Evidence of the Deism of the US Founders

Definitions of Deism
George Washington
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson Inre US Common Law
Thomas Paine
John Adams
James Madison
Ethan Allen


Were the US Founders Christians (Xns)? Did they believe in the divinity of Jesus (J)? Did they believe in the dogma of Christianity (Xnity)?

Evidence exists that the influential US Founders were not Xns but, instead, were Deists, particularly those who wrote the US Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

NOTES: When quoting someone else, John Remsburg, for example, I simply write his last name and a colon, with the quotation following the colon, as in --

Remsburg: _____ (quote).

When speaking for myself, I write thus:

Kroepel: _____ (quote).

NOTE: Remsburg, John E., "Six Historic Americans," The Truth Seeker Company, New York; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Remsburg

NOTE: Lewis, Joseph L., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_L._Lewis

Definitions of Deism


According to THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, 1968, vol.2, p.420:

"One of the embarrassing problems for the nineteenth-century champions of the Christian faith was the fact that NOT ONE of the first six presidents of the United States was a Christian. They were Deists."

What is Deism?

Definitions of Deism

Peter A. Angeles, Dictionary of Philosophy, Harper Collins:

Deism: ... in general, the belief in the existence of God. The term deism was first used in Christianity by the Calvinists during the latter part of the sixteenth century; in England, it appeared during the early seventeenth century. For the most part, deism holds to the following beliefs: God as the first cause created the universe. 2. God created the unchangeable laws by which the universe is governed. 3. God is in no way immanent in God's creation, but totally different from it, transcending it as, for example, a watchmaker transcends the watch he or she has made and set in motion. 4. Reason is in harmony with revelation (or revelation must conform to reason). 5, The Bible must be analyzed according to reason, and its doctrine should not be made into mysteries. 6. God has a preordained plan for the universe; all things are predetermined. 7. The highest duty and sole aim of human life is to fulfill the purpose of the natural laws God has created. 8. In some versions, God occasionally suspends physical laws in order to revitalize the natural system. 9. In some versions, God can intervene in the lives of humans, and and provide grace and/or moral guidance.

John Herman Randall, Jr., and Justice Buchler, Philosophy: An Introduction, Barnes and Noble College Outline Series, 1971, p. 170.

Minimal Supernaturalism: "Deism." There are ... supernaturalists who hold a purely impersonal or non-anthropomorphic belief in God, namely, that although such a being is the creator of nature, he does not interfere with the course he has set for it, and is indifferent to human affairs. The view, originating in ancient philosophy, is in modern times often known as deism. The term "deism." however, is misleading because it is likely to be confused with a view of the same name which is far closer to the traditional supernaturalistic assumption of divine intervention in human affairs, which differs in maintaining that truth about God can be arrived at by the natural powers of the mind (rationalistically) and need not be accepted merely on faith as "revealed" truth. In this latter sense, "deism" (developed chiefly in eighteenth century English philosophy) reflects the doctrine of "natural" religion. In the former sense, "deism" is sometimes distinguished from "theism," asserting that God transcends nature (is completely "outside" it) not only in his being but in his activity, though the student will do better to regard it less confusedly as one form of theism.

Simon Blackburn, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy:

Deism: Historically, a term referring to the doctrine of 'natural religion' emerging in England and France in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, according to which while reason (particularly the argument to design) assures us that there is a God, additional revelation, dogma, or supernatural commerce with the deity are all excluded. Supplication and prayer in particular are fruitless: God may only be thought of as an 'absentee landlord.' Leading deists included Herbert [Edward Herbert of Cherbury, England, 1583-1648], John Toland (1670-1722), whose Christianity not Mysterious (1696) was an influence on Berkeley [George Berkeley, 1685-1753], and Anthony Collins (1676-1729), as well as Shaftesbury [Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, England, 1671-1713] and, arguably, Locke [John Locke, 1632-1704]. The belief that remains is abstract to [the] vanishing point, as witnessed in Diderot's [Denis Diderot, 1713-1784, 'outspoken champion of modern, secular, and scientific world view in an age where freethinking was still dangerous in France' -- Simon Blackburn] remark that a deist is someone who has not lived long enough to become an atheist.

George Washington

Was George Washington a Christian? Or a Deist?

If Washington had been a Christian, would he have refused to invoke the name of Jesus in defiance of a directive from the US Continental Congress? If Washington had been a Deist, would he have refused to invoke the name of Jesus in defiance of a directive from the US Continental Congress?


