LISTEN NOW! As we look at many of the headlines happening across America, we see the Bible and its teachings being drawn further and further away from the classrooms atmosphere. But, when we look at the beginnings of education in America, and America itself, we begin to see a reality that drastically contradicts what is happening today.
When we look at a small book that can fit in your hand, New England Primer, we begin to understand. As David Barton explains, “It was the first textbook ever printed in America.” Inside this small textbook, we see how children first learned their alphabet, by correlating people and stories in the Bible to each individual letter. People say that America is not a Christian nation, but as we look closer and closer into our history, we can see how false that presumption really is.
When historian David Barton discussed this topic with Rick Green, regarding our Foundations of Freedom, they reveal that the Bible is not only important in America’s history, but it is also a founding document, alongside the U.S. Constitution and The Declaration of Independence. As Barton explains, “The Bible was the number one source, far and away more than any other source, the Bible was the most frequently quoted source. So it is a founding document in America.” According to The Origins of American Constitutionalism by Donald S. Lutz, “34% of the direct quotes in the founding era came from the Bible.”
In our present culture, people presume that one is injecting their faith when they bring up the Bible, or simply share a Bible verse. Barton shares, “We have over 250 idioms that we use on a daily basis that are direct quotations out of the Bible…the Bible is so much a part of what we do that people don’t recognize it.” If many don’t know that they are quoting the Bible, when is it a good time to start teaching children to read and recognize the Bible. Barton answers this very question. “When you look at American history, the right time to start training them is when they start to read.”
At the start of public schools in Washington, D.C., two of the books that students learned to read from was the Bible and Watts Hymnal. At the time, President Thomas Jefferson enacted this plan of education. Jefferson penned the very first report of what occurred in these public schools:
“55 have learned to read in the Old and New Testaments; and all are able to spell words of 3, 4, and 5 syllables; 26 are now learning to read Dr. Watts Hymns & spell words of 2 syllables; 10 are learning words of 4 & 5 letters. Of 59 out of the whole number admitted [or enrolled] that did not know a single letter, 20 can now read the Bible and spell words of 3, 4, and 5 syllables; 29 read Dr. Watts Hymns and spell words of 2 syllables; and 10 words of 4 & 5 letters.”
What may strike some today is the observations of Fisher Ames, who was a framer of the Bill of Rights. According to Barton, Ames began to observe more and more textbooks being added into the classrooms of America. Barton describes Ames’ comments on his observations, “The more textbooks we’re putting in the classroom, the more time we’re having to spend on those textbooks. He says, the more time we spend on those textbooks, the less time we have available on the Bible…If we’re not careful, the Bible is going to start drifting to the back of our classrooms and this can’t be tolerated in American education.” These very words spoken from one of our forefathers more than 200 years ago is shouting at us.
How do we know the teachings of the Bible and understand the implications of how we should live our daily lives if we are not spending time daily with the Lord, hearing His voice and reading His Word? America was founded on the principles and the teachings of the Bible. When the Bible came out of our schools, we now spend all our time fighting crime. It doesn’t matter what laws are passed if our hearts are not in accordance with the teachings of the Lord. Be encouraged as your understanding of America’s history is refreshed in your eyes, as you get a new understanding of our forefathers, the Bible, and so much more. Also shared in this segment: education, history, Political Science, The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Benjamin Rush. Greg and Steve shared in this segment.