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Was America Founded upon Judeo-Christian Principles?

Yes, although it would be more accurate to say that America was founded by those who believed in Judeo-Christian principals.
All, or nearly all, of those who signed the Declaration of Independence were Christians, and all were very familiar with the Bible.

There were quite a few ministers among the Signers. George Washington and John Adams, the first two presidents, were devote Christians.

The main writer of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson. He admired Christ very much, but did not believe in any of the miracles. But the most well-known part of the Declaration of Independence states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This has been called one of the best-known sentences in the English language, containing the most potent and consequential words in American history.

So our country was founded on this belief that our liberty was endowed to us by God, and therefore there could be no laws infringing upon our liberties. This is explicitly stated in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Benjamin Franklin believed in a Judeo-Christian God. He didn’t seem to belong to a particular religion, and he donated money to various churches, and at least one Jewish group. He asked that a prayer be said before the Continental Congress met to discuss declaring independence from England. Franklin wrote a letter to the President of Yale University a few weeks before his death:

"I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable Service we render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this one.”

Abraham Lincoln, our most beloved president, considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy, and argued that the Declaration is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted. He also instituted Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

The Ten Commandments were known by all, and was assumed to be the basis of morality. It is etched in many government buildings, including a number of places in the building that houses the Supreme Court.

The Founders did not want laws requiring particular religious beliefs. Nor did they want laws abridging religious liberty or any other liberty. Therefore, our Constitution prevents Congress from passing laws that infringe upon our liberties.

But the Founding Fathers also believed that America could not be a great country unless it was a moral country.

John Adams said, 

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

Thus, the Constitution, which defines the powers of government, does not deal with morality or religion, because these do not come under the purview of government. This, I believe, is what causes some people to mistakenly believe that our country was not founded upon Judeo-Christian principals.

But reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which contains the Bill of Rights, along with all the other writings of our Founding Fathers, show that the creation of our country was guided by Judeo-Christian principles.

Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. The views expressed herein are those of the author. One of his main interests is the reconciliation between science and spirituality. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at Twitter account: Tim Farage (@TimFarage) | Twitter


Timothy Wilhelm said…
Caveats...the key players on the revolutionary stage were self-deceived Deists; and, many (if not most) were Freemasons, part of the "speculative Freemasonry" movement -- students of the "ancient wisdom teachings." It was more these principles, than Judeo-Christian teachings, on which our Country was founded. Most importantly, our civil foundation rests on the principle of religious freedom...NOT on a mandate that this would or should be a Judeo-Christian nation.
It's me, Farage. The better looking Tim.
Carroll said…

I've enjoyed this blog the most of any prior blog of yours that I've read! It was wonderful and very informative! That's the kind of uplifting and inspiring material that the public needs to be reading and
thinking about! Thank you for giving readers something so worthy of their time and consideration!

Love, Carroll

1AceGuy said…
It's me Farage and Wilhelm, the best looking Tim of the whole bunch. :) (Uh, not...) (It's TJJ - Tim Johnson).
I've been re-reading _The Autobiography of Ben Franklin_ and have been listening to an audio book of same during my morning commutes. I would argue that Franklin is actually quite the Deist, and even admits to being so in his autobiography. In at least 2 instances, he has drawn up his own list of universal principles -- things that are universal to all religions -- and belief in God or the Creator is number one, as I recall. In my opinion, Franklin at least, thought not a regular church-goer, was both a Deist and a student of "ancient wisdom teachings." _Spiritual Seekers Guidebook_, page 137, alleges that Franklin was a student of 2 (unnamed in SSG) mundane schools - probably the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians.
Great blog post, Tim F. Have been enjoying going through your other posts!
Tim Farage said…
Tim (Wilhelm) and Tim (Johnson),

I agree with both of you (I think). Franklin was a Rosicrucian. At the time it was based in France. He definitely believed in God as the Creator. And he also thought that our actions, not our beliefs, are what is important.

Along with most of the other Founders, he did not want government dictating beliefs. What right do those who govern have to force us into any belief system?

Tim (Farage)

PS Tim Johnson, thank you for the kind words about my blog.
Anonymous said…
Question for you about Franklin being a student of the Freemasons and Rosicrucians. I don't believe he talks about these groups in his Autobiography, nor in any of his other published writings. Are you aware of any scholarly non-occult writings/books/biographies of Franklin (which include endnotes or footnotes, proper citations, bibliography or references cited, etc) which talk about Franklin being a student of these mundane schools? Particularly whether or not Franklin's Virtues Practice was in any way related to his being a student of the Freemasons and/or Rosicrucians? Many thanks if you can refer me to any such references. TJJ
Tim Farage said…

Franklin's being a student of the Freemasons is well established historically. For instance, his Wikipedia article references it:

Also, here are two other references for you:

There is not much historical evidence for Franklin being a Rosicrucian. However, I'm a student of the Rosicrucian Fraternity based in Beverly Hall, PA. The link to their site is:

I've been to their headquarters many times, and know that they have private records of Franklin's Rosicrucian involvement. The Rosicrucians were located in Paris at that time.


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