If America’s founders were involved in the current gun debate, they most likely would insist on a moral test for gun owners. John Adams, founding father and the country’s second president, declared, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (Hyatt, Pilgrims andPatriots, 173).
According to Adams, the Second Amendment was not made for the sick, the secularist, the amoral, and the agnostic. It was, as Adams declared, given for a moral and religious [Christian] people. It was made for people with a transcendent moral compass by which they order their lives.
America’s Founders Would Insist on a Moral Test
America’s founders, without exception, believed that Christian teachings provided a moral restraint on evil and was necessary for a stable and prosperous society. George Washington made this clear in his Farewell Address after serving two terms as the nation’s first president. He said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 169).
When the founders use the word “religion” they are referring to Christianity. Note that Washington did not refer to religion and morality as something optional for the new nation. The word he used was “indispensable.” He believed that only Christianity provided the moral restraints and underpinnings for a peaceful and stable society.
The writings of the Founders are filled with such exhortations about the necessity of faith and morality for a stable society. James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, 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 nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 131).
Thomas Jefferson also believed that Christian teachings were necessary to provide a moral restraint on evil passions. Having read the Koran and the literature of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Enlightenment, he stated, “Of all the systems of morality that have come under my observations, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.”
Jefferson’s commitment to Christian values is why he closed all presidential documents with the appellation, “In the year of our Lord Christ.” It is also why he took money from the federal treasury to pay for a missionary to work among the Kaskasia Indian tribe and to build them a building in which to worship. He did this because he believed Christian principles necessary for a stable and happy people.
A Moral Test for Gun Ownership
A moral test for gun ownership would be constitutional and the founders would certainly be on board. Here are some suggested non-sectarian moral questions that could be asked on an application for a gun purchase.
1. Do you believe in a Supreme Being to whom you are accountable for your words and deeds?
2. Apart from self-defense, do you believe it is wrong to do bodily or mental harm to another person?
3. Do you accept the moral teachings of Jesus, such as, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do unto others as you would have them to unto you?”
4. Do you seek to live a life of integrity, never violating your conscience or internal sense of right and wrong?
The Political Left Opposes Such a Test
Admittedly, in and of itself, such a moral test would have little impact on gun violence in America. What we must have is a general Awakening of Christian morality that touches all segments of American society.
Left-wing politicians, of course, reject any public display of Christian morality. They falsely claim that the First Amendment secularized America and banned public displays of Christian faith. If that is the case, then Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin did not get the memo.
In addition to the founders many calls for Christian morality, the day after ratifying the First Amendment, that reads, “Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion or hindering the free exercise thereof,” those same founders proclaimed a national day of Prayer and Thanksgiving.
Sadly, modern secularist politicians are doing the very things Washington and the founders warned against. They have implemented secularist policies that have left a spiritual and moral void in American society.
They have pushed for the removal of crosses and displays of the Ten Commandments in all public places. They deny children the right to pray and read their Bibles in their public schools. Heaven forbid that children would be exposed to such moral truths as “Thou shalt not kill” or “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
In place of the transcendent morality on which this nation was founded, these politicians insist on an atheistic worldview that logically leads to the conclusion that all truth is relative and “I” can make up my own moral system.
It is this modern, amoral worldview that is opening the way for mass shootings and other atrocities. None other than Benjamin Franklin warned about the social consequences of rejecting Christian morality.
Franklin’s Warning is Being Realized in Modern America
Thomas Paine sent Franklin a manuscript copy of his book, The Age of Reason, in which he attacked orthodox Christianity. Franklin was not pleased. Not only did he refuse to print the book, he suggested to Paine that he burn it so that no one else would ever see it.
Franklin then asked a rhetorical question that is stunningly relative to the present gun debate and America’s moral dilemma. He asked, ”If men are so wicked with religion [Christianity], what would they be if without it” (Hyatt, Pilgrims and Patriots, 142)?
After sixty years of a war by the left to remove everything Christian from the public life of America, we are beginning to see the answer to Franklin’s question.
This article was derived from the book by Dr. Eddie Hyatt entitled, Pilgrims and Patriots, with the subtitle, The Radical Christian Roots of American Democracy and Freedom. This book and others are available from Amazon and Dr. Hyatt's website @ www.eddiehyatt.com.