The accelerating exclusion of God from the public square

Are you a citizen of the United States of America?

Are you irritated by the erroneous claims made about the separation of Church and state used to justify the total exclusion of references to God (at least in a Judeo-Christian manner) from the public square?

Take a look at this…

Do you know the Preamble for your state? . .

  • Alabama 1901, Preamble We the people of the State of Alabama , invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution..
  • Alaska 1956, Preamble We, the people of Alaska , grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.
  • Arizona 1911, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arizona , grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution…
  • Arkansas 1874, Preamble We, the people of the State of Arkansas , grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government…
  • California 1879, Preamble We, the People of the State of California , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom…
  • Colorado 1876, Preamble We, the people of Colorado , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe…
  • Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in  permitting them to enjoy.
  • Delaware 1897, Preamble Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences.
  • Florida 1885, Preamble We, the people of the State of Florida , grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, establish this Constitution…
  • Georgia 1777, Preamble We, the people of Georgia , relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution…
  • Hawaii 1959, Preamble We , the people of Hawaii , Grateful for Divine Guidance … Establish this Constitution.
  • Idaho 1889, Preamble We, the people of the State of Idaho , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings.
  • Illinois 1870, Preamble We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil , political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
  • Indiana 1851, Preamble We, the People of the State of Indiana , grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our form of government.
  • Iowa 1857, Preamble We, the People of the State of Iowa , grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings, establish this Constitution.
  • Kansas 1859, Preamble We, the people of Kansas , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges establish this Constitution.
  • Kentucky 1891, Preamble.. We, the people of the Commonwealth are grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties..
  • Louisiana 1921, Preamble We, the people of the State of Louisiana , grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.
  • Maine 1820, Preamble We the People of Maine acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity .. And imploring His aid and direction.
  • Maryland 1776, Preamble We, the people of the state of Maryland , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty…
  • Massachusetts 1780, Preamble We…the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe In the course of His Providence, an opportunity and devoutly imploring His direction 
  • Michigan 1908, Preamble.   We, the people of the State of Michigan , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, establish this Constitution.
  • Minnesota, 1857, Preamble We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings:
  • Mississippi 1890, Preamble We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.
  • Missouri 1845, Preamble We, the people of Missouri , with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness . Establish this Constitution…
  • Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty establish this Constitution .
  • Nebraska 1875, Preamble We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom . Establish this Constitution.
  • Nevada 1864, Preamble We the people of the State of Nevada , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, establish this Constitution…
  • New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.
  • New Jersey 1844, Preamble We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
  • New Mexico 1911, Preamble We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty..
  • New York 1846, Preamble We, the people of the State of New York , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
  •   North Carolina 1868, Preamble We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those…
  • North Dakota 1889, Preamble We , the people of North Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain…
  • Ohio 1852, Preamble We the people of the state of Ohio , grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common.
  • Oklahoma 1907, Preamble Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, establish this
  • Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences
  • Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance….
  • Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing…
  • South Carolina, 1778 Preamble We, the people of the State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
  • South Dakota 1889, Preamble We, the people of South Dakota , grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties ..
  • Tennessee 1796, Art. XI..III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience…
  • Texas 1845, Preamble We the People of the Republic of Texas , acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.
  • Utah 1896, Preamble Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution.
  • Vermont 1777, Preamble Whereas all government ought to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man ..
  • Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator can be directed only by Reason and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other
  • Washington 1889, Preamble We the People of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution
  • West Virginia 1872, Preamble Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God …
  • Wisconsin 1848, Preamble We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility…
  • Wyoming 1890, Preamble We, the people of the State of Wyoming , grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties, establish this Constitution…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. LCB says:

    But Fr. Z, but Fr. Z!

    The Founding Fathers hated the idea of God in the public square– the Presidents over the decades and centuries, the 50 states, the congress, the clearly expressed written intent of the Fathers, the public understanding at the times of the Constitution’s writing, and years upon years of Supreme Court Jurisprudence have gotten it all wrong!

