THE BIBLE'S INFLUENCE ON AMERICAN HISTORY DO YOU AGREE?
America Heritage Series Dr. David Barton
The Bible's Influence on America's Culture
thinly disguised as a piece of literature.
RABBI DANIEL LAPIN
In earlier articles I have discussed the influence of the Bible on America's founding, our early government and leaders, and the origins of American public education. It is evident that the Bible's influence on each of these was both persuasive and pervasive.
But what about our daily life? Did the Bible equally impact everyday life in "Old America," the America that reflected what our Founding Fathers desired? What can be said for it's influence on our American culture? Often that influence flies just under our radar, but if you look carefully, it's clearly there.
When my wife, Linda, and I were naming our children, we stayed away from the typical names the flower children gave to their children--Cinnamon, Rainbow, Sunflower, Honeysuckle, etc.--and chose names we liked, not family names. The Bible has often significantly impacted the names Americans have given their children.
John was the most popular boys' name from 1880 (the earliest year my research could trace) through 1924. Mary was the most popular girls' name from 1880 until 1947 (when it was knocked out by Linda, only to return in 1953 to hold the top spot until Lisa knocked it out again in 1962). In 1972 it fell out of the top ten and has never returned.
In the early years of America, most children were named Jeremiah, Abigail, John, Josiah, Peter, Sarah, Paul, or Elizabeth.Today, many of these Bible names are making a comeback. In fact, of the top 50 names given to girls in America in 2005, 14 are Bible names. Of the top 50 names given to boys, 25 are Bible names.
Since historically Americans have been a Bible-reading people, that was bound to show up in naming our children.
Interesting, isn't it, that so many small towns and villages in America have biblical names. In eastern Pennsylvania you can begin at Philadelphia (a Bible name--Revelation 3:7) and in two hours you can visit both Bethlehem and Nazareth, as well as Emmaus, Bethesda, Shiloh, Bethel, Eden, Ephrata, Zionsville and New Jerusalem. If you choose, you can stop by Mount Nebo, Mount Zion, Mount Joy, Mount Lebanon, and Mount Carmel. Have you wondered why? It's because the Bible had a direct impact on the society and culture of Old America and it shows up in the names they gave their towns and villages.
But you say, "That's Pennsylvania. Don't a lot of Amish live there?" Maybe you expect it in Pennsylvania, but take a drive through the Lone Star State and you can visit Athens and Corinth, as well as Karnack, Palestine, Hebron, Eden, Joshua, Temple, Bishop, Blessing, and Corpus Christi.
Again, you object. "That's Texas. It's part of the Bible belt. A lot of Southern Baptists live there." Okay, how about California? You wouldn't expect as much Amish or Baptist influence there. And yet in California you can visit Antioch, Carmel, Goshen, Bethel Island, Joshua Tree and Temple City. You could drive through Angels Camp or even go to Paradise, and if you didn't like that you could go to Diablo.
It doesn't matter where you go in the United States or whom you meet, when it comes to naming names, the influence of the Bible on America is undeniable.
Speaking Bible as a Second Language
What about the words and expressions we use? Is there any evidence of the Bible's influence in what we say? Well, because it's more blessed to give than to receive, and because I don't want you to be at your wit's end, let me suggest that the English language, as well as many other languages, is chock full of phrases and proverbs from the Bible.
Here's a partial list of common phrases from the King James Bible we Americans use almost daily.
- "Apple of his eye" -- Deuteronomy 32:10, Zechariah 2:8
- "Blind leading the blind" -- Matthew 15:14, Luke 6:39
- "Eat, drink, and be merry" -- Ecclesiastes 8:15 KJV
- "Eye for an eye" -- Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20; Matthew 5:38
- "Good Samaritan" -- Luke 10:25-37
- "Handwriting on the wall" -- Daniel 5:5
- "My brother's keeper" -- Genesis 4:9
- "Out of the mouths of babes" -- Psalm 8:2
- "Red sky at morning" -- Matthew 16:3
- "Signs of the times" -- Matthew 16:3
- "Strait and narrow" -- Matthew 7:14
- "Sweat of your brow" -- Genesis 3:19 KJV
- "The blind leading the blind" -- Matthew 15:14, Luke 6:39
- "Thorn in the flesh" -- 2 Corinthians 12:7
These aren't all, of course. In fact, these are just a "drop in the bucket" (Oops! that's from Isaiah 40:15). Oh, and what I said above about it being more blessed to give than to receive and not being at your wit's end, those expressions come from Acts 20:35 and Psalm 107:27. It's hard to speak the English language without quoting the Bible.
