Workers with jack hammers recently showed up at the capital grounds in Oklahoma City and removed the Ten Commandments monument by order of a federal judge who said it violated the First Amendment. In Mississippi, a federal judge, for the same reason, ordered a high school band to remove “How Great Thou Art” from the musical repertoire they played at their school’s football games. For the same reason, a kindergartner in Florida, who bowed her head to pray over her lunch, was stopped by a school staffer and told she could not pray in school.
These attacks on religious liberty have become commonplace in modern America and they are all based on a mythical “separation of church and state,” a phrase that is not found in the U.S. Constitution. “Separation of church and state” is a contorted interpretation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which merely says, “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion, nor hindering the free exercise thereof.”
Secularists have taken the first phrase of the First Amendment, known as the “establishment clause,” and argued that any expression of faith on state-owned property amounts to an “establishment of religion.” Based on this myth, Bible reading and prayer have been banned from public schools and numerous lawsuits are regularly filed against Christians, including a recent suit filed against Benjamin Carson related to his participation in a Bible study with other members of the president's cabinet.
George Washington Was Unacquainted with This Myth
That the secularists have created a myth with their interpretation of the “establishment clause” is obvious when we consider what happened the day after the adoption of the First Amendment. Led by George Washington, the president of the Constitutional Convention, those same Founders issued a proclamation for a Day of Prayer.
Consider also that the ink was hardly dry on the First Amendment when George Washington took the oath of office with his hand on a Bible, bringing his faith to bear upon the execution of the office of president. This was in harmony with his stated belief that, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
Immediately then, after being sworn in, Washington and members of Congress proceeded to St. Paul’s Chapel where they participated in a worship service. So much for a “separation of church and state.”
That Washington was unacquainted with this modern myth is also demonstrated by the fact that shortly after being sworn in as president he issued a proclamation designating November 26, 1789 as a Day of Thanksgiving wherein all citizens should offer gratitude to God for His protection, care and many blessings. The proclamation reads in part,
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness . . . Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
So much for a “separation of church and state” in the thinking of George Washington and the founding generation.
The Source of the Myth
The phrase “separation of church and state” is derived, nor from the Constitution, but from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a group of Baptists to reassure them that they would not suffer persecution from the new American government such as they had known in the Old World and even in Jefferson’s home state of Virginia.
In this letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, Jefferson assured them that in America a “wall of separation” had been erected by the First Amendment that would protect them from government intrusion. His “wall of separation” was obviously unidirectional, put in place to keep the government out of the church, not to keep God out of the government.
Modern secularists have turned Jefferson’s statement on its head by reinterpreting his wall as a barrier to keep people of faith from influencing government. Jefferson would roll over in his grave at the distortion of his simple statement of reassurance to one of the most persecuted religious groups of that era.
In Jefferson’s mind the First Amendment provided “freedom of the church from the state,” not “freedom of the state from the church.” It is obvious that even Jefferson wanted Christian influence to predominate in the new nation.
Jefferson’s Words and Actions Deny the Myth
Jefferson’s actions clearly demonstrate that he welcomed Christian influence in the public and political arenas and that he saw no problem with the government advancing Christian causes. For example, as president, Jefferson sat on the front row of church services that were held each Sunday in one of the chambers of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
At one point, displeased with the music, he ordered the Marine Band to provide music for the Sunday services, and the band members were paid with money from the federal treasury. No one protested because no one of that generation had any thought of removing God from the public life of the nation.
Jefferson’s high regard for Jesus Christ is shown by the fact that he closed all presidential documents with the appellation, “In the year of our Lord Christ.” It is also shown by his statement that, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.”
As founder of the University of Virginia, Jefferson invited the churches of all sects and denominations to establish schools of instruction adjacent to or within the precincts of the university. He wrote,
The students of the University will be free and expected to attend religious worship at the establishment of their respective sects, in the morning, and in time to meet their school at the University at its stated hour (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 151).
