Friday, April 13, 2012

When Skeptics Ignore the Founders

Today we have a followup from a post by W. R. Miller last week. 


There are those who seek to undermine America's Christian heritage. When it is pointed out to them that the majority of the Founders had a Protestant Christian belief system, the skeptics argue that the most important Founders were deists, therefore, we had no Christian founding.

One points out, "Obviously, Jefferson, Franklin, Paine and Adams each had more influence on our history than all of these others (who were signers of the Declaration of Independence). Most people have never even heard of these others."

So, according to the skeptics, the most famous Founders were the ones that had the most influence in our nation's founding. This argument rests on a logical fallacy known as non sequitur. A non sequitur is "An inference or a conclusion not logically following from the premises; a response, remark, etc., that does not logically follow from what has gone before."[1]

These skeptics fail to realize all the signers of the Declaration of Independence were important. The Continental Congressmen didn't sit around, twiddling their thumbs or playing tiddlywinks, waiting for Jefferson and his team[2] to draft the Declaration. The representatives were all active participants. As a body, they all signed the Declaration and, as a body, influenced the birth of our nation. Otherwise, how would they be the Founding Fathers?

Several American history scholars examined some of the lesser-known Founders in The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life.[3] In the first chapter,[4] Daniel L. Dreisbach detailed the many reasons why some were more famous than others. One factor was that some outlived the others. "With the exception of Franklin, who died in 1790, all the famous founders went on to distinguished careers in national politics under the U.S. Constitution, whereas some important forgotten founders, such as William Livingston (1723-1790), George Mason (1725-1792), John Hancock (1737-1793), Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), and John Witherspoon (1723-1794), died before they could take a prominent role in the new national government." Some lost visibility because, Dreisbach suggests, of "unappealing personal traits, quirks, or eccentricities," like George Mason and others. "Finally," Dreisbach points out, "there seems to be an inclination among modern scholars to dismiss, discount, or ignore the views of pious founders whose ideas and actions were shaped by deeply held religious convictions. … Founders steeped in the rationalist traditions of the Enlightenment are more familiar and accessible, and their exploits are advanced in modern scholarship. John Witherspoon’s faith based perspectives may have scared off more than one secular scholar; moreover, his clerical collar may have symbolically entangled church and state too excessively for modern sensibilities. The profiles of Samuel Adams, Roger Sherman, Oliver Ellsworth, John Jay, Elias Boudinot, and Isaac Backus, among others, may have been similarly diminished by modern scholars on account of their profoundly religious identities and perspectives."

The skeptic asks, "Who stands out in American history more: Jefferson and Franklin or....John Morton, George Ross, James Smith, James Wilson, and George Taylor? Thomas Paine[5] and John Adams....or William Ellery, Lewis Morris, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, and William Floyd?"

As stated above, the "Forgotten Founders" were no less important to the American cause. Let's look at the ones mentioned by the skeptic.

Historian William Stevens Perry detailed John Morton's pivotal vote, without which the Declaration would not have passed:

We are told that Mr. Morton experienced the most intense anxiety of mind when it became his duty to give the casting vote of the Pennsylvania deputation. This vote would either confirm or destroy the unanimity of the action of the thirteen colonies in the matter of independence. His was the vote "upon which hung the important decision whether the great state of Pennsylvania should, or should not, be included in the league which bound the sister colonies together." Everything depended on the vote of this patriotic Churchman. The attitude of Pennsylvania had been that of opposition to a declaration of independence till further efforts for conciliation had been made--and had failed. The influence of Franklin (Churchman)[6] was of no avail in this juncture. Wilson (Churchman), a man of unusual ability, worthy of the highest position in the judiciary of the new nation for which Washington intended him, could not carry the state for freedom. But it was the Churchman and patriot, John Morton, who turned the scale, while the sense of the responsibility he had assumed is said by Waln, the biographer of the 'Signers' (vi. 128-220), "to have accelerated, if it did not cause, his dissolution."[7] "Tell them," said he on his death bed (April, 1777), addressing those of his friends who could not forgive or forget his vote for freedom—"tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it to have been the most glorious service that I ever rendered to my country" (Waln, vi, 222).[8] It was, indeed, "a glorious service" rendered to the sacred cause of liberty by this devoted Churchman. But for him we might not have won our freedom.[9]

Historian Charles A. Goodrich also reported on Morton's contribution, as well as the involvement of George Taylor:

Fortunately for the cause of American liberty, the change in public sentiment above alluded to, continued to spread, and on taking the great question of a declaration of independence, an approving vote by all the colonies was secured in its favor. The approbation of Pennsylvania, however, was only obtained by the casting vote of Mr. Morton, as has already been mentioned in our biographical notice of that gentleman. On the, 20th of July, the Pennsylvania convention proceeded to a new choice of Representatives. Mr. Morton, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Morris, and Mr. Wilson, who had voted in favor of the declaration of independence, were re-elected. Those who had opposed it were at this time dropped, and the following Gentlemen were appointed in their place, viz.: Mr. Taylor, Mr. Ross, Mr. Clymer, Dr. Rush, and Mr. Smith. These latter Gentlemen were consequently not present on the fourth of July, when the declaration was passed and proclaimed, but they had the honor of affixing their signatures to the engrossed copy, on the second of August following, at which time the members generally signed it.

James Smith's value to our nation was documented thusly:

In the month of July, a convention was assembled in Philadelphia, for the purpose of forming a new constitution for Pennsylvania. Of this body, Colonel Smith was elected a member, and he appeared to take his seat on the 15th day of the month. On the 20th be was elected by the convention a member of congress, in which body he took his seat, after the adjournment of the convention. Colonel Smith continued a member of congress for several years, in which capacity he was active and efficient. He always entertained strong anticipation of success during the revolutionary struggle, and by his cheerfulness powerfully contributed to dispel the despondency which he often saw around him. On withdrawing from congress, in November, 1778, he resumed his professional pursuits, which he continued until the year, 1800, when he withdrew from the bar, having been in the practice of his profession for about sixty years.