According to Rupert Hughs, Washington went out of his way NOT to invoke  the name of Jesus. For example, the Continental Congress of 1776 decreed a day of fasting and prayer "to confess and bewail our manifold sins ... through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ." When Washington repeated this to his troops, he omitted the reference to Jesus Christ. When looking for servants, Washington emphasized that he wanted a good person, and that it was fine that if they be "Mohammedan, Jew, Christian, or atheist." On his death bed, Washington reportedly never mentioned God nor religion. He also left no money for religious causes in his will. (Richard Shenkman, LEGENDS, LIES, AND CHERISHED MYTHS OF AMERICAN HISTORY, William Morrow  and Company, New York, 1988)

Remsburg: The closing years of his life, save the last two, were passed in Philadelphia, he being then President of the United States. In addition to his eight years' incumbency of the presidency, he was, during the eight years of the Revolutionary War, and also during the six years that elapsed between the Revolution and the establishment of the Federal government, not only a frequent visitor in Philadelphia, but during a considerable portion of the time a resident of that city. While there he attended the Episcopal churches of which the Rev. William White and the Rev. James Abercrombie were rectors. In regard to his being a communicant, no evidence can be so pertinent or so decisive as that of his pastors.

Bishop White, the father of the Protestant Episcopal church of America, is one of the most eminent names in church history. During a large portion of the period covering nearly a quarter of a century, Washington, with his wife, attended the churches in which Bishop White officiated. In a letter dated Fredericksburg, Aug. 13, 1835, Colonel Mercer sent Bishop White the following inquiry relative to this question:

"I have a desire, my dear Sir, to know whether Gen. Washington was a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal church, or whether he occasionally went to the communion only, or if ever he did so at all. ... No authority can be so authentic and complete as yours on this point."

To this inquiry Bishop White replied as follows:

"Philadelphia, Aug. 15, 1835.
"Dear Sir: In regard to the subject of your inquiry, truth requires me to say that Gen. Washington never received the communion in the churches of which I am the parochial minister. Mrs. Washington was an habitual communicant. ... I have been written to by many on that point, and have been obliged to answer them as I now do you. I am respectfully.
"Your humble servant,
(Memoir of Bishop White, pp. 196, 197).

The "People's Library of Information" contains the following:

"The question has been raised as to whether any one of our Presidents was a communicant in a Christian church. There is a tradition that Washington asked permission of a Presbyterian minister in New Jersey to unite in communion. But it is only a tradition. Washington was a vestryman in the Episcopal church. But that office required no more piety than it would to be mate of a ship. There is no account of his communing in Boston, or in New York, or Philadelphia, or elsewhere, during the Revolutionary struggle."

The Rev. Dr. Wilson, who was almost a contemporary of our earlier statesmen and presidents, and who thoroughly investigated the subject of their religious beliefs, in his sermon already mentioned affirmed that the founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected -- George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson -- not one had professed a belief in Christianity. From this sermon [The Religion of the Presidents, published in the Albany Daily Advertiser in 1831] I quote the following:

"When the war was over and the victory over our enemies won, and the blessings and happiness of liberty and peace were secured, the Constitution was framed and God was neglected. He was not merely forgotten. He was absolutely voted out of the Constitution. The proceedings, as published by Thompson, the secretary, and the history of the day, show that the question was gravely debated whether God should be in the Constitution or not, and, after a solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it. ... There is not only in the theory of our government no recognition of God's laws and sovereignty, but its practical operation, its administration, has been conformable to its theory. Those who have been called to administer the government have not been men making any public profession of Christianity. ... Washington was a man of valor and wisdom. He was esteemed by the whole world as a great and good man; but he was not a professing Christian."

Remsburg: "Dr. Wilson's sermon was published in the Albany Daily Advertiser in 1831 ..."

Kroepel: Here is a statement by an Xn minister published in a public newspaper stating the existence of Mr. Thompson, what was his office, his duties, and what he, Thompson, had to say concerning voting God out of the US Constitution, and that the men who voted God out of the US Constitution were not professing Xns.

As a majority was required to vote concepts/principles/etc. in or out of the US Constitution, then it is entirely reasonable to conclude that the majority of the Founders present at the Constitutional Convention were influenced by the men we can now address to be the influential Deist Founders, and we can recognize that although these men were not themselves the majority present at the Convention they nevertheless were so influential that they intellectually, at least, represented the majority.

Remsburg: The Rev. Dr. Wilson, who was almost a contemporary of our earlier statesmen and presidents, and who thoroughly investigated the subject of their religious beliefs, in his sermon already mentioned affirmed that the founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected -- George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson -- not one had professed a belief in Christianity. From this sermon I quote the following:

"When the war was over and the victory over our enemies won, and the blessings and happiness of liberty and peace were secured, the Constitution was framed and God was neglected. He was not merely forgotten. He was absolutely voted out of the Constitution. The proceedings, as published by Thompson, the secretary, and the history of the day, show that the question was gravely debated whether God should be in the Constitution or not, and, after a solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it. ... There is not only in the theory of our government no recognition of God's laws and sovereignty, but its practical operation, its administration, has been conformable to its theory. Those who have been called to administer the government have not been men making any public profession of Christianity. ... Washington was a man of valor and wisdom. He was esteemed by the whole world as a great and good man; but he was not a professing Christian."

