Significantly, not just John Adams, but many other Founding Fathers and early American political leaders also declared that America was guided by or founded on Christian principles. Among those making such declarations were Elias Boudinot, a President of Congress during the Revolution; and signers of the Declaration Charles Carroll, John Hancock, Benjamin Rush, Stephen Hopkins, and Samuel Adams. Also citing Christian principles as foundational are Constitution signers George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Rufus King, John Dickinson, and Roger Sherman. Others making similar declarations about Christian principles in America include Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration and a U. S. Supreme Court Justice; original Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay; Justice Joseph Story; Justice James Kent; Zephaniah Swift, author of America’s first legal text; and the U. S. Supreme Court itself, not to mention the U. S. Congress as well as numerous State Supreme Courts and State legislatures. Other famous Americans who claimed that America was a Christian nation or was built on Christian principles included leaders such as General William Eaton, leader of America’s first conflict following the American Revolution, and Daniel Webster, the great “Defender of the Constitution.” U. S. Presidents declaring that America was a Christian nation or that it was founded on Christian principles included John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln ,Woodrow Wilson, Zachary Taylor, Harry Truman, Andrew Jackson, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, Teddy Roosevelt, and many others. Educational leaders who taught students in classic American textbooks that Christianity was the basis of our country and its government included notables such as Noah Webster, “The Schoolmaster to America,” Jedediah Morse, “The Father of American Geography,” and William McGuffey of the famous McGuffey Readers. All of these, and so many more Founding Fathers, leaders, educators, and official departments of government declared that America was a Christian nation or that it was influenced by or built on Christian principles by Christian leaders.
It was because of this strong Christian faith that the Founders were willing to welcome those of other faiths to America. The Founders knew the truth of Christianity; they believed that it would prevail on its own merits without the need for force or coercion. As Thomas Jefferson explained: Truth can stand by itself. . . . [W]hy subject [religious opinion] to coercion? To produce uniformity. . . . Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. . . . [I]f there be but one right [religion], and [Christianity] that one, we should wish to see the nine hundred and ninety-nine wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these,free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves. Consequently, our Founding Fathers openly acknowledged and welcomed the presence of numerous religious groups in America, including Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews. In fact, John Randolph of Roanoke, an early member of Congress from Virginia who served with the Founding Fathers, said that he was personally “in favor of Mohamedanism.” (He was later converted to Christianity and discipled by Francis Scott Key, author of the “Star Spangled Banner.” Randolph then became a strong personal advocate for Christianity.) Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration who served in three presidential administrations, and one of the most evangelical Christians among the Founding Fathers, openly declared:
Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity, or a future state of rewards and punishments, that I had rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohamed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles. But the religion I mean to recommend in this place is that of the New Testament. And while describing a federal parade in Philadelphia, Dr. Rush commented: The rabbi of the Jews locked in the arms of two ministers of the Gospel was a most delightful sight. There could not have been a more happy emblem.