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America is ‘Grateful to Almighty God’

Lately I have been doing some research onto the historical roots of American liberty, and what I have found concerning our nation’s Christian history has been particularly enlightening. For example, taking a look at the constitutions of all 50 states, I found that about 40 of them started out with an acknowledgment that the people of those states were “grateful to Almighty God,” or words to that effect.

What were those folks grateful for in their states’ founding documents? Well, most were consciously grateful for the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty that we too often simply take for granted today.

One of the best examples is the state of Pennsylvania, where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were created and signed. The Preamble to the state constitution of Pennsylvania (1776), declares that “We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and  humbly invoking His guidance,” thereby established their government.

The language varies slightly from state to state, but the fundamental idea is the same. The people of each state, in setting up their new state governments, acknowledged both their gratitude to God as the source of their liberties, and their dependence upon His future guidance.

From South Carolina during the American Revolution, where in 1778 the people were “grateful to God for our liberties,” to South Dakota a century later, where in 1889 the people were “grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties,” the underlying sentiment was the same: an official acknowledgment of the active Providence of God in establishing the government.

The trend continued from beginning to end, so that in 1956, the people of Alaska were still “grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land.” And as recently as 1959, those in Hawaii were still “Grateful for Divine Guidance.” The median date that all the states put God into their constitutions was 1861.

What about those other 10 states whose people were not explicitly grateful to God? Did they renounce their Christian roots? Hardly. Take a look at Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson considered the Virginia Declaration of Religious Liberties one of the crowning accomplishments of his life.
 
The Virginia Bill of Rights (1776) states that “Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator, can be directed only by Reason … and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards each other.” That’s not exactly an enlightened, secular rejection of God and Christianity, now is it?

In 1777, the Preamble to the Georgia Constitution stated: “We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

In Tennessee, about 20 years later, those hardy pioneer settlers similarly declared “all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience.”

What about states like New York, California and Massachusetts – all perceived to be liberal today? What do their constitutions state?

In 1780, the people of Massachusetts set up their government “acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe … in the course of His Providence, … and devoutly imploring His direction.” In 1879 the people of California were “grateful to Almighty God for our freedom,” just as those in New York had been in 1846.

So from sea to shining sea, the people called God “Almighty” and “Supreme Ruler of the Universe,” and declared that their states were established through “Divine Providence.” They confirm that America and all 50 states were founded on God, the Creator, the Almighty and Supreme Ruler of the universe.

This is precisely why the Supreme Court expressly declared in 1892 that America was indeed a “Christian nation.” Writing the Court’s opinion in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, Justice Josiah Brewer cited “the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind,” Justice Brewer wrote. “It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian…. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation.”

Whether or not our contemporary culture has lost sight of these precious truths, Justice Brewer’s words echo down the corridors of time: “This is historically true.”

These established historical facts can’t be spin-doctored by the Liberal media or refuted by the secular humanist public education system. I’m not talking about an abstract theory or somebody’s opinion. I’m talking about that “mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

Only two choices confront us. Either we must believe, along with the revisionist historians, that the writers of our state constitutions were simply atheists and deists who for inexplicable reasons wrote what they didn’t believe – or else America truly IS a Christian nation.

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Written By

Mr. Tabor, a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, N.C., is the author of "The Beast on the East River." In addition to writing a weekly column for HUMAN EVENTS, he is a contributing editor at TheConservativeVoice.com. His 60-second commentaries are heard on more than 250 stations daily. Contact him at Nathan@nathantabor.com.

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