Dr. Wilson's sermon was published in the Albany Daily Advertiser in 1831, and attracted the attention of Robert Dale Owen, then a young man, who called to see its author in regard to his statement concerning Washington's belief. The result of his visit is given in a letter to Amos Gilbert. The letter is dated Albany, November 13, 1831., and was published in New York a fortnight later. He says:

"I called last evening on Dr. Wilson, as I told you I should, and I have seldom derived more pleasure from a short interview with anyone. Unless my discernment of character has been grievously at fault, I met an honest man and sincere Christian. But you shall have the particulars. A gentleman of this city accompanied me to the Doctor's residence. We were very courteously received. I found him a tall, commanding figure, with a countenance of much benevolence, and a brow indicative of deep thought, apparently approaching fifty years of age. I opened the interview by stating that though personally a stranger to him, I had taken the liberty of calling in consequence of having perused an interesting sermon of his, which had been reported in the Daily Advertiser of this city, and regarding which, as he probably knew, a variety of opinions prevailed. In a discussion, in which I had taken a part, some of the facts as there reported had been questioned; and I wished to know from him whether the reporter had fairly given his words or not. ... I then read to him from a copy of the Daily Advertiser the paragraph which regards Washington, beginning, 'Washington was a man,' etc., and ending, 'absented himself altogether from the church.' 'I endorse,' said Dr. Wilson, with emphasis, 'every word of that. Nay, I do not wish to conceal from you any part of the truth, even what I have not given to the public. Dr. Abercrombie said more than I have repeated. At the close of our conversation on the subject his emphatic expression was -- for I well remember the very words -- 'Sir, Washington was a Deist.'"

In concluding the interview, Dr. Wilson said: "I have diligently perused every line that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one expression in which he pledges himself as a believer in Christianity. I think anyone who will candidly do as I have done, will come to the conclusion that he was a Deist and nothing more."

Kroepel: Dr. Abercrombie was one of the ministers of one of the churches Washington attended. Here we have conclusive proof from a credible eyewitness that Washington was not a Christian but instead was a Deist.

Remsburg: In February, 1800, a few weeks after Washington's death, Jefferson made the following entry in his journal:

"Dr. Rush told me (he had it from Asa Green) that when the clergy addressed General Washington, on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to disclose publicly whether he was a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly, except that, which he passed over without notice" (Jefferson's Works, Vol. iv., p. 572).

Jefferson further says: "I know that Gouverneur Morris, who claimed to be in his [Washington's] secrets, and believed himself to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more in that system [Christianity] than he did" (Ibid).

Gouverneur Morris was the principal drafter of the Constitution of the United States; he was a member of the Continental Congress, a United States senator from New York, and minister to France. He accepted, to a considerable extent, the skeptical views of French Freethinkers.

Kroepel: Note Jefferson's reference to "Asa Green," is to the Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green of Philadelphia, who "was chaplain to Congress during all the time of its sitting in Philadelphia." [See below Remsburg's reference to his receipt of a letter from A. B. Bradford inre Dr. Ashbel Green's comments inre Washington's Deism, and that Washington was not an Xn.]

Kroepel: Note the reference to Gov. Morris to be the principal drafter of the Constitution of the United States, and that he 'accepted ... the skeptical views of French Freethinkers' and thus, obviously, was not an Xn.

The inclusion of Gov. Morris increases the number of people present at the US Constitutional Convention who were not Xns and therefore most likely were Deists/Freethinkers.

We have the following from Remsburg in which he clearly states corroboration that the majority of the Founders present at the US Constitutional Convention were not Xns but were Deists.

Remsburg: Some years ago I received a letter from Hon. A. B. Bradford of Pennsylvania, relative to Washington's belief. Mr. Bradford was for a long time a prominent clergyman in the Presbyterian church, and was appointed a consul to China by President Lincoln. His statements help to corroborate the statements of Dr. Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, and Mr. Underwood. He says:

"I knew Dr. Wilson personally, and have entertained him at my house, on which occasion he said in my hearing what my relative, the Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green of Philadelphia, frequently told me in his study, viz., that during the time that Congress sat in that city the clergy, suspecting from good evidence that Washington was not a believer in the Bible as a revelation from heaven, laid a plan to extort from him a confession, either pro or con, but that the plan failed. Dr. Green was chaplain to Congress during all the time of its sitting in Philadelphia; dined with the President on special invitation nearly every week; was well acquainted with him, and after he had been dead and gone many years, often said in my hearing, though very sorrowfully, of course, that while Washington was very deferential to religion and its ceremonies, like nearly all the founders of the Republic, he was not a Christian, but a Deist."