Here's something else that may surprise you. It's the number of words that were introduced into our English language through the Bible. The following is a partial list of words and phrases that first appeared in English translations of the Bible.
holier than thou
under the sun
Surprised? Me too.
Teresa Watanabe, a feature writer for The Los Angeles Times, noted, "The [Bible] is a cornerstone of Western civilization, inspiring the art of Michelangelo, the plays of William Shakespeare, the novels of John Steinbeck and the films of Hollywood. It's prose has enlivened our language: Salt of the earth. Wolves in sheep's clothing. Drop in the bucket. Skin of my teeth. Woe is me!"
speaking the Bible as a second language.
William Tyndale coined a variety of expressions in his translation of the Bible into English, including: "Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3); "The powers that be" (Romans 13:1); "My brother's keeper" (Gen. 4:9); "The salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13); "A law unto themselves" (Romans 2:14); "Filthy lucre" (1 Tim. 3:3).
The Bible has played a major role in the formation of our English language, even though most of us aren't aware of it.
The Bible and American Masterpieces
Since the Bible has been kicked out of public education, students today have difficulty recognizing biblical expressions from great novels written before 1950. Students do not recognize literary references to "Jonah" or "the prodigal son." Professors are forced to decode these images so students dumbed-down in the Bible can understand the context of our masterpieces of literature.
Educator Allen Bloom suggests, "Imagine such a young person [devoid of history, especially Bible history and the stories of the Bible] walking through the Louvre or the Uffizi, and you can immediately grasp the condition of his soul. In his innocence of the stories of Biblical and Greek or Roman antiquity, Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and all the others can say nothing to him. All he sees are colors and forms--modern art. In short, like almost everything else in his spiritual life, the paintings and statues are abstract."
You don't have to go to Paris or Venice to see the dazed looks on students' faces.& Without a proper foundation in the Bible, American students betray those same faces in our own galleries and libraries.
The world has been touched by the Bible in every discipline, and we in the United States have not escaped. Literature and art in this country are as much or more influenced by the Bible than in any other country.
Again, here are some of literary classics by American authors that use biblical themes, references or allusions, some even in their titles.
The Grapes of Wrath -- John Steinbeck
The Song of Solomon -- Toni Morrison
Moby Dick -- Herman Melville
Lord of the Flies -- William Golding
The Scarlet Letter -- Nathaniel Hawthorne
Uncle Tom's Cabin -- Harriet Beecher Stowe
Uncle Tom's Cabin there are references to the Bible.
Uncle Tom's Cabin contains almost 100 quotations from or direct references to the King James version of the Bible. Most often it is the narrator who makes the connections between the story and the Bible, but among the characters, it is Tom himself who most frequently quotes the Bible. It is nearly impossible for American school children to understand this American novel without some knowledge of the Bible.
Poetry, by its very nature, is often brief. Even still, detecting the influence of the Bible on American poets is not impossible. Many American poets reference God or their longing for God in their poetry. As is the case in American film, American literature, and in other cultural genres, sometimes God doesn't fare well in American poetry; other times He does. Regardless, God and His Bible have left their imprint on the poetry of America.
Here are some representative titles:
The Battle Hymn of the Republic -- Julia Ward Howe
The Crowing of the Red Cock -- Emma Lazarus
Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl -- John Greenleaf Whittier
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek -- Annie Dillard
The Only News I Know -- Emily Dickinson
The Living Temple -- Oliver Wendell Holmes
Journey of the Magi -- T. S. Eliot
There is a growing band of Christians who are invading the once secular world of American poetry. The Bible has always had some influence on American poetry, but it is now coming front and center.
