Friday, July 04, 2008

"Religion and Morality are indispensable supports"

From George Washington's Farewell Address (September 17, 1796):

. . .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 connexions 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 ?. . .

1 comment:

Perpetua said...

Wow! Thank you for posting this.

Of course, what we are seeing in the USA is that a new form of morality is taking the place of the old religiously grounded biblical morality. The new morality elevates self expression and makes it immoral to repress the self expression of others, even making the biblical morality "immoral" when it would do so. Except in cases where self expression is in conflict with environmentalism. I guess the new morality balances environmentalism and self expression.