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"Laus Deo" (a poem) AND "Laus Deo" The Washington Monument ^ | Whittier

Posted on 01/21/2004 7:12:46 AM PST by xzins

"Laus Deo" - A Poem

The title of this poem, Laus Deo, comes from the old Latin Mass and means "Praise be to God!" That the poet saw a divine hand in Congress's passing of the amendment abolishing slavery on January 31, 1865 -- thus putting the capstone on what had been accomplished by four long and arduous years of war -- is evident from the rich biblical imagery used throughout these verses.

"Laus Deo"
By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

It is done!
Clang of bell and roar of gun
Send the tidings up and down.
How the belfries rock and reel!
How the great guns, peal on peal,
Fling the joy from town to town!

Ring, O bells!
Every stroke exulting tells
Of the burial hour of crime.
Loud and long, that all may hear,
Ring for every listening ear
Of Eternity and Time!

Let us kneel:
God's own voice is in that peal,
And this spot is holy ground.
Lord, forgive us! What are we
That our eyes this glory see,
That our ears have heard this sound!

For the Lord
On the whirlwind is abroad;
In the earthquake He has spoken;
He has smitten with His thunder
The iron walls asunder,
And the gates of brass are broken!

Loud and long
Lift the old exulting song;
Sing with Miriam by the sea,
He has cast the mighty down;
Horse and rider sink and drown;
'He hath triumphed gloriously!'

Did we dare,
In our agony of prayer,
Ask for more than He has done?
When was ever His right hand
Over any time or land
Stretched as now beneath the sun?

How they pale,
Ancient myth and song and tale,
In this wonder of our days
When the cruel rod of war
Blossoms white with righteous law,
And the wrath of man is praise!

Blotted out!
All within and all about
Shall a fresher life begin;
Freer breathe the universe
As it rolls its heavy curse
On the dead and buried sin!

It is done!
In the circuit of the sun
Shall the sound thereof go forth.
It shall bid the sad rejoice,
It shall give the dumb a voice,
It shall belt with joy the earth!

Ring and swing,
Bells of joy! On morning's wing
Sound the song of praise abroad!
With a sound of broken chains
Tell the nations that He reigns,
Who alone is Lord and God!

"Laus Deo"

On the aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. are two words: "Laus Deo".

No one can see these words. In fact... most visitors to the monument have no idea they are even there and... for that matter... probably could NOT care less!

But there they are... 555 feet, 5.125 inches high... perched atop the monument to the father of our nation... overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia... capital of the United States of America.

Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words... out of sight and, one might think, out of mind... but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the world.

And what might those two words... comprised of just four syllables and only seven letters... mean? Very simply... " Praise be to God ! "

Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848 when James Polk was President of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public. It took twenty five years to finally cap the memorial with the tribute Laus Deo! Praise be to God!

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure... a visitor can take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. And from that vantage point one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles 'Enfant... a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape... with the White House to the north... the Jefferson Memorial to the south... the Capitol to the east... and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

A cross... you say? How interesting! And... no doubt... intended to carry a meaning for those who bother to notice. Praise be to God! Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings the memorial stones share a message. On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore; on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. Praise be to God!

When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848, deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God! Such was the discipline, the moral direction, the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy... "one nation, under God."

I am awed by Washington's prayer for America. Have you never read it? Well, now is your opportunity... read on!

"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United states at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Laus Deo! As you might have guessed... I kind of like the idea that our Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase "under God." It is clear when one studies the history of our great nation that Washington's America was one of the few countries in all the world established under the guidance, direction and banner of Almighty God, to whom was given all praise, honor and worship by the great men who formed and fashioned her pivotal foundations. And... when one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol... one will easily find the signature of God.

We are a nation under God!!! Laus Deo!!! Praise be to God!!! "Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. (Psalm 127: 1) Source: Unknown

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous; Philosophy; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; christianheritage; christianlist; cross; dc; deo; freemasonry; laus; lausdeo; masons; monument; phallicsymbol; praisebetogod; washington; washingtondc; washingtonmonument
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1 posted on 01/21/2004 7:12:47 AM PST by xzins
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl; Calpernia; Alamo-Girl; TEXOKIE; Corin Stormhands; TrueBeliever9
Posted cause I really liked it.

God bless America!
2 posted on 01/21/2004 7:13:54 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of It!!)
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To: xzins
SHHHhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don't tell them. They'll want to take it down.
3 posted on 01/21/2004 7:20:00 AM PST by EggsAckley (...................Repeal the Fourteenth Amendment.......................)
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To: EggsAckley

They're afraid of heights....too close to God for them...:>)
4 posted on 01/21/2004 7:28:01 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of It!!)
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To: xzins; TEXOKIE; ohioWfan; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; ALOHA RONNIE; TruthNtegrity
It is wonderful, both poem and essay. Thank you for posting this as a separate thread, xzins.

Bookmarked. Adding to today's war news links, for visiting troops.

5 posted on 01/21/2004 8:15:31 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl ("The chapter of Iraq's history - Saddam Hussein's reign of terror - is now closed." Lt. Gen. Sanchez)
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To: xzins
Praise God!!! Thank you so very much, xzins!
6 posted on 01/21/2004 8:21:33 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: xzins
Posted cause I really liked it.

Good post!

