George Washington in his Farewell Address:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens.

The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with public and private felicity. Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?

And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. (Quoted in Michael Novak, On Two Wings: Humble Faith and Common Sense at the American Founding)

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2 thoughts on “The Pillars of a Free Society”

  1. Phillip says:

    Foundations, absent the sand.

  2. Jeff says:

    Depressingly, I keep meeting more and more Christians who don’t even think a free society is a good thing – they have so twisted Scripture to conclude that we should not be free. They think we all owe “the collective” and should sacrifice our own freedom for “the greater good”, as determined by some collection of elected and appointed elites, presumably of their liking. They tell me that individuals have no rights, and that the founding fathers were in error in claiming that God granted us rights as individuals. No Scripture passage I show them does any good – they say I’m taking verses out of context, including the Ten Commandments, which presuppose that a person must have a right to property in order for “theft” to be forbidden, etc. We’re in big trouble, and I blame the Church in America for allowing this to happen without much resistance.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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