They unanimously and sincerely believed that God was an all-powerful Creator and providentially interceded for mankind
Since the early days of this Republic, various of our Founding Fathers were accused of being irreligious, impious, and even atheist. Those accusations are unsupportable lies told by those whose own “tolerance” of the faithful informs not only their personal agendas but taints and twists their biographical descriptions of the Founders, as well.
Often, for example, most of the most renowned and revered of the men of the founding generation are labeled “deists.” Deism was a theological philosophy popular in the 18th century, especially among the stratum of men associated with the Enlightenment. Stated simply, a deist believes in God but considers Him an absent master, unconcerned with the quotidian comings and goings of His earthly creations.
Every one of the Founders listed in the following survey (with the possible exception of Benjamin Franklin) would reject such an appellation and in fact, never referred to themselves as deists (again, with a passing reference to himself made by Franklin).
While the men mentioned herein held different interpretations of the characteristics of God, of His Son, Jesus Christ, and of the most correct way to worship them, they unanimously and sincerely believed that God was an all-powerful Creator and providentially interceded for mankind, particularly in the quest for liberty and the freedom of conscience that permitted diversity of worship.
Despite the claims of designing detractors furthering their own transparent agendas, none of our Founding Fathers abhorred religion. To the contrary, they embraced piety and encouraged others to do likewise.
As the following digest will demonstrate, however, the five men whose religious views are outlined below each fervently believed in a merciful Creator who took notice of the affairs of men and took, at times, a very active role in aiding the fight for American freedom.
Finally, the representatives included in this article were chosen for a specific purpose.
First, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are highlighted for their reputation (undeserved, mind you) of being the most impious of the Founders. On the other hand, John Adams is often described as being dogmatic and Puritanical, and for that reason, he is also noted in this brief overview. As the father of his country, George Washington naturally merits attention in this article. Finally, James Madison is known to history as the Father of the Constitution and holds a place of special respect for his intellect, his famed adherence to the republican “middle way,” and his thoughtful and erudite defense of religious tolerance. For this reason, Madison is a member of this small sample of Founders.
We begin with the senior member of the class, Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin was the most well-known American of his day. Although raised in the Calvinist environment of New England, young Benjamin was exposed at an early age to the writings of renowned English Whigs and deists, John Locke and Joseph Addison.
Franklin learned from these tutors that the principles of liberty were best promoted by personal piety and public virtue. He drank draught after draught from this cool, clear stream of thought and feasted freely from the cornucopia provided by these thoughtful promoters of freedom.
The more Franklin learned the lessons of the laws of nature and man’s place in the universe of ideas, he understood that not only was religion not an enemy of freedom but was often its most ardent ally.
The famous Philadelphian witnessed many manifestations of the interest of Providence in the affairs of man. The stories of timely storms, favorable fogs, and other “acts of God” are well known to students of the American War for Independence. “God”, wrote Franklin, “sometimes interferes by His particular providence and sets aside the effects which would otherwise have been produced by … causes.” Hardly the words of a man who saw the Creator as a hands-off deity.
In that vein, moreover, there is the story retold by James Madison of Franklin’s heartfelt plea made at a critical moment of near-fatal impasse during the rancorous debates that had raged for over a month at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Madison recorded that the following words were spoken by the Nestor of the Convention:
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel.
The course of his life and the tenor of his written works reveal that tolerance of the faiths of others was the sine qua non of a godly man in Franklin’s estimation. As with many of the men of our founding generation, Benjamin Franklin fostered faithfulness and firmly believed that any creed that compelled man to live freely and love God and his fellow man was to be praised and promoted.
U.S. Supreme Court must stop Biden’s $400 billion transfer of wealth
“This bill is simple in its purpose.”
So stated Republican Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, who served as a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam, when he introduced the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act on March 25, 2003.
“It extends the specific waiver authority within title IV of the Higher Education Act for the Secretary of Education, and allows him to maintain his commitment to our men and women in uniform by providing assistance and flexibility as they transfer in and out of postsecondary education during a time of national emergency,” said Kline.
“This waiver authority addresses the need to assist students who are being called up to active duty or active service,” Kline said.
“Many times, America’s military are also students,” said Kline. “These heroes deserve the flexibility and accommodations that institutions of higher education can provide as they deploy and return to the classroom.”
When the bill came up for a vote on April 1, 2003, Kline once again emphasized that its purpose was to help men and women who had served their country in the military.
“The HEROES Act provides assurance to our men and women in uniform that they will not face education-related financial or administrative difficulties while they defend our Nation,” he said.
