Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cracking the American Civil Religion

I did it in a comment at FirstThings.com here. I wrote:

"Joseph,

Our civil religion may be watered-down Christianity, but it wasn’t in 1790. Liberal elite Robert N. Bellah of Berkeley, claims Puritanism is our “Civil Religion” which is Trinitarianism.

The vast majority of Founding Fathers, including James Madison, were Trinitarian, who made it clear Christianity was the only true religion for salvation:

"Because the Bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation..Because the policy of the Bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them."

-Memorial and Remonstrance, June 20, 1785.

Madison made it very clear to succeeding generations, salvation was only in faith in Christ. He believed other religions had some validity for other aspects of life, as he implied in 1833, but not for salvation. JM affirmed the Trinity.

The Congress used Trinitarian language:

"The goodness of the Supreme Being to all his rational creatures, demands their acknowledgments of gratitude and love; his absolute government of this world dictates, that it is the interest of every nation and people ardently to supplicate his mercy favor and implore his protection.When the lust of dominion or lawless ambition excites arbitrary power to invade the rights, or endeavor to wrench wrest from a people their sacred and unalienable invaluable privileges, and compels them, in defence of the same, to encounter all the horrors and calamities of a bloody and vindictive war; then is that people loudly called upon to fly unto that God for protection..that He would incline the hearts of all men to peace, and fill them with universal charity and benevolence, and that the religion of our Divine Redeemer, with all its benign influences, may cover the earth as the waters cover the seas."

-Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 1782

No comments: