“Truth Tuesday” Debating the Founding Fathers with Ark Times Bloggers Part 7 James Madison “A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven”

I have gone back and forth and back and forth with many liberals on the Arkansas Times Blog on many issues such as abortionhuman rightswelfarepovertygun control  and issues dealing with popular culture , but the issue of the founding fathers’ views on religion got one of the biggest responses.

It is true that 29 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had degrees with Bible Colleges or Seminaries and these men we know were God-fearing Protestants. This means they had a biblical view of man with an understanding of our sin nature and this led them to come up with a limited government with many checks and balances. They had a strong belief in the afterlife and in future punishments and rewards. They also encouraged Christianity and were not hostile to religion. However, they did not set up a Christian Theocracy but wanted freedom of religion.

People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruptionThe recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes President Obama made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control.  Here is a clip discussing the founders and what their religious views were.

David Barton: Declaration and Constitution Are Based Entirely On The Bible

Here is some comments from our debate on the Arkansas Times Blog in July of 2013:

Outlier you have studied a lot about James Madison evidently. In the advertisement from the Freedom from Religion Foundation there is a quote from James Madison but these quotes below were omitted. Which quotes best represent his views?

James Madison

SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; AUTHOR OF THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECRETARY OF STATE; FOURTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.

(. James Madison, Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (New York: R. Worthington, 1884), Vol. I, pp. 5-6, to William Bradford on November 9, 1772. )

I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.

( James Madison, The Papers of James Madison, William T. Hutchinson, editor (Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 1962), Vol. I, p. 96, to William Bradford on September 25, 1773.)

Olphart responded:

Saline, I don’t think that Madison is supporting your cause here. Admittedly, the quote is in the prolix, exceedingly flowery style of the day that’s hard for us to understand today, but excerpting this phrase “declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ”, seems to perfectly describe any Tea Party politician. In other words, by invoking Jesus for political gain, you are deeming yourself to be unsatisfactory.

I responded:

Olphart, on facebook James C. Pugh who I do not know said this about the letter from James Madison to William Bradford in Sept of 1773:

William Bradford, having decided not to pursue the ministry as a career, wrote James Madison asking his advice on the choice between law, medicine, and merchandising. Madison’s response expressed disappointment in Bradford’s decision not to pursue the ministry, yet he remained supportive of any choice his friend would make. The advice that follows is an expression of humility and devotion to Christ. Madison seems to say that too often men in positions of great public influence fail to follow Christ in their public lives. According to Madison, no stronger testimony of Christ can be born than for those who have acquired much reputation and wealth to publicly declare their devotion to the cause of Christ.

Olphart responded:

Saline, thanks for the further research into that quote. The more I look at it the “confuseder” I get. Sometimes eloquent writers can get carried away and Madison might have done that here.

You’ve looked at the context behind the quote anyway so you might be right. I greatly respect the founding fathers; most seemed to be original thinkers or as we would say now days: they thought outside the box.

Of course, they were human; they were flawed men like us all. You and I might disagree what each man’s flaws and virtues were but we’ll have opportunity to discuss that later, I’m sure.

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