Willowbrook Baptist Church - Huntsville, Alabama

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic
Text courtesy of the Library of Congress - http://www.loc.gov/
  

Congressional Fast Day Proclamation, March 16, 1776
Congress proclaimed days of fasting and of thanksgiving annually throughout the Revolutionary  War.  This proclamation by Congress set May 17, 1776, as a "day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer" throughout the colonies.  Congress urges its fellow citizens to "confess and bewail our manifold sins and transgressions, and by a sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease his [God's] righteous displeasure, and through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness."  Massachusetts ordered a "suitable Number" of these proclamations to be printed so "that each of the religious Assemblies in this Colony, may be furnished with a Copy of the same" and added the motto "God Save This People" as a substitute for "God Save the King."

 

Washington's Prayer, Circular to the chief executives of the states - June 11, 1783
Some have called the concluding paragraph of George Washington's circular as "Washington's Prayer."

"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 Characteristicks 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."
                                                                                                       George Washington

 

Religion Indispensable to Republican Government
Alexis de Tocqueville's impression of American attitudes toward the relation of government and religion was formed on his tour of the United States in the early 1830's during the high tide of evangelicalism:

Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions.  Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief.  I do not know whether all the Americans have a sincere faith in their religion; for who can search the human heart?  but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions.  This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.

                                                                                                Alexis de Tocqueville



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Credits:
Willowbrook Baptist Church (Huntsville, Alabama), photograph by Eric Shindelbower
Note - The two United States Flags were hanging in Willowbrook Baptist Church in memory of the lives lost in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center & Pentagon Buildings.
Special Thanks to Willowbrook Baptist Church for allowing me to make this photograph.  Visit the Willowbrook Baptist Church (Huntsville, Alabama) web site - http://www.willowbrook.org/

Congressional Fast Day Proclamation, Washington's Prayer & Religion Indispensable to Republican Government text courtesy of the Manuscript Division & Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.  Found under the Religion and the Founding of the American Republic Collections Exhibit in the Library of Congress web site.  Used by permission of the Fair Use Provision of the Copyright Act.  The Library of Congress - http://www.loc.gov/

Background pattern courtesy of the

Web page design and content - Eric Shindelbower