Believe it or not, even Hollywood has been impacted by the Bible. You only have to remember some Tinsel Town greats (and not-so-greats) to remember that the Bible or biblical themes were seminal to many of them. For example:
The Ten Commandments
The Passion of the Christ
King of Kings
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Lord of the Rings
The Prince of Egypt
Chariots of Fire
Of course, the Bible is not always treated fairly by Hollywood, but in an essay in the Journal of Religion and Film, Adele Reinhartz discusses some of the movies popular with college students and concludes, "The many uses of the Bible in film is a powerful argument for biblical literacy. Should our students, university administrators or provincial ministers of education question the on-going relevance of biblical studies programs, let us simply point them to the nearest Cineplex and ask them, as Jules [of Pulp Fiction] asks his erstwhile victims, 'Do you read the Bible?'"
The Bible's influence on our culture is everywhere. Old American society would not be the great society it is today without the impact of the Bible. Ironic, isn't it, that the Bible is everywhere in our culture but itself is neglected by our culture. It seems we'd rather see a bad movie based on biblical themes than read the Good Book. What will be the impact of that? Stay tuned.
Dr. Woodrow Kroll, President
Back to the Bible International
|The Positive Influence of the Bible in America|
Psalm 33:12: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."
Everything good that we have been blessed with in our society here in the U.S.A., comes directly or indirectly, from God's grace and the Bible's influence. You may think this a bold statement to make but I am prepared to defend it. One of the things that I am sure that grieves the heart of God, is the fact that instead of people being grateful for all the blessings God has bestowed upon mankind, many blame Him and His followers for the problems in the world.
In our society it seems popular to criticize Christians and blame them for things that really are not their fault. They are even lumped in the same category with cults and weird sects. People should realize there are things that are said and done in the name of Christianity that are not Christian at all. The Bible even warns us of people like that who actually hurt the cause of Christ. In this article when I speak of Christian or Christianity, I am referring to the true believer and the true followers of Christ.
Many people do not realize what the Bible and Christian influence has accomplished for the betterment of our lives, especially here in the United States. They walk around enjoying the good life with its abundance here in free America, without understanding they owe it all to a book they have been taught by many to despise -- the Bible. Even some countries who have embraced false religions are blessed in aspects of their societies where they are practicing scriptural principles. The keeping of God's Word always brings blessing.
It is a well-known fact that our founding fathers in the USA were, for the most part, godly men who took the Bible's principles to construct our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Any unbiased historian knows that the Bible has had a much greater influence in the shaping of the foundation of this nation than is being currently taught in our schools Let us look at some of these influences that we could lose if we fail to acknowledge God and bring Him back in the national life.
The Bible and Its Effect on the Judicial System of the United States
The United States has laws on the books that enforce punishment on those who would assault and rape women, those who would murder, those who would steal and lie. You may be surprised to know that the source of these laws came directly from the Bible and were given for the protection of society. Many of them can be found in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy.
Other examples of laws taken directly from the Bible are our laws regarding bankruptcy, laws in our courts that demand witnesses to a crime before one can be convicted, and laws that demand just weights for commerce. Many of the past laws, like our child labor laws protected children from being exploited. Even our government Child Protection Agency was created to keep children from abuse. Although this agency goes to the extreme at times and shields a rebellious child that is lying, its original intent was to protect children from parental abuse. Our civil laws were established to keep order in our society, and because our founding fathers were Christians, they created a structure that was based on moral laws taken from the Bible.
Most of the original laws that our judicial system upheld were taken directly from the Bible. (Many of these down through the years have now been altered or abandoned to our determent as a nation. In fact, scripture says we would live in such a day. (Daniel 7:25: "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.")
Our present-day judicial system has now drifted away from its original intent of protecting the innocent and unjustly accused, while convicting the wicked so they will not harm others. Today, it is being exploited by many lawyers, as well as people who want to use the legal system for personal gain beyond what would be a fair settlement. They are seeking outlandish judgments that in the end all the people will pay for. Through unfair settlements in these kinds of suits, the lawyers are the ones most rewarded. Protection of the innocent, in many cases, has been overruled while criminals are not justly dealt with. Quick punishment for the guilty has been abandoned, as court appeals and delays stretch into costly and lengthy trials that last for years at the public's expense. We need to return to Biblical principles and once again shape our laws accordingly, if we desire to see justice in our land. 2 Samuel 23:3, "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God."
