"We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human
passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made
only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the
government of any other."
by:
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Source:
Oct. 11, 1798; Address to the military
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If only we would remember that the Golden Rule is still golden, our government could live up to its true ideal.
 -- Arjun, Rishikesh, India     
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    If only Congress would read the words of our founding Fathers before they set out in unbridled party doctrine while voting yes or no for the next Supreme Court Justices.
     -- Penny, Maryland     
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    On these two have wars been made - with kindness and love in place of morality and religion the hate and intolerance would evaporate
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
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    It might help to read the AHD definition of 'moral'. I don't think it's widely recognized that BY DEFINITION 'moral' is subjective and contextual to the 'accepted' standards of a society and thus, invariably refers to a 'local' definition: mor·al - adj. 1. Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary. 2. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson. 3. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life. 4. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation. 5. Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory; moral support. 6. Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty. --mor·al n. 1. The lesson or principle contained in or taught by a fable, a story, or an event. 2. A concisely expressed precept or general truth; a maxim. 3. morals. Rules or habits of conduct, especially of sexual conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    You can't use modern day semantics and rhetoric to define a word used today in how it was used more than 200 years ago. Definitions are changed all the time! You can't understand what John Adams was saying by looking up a Webster's Revised Dictionary! You have to go to the place he was at, what he was doing, problems they were facing - truly, in order to understand what he was saying you would have to know the difference between a Republic and a Democracy -- of which, the majority of American's do not. Adams was talking concerning our Republic and the freedoms granted...
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    John Adams certainly knew the foundations of a Republic!
     -- Dean, Salt Lake City, Ut     
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     -- Mark, Annapolis      
    Morality came before religion. Religion was invented to support morality, to restrain chaos. It may have been of good use then but it has become a weapon of the demagogues now for opposite reasons. It is the cause of more war and more killing than any other. Only a replacement of religion with humankind and reason as the guide will bring about peace.
     -- Dick, Fort Worth     
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    Truth, Love, and Courage -- from there all virtues come. Lies, Hatred, and Fear -- from there all corruptions come. Neither government nor religion can instill virtue in others. Virtue is either recognized as its own reward or not. Adams is merely stating that unless the People choose a virtuous path, a free nation cannot long survive.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- Anonymous      
    I believe that, before they might be permitted to comment here, anyone should first have to demonstrate a certain degree of literacy and ability to reason, which several previous comments do not reflect. How could anyone in his right mind refute morality? He could not.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood, FL     
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    Ok so John Adams was a founder, he should know what the Constitution was made for.
     -- P.M.     
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    again i believe that John Adams is right by saying those precious words but i would call him a hypocrit if i could only see him because of his Alien and Sedition Act.
     -- kristyn, stratford     
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    "I believe that, before they might be permitted to comment here, anyone should first have to demonstrate a certain degree of literacy and ability to reason, .... "How could anyone in his right mind refute morality? He could not." || "The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards CHRISTIANITY as the foundation of our national MORALITY, and the FAMILY as the basis of national life." - Adolf Hitler - (1889-1945) - My New World Order, Proclamation to the German Nation at Berlin, February 1, 1933 || "Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose." Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) -- Prescience
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    My apologies to Teddy B.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Hi David in Hollywood, re "How could anyone refute morality?" Oddly, there are all to many who do just that by claiming that THEY are the standard for it (see above), and just as many debunked the idea of truth when they hold themselves up as the standard for it--ie "your truth is not my truth" Poppycock! Truth is objective and outside of us...truth is truth. Adams was saying that our constitution was designed for persons with self control and that it is not capable of governing any other because of the freedoms and limited government it installs. Any wonder why debauchery is rampant? Why liberty is taken as license? Wanna guess how long we will tolerate that and give up our liberties and freedoms so we can live in pseudo peace and safety? I weep at what has happened to our wonderful America at the hands of those who know no God but themselves.
     -- MK, Houston     
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    inspired.
     -- Anonymous     
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    Thank you MK. It amazes me how many people will dispute the obvious intentions of our Founders, and wallow in the rights their sacrifices have given them. Someone before had mentioned that morality came before religion, and that religion was invented to support morality. You can't have morality apart from God, and when you look at any Godless nation, culture, or group of people you will see that when left up to man's discretion of right and wrong (apart from God), there will always be death. Some may say "Oh, this ones a fanatic." No, I am passionate for the truth and there is no truth apart from God. Just because someone doesn't like that or doesn't want to hear it doesn't make it any less true. Now I am not writing to debate whether or not the Bible or God is true or worth believing because even God gives us a choice of whether or not to believe the truth. However, if you were to ask me how I know God is real, I would tell you, because He lives in my heart and there is nothing anyone can say that can change that fact.This person also said that if you replace religion with humankind and reason there would be peace. The truth is that the Peace that passes all understanding can only come from God, and that there is no REAL peace apart from God. Wouldn't the best of all reason be to follow the truth? Try it, you will see in the end it is the only thing worth following!