Kroepel: We now have not only the published reference by the Rev. Dr. Wilson to Thompson but now corroboration by the Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green, chaplain to Congress, of Thompson's statements that the Founders at the US Constitutional Convention were mostly not Xns, but were Deists.

Kroepel: Note the following by Remsburg to be corroboration that the religious thinking of the times of the Founders of the US Constitution was liberal.

Remsburg: Dr. Moncure D. Conway, who made a study of Washington's life and character, who had access to his private papers, and who was employed to edit a volume of his letters, has written a monograph on "The Religion of Washington," from which I take the following:

"In editing a volume of Washington's private letters for the Long Island Historical Society, I have been much impressed by indications that this great historic personality represented the Liberal religious tendency of his tune. That tendency was to respect religious organizations as part of the social order, which required some minister to visit the sick, bury the dead, and perform marriages. It was considered in nowise inconsistent with disbelief of the clergyman's doctrines to contribute to his support, or even to be a vestryman in his church."

Kroepel: Here we have another minister acknowledging 'the Liberal religious tendency of [the] time.'

What would that 'liberal religious tendency' be? Liberal Xnity? Deism?

It is clear from the previous testimonies that the 'liberal religious tendency of [the] time' was Deism, and that, therefore, the influential Founders present at the US Constitutional Convention were not Xns but were Deists, and their influence was so great that they influenced the majority of Founders and therefore represented the majority present at the Constitutional Convention.

Deists, from the Xn viewpoint, were infidels, because they did not believe in Original Sin nor the divinity of J nor the necessity for salvation or the death/resurrection of J for the appeasement of G. 

Benjamin Franklin

Note the following from Joseph Lewis's description of Benjamin Franklin.

Lewis: Franklin's complete emancipation from the superstitions of his day came about when, as he said, "Some volumes against Deism fell into my hands. They were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lecture. It happened that they produced on me an effect the opposite of what was intended by the writer; for the arguments of the Deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appealed to me much more forcibly than the refutation itself. In a word I soon became a thorough Deist." The word "Deist" of Franklin's day has its exact counterpart in the word "Freethinker" to-day. And how many thousands of our leading men and women have been emancipated as a result of theologians quoting Freethought arguments in an endeavor to answer them?

Kroepel: Note Franklin's own words: "In a word, I ... became a thorough Deist."

Lewis: Persecution did not deter Franklin from his criticism of the Bible nor of religion in general. In an essay on "Toleration" note with what force he states the truth:

"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects of Christianity, we shall find that few have not in their turn been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves in England and America."

Kroepel: Herein we have confirmation of the 'liberal religious tendency of [the] times' to note the excesses and violence committed by Xns in the name of their religion, to condemn those excesses and violences, and to work to make sure religionists never had a chance to gain political power in the United States.

Lewis: All of which merely emphasizes the fact that Religious Liberty is safe only in the hands of the Freethinker, whose philosophy of freedom of thought is expressed by Thomas Paine in the words, "He who would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression." Religious sects differ about interpretation; the minority use the arguments of liberalism to justify their existence; but history proves, as Franklin so pungently puts it, that when minorities become the majorities and possess the power, dogmatism overshadows the principles of Liberty which permitted their existence, and they in turn become the persecutors of others and are as tyrannical with their powers as those who previously endeavored to force them to conformity.

Lewis: Franklin knew the importance of placing all religions upon the same basis, and when he laid down this premise it was one of the soundest pieces of political advice that this great statesman gave to the world in his vast volume of political philosophy.

Kroepel: Atheists and agnostics have been accused of causing more human suffering than religionists, but note in Franklin's own words corroboration of the fact that most 'heretics' are men of good character.

Lewis: And then again, how can such a letter be representative of Franklin's convictions, when at the age of eighty, but three years before his death, he wrote to a correspondent in England, in which he asks to be remembered "affectionately to good Dr. Price and the honest heretic, Dr. Priestly," and continues:

"I do not call him [Priestly] honest by way of distinction, for I think all the heretics I have known have been virtuous men. They have the virtue of fortitude, or they would not venture to own their heresy; and they cannot afford to be deficient in any of their virtues, as that would give advantage to their enemies; and they have not, like orthodox sinners, such a number of friends to excuse or justify them. Do not, however, mistake me. It is not, my good friends, to heresy that I impute his honesty. On the contrary, it is his honesty that has brought upon his head the character of a heretic."

