"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great
nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on
religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason
peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and
freedom of worship here."
by:
Patrick Henry
(1736-1799) US Founding Father
Source:
Questionable - no sources ever confirmed
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Reader comments about this quote:
Great quote!
 -- Eric Lansing, Dinwiddie, VA     
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    Most of our founding fathers were Deists, not Christians. I doubt Patrick Henry ever said this.
     -- Lizz, Atlanta     
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    That depends greatly on the definition of deist. Benjamin Franklin believed in an omnipotent God who did control human interactions. (If you doubt this, read his autobiography where he outlines that as a point that all people should be able to agree on.) A signifigant number were staunch Calvinists, even including many presbyterian ministers. Questionable in source it may be, but not in veracity.
     -- Anonymous     
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    This one is fact. I don't know about Patrick Henry's religion but he did make several refrences to the "God of Nature" which was and still is a common deist way of referring to the deity. By the way the Anoymous Coward is lying. Franklin originally believed in a xtian type god but later in life became a staunch deist/agnostic. His "Autobiography" was written comparatively early in life. Most of the other people we associate with the Founding (Jefferson, Washington, Adams, et al) were staunch deists/agnostics/we don't know because they weren't waving their religion at traffic.
     -- Joshua Hiles, Kearney     
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    Sadly, this quote is not valid. I have been portraying Patrick Henry around the nation for fifteen years and am in close contact with The Patrick Henry Foundation at Red Hill. They disavow this quote as well. It has never been documented!! Most of our Founding Fathers were strong born again Christians.
     -- Dr. Lance Hurley, Peoria, Arizona     
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    I think the idea that most of our fouding fathers were strong "born again" xtians is pretty silly since the idea of a "born again" xtian would not exist for another hundred or so years. Plus we have documented proof that most of the Framers were not anything that could be remotely called christian anythings. Dr. Lance apparently got his degree from Jerry Falwell university instead of an actual academic institution.
     -- J. Ustano Therguy, Your Mom     
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    Your Mom may be a good mom, but does not know her facts. Suggest you read "Original Intent" by David Barton. Over 500 quotes of the Founding Fathers, all proving they were strong Christians. This is my document proof. Let's see yours.
     -- Dr. Lance Hurley, Peoria, Arizona     
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    J.Ustano Therguy is also off on the idea that "born again" Christian was an idea that did not exist at the time. It had existed for nearly 1800 years by that time. Documentation--in 1611 this was translated into English: "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) and this in vs 7: "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." And in 1 Peter 1:23: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." Please check your facts before revising history.
     -- Jeff Salmans, Colorado Springs, Colorado     
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    A great quote. A forgotten, though needed, truth.
     -- Chloesdad, Pokerstars, Com     
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    To Jeff Salmanas, consider that ALL English versions of the Bible have been translated from Latin, to Greek, to German, and other languages before it ever was translated into English. Secondly, to be 'born again' is not defined exactly -- yes, it is a wonderful statement, but you can find similar ones in Buddist and Yogic principles. It is what 'born again' means that people seem to differ. It is a general enough statement to allow for multiple interpretations. Fundamentalist Christians ought to look beyond the propaganda of their church and consider plainly the translated words of Jesus. Certainly, organized Christianity is not 1800 years old -- hardly. And it was not until the Council of Nicea centuries later that it was decided that the only way to 'Heaven' was through the 'blood of Jesus'. It was declared by men for political gain, not God.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    E. Archer, you seem to be a very educated man , but a fool none the less. The creator of the universe no doubt has the ability to preserve His Holy Word! "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Mt. 24:35 One verse will not convince you if you do not believe the entire Bible, this I know, but I would ask you to pray to the God of Heaven to show you the truth. By the way, the Council of Nicea did not decide the way to Heaven, your God did!
     -- Brandon, Az     
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    E Archer, the council of Nicea was in AD 325. This was written more than 250 years before that: "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins..." (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14 is almost word for word the same.) And almost 300 years prior to Nicea, Jesus Christ himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." the "organized" Christian religion may not be 1800 years old, but BIBLICAL Christianity is.