7 posted on 01/21/2004 8:23:34 AM PST by Professional Engineer (Hmm Is 6 lb test too heavy for Martian trout?)
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To: xzins
Thanks for the Poem being posted with the repost of the Monument Laus Deo. Great thread!
8 posted on 01/21/2004 10:40:03 AM PST by TEXOKIE (Hold fast what thou hast received!)
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To: xzins
Stuff like this has to drive the ACLU NUTS!!!
9 posted on 02/21/2004 1:27:14 PM PST by Smartass
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To: Smartass
Yep, you'd almost think that the historians who say it was founded as a Christian nation were correct.
10 posted on 02/21/2004 1:50:13 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army and Proud of it!!)
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To: xzins; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ..
Yes, it's true, it's on ONE of the FOUR sides of the cap.

Truth or Fiction


11 posted on 02/22/2004 5:18:31 PM PST by Coleus (Help Tyler Schicke Burkitt's leukemia)
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To: Coleus
Thanks for the ping!
12 posted on 02/22/2004 8:37:27 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl

I cannot allow such a falsehood to be perpetrated.

The Texas Monument is 570 feet tall with a 35 foot star set on the top. Making it by far, the largest Stone column monument in the world.

There is no rule or law stating that the Washington Monument must be the tallest.

Whether or not the "Laus Deo" is under the cap. I will not venture a guess one way or another, but the writer of this lost credibility with the first two false statements.

13 posted on 12/06/2004 10:40:57 PM PST by TexasChristian
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To: TexasChristian

Thanks for the ping, but I'm not sure what you are arguing against. The San Jacinto Monument was built between 1936 and 1939 whereas the Washington Monument was built between 1848 and 1888. Both were built (at least in part) with federal funds - so if there was an intention in the 1800's that the one monument should be the tallest, congress must have overruled itself.

14 posted on 12/07/2004 8:42:28 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl

Let us now quickly look at the Washington Monument,
which lies directly West of the Capitol. In fact, the
Washington Monument lies on a straight line, precisely
900 West of the Capitol. The Washington Monument(left)
is the most important Presidential monument to the
occultist, because it is an obelisk set inside a
circle. What, you are probably saying, is an obelisk?
An obelisk is a tall, four-sided stone pillar tapering
toward a pyramidal top.

The obelisk is critically important to the
occultist because they believe that the spirit of the
ancient Egyptian sun god, Ra, resided in the obelisk.

Thus, the obelisk represents the very presence
of the sun god, whom the Bible calls Satan!!

There are only three major obelisks in the
world today, and two of them are in the United States.
According to Epperson in his book, "The New World
Order", the first major obelisk was constructed in St.
Peter's square in Rome, and is so placed that every
Pope who addresses any crowd in the square, must face
the obelisk. A New Age author, Peter Tomkins, reports
the same facts in his book, "The Magic Of Obelisks",
Harper and Row, New York, 1982, ISBN 0-06-014899-3.

There is an obelisk in St. Peter's Bascilica as
well. You'll be shocked to know that the Church of God
promotes Celibacy while displaying a sex act right
outside of St Peter's Bascilica.

The second obelisk was brought to America in
1881 from Alexandria, Egypt, and was placed in Central
Park in New York City.

The third obelisk is the Washington Monument,
built to commemorate our First President, George
Washington (who was a Freemason). In light of the
symbols which we have just studied, which have been
built into the layout of Government Center, I believe
the Washington Monument was constructed by Masons,
according to Masonic tradition, as a symbol that this
country was controlled by Freemasonry from the very
beginning. And the Washington Monument has Freemasonry
stamped all over it:

* It is built from 36,000 separate blocks of
granite. The number 36 is derived from multiplying 3x12
and is an important number.

* Its capstone weighs exactly 3,300 pounds.

* The monument contains 188 specially donated
Memorial stones, most of them donated by individuals,
societies, cities, and nations throughout the world.
But, Masonic lodges throughout the world contributed 35
of these Memorial stones. These 35 blocks were
intermingled with the other Memorial stones, but the
last several of them were placed at the 330 foot level.

* The total cost of the Washington Monument
was reported to be $1,300,000, showing again a most
important Masonic number, 13.

* The Monument has 8 windows, and together
they total 39 square feet in size. The number 39 is
very sacred because it is formed by multiplying 3x13
AND 39 divided by two is 19.5 which is another
significant masonic number. And, also remember the
importance of the Number 8 in Occultic Numerology, for
it carries the meaning of "New Beginnings". Combined
with the meaning of Number 13, as "Extreme Rebellion",
you get the total message that this "New Beginning"
{New World Order} is to be carried out in "Extreme
Rebellion." I believe this to also be connected to
the UPC/EAN 13 BarCode specification(Mark of the

There are several other, more complicated
Masonic numbers concealed within the construction of
the Washington Monument, but you get the point:
This monument, constructed to honor the first
Masonic President, was designed so that both the White
House and the Capitol face toward it so that the
leaders of both branches have to face the spirit of
Lucifer thought to be residing in it. This is typical

One final interesting note. We reported earlier
in this article that the Washington Monument obelisk
was placed directly on a straight line, precisely 900
West of the Capitol. Thus, the inhabitants of the
Capitol could face the obelisk daily. However, note
that the Washington, D.C., obelisk does not lie in a
straight line 900 South the White House. Why? Because
it was lined so that it lies in a straight line 900
from the House of Understanding, the headquarters of
FreeMasonry!! In the mind of the occultist, the true
political Administrative power resides in this
Freemasonry headquarters, not in the White House. This
is why President Andrew Johnson considered himself to
be the subordinate to Albert Pike, the leader of North
American FreeMasonry!