The Reason for the First Amendment
It is obvious that the modern myth of a “separation of church and state” did not originate with Jefferson. Neither did this myth originate with anyone in the founding generation. This was confirmed by Joseph Story (1779-1845) who served as a Supreme Court justice for thirty-four years from 1811-1845. Commenting on the First Amendment, Story said,
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).
The First Amendment was put in place to guarantee that America would never have an official, state-sanctioned church, which had been the norm in Europe since the time of Constantine. These state-authorized churches, with the power of the government at their disposal, persecuted, imprisoned and put to death those who dared to deviate from the “official” policies of the “official” state church.
Most of the founders, or their parents or grandparents, had suffered at the hands of those state churches, both Catholic and Protestant. Benjamin Franklin, for example, tells how his grandfather, during the reign of Mary Tudor, had to read the Bible to his family in secret in order to keep from being arrested.
He did this by fastening an open Bible on the bottom and underneath the cover of a stool. With one of the children watching at the door for civil or religious authorities, he would turn the stool upside down and read the Bible to his family. In case of danger, he would quickly secure the pages and return the stool upright to its place in the corner of the room.
The danger was real for during Mary’s reign many Protestants were imprisoned and 288 were burned at the stake for their faith. The Founders were determined that such would never be the case in America.
The First Amendment was put in place to guarantee religious liberty. It guaranteed that the government would never create a national, state church and would protect the liberty of all good people of faith to live and worship according to the dictates of their conscience.
The Founders considered the First Amendment to be based on Christian values of individual freedom and religious liberty, and this was affirmed over and over in their words and actions.
The Founding Generation Would be Horrified at This Modern Myth
The Christian mindset of the Founders was affirmed in a ten-year project to discover where they got their ideas for America’s founding documents, including the First Amendment. The study found that by far the single most cited authority in their writings was the Bible (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 163). It comes then as no surprise that John Adams, nearly four decades after the American Revolution, would declare,
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were . . . the general principles of Christianity. Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 163-64).
John Marshall (1755-1835), who served as the second Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for thirty-four years, would be mystified by the modern idea of the “separation of church and state.” 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).
While Chief Justice, Marshall made the Supreme Court facilities available to a local 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 both the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court. This was neither surprising nor offensive to anyone, for it fit perfectly within the mindset of the founding generation.
A French Visitor Sees No Sign of the Myth
That America’s founders did not separate God from government was obvious to the young French sociologist, Alexis de Tocqueville, who came to America in 1831 to study her institutions. He wanted to see if he could discover the reason for America’s rapid rise to power and affluence in the world.
Arriving on the heels of the Second Great Awakening, he exclaimed, "The religious atmosphere of the country was the first thing that struck me on arrival in the United States." Tocqueville said that Americans had combined the notions of Christianity and civil liberty so intimately in their minds that it was impossible to make them conceive of one without the other. He concluded that, in America, “From the beginning, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 168).
According to Tocqueville, this linking of faith with civil liberty was the reason for their passion to spread the Gospel to the American frontier where new settlements were springing up. He wrote,
I have known of societies formed by the Americans to send out ministers of the Gospel in the new Western states, to found schools and churches there, lest religion should be suffered to die away in those remote settlements, and the rising states be less fitted to enjoy free institutions than the people from whom they came. I met with New Englanders who abandoned the country in which they were born in order to lay the foundations of Christianity and of freedom on the banks of the Missouri, or in the prairies of Illinois. Thus, religious zeal is warmed in the United States by the fires of patriotism.
Tocqueville told how, while he was in America, a witness was called to testify before the court in Chester County in the state of New York. When, however, the witness admitted he did not believe in the existence of God, the judge refused to admit his testimony as evidence. According to the judge, by admitting he did not believe in the existence of God, the witness had “destroyed all the confidence of the court in what he was about to say.” Tocqueville said the incident was merely noted in the newspaper without further comment.
Tocqueville saw no “separation of church and state” in America in 1831. He in fact saw faith and freedom running parallel and producing the most prosperous and free nation the world had ever seen. To those critics in Europe who did not believe that freedom and faith could coincide in a nation, Tocqueville responded, “I can only reply that those who hold this language have never been to America.”
