Thursday, June 21, 2012

American Minute with Bill Federer June 21 - U.S. Constitution ratified & Religion in early State Constitutions

American Minute with Bill Federer
  June 21 - U.S. Constitution ratified
& Religion in early State Constitutions

The U.S. Constitution went into effect JUNE 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratified it.

The 55 writers of the U.S. Constitution consisted of:

26 Episcopalian Christians,
11 Presbyterian Christians,
7 Congregationalist Christians,
2 Lutheran Christians,
2 Dutch Reformed Christians,
2 Methodist Christians,
2 Quaker Christians,
2 Roman Catholic Christians, and
Dr. Franklin, who called for prayer during the Constitutional Convention, June 28, 1787:


"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 labor in vain that build it.'...

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 blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business."


Ben Franklin signed Pennsylvania's Constitution, Sept. 28, 1776, which stated:

"Each member...shall...subscribe the following...'I do believe in one GOD, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the Rewarder of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.'"

Delaware's Constitution, 1776, stated: 

"Every person who shall...appointed to any office...shall...subscribe the following declaration: 'I...profess faith in GOD THE FATHER, and in JESUS CHRIST His only Son, and in the HOLY GHOST, one God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.'"


Maryland's Constitution, November 11, 1776, stated:

"No other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office...than such oath of support and fidelity to this State...and a declaration of a belief in the CHRISTIAN religion."


Virginia's Constitution, June 29, 1776, stated in it's Bill of Rights, written by James Madison and George Mason:

"It is the mutual duty of all to practice CHRISTIAN forbearance, love, and charity towards each other."


Rhode Island retained its original 1663 Constitution till 1843, which stated:

"By the blessing of laid a sure foundation of happiness to all hold forth a lively experiment, that...a full liberty in religious concernements...rightly grounded upon GOSPEL principles, will give the best and greatest preserve unto them that liberty, in the true CHRISTIAN faith and worship of God...and that they may...defend themselves, in their just rights and liberties against all the enemies of the CHRISTIAN faith."


Connecticut retained its original 1662 Constitution, with the PROTESTANT CONGREGATIONAL Church established till 1818:

"This the Providence of GOD...having from their ancestors derived a free and excellent Constitution...whereby the legislature depends on the free and annual election of the people...The free fruition of such liberties and privileges as humanity, civility and CHRISTIANITY call for."

Massachusetts' Constitution, June 15, 1780, written by John Adams, stated:

"Any person...before he...execute the duties of subscribe...'I...declare, that I believe the CHRISTIAN religion, and have a firm persuasion of its truth'....The legislature shall...authorize the support and maintenance of public PROTESTANT teachers of piety, religion and morality."


New Hampshire's Constitution, June 2, 1784, stated:

"No person shall be capable of being elected...who is not of the PROTESTANT religion."


New Jersey's Constitution, 1776, stated:

"All persons, professing a belief in the faith of any PROTESTANT sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government, as hereby established, shall be capable of being elected into any office."


North Carolina's Constitution, 1776, stated:

"No person, who shall deny the being of GOD or the truth of the PROTESTANT religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State."


South Carolina's Constitution, 1778, stated:

"No person shall be eligible to a seat...unless he be of the PROTESTANT religion...The CHRISTIAN PROTESTANT religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State."


Georgia's Constitution, 1777, stated:

"Representatives shall be chosen out of the residents in each county...and they shall be of the PROTESTANT religion."


New York's Constitution, April 20, 1777, stated:

"The United American States...declare...'Laws of nature and of NATURE'S GOD...All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights...Appealing to the SUPREME JUDGE of the world for the rectitude of our intentions...With a firm reliance on the protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE'...

The good people of this State, ordain...that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed...Provided, That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness."

The Council of New York, October 23, 1779, prescribed the oath: "I____do solemnly...declare, and call God to witness (or if of the people called Quakers, affirm) that I renounce and abjure all allegiance to the King of Great Britain; and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the State of New York...So help me God."


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Lafayette Black wrote in Engel v. Vitale, 1962:

"As late as the time of the Revolutionary War, there were established Churches in at least eight of the thirteen former colonies and established religions in at least four of the other five."

John K. Wilson wrote in Religion Under the State Constitutions 1776-1800 (Journal of Church and State, Volume 32, Autumn 1990, Number 4, pp. 754):

"An establishment of religion, in terms of direct tax aid to Churches, was the situation in nine of the thirteen colonies on the eve of the American revolution."


The Journal of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 27, 1854, recorded the unanimous vote of the 33rd Congress to print Congressman James Meacham's report, which stated:

"At the adoption of the Constitution, we believe every State - certainly ten of the thirteen - provided as regularly for the support of the Church as for the support of the Government...

Down to the Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form. It was deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld by a free people."

Congressman Meacham concluded:

"Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle."

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