AMERICA’S “NOT SO CHRISTIAN” FOUNDING FATHERS
By Christian J. Pinto
Award-winning filmmaker of the documentary series,
Secret Mysteries of America’s Beginnings
Many Christians are repeatedly told by their pastors, teachers, and church leaders that America was founded as a Christian nation. This assertion would not be so bad if it were confined to the arrival of the Puritans at Plymouth and the early development of the new world. If that were the case, it would be an accurate statement, in this writer’s opinion.
The problem arises when one marks the foundation of our country at the American Revolution and the establishment of the United States. It is at this point where all Bible-believing Christians should be very wary, since the working of occult societies during this era was at an unprecedented height. Some historians even argue that you simply cannot understand the history of the world for the past few hundred years if you do not take these societies into account. Their members have been the planners, leaders, and engineers of a global agenda, one that they do not readily share with the rest of the world. More importantly, they often use “religion” as an instrument to manipulate the masses, their belief being that the end justifies the means.
While often overlooked or marginalized by modern historians, the American Revolution, in many ways, begins with Thomas Paine. The Marquis de Lafayette said, “A free America without her Thomas Paine is unthinkable.” Paine wrote the famous pamphlet, Common Sense, which is called “by far the most influential tract of the American Revolution” by not a few historians, who also maintain that it influenced Jefferson’s writing of the Declaration of Independence. Paine also published The Crisis pamphlet series, some of which were read aloud by George Washington to his troops during the Revolution. John Adams is known for saying, “Without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” These words (sometimes attributed to Joel Barlow) are engraved on the very tombstone of the revolutionary author, whose words are said to have “stirred the American colonies to independence.” Another quote appears on his tombstone, saying: “History is to ascribe the American Revolution to Thomas Paine.” With these things in mind, consider that Paine wrote:
When I see throughout the greater part of this book [the Bible] scarcely anything but a history of the grossest vices and a collection of the most paltry and contemptible tales, I cannot dishonor my Creator by calling it by His name.
What is it the Bible teaches us?—rapine, cruelty, and murder. What is it the Testament teaches us?—to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.
It is the fable of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament, and the wild and visionary doctrine raised thereon, against which I contend. The story, taking it as it is told, is blasphemously obscene.
If there ever were a man utterly ruined and spoiled by vain philosophy, it was surely Thomas Jefferson. Along with Thomas Paine, he was America’s greatest deceiver and antichrist—if you judge him according to the Scriptures. Jefferson, perhaps more than any other, typifies the last-days “scoffers, walking after their own lusts” warned about in the Bible (2 Peter 3:3, KJV). Jefferson said this about the book of Revelation in a letter to General Alexander Smyth dated January 17, 1825:
It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it and I then considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.
Through the rest of his letter, Jefferson made it clear to the general that he had not repented of his formerly held view. Some have tried to whitewash Jefferson because he thought Jesus was a fine teacher of morality, but here is what he said in a letter to William Short dated October 31, 1819:
The greatest of all the Reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really His from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its luster from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill.
The above passage describes the approach Jefferson took in writing his so-called Jefferson Bible (properly titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth). What he claimed he was attempting to do (and wrote about extensively) was to separate the “true” sayings of Jesus from the things he believed had been added to the Gospel accounts. But he did not really believe in the authority of the Bible, Old Testament or New. In a letter to John Adams dated January 24, 1814, he wrote:
Where did we get the Ten Commandments? The book indeed gives them to us verbatim, but where did it get them? For itself tells us they were written by the finger of God on tables of stone, which were destroyed by Moses.… But the whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful, that it seems vain to attempt minute inquiry into it.… We have a right to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine.
As seen earlier, Jefferson’s view of the New Testament was no better. In the same letter to John Adams, he wrote:
In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.
When one reads The Jefferson Bible, it becomes clear what Jefferson was referring to when he mentioned “dunghills.” He specifically removed the virgin birth, the miracles of Christ, the Lord’s resurrection, and His ascension into heaven. Needless to say, the entire book of Revelation was omitted. These were among the things Jefferson believed came from “inferior minds.” Concerning the Lord Jesus, Jefferson wrote in another letter to Short on April 13, 1920:
Among the sayings and discourses imputed to Him by His biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture.… I separate, therefore, the gold from the dross…and leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of others of His disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the…first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus.
One of the most influential founding fathers, and the only one of them to have signed all of the original founding documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, and the U.S. Constitution) was Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin was responsible for three important phases of America’s development:
1) Unifying the colonists in their rebellion against England;
2) Philosophy concerning the rights of mankind; and
3) Facilitating the American Revolution by publishing the writings of Thomas Paine. To Sir Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin was “the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become.”
Ben Franklin was, without question, deeply involved in Freemasonry and in other secret societies. He belonged to secret groups in the three countries involved in the War of Independence: America, France, and England. He was master of the Masonic Lodge of Philadelphia; while over in France, he was master of the Nine Sisters Lodge, from which sprang the French Revolution. In England, he joined a rakish political group founded by Sir Francis Dashwood (member of Parliament, advisor to King George III) called the “Monks of Medmenham Abbey,” otherwise known as the “Hellfire Club.” This eighteenth-century group is described as follows:
The Hellfire Club was an exclusive, English club that met sporadically during the mid-eighteenth century. Its purpose, at best, was to mock traditional religion and conduct orgies. At worst, it involved the indulgence of satanic rites and sacrifices. The club to which Franklin belonged was established by Francis Dashwood, a member of Parliament and friend of Franklin. The club, which consisted of “The Superior Order” of twelve members, allegedly took part in basic forms of satanic worship. In addition to taking part in the occult, orgies and parties with prostitutes were also said to be the norm.
