George Washington the Christian

David Barton’s Wallbuilders recently released a video that confronts the revisionist lie that George Washington was a deist and not a Christian.

Because God-haters and those invested in the immoral agenda of the Left realize they must convince Americans that our heritage of freedom, founded on Christian principles, is illegitimate and never really happened the way we have been taught for most of the past 238 years, they resort to lies, propaganda and outright revision of history to mislead the public.  After all, if you know your heritage, as well as its source and foundation, you are much less likely to relinquish your embrace of it.  But if you can be convinced that your perceived heritage is illegitimate, that it “never really was,” you will become uncertain, unsure of yourself, and it can be wrestled from your grip much easier.

But do the claims of historical revisionists stand up to the facts? Not even close.

Ted Cruz 2016


A deist believes the universe was created by an all-powerful deity, but that this deity wandered off after creating the universe and has no involvement in the universe anymore.

There are a number of things that Christians do and believe in that deists do not believe in. As I said, while Christians believe God is intimately involved in every aspect of his creation, deists do not believe God (whoever he is) is involved in the universe. Therefore, prayer would be of no use in a deists world, because the deity isn’t listening, and if he was, he wouldn’t intervene to answer those prayers. Deists also believe that the only way to know anything about the deity is through reason and observing nature; they do not believe in revelation like that which comes from the Bible. Deists do not believe in the Bible or its teachings. And why should they? If the deity was uninvolved in his creation after he created it, that would include not being involved in the writing of the Bible that Christians say was given to human beings from God by God’s Spirit to be written down as a testament to humanity.

One of the claims revisionists like to make is that because Washington and some of the other founders often use terms like “providence” for God, this means they were deists.  But this claim doesn’t hold water.

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As Barton points out in the video, the Geneva Bible, the first Bible taken to the New World and a favorite among colonists, frequently uses the word “providence” (over 140 times).  Why?  Because God is known as the great “provider,” the creator of the universe and the one whom we can ask for things and expect him to “provide.”

Rev. George Whitefield frequently used the term “providence” for God. Whitefield is said to be largely responsible for the “Great Awakening” in America in the mid-1700s, without which there would have been no American Revolution. Do we really think Christian evangelist George Whitefield was a deist?

Rev. John Witherspoon, who taught many of the founders at Princeton and himself signed the Declaration of Independence, also used the word “providence” for God, even in a sermon on the necessity of salvation through Christ. Do we really think Rev. Witherspoon was a deist?

After George Washington escaped a skirmish in the French and Indian War unharmed, he credited “the All-Powerful Dispensations of Providence” with his safety. Unusual behavior for a so-called deist who would believe that the deity was uninvolved and uninterested in events on earth.

When I first toured Mount Vernon about eight years ago, as the tour guide took us through Washington’s study, he mentioned that Washington spent time in devotion to God there in the morning.

It is also interesting that there is an engraving of John 11:25-26, the words of Jesus Christ, carved on the back wall of George Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon which says:

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Inscription on the wall of George Washington's Tomb

Inscription on the wall of George Washington’s Tomb

Why would a supposed deist believe in resurrection of the dead and an afterlife where people will face reward or punishment–especially that claimed by Christianity, a religion that supposedly cannot be valid because it relies on the written revelation that deists reject?

Washington knew the Bible and how to weave it into life better than most pastors of today.  Washington regularly attended Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, traveling approximately 10 miles through the Virginia wilderness from Mount Vernon where he had his own pew. I have traveled the distance between Christ Church in Alexandria and Mount Vernon a few times…by modern automobile. Doing so on horseback or carriage, especially in winter, would not be so casual an affair over 200 years ago–an odd thing for a man to do when that man supposedly believes in an uninvolved deity who is not the person misguided Christians believe him to be.

As Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, when establishing regulations for the new military force, he encouraged soldiers to go to church:

Art. 2.—It is earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers diligently to attend divine service…and all officers who shall behave indecently at any place of divine worship shall, if commissioned officers, be brought before a general courtmartial, there to be publicly and severely reprimanded…

He also would not tolerate profanity from his soldiers:

ART. 3.—Any non-commissioned officer or soldier who shall use any profane oath or execration shall incur the penalties expressed in the foregoing article…

Washington ordered ships of the navy to have chaplains on board to ensure that

divine service be performed in a solemn and reverent manner twice a day, and a sermon preached on Sunday, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents prevent it; and that they come all, or as many of the ship’s company as can be spared from duty, to attend every performance of the worship of Almighty God.

Washington also recommended that his soldiers consider becoming Christians in a general order issued on July 9, 1776:

“General Washington hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live, and act, as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country. To the distinguished character of Patriot it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”

Again, very odd behavior for a man who was supposedly a deist…but perfectly in character for a Christian.

When writing to Marquis de Lafayette in 1786, Washington expressed a desire that God would extend to the people of America a spirit agreeable with the emancipation of the slaves in America. Why would a deist ask an uninvolved and uninterested deity to do anything?

In his inaugural address as president, Washington stated

…it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes…No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States…the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained…resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility…so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views

Strange things for a deist to say who believes in an uninvolved and uninterested deity.

Consider President Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 in which he said “is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”  Why would a deist believe it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge Almighty God when that deity doesn’t care enough about his creation to be involved in it, and if the deity is uninvolved in his creation, then he can’t very well be providing providence to people when he’s uninvolved, and why should people implore the protection and favor of the deity when the deity is uninvolved in the first place? The proclamation goes on to talk about the “favors of Almighty God,” describes God as “the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be,” who provides “kind care and protection of the people of this country” along with “manifold mercies.” The proclamation refers to God as the “Ruler of Nations”, and how can an uninvolved deity be the ruler of nations?

Washington also commended the Christian religion to the Cherokee Indians.  Why would a deist who believes the deity that created the universe and is now uninvolved and uninterested in that universe commend a “false religion” that claims God is very involved in the universe to the Cherokee?

As President Washington was leaving office, in his Farewell Address he strongly commended the embrace of religion to the people of America, and made it clear that morality could not be maintained without religion.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

Why would a deist, who believed the deity is uninvolved and unconcerned about matters on earth, and who did not believe in the revelation upon which Christianity (or any religion) is founded, commend so strongly religion to the people?

In 1798, after leaving the presidency, Washington wrote a letter to President John Adams in which he said “we can, with pure hearts, appeal to Heaven for the justice of our cause” and that we “may confidently trust the final result to that kind Providence who has, heretofore, and so often, signally favored the people of these United States.” Again, a very odd statement for someone who supposedly believed the deity was uninvolved and unconcerned about events on earth.

After Washington’s death, historian Jared Sparks asked Washington’s adopted daughter Nelly Custis-Lewis about Washington’s faith. She told Sparks in a letter:

He attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles [a one-way journey of 2-3 hours by horse or carriage]…I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, “that they may be seen of men” [Matthew 6:5]. He communed with his God in secret [Matthew 6:6]…Is it necessary that any one should certify, “General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?” As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country.

Was Washington’s behavior that of a deist?  Not even close.

So embrace your nation’s rich Christian heritage–and the God-given liberties it has provided–and do not allow God-hating and America-hating Leftists to take it from you.

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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