Tuesday, September 11, 2007

James Madison believed the United States was a Christian Nation.

The words of James Madison while forming the nation is the greatest proof of our Christian heritage. His words while forming the nation reflect Christian beliefs, rather than the words of a syncretist ex post facto.

How could Madison believe two different religions joined together could form a National Religion in a Christian Nation?

MR. MADISON thought, if the word 'National' was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. He believed that the people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combined together, and establish a religion, to which they would compel others to conform. Annals of Congress 1:434-435) Saturday August 15, 1789

A national religion cannot refer to every religion, it must refer to a specific religion, that being Christianity. Madison's personal beliefs about Christianity aren't as important as his believing we were a Christian nation.

"If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to whom it is addressed, it must be that in which those who join in it are guided only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts and the dictates of their consciences; and such a spectacle must be interesting to all Christian nations as proving that religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man, freed from all coercive edicts, from that unhallowed connection with the powers of this world which corrupts religion into an instrument or an usurper of the policy of the state...Upon these principles and with these views the good people of the United States are invited, in conformity with the resolution aforesaid, to dedicate the day above named to the religious solemnities therein recommended."
Given at Washington, this 23d day of July, A. D. 1813.[seal.] JAMES MADISON

Here, Madison claims "these principles" are proper for Christian nations to conform to. Freedom of Conscience is what he is referring to, while comparing us with all Christian nations, to what common sense dictates, we must be a Christian nation.

Common sense asks why would Madison compare us with a Christian nation if he did not believe we were such?

James Madison believed the context of the First Amendment, as the other Founding Fathers believed, that freedom of conscience was granted to all, and a Christian denomination was the only sect that could not be established by the Federal Government. Notice the correct context for the First Amendment by the Father of the Bill of Rights:

"[A]ll men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others."
Col. George Mason
Kate Mason Rowland, The Life of George Mason (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1892, Vol. I, p.28.

James Madison agreed with this context as did the other framers. If Madison was a syncretist at this time, it's a mystery why he would tell Christians we were a Christian nation. It's more likely he was confused about Christianity, his relationship with the infidel Thomas Jefferson as evidence. The other religions were not involved in this establishment, and never had a chance to be the established church:

Thomas Jefferson also believed the First Amendment only referred to a denomination of Christianity

"[T]he clause of the Constitution which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians and Congregationalists." Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush on September 23, 1800.

Jefferson would never have neglected the other religions if the amendment encompassed them, for it was against his sense of duty:

"On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." Thomas Jefferson to Supreme Court Justice William Johnson June 12, 1823

The ratifiers make it clear, the First Amendment granted freedom of conscience but the establishment clause only referred to a particular sect of Christianity., as Constitution signer Henry Abbot explains:

"Many wish to know what religion shall be established. I believe a majority of the community are Presbyterians. I am, for my part, against any exclusive establishment; but if there were any, I would prefer the Episcopal."Elliot's Debates, Vol. IV, pp. 191-192, July 30, 1788.

Here also is First Amendment Ratifier Samuel Johnston in the North Carolina ratifying convention:

I know but two or three States where there is the least chance of establishing any particular religion. The people of Massachusetts and Connecticut are mostly Presbyterians. In every other State, the people are divided into a great number of sects. In Rhode Island, the tenets of the Baptists, I believe prevail...I hope, therefore, that gentlemen will see there is no cause of fear that any one religion shall be exclusively established. July 30, 1788

The Christian nation naysayers have James Madison to contend with.

16 comments:

Hercules Mulligan said...

Wow. This is a good post, and good quotes. I don't think I could have done better myself.

The last person who commented on your blog said he had tons of quotes to refute the "Christian nation" position, but he has yet to attack us for what we really believe (not to attack us for what we don't believe), and to show us the quotes he mentioned. But given this information by Madison, I don't think that the quotes he says he has would disprove the idea that America is a Christian nation -- the quotes may only disprove that America is a theocracy (better termed a "priest-ocracy"), which you and I aren't defending.

Our Founding Truth said...

The last person who commented on your blog said he had tons of quotes to refute the "Christian nation" position, but he has yet to attack us for what we really believe (not to attack us for what we don't believe), and to show us the quotes he mentioned.>>

Yeah, he had a long post, but that fundamental doctrine of interpreting statutes the way the authors intended destroys the living Constitution crowd.

By the way, I've been working on a good blog, focusing on the foundation of Republican govt. You won't be surprised on it's core fundamentals.

Do you realize that archeologists are discovering some of the pagan anglo saxons were in fact Christians!

In the Lord

Hercules Mulligan said...

Can't wait to see the blog you are working on! Remember to let me know when it is up, so that I can link to it on mine.

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Anonymous said...

What a load of BS. Madison only uses the phrase "Christian Nation" in the sense that the majority of the people claim to be Christians, not in the sense of official state policy. Jefferson in his Danbury letter made reference to Christan sects as Christianity was the majority religion among the people, not because he believed the first amendment only protected the freedom of Christian sects. Two very important quotes from Jefferson that show is feelings on the mater:
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
-- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

"[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom ... was finally passed, ... a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination."
-- Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, 1821

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Anonymous said...

oh dear oh dear, religiosity making people biased and unable to correctly interpret or even think about the words they're reading. whodathunkit?

more from James Madison. Try taking these out of context, bible folk.

Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.
--Detached Memoranda, circa 1820

in some parts of our Country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Government and Religion neither can be duly supported; such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded against...Every new and successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance.
--Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822


What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people.
--Address to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1785

Having always regarded the practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government as essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, I could not have otherwise discharged my duty on the occasion which presented itself.
--Letter to North Carolina Baptist Churches, June 3, 1811

The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil policy, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.
--Letter to F.L. Schaeffer, December 3, 1821

But the existing character, distinguished as it is by its religious features, and the lapse of time now more than 50 years since the legal support of religion was withdrawn sufficiently proved that it does not need the support of government and it will scarcely be contended that government has suffered by the exemption of religion from its cognizance or its pecuniary aid.
--Letter to Rev. Jasper Adams, Spring, 1832

Anonymous said...

the argument that "sect" refers only to a sect of Christianity is also incorrect:

I have received your letter of the 6th, with the eloquent discourse delivered at the consecration of the Jewish Synagogue. Having ever regarded the freedom of religious opinions and worship as equally belonging to every sect, and the secure enjoyment of it as the best human provision for bringing all either into the same way of thinking, or into that mutual charity which is the only substitute, I observe with pleasure the view you give of the spirit in which your sect partake of the blessings offered by our Government and laws.
-- James Madison, letter to M M Noah, May 15, 1818

Here he very obviously refers to Judaism as a "sect."

In fact, one will note that when discussing religion, he never speaks of Christianity or Judaism or any other specific church or faith - he uses terms like "sect" or "religion" or "ecclesiastical establishments." He does this because he is not discussing one brand of religion, he is discussing ALL religion.

As you stated, his personal faith is irrelevant - as one can see, President Madison very frequently and eloquently states that ALL religion must be separated from government.

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