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Religionpoliticsushistory

Religion and Politics in US History

Quotes (269)

Religion has long been a staple of American politics. At the national level presidents and candidates for the highest office have continually evoked religious themes, whether addressing foreign policy, economic and social issues, or their own convictions. This resource page assembles key statements by US presidents over time and provides an overview of three key themes: values issues (such as abortion), foreign policy, and Islam. It also includes position statements about religion from the platforms of the Democratic Party and Republican Party.


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  • March 4, 1861
    If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.
  • April 30, 1789
    [...] 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 [...] 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. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been...
  • October 25, 1791
    A system corresponding with the mild principles of religion and philanthropy toward an unenlightened race of men [i.e. Native Americans], whose happiness materially depends on the conduct of the United States, would be as honorable to the national character as conformable to the dictates of sound policy.
  • November 4, 1796
    Article 11: As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
  • March 4, 1825
    In compliance with an usage coeval with the existence of our Federal Constitution, and sanctioned by the example of my predecessors in the career upon which I am about to enter, I appear, my fellow-citizens, in your presence and in that of Heaven to bind myself by the solemnities of religious obligation to the faithful performance of the duties allotted to me in the station to which I have been called. [...] I shall look for whatever success may attend my public service; and knowing that...
  • October 22, 1797
    Indeed, whatever may be the issue of the negotiation with France, and whether the war in Europe is or is not to continue, I hold it most certain that permanent tranquility and order will not soon be obtained. The state of society has so long been disturbed, the sense of moral and religious obligations so much weakened, public faith and national honor have been so impaired, respect to treaties has been so diminished, and the law of nations has lost so much of its force, while pride, ambition,...
  • November 11, 1800
    It would be unbecoming the representatives of this nation to assemble for the first time in this solemn temple without looking up to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and imploring His blessing. May this territory be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city may that piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government, which adorned the great character whose name it bears be forever held in veneration! Here and throughout our country may simple manners,...
  • December 8, 1801
    It is a circumstance of sincere gratification to me that on meeting the great council of our nation I am able to announce to them on grounds of reasonable certainty that the wars and troubles which have for so many years afflicted our sister nations have at length come to an end, and that the communications of peace and commerce are once more opening among them. Whilst we devoutly return thanks to the beneficent Being who has been pleased to breathe into them the spirit of conciliation and...
  • August 23, 1984
    The truth is, politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality's foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church because only those humble enough to admit they're sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.
  • July 11, 1860
    I have never united myself to any church because I have found difficulty in giving my assent without mental reservation to the long complicated statements of Christian doctrine which characterize their articles of belief and confessions of faith. When any church will inscribe over its altar as the sole qualification for membership the Savior's condensed statement of the substance of both law and gospel: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all...
  • November 4, 1812
    On our present meeting it is my first duty to invite your attention to the providential favors which our country has experienced [...]. With these blessings are necessarily mingled the pressures and vicissitudes incident to the state of war into which the United States have been forced by the perseverance of a foreign power in its system of injustice and aggression. [...] The appeal was accordingly made, in a just cause, to the Just and All-powerful Being who holds in His hand the chain of...
  • December 12, 1817
    Our free Government, founded on the interest and affections of the people, has gained and is daily gaining strength. Local jealousies are rapidly yielding to more generous, enlarged, and enlightened views of national policy. For advantages so numerous and highly important it is our duty to unite in grateful acknowledgements to that Omnipotent Being from whom they are derived, and in unceasing prayer that He will endow us with virtue and strength to maintain and hand them down in their utmost...
  • November 30, 1840
    We admit of no government by divine right, believing that so far as power is concerned the Beneficent Creator has made no distinction amongst men; that all are upon an equality, and that the only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.
  • December 6, 1842
    We have continued reason to express our profound gratitude to the Great Creator of All Things for numberless benefits conferred upon us as a people. [...] The health of the country, with partial exceptions, has for the past year been well preserved, and under their free and wise institutions the United States are rapidly advancing toward the consummation of the high destiny which an overruling Providence seems to have marked out for them. Exempt from domestic convulsion and at peace with all...
  • December 2, 1850
    And now, fellow-citizens, I cannot bring this communication to a close without invoking you to join me in humble and devout thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the multiplied blessings which He has graciously bestowed upon us. His hand, so often visible in our preservation, has stayed the pestilence, saved us from foreign wars and domestic disturbances, and scattered plenty throughout the land. Our liberties, religions [sic] and civil, have been maintained, the fountains of knowledge...
  • December 31, 1855
    I rely confidently on the patriotism of the people, on the dignity and self-respect of the States, on the wisdom of Congress, and, above all, on the continued gracious favor of Almighty God to maintain against all enemies, whether at home or abroad, the sanctity of the Constitution and the integrity of the Union.
  • February 4, 1997
    We're not there yet. We still see evidence of abiding bigotry and intolerance in ugly words and awful violence, in burned churches and bombed buildings. We must fight against this, in our country and in our hearts. Just a few days before my second Inauguration, one of our country's best known pastors, Reverend Robert Schuller, suggested that I read Isaiah 58:12. Here's what it says: "Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations, and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach,...
