David Barton’s U.S. Capitol Tour: Did Congress Print the First Bible in English for the Use of Schools?

In early August, I started a series on David Barton’s Capitol Tour. That was August 6 (Jefferson and the Kaskaskia Indians). On August 7, WORLD broke the David Barton controversy story with NPR’s coverage coming the next day. Today, I want to get back to the Capitol Tour with a post on a topic which has been frequently examined — Congress and the Aitken Bible. On the Capitol Tour YouTube video at 42 seconds in,  Barton begins his claims about the Aitken Bible. Watch:

First, I will give Barton’s claim followed by the facts. During the tour, Barton said:

This is a copy of what the first Bible printed in English in America looked like. This Bible was printed by the U.S. Congress in 1782.

Not true. Robert Aiken printed that Bible. Here is his petition to Congress about the Bible.*

To the Honourable The Congress of the United States of America

The Memorial of Robert Aitken of the City of Philadelphia Printer Humbly Sheweth

That in every well regulated Government in Christendom The Sacred Books of the Old and New Testament, commonly called the Holy Bible, are printed and published under the Authority of the Sovereign Powers, in order to prevent the fatal confusion that would arise, and the alarming Injuries the Christian Faith might suffer from the spurious and erroneous Editions of Divine Revelation. That your Memorialist has no doubt but this work is an Object worthy the attention of the Congress of the United States of America, who will not neglect spiritual security, while they are virtuously contending for temporal blessings.

Under this persuasion your Memorialist begs leave to inform your Honours That he both begun and made considerable progress in a neat Edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools, But being cautious of suffering his copy of the Bible to Issue forth without the sanction of Congress, Humbly prays that your Honors would take this important matter into serious consideration & would be pleased to appoint one Member or Members of your Honourable Body to inspect his work so that the same may be published under the Authority of Congress. And further, your Memorialist prays, that he may be commissioned or otherwise appointed & Authorized to print and vend Editions of the Sacred Scriptures, in such manner and form as may best suit the wants and demands of the good people of these States, provided the same be in all things perfectly consonant to the Scriptures as heretofore Established and received amongst us, And as in Duty bound your Memorialist shall every pray

Robt. Aitken Philadelphia. 21, Jany. 1781.

Aitken was already well along with his printing project when he approached Congress with an assumption and three requests. First, he assumed that the government ought to print and publish Bibles to make sure there were no errors. Aitken seemed to believe that the civil authority had the responsibility to protect Christianity and the citizenry from “spurious and erroneous Editions of Divine Revelation.” Based on that assumption, Aitken wanted Congress to inspect and recommend the Bible he had nearly completed. He also wanted the Bible published under the authority of Congress and then asked Congress to make him the official Bible printer for the new nation.

Aitken certainly seemed to think the United States should regulate Christianity in some manner, at the least to establish an approved version of the Scriptures. However, Congress did not respond favorably to all of his requests. Aitken was not appointed to be the official Bible printer. Instead, a committee turned the Bible over to the chaplains to check the accuracy of the work. The chaplains reported back that the Bible was indeed accurate and recommended it. As the first English Bible the America, it was quite a milestone but it was not printed or paid for by Congress. To get the story as it is printed in the records of Congress, I have thumbnails of all three pages pertaining to the Aitken Bible (click to read them).

After misleading his crowd about who printed the Bible, Barton claimed:

In the records, it says that it was quote ‘a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use in schools.’

If by “records,” Barton means the letter from Aitken to Congress, then I suppose he is technically correct. As you can see in Robert Aitken’s petition to Congress, he described his Bible as a “neat Edition of the Scriptures for the use in schools.” However, his petition was the only place in the “records” where this phrase was written. Congress did not express this purpose. Barton then posed a question to his audience:

So the first Bible printed in America in English was printed by Congress for the use of our schools?

