The Bible Is An American Founding Document?

By Gary Brown

This is the question that was sarcastically posted on a recent blog of the “Boise Weekly/City Desk,” a left-wing news organization (oh, excuse me; Idaho’s “alternative news source”).  Jody May-Chang of the Boise Weekly covered the launch of the IVA on September 17th.

From the steps of the Idaho State House we announced the re-launch of the IVA and the call for a revival of Americanism.  In my speech, I shared a basic historical fact (that has been intentionally removed from the historical landscape) that along with the Declaration and the Constitution, the Bible is one of three American founding documents.

The evidence for the Bible and God as the guiding influence for the founding of America is overwhelming.  So much so, that it is literally impossible to include all the evidence in a short article.  What I have chosen to do is to take a few quotes from the Founders and let them make the case for us.  If you have a problem with this, don’t argue with me, argue with Sam, John, Ben, Alex, Pat, Joe, Noah and George W. (That’s the original George W, not the most recent one).

All emphasis is added:

Samuel 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)

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 Adams 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)

Benjamin Franklin:

God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” (Constitutional Convention of 1787 | original manuscript of this speech)

Alexander Hamilton:

Hamilton worked with the Rev. James Bayard to form the Christian Constitutional Society to help spread all over the world the two things which Hamilton said made America great:

(1) Christianity
(2) a Constitution formed under Christianity.
“The Christian Constitutional Society, its object is first: The support of the Christian religion. Second: The support of the United States.”

“For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.” (1787 after the Constitutional Convention)

Patrick Henry:

“It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” (May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses)

Justice Joseph Story:

“ I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law. . . There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.” (Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States p. 593)

Noah Webster:

“ The duties of men are summarily comprised in the Ten Commandments, consisting of two tables; one comprehending the duties which we owe immediately to God-the other, the duties we owe to our fellow men.”

“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.” (1828, in the preface to his American Dictionary of the English Language)

“The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields.” (Noah Webster. Our Christian Heritage p.5)

George Washington

In his Farewell Address:The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion” …and later: “…reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle…”

During his inauguration, Washington took the oath as prescribed by the Constitution but added several religious components to that official ceremony. Before taking his oath of office, Washington asked for a Bible on which to take the oath.  At the end of the prescribed oath added the words “So help me God!” Washington then leaned over and kissed the Bible.

Sam, John, Ben, Alex, Pat, Joe, Noah and George …Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts.


The Moral Liberal, Contributing Editor, Gary Brown, is the President of the Idaho Values Alliance, and Founder and Executive Director of Reach America.