When Neal Gorsuch was sworn in as the 113th justice of the United States Supreme Court, he became part of an august judicial body with an overt Christian history—a history the secularists would like to obliterate.
Gorsuch, who was raised Catholic and attends an Episcopalian church, has indicated that his faith in God is very important to him. In this he stands in harmony with Antonin Scalia, whom he has replaced, and a long tradition of the Court going back to the Founders.
The First Chief Justice
The first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Jay, was a devout Christian. He was one of the authors of The Federalist Papers and also served as president of the Continental Congress from 1778-79. In 1789, George Washington appointed him as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a post he held until 1795 when he resigned to serve as Governor of New York.
Jay, like the entire founding generation, saw no conflict between his faith and his duties as Chief Justice. He once publicly declared,
Unto Him who is the author and giver of all good, I render sincere and humble thanks for His manifold and unmerited blessings, and especially for our redemption and salvation by His beloved Son. Blessed be His holy name.
The Second Chief Justice
John Marshall (1755-1835) succeeded John Jay as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Many consider him to be the greatest Chief Justice the Court has known. He served in this capacity for 34 years, and during that time, he heard cases and offered groundbreaking opinions that continue to guide the Supreme Court and the United States government today.
In one of his writings, Marshall clearly states what every Founder assumed—that the founding documents and institutions on which the nation was formed presuppose a commitment to Christian principles and values. He wrote,
No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion in the happiness of man even during his existence in this world. . . . The American population is entirely Christian, and with us Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not refer to it, and exhibit relations with it (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 166).
That Marshall saw no problem with expressions of faith in government is demonstrated by the fact that he ordered the Supreme Court facilities to be made available to a congregation for their Sunday gatherings. So each Sunday, the singing of Christian hymns and the preaching of God’s Word could be heard ringing through the chambers of the United States Supreme Court.
Justice Joseph Story
Joseph Story (1779-1845) served as a Supreme Court justice for thirty-four years from 1811-1845. He is particularly remembered for his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first published in 1833. This work is considered a cornerstone of early American jurisprudence and remains a critical source of historical information about the forming of the American republic and the early struggles to define its law.
Like the Founders, Story believed that Christianity provided the values and philosophical presuppositions necessary for a stable and prosperous nation. He pointed out that the First Amendment was not a ban on faith in government, nor did it indicate an indifference to Christianity by the Founders. He wrote,
We are not to attribute this prohibition of a national religious establishment to an indifference in religion, and especially to Christianity, which none could hold in more reverence than the framers of the Constitution (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 152-53).
America Declared a Christian Nation
In the 1892 case of “Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States,” the United States Supreme Court declared America to be a Christian nation. This ruling came after examining thousands of documents related to America’s origins and history. In its ruling the Court declared,
Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian . . . From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation . . . we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth that this is a Christian nation (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 167).
This clear statement, made by the nation’s highest Court, was based on historical precedent going all the way back to the nation’s founding. Precedent is on our side.
Antonin Scalia
The justice Gorsuch has replaced, the late Anonin Scalia, understood this. Because he knew American history, Scalia saw no conflict between his faith and his duties as a Supreme Court justice.
Scalia made it clear that he was guided in life and on the bench by his Christian faith and he encouraged others to be bold in their faith. Speaking to a Christian conference, he exhorted those present to be willing to be “fools for Christ.” He said,
God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would consider Christians as fools . . . and he has not been disappointed. If I have brought any message today, it is this. Have the courage to have your wisdom considered as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.
The Key to a Happy Nation
Let us, therefore, pray that Neal Gorsuch and other Christians on the Court will not be intimidated concerning their faith in God. Let us also pray that the nation’s highest Court will be filled with devout followers of Christ, for only when the righteous are in authority can we have any hope of being a happy nation.
This is what George Washington had in mind when he wrote in 1783 to the governors of the young nation and exhorted them, saying,
Let us demean ourselves with that charity, humility and temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of His example in these things, we cannot hope to be a happy nation (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 134).

This article is derived in part from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, Pilgrims and Patriots, which documents how America was birthed out of a great spiritual awakening. From this book, he has developed a power point presentation that documents the radical Christian roots of America's origins and inspires faith for another Great Awakening. For bookings and more information, visit his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.