The answer to that question is no. Barton took Aitken’s words to Congress and made them come from Congress. Barton then asserted that Congress printed the Bible and did so for the use of schools. In fact, the Congressional resolution properly credited Aitken as printer but did not affirm the Bible for the use in schools:

Resolved: That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of the arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States and hereby authorize him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper (p. 574, Journals of Congress, September 12, 1782).

While this story is interesting in that Congress commemorated this artistic and religious first with a recommendation, it is also important to note what Congress did not do. Congress did not pay Aitken’s expenses, did not purchase or distribute the Bible and did not make Aitken the official government Bible printer. As it turned out, Aitken lost money on the project.

This story and other versions of it have been examined before (e.g., Chris Rodda’s video), but Barton continues to tell it. He told Kirk Cameron a similar story on Monumental and told Mike Huckabee the same story on his FOX News program (even allowing Huckabee to go uncorrected when Huckabee said “the taxpayers paid for” the printing of the Bible – at 6:38 into the clip).

More in this series:

David Barton’s Capitol Tour: Did Thomas Jefferson Spend Federal Funds to Evangelize the Kaskaskia Indians?

*In addition to the Library of Congress website, a good concise source for material relating to the debate (e.g., Aitken’s petition above) about the founding era is a book edited by Matthew L. Harris and Thomas S. Kidd: The Founding Fathers and the Debate over Religion in Revolutionary America: A History in Documents. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

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  • Rob Major

    Warren, thanks for setting the record straight. Barton repeatedly demonstrates that he is a contemptible fraud, but few would know it if not for your excellent work, as well as Chris Rodda’s, and a few other “voices crying in the wilderness.” Whatever else you do, please don’t let up on him; this Christian Nation nonsense will get completely out of hand if he isn’t continually exposed for the liar and fraud that he is.

  • M Hay

    You are picking at straws…and making yourself feel good about it.

    This WAS a christian nation. But because it was…these mostly good men wrote a constitution…framing a country in which you could worship as you pleased…or not…as you liked. That was the gift of Christian men to you. Sadly some of the more slimey delegates would keep slavery alive…against the wishes of most…who made a compromise of ending it before very long (while they fought the British and risked having their houses burned and being hanged) …the compromise seemed reasonable under the circumstances…if less tasteful than most would have wanted. The few wealthy merchants who took advantage of the compromise…cost their contrymen dearly later.

    • M Hay: Doesn’t it bother you a little bit that Mr. Barton consistently misrepresents facts that are so easy to get right?

  • Erp

    IIRC under the British crown, no Bible (or at least King James Version) could be printed without special license (the KJV is under crown copyright). Aitken seems to want the Continental Congress to take up this role (and perhaps also give him a monopoly at least temporarily).

  • Tracy

    M Hay. The United States of America was not founded as a Christian nation. We cannot return to and take back those roots because they never existed to begin with. The truth of the matter is that the United States was established as a religion-neutral nation that just happened to have a very large number of Christians living in it. It is still a religion-neutral nation that happens to have a very large number of Christians living in it. We cannot go back and reclaim it because we never lost it. It has stood the test of time.

    I think the nature of David Barton may be easily revealed not so much in what he says as in what he does. If a man has it pointed out to him in no uncertain terms that the history he advocates is in error, and he continues publicly to ignore what has been pointed out and continues to willfully spread the errors as truth, I think the only honest conclusion that any sane man could come to is that he is either in a state of mental delusion or he is an outright liar. This is the conclusion that many have come to both inside and outside of the Christian community—and I must say that to me personally the argument is overwhelming and compelling. I say that as a Christian.

  • Richard Willmer

    I think ‘M Hay’ may be confusing two different matters here.

    I would not contest the claim that many of the guiding principles, laws and customs of the USA (and of the UK) in, say, 1809 reflected Judeo-Christian ideas of human persons and societies. The prevailing reality at the time made that inevitable. This is still true today, though some of the emphases are rather different (and, one might reasonably say, in the case of slavery, rather more ‘Christian’!). But surely an honest case cannot possible be made for early US presidents wanting some kind of ‘christian’ theocracy.

