The Founders, Religion, and Conscience

April 24, 2020 § 3 Comments

Was it the intention of the founders to establish a Christian nation?

Witness their thoughts:

  • “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?”  — James Madison
  • “Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government’s power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”  —  Thomas Jefferson
  • “The religion of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate … We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”  —  James Madison
  • “We should begin by setting the conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvement will be made in the human character and the state of society.”  —  John Adams
  • “I beg you be persuaded that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”  —  George Washington
  •  “I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”  —  Thomas Jefferson
  • “It is contrary to the principles of reason and justice that any should be compelled to contribute to the maintenance of a church with which their consciences will not permit them to join …”  —  George Mason
  • “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as a public liberty without the freedom of speech; which is the right of every man as by it he doe not hurt or control the right of another …”  —  Benjamin Franklin
  • “Conscience is the most sacred of all property.”  —  James Madison
  • “That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience …”  —  George Mason

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§ 3 Responses to The Founders, Religion, and Conscience

  • hale1090 says:

    Matthew 20:25 “Then Jesus told them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

  • Rance Ulmer says:

    Amen to the post and to Ricky’s response.

  • William (Ricky) Ruffin says:

    Very appropriate chancellor! What most God fearing people don’t realize in this country is that if the freedom of religion is why this country was founded. Religious persecution and forced support for a state supported church caused the a lot of the founders of our country to come here. God has blessed us unbelievably. As long as remain true to him we will remain strong. When we stop we will be destroyed. Learn from the history of the Hebrew people!

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