Clearly, the power of leadership to drive this
country toward the New World Order, leading the rest of
the world, lies in FreeMasonry, not in the White House
or the Congress. These symbols, built into the
physical layout of Government Center in Washington,
D.C., represent the extent of that power. Think of the
many years these symbols have remained hidden from most
people's knowledge; think of the millions of tourists
which have walked on these streets during this time,
without having any idea as to the existence of these
symbols, not to mention their meaning! And, if you have
ever driven a car in Washington D.C. area, you will now
understand why these streets seem to be laid out so
weird! Driving in Washington D.C. can be a
nightmare. Now you know why.

I will challenge any one to try and disprove
this information. The odds against this happening
accidentally are so astronomical and ridiculous! Do
you see irrefutable evidences of a conspiracy here?

Info from

In the love of Yahushua,

15 posted on 12/17/2004 12:03:34 PM PST by hk91tag
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To: hk91tag

Thank for the information.

16 posted on 12/17/2004 9:58:56 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: TexasChristian; Alamo-Girl; hk91tag

Greetings ~

With regard to the dispute about "...there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument":

The intent of this statement has NOTHING to do with measureable, physical height.

It has EVERYTHING to do with its spiritual height ~~

- the reality that the Creator of all that is, is being supplicated through the constructs of this monument

- the fact that it refers to Old and New Testament Scripture is acknowledgement that more than one of God's Messengers (Prophets, Manifestations... however anyone wishes to describe Them), are being addressed

In the email I received with "Laus Deo" as subject material, I also received the following - no indication was given that this was included in the supplications existing in the Washington Monument. But they are worth reading, remembering, and living.

"When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look.

... no one who reads this will be able to forget it's meaning, or these words: "Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." (Psalm 127: 1)

~ 'Found the Truth' ~


O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious. Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace,
[referring to The Lord's Prayer: ..."Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."]

to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.

~~ Spoken by the Voice of God ~~

17 posted on 01/09/2005 9:36:04 PM PST by Found the Truth
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To: TexasChristian

If I remember right, the law about nothing being built taller than ... applied only to Washington D. C. (My birth place.)

18 posted on 02/22/2005 3:09:06 PM PST by In HIS steps
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To: xzins

Re: Laus Deo & Washington Monument.

According to several debunking websites, this email began circulating in 2002. While some of the material it cites as facts are correct, quite a bit of it is not.

It would be nice if the original person or persons emailing this had stuck to the facts, if they actually wanted to give a history lesson, but I don’t think that was actually their purpose. They seem to be concerned with the religious implications of the monument, which is fine, but twisting the truth is lying and Jesus taught us that lying is sinful.

My Opinion: I guess I don’t really see much uproar about removing the Ten Commandments and I personally believe in God, so I believe in the Ten Commandments. I do also believe in separation of church and state, because otherwise I think we run the risk of a theocracy, which is what religious extremists want and what the original settlers in this country were running from. No one religion should ever govern or be imposed upon this country or we will have forsaken the freedom our founding fathers fought for. I also have no problem with people who do not believe in God, that is their choice and one they have the right to make. I believe that free human beings should have the choice to believe in whatever they choose to believe in, anything less I believe is an insult to our Heavenly Father who gave us free will. I love God, not because someone tells me I have to, or because some religious leader tells me I will be damned otherwise. I believe in and love God, because something in my heart tells me he is with me and because when I look at the beauty and complexity of life and creation, how could I not believe.

The facts: It is true that the words "Laus Deo" are inscribed on one face of the aluminum point which crowns the apex of the Washington Monument. Actually, all four sides of the point bear inscriptions, as follows:

W. W. CORCORAN, Chairman.
Act of August 2, 1876.
JULY 4, 1848.
AUGUST 7, 1880.
Master Mechanic.

Facts concerning the motivation for the monument: Alone among the Founders of the United States, George Washington earned the title "Father of the Country” in recognition of his leadership in the cause of American independence. Appointed commander of the Continental Army in 1775, he molded a fighting force that won independence from Great Britain. In 1787, as President of the Constitutional Convention, he helped guide the deliberations to form a government that has lasted for more than 200 years. Two years later he was unanimously elected the first President of the United States. He established precedents that successfully launched the new government on its course. He refused the trappings of power and veered from monarchical government and traditions and twice, despite considerable pressure to do otherwise, gave up the most powerful position in the Americas. When the Revolutionary War ended, no man in the United States commanded more respect than George Washington. Americans celebrated his ability to win the war despite limited supplies and inexperienced men, and they admired his decision to refuse a salary and accept only reimbursements for his expenses. Their regard increased further when it became known that he had rejected a proposal by some of his officers to make him king of the new country. Though many people wanted him to stay for a third term as President, Washington retired in 1797 to Mount Vernon and sadly died suddenly two years later. As early as 1783, Congress discussed a memorial to Washington, but it took many years to decide what kind of memorial and where it would be placed.