A Supreme Court Declaration
The merger of faith and freedom was still a part of the American mindset as recent as 1892, when in the ruling of Church of the Holy Trinity vs The United States, the United States Supreme 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 was made by the nation’s highest Court after investigating thousands of historical documents. They saw no sign of the modern myth of a “separation of church and state” as is propagated by so many in our nation today.
The Way Forward
Jesus said in John 8:32, You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. We must take the truth and go on the offensive. We must teach everyone—friends, children, coworkers, etc.—the truth about America’s founding and about the myth that has been foisted upon us.
As truth is proclaimed and received, students, teachers, pastors, politicians and all freedom-loving people will be liberated to stand strong in their faith, for they will realize that their faith is the source of their civil liberty. This was the understanding of the Founders and was expressed by John Adams in a letter to his cousin, Zabdiel, two weeks before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. He wrote,
Statesmen, my dear sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion [Christianity] and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles, upon which freedom can securely stand (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 173).
God is calling American Christians to take back this nation’s heritage of faith and freedom that has been stolen in the past sixty years. This is a vital key to seeing another great, national spiritual awakening sweep across the land and a national healing as promised in II Chronicles 7:14.
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, Pilgrims and Patriots, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt also conducts "America Reawakening" events, which consists of a PowerPoint presentation documenting how America was birthed out of prayer and spiritual awakening, and a call for Christians to rise up and believe God for another Great Awakening across the land. Information is available from his website



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, America's Revival Heritage, 73).
According to historian, Georg Bancroft, these words were spoken by an old Native American chief concerning George Washington several years before the Declaration of Independence. He spoke these words as he reminisced with Washington and others about a battle, 15 years previous, when they were on opposite sides during the French and Indian Wars.
The Chief Saw God’s Hand on Washington
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." From that day, his reputation for bravery and leadership spread among both the English and the Native Americans.
The Prophecy Comes Forth
Years later, according to 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, motioning toward Washington, spoke these amazing words. He said,
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, America's Revival Heritage, 73).
The prophecy came to pass. Several years later the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain. Washington was appointed commander in chief of the colonial army and 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 became known as “the father of his country.”
What We Must Learn from Washington
Washington was devout in his Christian faith and respectful toward the Native people and culture, but he never allowed the two to be in conflict. He was always clear in his belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, and that only Christianity offered the moral and intellectual underpinnings for a successful nation.
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 cordially, calling them "Brothers," and assured the chiefs 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.
For Washington, sharing the gospel with those of other religions was like sharing bread with a starving man. It was the just and righteous thing to do. This is also why he had no qualms praying 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, America's Revival Heritage, 72).
In our world of multiculturalism and religious pluralism, we need to take a lesson from Washington in this regard. Neither Islam, Marxism, nor secularism offer the moral and intellectual belief system for a peaceful, civil and free society. This is obvious from merely observing the nations where those doctrines hold sway.
We, therefore, must never be shy or apologetic about our Christian faith. It is what made America great in the first place; and only a revival of Biblical Christianity will make America great and peaceful again.
Like Washington, we can be tolerant and respectful of those of different religions and cultures, but we do an injustice to them and ourselves when we do not stand for the truth that is in Jesus. In the words of the Old Testament prophet, we forsake our own mercies (Jonah 2:8) when we compromise our faith for political or cultural convenience.
Washington was very clear in his belief that only a Christian worldview would sustain America. Before he passed from this life, he warned the fledgling 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.
Concluding Prayer
As we remember George Washington on his birthday (Feb. 22), let us remember the prophecy of the old chief, and let it be a reminder that we are not here by accident or coincidence. God raised up George Washington and America for a Divine purpose, and I am certain that purpose is not yet fulfilled.
