In 1924 in a speech at the unveiling of the Equestrian Statue of Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury, President Coolidge remarked on the generation that secured the United States’ independence:
It is of a great deal of significance that the generation which fought the American Revolution had seen a very extensive religious revival. They had heard the preaching of Jonathan Edwards. They had seen the great revival meetings that were inspired by the preaching of Whitefield. The religious experiences of those days made a profound impression upon the great body of the people. They made new thoughts and created new interests. They freed the public mind, through a deeper knowledge and more serious contemplation of the truth. By calling the people to righteousness they were a direct preparation for self-government. It was for a continuation of this work that Francis Asbury was raised up.
The religious movement he represented was distinctly a movement to reach the great body of the people. Just as our Delcaraationof Independence asserts that all men are created free, so it seems to me the founders of this movement were inspred by the thought that all men were worthy to hear the Word, worthy to be sought out and brought to salvation. It is this motive that took their preachers among the poor and neglected, even to criminals in the jails. As our ideal has been to bring all men to freedom, so their ideal was to bring all men to salvation. [emphases mine]
The connection between salvation and freedom, in that order, is foundational. Free societies are made up of free men in Christ, and this was publicly recognized by a President less than a century ago! Is it any wonder that this republic was founded by men like Washington, Adams and Madison, and not like Bush, Clinton, and Obama? Could there be a greater contrast between the way Obama’s rose to political power voting “Present” in the Illinois Senate and the risk of life and fortune our founding fathers endured in the American Revolution? George Whitefield has been called “a second GW” for good reason because he, by God’s grace, helped create and shape a people with an understanding and desire for freedom. It’s certainly possible for unconverted people to enjoy the freedoms of a Christian society (or what’s left of one in our case), but that’s not how such societies are created (n.b. Middle East meddlers). For this we need a great company of preachers with the hammer of the word of God. Every Tea Party and political mama-bear grizzly needs to know this. We don’t return to Constitutional sanity without first returning to biblical bedrock.