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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Rather Nice Li'l Quote That'll Drive Some Folks 'Round the Bend

I was flipping through my copy of Original Intent and came across this passage, and thought it'd be worth sharing:
As the war prolonged, the shortage of Bibles remained a problem. Consequently, Robert Aitken, publisher of The Pennsylvania Magazine, petitioned Congress on January 21, 1781, for permission to print the Bibles on his presses here in America rather than import them. He pointed out to Congress that his bible would be "a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools." Congress approved his request and appointed a committee of James Duane, Thomas McKean, and John Witherspoon to oversee the project.


On September 12, 1782, the full Congress approved that Bible which soon began rolling off the presses. Printed in the front of that Bible (the first English-language Bible ever printed in America) was the Congressional endorsement:
Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled...recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States.
Of this event, one early historian observed:
Who, in view of this fact, will call in question the assertion that this is a Bible nation? Who will charge the government with indifference to religion when the first Congress of the States assumed all the rights and performed all the duties of a Bible Society long before such an institution had an existence in the world!
Who would do that? Sadly, there are rather a lot of people in this country who would sooner eat dirt than acknowledge that the principles of American government rest firmly on the Bible.

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