“The HEROES Act,” he said, “achieves this by granting the Secretary of Education the authority to address the specific needs of each student whose education is interrupted when they are called to service.
“This bill is specific in its intent to ensure that as a result of war, military contingency operation, or national emergency our men and women are protected,” Kline said.
“By granting flexibility to the Secretary of Education,” he said, “the HEROES Act will protect recipients of student financial assistance from further financial difficulty generated when they are called to serve, minimize administrative requirements without affecting the integrity of programs, adjust the calculation used to determine financial need to accurately reflect the financial condition of the individual and his or her family, and provide the Secretary with the authority to address issues not yet foreseen.”
This was the “specific” intent of the HEROES Act as described by its primary sponsor, but the actual language of the bill was not specific enough.
It gave the Secretary of Education the power to “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to the student financial assistance programs under title IV of the act as the Secretary deems necessary in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency or to provide the waivers or modifications authorized by paragraph (2).”
Paragraph (2) of the law said the secretary was “authorized to waive or modify any provision described in paragraph (1) as may be necessary to ensure that — (A) recipients of student financial assistance under title IV of the Act who are affected individuals are not placed in a worse position financially in relation to that financial assistance because of their status as affected individuals.”
Flash forward to Aug. 24, 2022. Using the HEROES Act as its justification, President Joe Biden’s Department of Education announced that day that it was cancelling $20,000 in student loan debt for people who had received Pell Grants and $10,000 in student loan debt for non-Pell Grant recipients. This loan forgiveness would apply to individuals earning up to $125,000 per year and households earning up to $250,000.
A month later, the Congressional Budget Office sent a letter to members of Congress offering this analysis of Biden’s action: “CBO estimates that the cost of student loans will increase by about an additional $400 billion in present value as a result of the action canceling up to $10,000 of debt issued on or before June 30, 2022, for borrowers with incomes below specified limits and an additional $10,000 for such borrowers who also received at least one Pell grant.”
The word “cost” here means the amount of money that taxpayers will be charged — or the federal debt will be increased — to cover the loans Biden seeks to forgive.
Several states, including Nebraska, filed suit to stop Biden’s plan. In November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an injunction that halted the loan forgiveness until the Supreme Court could review it. This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Biden’s plan.
In a brief submitted to the court, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar claimed that the “emergency” that justified Biden’s August 2022 student loan forgiveness declaration was the COVID-19 pandemic that began in early 2020.
“(T)he plan,” she said, “reflects the Secretary’s determination that a one-time discharge of a limited measure of debt for a subset of affected borrowers is necessary as the country works to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19.”
What she meant was this: Americans who did not go to college, or who have paid off their student loans, or who paid for their own college educations must now be forced by the government to pay in perpetuity for the student loans voluntarily taken out by others.
They will do this by paying taxes to cover the interest on the debt the government itself incurred when it funded these loans in the first place.
As 17 states, led by Utah, said in a brief to the Supreme Court: “The President is attempting one of the largest wealth transfers in American history.”
The court must stop it.
| Social Media
China’s TikTok Generates More Revenue Via In-App Purchases than Major Social Media Platforms *Combined*
TikTok generated more than $350 million from IAPs in the fourth quarter
China-owned TikTok is trouncing its competitors in in-app purchases (IAPs), generating more revenue in the fourth quarter of 2022 than its top four competitors combined.
TikTok, which is currently facing down a potential ban by the U.S. Congress, has long had an in-app purchase feature. Some of its competitors, including Facebook and Twitter, have only recently introduced such features, and have a great deal of catching up to do if they want to approach TikTok’s revenues.
Besides Facebook, other American-based entities including Snapchat and Twitter also require a subscription from users. Per the data from Apptopia, Instagram generated about $1 million while Twitter raked in about $900,000. Snapchat has been offering IAP for a longer period of time and it currently rakes in an average of $125,000 per day.
While these figures serve as the start of something that may eventually prove to be sustainable for these firms, they are all lagging behind TikTok which generated more than $350 million from IAPs in the previous fourth quarter.
“TikTok has had IAPs [in-app purchases] since its very beginning and its app revenue last year was a whopping $1.5 billion,” Blacker says. “Its IAPs are similar to Facebook’s in that users pay for coins which can be used to tip and pay for things from their favorite creators.”
TikTok is under considerable public pressure due to its links to China, having already been banned on government devices in the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, and various other countries due to security concerns. Congress is currently considering a bill that would effectively ban the app for average American consumers, although it is being opposed by the ACLU, which argues that such a ban would violate the First Amendment.