Previously, I have recommended two relatively centrist resources on the religious history of our country, Meacham’s book American Gospel (the post has a great lecture by him as well), as well as Boyd’s Myth of a Christian Nation. I also have mentioned Goldberg’s more liberal Rise of Christian Nationalism.
Today, however, I’d like to recommend the very right One Nation Under God site, from Presbyterian D. James Kennedy. He offers a video and one paltry article on the Constitution. Although spun a little, he shows the significant impact and faith of the founders on the foundations of the U.S. He also offers some audio clips. I saw the special, it was a too short introduction to the Christian heritage of our country.
Here are a few snippets:
- Jamestown: These Englishmen who founded Jamestown were organized under the Virginia Charter of 1606, which called for the ‘propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of God.’ Jamestown ‘had a very declared Christian purpose,’ï¿½ said historian and pastor, Dr. Paul Jehle.
- The Pilgrims: William Bradford wrote in his history, Of Plimouth Plantation, that the Pilgrims had a ‘great hope and inward zeal … of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world.’
- The Mayflower Compact: They wrote up the Mayflower Compact, which was a political expression of the spiritual covenant they had created years before, when they first became a congregation. The Compact stated that their voyage was ‘undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country.’
- The Puritans: Next came the Puritans. Unsuccessful in their attempts to purify the Church of England, they arrived in America, where they could worship Christ in the purity of the Gospel. John Winthrop, the Puritan governor, gave voice to the Puritan mission, declaring that ‘we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.’
- Deuteronomy, not Locke: Dr. Donald S. Lutz, a professor of political philosophy at the University of Houston, conducted a massive groundbreaking study in which he examined some 15,000 documents written during America’s founding era. He and his research associate, Dr. Charles Hyneman, found that a third of the quotations in these documents were from the Bible. ‘Deuteronomy is cited more than John Locke or anyone else,’ said Lutz
- Connecticut’s Constitution: The first complete constitution written on American soil, this document was heavily influenced by a sermon preached by Puritan minister, Rev. Thomas Hooker. George Washington, who served as president of the Constitutional Convention, ordered that that every delegate have a copy of Connecticut’s Constitution. He did so, said Marshall, ‘because it was so powerfully done, so rooted in Holy Scripture, in the Word of God, such an effective document, [that] Washington wanted that to be a reference work for the federal Constitution work they were about to get into.’
- The Link Between Connecticut’s Constitution and Declaration and Federal Constitution: The link between state constitutions and the U.S. Constitution is also apparent in the 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties. Marshall points out that this Puritan document contained 98 propositions, most of which reappear in the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution. Among these are equal protection under the law; due process protection for life, liberty, and property; no cruel and unusual punishment; and no taxation without representation.