He was for many years a professor of religion, and very regular in his attendance on public worship.[10]

Driesbach reported on the importance and fate of Declaration signer, Constitution signer and Supreme Court justice James Wilson:

There is the tragic case of James Wilson, who died in ignominy in 1798 at age 56, fleeing from creditors for failed land speculation. He was buried in an obscure country graveyard in Edenton, North Carolina.[11] Today, Wilson is virtually unknown to the American public, but he was among the most trenchant and influential minds at the Constitutional Convention (making more speeches than any other delegate, save Gouverneur Morris), and he stamped an indelible mark on American legal theory through his influential law lectures and tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court.[12]

George Ross was hardly a bystander in our country's founding, as Perry noted:

George Ross was Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Convention of July 15, 1776, and prepared and proposed the "Declaration of Rights" which dissolved Proprietary Government of the Province and declared the commonwealth free and independent agreeably to the Declaration.[13]

According to Goodrich,

Mr. Ross continued to represent the state of Pennsylvania in the national legislature, until January, 1777, when, on account of indisposition, he was obliged to retire. During his congressional career, his conduct met the warmest approbation of his constituents. He was a statesman of enlarged views, and under the influence of a general patriotism, he cheerfully sacrificed his private interests for the public good. The high sense entertained by the inhabitants of the county of Lancaster, of big zeal for the good of his country, and of his constituents in particular, was expressed in the following resolution: "Resolved, that the sum of one hundred and fifty, pounds, out of the county stock, be forthwith transmitted to George Ross, one of the members of assembly for this county, and one of the delegates for this colony in the continental congress; and that he be requested to accept the same, as a testimony from this county, of their sense of his attendance on the public business, to his great private loss, and of their approbation of his conduct. Resolved, that if it be more agreeable, Mr. Ross purchase with part of the said money, a genteel piece of plate, ornamented as he thinks proper, to remain with him, as a testimony of the esteem this county has for him, by reason of his patriotic conduct, in the great struggle of American liberty." Such a testimony of respect and affection, on the part of his constituents, must have been not a little gratifying to the feelings of Mr. Ross. He felt it his duty, however, to decline accepting the present, offering as an apology for so doing, that he considered it as the duty of every man, and especially of every representative of the people, to contribute, by every means within his power, to the welfare of 'his country, without expecting pecuniary rewards.

The attendance of Mr. Ross in Congress, did not prevent him from meeting with the provincial legislature. Of this latter body, he was an active, energetic, and influential member. In the summer of 1776, it was found by the general assembly, that the circumstances of the state required the adoption of some decisive measures, especially in respect to putting the city of Philadelphia, and the province, in a state of defense. A committee was accordingly appointed, of which Mr. Ross was one, to report what measures were expedient. In a few days that committee did report, recommending to the people to associate for the protection of their lives, and liberty, and property, and urging upon the several counties of the province the importance of collecting stores of ammunition and arms. A resolution was also offered, providing for the payment of all such associations as should be called out to repel any attacks made by the British troops. To carry these plans into effect, a general committee of public safety was appointed, and clothed with the necessary authority. To this committee Mr. Ross was attached, and was one of its most active and efficient members. He also belonged to another important committee, viz. that of grievances.

On the dissolution of the proprietary government in Pennsylvania, a general convention was assembled, in which Mr. Ross represented the county of Lancaster. Here, again, he was called to the discharge of most important duties, being appointed to assist in preparing a declaration of rights on behalf of the state, for forming rules of order for the convention, and for defining and settling what should be considered high treason and misprision of treason against the state, and the punishment which should be inflicted for those offenses.[14]

For William Ellery, Lewis Morris, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, and William Floyd, interested researchers can visit the online resource, "America's Christian Heritage: Signers of the Declaration," which provides primary documentary coverage of all the Signers and their biographies.[15]

For those involved in crafting the First Amendment to the Constitution, Dreisbach shines the spotlight on Samuel Livermore and Fisher Ames.

At critical junctures in the First Congress’s deliberations on the amendment, language was proposed by Samuel Livermore of New Hampshire and Fisher Ames of Massachusetts that arguably shaped the final text of the First Amendment. Legislative histories often gloss over these crucial contributions and insights of the now all but forgotten Livermore and Ames, suggesting instead that the First Amendment flowed fully formed from the pen of the famous James Madison. Lost in these incomplete histories are the possible concerns and intentions behind Livermore’s and Ames’s revisions that almost certainly influenced congressional colleagues, thus leaving their mark on the First Amendment.[16]

Besides the Signers, other "unfamous" Americans played vital roles. They, too, were Founders.[17]

The contribution of James Otis of Massachusetts was recognized by President John Adams:

Adams: "I wish I could transcribe the whole of this pamphlet, because it is a document of importance in the early history of the Revolution, which ought never to be forgotten. It shows, in a strong light, the heaves and throes of the burning mountain, three years, at least, before the explosion of the volcano in Massachusetts or Virginia. ... If the orators on the 4th of July really wish to investigate the principles and feelings which produced the Revolution, they ought to study this pamphlet, and Dr. Mayhew's sermon on passive obedience and non-resistance, and all the documents of those days."[18]

John Appleton, 4th United States Assistant Secretary of State: "In 1761, James Otis asserted the inalienable rights of man as fully and decisively as they were afterwards asserted by Thomas Jefferson. It was in his celebrated argument against writs of assistance, which President Adams characterized as breathing the breath of life into the nation. 'Otis,' says he, 'was a flame of fire. Every man, of an immense, crowded audience, appeared to go away, as I did, ready to take arms against Writs of Assistance. Then, and there, was the first act of opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then, and there, the child, Independence, was born. In fifteen years he grew up to manhood, and declared himself free.'"[19]

John Adams named three men, other than Jefferson, that have faded into relative obscurity, but were no less important to achieving our Independence. From Hampton Carson's The Supreme Court of the United States: Its History:

With these statements of the Church's controlling and determining influence in bringing about the Declaration of Independence, we may the better understand the assertion of the Puritan, John Adams, "that had it not been for such men as Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Chase, and Thomas Johnson, there would never have been any Revolution." [20]

Mercy Otis Warren calls attention to Josiah Quincy II, as well as John Dickinson and James Otis:

The characters of Dickenson [sic, John Dickinson] and Otis are well known, but the early death of Mr. Quincy prevented his name from being conspicuous in the history of American worthies. He was a gentleman of abilities and principles which qualified him to be eminently useful, in the great contest to obtain and support the freedom of his country. He had exerted his eloquence and splendid talents for his purpose, until the premature hand of death deprived society of a man, whose genius so well qualified him for the investigation of the claims, and the defence of the rights of mankind. He died on his return from a voyage to Europe, a short time before war was actually commenced between Great Britain and the colonies.[21]

With these examples, we see the importance of these gentlemen who were willing to risk their lives, the fortunes, their sacred honor so that they, and we, could enjoy liberty.