    And, anyway, what is ‘Christian’ nation? As far as I can see, Christ never gave us ‘political template’ for such an entity, and if we were to propose a corpus of law of based on the Pentateuch, we would IMHO end up with something very much at odds with what Christ seemed to be showing us (see inter alia John 8 : 1 – 11)!

  • Richard Willmer

    Also – the idea of being able to (and I quote ‘M Hay’ here) “worship as you pleased” is not a specifically Christian one, is it? And anyway, could early Americans legally offer burnt sacrifices in the local park “if they pleased”? I very much doubt it, though I might be wrong about that …

  • Gus

    Mr. Willmer: It is also a problem when we quote 18th and 19th century politicians using the language, sometimes grand language, the people understood. As the Bible was the first and probably the only book in homes, it’s language, cadence, and allegories were as ‘literate’ as a politician could convey, even if he was an atheist.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Question: To what extent did the Federal Government at the time of the founding involve itself in education and the schools?

    I may well be mistaken, but I was under the impression that education was the purview of the states and that there was no federal involvement until the Presidency of George Bush (who I don’t believe can count as a founding father).

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Gus

    What you say sounds very reasonable. Indeed simply quoting / distributing (a heavily edited version of) the Bible does not make one a Christian (and it can plausibly be argued that, in a strict theological sense, Jefferson was not).

  • TxHistoryProf

    Timothy Kinkaid,

    The federal involvement in education started April 11,1965 when LBJ signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act . Bush 43’s NCLB was simply a renewal of LBJ’s ESEA. The fed got around the 10th amendment by attaching $$$ for public schools if the followed ESEA. Carter created the Department of Education.

  • Those who say the founders were not founding a Christian nation have obviously not read what the founders themselves had to say on the subject. Many of them acknowledged in their writings and speeches that they were in fact doing exactly that. John Adams went so far as to say our Constitution could ONLY work in a Christian Environment and was unsuitable for any other.

    • L Smith – Adams leaned Unitarian in his beliefs and so did think religion was vital. He respected many religious views and did not say what you have paraphrased. He did say this to the MA First Brigade:

      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.

      Elsewhere Adams indicated respect for any sincere religion that animated citizens to virtue. The founders had the chance to found a nation which established Christianity; they didn’t.

  • L. Smith: YOU haven’t read the documents carefully enough. John Adams — a militant unitarian — thought the Constitution could only work for a RELIGIOUS people. And he used the term “religious” not CHRISTIAN. Elsewhere Adams makes it clear that he including many world religions, not just Christianity, in his understanding of what “religion” means. (Christian Nationalists when confronted with the first point, will usually reply, well Adams meant biblical Christianity. No he did not.)

  • Ericlaire

    First of all there was a shortage of bibles for what then, if not that they were commonly used in schools? And congress obviously approved of the printing, for why? If he’d already been printing and wanted to be our national printer of course he didn’t just need permission! Do you think these men wanted to circulate lies? Or they possibly wanted the people educated in scripture! You guys look so hard you miss the obvious. Very sad.

    • Ericlaire – You raise some interesting questions but they do not deal with the facts. I can imagine several scenarios if I want to speculate (which is what you are doing), but facts are facts. If you have something factual to share then I would be glad to hear it.

  • Ericlaire

    The fact was Mr. Aikens Bible was approved for printing, and the fact that he said it was for the use in schools. Logic only tells me he wasn’t a liar and Congress very factualy reviewed it for appoval because it was going to be used in schools otherwise why was there expenses made to even approve it? What would he need approval for if he was already printing it? Respectfully.

  • Ericlaire

    I’m really curious what you have to say, was it just approval for an endorsement to the public so they could create revenue by selling this product for him? It’s common knowledge that bibles were used in schools. If they just wanted to approve bibles for distribution for private family ownership why? Maybe because they were all Deists…trying to brain wash the public into believing their freedoms come from God and not government, I’m sure that’s it. Sorry, maybe I over think things.

