Quotes supporting Principle One

From The American Ideal...

AMERICANS A RELIGIOUS PEOPLE

From the day of the Declaration . . . They [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct.

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State (Oration celebrating July 4, 1821)

FAITH IN GOD SUFFICIENT, WITHOUT "PROOF"

The sceptical philosophers claim and exercise the privilege of assuming, without proof, the very first principles of their philosophy; and yet they require, from others, a proof of everything by reasoning. They are unreasonable in both points . . .

U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Wilson (Lectures, 1790-1791)

RIGHT AND MORAL DUTY TO WORSHIP GOD

It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe.

Massachusetts Bill of Rights, 1780

RELIGION, MORALITY, LIBERTY

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. 'Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.

(Emphasis his) President George Washington, Farewell Address

RELIGIOUS BELIEF (TYPICAL OF THE FOUNDERS) OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN--FAMED AS A SCIENTIST--FALSELY CLAIMED BY SOME TO HAVE BEEN AN ATHEIST

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth--that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? . . . I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel . . .

In Federal [Framing] Convention, 1787, making a motion for Prayer (Note: emphasis Franklin's; word "God" underscored twice in original.)

I never doubted, for instance, the existence of a Deity; that he made the world and governed it by his providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crimes will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter.

"Autobiography"

. . . I can only shew my Gratitude for these mercies from God, by a readiness to help his other Children and my Brethren . . . Even the mix'd imperfect Pleasures we enjoy in this World, are rather from God's Goodness than our Merit; how much more such Happiness of Heaven. For my own part I have not the Vanity to think I deserve it, the Folly to expect it, nor the Ambition to desire it; but content myself in submitting to the Will and Disposal of that God who made me . . .

Letter to Joseph Huey, 1753

I BELIEVE there is one supreme, most perfect Being . . . Also, when I stretch my imagination through and beyond our system of planets, beyond the visible fixed stars themselves, into that space that is every way infinite, and conceive it filled with suns like ours, each with a chorus of worlds for ever moving round him; then this little ball on which we move, seems, even in my narrow imagination, to be almost nothing, and myself less than nothing, and of no sort of consequence . . . That I may be preserved from atheism . . . Help me, O Father! . . . For all thy innumerable benefits; for life, and reason . . . My good God, I thank thee!

"Articles of Belief "1728 (Note: written by Franklin when 22 years of age)

RELIGION MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL

. . . every encroachment upon religion, of all things the most important, ought to be considered as the greatest imposition . . . By religion, I mean an inward habitual reverence for, and devotedness to the Deity, with such external homage, either public or private, as the worshiper believes most acceptable to him. According to this definition, it is impossible for human laws to regulate religion without destroying it; for they cannot compel inward religious reverence, that being altogether mental and of a spiritual nature; nor can they enforce outward religious homage, because all such homage is either a man's own choice, and then it is not compelled, or it is repugnant to it, and then it cannot be religious the consciences of men are not the objects of human legislation . . .[any delegation of power over religion to public officials] . . .would be a mere nullity, and the compact by which it was ceded, altogether nugatory, the rights of conscience being immutably personal and absolutely inalienable, nor can the state or community as such have any concern in the matter.

(Attributed to) William Livingston, Governor of N.J., 1778 (Emphasis in first line added; all other emphasis per the original.)

THE INDIVIDUAL'S RELIGION AND VIRTUE THE KEY TO PUBLIC HAPPINESS AND LIBERTY

. . . I fully agree in Opinion with a very celebrated Author, that "Freedom or Slavery will prevail in a (City or) Country according as the Disposition & Manners of the People render them fit for the one or the other"; and I have long been convincd that our Enemies have made it an Object, to eradicate from the Minds of the People in general a Sense of true Religion & Virtue, in hopes thereby the more easily to carry their Point of enslaving them. Indeed my Friend, this is a Subject so important in my Mind, that I know not how to leave it. Revelation assures us that "Righteousness exalteth a Nation"--Communities are dealt with in this World by the wise and just Ruler of the Universe. He rewards or punishes them according to their general Character. The diminution of publick Virtue is usually attended with that of publick Happiness, and the public Liberty will not long survive the total Extinction of Morals. ("convincd" in original.)

Samuel Adams (Letter to John Scollay, 1776)