The Bible and Its Effect on Benevolent Practices in Society
Historically, when true Christianity came to any region, those who were practicing Christ's commands would began to reach out to help the poor, the oppressed, the sick, and needy. Most of our present day hospitals, charity centers, orphanages and rescue missions were all founded by Christians in keeping with the Biblical commands of Christ to demonstrate His love to a needy world. God has always been interested in helping the weak, the feeble and afflicted. Ungodly societies destroy their weak, helpless and burdensome members.
We are praying for all nations that practice abortion because this practice does not show the love of God toward babies. Rather, it is an unloving act that is adversely affecting all of society. Men and women are hardening their hearts to the idea of protecting the sanctity of a human life. Regardless of what those who believe in abortion rights claim, most abortions are not done to protect the mother's life or some other so-called valid reason, but, rather to allow the mother and father to escape their responsibility of caring for the little life they had a part in creating. Most abortions are done out of pure selfishness. The mother and father simply do not want a child to interfere with their plans. The Bible teaches we are to overcome selfishness, not encourage it. We need to reverse the law in our land that allows abortions so freely, as the soul of our nation has accepted a practice that we will all regret. The consequences of murder is "a life for a life" and this will mean the loss of much life in our nation unless we repent.
Numbers 35:33: "So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it."
In regard to abortion, another thing the U.S. is facing, is the fact that our nation's workforce is hitting middle age. Along with this comes the threat of a long-term labor shortage. When abortion first became legalized no one foresaw this problem. Because people are living longer (Our current average life span in the U.S.A. is 76 years according to recent statistics), the senior population will need to be supported by younger workers in the social security program. Where will these workers come from? Since we have now murdered over 10,000,000 of our potential new workers, we are left with an enormous shortage of younger workers. Baby Boomers are turning 50 at a rate of 11,000 people per day.¹ Their impending departure from the labor pool is creating a shortage of workers leaving not enough younger workers to fill their place. Eleven percent fewer Americans were born from 1966 to 1985 than those born in the two decades after World War II. Because of lower birth rates, coupled with job expansion, employers will have no choice but to fill their payrolls with those over 60 who are willing to continue to work. If our nation ever needed to reverse a law that is destroying us it is the law that is allowing abortions.
Other nations like China, who limit their population expansion through abortion are also running into problems. Because each family is only allowed one child, many parents are electing to keep their sons while destroying their daughters, so they will have a male heir. The population in China is now out of balance with more men than women. Where will Chinese men be able to find a female mate for marriage? This could create severe problems in the social structure of a nation that could lead to rape, jealousy, etc.
Christianity's Influence in Education
Contrary to popular opinion, Christians are not anti-education. The Bible instructs us to teach our children. The real issue is not eliminating education, but rather seeing that the information being taught is accurate and is not against the Word of God. Most of our well known universities, such as Harvard, Princeton and Yale, were founded by Christians. In fact, the first 126 colleges and universities in the U.S.A. were built for the glory of Jesus and the advancement of the gospel.² Christians took the Bible seriously when the Word of God commanded them to teach and train their children in the way of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7: "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
How sad it is now that our laws now forbid Christian students to pray publicly in the classrooms of our schools. Instead, violence stalks the halls of our education centers and children are murdering in the classrooms. Each law that eliminates God and His influence from our society, allows evil to fill its place. Disallowing public prayer in our schools is another law that needs to be reversed.
How the Bible and Christianity Has Influenced the Family Unit
The Bible is very supportive of the family unit as God created the first family. The family unit in America was the strongest when the national life of the nation upheld laws and principles that protected it. As the judicial system relaxed divorce laws with no-contest rulings, divorce increased. When our society became tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle, the family unit took another downward spiral. (Notice, I said tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle, not the homosexual. God loves the homosexual and wants to change them and give them a normal life. However, He hates the sin of homosexuality as it is destroying many lives and families.) When laws are established that encourage sin, then the fruit of that sin brings confusion to society. Laws in our nation that are trying to gain acceptance for gays to marry will further escalate destruction to the family.
The Lord desires for the family unit to once again thrive with the husband as the head of the family who loves and nurtures his wife and children. Christian homes that are in God's order will produce happy and loving families. Many cultures throughout history made women mere chattels or property of the man. When Jesus came, He truly liberated women to be restored to their proper place in a marriage. The Biblical model for marriage is a partnership between a husband and wife, where both parties love and respect each other. Cultures and societies without the Bible's influence usually repress and use the women and even the children.
