The Foundations of American Freedom
The 700 Club
Robertson: It is a pleasure to have with us David Barton to talk about the
spiritual legacy of America. I am so glad you are he with us.
Barton: Thanks, Pat. It's good to be with you.
Robertson: You always inspire us. The question is asked,
was America founded as a Christian nation? We have said yes, yes,
yes. But you have the proof.
Barton: There is a lot of proof. Not the least of which
is a great 4th of July speech that was given in 1737 by one of
the guys who fought in the revolution, who became a president,
John Quincy Adams. His question was why is it in America that
the Fourth of July and Christmas are the most celebrated holidays?
His answer was that at Christmas we celebrate what Jesus Christ
did for the world his birth, and on the 4th of July we celebrate
what Jesus Christ did for America, since we founded it as a Christian
nation. So this is a guy who fought in it, and all these years
later he is saying, we did this as a Christian nation. The Declaration
of Independence formed all of the principles of Christianity into
our form of government. They said that on a regular basis, and
it was they who said it was a Christian nation.
Robertson: He was the son of John Adams, who was very
instrumental in the Declaration of Independence. It was Jefferson
who penned it, but Adams was right there in all those debates
and deliberations. He was probably the preeminent member of that
Barton: John Adams was really the key decision-maker behind
the scenes. He's the guy who convinced everybody else that it
should be George Washington as Commander in Chief instead of Charles
Lee. He's the guy who convinced everybody else that Jefferson
ought to be the chief writer of the Declaration. Adams persuaded
everyone else, and Jefferson said Adams is the guy who best articulated
the principles. And it is interesting, too, that on the day they
approved the Declaration, John Adams said that the Fourth of July
should be celebrated as a day of deliverance by solemn acts of
devotion to God Almighty.
Robertson: He said that?
Barton: He said that. He said that it should be a religious
holiday. The Fourth of July should be a time when we stop and
say thank you God for what you have done in this nation.
Robertson: When we had a revolution to free ourselves
from Great Britain there was a motto. What was that motto?
Barton: The motto that was often used, it showed up in
the Vermont Legislature, and it was, "No king but King Jesus."
It was built actually on what Jefferson and Franklin had proposed
as the national motto, which is, "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience
to God." That's based on Acts four and five where the Apostles
said, 'Well, do we obey God? Do we obey man? We think we'll obey
God.' And so that motto, "No king but King Jesus" was a big part
of the revolution.
Robertson: When John Ashcroft said that he was roundly
condemned, but that was the motto of the Revolution.
Barton: It was the motto of the Revolution, and that's
established. As a matter of fact, the currency of each state throughout
the Revolution, they had their own money -- and North Carolina's
currency had a picture of a crown with an x over it, and it had
a Bible under it, and it said, 'the Bible is our law.' That was
the currency of the revolution for the different states.
Robertson: David, you've studied all of this. Doesn't
it break your heart to see what these courts are doing to strip
our religious heritage?
Barton: It is amazing because that kind of decision has
far-reaching repercussions. But on the other side, it's an indictment
of ourselves. We have judges that are there only because elected
people put them there. We have 60 million evangelicals in America,
and only 15 million voted last election. Forty-five million didn't
vote, and 24 million aren't registered to vote. We lost our five
Senators by a collective total of 100,000 votes in five states,
and yet 45 million Christians didn't vote in those states in that
election. So if we want to see judges change we have to turn out
this November and elect god-fearing guys to the Senate and get
this stuff changed and going in a different direction.
Robertson: You have a number of books here before us.
Tell us what some of them are. I know you brought them here for
Barton: They are all indications of the deep Christian
convictions of these guys who did our Declaration. For an example,
here is a hand written letter from one of the signers of the Declaration.
This letter is from Charles Carroll of Carrollton. He says, "On
the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation, and on His merits,
not on the works that I've done in obedience to His precepts."
So this is supposed to be one of our atheist, agnostic, deist
founding fathers, and there is an open declaration of Jesus, and
the mercy of our Redeemer.
Robertson: What are some of these other ones?
Barton: This is a hymnbook from 1767. It's America's
very first hymnbook. This was done by a signer of the Declaration,
Francis Hopkinson. He took the entire book of Psalms and set it
to music. So our first hymnbook came from a political leader.
This is the
first family Bible ever done in America. This was from 1791, and it's from the
Reverend Dr. John Witherspoon.
Robertson: He was the editor or the compiler of that?
Barton: He was the editor and compiler of this, and he
wrote a really funny introduction to this thing. It is essentially
the text for the King James Bible, but he said we just fought
a war to get rid of kings, and we're not about to call this the
King James Bible. On top of that it's God's Bible, it's not King
James' Bible anyway. So he wrote the introduction to this and
compiled it as the family Bible.
Robertson: Witherspoon was the President of Princeton.
Here's another one -- these are fascinating.
Barton: This is the book that the founders said they used
in writing the Declaration. This is John Locke's Two Treatises
of Civil Government, from 1765. This is the basis of the Declaration.
This quotes the Bible 1,700 times to show the proper operation
of civil government. No wonder we have had a successful government
-- 226 years we celebrate this year. There are 1700 Bible verses
at the base of what they did in writing the Declaration.
Robertson: One last thing, but I wish we had an hour.
Barton: This is a proclamation from John Hancock in 1791.
He had been the President of Congress. You will find throughout,
as you'll see here at the bottom, the Lord Jesus Christ all over
this thing. It's an interesting proclamation. It's a state proclamation,
and his request is, since I'm the Governor of Massachusetts, let's
pray that if there is anyone who doesn't know Christ, that they
would come to know Christ in Massachusetts.
Robertson: That was a state proclamation in the state
Barton: It was a state proclamation from a signer of the
Declaration of Independence. So this nonsense that these guys
wanted a secular nation, that they didn't want any God in government,
it doesn't hold up.
Robertson: Well keep it up. I wish we had an hour to
talk about this because this thrills me to hear about it. But
ladies and gentlemen, we have lost our heritage. We must recapture
our heritage. I thank David Barton for the work that he's done,
because he always thrills us when he comes. Thank you so much.
Barton: Thanks, Pat. It's good to be with you, brother.
Spirit Behind '76
Washington is "The Father of our Country"
Looks at U.S. History and Asks: 'What If?'
Henry, A Christian Nation
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