Religious Freedom

The following is a collection of quotes taken from numerous Founders’ speeches, letters, writings, and books on religion and it’s crucial role in our nation’s founding. It is clear that the Founders did not intend or allow for the establishment of a “Christian nation.” Nor did they found a nation that sought to separate religion from politics. Instead, the nation they founded prevented the federal government from establishing a national denomination while simultaneously allowing states the right to establish the religion of their choice that would best benefit the citizens of that state.

Samuel Adams 1790 letter to John Adams.

Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity…in short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.

Benjamin Rush 1830 “A Defence of the Use of the Bible in Schools”

But passing by all other considerations, and contemplating merely the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues which constitute the soul of republicanism.

Benjamin Rush 1806 Essays, literary, moral and philosophical.

The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.

Noah Webster October 25, 1836 letter to David McClure

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.

Charles Carroll November 4, 1800 letter to James McHenry

Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure (and) which insures to the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.

John Adams 1798 Address to the Officers of the Massachusetts militia

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

Daniel Webster July 4, 1800 Oration

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.

Noah Webster 1834 “Value of the bible”

It is alleged by men of loose principles or defective views of the subject that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men “who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.


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