Were some deists? Yes, a handful. But all ascribed to the general principles of Christianity, as stated by John Adams.[22]

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young men could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. Now I will avow, that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system. I could, therefore safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to these general principles."[23]

John Adams credits Christianity, not Deism.

Adams' son, John Quincy Adams, grew up to become the sixth President. He gave credit where it was due, and it wasn't Deism:

"From the day of the Declaration, the people of the North American union, and of its constituent states, were associated bodies of civilized men and Christians, in a state of nature, but not of anarchy. They were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all acknowledged as the rules of their conduct. They were bound by the principles which they themselves had proclaimed in the declaration."[24]

John Quincy Adams credits Christianity, not Deism.

In an Independence Day Oration, attorney H. P. Laird[25] of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, made this acknowledgement:

The other feature is the prominence unhesitatingly given to the recognition of Divine Providence in the affairs of the nation, on the part of the fathers of our country, and the specific acknowledgment of the Christian religion given by the State Provincial Conference held in 1776, looking to the election of members of a convention, who should be representatives of the people chosen by themselves, to lay the foundation of a government based on the authority of the people only.

Language like the following, though it may sound strange in some ears, has the true ring in it:

One of the resolutions adopted by the conference declares, that "no person elected to serve as a member of the convention shall take his seat, or give his vote, until he shall have made and signed the following declaration: I, --, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His eternal Son, the true God, and in the Holy Spirit, one God blessed for evermore; and do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration."[26] The members of the convention were elected on the 8th of July and met in this city on the 15th of July. Each and every one of them, before taking his seat, did publicly take and subscribe the profession of faith. In this number were such illustrious names as Benjamin Franklin, George Clymer, David Rittenhouse, Gabriel Hiester, and others; the names of the last two plainly indicating their German origin. Verily, in view of facts like these, it cannot be denied, that our Commonwealth at least, if not the whole nation, was indeed founded on the principles of the Christian religion. It is to be hoped, also, that it may ever prove itself true to such a noble foundation.[27]

Laird credits Christianity, not Deism.

In his 1835 study of America, French statesman Alexis de Toqueville observed,

"It must never be forgotten that religion gave birth to Anglo-American society. In the United States, religion is therefore mingled with all the habits of the nation and all the feelings of patriotism, whence it derives a peculiar force. To this reason another of no less power may be added: in America, religion has, as it were, laid down its own limits. Religious institutions have remained wholly distinct from political institutions, so that former laws have been easily changed whilst former belief has remained unshaken. Christianity has therefore retained a strong hold on the public mind in America; and I would more particularly remark, that its sway is not only that of a philosophical doctrine which has been adopted upon inquiry, but of a religion which is believed without discussion. In the United States, Christian sects are infinitely diversified and perpetually modified; but Christianity itself is all established and irresistible fact, which no one undertakes either to attack or to defend. The Americans, having admitted the principal doctrines of the Christian religion without inquiry, are obliged to accept in like manner a great number of moral truths originating in it and connected with it. Hence the activity of individual analysis is restrained within narrow limits, and many of the most important of human opinions are removed from its influence."[28]

De Toqueville credits Christianity, not Deism.

Many more examples can be found in our nation's historical records, if people are willing to examine them.[29]

It should be a no-brainer to accept that a nation occupied mostly by Christians, and/or by those who support Christian values, would be a Christian nation.[30]

When confronted with evidence favoring Christian heritage, what do historical revisionists do?

They ignore it.

* * *

Suggested reading:

Daniel L. Dreisbach, Mark David Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison, editors. Foreword by Mark A. Noll. The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life. University of Notre Dame Press; 1st Edition edition, October 29, 2009, 352 pp. Website:

Gary Amos; Richard Gardiner; William A. Dembski. Never Before in History : America's Inspired Birth. Richardson, Tex.: Foundation for Thought and Ethics, January 1, 2011, ix, 213 pp. Website:

[1] non sequitur, n. Third edition, December 2003; online version March 2012. ; accessed 09 April 2012. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1907.

[2] The Committee included Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston.

[3] Daniel L. Dreisbach, Mark David Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison, editors. Foreword by Mark A. Noll. The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life. University of Notre Dame Press; 1st Edition edition, October 29, 2009, 352 pp. Website: . Daniel Dreisbach is Professor of Justice, Law and Society in the School of Public Affairs at American University. Mark David Hall is the Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Political Science at George Fox University. Jeffry H. Morrison is associate professor of government at Regent University. Contributors: Daniel L. Dreisbach, Edith B. Gelles, Gary Scott Smith, William R. Casto, Gregg L. Frazer, Thomas E. Buckley, S.J., Jonathan Den Hartog, David J. Voelker, Kevin R. Hardwick, Robert H. Abzug, Mark David Hall, Rosemarie Zagarri.

[4] Chapter One: "Famous Founders and Forgotten Founders; What's the Difference, and Does the Difference Matter?" pp. 1-25. An abbreviated version was published earlier as "Founders Famous and Forgotten," in The Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2007, pp. 3-12. Posted online at

[5] See the online "Paine Relief" repository at for documentation of his religious and political seditions.

[7] Robert Waln, Jr., editor. Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia: R.W. Pomeroy, 1820-1827. 9 vol.: ill.; 24 cm. Volume 6. 1824.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Perry, William Stevens, 1832-1898. The Faith of The Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Tarrytown, N.Y., William Abbatt, 1926. 54 pp. "John Morton," pp. 38-39.

[10] Charles A. Goodrich. Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. Pages 291-296.

[11] See David W. Maxey, “The Translation of James Wilson,” Supreme Court Historical Society 1990 Yearbook (1990), pp. 29-43.

[12] Daniel L. Dreisbach, "Founders Famous and Forgotten," The Intercollegiate Review, Fall 2007, pp. 3-12. Posted online at

[13] Perry, William Stevens, 1832-1898. The Faith of The Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Tarrytown, N.Y., William Abbatt, 1926. 54 pp. "John Morton," pp. 38-39.

