It has become quite common to refer to America as a secular nation. And it’s true – more and more our country is becoming secular. “In God We Trust” may still be on our coins, but in fewer and fewer hearts of our people. But it is a serious historical error when writers attribute our liberty and democratic form of government to our being a secular nation. Such is definitely not the case. The fact is that the liberties which we enjoy today are the outgrowth of the religious convictions of our forefathers. Our modern secular society is merely the inheritor of the freedoms founded upon religious convictions.
This fact is evident from the foundation document of our national liberty: The Declaration of Independence. This historic document, penned by Thomas Jefferson and signed by fifty-six patriots, referenced the Creator as the foundation upon which our liberty is based: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
George Washington, in his farewell address to the nation, emphasized the importance of religion to the security and general welfare of the nation. He said: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…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 the minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
As a people may we never forget the Psalmist’s maxim: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12) Nor should we forget the wise man’s words: “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)