However, our culture has, in many ways, swung in the opposite direction with many woman dominating and lording it over the man and trying to rule him. Many women in the United States do not have a submissive attitude toward their husbands, but rather, want to do their own thing. Many women in our nation have abandoned their husbands and children for the excitement of the marketplace. Being in this arena has further divided the home and left a whole generation of children without their mothers or fathers. It is not always wrong for women to be in the workplace, but generally it is better for the mother to be at home with the children when they are young. Children no longer are being mentored by their parents, but by daycare workers, baby sitters, humanistic school teachers, and the wicked influences of the media that have brainwashed them with the evil ideas of the day. The Bible is just old-fashioned enough to advise parents to teach and raise their children. (We realize 50% of homes in America are single parent homes and some of these never wanted to be in that situation. In those cases, they must make the best of the situation they are in and pray for the Lord to help them.)
Ephesians 5:21-25: "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it."
Our homes are being battered from many different sources. Pornography is another area where our laws need tightening and enforcing. Our nation also has laws on the books against this evil. However, we have allowed evil to prevail in the name of freedom. Without a Christian influence against this kind of evil, more women and children will be exploited, and lust will destroy the intimacy of our marriages. Keeping the commandments of the Bible is all that stands between us and this flood of evil. Those who produce pornography for greed and those who want their lustful and sinful desires satisfied are responsible for this evil remaining in our nation.
It is only the "salt and light" of Christianity that keeps us from total destruction. Again, Christianity's effect on the family unit is demonstrated as people follow the Lord's plan for a happy marriage with the husband loving and caring for his wife as the Lord cares for His bride, the church.
The Bible's Influence in the Market Place
If you have a day off during the week you can attribute it to the influence of Christianity. The Bible lists as one of the Ten Commandments, the keeping of the Sabbath rest.
Exodus 20:8-11: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."
Other influences of Christianity and the Word of God in the market place are the establishment of just and fair wages, the negotiating of honest deals and production of quality products.
Christianity's Influence on Animal Rights and Ecology
The Bible gives us guidelines in the handling of the earth's resources and Christians are taught in the Word of God to manage them properly. The scriptures are not silent in regard to these things. Proverbs 12:10 says, "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."
We can also see from the scripture's below that the Bible teaches ecology by allowing the mother bird to go if you eat the eggs she has lain.
Deuteronomy 22:6-7: "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: 7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days."
Caring hearts will take care of the animals and the land. The Bible even instructed man to allow the land that crops were raised on to rest every seventh year. Our crops are suffering from depleted vitality because we do not heed this admonition today. Farmers should rotate their crops so that every portion of their land could rest every seven years. Exodus 23:10-11: "And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: 11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; ... In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard."
The Bible's Influence in the Culture and Traditions of Society
When the Bible's influence is strong in a society, it will affect all aspects of that culture in a positive way. The opposite is also true -- when a society turns its back on God, it will begin to reflect evil in its cultural choices. We see this today as we watch our young and old people embrace things that are totally unbiblical. How we dress, what we eat, what music we listen to, and what we choose for entertainment, are all reflections of how strongly or weakly we embrace the Word of God. Rebellious, anti-Christ music has become firmly established in our society today in spite of the dangerous influence it has had on our young people. This music has encouraged lust, sex, suicide, rebellion against authority, etc. Even physically, it has damaged the hearing of a whole generation of young people who listen to loud music and live bands constantly. There are those who are deaf or going deaf from this exposure.
Many of our young people today don't realize how unbecoming, and in some cases even vulgar, the latest clothing trends and fads appear on them. They look strange with their body piercings, tattoos, and extreme oversized baggy clothes that show their underwear. Others wear extremely tight shorts and other revealing clothes with nude portions of their bodies showing. Our culture has stamped its approval because so many young people have embraced these things. Older people have embraced many of the same things. They think it is the trendy thing to do. However, Praise God, we do have a remnant of young people who are seeking to be like Jesus as their motto is "What would Jesus Do?" What would He do? I personally can't picture Jesus with nose rings, tattoos, underwear showing, and His hair dyed purple. Praise God for the young people who are taking a stand against the ungodly trends of our society. We are regressing in our culture when we watch our youth defile their bodies and express themselves in ways that are unbecoming as Christians.
