Congress Seeks to Ban Irreligion - Christian Heritage Fellowship, Inc.
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Congress Seeks to Ban Irreligion

For more than a century, irreligion in its various forms have falsely claimed that America was not founded as a Christian nation. Nothing, however, could be further from the facts of history, which clearly indicate the Christian origin of America. From the granting of the First Charter of Virginia by King James I on April 10, 1606, the charters of the Thirteen Colonies and subsequent state constitutions all acknowledged dependence upon the Christian religion. Click to read the entire article…

March 11, 1780
Congress seeks to ban “irreligion”

Official state papers from the colonial era of American history through the formation of the United States as an independent nation, all demonstrate a reliance upon the moral and legal influence of Christianity. Any individual, organization, or group that denies America’s Christian origin is hoping that the public will not read original documents that prove Christianity’s influence, or they are hoping that a liberal socialistic judge will attempt to erase these historical facts with some never-before-found provision in the Constitution.

From the very first day of business[1] in the First Continental Congress (September 6, 1774), it was decided by the representatives that, “Revd. Mr. Duch. . . be desired to open the Congress tomorrow morning with prayers, at the Carpenter’s Hall, at 9 o’Clock.”[2] The following morning the ministry of Rev. Duch. . . —who became the first chaplain of Congress—was so profound that Congress voted to extend an expression of its gratitude following the event to Rev. Duch. . . through two of its members—Samuel Ward and Thomas Cushing.[3]

It is surprising to many Americans that the Founding Fathers legislated Christian practices from the very beginning of the formation of the federal government (in the Continental Congress), during the days of the American Revolution. Not only did Congress employ chaplains, but they continued practices that had been observed in the American colonies from their beginnings. These practices included establishing days of fasting and thanksgiving. One of a number of fasting and thanksgiving days enacted by the Continental Congress was approved on Saturday, March 11, 1780, establishing that “the twenty sixth day of April next [1780], be set apart and observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer.” These acts of Congress were sent—as noted below—”to the several states” for their observance within their respective states. In fact, General Washington and the Continental Army also strictly observed these days. What candid individual can possibly read the following quotation from the Journals of the Continental Congress—realizing the attending facts—and conclude that America is a “secular nation.” Rather than establishing America as a secular nation, Congress voted on March 11, 1780—in a “fasting, humiliation, and prayer” proclamation—to “banish vice and irreligion.” Here is only one small strand of the larger tapestry that demonstrates the Christian origin of America!

Journals of Congress – March 11, 1780

…The committee, appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states to set apart the last Wednesday in April next as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, brought in a draught, which was read and agreed to, as follows:

It having pleased the righteous Governor of the World, for the punishment of our manifold offences, to permit the sword of war still to harass our country, it becomes us to endeavor, by humbling ourselves before him, and turning from every evil way, to avert his anger and obtain his favor and blessing: it is therefore hereby recommended to the several states,

That Wednesday, the twenty sixth day of April next, be set apart and observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, that we may, with one heart and one voice, implore the sovereign Lord of Heaven and Earth to remember mercy in his judgments; to make us sincerely penitent for our transgressions; to prepare us for deliverance, and to remove the evils with which he hath been pleased to visit us; to banish vice and irreligion from among us, and establish virtue and piety by his divine grace to revive and spread the influence of patriotism, and eradicate, that love of pleasure and of gain which renders us forgetful of our country and our God; to bless all public councils throughout the United States, giving them wisdom, firmness and unanimity, and directing them to the best measures for the public good; to bless the magistrates and people of every rank, and animate and unite the hearts of all to promote the interests of their country; to bless the public defense, inspiring all commanders and soldiers with magnanimity and perseverance, and giving vigor and success to the military operations by sea and land; to bless the illustrious Sovereign and the nation in alliance with these states, and all who interest themselves in the support of our rights and liberties; to make that alliance of perpetual and extensive usefulness to those immediately concerned, and mankind in general; to grant fruitful seasons, and to bless our industry, trade and manufactures; to bless all schools and seminaries of learning, and every means of instruction and education; to cause wars to cease, to the ends of the earth and to establish peace among the nations.

And it is further recommended, that servile labor and recreations be forbidden on the said day.[4]

Conclusion

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Washington Praying at Valley Forge

Only those who show contempt for the facts of history are capable of suggesting that America’s Founding Fathers established the United States as a “secular nation.” This contempt for truth would have citizens believe a lie and experience the attending curse of error. Rather, just the opposite is true. America’s Founding Fathers voted in Congress to, “banish vice and irreligion from among us,” and they did so within the context of Christian principles and practices. Those who deny or disparage these historical facts verified by the Journals of the Continental Congress betray America’s national heritage!

America, this is our Christian heritage!

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For Further Consideration

Suggested Resources, Studies in America's Christian Origin. Our list is not intended to be exhaustive, but a suggestive or recommended reading concerning America and the influence of Christianity upon the nation's origin and development. Given the fact that our tax-exempt status does not permit Christian Heritage Fellowship to commercially endorse the sale of products that do not originate within our organization, direct links are not provided from our selected reading materials.  Read more...
Stephen A. Flick, Ph.D., America's Founding Fathers and the Bible. Contrary to the contemporary mantra that America was birthed as a secular nation, the historical evidence demonstrates that America was founded by Christians who wished to enjoy the liberty to freely express their Christian faith. Lamentably, Christians have forgotten and neglected the Christian heritage bequeathed to them by America's Founding Fathers and have allowed secularists to disparage and deny what was given to them at such a great price. America's Founding Fathers and the Bible briefly describes a portion of America's Christian heritage, particularly during the rise of nationalism when America was shaping its national government.  Read more...
Stephen A. Flick, Ph.D., When the United States Capitol Was a Church. So deep and strong was the relationship of government to the Christian faith in America that the relationship was recognized in a variety of ways. Few realize that the United States Capitol was used as a church for years before it was used to convene the United States Congress. For nearly three-quarters of a century, the United States Capitol was used for church services. In fact, it became a meeting place for a number of churches in Washington, D. C. While secularists wish to keep this and many other similar historical facts quiet, the sincere Christian will wish to celebrate the spiritual heritage our Founding Fathers have bequeathed to us.  Read more...

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Article Notes and Sources

[1] The First Continental Congress began on September 5, 1774, but it was not until the following day that rules and order were established. During this discussion, it was determined (on September 6) that Christian prayer, led by a clergyman, would be an established part of the order of Congress.

[2] Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, 34 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904-1937), 1:26. See the online reference: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field([email protected](jc01665))

[3] Journals of the Continental Congress, 1:27.

[4] Journals of the Continental Congress, 16:252-253. Orthography updated and emphasis added “to banish vice and irreligion from among us.”

Written by Dr. Stephen FlickNumber of posts: 201
Stephen Flick heads Christian Heritage Fellowship, a national organization dedicated to reclaiming America’s Christian Heritage and celebrating the life-changing influence of the Gospel around the world. Concerned with the cultural decay of America, Dr. Flick has sought to provide answers to fellow Christians (and unbelievers) concerning the questions and objections to Christianity often posed by secularists and the irreligious. Dr. Flick is a writer and speaker and has authored numerous articles and books on America’s Christian heritage. He earned his Ph.D. from Drew University in history and Christian theology and has taught at the graduate level as full professor. He has been a licensed minster for nearly forty years and resides in East Tennessee with his wife, Beth. They have two grown, married children and five grandchildren.
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