I wonder sometimes if we today in the United States actually possess an accurate image of who the Founding Fathers were and what they believed. Probably though one founder who is closest in image to reality is George Washington. But even then, I believe we view an image that suffers pale colors from years of strong anti-religious rays beating down on it. Most are familiar with the image of Washington praying the in the snow, but just how much did Washington believe that God influenced the affairs of men? So to get a more accurate view, lets look at some of Washington’s own words:
“Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the council of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States..” “…Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency” From President George Washington’s Inaugural Address, April 30th, 1789, addressed to both Houses of Congress.
Though the language is richer than commonly used today, I believe the message is still clear. Washington believed that God Who directs the affairs of men had a strong and distinguishable hand in the United States’ founding. I’ll let Washington summarizes his view of those who would deny this assessment:
“The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.” George Washington’s letter of August 20, 1778 to Brig. General Thomas Nelson