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George Washington: Patriotic, Atheist, Agnostic, Deist?

GEORGE WASHINGTON

There is absolutely no need to wonder where George Washington stood on the matter of religion. That is, unless you try to put him in too small a box. He was a man deep personal faith in Almighty God but believed, as did most of the early leaders, that it was in the best interest of all believers, not to favor any one denomination. . . . Interestingly, it has even been claimed by some non-believers that Washington was atheist because of his ambiguity when addressing religious leaders of the day.
In the copies of General Orders posted while he was General of the Continental Army (1775-79), Washington implored his subordinates to forbid swearing and drinking and also, to attend to matters of religious exercise. In a letter to the governors of the states on disbanding the army, June 8, 1783, Washington writes,

“I now make it my earnest prayer the God would have you and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and, finally, that he would be most graciously pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.”  That hardly sounds like the writing of an atheist.

It is more than just interesting to note that whenever the founding fathers wrote about “religion”, they almost always were referring to “Christianity”. Nearly a hundred years later, in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Church of the Holy Trinity vs. U.S.(1892) cited 87 historical precedents in its conclusion that, “Our laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. In this sense and to this extent, our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”  Although we hear much today about “the separation of church and state” , you will not find that phrase or that intent in the U.S. constitution. In fact, in an 1811 U.S. Supreme Court case (People vs.Ruggles) the court declared against a man for profaning Jesus Christ and the Bible, ruling that “whatever strikes at the root of Christianity tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government.”

In George Washington’s famous Farewell Address delivered on September 19, 1796, he stated, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. . . .  ” please read the entire article: here

The topic of our Founding Founders and their lack of religion, faith and “not being Christians”, has become a growing topic of acceptance for several decades.  Looking back, I believe this was part of the reconstruction and disassembling of facts regarding our nations foundation.  There has been a sweeping Liberal/ Progressive movement since the ‘3o’s or ’40’s, and that political force had a specific intent — to rewrite history to ‘correct wrongs’ by demeaning our nation.  What better place to begin than with George Washington, who was by all accounts, a man of honesty and integrity.  Something virtually impossible to find in a present day politicians, who are more likely to glory in their peccadilloes and indiscretions than not.

Washington had a respect for God and His personal involvement in a nation and it’s people.  Whether he fell into the specific definition of a ‘Christian’, that is between him and God, but he spoke of reverence for God and thus, can never be viewed as an atheist — nor did he particularly sound like the definition of deist.

I would not expect our public/ government schools to teach our children about God or the Bible (although both were done in Texas up until the 1940’s, with successful results) but I would like to expect our schools to teach facts – not simple Liberal theories and bias, which is often done (aka, there is no evidence of “evolution” or “climate change”).   But the specific intent of some people is to rewritten history and find inventive ways to malign our country’s foundation and it’s Founding Fathers, to correct an ‘injustice’.  The first settlers of this new land, didn’t “slaughter” indians to “steal their land” — they came seeking freedom from an oppressive government, freedom from overly burdensome taxation and freedom to worship freely without having government forcing tithes to the Catholic church.  They began on good, friendly terms with native people found here — even some of those natives (as Pocahontas) became Christians and began evangelizing.

We cannot dismiss these men as atheist or men who saw God as an uninvolved, uninterested force on mankind.  To do so is an injustice to them, our heritage and ourselves.

Washington might well not have attended a particular ‘domination’ or church, but we can’t dismiss his Godly respect simply on that.  But most importantly, a person doesn’t have to be a Christian or Jew to strive for morals and hold respect for God.  And people can and are directed by God, in the establishment and creation of all things positive.  God uses all men and women to do His will and biding, even when they might be unaware!  Reading the plight of Pharaoh is proof enough, as we see in Exodus 9.

It is a grave mistake to try to limit the power and ability of God, and that must include, the establishment of the United States.  We cannot state that our Founders weren’t Christians (as specifically defined) just as we can’t state with specificity that they weren’t.  But as Christians, we do know God uses all people for His purpose and His purpose was to establish this country with maximum personal liberty for people, who have gone on to evangelize as no other nation ever has.  That could have been our Lord’s primary purpose.

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2 comments on “George Washington: Patriotic, Atheist, Agnostic, Deist?

  1. Bill Fortenberry
    November 30, 2012

    There is very good evidence from Washington’s own writings that he was a sincere Christian believer. For example,

    “O God, who art rich in mercy and plenteous in redemption, mark not, I beseech thee, what I have done amiss; remember I am but dust, and remit my transgressions, negligences & ignorances, and cover them all with the absolute obedience of thy dear Son, that those sacrifices which I have offered may be accepted by thee, in and for the sacrifice Jesus Christ offered upon the cross for me; for his sake, ease me of the burden of my sins, and give me grace that by the call of the Gospel I may rise from the slumber of sin unto newness of life.” (http://christian76.com/george-washington/)

    I have written a lengthy article on Washington’s beliefs in response to the claims put forth in the video “The Hidden Faith of the Founding Fathers.” You can read my article at this link: http://www.increasinglearning.com/the-hidden-facts-of-the-founding-era-7.html

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  2. Ceil
    August 21, 2013

    George Washington was a Mason. Mason’s must believe in a higher Power to become Masons so I believe Washinton was not an atheist.

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Ronald Reagan

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." Ronald Reagan
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