  • Ericlaire – The fact is Congress did not say anything about using Aitken’s Bible in schools. As I pointed out, Aitken said that. Congress testified to the accuracy of the work at Aitken’s request.

    Aitken actually lost money on the project. Congress did not sell them and he did not sell enough to make a profit. The long and short of it is what is detailed above in the post.

  • Ericlaire

    For being a logical thinker don’t you think that you might possibly be making the wrong assumption from these facts? Because congress didn’t state the obvious then Aikens is a liar? Who then would these Bible be for? the military and general public are the only other options even then they must have either been brainwashing them or promoting the education that will strengthen their resistance to governmental tyranny. I believe your arguements are filling in the blanks and biased as much as Barton’s

  • Ericlaire – Aitken never claimed that Congress endorsed his Bible for the use of schools. Barton claims this but Aitken never did. Aitken described his Bible that way and would have been happy if Congress would have endorsed it for that purpose. However, Congress did not do that.

    The Bibles were available to the public for purchase.

    I am not filling in any blanks. There are no blanks when you just report what happened and that is what I have done.

  • ken

    Ericlaire says:

    December 16, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    “Congress very factualy reviewed it for appoval because it was going to be used in schools otherwise why was there expenses made to even approve it?”

    According to Warren’s info, Congress didn’t actually do the review, they simply rubber-stamped a review from clergy. There is no mention of schools in the congressional record that Warren cited. What expenses are you referring to?

    “What would he need approval for if he was already printing it? ”

    Aiken’s didn’t need “approval” to print or sell his bibles, what he wanted was an essentially endorsement (actually he may have wanted more than that). If Aiken’s went to one religious faction for an endorsement, then it is possible others may have shunned him. By going to congress he gets an official endorsement without the risk of alienating any particular faction. As for why congress might want to give such an endorsement, it could be a simple as wanting to promote american businesses. The congressional record cites a lack of english language bibles, so it could also be that congress was eager to promote self-sufficiency in the US as well (and perhaps stop people from thinking they were better off under english rule). There are many possible reasons for why congress chose to pass that resolution.

    Ericlaire says:

    December 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

    “Because congress didn’t state the obvious then Aikens is a liar?”

    Warren never said anything about Aikens lying (frankly I don’t think he has even said Barton is lying). Warren was just pointing out how wrong Barton was.

    “Who then would these Bible be for?”

    anyone who wanted to purchase them . And if Warren is correct about Aikens not making a profit, I suspect that wasn’t many people (or schools or churches).

  • Ericlaire

    Why would the congress that was refered to as the”bible congress” review, approve and authorize a bible that they didn’t fund, it’s possible but highly unlikely to involve themselves in such a private endeavor. Bibles were commonly used in schools so the likelyhood of that is so high that it is safe to say. There are many numerous quotes referring to the indispensable education of the bible. Our first primary book was almost all scripture stories. Surely, someone unversed in the bible wouldn’t see the obvious connections of our constitution to scriptures, and certainly if your goal was to remove God from society, remove it first from the education system. But I ask, why would your goal be to discredit and remove biblical teaching when our forefathers with overwhelming evidence was not out to do that. In fact, separation of church and state isn’t even a statement in the constitution, but free expression is.

  • Ericlaire

    With my further investigation I discovered that the march 15,1782 general assembly Pennsylvania commonwealth did give him money, and it went on to have a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th editions. And a letter by George Washington commending it.

  • Warren Throckmorton

    Ericlaire – You can compare notes with this webpage – it is mostly accurate: http://logosresourcepages.org/Versions/1st.htm.

    More technically, the PA legislature offered him money, it is not known whether he took advantage of it. However, the Congress did not give him money, nor did they do anything more than I reported in my post above. Believe what you want, but the facts are there.