Twelve years ago I thought, perhaps, that God was finished with America as a nation. But then I experienced an unusual visitation of God, such as I had not known before or since. Over several hours, He renewed my hope that America “could” see another Great Awakening, and I clearly saw for the first time that America was birthed out of a Great Awakening and Providential acts of God.
So, I ask you to join me in praying the prayer of the Psalmist 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."
Yes, do it once again in America, O Lord!
Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, revivalist, and ordained minister. This article is derived from his book,  America's Revival Heritage, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com



Another mass shooting at a school with seventeen dead and numerous wounded by a nineteen-year old. I feel a mixture of sadness and anger. Sadness for the families but angry at the secularists who have brought this on by their rejection of everything Christian.
Should We be Shocked?
Should we be shocked at the moral chaos invading our land when many of our highest officials have told the Moral Governor of the universe that they do not want His influence in this nation? Yes, they have done this by ordering displays of the Ten Commandments removed from public schools, court houses, and all public owned property.
They have done this by ordering the removal of crosses and all Christian symbols from public places. They have done this by banning prayer and Bible reading in public schools. They have done this by a growing hostility towards anything Christian in the public life of the nation.
Our Actions Have Consequences
The inevitable consequences of these actions were highlighted to me some time ago when I heard a noted sociologist, who was being interviewed by Charlie Rose, tell about the power of symbols to effect behavior. For example, in studies he had directed, they found that a person was less likely to lie if a Bible was in their presence at the time. They learned that very presence of a Bible or the Ten Commandments will have a positive impact on a person’s behavior.
It is thus no wonder that we are experiencing such moral degeneracy in this nation. We could put off paying the piper for only so long. If George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and the other Founders are looking down from above, they are shaking their heads and saying, “We told you so.” “We warned you this could happen.”
The Founders Solution for America’s Dilemma
The Founders were unanimous in their belief that the American Republic they formed could only be sustained by a moral and religious [Christian] people. In his Farewell Address, after serving two terms as America’s first president, Washington warned the fledgling nation to cling to morality and religion. Why? Because for Washington, morality and religion [Christianity] were the indispensable supports for national stability and political prosperity (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 169-70).
For Washington, Christianity was not something to be merely “tolerated” in the new nation, but something indispensable for the nation’s survival and success. He also warned against entertaining the supposition that morality could be sustained without Christianity. The morality required to maintain a free republic could only come from Christianity. He elaborated on this when he wrote,
“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).
James Madison, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution, was in complete agreement with Washington concerning the necessity of Christian morality. This is why he wrote, “The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 131). He also wrote,
“We have staked the whole future of the American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future . . . upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 173).
This belief in the necessity of Christian morality in the public life of the nation was so prevalent that when Thomas Paine sent a manuscript to Benjamin Franklin in which he attacked historic Christianity, Franklin refused to print it. In very strong language Franklin suggested to Paine that he burn the manuscript and not allow anyone else to see it. “If men are this wicked with Christianity,” said Franklin, “What would they be if without it” (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 142).
John Adams, America’s second president, was of the same mind in this regard as Washington, Franklin, Madison, and all the Founders. This was made clear in a 1798 address to the officers of the Massachusetts Militia in which he declared,
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . .  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (Hyatt, Pilgrimsand Patriots, 173).
The Key to America’s Future
The answer for America’s dilemma does not lie with more laws and regulations, but with a true Spiritual awakening that will restore sanity to our churches, homes and schools. We have had enough entertainment in the church. We have had enough feel-good sermons. It is time to take II Chronicles 7:14 seriously and cry out to God to visit this land with another Great Awakening.
Since February 22 is George Washington’s birthday, we might ask, “What would our first president do?" First of all, Washington would agree with praying for a Great Awakening. He was, no doubt, positively influenced by the First Great Awakening for it had a profound impact throughout his home state of Virginia when he was a lad.
He would call for justice for the fallen and express compassion for the hurting. He would also point us to Jesus as our example and exhort us to treat one another with love and respect. We know this to be true for this is what he expressed in a letter to the governors of the various states at the end of the Revolutionary War.