    It’s only in the last few decades that we’ve been able to discover the REAL meaning of the Constitution. It REALLY means the exact OPPOSITE of what it often says.

    /sarcasam off

    Pope Benedict has been clear the the hermeneutic of rupture is destroying civil society in Europe, especially when the Europeans can’t be bothered to mention Christianity in the EU Constitution.

    The Church will always be, but states will always come and go. Those that go are usually the ones that deny their God, and forfeit the blessings of liberty.

  2. Mitchell NY says:

    Rather than dispute this claim, I would rather leave it below the surface….If not it will be another opened Pandora’s box, whose outcome will be the removal and alteration of our state constitutions. Sooner or later they will get to this unfortunately.

  3. Latekate says:

    The selective exclusion of religion from the public square initiated unconstitutionally by those self appointed black robed priests of the state does not leave a religious “vacuum” of reason and rationality. It simply replaces the Christian worldview with state worship. The “secular” pretends to be rational and void of faith and “superstition” when in reality the “secular” institutions become imbued with faith and religious authority in the absence of God. This is why so many believe that only government representatives should have God-given rights that all used to have…these representatives have become priests and gods in their own right, more righteous and perfect.

    “Secular” is a myth.

  4. Rancher says:

    The WUN has already declared to the world that we are not a Christian nation so isn’t the point mute? After all the WUN can nver be wrong

  5. Nick says:

    Small correction: “Supreme Ruler of the Universe” in Washington State’s Preamble is actually a Masonic reference…

  6. TJM says:

    The US Constitution has been grossly misinterpreted over recent decades by left-wing jurists on the subject of religion such that our Founding Fathers would not even recognize America today. The whole concept of Freedom of Religion in the US Constitution was that there would not be state churches or state supported churches which had existed in many of the colonies because that would be a limitation on an individual’s personal freedom to choose their religion. That simple concept has
    been twisted and perverted in recent times to try and exclude references to God,Christ, etc. and otherwise drive religion from the public square.
    Freedom of Religion is not Freedom FROM Religion. Most of our president’s have made references to God in their speeches (President Franklin Roosevelt appealed to the divine probably the most in modern times), the Congress of the US itself has a chaplain, most recently a Roman Catholic priest from Chicago, Father Daniel Coughlin, and our currency states “In God We Trust.” These actions do not create state churches. They simply recognize reality. Tom

  7. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Not just America:

    “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law…”
    Preamble from the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, of the Canadian Constitution.

    And from the national anthem:
    “God keep our land, glorious and free.”

  8. irishgirl says:

    Andrew-wasn’t that line in ‘O Canada’ a ‘new’ addition?

    I think the original line just says,
    ‘O Canada, glorious and free’.

    At least that’s how I remember it from the early 1970s….

  9. Gary Keith Chesterton says:

    “Supreme Ruler of the Universe” is not necessarily a Masonic reference.

    God is in fact the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, is He not? So no argument there.

    Masonic language includes terms of varying ambiguity. “Supreme Architect of the Universe” is unambiguously Masonic, I would argue, but “Supreme Ruler” is not. But I’m willing to be wrong. Since each State has its own Grand Lodge, and its own ritual, it’s entirely possile that in Washington State “Supreme Ruler” is used ritually and that any Washington Mason would recognize it as such.

    I write as a former Mason who was a Past Master twice over, Past High Priest of Royal Arch Masons, 32nd Degree K.C.C.H. of the Scottish Rite, etc. I renounced my Masonic orders last summer as a matter of conscience.

  10. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    In the Boston area, the move to exclude God from the public square sometimes arises from within. As an example, I would respectfully point to a post in which a Catholic priest cites Fr. Tom Reese and goes on to explain why he (the priest) does not use the name of God (much less Our Lord) when speaking at public ceremonies.

    I believe that this is an over-reaction to fears of “excluding” anyone, and something that should be opposed as adding to a loss of Catholic identity.

  11. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Irishgirl: it’s possible, and I know many “O Canada”s have been changed to avoid repetition. It appears though, on wikipedia (for what it’s worth) that they are part of the originial lyrics. Much recent debate on changing it though.

