Our founding fathers were not Christian

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by The Illusion, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. The Illusion
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    The Illusion Energist

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    One of the most common statements from the "Religious Right" is that they want this country to "return to the Christian principles on which it was founded". However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States had little use for Christianity, and many were strongly opposed to it. They were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true.

    When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article 6, section 3) This provision was radical in its day-- giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike. They wanted to ensure that no single religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention religion, except in exclusionary terms. The words "Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God" are never mentioned in the Constitution-- not once.

    The Declaration of Independence gives us important insight into the opinions of the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea of divine authority.

    The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was "in no sense founded on the Christian religion" (see below). This was not an idle statement, meant to satisfy muslims-- they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.

    None of the Founding Fathers were atheists. Most of the Founders were Deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. They spoke often of God, (Nature's God or the God of Nature), but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity. Some people speculate that if Charles Darwin had lived a century earlier, the Founding Fathers would have had a basis for accepting naturalistic origins of life, and they would have been atheists. Most of them were stoutly opposed to the bible, and the teachings of Christianity in particular.

    Yes, there were Christian men among the Founders. Just as Congress removed Thomas Jefferson's words that condemned the practice of slavery in the colonies, they also altered his wording regarding equal rights. His original wording is here in blue italics: "All men are created equal and independent. From that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable." Congress changed that phrase, increasing its religious overtones: "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights." But we are not governed by the Declaration of Independence-- it is a historical document, not a constitutional one.

    If the Christian Right Extremists wish to return this country to its beginnings, so be it... because it was a climate of Freethought. The Founders were students of the European Enlightenment. Half a century after the establishment of the United States, clergymen complained that no president up to that date had been a Christian. In a sermon that was reported in newspapers, Episcopal minister Bird Wilson of Albany, New York, protested in October 1831: "Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism." The attitude of the age was one of enlightened reason, tolerance, and free thought. The Founding Fathers would turn in their graves if the Christian Extremists had their way with this country.

    James Madison The fourth president of the United States, James Madison, was much like the other Virginia presidents--Washington and Jefferson--who went before him. Like them, he loved his home state only a little less than his country. Like them, he was a rich man who gave his whole life to public service. He was an able student of politics and government who brought real knowledge and skill to his job.
    In public office Madison was a calm, reasoning statesman who governed by force of logic. In a time when emotions ran high, he made common sense prevail. He was not always successful in dealing with foreign nations, but history has shown that he had right and justice on his side.
    He entered the presidency at a time when war clouds hung over the young nation. He saw his country through the disastrous War of 1812, and his final months in office produced the "era of good feeling" that lasted for many years. He did well as secretary of state and as president, but his greatest record was made earlier. For his outstanding work on the nation's charter, Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution. .---------------------------------------------------------
    Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe

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    "It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Gov't from interfence in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others."
    James Madison, "James Madison on Religious Liberty",
    edited by Robert S. Alley, ISBN 0-8975-298-X. pp. 237-238
    .

    "What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
    - "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785
    .

    "Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
    - "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785
    .

    "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
    -letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774
    .

    "Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."
    .

    "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."
    -1803 letter objecting use of gov. land for churches
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    John Adams The second president of the United States was John Adams, lawyer and diplomat. Adams' public career lasted more than 35 years. He was second only to George Washington in making a place for the young United States among the nations of the world. In his devotion to the country he was second to none..
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe

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    "As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?"
    -letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816
    .

    "I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved-- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
    -letter to Thomas Jefferson
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    "The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes."
    - letter to John Taylor
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    "The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."
    .

    "The question before the human race is, whether the God of Nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?"
    .

    "Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?"
    -letter to Thomas Jefferson
    .

    "God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world."
    .

    "Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years?"

    ". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."
    .

    "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."

    Thomas Jefferson The third president of the United States was Thomas Jefferson. He had been the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. In an age of great men Jefferson was remarkable for his wide-ranging curiosity on many subjects. He helped the United States get started, and his plans for the future helped it grow. Many of the good things Americans enjoy today have come from Jefferson's devotion to human rights.
    Jefferson is often called the founder of the Democratic party. Many other groups also claim to follow his principles. He developed the theory of states' rights, which was against giving much authority to the federal government. He is known to everyone as the author of the ringing statement in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, that among their inalienable rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. His writings have stood as a torch to the defenders of individual freedom, in spiritual as well as in worldly affairs. .---------------------------------------------------------
    Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe

    .

    "In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot ... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose."
    - to Horatio Spafford, March 17, 1814
    .

    "Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."
    - "Notes on Virginia"
    .

    "Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
    - letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787
    .

    "It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one. But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests."
    - to John Adams, 1803
    .

    "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose."
    - to Baron von Humboldt, 1813
    .

    "On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind."
    - to Carey, 1816
    .

    "Gouverneur Morris had often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system (Christianity) than did he himself."
    -in his private journal, Feb. 1800
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    "It is not to be understood that I am with him (Jesus Christ) in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism, he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it." - to Carey, 1816
    .

    "The priests of the superstition, a bloodthirsty race, are as cruel and remorseless as the being whom they represented as the family God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel. That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore."
    - to Story, Aug. 4, 1820
    .

    "The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.
    1. That there are three Gods.
    2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, is nothing.
    3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit the faith.
    4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
    5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save."
    - to Benjamin Waterhouse, Jun. 26, 1822
    .

    "Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a common censor over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."
    "Notes on Virginia"
    .