In what could be called a “pastoral letter,” Washington expressed his “earnest prayer” for the governors and the states over which they presided. 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).
Concluding Thought
May the political leaders of this nation come to their senses and realize that the answer to America’s current dilemma is not more laws and regulations out of Washington D.C. And may the pastors and religious leaders of this nation realize that unless they boldly preach the truth of the gospel, they are contributing to the problem. And may we all realize that unless we recover the vision and understanding of America’s Founders, the free republic they created will not survive.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s latest book, Pilgrims and Patriots, which can be ordered from Amazon or from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Pat Robertson calls this book “a must-read.” Check out the "America Reawakening" events Dr. Hyatt is presenting throughout America. http://www.eddiehyatt.com/america_reawakening.html



Like Madison, Adams, Franklin and Jefferson, George Washington believed that the American Republic could only be sustained by a virtuous and moral people. Like them, and virtually all the Founders, he was also firm in his conviction that only Christianity offered the values and belief system that could produce such a virtuous and moral people.
Washington’s Key for Greatness
Washington expressed this Christian vision for America numerous times in both his private and public life. One of those times, when he expressed this vision in public, was in a meeting with a group of Delaware Indian chiefs in 1779.
The chiefs had requested that their youth be trained in American schools. Washington commended them for their request and assured them that Congress would look upon their youth “as their own children.” He 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, individual happiness and national greatness. It also shows that he saw no conflict with Congress assisting in the promotion of Christianity among this American Indian tribe.
Early Influences
This Christian way of thinking was instilled in Washington 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 grew up in the Anglican Church, which had been the official church of Virginia since the settling of Jamestown in 1607. It was not, however, high church Anglicanism, but something more akin to the Puritans of New England. Harvard professor, Perry Miller, in fact, suggested that Virginia and New England were not that different since both communities came out of the Reformation, “and that which we consider distinctively Puritan was really the spirit of the times.”
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 significant 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 and Sustained by Faith
There is no question that Washington’s faith guided and sustained him throughout his life and career. For example, at the Battle of Fort Duquesne in July 1755, during the French and Indian Wars, the 23-year-old Washington had two horses 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."
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.
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 included his “earnest prayer” and expressed his Christian vision for the nation’s success, which involved its citizens patterning 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).
Faith in God Necessary for National Greatness
Washington began the tradition of American 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 necessary for national stability and individual happiness. This was an important part of his vision for America’s success.
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 vision 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 [Christianity]. 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.
Remember, when the Founders use the word “religion” they are referring to Christianity, and in this brief excerpt from his address, we see 5 salient points that show his deep commitment to Christian truth and values.
1.      He says that religion [Christianity] and morality are “indispensable supports” for political prosperity, and the “great pillars of human happiness.”
2.       He says that anyone who would seek to subvert or undermine these two great pillars cannot claim to be a patriot.
3.       He says that maintaining these two pillars of Christianity and morality are the responsibility of every American citizen.
4.       He says that these two pillars are to be cherished by the politician as well as by the pious individual.
5.       He rejects the notion that the morality necessary to sustain the nation can be obtained apart from Christianity.
Washington and Slavery
Washington has been criticized for being a slave-owner, but the critics tend to leave out the entire story. This is what Walter Williams, the brilliant black Professor of Economics at George Mason University, was referring to when he said,
While slavery constitutes one of the grossest encroachments of human liberty, it is by no means unique or restricted to the Western world or United States, as many liberal academics would have us believe. Much of their indoctrination of our young people, at all levels of education, paints our nation’s founders as racist adherents to slavery, but the story is not so simple.
Washington was born into a world where slavery already existed, and he inherited a large plantation that included several slaves. However, when challenged that being a slave-owner was inconsistent with his testimony as a Christian, he set in motion a compassionate program to completely disentangle Mt. Vernon from the institution of slavery.
Those slaves who wanted to leave were free to do so, but none were forced to leave. Those who chose to remain were paid wages, and he began a program to educate and prepare the children of slaves for freedom. He declared,
I clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union by consolidating it in a common bond of principle. (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 161).