The facts: Excavation for the foundation of the Washington Monument began in the spring of 1848. Speeches that day showed that the country continued to revere Washington. Construction continued until 1854, when donations ran out. One memorial stone that started the events that stopped the Congressional appropriation and ultimately construction altogether. In the early 1850s, Pope Pius IX contributed a block of marble. In March 1854, members of the anti-Catholic American Party—better known as the "Know-Nothings"(Protestants, that hated Catholics)—stole the Pope's stone as a protest and supposedly threw it into the Potomac. Then, in order to make sure the Monument fit their definition of "American," the Know-Nothings conducted a fraudulent election so they could take over the entire Society. The Know-Nothings retained control of the Society until 1858. Then came the Civil War, then disagreements about the design and construction, therefore construction did not resume until 1879. In fact, when construction resumed the work that the “Know-Nothings” had done, had to be removed, because it was of such poor quality.

The facts: As described by the National Park Service, architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant's original 1791 plan for the U.S. national capital was a Baroque plan that features ceremonial spaces and grand radial avenues, while respecting natural contours of the land. The result was a system of intersecting diagonal avenues superimposed over a grid system. The avenues radiated from the two most significant building sites that were to be occupied by houses for Congress and the President. While L'Enfant's plans did eventually create a "cross" in a literal sense, that shape was a byproduct of a symmetrical design laid out along two major north-south and east-west axes; there's no evidence that L'Enfant had any religious significance in mind. Moreover, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials were not conceived until the 20th century, and decisions about where to locate them were not reached without some debate.

The facts: About 193 memorial stones adorn the landings throughout the Washington Monument contributed by each state (and territory) as well as by other countries, U.S. cities and counties, fire departments, fraternal organizations (such as the Masons, the Sons of Temperance, and the Odd Fellows), military units, Native American tribes, and other groups. The memorial stone contributed by Chinese Christians from Ningo, Chekiang Province, China is on the 220th landing not the 20th. The inscription on the stone is not a prayer, but a eulogy for George Washington. The two memorial stones from children of the Sunday School groups are on the 260th landing not the 24th and they say the following:

Prov. 10:7
Feb. 22ND 1855



The Facts: The Founding Fathers rarely practiced Christian orthodoxy, although they supported the free exercise of any religion. Most of them believed in deism (a system of natural religion affirming the existence of God) and attended Freemasonry lodges. According to John J. Robinson, "Freemasonry had been a powerful force for religious freedom." Freemasons took seriously the principle that men should worship according to their own conscious. Masonry welcomed anyone from any religion or non-religion, as long as they believed in a Supreme Being. Washington, Franklin, Hancock, Hamilton, Lafayette, and many others were Freemasons. Much of the myth of Washington's alleged Christianity came from Mason Weems influential book, "Life of Washington." The story of the cherry tree comes from this book and it has no historical basis. Weems, a Christian minister portrayed Washington as a devout Christian, yet Washington's own diaries show that he rarely attended Church. Washington revealed almost nothing to indicate his spiritual frame of mind, except that he did believe in God. In his thousands of letters, the name of Jesus Christ never appears. He rarely spoke about his religion, but his Freemasonry experience points to a belief in deism. After Washington's death, Dr. Abercrombie, a friend of his, replied to a Dr. Wilson, who had interrogated him about Washington's religion replied, "Sir, Washington was a Deist."

The Facts: The prayer is not Washington’s prayer for America, they are words that are inscribed on a bronze tablet adjoining the Washington pew in St. Paul's chapel in New York City. They are taken from the last paragraph of a circular letter dated June 8, 1783, addressed to the governors of the thirteen states by General Washington upon his disbanding of the Continental Army. Although Washington's letter did contain references to God, the paragraph cited has been removed from its original context and modified to make it sound as if it were composed as a stand-alone prayer. (In Washington's time the term "earnest prayer" meant "earnest wish," not a prayer in a literal sense.)

Washington’s words from his original letter are as follows (notice how they were modified):
Now I make it my earnest prayer that God would have you and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection, that He would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens and the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field, and finally, that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. I have the honor to be, with much esteem and respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble servant. George Washington.

The Facts: One last point to clear up a misleading impression you might have after reading about Laus Deo & the Monument, although many of the inscriptions associated with the Washington Monument do indeed include religious references and sentiments, they reflect the tenor of public thought in mid-19th century America, not the America of George Washington's time. Washington died in 1799, and the country he helped found was a very different place half a century later.

Some information on the time period surrounding the build up to the Civil War to the final completion of the Washington Monument:

A heavily Protestant religious movement began around this time period, with Protestant religious leaders discontented with the fact that our country’s founders failed, in their opinion, to enshrine God in the Constitution. Also, most Protestant religious leaders were slave owners and they exalted slavery, such as J. H. Thornwell, one of the most vigorous defenders of slavery. These religious leaders felt that because of the “separation of church and state” that our founders created, abolitionism (a political movement that sought to end the practice of slavery and the worldwide slave trade) was on the rise and was leading to war. In fact, they repeatedly made claims that abolitionists were atheists, communists, socialists, etc., which of course, they were not. Once the civil war started they were convinced it was a fulfillment of the Reverend John Mason's 1793 prediction that a godless constitution would one day impel the Divinity to "crush us to atoms in the wreck." They felt the only way to stop the destruction was to amend the Constitution's preamble and finally acknowledge not only God but Jesus Christ as the source of all just governmental power. In 1863, the entirely Protestant, National Reform Association was founded for the specific purpose of lobbying Congress to put God into the Constitution. Today's Christian conservatives frequently use the slogan "Let's put God back into the Constitution," thereby implying that "secular humanists" have managed to overturn what was originally intended to be a marriage of church and state. Nineteenth-century clerics were, at least, honest about their desire to reverse what they regarded as the founders' erroneous decision to separate church and state.

