Judeo - Christian Heritage

What is an American?
The Preambles to the Constitutions of the States
Judeo - Christian Heritage
SPECIAL: Two Monuments You Probably Never Heard Of
Other Sources
The Manhattan Declaration
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World Clock

Without question the vast majority of US citizens from the founding of the country until now share the Judeo - Christian Heritage

Christianity emerged from Judaism in the first century of the common era. Christians brought from Judaism its scriptures; fundamental doctrines such as monotheism; the belief in a mashiach (Hebrew for messiah); this term is more commonly known as Christ (christos in Greek) and means 'the anointed one'); form of worship, including a priesthood, concepts of sacred space and sacred time, the idea that worship here on Earth is patterned after worship in Heaven, and the use of the Psalms in community prayer.

Users of the term Judeo-Christian, pointing out that Christians and Jews have many sacred texts and ethical standards in common, also generally hold that Christians and Jews worship the same God.

The term was used in the United States of America in an attempt to create a non-denominational religious consensus or civil religion that by embracing Judaism avoids the appearance of anti-Semitism. The original uses of the term have faded and now usually refers to a general western religious background and the term is commonly used by historians and academics as a shorthand for the cultural foundation of western society.

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Judeo–Christian (sometimes written as Judaeo–Christian) is a term used broadly to describe a body of concepts and values thought to be held in common by Judaism andChristianity. This tradition is considered, along with classical Greco-Roman civilization, a fundamental basis for Western legal codes and morality.

In particular, the term refers to a moral tradition based on shared religious scriptures, referred to as the Tanakh in Judaism and the Old Testament by Christians, including particularly theTen Commandments. It implies a continuation of values represented by this religious heritage in the modern Western World. Michael Novak has identified the distinctive value of the Judeo–Christian tradition as the joint concept of liberty and equality based on Genesis, where all humans are said to be created equal, and Exodus, where the Israelites flee tyranny to freedom. Thomas Cahill has discussed Jewish belief in progress and moral responsibility as a characteristic of American culture that can be traced to a Judeo–Christian reading of theBible. The term "Judeo-Christian" has been criticized by some theologians for suggesting more commonality than may actually exist.

The evolution of Judeo–Christian influence on America is most commonly the subject of historians looking at the development of republicanism in America. The deep roots of Judeo–Christian values they explore go back to the Protestant Reformation, not the theological battles but the bloody struggle to win the right to translate the Bible into vernacular languages. This led to a religious mandate for public education so that ordinary people could read the Bible. According to some authors, this development was crucial to the birth of the Enlightenment and rebellion against divine right of kings.

In the American context, historians use the term Judeo–Christian to refer to the influence of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament on Protestant thought and values, most especially the Puritan, Presbyterian and Evangelical heritage. These founding generations of Americans saw themselves as heirs to the Hebrew Bible, and its teachings on liberty, responsibility, hard work, ethics, justice, equality, a sense of choseness and an ethical mission to the world, which have become key components of the American character, what is called the “American Creed.” These ideas from the Hebrew Bible, brought into American history by Protestants, are seen as underpinning the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Other authors are interested in tracing the religious beliefs of America's founding fathers, emphasizing both Jewish and Christian influence in their personal beliefs and how this was translated into the creation of American institutions and character. 

To these historians, the interest of the concept Judeo–Christian is not theology but on actual culture and history as it evolved in America. These authors discern a melding of Jewish thought into Protestant teachings—which added onto the heritage of English history and common law, as well as Enlightenment thinking—resulted in the birth of American democracy. 


In the video below Congressman Randy Forbes asks, on the floor of the US House of Representatives, the questions
  • "Did America ever consider itself a Judeo-Christian nation?" and
  • "If America was once a Judeo-Christian nation, when did it cease to be?"

Is America a Christian Nation? >>> ...some statements by previous presidents, legislatures, and courts (as well as by current national Jewish spokesmen) about America being a Christian nation. These declarations from all three branches of government are representative of scores of others and therefore comprise only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. (Click here to read)


"...Dedicated secularists and some atheists continue to push the idea that a preponderance of America's founders were, at best, only nominally religious.
It is true they were not all Christians. Some were deists who believed in a Creator, though not one interested in relating personally to His creatures. But choose at random any man considered one of our nation's founders and examine his life and personal writings. You are almost sure to find a man deeply influenced by faith in a Creator God.
Consider Patrick Henry, my favorite personality from among the founders. A Virginia attorney and eloquent orator, Henry helped motivate the move toward independence with his inspirational speeches.
Henry was a follower of Christ and a man of faith. A variety of sources confirm the following incidents from his life.
He once said to a neighbor:
"This book [the Bible] is worth all the books that ever were printed, and it has been my misfortune that I never found time to read it with the proper attention and feeling till lately. I trust in the mercy of heaven that it is not too late."
In a letter to his daughter dated August 20, 1796, he wrote:
"Amongst other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long, and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast."
On his deathbed, Patrick Henry was reported to have said:
"Doctor, I wish you to observe how real and beneficial the religion of Christ is to a man about to die.... I am ... much consoled by reflecting that the religion of Christ has, from its first appearance in the world, been attacked in vain by all the wits, philosophers, and wise ones, aided by every power of man, and its triumphs have been complete."
On November 20, 1798, in his Last Will and Testament, Patrick Henry wrote:
"This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family. The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed."
Henry is best known for the speech he made on March 23, 1775, in Saint John's Church in Richmond, Va., more than a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Virginia House was undecided on whether to organize for military action against the encroaching British army. Henry argued in favor of mobilizing for war.
Henry rarely, if ever, utilized notes for his speeches. As a result, his first biographer, William Wirt, worked diligently from oral histories to reconstruct a text of Henry's most memorable and perhaps most influential speech.
Consider some excerpts from Wirt's reconstruction of Henry's address:
"They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house?
"Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
"Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.
"Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!
"Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
On July 4 remember that those who laid the foundation for our nation were very much like Patrick Henry -- men who believed that liberty was a precious right that flowed from God. And in Henry's life God was preeminent, personal and the provider of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ."
                                       --- Kelly Boggs, columnist for Baptist Press,


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 We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.' -  James Madison
So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? — I Kings 3:9

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