Lewis describes the contribution of Franklin to the religious liberalism of the day and the resistance of the clergy in the following.

Lewis: Few of us to-day can fully realize the mental night that darkened the world in Franklin's time. Witchcraft was everywhere dominant. Every conceivable superstition held sway over the minds of the people. The most horrible crimes were committed in the name of religion. Cotton and Increase Mather were the intellects who ruled. And although the great souls who lived before Franklin had broken to some degree the tyrannical power of priest and king, and here and there the monsters of religion had been driven from the face of the earth, the winds, the rain, the storm, the sunshine and the seasons were still believed to be the caprices of God. And even though you were not burned at the stake for disbelieving the inspiration of the Bible, the wrath of God would yet fall upon you at Judgment Day. The cringing mass was awed into submission by warnings from above. Was not thunder the voice of God: and did not lightning reveal his anger and strike many dead?

But in 1752, on the banks of the Schuylkill River, came one of the most significant triumphs for the liberation of man. Benjamin Franklin, through his successful experiment with the kite, discovered the true nature of electricity, tore the mask from the face of Jehovah, and freed the heavens of a hideous monster.

The thunderbolt was no longer the manifestation of God's anger, nor the lightning of his wrath. The mind of man was completely emancipated from the fear of God.

It is difficult to realize the complete revolution this discovery made upon the human race, or how far it was responsible for the triumphs of the nineteenth century. With it Franklin's fame, already world-wide, was intensified into universal approbation.

The only dissenting voice was that of the clergy. They feared with their whole being, and rightly, too, the consequences of his achievement -- the lightning rod. They roundly termed it the "heretical rod" and refused to desecrate their churches with it, although as a consequence God particularly singled them out for destruction. Prayer, supplication and the ringing of bells were the methods they employed to forestall the lightning or to calm the rising flood.

The clergy of that day, not unlike some to-day, could not reconcile their calling with the impious work of an "arch infidel." There has always been hesitancy in accepting the achievements of the leaders and pioneers of progress, and always because it was in conflict with "God's word."

History is but a continuous narrative of the steps of progress, each one of which the Church has bitterly contested.

Franklin's "Heretical Rod" has been a mighty instrument for the liberation and progress of man. It has released us from the terror of the Unknown, and the debt the world owes this infidel is greater than it can pay.

Kroepel: Note herein the description of the process of denial/evasion/obfuscation/attack that religionists, particularly Xns, as exemplified by this case, go through to defend their religion and in the process potentially injure innocent individuals, individuals who had serious need of Franklin's lightning rod to protect them from nature.

Lewis wrote a statement with which I agree in principle but not in extent.

Lewis: The great fault with the human race is not lack of love, but misdirected love. Nearly all the wealth, energy, and intellect of the world have been squandered upon religion. So much love was given to "God" that there was none left for the human family.

Kroepel: Lewis' description of Franklin's reasons for not attending church are revelations of some of the differences between Xnity and other 'heresies' including Deism, namely, the belief, commonly attributable to Deism, that good works are more important than belief or worship.

Lewis: Franklin did not do things without a reason, and a good and sufficient reason at that; and so he gives us his reasons for not attending church services.

"The Discourses of the preachers," he said, "were chiefly arguments of explanation of the peculiar doctrines of their sects," and these doctrines he found to be "dry, uninteresting, and unedifying; not a single moral principle was inculcated or enforced." In fact, he said: "the aim seemed to be rather to make us good Presbyterians [that was the creed of his parents] than good citizens."

Franklin believed in good works rather than in worship. "Revealed religion," he said, "had no weight with me"; and here he makes the vital distinction between religion and morals, when he said "truth, sincerity, and integrity in dealings between man and man are of the utmost importance to the felicity of life." The church is concerned with making good adherents to the creed, and not in making good citizens. Morality is concerned with good citizenship.

Franklin states further, that religion does not tend to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, but serves principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another. "Serving God," says Poor Richard, "is doing good to man, but praying is thought an easier serving, and therefore most generally chosen."

Kroepel: Lewis confirms the 'liberal religious tendencies of the time' included a disbelief of the doctrine of Original Sin.

Lewis: Franklin thought that "original sin" was a detestable doctrine.

Steven Morris: Benjamin Franklin, delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, said:

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion ... has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble." (Benjamin Franklin, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Thomas Fleming, p. 404, (1972, Newsweek, New York, NY) quoting letter by BF to Ezra Stiles March 9, 1790.)

He died a month later, and historians consider him, like so many great Americans of his time, to be a Deist, not a Christian.

Kroepel: We have thus Franklin's own testimony of his Deism, how he became a Deist at an early age, how he rejected Christianity, and how he remained a Deist one month before his death. We have no reason to believe that in the month between the writing of his beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus and thus the theological bases of Christianity and his death that he had a conversion from Deism to Christianity.