Yes, George Washington had a vision of an America whose citizens governed themselves from within according to Christian principles and values. Such a people, he believed, would sustain the Republic and bring heaven’s blessings to bear upon the land. This is why he warned the fledgling 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 was his vision for a Christian America.
This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, Pilgrims and Patriots, which Pat Robertson calls "a must read!" It"is available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Eddie also conducts "America Reawakening" events in which he shows how the Great Awakening gave birth to America and why only a Great Reawakening will save the nation. Read about this at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/america_reawakening.html.



The revivalists of the Great Awakening found an especially receptive audience among the black population of Colonial America. Blacks, both slave and free, resonated with the message of a "new birth" and found many areas of Scripture with which they could identify, such as Israel’s time of slavery in Egypt and God’s mighty deliverance of them. Through the Awakening, the racial chasm was breached, slaves were humanized and whites were awakened to the evils of slavery. The Great Awakening, indeed, marked the beginning of the end of slavery in America. 
George Whitfield Reaches Out to Blacks in His Preaching
George Whitefield preached from the steps of the Philadelphia courthouse to  crowds of over 10,000, when the population of the city was only 13,000. In the crowds were numerous blacks who were especially receptive to the evangelical, revival message that he preached. This was borne out by the fact that, after preaching his farewell sermon and retiring to his lodgings, “Near 50 Negroes came to give me thanks for what God had done for their souls.” Whitefield considered this an answer to prayer, saying, “I have been much drawn in prayer for them, and have seen them wrought upon by the word preached” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 94).
One black woman who was converted under Whitefield’s ministry became discouraged and prayed that the Lord would manifest Himself to her. Shortly thereafter both she and Whitefield were in a meeting where a Baptist minister was preaching. Whitefield said that the word came with such power that the woman began to cry out and “could not help praising and blessing God.”
When some criticized her for interrupting the preacher, Whitefield came to her defense saying he believed that, in that hour, “the Lord Jesus took a great possession of her soul.” He went on to say, “I doubt not, when the poor Negroes are to be called, God will highly favor them, to wipe off their reproach, and show that He is no respecter of persons” (Hyatt, Pilgrim and Patriots, 95).
Whitefield exhibited genuine compassion and concern for the blacks in his audiences, and they recognized it. One black woman, after hearing Whitefield preach, stated that he must have been in a trance and insisted that “Jesus Christ must have told him what to speak to the people or else he could not speak as he did” (Hyatt, Pilgrim and Patriots, 95).

It is obvious that in these revival meetings blacks and whites were worshiping together. This should not be surprising, for in a genuine spiritual awakening, the Holy Spirit breaks down racial and cultural barriers, and this occurred in the Great Awakening. Mark Noll, Professor of Church History at Wheaton College, confirms this, saying, “It was under the impulse of the revival that the chasm between white and black cultures was breached.”
Whitefield’s impact among the black populace of Colonial America is indicated by the moving tribute that a young black woman, Phillis Wheatley, wrote at the time of his death in 1770. Wheatley, who became America’s first published black poet, was 17 years old when she wrote the poem about Whitefield (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 94-95).

Wheatley heard Whitefield preach in Boston on more than one occasion and was profoundly impacted by his ministry. The words of her poem express the strains of equality she heard in the Gospel he preached. It reads in part,
Thou didst in strains of eloquence refined,
Inflame the heart and captivate the mind.
The greatest gift that even God can give,
He freely offered to the numerous throng.
Take him, ye Africans, he longs for you,
Impartial Savior is his title due.
Wheatley obviously quoted directly from Whitefield’s preaching in her poem. Knowing Whitefield’s passionate form of preaching, one can picture him crying out to the blacks in his audience, “Take him, ye Africans, he longs for you.”
