Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Americas Christian Heritage: Recognition

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Foreign Recognition

The French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), visited the United States in the early 1830's. In 1835 he published the first of a two volume study of this nation, titled, Democracy in America. He revealed that the intertwining of Christianity with government was very surprising to him:

Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed.
In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country... The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.24

De Tocqueville's traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont (1802-1866) was similarly impressed with the Christian foundation of American government. He wrote:

Religion in America is not only a moral institution but also a political institution. All of the American constitutions [national and state] exhort the citizens to practice religious worship as a safeguard both to good morals and to public liberties. In the United States, the law is never atheistic...25


Contemporary Recognition

University of Houston political science professors Donald Lutz and Charles Hyneman in 1983 published a monumental study that took them 10 years to bring together. They surveyed over 15,000 documents written by our Founding Fathers between 1760-1805 and discovered that the Bible was, by far, the most cited source, comprising 34 percent of all quotations. In fact, the Bible was quoted four times more than any other source.26

Significantly, the next most commonly cited sources were Barron Montesquieu (1689-1755), William Blackstone (1723- 1780), and John Locke (1632-1704). All of these men were strong adherents of natural law philosophy and encouraged the incorporation of biblical law into civil law.

Lutz and Hyneman affirmed that the Pilgrims, the Puritans and the constitutional framers all insisted on cementing the connection between law and morals by infusing biblical precepts into the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

In 1982 Newsweek magazine published an article entitled, "How the Bible Made America." It concluded, "historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our founding document."27

Even contemporary American Jewish leaders have asserted their belief that our nation is one that is based on Christian principles, and they have expressed their appreciation for the fact that this foundation has produced religious liberty for them.

Consider, for example, the viewpoint of Jeff Jacoby, a Jewish columnist at the Boston Globe:

This is a Christian country — it was founded by Christians and built on broad Christian principles. Threatening? Far from it. It is in precisely this Christian country that Jews have known the most peaceful, prosperous, and successful existence in their long history.28

Dennis Prager, a Jewish columnist and popular radio talk show host, has warned:

If America abandons its Judeo-Christian values basis and the central role of the Jewish and Christian Bibles (its Founders' guiding text), we are all in big trouble, including, most especially, America's non-Christians. Just ask the Jews of secular Europe.29

Don Feder, a Jewish columnist and long time writer for the Boston Herald, expressed a similar viewpoint:

Clearly this nation was established by Christians... As a Jew, I'm entirely comfortable with the concept of a Christian America.30
The choice isn't Christian America or nothing, but Christian America or a neo-pagan, hedonistic, rights without-responsibilities, anti-family, culture-of-death America. As an American Jew... [I] feel very much at home here.31

Michael Medved, a Jewish radio talk show host and columnist, agrees that America is indeed a Christian nation:

The framers may not have mentioned Christianity in the Constitution but they clearly intended that charter of liberty to govern a society of fervent faith, freely encouraged by government for the benefit of all. Their noble and unprecedented experiment never involved a religion-free or faithless state but did indeed presuppose America's unequivocal identity as a Christian nation.32

America's Christian Heritage
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Notes

24) Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, (New York: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1851), pp. 332, 336-337.

25) Dr. James Kennedy, "Foreign Nations Acknowledge Our Christian Roots and Heritage," www.coralridge.org.

26) Charles S. Hyneman and Donald S. Lutz, American Political Writing During the Founding Era, 1760-1805, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1983), 2 volumes.

27) Kenneth Woodward and David Gates (1982), "How the Bible Made America," Newsweek, December 27, page 44.

28) Jeff Jacoby, "The freedom not to say 'amen'," Jewish World Review, February 1, 2001 (www.jewishworld review.com/jeff/jacoby020101.asp).

29) Dennis Prager, "America founded to be free, not secular," Townhall.com, January 3, 2007 (http://townhall.com/columnists/DennisPrager/
2007/01/03/america_founded_to_be_free,_not_secular).

30) Don Feder, A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America (Lafayette, LA: Huntington House Publishers, 1993), pp. 59-60.

31) Don Feder, "Yes - Once and For All - America is a Christian Nation," DonFeder.com, February 16, 2005 (www.donfeder.com/articles/0502chrisAmerica.pdf).

32) Michael Medved, "The Founders Intended a Christian, not Secular, Society," Townhall.com, October 3, 2007 (http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/MichaelMedved/
2007/10/03/the_founders_intended_a_christian,_not_secular,_society).

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