One of the favorite myths of the Left is that America was founded as a secular Enlightenment nation in which religion was to play no role in politics or public life. To support this argument they rely on a handful of out of context quotes and a misrepresentation of purpose of the 1st Amendment. Mainstream conservatives are somewhat better on this issue in that they do affirm that Christianity was of great importance in the personal lives of Americans, but these conservatives still shy away from embracing the full vision of the founding generation of our country.
The following passage from R.J. Rushdoony’s The Nature of the American System provides an accurate picture of Christianity in early America. It is obvious that many contemporary conservatives would be horrified by this situation.
“The colonies were by nature and history Christian. Not only the religious settlements of New England and the central states, but the Southern colonies as well had their specifically Christian purpose and character…The concept of a secular state was virtually non-existent in 1776 as well as in 1787, when the Constitution was written, and no less so when the Bill of Rights was adopted. To read the Constitution as the charter for a secular state is to misread history, and to misread it radically. The Constitution was designed to perpetuate a Christian order.
…Why then is there, in the main, an absence of any reference to Christianity in the Constitution?…There is an absence of reference because the framers of the Constitution did not believe that this was an area of jurisdiction for the federal government. It would not have occurred to them to attempt to reestablish that which the colonists had fought against, namely, religious control and establishment by the central government. The colonists would not have tolerated power in the Federal Union which they had rebelled against when claimed by Crown and Parliament. Every constituent state had some form of Christian establishment or settlement which it jealously guarded. This was an area of states’ rights, not of federal control. The Constitution, through its doctrine of express powers, had barred the federal government from any jurisdiction over the churches by omission of reference to them in the grants of powers. Nonetheless, many clergymen as well as others were fearful and demanded a bill of rights and the specific exclusion of the federal government from the realm of religion.
The First Amendment answered this demand: “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It should be noted, first, that nothing is here said about the separation of church and state. No such separation of Christianity, or church, and the state existed anywhere in the United States before, or, for some generations, after, the ratification of this amendment. Second, the federal government did not secularize itself. Congress, both before and after ratification, began its sessions with divine worship and felt no inhibition in exercising its faith. Moreover, by reenacting the Northwest Ordinance of July 13, 1787, after the adoption of the First Amendment, the federal government continued the policy of Article III of that Ordinance: “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” To ensure the Christian order of the potential states, the territories were to be helped in this respect. Third, the rights of the constituent states to maintain their Christian order without interference was underscored by barring Congress, i.e., the federal government, from either establishing or prohibiting religion. What the thirteen Christian republics had fought to uphold against Crown and Parliament they refused to surrender to a federal government. The freedom of the First Amendment from federal interference is not from religion but for religion in the constituent states.
The establishments and settlements in the constituent states were definitely and specifically Christian. In most states, single or plural establishment prevailed. Where no church was established, Christianity as such was nonetheless firmly entrenched. There were religious requirements for citizenship and suffrage, religious oaths, laws prohibiting blasphemy, laws requiring a trinitarian faith, or a firm belief in the infallibility of Scripture, and laws barring unbelievers as witnesses in court. Court decisions sometimes cited Biblical law when civil laws did not entirely fit the case. In many areas, laws against unbelief were on the statute books. A man could be imprisoned for atheism…The laws were premised on the fact that the respective states were Christian, and anti-Christianity constituted treasonable activity or belief.” (7-9)
The passage of the Bill of Rights did not invalidate the religious establishments that existed in the states, and religious requirements for voting and holding office persisted for many decades.
This truth is very uncomfortable for many contemporary conservatives, and it becomes even more uncomfortable when one considers that Jews were one of the principal groups excluded from politics, as religious tests for political involvement frequently required an affirmation of the Trinity and the truth of the New Testament. In his book A Concise History of American Antisemitism, Robert Michael points out that Connecticut “did not recognize Jewish equality until 1843”(57), that in Rhode Island “Jews were not considered full citizens until 1842”(60), and that,
“[n]ot until 1844 did Jews, despite an early charter that guaranteed freedom of conscience, achieve full rights in New Jersey, which had required officeholders to affirm their belief in ‘God the Father and Christ the Son.’ In North Carolina, the Episcopal Church was the established sect from 1701, and Jew were unable to hold office de jure until 1868; in New Hampshire until 1876, state representatives and senators had to be Protestants. The issue of Jewish office holding was later debated in Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado and California.”(66)
Michael further points out that in the decision in the Supreme Court case Vidal V. Girard’s Executors (1844) the “principle…agreed to by a unanimous court…was the the United States was a Christian country, and that all other religions held an inferior status”(79). Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story concluded that “only the New Testament teaches the purest, clearest, and most perfect principles of morality and that it would be impossible ‘in a Christian country’ like the United States for a school to be established ‘for the propagation of Judaism, or Deism, or any other form of infidelity. [This right] is not presumed to exist in a Christian country”(80).