     -- Jeff Salmans, Colorado Springs, Colorado     
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    I do not belive in the infallibility of men. The Bible is a collection of stories passed down the millenia. It is wriiten by men giving testimonials of their experiences. Many prominent Founders did not believe in the divinity of Jesus (Franklin, Jefferson, even Adams).What men have done with the testimonials of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is a travesty to the lessons of Jesus. Jefferson even compiled his own version of the Bible using the original Latin and Greek. I suppose he is damned to hell for doing so. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Edmundas G., Lithuania      
    The idea of a "personal relationship" with Jesus didn't come into existence until the 1800's almost a century after most of the founders had died. But thanks for playing.
     -- Sup, Sup     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    Fabulous quote and probably true.
     -- Noodlenose, Oregon     
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    I don't know exactly who said what or when. What I do know, whether your beliefs are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or whatever, all of the different types of "religion" were created and promulgated throughout society and time by living, breathing men. The common thread here is that we are all of one race...HUMAN! It is very saddening and disconcerting to think that men wage war over their differences in opinion of whose God is best. It is my understanding that, no matter which religion you may put your finger on, they are all based on the belief that the God of their choosing is a God of love and peace, tolerance and understanding. So, all of you know-it-all types out there, explain to me how man can kill man in the name of God. There is, in my most humble opinion, no justification. Greed is the creator of war. The act of taking another human life has no foundation when trying to justify it by saying it is "Gods' will". Regardless of the "Brand Name" of your faith, the only path to His side is through the fair treatment of friend and foe alike. I don't see how anyone of any faith can expect to take their rightful place in Heaven after taking the life of another of His children. It has come to a point in this crowded world where we must set about the business of learning from each other, not killing one-another in the name of GOD.
     -- oneofHis, Planet Earth     
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    Regardless, of who said the quote, the conversation has turned to if Christianity and if Jesus was the son of God. The problem with that is at some point everyone must leave the word of fact and formulate their opinon or worldview based on what seems to be most true of God. I have done a great deal of studying religion and salvation, and all the evidence leads a path to the feet of Jesus. After doing the analytical assessment, I opened my heart to Jesus and asked Him to reveal himself to me and he has. I am always baffled at the emotion of those who have not "taken the challenge" to seek a personal relationship with God and their passion that He doesn't exist. If you seek Him, He will show himself. I think most people don't want to seek or find Him out of fear that if he is real, they are in trouble while exactly the opposite is true. No one has outsinned Jesus's ability to forgive. I pray for all the lost out there who's lives could be full of success, significance, and satisfaction. I started by researching what is most probable and landed squarely at the feet of Jesus and through good times and bad, I know he is shaping my life to reflect His will for me and not my will for me. I assure you the two views were very different and conflicting before I knew Jesus. Another challenge I lay to the thinking community our there is that we should find common ground with our foes and work as hard on those areas as where we disagree. Final comment to oneofHis, would be to be careful that man doesn't destroy who God is and His will merely by claiming it is done in His name. People are fallible while God is not. If it doesn't seem to be a rightous act, than the fact is that it is not of God, but of man CLAIMING to be doing God's will. May God bless all of your lives - Christians, athiests, and everyone in between.
     -- G Hanson, Chicago, IL     
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    The quote being from Henry doesn't add up historically. Henry lived only in the 18th century. Besides indiginous tribes, what "peoples of other faiths" were in the western hemisphere at that time? The tone of the comment seems to be a rebutal of the "Founding Fathers were Deists" argument. Patrick Henry died only 10 years after the nations founding. Would he have been having this argument while many of the founders were still living?
     -- James, MI     
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    (I give the quote 1 star for mild comedic value) If God is not fallible, why would he create fallible beings? If that's the case, God would appear to be somewhat of a jerk. Seriously, that would be like science working to ensure that all children have severe birth defects. Besides, if the Founding Fathers were truly intent on making the U.S. a Christian state, evangelical, born-again, or otherwise, they would have clearly stated it. One biblically sanctioned activity that the Founding Fathers went along with was slavery, so maybe they would literal biblical Christians after all. My bad.
