The Declaration of Independence has more references to God than the Ten Commandments.

George Washington's inaugural address and the Federalist Papers perhaps more than Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

Yet some people persist in reading Thomas Jefferson's personal letter to Danbury Baptists like a law prohibiting the Christian acknowledgment of God.

In clear refutation of that notion is this 1982 bill co-written and co-signed by both Democrats and Republicans of the 97th Congress, and signed into law by the President of the United States.

"The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."

- John F. Kennedy
Inaugural Address

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

- Patrick Henry

"I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common Father and Creator of man."

- Thomas Jefferson, in closing his letter to the Danbury Baptists

"We believe that all men are created equal, because they are created in the image of God."

- Harry S. Truman
Inaugural Address

"Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberty, and for the rights of mankind."

- Calvin Coolidge



Public Law 97-280


"We should live our lives as though Christ were coming this afternoon."

- Jimmy Carter

"I was humbled to learn that God sent His Son to die for a sinner like me."

- George W. Bush

"We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

- Thomas Jefferson,
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776


Introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 165, with thirty-three co-sponsors, and as House Joint Resolution 487 with 219 co-sponsors, a request was delivered before Congress to honor the Bible as Holy Scripture. The resolution suffered no amendments, no exclusions, no demands that it be stricken of religious references. It became law.

The 97th Congress of the United States publicly declared 1983 the national "Year of the Bible". The bipartisan document known as Public Law 97-280, was signed on October 4, 1982 by Speaker of the House Thomas P. O'Neill, President of the Senate - Pro Tempore Strom Thurmond, and President of the United States Ronald Reagan. It reads as follows:

WHEREAS the Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation and people;

WHEREAS deeply held religious convictions springing from the Holy Scriptures led to the early settlement of our Nation;

WHEREAS Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States;

WHEREAS many of our great national leaders--among them Presidents Washington, Jackson, Lincoln, and Wilson--paid tribute to the surpassing influence of the Bible in our country's development, as in the words of President Jackson that the Bible is "the Rock on which our Republic rests";

WHEREAS the history of our Nation clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily applying the teachings of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families, and societies; WHEREAS this Nation now faces great challenges that will test this Nation as it has never been tested before; and

WHEREAS that renewing our knowledge of and faith in God through Holy Scripture can strengthen us as a nation and a people: NOW, THEREFORE, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President is authorized and requested to designate 1983 as a national "Year of the Bible" in recognition of both the formative influence the Bible has been for our Nation, and our national need to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. 33



See also:

More about this law including the House and Senate voting record

Read the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, more...

Alternate founding documents site # 1

Alternate founding documents site # 2

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