The exclusion of Jews from political life in the early republic is especially significant given the destructive role that Jews play in contemporary America. Jews have been at the forefront of every corrosive social and political movement, promoting miscegenation, non-white immigration, communism, feminism and sexual liberation. The Jews have become the most powerful enemy to traditional Americanism as they aggressively attempt to undermine the principal foundations of our nation. In searching for a solution to this problem, we return to the purest period of the Republic immediately following the Revolution. In this era Jews were marginalized both implicitly and explicitly. The written laws of several of the states boldly declared that Jews could not fully participate in the political process because of their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. While the Jews certainly despise white racial identity, their hatred of Jesus runs much deeper. Betraying and murdering Jesus is the foundational act of Judaism and the key feature of Jewish identity. Their cultural and political activism revolves around their rejection of Jesus, and that is why they so strongly desire to erase White Christian nations such as America.
American preacher and political activist Gerald L.K. Smith accurately explained that when it comes to the Jewish subversion of the United States, “Christ is the issue.”
“The same satanic forces which brought about the sentencing of our Lord to Calvary’s cross are active in the world today. These forces are determined that our Lord shall be crucified anew and that the civilization and cultural environment which have grown out of His life and His teachings shall be mutilated, subdued and destroyed.
The enemies of Christ operate on every front. Their chief underwriter is the organized Jew who is determined that Christ as the Son of God shall not be the determining factor in the destiny of our society whether it involves the individual, or the world, or the factors which lie between individual influence and world-wide influence…
An increasing number of children are being brought into an environment which not only belittles the deity and saving power of Jesus Christ, but ridicules the idea as a fundamental factor in life…Once the individual relationship between a man and his Saviour is lost or forfeited, he becomes easy prey for regimentation and negative influence.
America was built by families who respected the divine presence of Jesus Christ in the home. They looked upon Him as the final authority involving morals, social conduct and daily behavior. In a high percentage of the homes which constituted the early fabric of American life the family altar was a fixture. In these homes the Bible was accepted as the inspired word of God and Jesus Christ as His only Begotten Son. The father and the mother were able to determine the environment of their children by the power of consent and veto. Today this authority has been defied and a Jew-controlled secularism invades the home every day and every night via radio and television. Influences and portrayals which would have been outlawed a generation ago now become the daily diet of the American family. Bawdy house entertainment which characterized only houses of prostitution in other generations is now brought into the American home even on Sunday night.
During the formative period of our national life, Christ was glorified in every community enterprise. Today the mention of the name of Christ in a school room is considered a violation of law offensive to the atheists and the Jews. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League has a nationwide campaign to forbid even the saying of grace over school lunches on the grounds that to honor the name of Christ is to offend the Jews…
Alleged patriots who become pretenders in their so-called patriotic campaigns on the deliberate basis that Jesus Christ is not the issue are merely Pied Pipers and blind leaders of the blind. It is fairly safe to fight Communism or any form of subversion if Christ is not made the issue; but if one dares to make Christ the issue, he will be immediately honored by smear, abuse and misrepresentation. The Jew-controlled press and information media will dub the militant Christian patriot as a bigot, hatemonger and a lunatic. The sputum of scorn, misrepresentation and abuse should not surprise the Christian crusader. The same treatment was meted out to our Lord, Whose name we defend.
The twins of the anti-Christ are determined that the name of Christ shall be blotted out as a divine figure in our political and social life. These twins are Zionism and Communism. Their activities alternate between collusion and parallel movement, but the net result is to crucify our Lord anew.”
Smith’s words about the so-called patriots who refuse to make Christ the issue in the struggle against subversive forces is just as true today, as it is impossible to win if one refuses to identify the enemy. America was founded as a Christian nation, and therefore America must be hostile to the Jewish program to drive Christ from our hearts and minds. By definition a Christian nation must be an anti-Jewish nation.