     -- Michael Anthony, Washington, DC     
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    Why is so hard to believe Henry said it? He certainly wasn't afraid to speak up. Some of you have such a deep, built-in bias towards Christianity that it's clouding whatever degree of objectivity you may have. Peoples of other faiths could have simply meant the different denominations, but I think he meant just what he said. Who was it that Jefferson dispatched the Marines to do battle with off the Barbary Coast... Muslim pirates? There's one of the "other faiths"...
     -- Bruce, Savannah, TN     
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    you dont know what ''religion'' the founding fathers were,and anyways its none of your business; its between them, and god.
     -- de, san antonio,tx.     
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    I like the guy that said "some of you have such a bias against christianity that's it's clouding your objectivity" (or words to that affect). It's totally obvious to me that the posters bias TOWARDS christianity couldn't possibly be clouding his objectivity. Thumbs down.
     -- John Phillips, Supreme, OK     
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    After reading all of the above comments to the quotation, it simply reaffirms my strong belief in God giving us our most prized freedom...and that is the freedom of choice. for the above who believe in God, We all are steeped in tradition, which is one of the very most difficult situations to break or change....few embrace change. Now comes the bantering....opinions, hypotheses, personal interpretations, and the easily tossed about semantics. My conviction of choice is "Give me the Bible or give me nothing" (a bit of a spin on P. Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death".
     -- H. Hampton, N. Palm Beach     
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    I think the value of Pi should be changed to three, because that's what the good book tells me. It also tells me to kill children, so I guess I'll be doing that too.
     -- Anonymous     
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    The quote is great- and it's certainly consistent with Patrick Henry's beliefs- and the founding fathers, whether it's sourced or not- I've said tons of things, and nobody sources me : ) and yes it can be easily proven the that the founding fathers were believing Christians- Not only were almost all active church members- many were leaders in their denominations. About 1/3 wrote Bible Tracts explaining urging people to repent and come to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. These tracts were published and available, proving conclusively that they were not Deists. Unfortunately, some people try to revise history and even well-meaning people believe them. A little research helps. -jason
     -- Anonymous, miami     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    Regardless of how much one may "like" this quote, it is false. It most certainly is NOT consistent with any of his other writings and I challenge anyone to produce evidence to the contrary. . Patrick Henry was a religious man and he was a Christian. But this statement is not his. It is the creation of someone who's goal is to deceive true believers. Unfortunately, that bearer of false witness has met with some success. . Does God need, or did Jesus use, lies to spread His word?
     -- iLarynx, Atlanta     
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    "This is all the Inheritance I can give to my dear Family. The Religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed." Patrick Henry Here this is proof enough. Our founding fathers were not Deists, they were Christians. This great nation was founded on God, and if we ever get away from God we are going to be in trouble!!!
     -- jane doe, florida     
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    The quote is NOT from Patrick Henry, but it's a good quote. It's from the September 1956 issue of The American Mercury (p. 134).
     -- Jonathan, Lower Lake     
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    Good quote. True even if misattributed.
     -- John Anderson, Tacoma, WA     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Too much of America's Christian foundation is denied today, because of the inconvenience of the conscience of American's today. We have generation after generation of American's who have grown more openly wicked than their fathers, and as a consequence have worked feverishly to abolish all rule of law in our land, especially it's founding law, God's Law. Long live our founding father's devotion to God Almighty and down with the wicked revisionists.
     -- David, Abilene, Tx     
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    i wonder why people that don't believe mr. henry said this waste their time reading and believing any quotes. if seems as if the mentality is, if i agree with it, i believe it & vice versa. i'm sorry i read any comments & won't waste my time reading them again. by the way, for j ustano therguy "born again" was spoken by my Saviour Jesus Christ in john 3:3,7. .."ye must be born again."
