Last night on the Fox News Channel’s, Hanity & Colmes, Sean Hanity pointed out that many of the Founding Fathers were required pledge their faith in God, Jesus Christ & the Bible prior to taking public office. These were known as a “Test Oaths” and there are even those believe that we should bring back these Test Oaths.
Now while, I am not necessarily in favor of reinstituting this practice; I do believe that we should know what role test oaths played in the founding of our nation and why the founders believed them to be so important. (What is a Test Oath?)
Quite simply put:
1. They knew that a man’s personal character and morality would be reflected in the decisions he made as a leader.
Samuel Adams (Signer of the Declaration of Independence) stated “He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard of his country. [P]rivate and public vices are in reality . . . connected. . . . Nothing is more essential . . . than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the [private] characters of public men“
2. They believed that all leaders should be called upon to uphold a certain standard. And that standard was rooted in Biblical principles.
Noah Webster wrote in public school textbooks. “In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate — look to his character. . . . It is alleged by men of loose principles or defective views of the subject that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men “who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness” [Exodus 18:21] . . . “
3. They also knew that there would be catastrophic results if we ever allowed our government to be separated from these principles.
Gouverneur Morris (Signer of the Constitution) wrote, “There must be religion. When that ligament is torn, society is disjointed and its members perish. The nation is exposed to foreign violence and domestic convulsion. Vicious rulers, chosen by vicious people, turn back the current of corruption to its source. Placed in a situation where they can exercise authority for their own emolument, they betray their trust. They take bribes. They sell statutes and decrees. They sell honor and office. They sell their conscience. They sell their country. . . . But the most important of all lessons is the denunciation of ruin to every state that rejects the precepts of religion.“
4. Therefore, they believed that it was vital to select leaders who were committed to these principles.
John Witherspoon (Signer of the Declaration of Independence) said “Those, therefore, who pay no regard to religion and sobriety in the persons whom they send to the legislature of any State are guilty of the greatest absurdity and will soon pay dear for their folly“
So to make a long story short; the Founding Fathers believed not only that “Character Counts”, but that Christian Character should count most of all.
Posted by: Craig DeLuz
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