[14] Charles A. Goodrich. Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence. New York: William Reed & Co., 1856. pp. 309-312.

[16] Dreisbach, ibid.

[17] R. B. Bernstein, The Founding Fathers Reconsidered, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009; Dreisbach, The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life, 2009.

[18] From The Works of John Adams, second president of the United States: with a life of the author, notes and illustrations. Volume 10. Boston, 1850-1856, p. 300.

[20] Quoted on p. 162 of The Supreme Court of the United States: Its History: and Its Centennial Celebration, February 4th, 1890; prepared under the direction of the Judiciary Centennial Committee, by Hampton L. Carson. Philadelphia. 1891. Lee and Chase were Signers; Thomas was a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, governor of Maryland, and early Supreme Court Justice.

[21] History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution. Interspersed with biographical, political and moral observations. Boston: Printed by Manning and Loring, For E. Larkin, No. 47, Cornhill, 1805. 3 volumes. 21 cm. Volume 1 of 3, Volume 2 of 3, Volume 3 of 3. Text-searchable here.

[22] For details, see the works catalogued at America's Christian Heritage: U.S. Presidents, at and America's Christian Heritage: Signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, at

[23] John Adams. The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a life of the author, notes and illustrations. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1856. 528 pp. Volume 10 of 10. Letter to Jefferson, 28 June, 1813. Also in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904, Vol. XIII, pp. 292-294.

[25] Harrison Perry Laird (1814-1897), President of the Westmoreland Bar Association, 1886-1897.

[26] The Register of Pennsylvania, Volume 4, 1829, p. 163,

[27] "F." Christianity The Basis Of Our Republic. Messenger (1876-1887), v. 45, n. 32, Philadelphia: August 9, 1876, p. 4.

[28] De Tocqueville, [De la démocratie en Amérique -- English] Democracy in America. Cambridge: Sever and Francis, 1862. 2 vols.; 23 cm. Translated by Henry Reeve. Edited, with notes, the translation revised and in great part rewritten, and the additions made to the recent Paris editions now first translated, by Francis Bowen, Alford Professor of Moral Philosophy in Harvard University.Volume 2 of 2. pp. 5-6.

[29] For example, the primary documentation found at, which was extensively used for this essay.

[30] I presented this argument earlier, "Forsaking America's Heritage," at, posted April 4, 2012, but for some reason, it went through the skeptic's head like water through a sieve. He didn't acknowledge it; he ignored it. The article also exposes historian John Fea's ignorance of the rebuttals to John Wesley, and Wesley's acceptance of God's aid to the American revolutionaries. Other examples of willful ignorance include Hector Avalos, ignoring the legal precedents cited in the 1892 Supreme Court case, Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States,, January 30, 2012. The article has since been archived; and Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham's libel of Ezra Stiles Ely in The Washington Post, July 3, 2005, posted online at, in which Meacham ignored Ely's acceptance of church-state separation in The Duty of Christian Freemen to Elect Christian Rulers: A Discourse delivered on the Fourth of July, 1827, in the Seventh Presbyterian Church. Philadelphia, 1828 and Church and State. Jamestown Journal, November 16, 1831, p. 1. Originated in The Philadelphian, September 7, 1831.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Forsaking America's Heritage

Today we're pleased to have a guest post by longtime Tekton contributor W. R. Miller.


"The most effectual means of securing the continuance of our civil and religious liberties is always to remember with reverence and gratitude the Source from which they flow." So said John Jay (1745-1829), a Founding Father of the U.S. and our first Supreme Court Justice.[1]

It's been 236 years since "We, the People" formally declared ourselves a free and independent republic. Today, some Americans deny the foundations of their inheritance. They have fallen prey to the history revisionists, who do what they can to sever our nation's connection with God.

One such fellow we shall call "Darcy," to preserve his privacy, while we address his contentions.

"Calling the country a Christian nation has serious problems," he declares. What problems?

"Several of the most influential founders," says Darcy, "[were] deists."

Let's see: The Declaration of Independence had 56 signers. Of these, only two are considered deists: Jefferson and Franklin.[2] Both Jefferson and Franklin advocated prayer,[3] which meant they believed those prayers could be answered by the living God—especially considering the miracles reported during the war.[4] This would contradict any anti-supernatural stance of the deists, if "deist" were so defined.

The Articles of Confederation had 48 signers. Only one, Cornelius Harnett of North Carolina, was said to have deist leanings.[5]

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 had 55 delegates, with 39 signers. Of these, Franklin was considered deist.[6] In his study, M. E. Bradford adds Hugh Williamson of North Carolina (though Bradford is uncertain) and James Wilson of Pennsylvania.[7]

So we have three to five deists amongst the signers, plus one Roman Catholic (Charles Carroll); two Unitarians (Robert Treat Paine and John Adams, formerly a Congregationalist) while the remaining Founders ascribed to Protestant Christianity.

In fact, all ascribed to the general principles of Christianity, as stated by John Adams.[8]

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence, were the only principles in which that beautiful assembly of young men could unite, and these principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general principles? I answer, the general principles of Christianity, in which all those sects were united, and the general principles of English and American liberty, in which all those young men united, and which had united all parties in America, in majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her independence. Now I will avow, that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature and our terrestrial, mundane system. I could, therefore safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to these general principles."[9]

It should be a no-brainer to accept that a nation occupied mostly by Christians, and/or by those who support Christian values, would be a Christian nation.

According to Supreme Court Justice David Brewer,

This is a Christian nation. Not that the people have made it so by any legal enactment or that there exists an established church, but Christian in the sense that the dominant thought and purpose of the nation accord with the great principles taught by the founder of Christianity. Historically it has developed along the lines of that religion. Its first settlements were in its name, and while every one is welcome, whether a believer in Christianity or in any other religion, or in no religion, yet the principles of Christianity are the foundations of our social and political life. It needs no judicial decision to determine this fact.

The first charter of Virginia, in 1606, recited that it was granted in hopes of the "propagating of Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and miserable ignorance of the true knowledge edge and worship of God." The Mayflower compact declared that its colonial settlement was "for the glory of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith." The fundamental orders of Connecticut recited that they were established "to maintain and preserve the liberty and the purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess." Running through other colonial charters, in the Declaration of Independence, in the Constitutions of the various States, in the proceedings in courts, and in those official declarations which are the manifestations of the organized will of the nation, there is the constant recognition of the fact that Christianity is the underlying thought of our national life.