From ...


... we have the following report by B. Franklin:

Benjamin Franklin

Motion for Prayers in the Convention

[Motion made June 28, 1787]

Mr. President,

The small Progress we have made, after 4 or 5 Weeks’ close Attendance and continual Reasonings with each other, our different Sentiments on almost every Question, several of the last producing as many Noes as Ayes, is, methinks, a melancholy Proof of the Imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our want of political Wisdom since we have been running all about in Search of it. We have gone back to ancient History for Models of Government, and examin’d the different  Forms of those Republics, which, have been orig[i]nally form’d with the  Seeds of their own Dissolution, now no longer exist; and we have view’d modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our Circumstances.

In this Situation of this Assembly, groping, as it were, in the dark to find Political Truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our Understandings? In the Beginning of the Contest with Britain, when we were sensible of Danger, we had daily prayers in this Room for the Divine Protection. Our Prayers, Sir, were heard; -- and they were graciously answered. All of us, who were engaged in the Struggle, must have observed frequent Instances of a superintending Providence in our Favour. To that kind Providence we owe this happy Opportunity of Consulting in Peace on the means of establishing our future national Felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine we no longer need its assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time; and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth, that GOD governs in the Affairs of Men. And if a Sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without His Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without His Aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that "except the Lord build the House, they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe, that, without his concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better than the Builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our little, partial, local Interests, our Projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a Reproach and a Bye-word down to future Ages. And, what is worse, Mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate Instance, despair of establishing Government by human Wisdom, and leave it to Chance, War, and Conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move,

That henceforth Prayers, imploring the Assistance of Heaven and its Blessing on our Deliberations, he held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to Business; and that one or more of the Clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that Service.*

*"The convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary!" [Franklin's note.]

--End Quote--

Thomas Jefferson

Kroepel: Concerning Thomas Jefferson, Lewis writes the following.

Lewis: The passion of Jefferson's soul was Liberty. His torch burned brightly with the fire of freedom. He could not see man as Man until he saw him mentally and politically free. He knew that the oppression of tyrant kings and the shackles of slavery were the milder forms of subjection under which man was made to suffer. He knew that mental bondage, slavery to superstition and fear, were the greatest obstacles to the emancipation of man. Jefferson had vision enough and forethought enough and intelligence enough to know that when man became mentally free, the shackles of all other forms of slavery would inevitably fall from his side. Once man was emancipated from degrading and enslaving superstitions, once free of the fears of religion, then priests could not beguile him nor governments enslave him; and then prejudice, that poisonous viper of human life, would be obliterated forever.

The grandest law that was ever written upon the Statute books of this or any other nation is the Statute of Religious Freedom which Jefferson drafted for the Virginia Constitution. Until the enactment of this provision for liberty of conscience, anyone who denied the existence of God, or the Trinity, or the Bible to be of Divine authority, was not permitted to hold civil or military office and was subjected to every penalty that an ignorant and vicious hierarchy could inflict. A father was even denied the custody of his own children.

But Jefferson knew that if the American Colonies were to prosper both as a government and as a nation, there must be a complete separation of Church and State. He knew that a church, supported by the State, was an enemy to man, whether it existed under a monarchy or under a Republic. The injustice was the same, and bloodshed and disruption would be the result.

For eight long and tedious years he faced the united opposition of ignorance and bigotry and entrenched superstition. He silently endured the vilification and calumny of his enemies; and when victory was won and the Statute of Religious Freedom was enacted, a new dawn and a new day brightened upon the land, not only for America, but also for the world.

The United States became the intellectual haven for mankind. And only a man of the mental grandeur of Jefferson could have conceived and developed and formulated so broad and so magnificent a provision for freedom of thought. What Thomas Paine did as an individual and as a citizen, Thomas Jefferson accomplished as an official and as an executive.

Kroepel: Jefferson disliked the clear and obvious violence committed against innocent individuals by Xns.

Lewis: Jefferson knew, and felt no hesitation in saying, that "millions of innocent men and women, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned: yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion" he asked; "to make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites?"

He did not want an Inquisition in America -- he looked with horror upon those instruments of torture which had so torn and mutilated the tender flesh of man.

He knew that the church and the priests could not be trusted with the people's sacred rights of freedom, and said: "In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty, he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."

Kroepel: Lewis states that Jefferson was influential in ensuring that there would be no de facto state or federal religion in the United States.

Lewis: And were it not for Thomas Jefferson -- and I say this after a full and thorough analysis of the facts at my disposal -- this country to-day would not be a Republic.