  12. LCB says:


    Good for you. That’s a very difficult thing to do. Padre Pio would often call masons out as soon as they set foot into earshot.

  13. Rob Cartusciello says:

    It would be better to cite the current New Jersey Constitution, which was adopted in 1947, and not the 1844 version:

    “We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

  14. Jon says:


    You forgot one!

    “We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.”

  15. Gary Keith Chesterton says:


    That’s a very difficult thing to do.

    You’re telling me!

  16. Martin says:

    Quite frankly Father, many of these statements are simply deistic or masonic.

    Jefferson was a rabid hater of Catholicism.

    Washington was a mason.

    Franklin was an illuminati.

    Madison hated the Christian state.

    etc, etc.

    It is simply false to say that the American Republic ever was a Christian state. It is, as its counterpart the French Republic, a direct product of the Freemasonic Enlightenments.

  17. Gary Keith Chesterton says:


    I think you may be mistaken about Bejamin Franklin. He was never an illuminatus, but he was Grand Master of Masons of Pennsylvania.

    You are right that the deistic trend of the Enlightenment had a direct influence on the American patriots, but so in equal measure did John Locke, who was certianly no deist and would have been appalled at being called one.

    These statements of belief in, gratitude to and acknowledgement of God should not, I think, be taken as anything other than what they are: sincere recognition of God’s role as the wellspring of human dignity and natural law. In that sense (and that alone), I could gladly join hands with a deist. And have a beer.

  18. Martin says:

    GCK (!)…

    Thanks for your answer. But, you may not realize that by mentioning Locke, you are precisely confirming my point. Locke was adamant in his opposition to the Christian state in general, and to any state acknowledging the True Church of Our Lord in particular. Have you read his Letter concerning Toleration? If not, I suggest you do, because it clearly outlines the very unfolding of events many of neo-Catholic complains about (the gradual but nonetheless unabated removal of God from the public square).

    Regarding Franklin, yes he was a mason, and there is a also a great deal of evidence that he was an illuminati as well. The two are not mutually exclusive by any means.

    Now, regarding the “Almighty God” of these preambles, I don’t see any reason to believe it has to do with the triune God of Christianity. As far as I’m concerned, these statements could very well be alluding to Allah.

  19. mpm says:

    GKC and Martin,

    Very interesting exchange.

    I think we need to cut some slack though for these men in this sense. Many
    were from the “dissenting” branch(es) of the C of E, and “the Church” was an
    arm of the British government, against whose Parliament these men were in revolt.

    Also, in the case of Washington. He was raised, along with most Virginians,
    whose ancestors were from the West Country in England (support for the Crown, etc.)
    as an Anglican, and went to Church regularly, until he had determined to resist
    the English government. After that, he would attend the “Episcopal” Church on
    certain occasions, but he never went to Communion there again in his life, thus
    demonstrating a greater sense of what “communion” was all about than any number
    of recent Catholic politicians.

    Whatever their adscriptions to Masonry, I still think they were nothing like
    modern secular humanists and ideological atheists. Even Jefferson sent his
    daughter(s) to a convent school while he was in Paris, and of all of them, I
    think he was the most distant from any real Christian faith.

  20. TJM says:

    Martin, I was a history major in college and still read histories extensively, and I am puzzled by your statements.

    1) I have read several biographies on Thomas Jefferson and have NEVER seen mentioned any alleged anti-Catholicism; you must be reading some pretty esoteric sources to which I am not privy; he was a member of the Anglican Church by the way and did attend Church services. There is a pew at the Bruton Parish Church
    in Williamsburg which he used while a member of the House of Burgesses and as colonial governor of Virginia;

    2) Although Washigton was a free-mason, so what? A lot of Christians were at the time. He was also an Anglican and attended Church. He also added
    the phrase “So help me God” to his inaugural oath;

    3) Alas, Franklin was probably the least Church going, but in the book on John Addams by McCullough there is a reference to him attending a Catholic
    Mass in Philadelphia with John Addams and he had some pleasant comments to say about that, as I recall; and

    4) Madison did not hate the Christian state; if you read the federalist papers he disliked the notion of a State Church. So do I.