Some statements from our founders:

George Washington, our first President, also known as the “Father of our Country”.

Quote: “Every man ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."…..George Washington, 1789

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the principle author of the Declaration of Independence, the third President of the United States, and a primary architect of the American tradition of separation of church and state.

Quotes: “Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” …….Thomas Jefferson, 1802.

“The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man.”…..Thomas Jefferson, 1800.

James Madison (1751-1836) is popularly known as the "Father of the Constitution." More than any other framer he is responsible for the content and form of the First Amendment. His understanding of federalism is the theoretical basis of our Constitution. He served as President of the United States between 1809-1817.

Quotes: “Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and & Government in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history”…..James Madison, 1820

“Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together.” ……James Madison, 1822

Few men had more influence on the shaping of our Constitution than George Mason (1725-1792). As a member of Constitutional Convention, Mason was an outspoken advocate for federalism and limited government. As a member of the Virginia ratifying convention, he proposed a set of amendments that later served as a model for our Bill of Rights.

Quote: (His response to a bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian religion)
“We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, "that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence." The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.
The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.
Because the Bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.”……….George Mason,1785.

More evidence that our Founding Fathers intended the United States Government to be secular:
An insight from at a little known but legal document written in the late 1700s explicitly reveals the secular nature of the United States to a foreign nation. Officially called the "Treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary," most refer to it as simply the Treaty of Tripoli. In Article 11, it states:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
Preliminary signing was during George Washington’s second term on November 4, 1796. It was later forwarded U.S. legislators for approval in 1797. Timothy Pickering, the secretary of state, endorsed it and John Adams concurred (during his presidency), sending the document on to the Senate. The Senate approved the treaty on June 7, 1797, and officially ratified by the Senate with John Adams signature on June 10, 1797. All during this multi-review process, the wording of Article 11 never raised the slightest concern. The treaty even became public through its publication in The Philadelphia Gazette on June 17, 1797.

A reminder: Aren't we trying to avoid Iraq becoming a Theocracy, like Iran, and want them to have a secular democracy, which respects all religions. Would it not be hypocrisy for us to make our government a Theocracy and put one religion in control? Religious extremism is dangerous in all forms and our Founding Fathers knew this. Were we not attacked on September 11th by religious extremists, committing a terrorist act in the name of God?

19 posted on 01/05/2006 1:53:31 PM PST by David1968
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To: David1968; Dr. Eckleburg; Buggman; Frumanchu; nobdysfool
I have long considered the so-called "debunking" sites to be partisan, and there is much reason to think so.

For example, in your post there is this statement: Founding FAthers....Most of them believed in deism (a system of natural religion affirming the existence of God)

That is grossly inaccurate, and demonstrably so. (See below) Pick any name that is signatory to any of our founding documents, and you will discover that that person was a member of a church, was a member in good standing, and they had left a paper trail demonstrating the reality of the faith.

Even Jefferson, who was a deist, was not a modern deist. He was a Judeo-Christian deist. He even has a translation of the bible, and he referred to it and studied it quite seriously.

This Laus Deo poem is first of all a poem. Second, there is the question of whether or not it is accurate that Laus Deo does or does not appear on the Washington Monument.

So, to debunk the debunkers and their liberal tendencies, let us go to the pinnacle of the Washington Monument and determine whether or not the inscription is or is not there. it or isn't it?

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Religious Affiliation of the
Founding Fathers
of the United States of America

Related Pages:
- Religious Affiliation of First U.S. Congress
- Religious Affiliation of the Modern U.S. Congress
- Religious Affiliation of U.S. Presidents
- Religious Affiliation of the U.S. Supreme Court
On this Page:
- signers of the Declaration of Independence
- signers of the Articles of Confederation
- Constitutional Convention delegates including signers of the U.S. Constitution

Ennumerating the Founding Fathers
The three major foundational documents of the United States of America are the Declaration of Independence (July 1776), the Articles of Confederation (drafted 1777, ratified 1781) and the Constitution of the United States of America (1789). There are a total of 143 signatures on these documents, representing 118 different signers. (Some individuals signed more than one document.)

All 55 delegates who participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 are regarded as Founding Fathers, in fact, they are often regarded as the Founding Fathers because it is this group that actually debated, drafted and signed the U.S. Constitution, which is the basis for the country's political and legal system. Only 39 delegates actually signed the document, however, meaning there were 16 non-signing delegates - individuals who were Constitutional Convention delegates but were not signers of the Constitution.

There were 95 Senators and Representatives in the First Federal Congress. If one combines the total number of signatures on the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution with the non-signing Constitutional Convention delegates, and then adds to that sum the number of congressmen in the First Federal Congress, one obtains a total of 238 "slots" or "positions" in these groups which one can classify as "Founding Fathers" of the United States. Because 40 individuals had multiple roles (they signed multiple documents and/or also served in the First Federal Congress), there are 204 unique individuals in this group of "Founding Fathers." These are the people who did one or more of the following:

- signed the Declaration of Independence
- signed the Articles of Confederation
- attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787
- signed the Constitution of the United States of America
- served as Senators in the First Federal Congress (1789-1791)
- served as U.S. Representatives in the First Federal Congress

The religious affiliations of these individuals are summarized below. Obviously this is a very restrictive set of names, and does not include everyone who could be considered an "American Founding Father." But most of the major figures that people generally think of in this context are included using these criteria, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Hancock, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and more.