     -- jacqueline, ohio     
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    I have NO doubt that he spoke those words. The anti Christian liberals union would have you believe otherwise
     -- Spense, Decatur, IL     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    wallbuilders.com for information on our nations beginnings. The Constitution is a creation of men from the principles taught in scripture. Separation of powers, not taxing a mans wages and on and on. Someone mentioned that there weren't Muslims or other faiths in the colonies in the late 1700's early 1800's and for that reason the quote is questionable. Whoever posted that is in error. If anyone really cares if it is true or not that we are a Christian nation, spend 1 or 2 hours reading about Ben Rush, Dan Webster, 46 of the 50 states constitutions required a person to be a believer in Jesus Christ in order to be elected to office in the State. Islam is not compatible with our Constitution, liberty, freedom and private ownership. Freedom of religion was meant for the Fed to mind its own business in regards to establishments of religion, denomination etc ... it in no way means it is okay to come over here and go against the principles of our Country. Back in the day, an unbeliever understood the need and goodness of those who attended church, read their bibles and took care of themselves and others in need.
     -- Tom, MI     
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     -- Anonymous      
    I think that those who don't believe this to be a genuine quote are merely *hoping* that Henry didn't really say it. It's actually quite in line with the tenor of his private letters, as well as his public pronouncements on religion specifically.
     -- Tim, Chapel Hill, NC     
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    OK, enoutgh about which religion is best, etc... I was curious about this, so I read some of Patrick Henry's personal writings. So far, I have not seen the above quote. However... I saw this quote: "The Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed." I also saw this one: "This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed." "We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power... the battle, sir, is not to the strong alone it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." In another speech to the President, he mentioned his belief in God's hand in the nation - three times. there is also written record of him having family devotionals, singing hymns, and praying with his family on a regular basis. All this does not make the above quote real - but it has got me thinking now...
     -- Leeanne, Miami, FL     
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    Summary of Facts and Query: Fact: Most of the Founding Fathers were most definitely not Deists. Even Jefferson in his last days changed his views concerning the nature of God. (Read his closing correspondences to John Adams) Fact: Aside from Thomas Paine, who was probably an atheist, the vast majority of the FF's believed in the personal nature of the Creator. This is indicated in their writings, speeches, diaries and devotions over and over again. One has to go far out of their way to not see that. It takes a concerted effort to leave those facts out of textbooks, commentaries, and teaching curriculums. Fact: Religions are not all equal. They can't all be true. Logic dictates that: If Jesus claimed he was "The Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man come to the father but by me", then he is either who he claimed to be, which gives him total superiority over all other religious forms, or he is not who he claimed, which means he was insane, or he was a liar. The vast majority of the Founding Fathers believed that Jesus was in fact who he claimed to be, and those facts impacted their actions. Query: What is the motivation for the antagonism to a quote such as this one attributed to Patrick Henry (whether he said it or not)? Query: What are the consequences for a Republic that has largely lost sight of these foundational truths and worldview that guided this great nation into liberty? Do those liberties begin to erode? Query: Whether the above quote was spoken by Henry or not, the point bears truth. Nobody can deny that the Christian worldview has served as the impetus for affording liberty to all people in our land, which extended eventually to freeing the slaves, and to eventually elevating the status of women, etc. Do these conditions exist in Islam or Hinduism? Why not? Why is our country a source of great aide in natural disasters around the world? Why is it that out of this nation comes forth Christian missionaries that go into the most desperate places of the world to help the hungry and destitute, to build hospitals and schools? Why is it that those activities do not largely occur in Islamic nations or even in Euopean nations? Final Query: Since the faith of the FF's has impacted our land in such a positive way, why do so many remain hostile to a message of love, liberty, decency, and accountability? Maybe the hostility stems from the last one: accountability. Some would rather not humble themselves as our FF's did and be held accountable to a Higher Authority... their Creator. Ironic, because that is where the basis for our liberty comes from.....according to the Constitution anyway....if you believe in that kind of thing.
     -- W. Monroe-Jones, Anaheim     
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    This quote is a truth concerning the nature of true Christians, that we will allow others to practice their faiths peacefully and not try to convert them by the sword. If others commenting have false notions as to the Christian nature of our Founders, we who believe otherwise should merely point out the truth and refuse to emulate their belligerent nature (because that is what Patrick Henry, judging by the quote, would have done himself!).
