By Tim Norris
For those who wish to look, one sees from the very beginning that the Bible was the one unifying principle in the founding of America. Pilgrims argued with the Puritans, Catholics fought with Protestants, Baptists with Methodists, and the list went on. But nearly everyone at the beginning believed the Bible was the revealed Word of God.
From the very beginning of the birth of America, shortly before the Pilgrims landed in 1620, one sees the biblical concept of a covenant in the Mayflower Compact. The first governing document in American history begins with “In the name of God, Amen… having undertaken for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith,” the pilgrims formed a ‘civil body politic.’ And thereafter, there were about a hundred Biblically inspired covenants, government documents, and articles in America, all leading to the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.
One of the Puritan documents was The Fundamental Order of Connecticut of 1639, which states they formed their colony for the “liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” The Fundamental Order was the first complete constitution written on American soil. Historians trace the theories in the federal Constitution to The Fundamental Orders which established Connecticut as a colony. Connecticut even calls itself the ”Constitution State.”
The U.S. Constitution itself states it was completed “in the year of our Lord….” (Jesus).
To fully understand the influence the Bible had on the writing of the U.S. Constitution, you must read the Founders’ own words, beginning with the Declaration of Independence, written in 1775. It was clear to whom they owed their obedience to and where their trust was placed. They acknowledged a Creator and that our rights come from Him and that “governments are instituted to protect those rights.” The Constitution was the remedy for the series of grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence.
George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention and was sworn in as our 1st President. He took the oath of office that is written in Article One, Section Two of the Constitution and added the words “So help me God.” When he left office after two terms, he said in his farewell address, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
James Madison, the main author of the Constitution and one of three contributors to the Federalist Papers, wrote of the dilemma that a free republic would face without a virtuous society. Our second President, John Adams, said, “Our Constitution was designed for a moral and religious people, it is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”
After the Revolutionary War, as America was no longer under British rule, as an act of Congress, the Holy Bible was the first English language Bible printed in America to be circulated for use in public schools. The law was signed on September 12th, 1782 and would be one of many acts of Congress promoting the Bible & Bible societies. An early school textbook called The New England Primer contained Bible scripture and was ordered to be reprinted by three of the founding fathers. This textbook was used in schools until the 1930s. Leaders in all branches of government believed America was a Christian nation, and that for the country to survive, our leaders needed to be Christian. The men that authored the Constitution were not perfect, but they knew where to find perfection.The Founding Fathers knew and studied the Scriptures.
The United States Constitution is one of the most brilliant documents ever written. But why wouldn’t it be? Its very core comes straight from the Bible! It’s a disservice to history to discount the incredibly positive role the Scriptures have played in helping shape this nation.
Tim Norris, a long-time Panhandle resident is past Chairman of the Walton County Republican Party. He serves on a number of local boards, including: The Walton County Mosquito Control board, The Choctwatchee Basin Alliance, Walton County Tourism Development Council and is the current Republican Party of Florida’s State Committeeman for Walton County.
Tim Resides in Santa Rosa Beach with his wife Nancy. The couple have 3 daughters, Calli, Hannah and Piper.