  • Ericlaire

    Congress didn’t say they did it to promote business, congress stated…..sept 12, 1782 congress approved what they themselves called, ” the pious and laudible undertaking of Mr Aiken, as subservient to the interests of religion, as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country” and was recommended to the American people. According the congressional committees report. It was reviewed by a Commitee that took time and money, then reviewed by clergy, that took time and money, and most interesting that congress said the number one reason was that it helped serve religion.

    • Ericlaire – You can stretch words if you want to but it doesn’t change the fact that Barton was wrong when he said Congress printed the Bible and funded it for use in schools. This was the point of the post. Barton could easily have disclosed the facts as I did in the post and let people draw their own conclusions. However, instead he changed the historical narrative.

  • Dave

    @ Enclaire..Congress spending time to look at someone’s work does not cost them any money .. spending time to propose a nonbinding resolution or to make laws is what they do. Prove (with documentation ..not guess work) that Congress actually funded this bible. Congressional records aren’t secret. The only thing the documentation shows is that they found it well written and to have minimal errors for a work of this magnitude. There is no recommendation to fund it. To claim they did so without facts to back it up is to claim a falsehood.


  • Steve

    Didn’t endorse it for use in schools? Congress recommended his edition of the Bible to “the inhabitants of the United States” – whether they be in its schools or anywhere else. Claiming his edition was endorsed by Congress for use in schools was if anything a gross understatement.

    I’d love to see the livid reactions of the re-interpreters today if Congress dared to publicly go on record to recommend a printing of the Bible… whether they funded it or no! Wouldn’t that violate the “establishment clause”? The current interpretation, perhaps it would. That Congress didn’t appear to see a problem with it, however.

  • Stanwooddave

    @ Tracy says: It’s obvious that you have not read The United States Supreme Court 1892, Church of The Holy Trinity Vs. United States, 143 U.S. 465.

    The following are but a few quotes from the above decided case.

    Church of The Holy Trinity Vs. United States ..The case involved the hiring of a Christian minister. Someone challenged the fact. The court Thought it was ludicrous, absolutely absurd that anyone would challenge this. The court found in 87 (eighty Seven) different instance’s and went on to cite and saying they could find much more.

    “ OUR LAWS, and our institutions, must necessarily be based on, and must include, The teachings of the Redeemer of Mankind.

    The court went on to say : It is impossible for it to be otherwise. In this case, and to this extent, our civilization and our institutions, are emphatically Christian. (465/ Last Paragraph “But beyond all these matters no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, State or Nation, because this is a religious people.”)

    They went on to say “From the discovery of this Continent (United States) to this present hour 1892– There is a single Voice everywhere making the same affirmation. We find everywhere a clear recognition of this true.(465 /last paragraph, page 230 )

    The Court used Columbus’s own book of prophecies which explained to Ferdinand & Isaballa why he was doing this.

    “It was the lord who put it into my mind. I could feel his hand upon me. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. But there is No question that the inspiration is from the Holy Spirit. The fact that the gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time, this is what convinces me. No one should fear to undertake a task in the name of our Savior if it is just and the intention is purely for his service.” (465 /last paragraph, page 230 )

    The Court than cited: The 1606 Virginia colony Land Charter.. which say’s “We want the land to produce a colony and propagating the Christian Religion and the true knowledge and worship of GOD.”

    (466 /last paragraph, page 230 ).

    Editor’s note where does the phrase separation of Church & State appear in the constitution?

    No where! The phrase comes from A private letter written by Thomas Jefferson (1802) 11 years after the 1st amendment (1776) was written. A letter written by the Danbury Baptist of Danbury Connecticut in response to a rumor that the Congregational Denomination was to be made the National Denomination. Because of this they fired off a letter to the President Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson got their letter with their concern’s and he wrote back to them January 1, 1802. He told them that they did not have to worry because the 1st amendment has erected A WALL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE… He went on to say they would never need to fear the establishment of a single denomination. He said on the other hand you never have to fear that wall would remove Christian principals. He very clearly explains that the wall of separation was a one directional wall. It keep the government from running the Church but it never separated Christian principals from the Government.

