Character, religion, virtue, & moral education are necessary in a Republic
On NOVEMBER 18, 1992, The New York Times printed Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice's statement:
"The less we emphasize the Christian religion the further we fall into the abyss of poor character and chaos in the United States of America."
Jefferson acknowledged the "best support" of good government was the "liberty to worship our Creator," as he wrote in a letter to Captain John Thomas of the Newhope Baptist Church, NOVEMBER 18, 1807:
"Among the most inestimable of our blessings is that ... of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable in His will;
a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support."
This sentiment was echoed by one of the most popular preachers in America during the Civil War era, Henry Ward Beecher, whose sister, Harriett Beecher Stowe, wrote the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852.
Henry Ward Beecher was the pastor of Brooklyn's Plymouth Church. He stated NOVEMBER 18, 1869:
"In the unity of the nation ... we hope much from religion; very little from sectarian churches; much from the Spirit of God blessing the Truth of his Word to the hearts of individual men;
much from the individual men that are nobler than their sect; much from free men whose adhesion to forms and ceremonies is the least part of their existence;
much from religion as it exists in its higher forms in individual nature and in public sentiment;
very little from dogmas; very little from theology as such ..."
"Let us implore the God of our fathers, by his own wise providence, to save us from our wanton passions, from impertinent egotism, from pride, arrogance, cruelty, and sensual lusts, that as a nation we may show forth His praise in all the earth."
(Get the book, The Treacherous World of the 16th Century and How the Pilgrims Escaped It: The Prequel to America's Freedom)
A similar view was shared by President Chester Arthur, who died NOVEMBER 18, 1886.
The son of a Baptist minister from Ireland, Chester Arthur was an abolitionist lawyer who defended the rights of African Americans, then served as the Union's Inspector General during the Civil War.
As the 21st President, Chester Arthur stated October 25, 1882:
"The blessings demanding our gratitude are numerous and varied ... for ... moral education of our youth; for the influence upon the conscience of a restraining and transforming religion ...
for these and for many other blessings we should give thanks ...
I do recommend ... that the people, ceasing from their daily labors ... draw near to the throne of Almighty God, offering to Him praise and gratitude for the manifold goodness which He has vouchsafed to us."
On NOVEMBER 18, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated in Savannah, Georgia:
"We are celebrating the planting of the Colony of Georgia ... which had its roots in religious teachings and religious liberty, a State in which the first Sunday School was established ...
Let me ... read to you a very short passage from ... a great son of a great Georgia mother, Theodore Roosevelt. He said:
'Spiritually and ethically we must strive to bring about clean living and right thinking. We appreciate that the things of the body are important; but we appreciate also that the things of the soul are immeasurably more important.'"
New York's Legislature stated in 1838:
"Our Government depends for its being on the virtue of the people, - on that virtue that has its foundation in the morality of the Christian religion; and that religion is the common and prevailing faith of the people."
Julius Caesar Watts, Jr., was born NOVEMBER 18, 1957:
A college and pro football player, J.C. Watts was a youth minister before being elected in 1994 as a U.S. Congressman.
As the House Conference Chairman, J.C. Watts responded to the President's 1997 State of the Union Address:
"I was taught to respect everyone for the simple reason that we're all God's children. I was taught, in the words of Martin Luther King, to judge a man not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.
And I was taught that character is simply doing what's right when nobody's looking."
Montesquieu wrote in The Spirit of the Laws, 1748:
"In a popular state, one spring more is necessary,
namely, virtue ...
The politic Greeks, who lived under a popular government, knew no other support than virtue ...
When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community ...
When, in a popular government, there is a suspension of the laws, as this can proceed only from the corruption of the republic, the state is certainly undone."
Massachusetts Governor Samuel Adams wrote February 12, 1779:
"While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued;
but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader."
Dr. Benjamin Rush explained in Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical , 1798:
"In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them.
We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible.
For this Divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism."
George Washington stated in his Farewell Address, September 19, 1796:
"Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government ...
Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its virtue?"
(Get the book, Three Secular Reasons Why America Should be Under God)