    "Creeds have been the bane of the Christian church ... made of Christendom a slaughter-house."
    - to Benjamin Waterhouse, Jun. 26, 1822
    .

    "Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of a bitter and bloody persecutions."
    .

    "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
    .

    "It has been fifty and sixty years since I read the Apocalypse, and then I considered it merely the ravings of a maniac."
    .

    "The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come, when the mystical generation [birth] of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation [birth] of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
    - to John Adams, Apr. 11, 1823
    .

    "They [preachers] dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live."
    .

    "I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology."
    .

    "We discover in the gospels a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstition, fanaticism and fabrication ."
    .

    "No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever."
    -Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
    .

    "... I am not afraid of priests. They have tried upon me all their various batteries of pious whining, hypocritical canting, lying and slandering. I have contemplated their order from the Magi of the East to the Saints of the West and I have found no difference of character, but of more or less caution, in proportion to their information or ignorance on whom their interested duperies were to be played off. Their sway in New England is indeed formidable. No mind beyond mediocrity dares there to develop itself."
    - letter to Horatio Spofford, 1816
    .

    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
    .
    .
    "Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law."
    -letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1814
    .

    "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot.... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose."
    - to Horatio Spafford, March 17, 1814
    .

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."
    -letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT
    "The Complete Jefferson" by Saul K. Padover, pp 518-519

    **************************************************************

    Discuss.

    Jamie
     
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  2. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    Omg, she's going to pretend there's a "Philosophy forum" for uncontested idiotic ramblings.

    Illusion, nobody is going to read that crap.
     
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  3. BasicGreatGuy
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    BasicGreatGuy Aut libertas aut mors

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    We are a Republic filled with some Christians and other belief systems. Some of our founding fathers were Christian. We are not a Christian nation though. Where that the case, that would go against the First Amendment. Big difference between a nation of Christians and a Christian nation.
     
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  4. The Illusion
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    The Illusion Energist

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    I like cyberstalkers. They are like groupies.

    Jamie
     
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  5. JenT
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    JenT God lead our troops

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    What I skimmed is so full of holes, criticism of the RCC doesn't dis Christianity

    Did you know that George Washington is quoted as saying, "Above all, teach the religion of Jesus Christ" when addressing the importance of public schools?
    Patrick Henry: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faith have been afforded asylum, prosperity and freedom of worship here." "The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed."

    John Adams: "We have appointed a continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring His forgiveness and blessing; His smiles on American councils and arms."

    John Adams Regarding the Age of Reason: "The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity, let the Blackguard [scoundrel, rogue] Paine say what he will."

    and again later to John Paine: "The people of New England, if you will allow me to use a Scripture phrase, are fast returning to their first love. Will you excite among them the spirit of angry controversy at a time when they are hastening to amity and peace? I am told that some of our newspapers have announced your intention to publish an additional pamphlet upon the principles of your Age of Reason. Do you think that your pen, or the pen of any other man, can unchristianize the mass of our citizens, or have you hopes of converting a few of them to assist you in so bad a cause?"

    Benjamin Franklin: History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion...and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others.

    John Quincy Adams: "So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year."

    U.S. Grant: "The Bible is the sheet-anchor of our liberties."

    Andrew Jackson: "That book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests."

    Robert E. Lee: "In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength."

    Abraham Lincoln: "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book."

    Samuel Adams, "Father of the American Revolution" (to Britain) "We again make our solemn appeal to the God of heaven to decide between you and us. And we pray that, in the doubtful scale of battle, we may be successful as we have justice on our side, and that the merciful Saviour of the world may forgive our oppressors."

    George Washington: "You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention."

    Even the Liberty Bell has a Bible verse engraved upon it! "Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. LEVITICUS 25:10"
     
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  6. The Illusion
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    The Illusion Energist

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    Which founding fathers were Christian?

    Jamie
     
  7. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    That is too stupid to respond to. Perhaps you should do a search.
     
  8. BasicGreatGuy
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    BasicGreatGuy Aut libertas aut mors

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    Do you not know, or are you testing me? I can name several. I can start with Washington and J. Adams. I can list several and we can play list lots of quotes game. That doesn't change the fact that we are not a Christian nation per the Constitution. What I stated in my previous post was true.
     
  9. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    george washington's church - Google Search

    ben franklin's church - Google Search

    isn't google cool........
     
  10. AllieBaba
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    Ok, but I'll respond anyway:
    John Adams and John Hancock:
    We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus! [April 18, 1775]

    John Adams:
    “ The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
    • “[July 4th] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
    –John Adams in a letter written to Abigail on the day the Declaration was approved by Congress

    "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." --October 11, 1798

    "I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen." December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson

    "Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company, I mean Hell." [John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817] |
    .......click here to see this quote in its context and to see John Adams' quotes taken OUT of context!


    Samuel Adams: | Portrait of Sam Adams | Powerpoint presentation on John, John Quincy, and Sam Adams
    “ He who made all men hath made the truths necessary to human happiness obvious to all… Our forefathers opened the Bible to all.” [ "American Independence," August 1, 1776. Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia]

    “ Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity… and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.” [October 4, 1790]

    John Quincy Adams:
    • “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?" “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity"?
    --1837, at the age of 69, when he delivered a Fourth of July speech at Newburyport, Massachusetts.

    “The Law given from Sinai [The Ten Commandments] was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code.”
    John Quincy Adams. Letters to his son. p. 61
    Quotes of the Founders : Founding Fathers quotes on religion, faith, Christianity
     

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