These, and numerous similar documents, establish that Christianity was the prominent influence in the early growth and orderly development of civil government in the New World. The Founding of Education in America Many settlers to America had suffered persecution for their Christian beliefs at the hands of other “Christians” many of the civil abuses of Europe inexcusably occurred under the banner of Christianity – the Inquisition, the Crusades, etc.. When Europe finally began to move away from such abuses, it did so because of the efforts of leaders like Martin Luther, John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale, and others.
These individuals believed that it was the Biblical illiteracy of the people which had permitted so many civil abuses to occur; that is, since the common man was not permitted to read the Scriptures for himself, his knowledge of rights and wrongs was limited to what his civil leaders told him. The American settlers, having been exposed to the Reformation teachings, believed that the proper protection from civil abuses in America could be achieved by eliminating Biblical illiteracy.
In this way, the citizens themselves rather than just their leaders could measure the acts of their civil government compared to the teachings of the Bible. Consequently, one of the first laws providing public education for all children the “Old Deluder Satan Law,” passed in Massachusetts in 1642 and in Connecticut in 1647 was a calculated attempt to prevent the abuse of power which can be imposed on a Biblically-illiterate people. That public school law explained not only why students needed an education but also how it was to be accomplished: It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former time.
It is therefore ordered that after the Lord hath increased the settlement to that after the Lord hath increased the settlement to the number of fifty householders, they shall then forthwith appoint one within their town, to teach all such children as shall resort to him, to write and read. And it is further ordered, that where any town shall increase to the number of one hundred families or householders, they shall set up a grammar school to instruct youths, so far as they may be fitted for the university.
David Barton – Can something be true and also irrelevant? You better believe it. A year ago I dropped a 40 pound dumbbell on my big toe, broke it in twenty places.