Religious Affiliation
of U.S. Founding Fathers
# of
% of
Episcopalian/Anglican 88 54.7%
Presbyterian 30 18.6%
Congregationalist 27 16.8%
Quaker 7 4.3%
Dutch Reformed/German Reformed 6 3.7%
Lutheran 5 3.1%
Catholic 3 1.9%
Huguenot 3 1.9%
Unitarian 3 1.9%
Methodist 2 1.2%
Calvinist 1 0.6%
TOTAL 204  

NOTES: The table above counts people and not "roles," meaning that individuals have not been counted multiple times if they appear on more than one of the lists above. Roger Sherman, for example, signed all three foundational documents and he was a Representative in the First Federal Congress, but he has been counted only once.

In the table above, some people have been counted more than once because they changed religious affiliation from one denomination to another. Thus, the individual amounts added together total more than 100%. This method is used because it results in accurate numbers for each individual religious affiliation. For example, a total of 7 Quakers are shown in the table above. There were indeed 7 Quakers who were in this group. (However, not all of these were life-long Quakers.) For the most part, very few Founding Fathers switched denomination during their lifetime (less than 8%), so double-counting has occurred only rarely in this table. Quakers, in fact, are more likely to have switched denominations than members of any other religious denomination. Along with taking up arms and supporting military action against the British, a large proportion of Quaker Founding Father officially renounced or were expelled from the ardently pacifistic denomination they had been raised in and joined another denomination (usually Episcopalianism).

Also, note that the proportions shown (percentage of each religious affiliation out of the total group of Founding Fathers) is the proportion out of Founders whose religious affiliation is known. The religious affiliation of a significant number of signers of the Articles of Confederation is not known, but if that information was available, it is expected that such information would not change the overall proportions signifcantly.

Religious Affiliation of the Signers of the
Declaration of Independence

Religious Affiliation # of
% of
Episcopalian/Anglican 32 57.1%
Congregationalist 13 23.2%
Presbyterian 12 21.4%
Quaker 2 3.6%
Unitarian or Universalist 2 3.6%
Catholic 1 1.8%
TOTAL 56 100%

Name of Signer
State Religious Affiliation
Charles Carroll Maryland Catholic
Samuel Huntington Connecticut Congregationalist
Roger Sherman Connecticut Congregationalist
William Williams Connecticut Congregationalist
Oliver Wolcott Connecticut Congregationalist
Lyman Hall Georgia Congregationalist
Samuel Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist
John Hancock Massachusetts Congregationalist
Josiah Bartlett New Hampshire Congregationalist
William Whipple New Hampshire Congregationalist
William Ellery Rhode Island Congregationalist
John Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist; Unitarian
Robert Treat Paine Massachusetts Congregationalist; Unitarian
George Walton Georgia Episcopalian
John Penn North Carolina Episcopalian
George Ross Pennsylvania Episcopalian
Thomas Heyward Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian
Thomas Lynch Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian
Arthur Middleton South Carolina Episcopalian
Edward Rutledge South Carolina Episcopalian
Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia Episcopalian
Richard Henry Lee Virginia Episcopalian
George Read Delaware Episcopalian
Caesar Rodney Delaware Episcopalian
Samuel Chase Maryland Episcopalian
William Paca Maryland Episcopalian
Thomas Stone Maryland Episcopalian
Elbridge Gerry Massachusetts Episcopalian
Francis Hopkinson New Jersey Episcopalian
Francis Lewis New York Episcopalian
Lewis Morris New York Episcopalian
William Hooper North Carolina Episcopalian
Robert Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian
John Morton Pennsylvania Episcopalian
Stephen Hopkins Rhode Island Episcopalian
Carter Braxton Virginia Episcopalian
Benjamin Harrison Virginia Episcopalian
Thomas Nelson Jr. Virginia Episcopalian
George Wythe Virginia Episcopalian
Thomas Jefferson Virginia Episcopalian (Deist)
Benjamin Franklin Pennsylvania Episcopalian (Deist)
Button Gwinnett Georgia Episcopalian; Congregationalist
James Wilson Pennsylvania Episcopalian; Presbyterian
Joseph Hewes North Carolina Quaker, Episcopalian
George Clymer Pennsylvania Quaker, Episcopalian
Thomas McKean Delaware Presbyterian
Matthew Thornton New Hampshire Presbyterian
Abraham Clark New Jersey Presbyterian
John Hart New Jersey Presbyterian
Richard Stockton New Jersey Presbyterian
John Witherspoon New Jersey Presbyterian
William Floyd New York Presbyterian
Philip Livingston New York Presbyterian
James Smith Pennsylvania Presbyterian
George Taylor Pennsylvania Presbyterian
Benjamin Rush Pennsylvania Presbyterian

The signers of the Declaration of Independence were a profoundly intelligent, religious and ethically-minded group. Four of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were current or former full-time preachers, and many more were the sons of clergymen. Other professions held by signers include lawyers, merchants, doctors and educators. These individuals, too, were for the most part active churchgoers and many contributed significantly to their churches both with contributions as well as their service as lay leaders. The signers were members of religious denominations at a rate that was significantly higher than average for the American Colonies during the late 1700s.