    It (Jefferson’s letter) was not resurrected again until by the Supreme Court 1878 Reynolds Vs. UNITED STATES. There was a religious challenge by a group who were advocating Bigamy & Polygamy. They filed suit saying our religion says we can practice Bigamy & Polygamy. Citing the 1st amendment freedom to excise of religion. [2] They said Jefferson said there is A WALL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE. The Court went back and printed the Jefferson letter in full. The court said they were right about the government is not to get involved in the church. But Jefferson said Christian principal’s were not to be separated. Bigamy & Polygamy are not Christian practice’s. Therefore it (Bigamy & Polygamy) is not protected by the 1st amendment. The court used Jefferson’s letter for the next [3] decade’s. This is where separation of church & state comes from.

    The next time Jefferson letter appears in the Supreme Court is EVERSON Vs. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF EWING TP., 330 U.S. 1 (1947). The court finds “The 1st amendment has erected A WALL BETWEEN CHURCH AND STATE. That wall must be kept high and impregnable we would not approve the slightest breech.” The court used only the 8 words, not the full letter as they did for the previous three decades.

    The Court cited: A case from 1799 (Runkel v. Winemiller, 4 Harris & McHenry 288), “By our form of government, The Christian Religion is the established religion; but all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same equal footing, and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty. ( this court was filled with people who wrote / drafted the Constitution; Bill of Rights & the Declaration of Independence. ) The decision in this court case informs us of the intentions of our founding fathers on the 1st amendment; in brief our founding fathers established that Christian principles were to be practiced & instituted in government, but No one denomination could have total say or total rule in government..

    [ Catholic , Methodist etc. Christian principles yes, One denomination NO! ]

    The Court cited: Northwest Ordinance Article [3] ( The procedure to become a STATE ) “ No new territory could come into the United States unless the School’s in that territory were teaching Religion and morality as well as knowledge. (passed in the house on JULY 17, 1789.. SENATE on AUGUST 4, 1789.. signed by GEORGE WASHINGTON INTO LAW AUGUST 7, 1789) (469/ Last paragraph / page 231)

    Editor’s note. First Amendment was framed / deliberated from JUNE 7 to SEPT. 25, 1789 which proves the founding fathers wanted religion & morality taught in school.

  • Stanwooddave

    Additional information reference:

    “The United States A Christian Nation.”

    You will find statements to the effect that the United States is a Christian Nation in the following opinions of the U.S. Supreme Court

    Church of the Holy Trinity v. U. S., 143 U.S. 457 @ 471 (1892),

    Zorach v. Clauson , ……………………. 343 U.S. 307 @ 313 (1952);

    Mc Gowan v. Maryland , ………………..366 U.S. 420 @ 561 (1961).

    Arkansas Supreme Court 1905, was quoted by U.S. Supreme court justice David J. Brewer in his Lecture, entitled, “The United States A Christian Nation.” The opinion they rendered in the case of Shover v. The State, 10 English, 263, included: “This system of Religion (Christianity) is recognized as constituting a part and parcel of the common law.89 ”

    Please note that Thomas Jefferson was either the first school teacher & or one of the first group in the Washington D.C. School District & used “Public Funds” to order book(s), guest which book he ordered first…… “THE BIBLE”


    Additional from United States Supreme Court 1892, Church of The Holy Trinity Vs. United States, 143 U.S. 465.

    The Court cited: The Educational System..The First Public School law was passed in 1642 in Massachusetts; then 5 years later repassed again in Massachusetts and Connecticut. This law was called “THE OLD DeLUDER SATAN ACT.” That law very simply said : “It being the one chief project of that OLD DeLUDER SATAN to keep men from the knowledge of the scripture’s as he has in former times.” The law also said that when a community got 50 family’s into a community they would get a teacher; when the community got up to 100 family’s they would get a grammar school so they can be fitted for the University.

