There is an expression in life that says, “If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, smells like a duck, quacks like a duck it is a duck.” I believe the historical evidence is overwhelming in favor of Biblical Christianity being the dominant persuasion of the colonial fathers. Let’s examine the four “organic laws” of the United States. They would be the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
The Articles of Confederation were agreed to on November 15, 1777 by the Continental Congress. They were in force by March 1, 1781. The Revolutionary war ended in 1783. The Articles of Confederation served as the original government of the United States. However they were weak in many areas. There was no national court system, no power to tax, ( the national government had to request funds from the states), and there was no executive. They proved too weak and eventually led to the calling of the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia to write the Constitution in the summer of 1787. However, there were some achievements done under the Articles. We signed the Treaty of Paris which ended the revolutionary war under the Articles. We also see the Northwest Ordinance authored in 1787 which gave us the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.
I want to point out the glaring evidence of the influence of the belief in Jesus Christ in the above mentioned documents. The opening of the Articles of Confederation reads, “To All To Whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names and send greeting. Whereas the Delegates of the United States of America in Congress assembled did on the fifteenth day of November in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy seven, and in the Second Year of the Independence of America agree to certain articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union . . . ” Notice the use of the date being the Year of our Lord.
The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence reads, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. . . ” Notice again the evidence of a Christian foundation with the pointing to the Creator.
Article seven of the US Constitution is known as the Ratification Article. It sets forth the requirement that approval by nine of the thirteen states were necessary for the accepting and ratification of the Constitution. The last paragraph before the affixing of signatures reads, “Done in Convention by unanimous consent of the States present the seventeenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our Names.” We again see here the use of the date being the Year of our Lord.
The fourth document to examine is the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. It provided the basis for the governments in the territories and became the provided the process of how territories could apply for and become states. The admission of new states is covered in Article four section three of the Constitution. The Northwest Ordinance reads, ” Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government. . . ” It seems pretty obvious that the religion mentioned in 1787 was Christianity.