Jefferson not only thwarted the efforts of Hamilton and others to establish a state church, but he also thwarted their efforts to establish an aristocracy. It was through the efforts of Thomas Jefferson that the first ten amendments, the very bulwark of our liberties, famous as the Bill of Rights, were incorporated in our Federal Constitution.

Kroepel: According to Lewis, Jefferson had serious dislikes of the dogmas and nonsense of Xnity.

Lewis: Jefferson was also a Freethinker, in deed as well as in thought; the philosophy of Rationalism ever illuminated his mind. He knew that there was no subject which pertained to the rights, the welfare and the liberty of man which should not be investigated. Age, nor the antiquity of a subject was superior to the interests of mankind. If, after an investigation of a subject it was found to be incompatible with the best interests of life, it felt the force of Jefferson's opposition.

In the volume of Freethought, where can you find the principle set down more clearly than in these words of Jefferson -- "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must approve the homage of reason rather than of blindfolded fear. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it end in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others it will procure for you."

He admonished others to read the Bible as any other book; and if you found recorded therein instances inconsistent with facts, it was the facts which were to be accepted and the authority of the Bible rejected.

Jefferson himself is very explicit upon this phase of his investigation, and he says that Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament was "a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust. "

He was equally as emphatic concerning the prophecy of Jesus as found in the New Testament. He said, "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classified with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

In a further investigation of the New Testament he found "a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticism and fabrications."

"If we believe," he continued, "that he (Jesus) really countenanced the follies, the falsehoods, and the charlatanisms, which his biographers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) father upon him, and admit the misconstructions, interpolations, and theorizations of the father of the early and the fanatics of the latter ages, the conclusion would be irresistible by every sound mind that he was an imposter."

"Among the sayings and sources imputed to him (Jesus) by his biographers," continues Jefferson, "I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again, of so much ignorance, of so much absurdity, so much untruth and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I therefore, separate the gold from the dross, I restore to him the former, and leave the latter to the stupidity of some and the roguery of others of his disciples."

Many a Freethinker owes his emancipation to the reading of "Jefferson's Bible," the recorded human events of the Life of the Nazarene as Jefferson interpreted them.

Jefferson was not only convinced of the falsity of the religious dogmas of his day, but militantly struggled to break the grapple hold they had upon the minds of the people, and was happy at every defeat they sustained. In a letter to John Adams, he wrote, "I join you, therefore, in sincere congratulations that the den of priesthood is at length broken up, and that a protestant Popedom is no longer to disgrace the American history and character."

And in response to a letter from John Adams saying, "That this would be best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it," Jefferson replied: "If by religion we are to understand sectarian dogmas, in which no two of them agree, then your exclamation on that hypothesis is just, 'that this would be the best of worlds if there were no religion in it.'"

Kroepel: Note the reference to a letter from John Adams containing the quote:  "That this would be best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it."

This is supporting evidence of Adams' liberal religious tendency and, with statements by Thompson, secretary and historian of the US Constitutional Convention, and by the Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green, chaplain of the US Congress, confirming the presence of a majority of Deists as voting members of the Constitutional Convention, we have proof that Adams was not an Xn but was a Deist, confirming the Encyclopedia Britannica statement that the first six US Presidents were Deists and confirming the statement of the Christian Union in 1880 that the first nineteen US Presidents were non-Xns.

Lewis wrote the following statements concerning the intention of Jefferson that the University of Virginia be a secular institution.

Lewis: In establishing the University of Virginia, Jefferson sought to accomplish in an intellectual sphere for the human race what he and others had accomplished in a political way for mankind. The University of Virginia was to be the counterpart, as an institution of learning, to the Republic.

There were to be no religious tests for pupil or professor, the sciences stood on a par with the classics and mathematics, agriculture and the science of the government were for the first time recognized as subjects worthy of a place in a university curriculum.

In establishing this great institution -- the first truly secular college to exist in our land -- Jefferson hoped to realize that longed-for and hoped-for day when there would be in reality, some semblance of the Brotherhood of Man.

Jefferson said: "By bringing the sects together, and mixing them with the mass of other students, we shall soften their asperities, liberalize and neutralize their prejudices and make the general religion a religion of peace, reason and morality." 


Jefferson was influential in the framing and thus the wording and enacting and implementing of the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom. In his Autobiography, Jefferson wrote:

"Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

Thomas Jefferson Inre US Common Law


US Constitution Amend 7: In suits at common law. . . the right of trial by jury shall be preserved; and no fact, tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.

Kroepel: Jefferson recognized many Americans and scholars held a false belief that US common law was based upon, founded upon, Xn common law, and he addressed and corrected this false belief.

In a letter to Thomas Cooper, Feb 10, 1814:

"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it.

