Why America Needs a Higher Being


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“We need God.” Americans have long held this belief.

The Declaration of Independence, adopted in 1776, proclaims that “everyone is endowed by his Creator with certain inalienable rights”. The United States Constitution makes no reference to either the word “God” nor the phrase “the divine”, but according to the Pew Research Organization, almost all state constitutions in America include such a reference.

The inclusion of the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance confirms the belief in an American acceptance of a higher being.

The phrase “In God we trust”. originally appeared on United States coins in 1864, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1956 that made the phrase America’s modern currency. Several state and appellate courts have added legitimacy to the phrase. On November 4, 2011, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly reaffirmed the motto by a vote of 396 to 9.

The American national anthem, known as “The Star-Spangled Banner”, dates from 1814; the lyrics derive from a poem written by Francis Scott Key. The fourth verse of the hymn includes this reference to God:

“Then we must overcome, when our cause is right, And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.'”

The United States Navy recognized the recognition of the anthem in 1886; in 1931, the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution that made the song the official national anthem in 1931.

The Founding Fathers of the United States had a variety of worldviews and religious views. In his book titled “The Faiths of the Founding Fathers” and published by Oxford University Press in 2006, David L. Holmes identifies three different religious views among the Founders. He determined views through public statements and correspondence from the founders.

A small group of Founders had put aside their Judeo-Christian heritage and embraced the intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries known as deism. Adherents to this movement generally rejected revelation as the source of divine knowledge and accepted the existence of a creator based on reason rather than belief in a supernatural deity who would interact with mankind.

Deism emerged in England as a rejection of orthodox Christianity.

A second group of founders remained, who might be called the traditional Christians. They maintained their faith in the supernatural and their adherence to the teachings of their denomination. The divinity of Jesus remained an important part of their faith.

The largest group of founders remained believers in Christianity, but allowed deism to influence them. They questioned the miracles and supernaturalism included in mainstream Christianity. The group included both conservative and liberal founding fathers.

The three groups of founders that author David Holmes identified in his book had different views on the relationship between God and man, but all three views included acceptance of a creator. They showed little tendency to ignore the spiritual altogether, a similarity that helped unite them in their effort to break away from the motherland England and establish a new and free country called the United States.

The concept of a higher being influenced the thoughts and actions of the majority of America’s founders.

“We need God, a higher being” has served as a guiding principle in the United States since its founding; the concept is needed today perhaps more than ever.

Franklin T. Burroughs received a Nishan-e-Homayoun from Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for his work in the Iranian Ministry of the Court and received Certificates of Recognition from the California Senate and State Assembly. He is a member of the adjunct faculty at John F. Kennedy University and served as President of Armstrong University and Acting Dean of the School of Business at Université Notre Dame de Namur. He is an English Language Officer (Contractor) to the United States Department of State. Dr. Burroughs is an international consultant in education, Middle Eastern affairs and cultural diplomacy.

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