New York State Legislature (1838), stated:
In all countries, some kind of religion or other has existed in all ages. No people on the face of the globe are without a prevailing national religion. …
With us it is wisely ordered that no one religion shall be established by law, but that all persons shall be left free in their choice and in their mode of worship. Still, this is a Christian nation. Ninety-nine hundredths, if not a larger proportion, of our whole population, believe in the general doctrines of the Christian religion.
Our Government depends for its being on the virtue of the people,—on that virtue that has its foundation in the morality of the Christian religion; and that religion is the common and prevailing faith of the people.
There are, it is true, exceptions to this belief; but general laws are not made for excepted cases. There are to be found, here and there, the world over, individuals who entertain opinions hostile to the common sense of mankind on subjects of honesty, humanity, and decency; but it would be a kind of republicanism with which we are not acquainted in this country, which would require the great mass of mankind to yield to and be governed by this few.
It is quite unnecessary to enter into a detailed review of all the evidences that Christianity is the common creed of this nation. We know it, and we feel it, as we know and feel any other unquestioned and admitted truth; the evidence is all around us, and before us, and with us. We know, too, that the exceptions to this general belief are rare,—so very rare that they are sufficient only, like other exceptions, to prove a general rule.
Benjamin Franklin Morris, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States (Philadelphia, PA: L. Johnson & Co., 1863; George W. Childs, 1864), pp. 238-239. Stephen McDowell and Mark Beliles, “The Providential Perspective” (Charlottesville, VA: The Providence Foundation, P.O. Box 6759, Charlottesville, Va. 22906, January 1994), Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 4.