". . . if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

Kroepel: We note that, according to Jefferson, Saxon common law predated by 200 years any possible Xn modifications to English common law, and, therefore, Saxon common law, which included a right to a speedy trial and a trial by a jury, was the foundation of US common law.

Jefferson recognized that a misinterpretation, by a scholar/commentator named Priscot, of the phrase ancien scripture which means, literally, old scripture, could have misled anyone who interpreted ancien scripture to mean holy scripture to conclude that the English common law was based upon the Ten Commandments and other laws supposedly found in the holy scripture commonly accepted to be Jwsh/Xn writings including the Bible.

Also in the letter to Thomas Cooper, Feb 10, 1814:

"And Blackstone repeats, in the words of Sir Matthew Hale, that 'Christianity is part of the laws of England,' citing Ventris and Strange ubi surpa. 4. Blackst. 59. Lord Mansfield qualifies it a little by saying that 'The essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law." In the case of the Chamberlain of London v. Evans, 1767. But he cites no authority, and leaves us at our peril to find out what, in the opinion of the judge, and according to the measure of his foot or his faith, are those essential principles of revealed religion obligatory on us as a part of the common law."

"Thus we find this string of authorities, when examined to the beginning, all hanging on the same hook, a perverted expression of Priscot's, or on one another, or nobody."

 Kroepel: Jefferson was known to be a scholarly person, and, therefore, we can accept as true his description of the origin of US common law instead of "a perverted expression" of ancien scripture by Xns.

Thomas Paine

Kroepel: Thomas Paine, a known Deist, used the phrase 'nature's God' in his writings and speeches.

According to the author of the article found at ...


... Paine, a Deist, used the phrase 'nature's God':

We find the following pertinent observation Paine made regarding atheism in a speech to the Society of Theophilanthropists in Paris, France, shortly after the French Revolution:

"As to that which is called nature, it is no other than the laws by which motion and action of every kind, with respect to unintelligible matter, are regulated. And when we speak of looking through nature up to nature's God, we speak philosophically the same rational language as when we speak of looking through human laws up to the power that ordained them."

Kroepel: According to Harold J. Spaeth, Ph.D., J.D., and Edward Conrad Smith, in The Harper Collins Outline: The Constitution of the United States, p. 2, the Declaration of Independence was drafted by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman, with Jefferson being the chief author.

Spaeth/Smith assert that "The philosophy underlying the Declaration of Independence derives from John Locke's second treatise, On Civil Government (1690) ... [Note: Locke was a known English Deist/Freethinker.]

Thus, the philosophy, the concepts and principles of government, underlying the US Declaration of Independence are Deistic, and not Xn.

From Spaeth/Smith, p. 175, the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Kroepel: Note the phrase 'nature's God' which is identical to the Deist phrase used by Paine. Jefferson, a Deist, and Franklin, also a Deist, both knew Paine, and his views on the laws of nature and of 'nature's God,' therefore we ought not to be surprised that the Deist phrase, 'nature's God' was inserted into the Declaration of Independence.

Other phrases which are Deistic include --

 "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

"We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states: that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And, for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Kroepel: Note there are no references to J or Xnity in the Declaration of Independence, a fact which supports the contention that most of the Founders were Deists and had no intention of allowing Xnity to be referenced as the basis of the Founding of the United States nor for Xnity to be a de facto state religion of the United States.

John Adams (the Second President of the United States)


Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli (June 7, 1797). Article 11 states:
"The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
From a letter to Charles Cushing (October 19, 1756):

"Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, 'this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.'"
From a letter to Thomas Jefferson:

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
Additional quotes from John Adams:

"Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?"

"The Doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."


In his, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788], John Adams wrote:

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."

James Madison (the Fourth President of the United States)


Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments:

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise. ... During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."

Additional quote from James Madison:

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

Ethan Allen


From Religion of the American Enlightenment:

"Denominated a Deist, the reality of which I have never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian."


Summary: Kroepel: These quotes are examples of religious liberalism which was present in those times and were the hallmarks of Deistic thinking, which, when the confirmations of the influences of the Deist US Founders present at the US Constitutional Convention by Mr. Thompson, the secretary and historian of the Continental Congress, which authorized the Constitutional Convention, the Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green, and the Rev. Dr. Wilson are included, show clearly that the Deist US Founders, while not necessarily in the majority, were, as noted, extraordinarily influential inre the US Constitution and its Amendments, particularly the Bill of Rights.

Deism has been demonstrated to be clearly differentiated from Xnity by its belief in reason and not revelation for the belief in the existence of God, using the teleological logical argument for the existence of God, a refutation of the concept of Original Sin and therefore a refutation of the necessity for the divinity and the death/resurrection of J, that the works of good men are sufficient for obtaining positive judgment from the Creator God, etc.