Donald Trump's theme is "Make America Great Again." By using the word "again" he acknowledges that America achieved a past greatness that has since been lost. In this article, on George Washington's birthday, I seek to point out that the same fundamental principles that made America great in the first place, are the same fundamental principles necessary to make her great again. 

George Washington had a blueprint for making America great. Born February 22, 1732, this most beloved of America’s Founders and her first president, laid out this blueprint in his many speeches and writings.
Washington’s blueprint was tied to his faith in God and his deep respect for the Bible. He believed that if America honored God and did what was right, she would be blessed. If, however, she followed falsehood and vanity she would suffer calamity and defeat by her enemies.
Make Jesus Christ Your Standard
Washington expressed components of this blueprint in a meeting with Delaware Indian chiefs in 1779. The chiefs had requested that their youth be trained in American schools and Washington commended them for their request. He assured them that Congress would look upon their youth “as their own children” and then said,
"You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention."
Washington’s words reveal his commitment to Jesus Christ and his deep conviction that only Christianity provides a belief system that can serve as a basis for social stability and individual happiness. It also shows that he saw no conflict with Congress assisting in the promotion of Christianity among this American Indian tribe.
His words also reveal that he was not a multiculturalist in the modern sense, nor would he promote a religious pluralism. While tolerant and respectful of those of differing beliefs, he was firm in his belief that only Biblical Christianity—the religion of Jesus Christ--provided the moral and philosophical underpinnings for a prosperous and happy nation.
Early Influences
This Christian way of thinking was instilled in him from the time he was a child by his mother who was a devout believer. Just before he left home as a young soldier, she admonished him, “Remember that God is our only sure trust.” She also exhorted, “My son, neglect not the duty of secret prayer” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 136).
Washington would also have been impacted by the Great Awakening, which was at its peak while he was a lad. That the Awakening had a particular impact on his home state of Virginia was confirmed by Charles Hodge who wrote, “In no part of our country was the revival more interesting, and in very few was it so pure as in Virginia” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 136).
Guided by Faith
There is no question that Washington’s faith guided him throughout his life and career. It provided the blueprint that he followed in his journey from a wilderness surveyor to commander-in-chief of the colonial army to the first president of the new nation.
For example, as commander-in-chief of the colonial army, Washington issued an order that each day was to begin with prayer led by the officers of each unit. He also ordered that, unless their duties required them to be elsewhere, every soldier was to observe, “a punctual attendance of Divine services, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and public defense” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 128). He also issued an order forbidding drunkenness and all forms of profanity.
This was not a matter of imposing his beliefs on others; it was a matter of being consistent with his own beliefs and doing what he knew was right in the sight of God and good for the people. It was a matter of following his blueprint for victory and peace in the new nation.
After the surrender of General Cornwallis and the end of the War for Independence, Washington submitted his resignation to Congress and then penned a letter to governors of the various states. This letter expressed his blueprint for American greatness, which included an exhortation that they model their lives after Jesus Christ. He wrote,
"I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens . . . to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another . . . and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of His example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 134).
The Necessary Moral Underpinnings
Washington began the tradition of presidents taking the oath of office with their hand placed on a Bible. For Washington, this was no mere political formality, for he had once declared, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 137).
By placing his hand on the Bible alone, and not some other religious text, Washington was affirming his belief that Christianity alone offers a belief system of truth necessary for national stability and individual happiness. This was an important part of his blueprint for America’s greatness.
He affirmed this in his Farewell Address after serving two terms as America’s first president. In this address, Washington warned the young nation to guard the blueprint for America’s greatness. He said,
"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 labor 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 to cherish them. 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" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 169-70).
When the Founders use the word “religion” they are referring to Christianity. Note that Washington says that religion [Christianity] and morality are “indispensable supports” for political prosperity and the “great pillars of human happiness.” Without these, America could never be great.
Washington and the other Founders have been accused of having a utilitarian approach to Christianity, i.e., that they embraced Christianity because it works in life. Indeed, Washington believed the Bible to contain the blueprint for national prosperity and individual happiness, and this is why he exhorted the new nation,
“The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the external rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained "(Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 174).
Trust God. Make Jesus Christ your role model. Respect the Bible. Follow Christian morality. This was George Washington’s blueprint for making America great. This is the blueprint that will make her great again.

