George Washington on Christianity and the U.S. Constitution

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Check out Jon Rowe’s post at American Creation blog.  He quotes a 1789 George Washington letter to Presbyterians in which the first POTUS explains why Christianity was not mentioned in the United States Constitution:

Here is a taste:

One thing to keep in mind on the debate over the US Constitution’s Godlessness, is that, however we understand the controversy, it wasn’t “made up” by two Cornell professors.

In fact, I was reminded of George Washington’s response to a group of Presbyterians who were concerned about the omission of a reference to the Christian religion in the US Constitution. Washington attempted to alleviate their concern writing:

“The tribute of thanksgiving, which you offer to the gracious FATHER OF LIGHTS, for his inspiration of our publick councils with wisdom and firmness to complete the National Constitution, is worthy of men, who, devoted to the pious purposes of religion, desire their accomplishment by such means as advance the temporal happiness of their fellow men. And, here, I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe, that the path of true piety is so plain, as to require but little POLITICAL direction.

To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation respecting religion from the Magna Charta of our country. To the guidance of the Ministers of the Gospel, this important object is, perhaps, more properly committed. It will be your care to instruct the ignorant, and to reclaim the devious: And in the progress of morality and science, to which our Government will give every furtherance, we may confidently expect the advancement of true religion, and the completion of our happiness.

I pray the munificent Rewarder of virtue, that your agency in this work, may receive its compensation here and hereafter.”

Read the entire post here.

One thought on “George Washington on Christianity and the U.S. Constitution

  1. But a nation is more than the sum of its laws, and under federalism, America is more than the constitution of its national government. The ‘godless’ constitution argument is accurate as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough.

    “I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the states, as far as it can be in any human authority.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Miller, 1808

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