Bernie Sanders’ anti-Christian rant on the Senate floor highlighted and underlined how far the Left is removed from America’s founding. In case you haven’t heard, Sanders grilled Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for second in command at the Office of Management and Budget, over Vought’s Christian faith.
Sanders found a quote wherein Vought said, in effect, that Muslims do not know God because He can only be known through Jesus Christ. Sanders found this repulsive to his politically correct, multi-cultural secularist mindset.
After angrily interrogating Vought concerning his faith, Sanders declared, “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about."
Contrary to Sanders, Vought is exactly what this country is supposed to be about. Not a single American founder would have found Vought’s statement objectionable. The most nonreligious among them would defend Vought’s right to make such a statement.
Benjamin Franklin’s Desire for a Christian Society
Take, for example, Benjamin Franklin, whom we are told was a Deist who did not believe in the God of the Bible. Nonetheless, in 1756 Franklin wrote a letter to his friend, George Whitefield, and proposed that they found a new Christian colony on the Ohio frontier (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 164-65).
It is significant that Franklin did not make such a proposal to Tom Paine, who was also a friend, or any other “liberal” individual. He made the proposal to Whitefield, the most famous preacher of the Great Awakening, who was totally committed to the Bible and to Jesus Christ as the only way to God and salvation.
Franklin presented this proposal to Whitefield because he (Franklin) was totally convinced that only Christian faith and values could provide the ethical and moral basis for a stable and prosperous society. He stated this on many occasions by both his words and actions.
When, for example, the well-known Deist, Thomas Paine, sent him a manuscript copy of a book he had written challenging the idea of a providential God and other aspects of orthodox Christianity. Franklin refused to print the book, and in very strong language, he urged Paine not even to allow anyone else to see it. He wrote,
I would advise you, therefore . . . to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person; whereby you will save yourself a great deal of mortification by the enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of regret and repentance. If men are so wicked with religion [Christianity], what would they be if without it (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 142).
The Puritan Christianity in which Franklin was reared, and which was revived in the Great Awakening, emphasized honesty, industriousness and responsible behavior. These were the characteristics Franklin wanted in the people who would populate the proposed colony. In his own words, he wanted an “industrious and religious [Christian]" people.
Franklin also had a missionary vision for this Christian colony. He suggested to Whitefield that such a colony would facilitate the spread of “pure religion” among the native people of that region. Since he is writing to Whitefield, it is obvious that the “pure religion” of which Franklin speaks, and wishes to propagate, is the fiery evangelical revivalism of Whitefield.
Franklin’s Vision Fulfilled
Although time and circumstances did not allow the implementation of this vision, I suggest that Franklin’s vision of a Christian colony did not die but was fulfilled on a much larger scale. In 1776, twenty years after writing this letter to Whitefield, Franklin and fifty-five others signed the Declaration of Independence and brought forth a new nation based on Christian principles and values.
Eleven years later, at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Franklin, now an old man of 81, clearly revealed that his Deism was a thing of the past. He called the delegates to prayer and reminded them how they had had daily prayer in that room during the war. He quoted from the words of Jesus and went on to say, “Our prayers were heard and were graciously answered” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 143-44).
Franklin’s reason for calling the convention to prayer was that he believed in the prayer-answering God of the Bible. Addressing the convention president, George Washington, Franklin quoted Psalm 127:1, saying, “We have been assured sir in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 144).
Franklin's Life a Testament Against the Views of the Liberal Left
Yes, Benjamin Franklin, America’s nonreligious founder, is a living testament to how far removed Bernie Sanders is from America’s founding. Franklin would abhor Sanders' anti-Christian rant and have some choice words for him as he did for Tom Paine.
Although it is still debated whether Franklin ever became a born-again, evangelical Christian, there is no room for debate over the fact that he believed Christian principles and values absolutely necessary for a stable and prosperous nation.
That is why Franklin had no problem with the words of one of the nation’s obvious “religious” founders, Patrick Henry. Henry, famous for his “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death” speech, declared, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 135).
It is time for Christians in America to come out of the closet and stand for truth and righteousness. It is the right thing to do! It is the American thing to do!
As I document in my book, Pilgrims and Patriots, America was birthed out of a Great Spiritual Awakening that transformed the 13 colonies and impacted Franklin, and all the founders, to one degree or another. It is time for another such Awakening, for only then will the America of Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson and Lincoln survive the present onslaught of destructive ideologies and false religions.