““Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.”“
James Madison, one of our nation’s Founders, was one of the most respected men of his generation. The “Great Little Madison” stood just 5’4″ and weighed little more than 100 pounds, but he was a giant for religious liberty. Madison and Thomas Jefferson cooperated to make Virginia the most advanced state in the world in its recognition of the rights of Christian believers.
The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, passed in 1786 before the U.S. Constitution was even written, ensured that Virginians’ civil rights would not be infringed upon because they did not worship at the government supported Episcopal Church. No longer would Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Lutherans, Jews or other Virginians have to pay taxes to support a church they did not attend and whose doctrines they did not believe.
Madison referred to religious liberty as “the luster of the country.” Evangelicals of their day recognized Jefferson and Madison as great protectors of their beliefs. Elder John Leland brought a 1,200-pound cheese to the White House as a tribute to his friend, President Jefferson. Jefferson greeted him with open arms and later attended a sermon preached by Elder John at a worship service in the House of Representatives.
While not all American Presidents have been men of deep religious conviction, many have and most have understood that a vibrant Christian faith is essential to America’s future. In 1954, President Eisenhower said, “The purpose of a devout and united people was set forth in the pages of the Bible… (1) to live in freedom (2) to work in a prosperous land and (3) to obey the commandments of God.” The biblical story of the Promised Land inspired the Founders of America and it continues to inspire us today. May God bless America as America remembers to always bless God.
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