Other Revivalists Target Blacks in Their Outreaches
Further south, Samuel Davies, who was a colleague of Gilbert Tennent, gave special attention to blacks, including slaves, during his time of ministry in Virginia. Davies not only preached to blacks but invited them to share in regular church observances including the Lord’s Supper. In 1757 he wrote,
What little success I have lately had, has been chiefly among the extremes of Gentlemen and Negroes. Indeed, God has been remarkably working among the latter. I have baptized 150 adults; and at the last sacramental solemnity, I had the pleasure of seeing the table graced with sixty black faces (Hyatt, Pilgrim and Patriots, 95).
Further north, Gilbert Tennent was delighted that during a preaching tour in Massachusetts, “multitudes were awakened, and several received great consolation, especially among the young people, children, and Negroes” (Hyatt, Pilgrim and Patriots, 93). Jonathan Edwards, in his account of the Awakening in his hometown of Northampton, mentions “several Negroes” who appeared to have been truly born again.
Anti-Slavery Sentiments Are Aroused
Whitfield has been criticized for not opposing the institution of slavery. That is a valid criticism, but Whitfield saw his purpose to be in getting people ready for the next world, not improving their lot in this one; and in this mission he treated everyone the same. Rich and poor, slave and free, male and female were all in the same predicament--guilty sinners before God--with only one solution for all, that being faith in Jesus Christ. 

Whitefield's passion to reach American blacks, both slave and free, with the gospel breached racial barriers and opened the way for others to take work of racial reconciliation further, and they did. Historian, Benjamin Hart, has noted, “Among the most ardent opponents of slavery were ministers, particularly the Puritan and revivalist preachers.” 

These "ardent opponents of slavery" included the followers of Jonathan Edwards who expanded on his idea of the essential dignity of all created beings and applied it to the blacks of Colonial America. Samuel Hopkins, for example, who had been personally tutored by Edwards, sent a pamphlet to every member of the Continental Congress asking how they could complain about “enslavement” to Great Britain and overlook the enslavement of so many blacks in the colonies. Noll says,
In this attack on slavery Hopkins was joined by other followers of Edwards, including Levi Hart in Connecticut, Jacob Green in New Jersey, and Edwards’ own son, Jonathan, Jr., who was also a minister in Connecticut.
Blacks Join the Patriotic Protests
The Awakening thus led to the humanizing of blacks and an awakening to the evils of slavery. It also led to the emergence of new, black congregations, among those who were enslaved and those who were free. This led to many blacks identifying with the struggle for freedom from Great Britain and becoming part of the patriotic protests, especially in New England.
For example, at the time of the Boston Massacre in April of 1770, a large black man, Crispus Attucks, was one of the leaders in the protests against the occupation of Boston by British troops. An escaped slave who had settled in Boston, he was one of those of those killed that day by British soldiers. A poem written in his honor refers to him as,
Leader and voice that day;
the first to defy and the first to die.
The positive ripples from the Awakening also opened the way for blacks to later serve in the Revolutionary War. David Barton has provided documentation showing that numbers of blacks were given honorable discharges and pensions, and some were honored with complete military funerals for their service in the War.
The anti-slavery sentiments unleashed by the Awakening were so strong in the North that when separation with Great Britain came in 1776, several states, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, immediately took steps to abolish slavery, something they could not do under King George III.
Although there was more resistance in the South, where a monetary motive prevailed, the anti-slavery sentiments released by the Great Awakening flowered into the abolition movement of the next century, which, as Dr. Timothy Smith has shown, had its roots in American revivalism, starting with the First Great Awakening (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 97).
Concluding Thought
Yes, the Great Awakening was an important  healing balm for race relations in Colonial America, and only another great, national awakening will bring the racial healing that is needed in our land today.

This article was derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt's book, Pilgrims and Patriots, with the subtitle, The Radical Christian Roots of American Democracy and Freedom. This book is available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. Dr. Hyatt also conducts "America Reawakening" events in which he presents a PowerPoint presentation documenting how America was birthed out of the Great Awakening and calling on Christians to believe God for another great, national spiritual awakening. You can read about this at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/america_reawakening.html.