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Living the Gospel of Life -- Study Guide

Paragraph Sixteen

Reflection

This paragraph makes reference to the religious beliefs of our Founding Fathers. As was noted in the beginning of this guide, the Founders were religious men. Of the 56 signers of the Declaration, nearly half were educated in seminaries, Bible schools, or their equivalents. Some were Bible translators, others edited hymnals, and Sacred Scripture was the single most common source from which they drew their ideas.

Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, wrote, "I sat next to John Adams in Congress, and upon my whispering to him and asking him if he thought we should succeed in our struggle with Great Britain, he answered me, 'Yes--if we fear God and repent of our sins.' This anecdote will, I hope, teach my boys that it is not necessary to disbelieve Christianity or renounce morality in order to arrive at the highest political usefulness or fame."

Countless similar declarations of faith can be seen in the Founders' writings, and the references to God both at the beginning and end of the Declaration of Independence give their philosophy of government its undeniable framework.

Discussion Questions

When it comes to the fundamental rights of the human person, what role do religious differences play?

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