We enforce no religion; but the voice of the nation from its beginning to the present hour is in accord with the religion of Christ. Now, whatever else may be said of Christianity one thing is undisputed and indisputable, that Christian nations manifest the highest forms of civilized life, and that among professedly Christian nations those in which the principles of Christianity have the utmost freedom and power occupy the first place. And surely nowhere has Christianity such freedom and power as in this Republic. [10]

Benjamin Franklin Morris[11] observed,

"In all their previous state papers[, t]he men who formed the Constitution had declared Christianity to be 'fundamental to the well-being of society and government, and in every form of official authority had stated this fact. ... The various States who had sent these good and great men to the convention to form a Constitution had, in all their civil charters, expressed, as States and as a people, their faith in God and the Christian religion."[12]

Darcy seems to be unaware of this, as he asserts, "More importantly, if this country is seen as a Christian nation, it makes Christianity culpable for a long string of horrible immorality--the greatest of which would include slavery and the long history of atrocities against Native Americans."

Said Ben Franklin, "If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?"[13]

Except for one thing. It should be noted that Christianity is the religion of Jesus Christ.[14] Jesus is the head of the church.[15] Jesus does not endorse slavery. Jesus does not endorse atrocities against Native Americans, or anyone else, for that matter. This raises the question of whether Darcy knows what a Christian is. Or whether he knows the difference between "standard" and "those who claim to follow the standard."

So, the gist of Darcy's argument seems to be,

If Americans sin, we cannot be a Christian nation.

If we apply the rationale further, it would mean,

If the people of Israel sin, they cannot be a Jewish nation.

If Jews sin, they cannot be Jewish.

If Christians sin, they cannot be Christian.

If people break the law, the law is null and void.

If a cook burns the toast, he is not a cook.

Right, Darcy?

Meanwhile, Darcy overlooks the times our government leaders, at state and federal levels, called for prayer and fasting.[16]

For example, in the midst of the Civil War, both Houses of Congress and President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of National Humiliation, Prayer, and Fasting:

Whereas a joint committee of both Houses of Congress has waited on the President of the United States and requested him to "recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer, and fasting to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnities and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessings on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace;" and

Whereas it is fit and becoming in all people at all times to acknowledge and revere the supreme government of God, to bow in humble submission to His chastisements, to confess and deplore their sins and transgressions in the full conviction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and to pray with all fervency and contrition for the pardon of their past offenses and for a blessing upon their present and prospective action; and

Whereas when our own beloved country, once, by the blessing of God, united, prosperous, and happy, is now afflicted with faction and civil war, it is peculiarly fit for us to recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals to humble ourselves before Him and to pray for His mercy--to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the reestablishment of law, order, and peace throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence:

Therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer, and fasting for all the people of the nation. And I do earnestly recommend to all the people, and especially to all ministers and teachers of religion of all denominations and to all heads of families, to observe and keep that day according to their several creeds and modes of worship in all humility and with all religious solemnity, to the end that the united prayer of the nation may ascend to the Throne of Grace and bring down plentiful blessings upon our country.[17]

Even during World War I, both Congress and President Wilson acknowledged,

"… a duty peculiarly incumbent in a time of war humbly and devoutly to acknowledge our dependence on Almighty God and to implore His aid and protection, the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, respectfully requested to recommend a day of public humiliation, prayer, and fasting, to be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity and the offering of fervent supplications to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of our cause, His blessings on our arms, and a speedy restoration of an honorable and lasting peace to the nations of the earth."[18]

And when a nation repents, God does not punish it.[19] For some reason, Darcy fails to take into account God's blessings upon America, which are duly noted in the various State of the Union messages,[20] Congressional reports, Thanksgiving Proclamations[21] and Independence Day commemorations.[22]

He further makes the claim, "Even the American Revolution itself is rather repugnant."

If so, then why was God actively involved in establishing our Republic? Why would he enact miracles in the American cause?[23] Does Darcy deny the glory and honor due to the One who has nurtured and blessed our nation? Is he unaware that we have Thanksgiving Proclamations[24] and Fourth of July Orations[25] praising the Supreme Creator for granting us a land that promotes liberty of conscience, the freedom to worship Him, and the blessings of life?

On November 1, 1777, the Continental Congress issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation. Its statements may come to a shock to those who deny attachment of Christianity and state (as opposed to ecclesiastical church and state):

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also to smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defence and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success: It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favour, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessing on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labour of the husbandman, that our land may yet yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth "in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost."[26]

You see, the Founders recognized and acknowledged God's role in the Revolution. Here's the testimony of Declaration-signer Francis Hopkinson:

"It would be ungrateful not to observe, that there have been less equivocal signs in the course of the formation and establishment of this government, of heaven having favoured the federal side of the question. The union of twelve states in the form and of ten states in the adoption of the Constitution, in less than ten months, under the influence of local prejudices, opposite interests, popular arts, and even the threats of bold and desperate men, is a solitary event in the history of mankind. I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied, that the union of the states, in its form and adoption, is as much the work of a Divine Providence, as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament, were the effects of a divine power."[27]

Knowing God's grace upon the American people, President George Washington proclaimed, "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor."[28]

However, in an attempt to discredit justification for the war, history revisionist John Fea[29] trots out Anglican minister John Wesley as one opposed to the American independence. "Christians today who want to argue that the Revolutionary War was 'just' must offer concrete evidence to suggest that this war was indeed a 'last resort'," Fea challenges. "They must also make a compelling case that the colonists' grievances against the Crown merited military resistance."[30]

For some reason, Fea ignores rebuttals presented at the time of the Revolution![31] Albert M. Lyles reported over 29 rebuttals specifically to Wesley[32] regarding to his pro-British authority works, A Calm Address to Our American Colonies[33] and Some Observations on Liberty.[34]

One rebuttal by Baptist minister Caleb Evans exposed Wesley's pre-war position objecting to British treatment of the colonists. Historian Allan Raymond observed,