     -- KB, Heaven     
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    This is by far my favorite quote from John Adams. It is so true. Our Constitution assumes a moral citizenry. The freedoms we claim and protect, if afforded to a largely immoral population, will result in societal self-destruction. It would be the equivalent of handing out driver's licenses to 5 year olds. To those giving this quote a thumbs down, try replacing "moral and religious" with "immoral and non-religious", or "moral and non-religious". Do either of those revised quotes resonate as true? Without religion--and by that I mean a basic belief in a Creator--we have no claim to the rights we protect. Our entire system of government is based on the notion that we are "Endowed by a Creator" with inalienable rights. If this goes, so do our rights, for we have no source from which to claim them.
     -- Chris Gould, Bentonville, AR     
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    From those several comments, which I note all sport the "thumbs down", one can witness the Deliberate Dumbing Down of America and the revision of history by the Humanists aka "Secular Progressives" (whose foundation can be traced back to John Dewey's "Columbia Teacher's College"), who now own the "Publik Edukayshun Sysstum".
     -- Leonard Henderson, Otis, Oregon     
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    I struggle with the good idea of trying to hold our civil government accountable to the good principles and framework of our constitution but I come back to this quote by John Adams. Unless the hearts of the people of this nation are changed then we struggle in vain to try to recover a constitutional republic for it cannot govern those who are not self-governed. It seems to me we must focus on building accurately the most basic element, our individual lives, and from self-governed lives under God come strong families, communities, states, nations. We can't build from the top down, from the outside to the inside. We are not subject to this world system. Our kingdom is not of this world. It is of the heart, manifest through our lives. We must trust the sovereign righteousness of God to judge those who wickedly abuse their delegated authority. Revelation 8:10 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ As God's people we must build a culture based on His government in our hearts where no corrupt politician or bureaucrat can break in and steal.
     -- Stephen Johnson, Addison, TX     
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    When the people of a nation have no morals they become sheep who say "So what if he cheated on his wife....", "So what if he cheated on his taxes...", "So what if they're spending money we don't have..." "So what if they say one thing then do another." They willingly hand the nation to leaders who promise them the most "goodies" regardless of their moral fiber. And as in the case of Hitler's Germany, a nation in the hands of immoral leaders is doomed.
     -- RH, Houston, TX     
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    Once a nation loses its religious and moral foundations, history has shown it either falls or comes under the control of a totalitarian government. America is in this state, and we need to be very careful in our choices over the next couple of years.
     -- David Conway, Brownsville, Tn     
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    In reading these profound quotes, made by our wonderful Founding Fathers, I feel venerated, validated, as it were, in my beliefs and values. The powerful in our country today makes every attempt to undermine and destroy our very foundations, apparently not realizing that the consequence will be utter destruction.
     -- Nancy, OH     
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    Eloquent. I long for that type of understanding and wisdom to be shown in our society of today.
     -- Becky, Sullivan, IL     
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    PLEASE read John's definition of "moral" and "religious". It is NOT the modern definitions of those words. John was a brilliant man, if only we had really understood how smart he was. He warned us all about the dangers of unfettered lending institutions over 200 years ago. Look where we are today.
     -- Melody Clark, Los Angeles, CA     
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    You can't explain concepts like morality to unregenerate people. You have to model it for them, because they are blind and only understand what they can see or touch. So what is the model we Christians have by and large presented? Divorce, drug addiction, unwed pregnancys rates (etc) approaching and in some cases equal to that of unregenerate people. The salt has lost its savor. We are the only ones that can change the direction of the country but we must first admit we are responsible for its present condition stop pointing fingers at everyone else, humble ourselves seek Gods' face, repent of our sins, pray,etc.. and He will heal our land.
     -- Randy Stewart, Allentown, Pa     
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    You can't explain concepts like morality to unregenerate people. You have to model it for them, because they are blind and only understand what they can see or touch. So what is the model we Christians have by and large presented? Divorce, drug addiction, unwed pregnancys rates (etc) approaching and in some cases equal to that of unregenerate people. The salt has lost its savor. We are the only ones that can change the direction of the country but we must first admit we are responsible for its present condition stop pointing fingers at everyone else, humble ourselves seek Gods' face, repent of our sins, pray,etc.. and He will heal our land.
     -- Randy Stewart, Allentown, Pa     
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    To the person who quoted Hitler to denigrate Christianity, he was a pagan occultist and a believer in evolution. He was not a Christian:

    "The Fuhrer is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race... Both Judaism and Christianity have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end, they will be destroyed." ~ Joseph Goebbels, 12/28/1939

    You might also want to read Alfred Rosenberg's 30-Point Program, from about the same supposed period, or Hitler's Secret Confessions. I tried looking up your quote and it lead to Wikipedia. When I looked up the book that they said it came from, I did not find those words together. I did find "...moral appears to other immoral, and what to you seems immoral is for others a new morality. The State, for instance, says: The thief must be punished. But many citizens of the nation reply: The property owner must be punished, for the ownership of property is in itself theft..."

    The National Socialists killed millions of Christians and thousands of priests. Why you chose a quotation page on John Adams to vent your hostility is playing it awfully hard.
     -- Katherine, Anywhere, CA     
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