Christian Nation (Pt 4)

Christian Nation (Pt 4)

Before and After the “Founding Documents”

This article is intended to demonstrate that around or just after 1776 a radical shift in the language of Constitutions and laws of the colonies/states began to take place.

In the prior articles, we discussed the ambiguous language around God that entered into the legal documents around the writing of the US Constitution. In contrast article shows that just prior to the Constitution, even in the midst of the percolating rebellion against the king of England, the general sentiment of the people living in America was not one of fully autonomous independence from the Name of the King of Kings.

What follows shows the sentiment of each of the states that existed at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence (reflected in the “Early Documents”). Most of the “Early Documents” (mentioned below) were written about the time of the Declaration of Independence. Some of them were even written afterward, thereby confirming the general sentiment that Christianity and references to it should be held as law.


Delaware

Early Documents

1776 – God the Father and Jesus Christ explicitly named

Late Documents

1792 – Both absent

1897 – God generalized


Maryland

Early Documents

1776

  • It is the duty of men to worship God
  • All persons professing the Christian religion are entitled to religious liberty
  • Taxes may be imposed upon the people to support the Christian religion
  • An oath of office required profession of the Christian religion

Late Documents

1867

  • All religion protected (none named)
  • No taxes to support Christianity
  • Oaths (if they require an acknowledgement) cannot exceed the words “a belief in God” – i.e. not associated to a particular religion

Virginia

Early Documents

1776

  • Free exercise of religion
  • Worship the Creator
  • Mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance and love

Late Documents

1830

  • The word Christian changed to Chroma

North Carolina

Early Documents

1776

  • Qualifications for office:
  • Belief in God
  • Believe the truth of the Protestant religion
  • Believe the divine authority of both the Old and New Testaments

Late Documents

1838

  • References removed

South Carolina

Early Documents

1778

  • Christianity established as the state religion
  • All significant offices could only be filled by Christians of the Protestant religion

Late Documents

1790

  • References to Christianity removed

Georgia

Early Documents

1777

  • Representatives shall be of the Protestant religion
  • Oaths of office end with “so help me God”

Late Documents

1789

  • References removed

New Hampshire

Early Documents

1784

  • Legislature may impose taxes to support teachers of Protestant religion.
  • Senators must be Protestant
  • “President” must be Protestant
  • Christianity specifically protected under state law

Late Documents

1877

  • References removed

Massachusetts

Early Documents

1780

  • Legislature may impose taxes to support teachers of Protestant religion
  • Specifically mentions that education [should be] to the advantage of the Christian religion
  • Oaths contain “so help me God”
  • Christianity protected under state law
  • Governor must be Christian
  • Lieutenant governor must be Christian

Late Documents

~1811

  • References removed

Connecticut

Early Documents

1639

  • Fundamental Orders of Connecticut specifically mention Jesus Christ among other significantly specific things and serves as the “Constitution” for the state until around 1816

1818

  • Freedom of religion
  • Christianity specifically mentioned several times
  • Christianity specifically protected

Late Documents

1965

  • Freedom of religion explicitly guaranteed to everyone including non-Christians
  • References to Christianity removed

New York

Early Documents

1648

  • Laws requiring strict observance of the Sabbath (imposing a mandatory weekly rest day) with morning and afternoon preaching

1777

  • “in the Year of our Lord” specifically stated
  • Special protections for Quakers

Late Documents

1821

  • References to Christianity removed

New Jersey

Early Documents

1776

  • Specific protections afforded for Protestants of “the Faith

1777

  • “in the Year of our Lord” specifically stated
  • Special protections for Quakers

Late Documents

1844

  • References to Christianity removed
  • Religion generalized
  • the Faith becomes his faith

Pennsylvania

Early Documents

1701

  • The document acting as a “constitution” specifically mentions The Father of Lights, Jesus Christ, and “in the year of our Lord”

Late Documents

1776

  • God generalized
  • All other references absent

The Sentiment

Hopefully, you can see how this article demonstrates the will of the existing states at the time prior to the Constitution of the US (prior to 1789). Though we can see a softening in some of the language around the time of the Declaration, the vast majority contain references that leave no doubt of “which God” pre-Constitutional America claimed… the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ! This fact seems to be the reason Muslim nations in the East believed the US was founded on Christianity – and why US citizens reacted with shock when their elected representatives ratified the Treaty of Tripoli.

Next week, we will offer what we believe to be the “reason(s)” behind the slow drift away from naming Christ in our legal documents. May God richly bless you!

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