Summary: How Godly were ALL of our Founding Fathers and what our Declaration of Independence and Constitution does for all United States Citizens.
At the very minimum, there are two Bible verses relatable to our Nation within today's lesson. The first is found in Genesis 12:2, where it is said, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” The other verse is Deuteronomy 8:20, “Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.” We know God's original message was directed to the Old Testament Nations – not America. But God's Word holds true to people of all ages and every ethnicity.
Religion in America was important from our very beginning. During the colonial and Revolutionary eras, religion permeated the lives of Americans. Later, very conservative Blue laws kept the Sabbath holy by limiting store hours and closing taverns. Certainly, beer and hard liquor may have been consumed but it wasn't sold on Sundays. Freedom of religion and respect were two of the strongest links meshing folks of different heritages and ethnicities together, even when they had differing opinions on many core issues.
During this radical era, there was great importance placed on living a moral life in accordance with one’s spiritual beliefs, whatever those beliefs were. We might wonder what were the religious beliefs of the forefathers of America? Well, they were a mixture of Catholics Congregationalists, Deists, Dutch Reformed, Episcopalian, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Quakers. Were there any avowed atheists or even agnostics among them? No, not a single one!
Although I'm not sure that same statement of facts would hold true of a substantial number of today's elected or appointed officials.
One might also wonder how much did our founding Father's religious beliefs contribute to the empire-shaking language of the expressed rights and the liberties written and protected within our Declaration of Independence, our Articles of Confederation, and our United States Constitution?
Yes, America was conceived, formed, and ratified by a group of godly men – truly a godly Nation from its very conception. We were a scattered group of colonies standing together, unified under God, offering to fight 'till the death for liberty and fairness? Our founding Fathers struggled to extend religious freedoms to everyone, while protecting us from government mandated religions. Yes, they did, indeed!
On July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. The very next day, July 2nd, 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of independence, even as the New York delegates delayed their vote. So we can see that Independence Day could be celebrated on July 2nd when the Continental Congress actually voted for independence. John Adams predicted in his writings, that July 2 would be remembered in America's history and would be marked with fireworks and celebrations. Well, he was half right, wasn't he?
Our 13 original colonies were proclaimed “free and independent states” no longer ruled by the British Empire. The Declaration of Independence we know today, was dated as the 4th of July but wasn't completed until August First 1776, when all fifty-six delegates had finally signed the document. There was a 44-year age difference between the youngest and oldest signers. With quill and ink, Benjamin Franklin, at the age of 70, scrawled his name on the parchment as did Edward Rutledge who was only 26 at that time. Those brave and stalwart men gave start to the Revolutionary War which ended with a treaty of peace signed in Paris, France, by the British in the fall of 1783.
Not much is taught, nowadays, about the The Second Continental Congress Articles of Confederation. However, these Articles created a loosely bound coalition of sovereign states and emphasized a very restricted central government, leaving most of the power under the control and direction of the individual state governments. After considerable debate and alteration, the Articles of Confederation were adopted on November 15, 1777. This document served as the First United States Constitution until the present day Constitution became effective on March 4, 1789.
Our current Constitution, the supreme law of the United States, originally comprising only seven articles, described the national government framework. The first three articles established the doctrine requiring of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches to make sure no agency or individual group can exercise unlawful power. The ability of one branch to respond to the actions of the other branches is called checks and balances. Three brief amplifications are offered here only because, for the most part, public schools seldom seem to deem them worthy of teaching:
The Executive Branch carries out and enforces our laws (President, V.P., DOJ, FBI, HLS, ICE, and most other federal agencies) The President nominates heads of federal agencies and can veto legislations created by Congress.
The Legislative Branch makes laws and is not supposed to delegate that lawful authority. Congress, which is the House of Representatives and the Senate confirms or rejects the President's nominees and can remove the President from office in exceptional circumstances.