Evans noted the unacknowledged borrowing from Johnson, but Evans was more concerned with arguing that Parliament had no right to tax the Americans. Wesley had 'revived the good old Jacobite doctrines of hereditary, indefeasible, divine right, and of passive obedience and non-resistance.' Evans inquiried into Wesley's amazing change of heart coming on the heels of his refusal to defend governmental policy in his earlier pamphleteering, his earlier urging of Bristol Methodists to support a pro-American candidate for Parliament, his public statement that the Americans were an 'oppressed, injured people,' and his recommendation of the earlier pamphlet, An Argument in Defence of the Exclusive Right Claimed by the Colonies to Tax Themselves, which defended the constitutional position Wesley now attacked.[35]

Fea fails to mention the pro-American stances cited by Raymond and Evans. He also fails to mention that at the end of the war, Wesley changed his mind again, in favor of American freedom![36]

Wesley wrote, "As our American brethren are now totally disentangled both from the state, and from the English hierarchy, we dare not entangle them again, either with the one or the other. They are now at full liberty, simply to follow the Scriptures and the primitive church. And we judge it best that they should stand fast in that liberty, wherewith God has so strangely made them free."[37]

Yes, even a minister of the Lord can recognize a miracle when it happens.

Meanwhile, Darcy asks, "We rebelled and killed people because of taxes?"

It was for many more reasons than that, Darcy, which were addressed to King George III in 1776:

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

From what document were these charges stated? The Declaration of Independence.[38]

The grievance for "taxes" didn't even top the list.

The Declaration continues:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

It is incumbent upon us, who have inherited this land, to heed these words.

American minister Elias Lyman Magoon (1810-1886) wrote a volume, Orators of the American Revolution, honoring the patriots who inspired the Independence movement. In it, he stated,

"The Revolutionary War was a struggle imposed on our fathers, not sought by them; injustice was in their esteem a legitimate cause for resistance, and all willingly shared in the discharge of a duty which none could doubt. Those who led in the church, and those who led in the field, were impelled by one conviction and labored together with the same design. One taught the law of justice, the other defended it; one was the voice of God, the other was His arm. Thus, the American Colonies, confederated by patriotism and piety long before they were united under a written constitution, felt that their resistance to oppression was a common cause, and simultaneously grasped a sword which. had been tempered in the fires of suffering and bedewed with the tears of the sanctified. Then were laity and clergy distributed to all the posts of defence--the chamber of council and the field of battle,--the rural church and the martial camp,--and from each station of trust and solicitude, fervent prayer ascended to heaven for favor on our arms.

... "Indeed, patriotism was a trait common to the great majority of our clergy, both before and during the Revolution. They sided with their country in all the disputes with Great Britain,--they prayed and preached in favor of Independence, and in several instances went so far as personally to take up arms. Jonathan Mayhew, the famous leader of the Episcopal controversy, to whom Archbishop Seeker and Dr. Johnson replied, was not only an ecclesiastic of great literary accomplishments, but a republican of the boldest port. On every hand, intelligent and patriotic pastors contributed powerfully to prepare the people for prompt and persevering resistance against every encroachment on their rights."[39]

Our friend Darcy has yet another complaint: "We pay far more taxes now than then and I consider it a horrible abuse on the American people, but to me it is unthinkable that we should start a bloody revolution over it."

Actually, American colonists had "taxation without representation" prior to the Revolution.[40] Today, our heavy taxes are due to politicians that are elected into office. Does Darcy not know the difference?

But that's what happens when unprincipled men are elected into office. It's something that Noah Webster warned us about 'way back in 1802:

"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, "just men who will rule in the fear of God." The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws."[41]

Americans should keep in mind their Christian heritage, and give to our Supreme Lord all due honor and glory.

We should heed the words of President John Adams:

[T]he safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him."[42]

… as well as the words of our Lord as cited by Samuel Adams:

"May every citizen . . . have a proper sense of the Deity upon his mind and an impression of the declaration recorded in the Bible, “Him that honoreth Me I will honor, but he that despiseth Me shall be lightly esteemed” [I Samuel 2:30]." [43]

Our friend Darcy responds here: [44]

[1] William Jay. The Life of John Jay: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers (New York: J. & J. Harper, 1833), Vol. I, pp. 457-458, to the Committee of the Corporation of the City of New York on June 29, 1826.

[3] In Jefferson's "Second Inaugural Address" (March 4, 1805), he expressed a need for "the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with his providence, and our riper years with his wisdom and power; and to whose goodness I ask you to join with me in supplications, that he will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures, that whatsoever they do, shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations."

At the Constitutional Convention, Franklin urged his fellow delegates, "In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.- Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that 'except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.' I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest." See Franklin, Benjamin. "Motion for Prayers in the Convention." Jared Sparks, editor. The Works of Benjamin Franklin: containing several political and historical tracts not included in any former edition, and many letters official. Vol. 5 of 10. Boston, 1837. Also here. And in Niles' Weekly Register, vol. 15, October 10, 1818, issue 371, p. 108 by William Ogden Niles. Full volume published by H. Niles, 1819.

[4] America's Christian Heritage: Miracles in American History,

[6] Ibid.

[7] M. E. Bradford, A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution (Marlborough, NH.: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982), pp. iv-v.

[8] For details, see the works catalogued at America's Christian Heritage: U.S. Presidents, at and America's Christian Heritage: Signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, at

[9] The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a life of the author, notes and illustrations. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1856. 528 pp. Volume 10 of 10. Letter to Jefferson, 28 June, 1813. Also in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904, Vol. XIII, pp. 292-294.

[10] U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Josiah Brewer. American Citizenship. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 1914. 131 pp.; 20 cm. Yale lectures on the responsibilities of citizenship.

[11] American historian, 1810-1867.

[12] B. F. Morris. Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, developed in the official and historical annals of the Republic. Philadelphia; Cincinnati, 1864. 829 pp. Also here.

[13] Jared Sparks, editor. The Works of Benjamin Franklin: containing several political and historical tracts not included in any former edition, and many letters official. Vol. 10 of 10. . Boston, 1836-1840. 558 pp. Extract, pp. 281-282.

[14] "Christianity," n. Oxford English Dictionary,Second edition, 1989; online version November 2010. ; accessed 30 January 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1889.

[15] Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18.