     -- Chris, Papillion, NE     
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    The Founding Fathers worked specifically to separate religion from government (to avoid the very thing they tried to escape in England originally!) but also to protect ALL religious points of view. Because some of the first Pilgrims were a type of Christian, this seems to have given Christians today some special ammunition to say "our" country was founded on "God" or "the gospel of Jesus Christ." Nothing is further from the truth... And, by the way, "jane doe, florida," we are already in trouble as long as the country is being hijacked by power-mad "Christian" wingnuts shoving their dubious morality down everyone else's throats.
     -- E. Lundquist, Scotts Valley, CA     
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    History has been rewritten, could the man who begged God in his most famous quote, say this was founded as a Christian nation? " Forbid it, Almighty God - I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" You better believe it. Look at the number of ministers in the founding fathers, one even founded Harvard, and realize the freedom was from the yoke of a national church. As for the rest of you idiots, why did they build the churches, not deist churches, but Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist churches? The church Washington went after his first inauguration was the only building left standing after the 9/11 attack.
     -- libby, mt vernon ohio     
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    Can't we just agree that it's a Christian Nation for some and a secular Nation for others and move along? Now maybe someone can help me out. I remember reading something attributed to one of the founders a long time ago, can't remember who. He was going on about religious tolerance and how you were free to worship whichever diety you choose or none at all as long as it didn't offend the "good senses of the people" and the person in question wasn't offended by the religion of the people. He suggested if the person with the minority religion was offended by the majority religion, then that person, who has the freedom to worship and still objects to the religion of the majority... also has the freedom to go somewhere they feel less religiously oppressed. I though it may have been Samuel Adams, inspired by John Locke... because of this: "All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another." - The Rights of the Colonists, November 20, 1772 I'm not trying to make a case for or against. The reason I ask is because I believe it may be the origin of "Love it or Leave It!" I might have been dreaming.
     -- cheesewhiz, Funky Town     
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     -- anon.      
    Patrick Henry never said this. He did say several things highly critical of organized religion, however.
     -- twalker, atlanta, ga     
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     -- Anonymous      
    W. Monroe-Jones (Anaheim) has provided the correct answer. As for those who say that the majority of the founding Fathers were deists, they need to know that at least 50 of the 56 original signers of the Declaration of Independence were evangelical Christians. That is a fact; anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant, lying, or deluded.
     -- Emcee, Belen,. NM     
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    the American Mercury of September 1956 containing the original version of the "religionists" quotation so often falsely attributed to Patrick Henry: http://rationalrant.blogspot.com/2008/06/patrick-henry-redux.html
     -- Lance, Fresno     
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    There are people out there saying he did not say this. Are they being deceitful or are the people who attribute such a quote to him the deceitful ones? I suspect he did say it but can that be proven or disproven.....
     -- Anonymous, Union Gap     
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     -- Anonymous      
    I have no doubt he said it. He came to the defense of preachers in the colonies who who charged with the "crime" of preaching the gospel. Many of them had been beaten and jailed for preaching without a license from the Church of England.
     -- Dr. Charles Anderson, former pastor in Virginia.     
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    So because he defended freedom of speech he was a christian? That doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense. Also check a reputable refrence page instead of one where you vote whether its true or not and you find out this quote is as accurate as that whole washington cherry tree debacle.
     -- Your Mom, Your House     
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    There is one thing that really disturbs me. 2 Cornell professors wrote a book called "The Godless Constitution". In the back of the book, where they should list the primary sources with which they used to make their comments, there are NONE. Instead this is what they wrote,"...we have dispensed with the usual scholarly apparatus of footnotes". Instead they thanked other 'scholars' for their works with which they gathered their opinions. Not very good research. In fact it's not research at all. Unfortunately this 'type' of research is happening more and more. If someone out there thinks that all our founding fathers were atheists or deists, then show me a primary source document to prove it. Or else keep your OPINIONS to yourself.
     -- Bob, Midland, MI     
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     -- Anonymous, Anonymous      
    To everyone and their opinions, " If you want to Know the truth, read the Truth, God's word."
     -- Thelma, Nashville     
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