    All of these men in their writings and speeches sought the grace and wisdom of Almighty God; they were Christians as were 100% of the men who
    served in the original assembly crafting our Constitution.


  21. Gary Keith Chesterton says:

    mpm is right, the Patriots were nothing like today’s secularists and atheists.

    The Masonic influence, though not formal, was nevertheless widespread. I say not formal because of the most prominent Founding Fathers, only Washington & Franklin were Masons. Masonic ideas, however, were in wide circulation and were practically indistinguishable from the rest of the natural rights/dignity of man stream.

    The insane, gibbering hatred of the Church which characterizes European Masonry was in large measure absent in American practice, as it still is. (American Masonry is a social and civic service club, very much like the Elks or Kiwanis. Real esoteric Masons are extremely rare and tend to be European transplants.)

    Martin, just out of curiosity, can you point me to any of the evidence that Franklin was an illuminatus?

  22. Joe says:

    Even though Washington was a Mason and an Episcopalian, I doubt very much that he hated Catholics or the Catholic Church.

    I read (but do not have the source) that a group of American soldiers wanted to commemorate Guy Fawkes Day and Washington put a stop to it.

    Washington accepted financial assistance from Havana, Cuba society during the War for Independence. Not just (then-Catholic) France assisted the US, so did Spain. Spain sent its Navy up the Mississippi and attacked British ships there and throughout the Western Hemisphere.

    After the establishment of the Republic, a representative of the Holy See asked if it would be allowed to appoint a Bishop in the United States. Washington told the representative that no government permission was necessary.

    Even Jefferson assured the Ursuline Sisters of New Orleans that they would be protected by his Administration after the Louisiana Purchase.

  23. Latin Puerto Rican says:

    Fr. Z, Include Puerto Rico on the List! Here’s our Commonwealth’s Constitution Preamble:

    We, the people of Puerto Rico, in order to organize ourselves politically on a fully democratic basis, to promote the general welfare, and to secure for ourselves and our posterity the complete enjoyment of human rights, placing our trust in ALMIGHTY GOD, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the commonwealth which, in the exercise of our natural rights, we now create within our union with the United States of America.

    Fr. Latin Puerto Rican

  24. Latin Puerto Rican says:

    Forgot the year: Puerto Rico’s Constitution’s from 1952.

  25. Mark VA says:


    I think that in these discussions things become more clear when a distinction is made between culture and state. Most of us would probably agree that the culture of the United States is without doubt Judeo- Christian. The state is a product of our culture (as ideally it should be), and it shares in its many characteristics, including some of the religious ones – for example, most government agencies close down on Sundays. Also, by cultural consent, we’ve agreed not to allow the state to pick a religious denomination and make it an official state religion.

    It seems to me that those politicians who take it upon themselves to pronounce that we are not a Christian nation, have a poor grasp of this distinction, and confuse the state with culture. A less charitable interpretation would be that they think the state can dictate terms to the culture it serves.

  26. Danny Mary-Joseph says:

    AMERICANS! You are famed for your religion! your quite lucky in the way you are able to be religious without being considered a freak. Your government and press are still comparitively reluctant to openly attack religion. which is more than can be said for Britain. in the past ten years we have allowed religion-except islam- to be, in effect, outlawed. But you can still win! have public Marian processions, gather large groups to pray in public areas. make shrines and posters. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. Dont go the same way we did, and dont say I never warned you!

  27. Brendan says:

    I have essentially given up trying to explain to people that Separation of Church and State does not mean that an elected official shouldn’t be influenced by faith.

  28. TJM says:

    Danny Mary-Joseph, of course the “press” in England are rank, hypocritical cowards. They will criticize any other religion other than Islam, because there’s no personal or professional risk. If they criticize the alleged “religion of Peace” they will lose their heads. Nuff said. Tom

  29. Jim says:

    Just as a correction to TJM’s first comment – the 1st amendment to the constitution does not prohibit State churches – it prohibits a national church: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …”

    The 1st amendment, properly interpreted, is not binding on the several states, only upon the federal government. It has been recently misinterpreted to apply to state and local governments.