    The Court cited : The Requirements to Harvard University “We want every student to be plainly instructed and consider well that the main end of your Life and Studies is to know GOD and JESUS Christ and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the Foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. Everyone shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day… That he shall be ready to give an account of his proficiency therein. (another requirement) In seeing the LORD only gives wisdom. Let everyone seriously sit by himself for pray.”

    The Court cited: Yale University ( founded in 1701 ) Seeing GOD is the giver of all wisdom, every scholar besides private or secret prayer… Shall be present morning and evening at public prayer.

    The Court cited: Princeton University ( founded in 1746 ) The Founding statement: “Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ “

    The founder / President of Princeton, John Widerspoon, a signer of the Declaration of Independence writing’s from 1803.. How to tell a good Patriot. [1] That he is the best friend to American Liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled Religion, [2] And who lets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. [3] Whoever is an avowed enemy to GOD, I hesitate not to call him an enemy to his country. ( Why these [3] ? Because if you have profane & immoral people you will have a profane & immoral Government. History shows this to be true.)

    Princeton University had a significant impact on the establishment of America as a nation. Out of 200 Founding Fathers nearly 1/3 came out of Princeton.

  • Awooten2

    Stanwooddave, you are totally right. The problem is that we have some saying we were birthed a Christian nation and others saying we were not. Well, somebody is wrong, because the two are mutually opposed. The question is who is? That can be answered not by only looking at one fact, but the whole picture of American history as you have just tried to demonstrate. Satan is clever, but stupid at the same time. He has produced a counterfeit for individual facts. But when you look at them put together, it most definitely points in the direction of us as a Christian nation. Pseudo-historians and lay constitutional internet lawyers cannot change that fact. Tracy et al are wrong. They have not researched the history. I for one have. This nation was FAR from a religion-neutral country. Take the blue laws for example – i.e. no alcohol sales on Sunday. Where do you think that came from? Look at the colonial laws. They all made blasphemy a crime. Simply put. The article writer and many commenters simply do not know our history. They prefer to strain a gnat while swallowing a camel. If you really want a religion neutral country, I suggest the old U.S.S.R. where in their constitution it clearly stated in Article 124 of the 1936 version, “In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the State, and the school from the church.” This clause’s location was moved in the 1977 revision to Section II Chapter 6 Article 52, but it still said the same thing. So exactly, what kind of system are anti-Christians trying to create here? But I won’t bore the naysayers with facts. Let them be deluded if they wish. They’re not looking for truth anyway.

  • ken

    Awooten2 says:

    May 9, 2013 at 7:02 am

    “The problem is that we have some saying we were birthed a Christian nation and others saying we were not. Well, somebody is wrong, because the two are mutually opposed. ”

    The two are not necessarily mutually opposed. A lot of the problem comes from differing definitions of the term “a Christian nation.” Does that mean a nation where the majority of citizens are christian? Or does that mean a nation where the christian religion is exalted above all other religions? or something else?

    “Take the blue laws for example – i.e. no alcohol sales on Sunday. Where do you think that came from? Look at the colonial laws.”

    The problem with your blue laws example is that these were STATE laws (not federal) and were enacted BEFORE the 14th amendment was passed.

    “So exactly, what kind of system are anti-Christians trying to create here?”

    Many christians believe that the government should be completely secular. Holding that view does not make a person “anti-christian”.

  • TheTruth

    “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.” Patrick Henry 1776

    “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” George Washington

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams

    “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” John Quincy Adams

    “The United States of America were no longer Colonies. They were an independent nation of Christians.” – John Quincy Adams

    • The Truth (ironic) – The first two quotes are spurious.

  • T.A.

    1787 The Northwest Ordnance later singed by George Washington 1789 was an anti slave bill.

    “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

    Do you think they meant religion that supports Sharia Law?

    • T.A. – What is your point?