[16] America's Christian Heritage: Prayer and Fasting Declarations,

[17] United States. President (1861-1865: Lincoln) A Proclamation. By the president of the United States of America. ... I, Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States, do appoint the last Thursday in September next as a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation ... In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the great seal of the United States to be affixed, this 12th day of August, A.D. 1861 ... [2] leaves ill. 25 cm. Also here.[Proclamation. 1861 Aug. 12].

[18] United States. President (1913-1921: Wilson, Woodrow). Proclamation - Day of Prayer. May 11, 1918. Recorded in The statutes at large of the United States from April, 1917, to March, 1919, Volume 40, Part 2. 1919.

[19] Jeremiah 18:8.

[20] See The American Presidency Project at

[21] America's Christian Heritage: Thanksgiving Proclamations, at

[22] America's Christian Heritage: Independence Day Orations, at

[23] America's Christian Heritage: Miracles in American History,

[24] America's Christian Heritage: Thanksgiving Proclamations, at

[25] America's Christian Heritage: Independence Day Orations, at

[26] United States. Continental Congress. Recommendation of a day of Thanksgiving. November 1, 1777. Also, 1 sheet, (2 pp.). Lancaster [Pa.]: Printed by Francis Bailey, [1777].

[27] Francis Hopkinson. Account of the Grand Federal Procession, Philadelphia, July 4, 1788. To which are added, Mr. Wilson's oration, and a letter on the subject of the procession. (Price 5d. h.). [2], 22 p. 20 cm. (8vo)

[28] Jared Sparks, The Life of George Washington (London: Henry Colburn, 1839), Vol. II, p. 302, proclamation for a National Thanksgiving on October 3, 1789. Also online at

[29] John Fea is Associate Professor of American History, Department of History, Messiah College, Grantham, PA. In his Vita posted online at (Accessed April 4, 2012), he reveals, "I am currently working on two book projects: A Presbyterian Rebellion: The American Revolution in the Mid-Atlantic and The Greenwich Tea Burning: History and Memory in an American Town." The former is an attempt to reinterpret the coming of the American Revolution in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania by focusing on Presbyterian political activity."

[30] John Fea. Was American Founded as a Christian Nation? A Historical Introduction, Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011, p. 120.

[31] These rebuttals are documented online at America's Christian Heritage: The Case for Rebellion, at

[32] In a footnote, Allan Raymond mentions the rebuttals in his work, "'I Fear God and Honour the King': John Wesley and the American Revolution," Church History, v. 45, n. 3, (September 1976), p. 321: Albert M. Lyles, "The Hostile Reaction to the American Views of Johnson and Wesley," The Journal of the Rutgers University Library 24 (December 1960): 1-13. Lyles identified over twenty-nine replies to the two pamphlets, exclusive of reviews. Richard Green, Anti-Methodist Publications Issued during the Eighteenth Century (London, 1902), pp. 125-132, lists several of the more influential replies, often with brief excerpts and commentary. Some are catalogued at America's Christian Heritage, here: They include the following:

Anonymous. A Constitutional answer to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley's calm address to the American colonies. London, Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, and J. Almon, 1775. 25 pp. Also here with commentary.

Evans, Caleb, 1737-1791. A Letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, occasioned by his Calm address to the American Colonies. By Caleb Evans, M. A. A new edition. To which are prefixed, some observations on the Rev. Mr. Wesley's late reply. London, [1775]. 32 pp.

Anonymous. Fallacy detected: in a letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, Master of Arts. Wherein his "Free thoughts on the state of public affairs," and his "Calm address to the Americans," are considered and compared. [London?], Printed in the Year MDCCLXXV. [1775]. 40 pp.

Anonymous. A second answer to Mr. John Wesley. Being a supplement to the letter of Americanus, in which the idea of supreme power, and the nature of royal charters, are briefly considered. By W. D. London, 1775. 20 pp.

Anonymous. Political empiricism: A Letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley. London, M,DCC,LXXVI. [1776]. 31 pp.

James Murray. A Compleat answer to Mr. Wesley's observations upon Dr. Price's essay on civil liberty wherein the fatalism and infidelity of Mr. Wesley's principles are confuted, and their dangerous tendency with respect to all civil government are pointed out. By a Gentleman of Northumberland. Newcastle: Printed by T. Robson and sold at their printng Office and the Booksellers in town and country, 1776. 32 pp.; 17 cm.

[33] John Wesley, 1703-1791. A Calm Address to the American Colonies. Published in Ellis Sandoz, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era. Vol. 1 (1730-1788).

Sandoz: "John Wesley's one direct venture into American politics came with the publication in Bristol of A Calm Address to Our American Colonies (1775). It reversed his position of a year earlier on British oppression of the colonies and brought him down squarely on the side of the ministry, much to their delight. The pamphlet went through at least seventeen (and perhaps nineteen) editions; about 100,000 copies circulated within a year. The British government was happy to foster its distribution, since it justified its policies and bore Wesley's signature. In America, Wesley was vilified, not least because the first eighteen pages of A Calm Address plagiarized Dr. Samuel Johnson's assault on the American position, published in 1775 as Taxation No Tyranny: An Answer to the Resolutions and Address of the American Congress. (As Frank Baker has commented, this was 'a fairly normal practice with Wesley.')"

[34] Wesley, John, 1703-1791. Some Observations on liberty. From The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, A. M., Volume 6. J. Emory and B. Waugh, for the Methodist Episcopal Church, J. Collard, printer, 1831.

John Emory: "The date of this tract of Mr. Wesley's shows that it was written at a time of great national excitement. This must be its apology. As a political production, it cannot fail to meet the strong and decided disapprobation of Americans; and we insert it here, with a few others alike foreign from our own views, solely to fulfil our promise of a complete edition of his works. Indeed, Mr. W. himself, after the successful termination of the great struggle in which America had made the last dire appeal to arms for the assertion of her rights, frankly, in effect, confessed his error, and acknowledged that it was by the interposition and providence of God himself, that our independence was achieved.--See his letter "To Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, and our Brethren in North America;" dated in September, 1784."

[35] A Letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, occasioned by his Calm address to the American Colonies. By Caleb Evans, M. A. A new edition. To which are prefixed, some observations on the Rev. Mr. Wesley's late reply. London, [1775].

