensate by intrepidity, Generosity and Honour?
    I am much obliged by the Sermons lately received. The Dedication of Dr. Zublys is both spirited and zealous. I was greatly pleased with it, but suppose it will be casting of pearl before Swine.1
    I enclose to you the paper you sent for.2 Your Buisness in collecting facts will be very difficult, and the Sufferings of this people cannot be circumscribed with pen, ink and paper. Besides these Ministers of Satan are rendring it every day more and more difficult by their {p. 322} ravages and devastation, to tell a tale which will freeze the young Blood of succeeding Generations as well as harrow up the Souls of the present.
Abigail Adams,
wife of President John Adams in letter to husband John Adams 1775
1. John Joachim Zubly, The Law of Liberty. A Sermon on American Affairs, Preached at the Opening of the Provincial Congress of Georgia, Phila., 1775. Several editions were published; see T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” No. 204a-c.
2. This must have been the Massachusetts Committee of Safety's “Relation” of the battle of Bunker Hill, dated 25 July 1775 (copy in Adams Papers under that date), signed by Joseph Palmer, and requested by JA in his letter to AA of 19 Oct., above, q.v.

The Constitution requires legislators to take an oath of office. Every person who signed the U.S. Constitution believed that an "oath" was an act of worship, a promise made in the presence of God. At first, only Christians were allowed to take any oath. This meant only Christians could hold political office; atheists could not. Over time, some states allowed Jews and other theists to take the oath, and eventually even atheists were permitted in some states to raise their right hand toward heaven and take the oath of office in the presence of a God whose existence they denied. This historical transition can be explained sociologically, but not Constitutionally. The Constitution of 1787 did not require America to be transformed from a Christian Republic to a secular empire

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