Stories such as these get tiresome: they are tiresome because they are so easily disproven. All you have to do is look to the entire body of historical evidence instead of intentionally cherry-picking (a fallacy) and presenting quotes out of context (another fallacy).
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist non-profit, is behind a new full-page newspaper ad that decries the notion that America was founded on Christianity and the Bible. A portion of the contentious text reads, “Celebrate Our Godless Constitution,” and it features the faces and quotes from some of the nation’s most prominent Founding Fathers.
James Madison said he found the model of our three branches of government in the Bible:
22 For the Lord is our judge,
the Lord is our lawgiver,
the Lord is our king;
it is he who will save us.
Madison also said:
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
[1778 James Madison to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]
“It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it [the Constitution] a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”
Benjamin Franklin made a famous appeal for prayer at a crucial point in the 2nd Constitutional Convention: an appeal that the delegates credited for preventing the failure of the convention. After the convention, Franklin was asked from where the founders had derived the principles of our constitution and he answered that they were the ancient principles, those of the Bible.
“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.3“
Any honest reader of Jefferson will find more than enough evidence to determine that Jefferson would have said there is a link between reverence for our Creator and the sustenance of a free and self-governing society:
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
–Thomas Jefferson, [Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia: Matthew Carey, 1794), Query XVIII, p. 237.]
“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”
Then there are the words of John Adams. Often called the Atlas of the American Revolution, a full and honest reading of his words would never support the assertion that our founding was secular – quite the contrary:
“The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.”
“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
(Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIII, p. 292-294. In a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813.)
“There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy.”
– John Quincy Adams
(Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), pp. 22-23.)
At the signing of the Declaration, Samuel Adams is said to have proclaimed:
“We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”
On July 4th, 1821, John Quincy Adams said:
“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.
I could and have hammered this board with many more examples of the founders asserting that this nation was founded upon the Judea/Christian ethic. But, if that last quote from a man who was there from beginning to end is not enough, then nothing will ever convince those who refuse to see. Like Jefferson said, we cannot reason with those who renounce objective reality.
In truth, all of Western Civilization is founded upon those principles. And, in truth, the decay of Western society is the direct result of the willful abandonment of those principles. After all, there are only two recorded examples of a constitutional representative republic where the people actually knew true liberty: the first was established by Moses, the second by our founders – on the model Moses left.