These signers have long inspired deep admiration among both secularists (who appreciate the non-denominational nature of the Declaration) and by traditional religionists (who appreciate the Declaration's recognition of God as the source of the rights enumerated by the document). Lossing's seminal 1848 collection of biographies of the signers of the Declaration of Independence echoed widely held sentiments held then and now that there was divine intent or inspiration behind the Declaration of Independence. Lossing matter-of-factly identified the signers as "instruments of Providence" who have "gone to receive their reward in the Spirit Land."

From: B. J. Lossing, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, George F. Cooledge & Brother: New York (1848) [reprinted in Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, WallBuilder Press: Aledo, Texas (1995)], pages 7-12:

From no point of view can the Declaration of American Independence, the causes which led to its adoption, and the events which marked its maintenance, be observed without exciting sentiments of profound veneration for the men who were the prominent actors in that remarkable scene in the drama of the world's history...

The signing of that instrument was a solemn act, and required great firmness and patriotism in those who committed it... neither firmness nor patriotism was wanting in that august body...

Such were the men unto whose keeping, as instruments of Providence, the destinies of America were for the time intrusted; and it has been well remarked, that men, other than such as these,--an ignorant, untaught mass, like those who have formed the physical elements of other revolutionary movements, without sufficient intellect to guide and control them--could not have conceived, planned, and carried into execution, such a mighty movement, one so fraught with tangible marks of political wisdom, as the American Revolution...

Their bodies now have all returned to their kindred dust in the grave, and their souls have gone to receive their reward in the Spirit Land.

From: Robert G. Ferris (editor), Signers of the Declaration: Historic Places Commemorating the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service: Washington, D.C. (revised edition 1975), pages 27-28:
Liberally endowed as a whole with courage and sense of purpose, the signers [of the Declaration of Independence] consisted of a distinguished group of individuals. Although heterogeneous in background, education, experience, and accommplishments, at the time of the signing they were practically all men of means and represented an elite cross section of 18th-century American leadership. Everyone one of them of them had achieved prominence in his colony, but only a few enjoyed a national reputation.

The signers were those individuals who happened to be Delegates to Congress at the time... The signers possessed many basic similarities. Most were American-born and of Anglo-Saxon origin. The eight foreign-born... were all natives of the British Isles. Except for Charles Carroll, a Roman Catholic, and a few Deists, every one subscribed to Protestantism. For the most part basically political nonextremists, many at first had hesitated at separation let alone rebellion.

Religious Affiliation of the Signers of the
Articles of Confederation

Religious Affiliation # of
% of
Episcopalian/Anglican 14 29%
Congregationalist 9 19%
Presbyterian 4 8%
Catholic 1 2%
Quaker 1 2%
Huguenot 1 2%
Lutheran 1 2%
Protestant, denomination unknown 18 38%
TOTAL 48 100%

Name of Signer
State Religious Affiliation
Daniel Carroll Maryland Catholic
Andrew Adams Connecticut Congregationalist
Richard Hutson South Carolina Congregationalist
Samuel Adams Massachusetts Congregationalist
Josiah Bartlett New Hampshire Congregationalist
William Ellery Rhode Island Congregationalist
John Hancock Massachusetts Congregationalist
Samuel Huntington Connecticut Congregationalist
Roger Sherman Connecticut Congregationalist
Oliver Wolcott Connecticut Congregationalist
Thomas Heyward Jr. South Carolina Episcopalian
John Penn North Carolina Episcopalian
Francis Lightfoot Lee Virginia Episcopalian
Richard Henry Lee Virginia Episcopalian
Francis Lewis New York Episcopalian
Elbridge Gerry Massachusetts Episcopalian
John Banister Virginia Episcopalian
James Duane New York Episcopalian
Edward Langworthy Georgia Episcopalian
Gouverneur Morris New York Episcopalian
Nicholas Van Dyke Delaware Episcopalian
Robert Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian
Cornelius Harnett North Carolina Episcopalian (Deist)
John Dickinson Delaware Quaker; Episcopalian
Henry Laurens South Carolina Huguenot
John Hanson Maryland Lutheran
Thomas McKean Delaware Presbyterian
John Witherspoon New Jersey Presbyterian
John Walton Georgia Presbyterian
Nathaniel Scudder New Jersey Presbyterian
William Clingan Pennsylvania Protestant, denomination unknown
Joseph Reed Pennsylvania Protestant, denomination unknown
Daniel Roberdeau Pennsylvania Protestant, denomination unknown
Jonathan Bayard Smith Pennsylvania Protestant, denomination unknown
Francis Dana Massachusetts Protestant, denomination unknown
Samuel Holten Massachusetts Protestant, denomination unknown
James Lovell Massachusetts Protestant, denomination unknown
Henry Marchant Rhode Island Protestant, denomination unknown
John Collins Rhode Island Protestant, denomination unknown
Thomas Adams Virginia Protestant, denomination unknown
John Harvie Virginia Protestant, denomination unknown
John Mathews South Carolina Protestant, denomination unknown
William Henry Drayton South Carolina Protestant, denomination unknown
William Duer New York Protestant, denomination unknown
Titus Hosmer Connecticut Protestant, denomination unknown
Edward Telfair Georgia Protestant, denomination unknown
John Wentworth Jr. New Hampshire Protestant, denomination unknown
John Williams North Carolina Protestant, denomination unknown

Religious Affiliation of the Delegates to the
Constitutional Convention of 1787, including the
Signers of the Constitution of the United States of America

There were 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 at which the U.S. Constitution was drafted and signed. All participated in the proceedings which resulted in the Constitution, but only 39 of these delegates were actually signers of the document.