Franklin and the Gospel
What was Franklin’s view of Christianity and of the Lord Jesus Christ? He answered that question directly shortly before he died. He wrote the following to Ezra Stiles, who was then president of Yale University. Stiles had inquired about Franklin’s views on religion and of the Lord Jesus Christ:
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity.
From the first part of his response, Franklin’s views about Jesus seem very similar to those of Paine and Jefferson, making reference to “corrupt changes” in the Gospel record. Like many others, he compliments the “morality” of Christ while rejecting His authority. This was typical of the founding fathers.
John Adams was America’s third president and a close friend of Thomas Jefferson. Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin worked together on the first committee to design the Great Seal for the United States. While it does not appear that Adams was a member of any secret group, he was a Unitarian and shared views of Christianity not unlike those of Paine, Jefferson, and Franklin. He wrote the following to Thomas Jefferson in a letter dated September 3, 1816:
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved—the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!
Undoubtedly, the most famous man to have survived the American Revolution is the veritable “father of our country,” George Washington; but was he a Christian? Many die-hard Christian patriots have insisted that he was, but history reveals that questions about his faith did not begin in the modern era. Even during his lifetime, there were many who sought out a clear answer as to what George Washington believed about God and the Lord Jesus Christ specifically. After more than twenty years of being a pastor to George Washington himself, Bishop James White was only able to give a vague testimony of Washington’s faith. For obvious reasons, many people sought this man, hoping he could give a clear description of Washington’s Christian beliefs. His reply on one occasion was:
I do not believe that any degree of recollection will bring to my mind any fact which would prove General Washington to have been a believer in the Christian revelation further than as may be hoped from his constant attendance upon Christian worship, in connection with the general reserve of his character.
In other words, beyond his generally moral character and the fact that he went to church regularly, there is no other proof that he was a believer.
The assistant to Rev. White was Rev. James Abercrombie, who also ministered to Washington for years. Years later, when questioned by Dr. Bird Wilson, Rev. Abercrombie arrived at the following conclusion:
Long after Washington’s death, in reply to Dr. Wilson, who had interrogated him as to his illustrious auditor’s religious views, Dr. Abercrombie’s brief but emphatic answer was:
“Sir, Washington was a Deist.”
In Philadelphia, certain Christian clergymen had even tried to obtain a confession of faith, or a clear denial, from Washington during his farewell address as president. Thomas Jefferson commented on this in his journal, saying:
Feb. 1.—Dr. Rush tells me that he had it from Asa Green that when the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the Government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never on any occasion said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article in their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice.… “I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his secrets and believed himself to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more in the system [Christianity] than he did.”
The “Asa Green” mentioned by Jefferson was Dr. Ashbel Green, who was the chaplain to the Congress during Washington’s presidency. Dr. Green “dined with the President on special invitation nearly every week.” One of his relatives, A. B. Bradford (who was later appointed a consul to China by President Lincoln), gave the following testimony about the event Jefferson had described. Bradford related that what follows was “frequently” told to him by Dr. Green:
He explained more at length the plan laid by the clergy of Philadelphia at the close of Washington’s administration as President to get his views of religion for the sake of the good influence they supposed they would have in counteracting the Infidelity of Paine and the rest of the Revolutionary patriots, military and civil. But I well remember the smile on his face and the twinkle of his black eye when he said:
“The old fox was too cunning for Us.”
Notice the reference to “Us,” as Dr. Green counted himself among the Christian clergymen who were trying to obtain a clear confession from President Washington. The quote continues, as Bradford says of Dr. Green:
He affirmed, in concluding his narrative, that from his long and intimate acquaintance with Washington he knew it to be the case that while he respectfully conformed to the religious customs of society by generally going to church on Sundays, he had no belief at all in the divine origin of the Bible, or the Jewish-Christian religion.
In recent years, an attempt was made by authors Jerry A. Lillback and Jerry Newcombe, in their book, George Washington’s Sacred Fire, to prove that Washington was a Christian. They penned a thousand pages of seemingly endless speculation and suggestive possibilities, but the only confession they could produce was a single quote from Washington on “the Religion of Jesus Christ.” Moreover, the authors of Sacred Fire destroyed their entire hypothesis by revealing the following ecumenical quote from Washington to his fellow Freemason, the Marquis de Lafayette:
Being no bigot myself to any mode of worship, I am disposed to indulge the professors of Christianity in the church, that road to Heaven, which to them shall seem the most direct, plainest, easiest, and least liable to exception.
Notice how Washington referred to Christianity as “that road to Heaven,” as if it were one of many. Washington’s words are entirely Masonic, and the quote appears as if he were letting his hair down to a fellow Mason. Furthermore, the quote clearly shows that Washington viewed himself as an outsider to biblical Christianity, and suggests that he merely “indulged” the Christians by going to church, etc.
All who knew him would agree that in terms of moral conduct and his code of honor, the world viewed him (and he probably saw himself) as a man of Christian character. This did not, however, require that he believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, or that He died for our sins, and that by faith in Him alone we have eternal life.
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