[36] What does this indicate about historian Fea's integrity—or lack thereof?

[37] Wesley, John, 1703-1791. To Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, And Our Brethren in North America. Selections from the writings of the Rev. John Wesley. The Methodist Book Concern, 1918. 405 pp.

[39] Elias Lyman Magoon. Orators of the American Revolution. 2nd Edition. New York: Baker and Scribner, 1848. xv, [17]-456 pp. front., ports. 19 cm. Also here.

[40] John Zubly. An Humble Enquiry into the nature of the dependency of the American colonies upon the Parliament of Great-Britain, and the right of Parliament to lay taxes on the said colonies. By a freeholder of South-Carolina. [Twenty lines of quotations] [2], 26 pp. 23 cm.

"In England there can be no taxation without representation, and no representation without election; but it is undeniable that the representatives of Great-Britain are not elected by nor for the Americans, and therefore cannot represent them; and so, if the Parliament of Great-Britain has a right to tax America, that right cannot possibly be grounded on the consideration that the people of Great-Britain have chosen them their representatives, without which choice they would be no Parliament at all."

[42] John Adams. The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 169, fasting proclamation on March 23, 1798.

[43] Samuel Adams. The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908), Vol. IV, p. 189, Untitled article signed “Vindex” originally published in the Boston Gazette on June 12, 1780.

[44] Darcy has responded. His remarks are in blue text.

I guess your remarks about me are not so kind.

It's very simple, Darcy. You propogated falsehoods, I corrected them. Otherwise, there was no need to write the essay.

Do you equate correction with unkindness? Do you believe teachers are unkind when they corrected you in school?

Proverbs 12:1
Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.

Proverbs 15:32
He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.

Proverbs 13:18
Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.

1 Timothy 5:20
Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

In fact, I find your article quite offensive and patronizing

I spoke the truth. Could it be you find truth offensive and patronizing?

--not really the kind of grace and respect that I would expect from a Christian brother.

Proverbs 27:5
Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed.

Proverbs 28:23
He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward Than he who flatters with the tongue.

Luke 17:3
Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

No, I am really not as ignorant as you paint me in your article.

I quoted you verbatim. Which means I didn't paint you as ignorant. You did that to yourself. Your claims simply don't stand up to scrutiny.

Let's review, shall we?

You said, "Calling the country a Christian nation has serious problems," ignoring the legal-historical facts that we are a Christian nation.

You said, "More importantly, if this country is seen as a Christian nation, it makes Christianity culpable for a long string of horrible immorality," ignoring the fact there's a difference between "standard" and "those who claim to follow the standard."

You said, "Even the American Revolution itself is rather repugnant," ignoring the documented historical facts and eyewitness reports that God supported our Revolution.

You said, "We rebelled and killed people because of taxes?", ignoring principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.

You said, "We pay far more taxes now than then and I consider it a horrible abuse on the American people, but to me it is unthinkable that we should start a bloody revolution over it," ignoring the fact that there's a difference between "taxation without representation" and "taxation by elected officials."

You ignored the questions I raised in the article.

You ignored the historical documentation I presented in the article.

So when you say,

No, I am really not as ignorant as you paint me in your article.

you are not telling the truth.

A pastor who doesn't tell the truth is a disgrace to his profession. Is that not so, Darcy?

And if you can't distinguish between truth and falsehood, what does that indicate about your mental state?

Be a man and accept responsibility for your own folly. Or do you believe it's right to blame other people for your own faults?

In fact, there is nothing in your article that I was not already fully aware of.

If that is true, then by your own statements, you are culpable of misleading and deception, and in violation of Exodus 20:16.

Your understanding of Deism and Unitarianism seems to be rather superficial.

This is an unsupported assertion, which is a logical fallacy. Do you believe logical fallacies demonstrate rational thinking? Yes or no?

They did not always reject any divine intervention. What they did reject was that Jesus Christ is God and that he died for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day.

According to who? You? You're not an authority; neither did you cite an authoritative definition. Fallacious appeal to authority is a logical fallacy. Do you believe logical fallacies demonstrate rational thinking? Yes or no?

Also, your representation of deists versus true Christians is a little slanted:

Hello? (Knock on wooden head) Anybody home? Think Mcfly! Think! There's a little reference number by my statement. It's called an "endnote." It provides my source for the information. And you failed to check my source, which does show a distinction. There is no "slant." That source references Benson John Lossing and Robert G. Ferris and Richard E. Morris. They have credibility. You don't.

Darcy quotes an online article by "The Deist Minimum" by Avery Cardinal Dulles.
Dulles gives no documentation for his claims. He is not an American historian, like Benson John Lossing.

Your contention about supposed deist influence is addressed here:

But your most serious error is that you think that people are Christians just because they call themselves Christian.

Do you like shooting yourself in the foot? People can read my essay and see that you're not telling the truth. Your assertion is not my position.

You seem to think that serious and pervasive sin in your life does not disqualify you from calling yourself a Christian.

Don't be stupid. Either one is a Christian or one is not.

I think you should read your Bible:

Darcy cites Mark 7:6; Romans 2:28-29 and 1Corinthians 5:9-13. Of course I agree with them. There is no justification for sin.

Now let's apply Darcy's rationale to him. He has engaged in hypocracy and he violates Exodus 20:16. He has not repented, and he has failed to apologize for his falsehoods. By his reckoning, he is not a Christian.

I could go on all night listing passages of Scripture that make this clear. Statements like these fill the entire New Testament.

Of course. Now give us the Scriptures that say King David ceased to be a Jew when he committed adultery. Give us the Scriptures that say Peter ceased to be a disciple of Jesus when he denied Him three times. Give us the Scriptures that stated Paul ceased to be a Christian when he sinned.

People are fallable. None but Jesus are perfect.

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;

We all fade as a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind,

Have taken us away.

Romans 3:20

Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

For sin there is a remedy. It's called "repentance."

1 John 1:19

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If you paid attention to the article, I mentioned the Prayer and Fasting declarations that called for national repentance. It must have happened. Why else would God have blessed this nation? Read the context again. Try to understand, this time.

How can you read the Bible and not understand this fundamental truth?

How can you resort to an ad hominem fallacy and believe yourself to be a rational thinker? How can you utter falsehoods and claim to be a Christian? Apply your own standard to yourself.