  30. Jon says:


    I’ll always remember my surprise many years ago during a visit to the National Archives in Washington. There, under glass, is a copy of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which as you know, ended the War of Independence. The first sentence being in very large letters, it begins:

    “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.

    It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the grace of God, king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, duke of Brunswick and Lunebourg, arch- treasurer and prince elector of the Holy Roman Empire etc., and of the United States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences that have unhappily interrupted the good correspondence and friendship which they mutually wish to restore, and to establish such a beneficial and satisfactory intercourse , between the two countries upon the ground of reciprocal advantages and mutual convenience as may promote and secure to both perpetual peace and harmony…”

    The best part is at the bottom where the signatures beneath that opening sentence are afixed:

    “Done at Paris, this third day of September in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three.


  31. TJM says:

    Jim, the Bill of Rights, applies equally to the individual States and the Federal government. It would also prohibit the States from creating a State Church. Otherwise in the aftermath of the Bill of Rights State Churches would likely have been created. Just like a State cannot abridge Freedom of Speech which is also contained in the Bill of Rights. I am a lawyer who works with constitional interpretation all the time. Trust me. Tom

  32. Mike says:

    Joe – there is another case where the Vatican approached a US representative in the nascent years of the new republic. (I had actually never heard of the Washington-Vatican contacts, BTW.

    When John Carroll was going to be named Vicar Apostolic, the Vatican wanted to find out if the US government would have had an issue with him. Working through France, the Vatican ambassador there contacted Benjamin Franklin.

    Franklin’s response regarding Carroll (and I paraphrase): Good man, great patriot, I would be very happy for him if were appointed. But as to whether you appoint him or someone else, the U.S. government doesn’t need or want a say.

    Remember, this was back when certain European sovereigns could veto a papal candidate. Believe it happened last in 1808, when the Austro-Hungarian emperor vetoed someone in the conclave that led to Pius VII. (May also have happened in St. Pius’ X election, but I can’t immediately find the source for that.) Still, the idea that a government had no specific interest in who was appointed a Catholic bishop (or any bishop, for that matter) was pretty radical at the time.

  33. Phil Steinacker says:


    If you visit Williamsburg, VA, and go to the Courthouse part of their presentation includes the fact that the original interpretation applied ONLY to the creation of national churches. They cite the fact that the Commonwealth of Virginia in the early days of the Republic continued on with the state church formerly known as the Church of England, although sensibilities (and sensitivities, I’ll wager) strongly “suggested” a name change for that church to the Episcopal Church.

    They further add that we achieved the status quo you so correctly articulated by an action of the Supreme Court, so given that SCOTUS decisions often are/have been wrong in nature or even principle while nonetheless reigning supreme, I believe one can be forgiven for holding that the original language was not intended to apply to the States. The legacy of our robed masters seems to have originated not too long after the beginnings of the Republic, it seems.

  34. Phil Steinacker says:

    That last comment is addressed to Tom (not Ton), otherwise known as TJM.

    Sorry, Tom.

  35. Fabrizio says:

    George Washington, Valley Forge, May 2, 1778: “The Commander in Chief directs that divine Service be performed every Sunday at 11 o Clock in those Brigades to which there are Chaplains; those which have none to attend the places of worship nearest to them. It is expected that Officers of all Ranks will by their attendance set an Example to their men. While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion. To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.”

    “Daily Sacrifice”, original manuscript: Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God & guide this day and for ever for his sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord….for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me; for his sake, ease me of the burden of my sins, and give me grace that by the call of the Gospel I may rise from the slumber of sin into the newness of life.

    to the Delaware Tribe Chiefs May 12, 1779:
    “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.”

    First Inaugural, April 30, 1789: we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people….I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

    Thanksgiving Proclamation, 14 October 1789 WHEREAS 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 favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

    …I do recommend ….that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

    Farewell address, 1796: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness — these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle”

    Patrick Henry, Will: I have disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give to them, and that is the Christian religion. If they had that and I had not given them one cent, they would be rich. If they have not that, and I had given them the world, they would be poor.

