After spending 36 years in higher education as a professor and administrator, I grew accustomed to hearing liberals tell one of their favorite lies: America’s founders were not Christians. I don’t know what it is about Christians that liberals find so frightening that they feel compelled to adopt a position blatantly at odds with the historical record. However, my experience in higher education leads me to believe that anti-Christian liberals think they can get away with such rhetorical perfidy because they are typically speaking to people who simply do not know their American history or, worse yet, have been so thoroughly indoctrinated in the public schools they don’t even care to know it. I taught hundreds of college students over the years—public school graduates—whose attitudes toward the religious beliefs of America’s founders can be summarized in this way: Don’t bore me with the facts—my mind is made up.
Having retired from higher education more than a year ago, it had been a while since I had heard some fact-challenged liberal claim that America’s founders were not Christians or that, at best, they were deists. But that changed recently while I was getting a haircut. My barber is a transplanted Californian so he probably cannot be blamed for his liberal worldview, nor can he be cured of it. I bristled a little when he made the comment to another customer that America’s founders were not Christians. However, since at the time he was using a straight razor on the back of my neck I thought it best to not excite him by challenging his comment. Instead, when he was done with my haircut I asked if he had ever studied the religious views and backgrounds of our founders. He admitted that he was just repeating what he had learned in school (Yes he went to public school in California). I recommended that he look into the question himself. This article summarizes what my barber will find if he follows through and actually does some legitimate, objective research.
About the religious views of the fifty-five men who developed America’s Constitution, my barber will find the following information: 26 were Episcopalians, 11 were Presbyterians, 7 were Congregationalists, 2 were Lutherans, 2 were Dutch Reformed, 2 were Methodists, 2 were Quakers, 2 were Roman Catholics, and one was Benjamin Franklin (whose religious views are still hard to pin down). Because Franklin’s views are difficult to ascertain with any degree of certainty, he is the founder liberals like to use as their example of our “non-Christian” founders. Of course, by focusing the attention of listeners on Benjamin Franklin liberals are able to avoid having to discuss the religious views of the other 54 founders.
Anti-Christian liberals like to quote Benjamin Franklin’s views expressed at various times in his life to validate their claim that America’s founders were not Christians. However, they are forced to choose their Franklin quotes carefully or risk invalidating their biased claim. For example, anti-Christian liberals studiously avoid this Franklin quote: “God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business.” Franklin made this thoroughly Christian statement during one of the hotter moments of verbal discord during the Constitutional Convention. It is quite a statement for a man who is the poster boy for liberals who want to claim that America’s founders were not Christians.