Were school books and universities founded on the Bible?
I'd like to conclude this series by sharing with you some interesting facts about our Christian heritage, many of which may surprise you.
For example, did you know that Christopher Columbus attributed his discovery of the New World to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Here's how he described it: "It was the Lord who put into my mind, I could feel His hand upon me, the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit because He comforted me with rays of marvelous inspiration from the Holy Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus Christ desired to perform a very obvious miracle in the voyage to the Indies, to confront me and the whole people of God."
Did you know that there were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence and 24 of them were seminary graduates?
Did you know that 5 days after the Declaration was adopted, the Continental Congress approved the use of public funds to hire military chaplains? And the Congress also ordered the importation of 20,000 Bibles for the American troops.
Did you know that General George Washington sent out a letter to his regiments which stated: "The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavor so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of this country?"
Did you know that through all 50 state constitutions, without exception, there runs an appeal and reference to God as the Creator of our liberties and the preserver of our freedoms?
Did you know that the biblically based New England Primer, first published in 1690, remained the nation's most popular school textbook for more than 100 years, selling roughly 5 million copies in a nation that had only 6 million people? The 106 lessons it contained were saturated with Bible passages, and the lessons encouraged devotion to Jesus Christ.
Did you know that the biblically based McGuffey's Reader, which replaced The New England Primer in 1836 was filled with biblical principles and religious instruction? It ultimately sold more than 120 million copies and was officially recognized as a public school textbook in 37 states.
Did you know that almost every one of the first 123 colleges and universities established in the United States had Christian origins and purposes? For example, Harvard University, founded in 1636, had as its motto: "Truth for Christ and the Church."
Also its rules for students stated: "Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, that the main end of life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, and therefore Christ is the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning."
Somewhere along the line, as the school secularized, the motto was changed from "Truth for Christ and the Church" to simply "Truth."
Did you know that the United States government issued Bibles to all its troops during World War II which contained the following statement from President Franklin Roosevelt, he wrote, "As Commander-in-Chief, I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel, and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul."
Did you know that on the evening of D-Day, June 6, 1944, while Allied troops were landing on the coast of Normandy, France, President Roosevelt read a 6 1/2 minute prayer over national radio, asking God to grant the troops a victory? Here is an excerpt from it: "Almighty God, our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts."
Did you know that the words, "under God," were not added to the pledge of allegiance by Congress until 1954?
Did you know that "In God We Trust" was not adopted by Congress as our nation's national motto until 1956? It first appeared on a two-cent coin in 1864. And since 1938 all U.S. coins have featured the inscription. The motto did not start appearing on paper money until 1957.
Did you know that both chambers of the House and Senate at our national capitol building feature the inscription, "In God We Trust" on their walls?
Did you know that President Obama has consistently stated that our national motto is "E Pluribus Unum" and not "In God We Trust"?
May this week you celebrate our nation's birthday and its Christian heritage!