From: Robert G. Ferris (editor), Signers of the Constitution: Historic Places Commemorating the Signing of the Constitution, published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service: Washington, D.C. (revised edition 1976), page 138:

Most of the [signers of the Constitution] married and fathered children. Sherman sired the largest family, numbering 15 by two wives... Three (Baldwin, Gilman, and Jenifer) were lifetime bachelors. In terms of religious affiliation, the men mirrored the overwhelmingly Protestant character of American religious life at the time and were members of various denominations. Only two, Carroll and Fitzsimons, were Roman Catholics.
Religious Affiliation # of
% of
Episcopalian/Anglican 31 56.4%
Presbyterian 16 29.1%
Congregationalist 8 14.5%
Quaker 3 5.5%
Catholic 2 3.6%
Methodist 2 3.6%
Lutheran 2 3.6%
Dutch Reformed 2 3.6%
TOTAL 55 100%

Name of Signer
State Religious Affiliation
Daniel Carroll Maryland Catholic
Thomas Fitzsimons Pennsylvania Catholic
Roger Sherman Connecticut Congregationalist
Nathaniel Gorham Massachusetts Congregationalist
John Langdon New Hampshire Congregationalist
Nicholas Gilman New Hampshire Congregationalist
Abraham Baldwin Georgia Congregationalist; Episcopalian
William Samuel Johnson Connecticut Episcopalian; Presbyterian
James Madison Jr. Virginia Episcopalian
George Read Delaware Episcopalian
Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Maryland Episcopalian
David Brearly New Jersey Episcopalian
Richard Dobbs Spaight, Sr. North Carolina Episcopalian
Robert Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian
Gouverneur Morris Pennsylvania Episcopalian
John Rutledge South Carolina Episcopalian
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney South Carolina Episcopalian
Charles Pinckney South Carolina Episcopalian
Pierce Butler South Carolina Episcopalian
George Washington Virginia Episcopalian
Benjamin Franklin Pennsylvania Episcopalian (Deist)
William Blount North Carolina Episcopalian; Presbyterian
James Wilson Pennsylvania Episcopalian; Presbyteran
Rufus King Massachusetts Episcopalian; Congregationalist
Jacob Broom Delaware Lutheran
William Few Georgia Methodist
Richard Bassett Delaware Methodist
Gunning Bedford Jr. Delaware Presbyterian
James McHenry Maryland Presbyterian
William Livingston New Jersey Presbyterian
William Paterson New Jersey Presbyterian
Hugh Williamson North Carolina Presbyterian
Jared Ingersoll Pennsylvania Presbyterian
Alexander Hamilton New York Huguenot; Presbyterian; Episcopalian
Jonathan Dayton New Jersey Presbyterian; Episcopalian
John Blair Virginia Presbyterian; Episcopalian
John Dickinson Delaware Quaker; Episcopalian
George Clymer Pennsylvania Quaker; Episcopalian
Thomas Mifflin Pennsylvania Quaker; Lutheran

Name of Non-Signing Delegate
State Religious Affiliation
Oliver Ellsworth Connecticut Congregationalist
Caleb Strong Massachusetts Congregationalist
John Lansing, Jr. New York Dutch Reformed
Robert Yates New York Dutch Reformed
William Houstoun Georgia Episcopalian
William Leigh Pierce Georgia Episcopalian
Luther Martin Maryland Episcopalian
John F. Mercer Maryland Episcopalian
Elbridge Gerry Massachusetts Episcopalian
George Mason Virginia Episcopalian
Edmund J. Randolph Virginia Episcopalian
George Wythe Virginia Episcopalian
James McClurg Virginia Presbyterian
William C. Houston New Jersey Presbyterian
William R. Davie North Carolina Presbyterian
Alexander Martin North Carolina Presbyterian

Multiple Roles
Of course, virtually all of the "Founding Fathers" had multiple roles in the formation of the country, in the broad sense that takes into account military leadership, financial sponsorship, various miscellaneous state and federal positions, etc. But there were many individuals who had multiple roles among categorie of Founding Fathers ennumerated on this page. That is, they signed more than one of the foundational documents (the Declaration, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution) or they signed one (or more) of these documents and also served in the First Federal Congress. These individuals with "multiple roles" were: Abraham Baldwin; Benjamin Franklin; Charles Carroll; Daniel Carroll; Elbridge Gerry; Francis Lewis; Francis Lightfoot Lee; George Clymer; George Read; Gouverneur Morris; Hugh Williamson; James Wilson; John Dickinson; John Hancock; John Penn; John Witherspoon; Josiah Bartlett; Nicholas Gilman; Oliver Wolcott; Pierce Butler; Richard Bassett; Richard Henry Lee; Robert Morris; Roger Sherman; Rufus King; Samuel Adams; Samuel Huntington; Thomas Fitzsimons; Thomas Heyward Jr.; Thomas McKean; William Ellery; William Few; William Floyd; William Paterson; William Samuel Johnson; James Madison Jr.; John Langdon; Caleb Strong; Oliver Ellsworth; George Wythe.
Please submit suggestions, comments, corrections, etc. to
Religion of Founding Fathers / religious affiliation of American Founding Fathers webpage created 4 November 2005. Last modified 7 December 2005.

20 posted on 01/06/2006 5:41:16 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
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