Many people, including historians, claim that Madison and the other founders as well were deists. But they do so without much evidence. But what do Madison’s own statements reveal?
“watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.” (emphasis added)
Notice the words Annals of Heaven. This is not a deist term, but clearly speaks of heaven, whereas the word ‘annals’ would indicate a book or record. In other words, he is speaking of salvation and having our names written in the Book of Life.
“For men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.” (emphasis added)
Here he indicates a desire that men of high position be bold in their faith, even becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ! This is a strong statement and evinces a belief in personal soul winning.
On these two quotes alone we can safely surmise that Madison was a Christian not a Deist. But there is more.
Although initially opposed to amendments to the Constitution, he supported the idea of freedom of religion where the government does not favor one denomination over another. He wasn’t afraid of the church influencing government, but rather government establishing a national religion. Read:
“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.” (emphasis added)
An interesting fact was that he was inclined to have paid chaplains for Congress. As President he signed a bill that economically aided a Bible Society to distribute Bibles. Further, as President he signed proclamations for national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. These are not the actions of a Deist.
Later in life he seems to have retreated from these positions with his ‘Detached Memorandum.” However, this memorandum does not reflect his public statements nor his actions, which in my opinion makes one wonder if it was written by him at all. But whether it was or wasn’t the fact remains that both publicly and historically his actions were that of a believer in Christ and not that of a Deist.
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.