As is the case with Carl T. Cone's letter to the editor in last Sunday's Statesboro Herald, there will always be those who say that the "Founding Fathers" of the United States government did not intend for God to be the pillar upon which this government was founded.
Despite this oft-repeated claim, history makes a very clear picture of what our "Founding Fathers" intended. The Declaration of Independence specifically mentions God three times: in the first instance, Thomas Jefferson declares that our independence was grounded in "Nature's God."
In the second instance, Benjamin Franklin wrote, "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". In the third instance, the entire Constitutional Convention wrote, "appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World" asking his blessing in the founding our new nation.
Samuel Adams said to those standing around him as he signed the Declaration, "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."
Our first president, George Washington, began his first inaugural speech by stating "It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe...that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States."
The second president of the United States John Adams wrote his wife Abigail "(this day) will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty."
The sixth president of the United States John Quincy Adams wrote in his journals "The Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer's mission upon earth...(and)...laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity."
Signer Benjamin Franklin wrote future President James Madison "We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."
The idea of separation of Church and State was nothing more than an idea and not a legal precept included in either the Declaration or Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, the framer of the Constitution, best explained the entire concept of religious freedom. He declared first "religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship."
Jefferson went on to state that "the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Thus came the notion of a separation between Church and State."
And, just for the record, according to the US National Archives and Records Administration, in their own document entitled "The Founding Fathers: A Brief Overview", these "Founding Fathers "mirrored the overwhelmingly Protestant character of American religious life at the time and were members of various denominations."