Summary: Christians need to know that commitment to God also includes commitment to our country. Somewhere along the way, we have lost that.

Commitment to Country

Many people in our country uphold the belief that our founding fathers had no religious heritage in their lives at all. Most of our founding fathers were either deists or atheists. When they wrote the Constitution they wrote it with the intent in mind to keep God out of our lives completely. I mean, they actually put in there a “separation of church and state” clause. George Washington didn’t really have a belief in God and when he talked about God he just said things like, “Almighty Being” or “Higher Authority.” But he was never even devoted enough to call Him “God.” Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson, they were all deists and didn’t even believe in the supernatural or in the deity of Jesus Christ. They only believed in a Higher Power and that Higher Power wasn’t even really interested in our lives. Why would they take this “god” that they didn’t even really have a relationship with and base our entire country’s foundation on him? That’s crazy right?

In 1787 delegates from numerous states had gathered in the city of Philadelphia to construct the U. S. Constitution, a plan of government that has now stood the test of time for over 200 years. They were to spend 4 long months laboring over this great foundational document that would produce the longest lasting democracy and have of freedom the world has ever known. However, things weren’t going too well during the first few weeks. There were heated debates over petty issues and the whole project was on the verge of total collapse. There had even been a proposal to dismiss and return to their respective states. In the midst of all this frustration and tension, the old statesman of the gathering, Benjamin Franklin stood to his feet, leaned on his cane, and addressed the President of the convention, George Washington. These are the words he spoke on June 28, 1787:

“Mr. President: The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance and continual reasonings with each other - - - our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as man noes as ayes is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom since we have been running about in search of it. In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probably 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 firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel: we shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, and conquest. I therefore beg leave to move - - - that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.”

That speech had both immediate and ongoing results. The tensions melted, the atmosphere changed, and this group of men went on to construct the greatest constitution that has ever existed. Also, Congress began to start every session with prayer, a practice that continues to this present day! Incidentally, during the entire 4 months in which the Constitution, the 1st Amendment, and the Bill of Rights were being written, not one thing was said about ‘separation of church and state!’ In this prayer, Benjamin Franklin quotes from both Old and New Testaments of the Bible. There should be no doubt as to which “God” he is referring too! (

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