We could address many more cultural trends and traditions that do not glorify God or are against the Word of God. However, at this time, we will address only one more; the tradition of Halloween. The celebration of this holiday has its roots in witchcraft. Although this holiday is an Satanic celebration, the influence of Christianity in our nation has established the celebration of some true "holy-days." Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter are all Christian celebrations that we enjoy even if some people celebrate them in the wrong way.
Keeping God's Laws in the Earth Brings Blessings to Mankind
People that come against true Christianity don't realize they are coming against the very influences that make life pleasant in this earth. (Please note that everyone who claims to be a Christian may not truly be one, as many come in Christ's name but are not keeping His commandments.) The laws and commandments that God gives us to live by are given to us so that we might live a good life in this earth. The keeping of these laws do not get us to heaven; only faith and a relationship with Jesus Christ will do that. However, the keeping of God's laws brings harmony to the earth. If we are a true Christian we will be striving to keep the rules of the Bible to please God. All men want to be free, but many mistakenly think that keeping God's laws will bring them into bondage, when the exact opposite is true. The Bible says in John 8:31-32, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
The Bible teaches responsibility. Laws establish people's rights. However, many of our laws are now being changed to establish individual rights, while infringing upon the rights of the whole. We must pray for this to cease or we will all soon lose our true freedoms. We must also stand against the sin of tolerating every evil in the name of allowing that person the freedom to do things that do not agree with God's Word. Freedom has its responsibilities and guidelines. Those are defined by the Bible. We must get back to the one standard of God's Word and the worship of the one true God named in that Word. It is only by keeping God's laws that we as people in all societies will be truly free and enjoy the blessings of God in the earth.
Psalm 67:1: "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.
¹Orange County Register, Arizona Republic Newspaper Article (March 3, 1999)
² The Bible and Civilization, D. James Kennedy, Ph.D., Coral Ridge Ministries, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
|Preambles to State Constitutions Based on the Bible's Influence|
In prayer, we encourage you to declare these over the your states and the states of this union.
ALABAMA 1901: We, the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama. ARIZONA 1912: We, the people of the State of Arizona,grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.ARKANSAS 1874 : We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own forms of government, for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.CALIFORNIA 1879: We, the people of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution. COLORADO 1876: We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, in order to form a more independent and perfect government; establish justice; insure tranquility; provide for the common defense; promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity; do ordain and establish this Constitution for the "State of Colorado." CONNECTICUT 1818: The people of Connecticut acknowledging with gratitude, the good providence of God, in having permitted them to enjoy a free government, do, in order more effectual to define, secure, and perpetuate the liberties, rights and privileges which they have derived from their ancestors, hereby, after a careful consideration and revision, ordain and establish the following Constitution and form of civil government.DELAWARE 1897: Through Divine goodness, all men have by nature the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences, of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting reputation and property, and in general of obtaining objects suitable to their condition, without injury by one to another; and as these rights are essential to their welfare, for the due exercise thereof, power is inherent in them; and therefore all just authority in the institutions of political society is derived from the people, and established with their consent, to advance their happiness; and they may for this end, as circumstances require, from time to time after their Constitution of governments. FLORIDA 1887: We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, in order to secure its blessings and to form a more perfect government, insuring domestic tranquility, maintaining public order, and guaranteeing equal civil and political rights to all, do ordain and establish this Constitution. GEORGIA 1887: To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we, the people of Georgia, relying upon theprotection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution. IDAHO 1890: We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare, do establish this Constitution. ILLINOIS 1870: We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations in order to form a more perfect government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.INDIANA 1851: To the end that justice be established, public order maintained, and liberty perpetuated: We, the people of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution. IOWA 1857: We, the people of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of those blessings, do ordain and establish a free and independent government, by the name of the State of Iowa, the boundaries whereof shall be as follows: KANSAS 1863: We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges, in order to insure the full enjoyment of our rights as American citizens, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the State of Kansas, with the following boundaries, to wit: KENTUCKY 1891: We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy, and invoking the continuance of these blessings, do ordain and establish this Constitution. LOUISIANA 1974: We, the people of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political, economic, and religious liberties we enjoy, and desiring to protect individual rights to life, liberty, and property; afford opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; assure equality of rights; promote the health, safety, education, and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; ensure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and justice to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution. MAINE 1820 and 1876: We, the people of Maine, in order to establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for our mutual defense, promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty, acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity, so favorable to the design; and imploring His aid and direction in