    Speech of March 23, 1775: There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battle for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.… Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

    Benjamin Franklin, to the Constitutional Convention, June 28, 1787: We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor 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…I therefore beg leave to move _ that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.

    John Adams Oct. 11, 1798 “[W]e 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.”

    Samuel Adams, leader of thr Boston Tea Party, delegate to the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence: The right to freedom being the gift of the Almighty…The rights of the colonists as Christians…may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutions of The Great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament. (The Rights of the Colonists, 1772)

    John Jay, first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court and co-author of the Federalist Papers: Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. (Letter to J. Morse, Feb 28, 1797)

    A proper history of the United States would be … unlike all others; it would develop the great plan of Providence, for causing this extensive part of our world to be discovered, and these “uttermost parts of the earth” to be gradually filled with civilized and Christian people and nations.… The historian, in the course of the work, is never to lose sight of that great plan.( Letter to J. Morse Aug. 16 1809)

    The list could go on. Conditores locuti.

  36. Elizabeth Murphy says:

    Motto of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador: ‘Quaerite prime regnum Dei’

  37. Eilis ni Mhurchu says:

    Motto of the Province of Newfounaland and Labrador:

    ‘Quaerite prime regnum Dei’

  38. Eilis ni Mhurchu says:

    That should have been Newfoundland and Labrador

  39. Martin says:

    TJM, GCK, and others,

    Thank you for your comments. Sorry for not having responded earlier, I have not been come to Fr. Z’s site since yesterday.

    A few things:
    1. Please believe that I am deeply sympathetic to all of you, Americans who are saddened by the removal of Christianity from the public square.
    2. However, the point I am making is that digging into your country’s past in an attempt to prove it was really founded as a Christian nation is futile, and even dangerous as it will backfire, for it is clear that the main “founding fathers” all were Protestants, in fact liberal Protestants to make the matter even better, and any understanding of “God” or the “Providence” that they might have had in their deluded minds has nothing to do with God as Catholics, in particular of traditional persuasion, understand Him.

    So, that said, yes Washington was a Freemason, and yes this is a problem. Now the fact that he was an Anglican is besides the point; first of all, Anglicanism is a schism of the worst sort, and was already deeply infiltrated by Masonic thought at the time of the American Revolution. So, the “god” to which Washington was asking for help was certainly not the Triune God whose Son founded the Church.

    Regarding Franklin and his esoteric, illuministic-leanings, there is a remarkable book on the topic: “Benjamin Franklin, Le Grand Illuminé” (M. Godbout, Eds. Saint-Rémi), for those of you who read French. It may have been translated in English. There may be good documents in English as well, but I have not read any, nor have I looked for any.

    Someone also said above that he does not like the State Church, without defining what is exactly meant by “State Church”. This expression is vague. Does it mean “a schismatic protestant church of functionaries controlled by the state”? Then, in that case, I don’t like it either. Does he mean the Catholic State? Well then, in this case I don’t see how a Catholic can be against it. There are plenty of encyclicals one can read about the subject. However I’d start with the book “Liberalism is a Sin” of Don Sarda y Salvany (1887–but still entirely relevant).

    That said, good luck trying to restore decency to a country which is still at heart a liberal protestant (therefore apostate) one. The American Revolution was just as bad as the French one, you should not delude yourself into believing something else.

  40. Gary Keith Chesterton says:

    The American Revolution was just as bad as the French one, you should not delude yourself into believing something else.

    This is a remarkable statement, one I will have to think about. Good evening to one and all!

  41. Gregor says:

    That’s very good. But nothing beats the preamble of the Irish constitution:

    “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,

    We, the people of Éire,

    Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial, …”

    And it also has this exellent part in Art. 6.1: “All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, …”

    And of course Art. 44.1: “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion.”

    And then there is of course the glorious constitution of Malta, which, while strangely not mentioning God, has this to offer – Art. 2:

    “(1) The religion of Malta is the Roman Catholic Apostolic
    (2) The authorities of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church
    have the duty and the right to teach which principles are right and
    which are wrong.
    (3) Religious teaching of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Faith
    shall be provided in all State schools as part of compulsory

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