"A question of great interest here comes up for discussion. In thus discontinuing the connexion between Church and Commonwealth;--did the people of these States intend to renounce all connexion with the Christian religion! Or did they only intend to disclaim all preference of one sect of Christians over another, as far as civil government was concerned; while they still retained the Christian religion as the foundation of all their social, civil and political institutions?
Did Massachusetts and Connecticut, when they declared, that the legal preference which had heretofore been given to Puritanism, should continue no longer, intend to abolish Christianity itself within their jurisdictions? Did Virginia and S. Carolina when they discontinued all legal preference of the Church of England as by law established, intend to discontinue their observance of Christianity and their regard for its Divine authority? Did the people of the United States, when in adopting the Federal Constitution they declared, that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," expect to be understood as abolishing the national religion, which had been professed, respected and cherished from the first settlement of the country, and which it was the great object of our fathers in settling this then wilderness to enjoy according to the dictates of their own consciences?
The rightful solution of these questions has become important to the religion, the morals, the peace, the intelligence, and in fact, to all the highest interests of this country. It has been asserted by men distinguished for talents, learning and station, and it may well be presumed that the assertion is gradually gaining belief among us, that Christianity has no connexion with the law of the land, or with our civil and political institutions. Attempts are making, to impress this sentiment on the public mind.
The sentiment is considered by me, to be in contradiction to the whole tenor of our history, to be false in fact, and in the highest degree pernicious in its tendency, to all our most valuable institutions, whether social, legal, civil or political. It is moreover, not known to the preacher, that any serious effort has been made to investigate the relation which Christianity sustains to our institutions, or to enlighten the public understanding on the subject."
I couldn't agree more, and what we see here is that even the Founding didn't understand the Founding. Obviously, this question has been with us 200-odd years. A serious effort must be made "to investigate the relation which Christianity sustains to our institutions," better late than never, and now, more than ever.
Rev. Adams has further thoughts and arguments on the subject, so don't stop here. Read the whole thing.