Benjamin Rush (January 4, 1745–April 19, 1813), was a physician, educator and philanthropist. He was a member of the Continental Congress, 1776–77, and signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1774, he helped found and was president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. He helped found and was vice-president of the Philadelphia Bible Society; was a principal promoter of the American Sunday School Union; and a member of the Abolition Society. In his work, A Plan for Free Schools, 1787, Dr. Benjamin Rush counseled:
Let the children … be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.
On July 13, 1789, in a letter to Jeremy Belknap, Dr. Benjamin Rush stated:
The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.
David Barton, “America, God Shed His Grace on Thee” (Garland, TX: American Tract Society, Box 462008, Garland, Texas, 75046; 1994), p. 4.
L.H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush (Princeton, New Jersey: American Philosophical Society, 1951), Vol. I, p. 521.