Friday, August 26, 2016

The colonies started with state religions



William Brown said...

Of course they did. What's your point Victor?

Victor Reppert said...

People tend to assume that people who came to America were against the idea of establishing religion. They had not problem with the idea.

William Brown said...

Oh OK, I see your point.
I guess I've read enough American history that I assumed it was basic common knowledge. Patrick Henry, the fiery patriot himself was a strong advocate of government support of the Christian faith. Toward his latter years, his primary goal was the strengthening of Christian morals in the culture. Thos. Kidd's recent bio of Henry documents this well. The need for virtue was commonly understood and shared by most of the founders of our republic.
The original settlers had a strong establishment of Protestant Calvinism, but we should not be anachronistic and historicist about this. It was necessary and crucial to their cohesion, survival, and identity and tended to soften over the decades as they grew secure and self-sufficient.

Ilíon said...

"People tend to assume that people who came to America were against the idea of establishing religion."

People have *also* been intentionally misinformed that the people who wrote and the vastly more numerous ones who ratified the Constitution and Bill of Rights "were against the idea of establishing religion".

William Brown said...

They were indeed opposed to an establishment, but they also, almost uniformly, also made it clear that the republic would not survive without a virtuous citizenry. In their words, that required the endorsement and promotion of Christianity.

Ilíon said...

^ At the time of Ratification, half (or more) of the States had established churches. They most certainly were not opposed to establishment of religion -- they saw it as a legitimate function of government.

The whole point of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment is to demarcate establishment of religion as a proper function of the existing State governments, rather than of the new Federal government.