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com



"Our rifles were leveled—rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss. Twas all in vain; a power far mightier than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies. He will become chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him the founder of a mighty nation" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 128)
These were the words of a Native American chief as he reminisced with George Washington and others about a battle 15 years previous when they were on opposite sides during the French and Indian Wars.
Washington Miraculously Spared
It was the Battle of Fort Duquesne in July 1755 when 1,459 British soldiers were ambushed by a large contingent of Native American warriors who had joined the French in their fight with the British for control of the North American continent.
It proved to be one of the bloodiest days in Anglo American history with 977 British soldiers killed or wounded. It was a day, however, when Washington's reputation for bravery began to spread throughout the land.
Washington, in his early 20s, had been recruited by the British because of his knowledge of the ways of the wilderness and the American Indians. He had acquired this knowledge in his work as a surveyor of wilderness territory.
Assigned to travel with the British General Braddock to take Fort Duquesne (present day Pittsburgh), Washington found his advice for traveling through the wilderness and dealing with the Indians ignored by Braddock who considered him a young, upstart colonist.
But when the ambush occurred and Braddock himself was wounded, Washington took charge and organized an orderly retreat while at the same time putting his own life at risk, rescuing the many wounded and placing them in wagons. During this time, two horses were shot out from under him and his clothes were shredded with bullets.
He emerged unscathed and gave glory to God, saying, "I was saved by the miraculous care of Providence that saved me beyond human expectation." His reputation for bravery spread among both the English and the Native Americans.
Years later, according to historian George Bancroft, Washington and a friend were exploring an area along the Ohio River when they encountered a group of Native Americans. Recognizing Washington, the natives invited the men back to their camp to meet with their chief, whom it turned out had fought on the side of the French in the Battle of Duquesne. They had a cordial visit and then the old chief, pointing to Washington, spoke these amazing words.
"I am chief and ruler over all my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the Great Lakes, and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man's blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, 'Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the redcoat tribe—he hath an Indian's wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do—himself alone is exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies.' Our rifles were leveled—rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss. Twas all in vain; a power far mightier than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies. He will become chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him the founder of a mighty nation" (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 127-28).
The prophecy came to pass. Washington was later appointed commander in chief of the colonial army, and at great sacrifice, led his outnumbered, outgunned troops to an amazing victory over the British through numerous providential events. He later presided over the Constitutional Convention, was unanimously elected the first president of the United States and known as “the father of his country.”
Washington the Devout Christian
Washington was very devout in his Christian faith and respectful toward the Native people and culture, but he never allowed the two to be in conflict. He clearly expressed this in a 1779 meeting with chiefs from the Delaware tribe who had expressed a desire for their children to be trained in American schools.
Washington responded by assuring them that the new nation would look upon their children as their own. He then commended the chiefs for their decision and said,
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.”
Washington was not a multiculturalist and did not promote religious pluralism. He was tolerant of those who held differing views but was uncompromising in his belief that only Jesus Christ and Christianity offered a belief system that would serve as a basis for national stability and individual happiness.
This was expressed in many ways, including his Farewell Address in which he warned the nation to guard Christianity and morality, which he described as “indispensable supports” for political prosperity and human happiness. This utilitarian view of Christianity was why he once prayed in public, “Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy Son, Jesus Christ” (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 138).
Concluding Prayer
Just as we remember George Washington on his birthday (Feb. 22), let us not forget that we, as a nation, owe our very existence to the Providential mercies of Almighty God. And let us not suppose that we can continue as a nation without His Providential care, as Washington warned in his Farewell Address.
Let us, therefore, pray for America as the Psalmist prayed for the people of Israel in Psalm 85:6-7. He prayed, "Will you not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in you? Show us Your mercy LORD, and grant us Your salvation."

This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, Pilgrims and Patriots, in which he documents the radical Christian roots of American democracy and freedom. This book, and others, are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.