its accomplishment, do agree to form ourselves into a free and independent State, by the style and title of the State of Maine, and do ordain and establish the following Constitution for the government of the same. MARYLAND 1867: We, the people of Maryland, grateful to Almighty Godfor our civil and religious liberty, and taking into our serious consideration best means of establishing a good Constitution in this State for the sure foundation and more permanent security thereof, declare: MASSACHUSETTS 1790: We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, thegoodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence, or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit and solemn compact with each other; and for forming a new Constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain, and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MICHIGAN 1909: We, the people of the State of Michigan,grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom, and earnestly desiring to secure these blessings undiminished to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution. MINNESOTA 1857: We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution. MISSISSIPPI 1890: We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking his blessing on our work, do ordain and establish this Constitution. Missouri 1945:We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness, do establish this Constitution for the better government of the State. MONTANA 1889: We, the people of Montana,grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty, in order to secure the advantages of a State government, do in accordance with the provisions of the enabling act of Congress, approve the twenty second of February AD 1889, ordain and establish this Constitution. NEBRASKA 1875: We, the people,grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, do ordain and establish the following declaration of rights and frame of government, as the Constitution of the State of Nebraska. NEVADA 1864: We, the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, insure domestic tranquility, and form a more perfect government, do establish this Constitution.NEW HAMPSHIRE 1784: Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason, morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay, in the hearts of men, the strongest obligations to due subjection; and the knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through society by the institutions of the public worship of the Deity. NEW JERSEY 1947: We, the people of the State of New Jersey,grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hat so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution. NEW MEXICO 1912: We, the people of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty, in order to secure the advantages of a State government, do ordain and establish this Constitution.NEW YORK 1895: We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, do establish this Constitution. NORTH CAROLINA 1876: We, the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for the preservation of the American Union and the existence of our civil, political and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of these blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and establish this Constitution. NORTH DAKOTA 1889: We, the people of North Dakota,grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain and establish this Constitution. OHIO 1851: We, the people of the State of Ohio,grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare, do establish this Constitution. OKLAHOMA 1907: Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution. OREGON 1859: We, the people of the State of Oregon, to the end that justice be established, order maintained, and liberty perpetuated, do ordain this Constitution. PENNSYLVANIA 1874: W, the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution. RHODE ISLAND 1843: We, the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations do ordain and establish this Constitution of Governments. SOUTH CAROLINA 1895: We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled, grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the preservation and perpetuation of the same.SOUTH DAKOTA 1889: We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties, in order to form a more perfect and independent government, establish justice, insure tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and preserve to ourselves and to our posterity the blessings of liberty, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of South Dakota. TENNESSEE 1870: That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right, be compelled to attend, erect, or support any TEXAS 1876: Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God, the people of the State of Texas, do ordain and establish this Constitution. UTAH 1895:Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we the people of Utah, in order to secure and perpetuate the principles of free government, do ordain and establish this Constitution. VERMONT 1793: That all men have a natural and unalienable right, to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings as in their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God: and that no man ought to or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of his conscience, nor can any man be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments, or peculiar mode of religious worship; and that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by, any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship. Nevertheless, every sect or denomination of Christians ought to observe the Sabbath or Lord’s day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of God. VIRGINIA 1902: That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each other. WASHINGTON 1889 We, the people of the State of Washington,grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution. WEST VIRGINIA ( ): Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of west Virginia, in and through the provisions of this Constitution, reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God and seek diligently to promote, preserve and perpetuate good government in the State of West Virginia for the common welfare, freedom and security of ourselves and our posterity. WISCONSIN 1848: We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, forms a more perfect government, insure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, do establish this Constitution. WYOMING 1889:We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political and religious liberties, and desiring to secure them to ourselves and perpetuate them to our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
This preamble does not include Alaska or Hawaii.
Editor’s note: This preamble was proposed by House Joint Resolution No. 8, Acts, Regular Session, 1959 p 659: submitted by Acts, Regular Session, 1960, c. 4: and ratified November 8, 1950.
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