God and the Continental Congress

It is incredible the degree to which modern America has drifted from her august beginning. The devil has been at work now for two centuries to tear the hearts of Americans away from the Christian principles and convictions on which the nation was founded. To our chagrin, he has realized victory after victory. Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Franklin would stand aghast could they come back and observe the 21st century Congress in action. They would be taken aback to see how oppressed the alleged free exercise of religion has become—oppressed by Congress, oppressed by the judiciary, oppressed by politically correct politicians whose moral convictions could scarcely fill a thimble.

 

In an age of revisionist history where every effort is made to expunge the last vestige of Christianity from our heritage, let us resolve that what God made possible through the Founding Fathers will not be lost on us.

 

During the Revolutionary War, trade with England was interrupted. This resulted in a shortage of Bibles in the States. Patrick Allison, the congressional chaplain, alerted the Continental Congress to the problem. On September 11, 1777 a special Congressional Committee reported—

 

The use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great that your committee refers the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, the Committee recommends that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different parts of the States of the Union.

 

Whereupon it was resolved accordingly to direct said Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 copies of the Bible.

 

Can you envision the government discussing the purchasing and distribution of 20,000 Bibles for the sake of promoting the gospel? Today, we have been so sadly conditioned by an increasingly anti-Christian bias across the spectrum of government, that many would instantly assume the Constitution had somehow been violated—specifically the First Amendment, which reads,

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

Is it not ironic that Congressmen in 1777 had no qualms about authorizing the United States government to purchase and distribute Bibles? After all, they were not establishing any religion, which is what the First Amendment would later forbid. They were practicing the free exercise of what they believed in, which right the First Amendment guarantees. And they were blissfully ignorant of the coming distortion of their intent and effort by modern secular Americans—ignorant of history, as well as the Bible—who have fabricated and foisted the concept that convictions based in Scripture are best divorced from the public arena. “Separation of church and state,” we are told, over and over and over, as though repetition of the phrase might somehow engraft it into the Constitution, where it is notably absent.

 

For those who despise the thought of Congress spending taxpayer money on the Bible, perhaps the only thing worse would be Congress trying to actually promote the Bible’s use in the schoolroom. That happened too. On September 10, 1782, the Continental Congress approved the printing of “a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.” Philadelphia publisher Robert Aitken was awarded the printing contract, and the edition resulting from it was later known as the “Bible of the Revolution.” On the Bible’s front page, Congress placed this endorsement:

 

Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled…recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorize [Robert Aitken] to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.

 

Keep in mind these Continental Congressmen were either the drafters and/or contemporaries of the drafters of the Constitution (ratified 1788) and Bill of Rights (ratified 1791).

 

Herein lies a sobering fact. Our Founding Fathers sacrificed their fortunes, their futures, their sons, and themselves to bring into being a free country, the like of which had never before been seen. And, yet, due to their unswerving, Bible based convictions, they would be unelectable in our day. I wonder what America would have been (or even if she would have been), if all the politicians in Washington today could somehow travel in time to 1776 and be the ones responsible for establishing a new country. The Continental Congress worried about citizens not having enough copies of the Bible. Modern Congress frets over greenhouse gasses, promoting perversion, safeguarding the “right” to snuff out the unborn, securing the well-being of terrorist detainees, and trying to rehabilitate America’s image in the eyes of a world even further gone into secularism than we. I’ll take the Continental Congress.

-Weylan Deaver, TBC Online Instructor

[The quotations in this article are found in William J. Federer’s book, America’s God And Country Encyclopedia Of Quotations, 1994, published by Fame Publishing.]

 

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