  • December 1, 1862
    Fellow citizens, we can not escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We, even we here, hold the power and bear...
  • March 4, 1913
    The Nation has been deeply stirred, stirred by a solemn passion, stirred by the knowledge of wrong, of ideals lost, of government too often debauched and made an instrument of evil. The feelings with which we face this new age of right and opportunity sweep across our heartstrings like some air out of God's own presence, where justice and mercy are reconciled and the judge and the brother are one. We know our task to be no mere task of politics but a task which shall search us through and...
  • March 4, 1865
    Both [North and South] read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. [...] The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." [...] Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it...
  • December 8, 1914
    We are, indeed, a true friend to all the nations of the world, because we threaten none, covet the possessions of none, desire the overthrow of none. Our friendship can be accepted and is accepted without reservation, because it is offered in a spirit and for a purpose which no one need ever question or suspect. Therein lies our greatness. We are the champions of peace and of concord. And we should be very jealous of this distinction which we have sought to earn. just now we should be...
  • March 4, 1917
    We are being forged into a new unity amidst the fires that now blaze throughout the world. In their ardent heat we shall, in God's Providence, let us hope, be purged of faction and division, purified of the errant humors of party and of private interest, and shall stand forth in the days to come with a new dignity of national pride and spirit. Let each man see to it that the dedication is in his own heart, the high purpose of the nation in his own mind, ruler of his own will and desire.
  • March 4, 1921
    Standing in this presence, mindful of the solemnity of this occasion, feeling the emotions which no one may know until he senses the great weight of responsibility for himself, I must utter my belief in the divine inspiration of the founding fathers. Surely there must have been God's intent in the making of this new-world Republic. Ours is an organic law which had but one ambiguity, and we saw that effaced in a baptism of sacrifice and blood, with union maintained, the Nation supreme, and its...
  • December 5, 1899
    From the earliest moment no opportunity was lost of assuring the people of the islands of our ardent desire for their welfare and of the intention of this Government to do everything possible to advance their interests. In my order of the 19th of May, 1898, the commander of the military expedition dispatched to the Philippines was instructed to declare that we came not to make war upon the people of that country, "nor upon any party or faction among them, but to protect them in their homes,...
  • January 9, 1959
    One of the fundamental concepts of our constitutional system is that it guarantees to every individual, regardless of race, religion, or national origin, the equal protection of the laws. Those of us who are privileged to hold public office have a solemn obligation to make meaningful this inspiring objective.
  • March 4, 1921
    The world upheaval has added heavily to our tasks. But [...] there is reassurance in belief in the God-given destiny of our Republic. If I felt that there is to be sole responsibility in the Executive for the America of tomorrow I should shrink from the burden. But here are a hundred millions, with common concern and shared responsibility, answerable to God and country. The Republic summons them to their duty, and I invite co-operation. I accept my part with single-mindedness of purpose and...
  • October 31, 1921
    Ours has been a favored nation in the bounty which God has bestowed upon it. The great trial of humanity, though indeed we bore our part as well as we were able, left us comparatively little scarred. It is for us to recognize that we have been thus favored, and when we gather at our altars to offer up thanks, we will do well to pledge, in humility and all sincerity, our purpose to prove deserving. We have been raised up and preserved in national power and consequence, as part of a plan whose...
  • November 5, 1924
    We approach that season of the year when it has been the custom for the American people to give thanks for the good fortune which the bounty of Providence, through the generosity of nature, has visited upon them. It is altogether a good custom. It has the sanction of antiquity and the approbation of our religious convictions. In acknowledging the receipt of divine favor, in contemplating the blessings which have been bestowed upon us, we shall reveal the spiritual strength of the nation....
  • December 3, 1888
    Our mission among the nations of the earth and our success in accomplishing the work God has given the American people to do require of those intrusted with the making and execution of our laws perfect devotion, above all other things, to the public good.
  • March 4, 1893
    It can not be doubted that our stupendous achievements as a people and our country's robust strength have given rise to heedlessness of those laws governing our national health which we can no more evade than human life can escape the laws of God and nature.
  • March 4, 1893
    Above all, I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men and whose goodness and mercy have always followed the American people, and I know He will not turn from us now if we humbly and reverently seek His powerful aid.
  • December 4, 1928
    The end of government is to keep open the opportunity for a more abundant life. Peace and prosperity are not finalities; they are only methods. It is too easy under their influence for a nation to become selfish and degenerate. This test has come to the United States. Our country has been provided with the resources with which it can enlarge its intellectual, moral, and spiritual life. The issue is in the hands of the people. Our faith in man and God is the justification for the belief in our...
  • March 4, 1889
    Entering thus solemnly into covenant with each other, we may reverently invoke and confidently expect the favor and help of Almighty God--that He will give to me wisdom, strength, and fidelity, and to our people a spirit of fraternity and a love of righteousness and peace.
  • December 7, 1926
    To relieve the land of the burdens that came from the war, to release to the individual more of the fruits of his own industry, to increase his earning capacity and decrease his hours of labor, to enlarge the circle of his vision through good roads and better transportation, to place before him the opportunity for education both in science and in art, to leave him free to receive the inspiration of religion, all these are ideals which deliver him from the servitude of the body and exalt him...
  • March 4, 1929
    Superficial observers seem to find no destiny for our abounding increase in population, in wealth and power except that of imperialism. They fail to see that the American people are engrossed in the building for themselves of a new economic system, a new social system, a new political system all of which are characterized by aspirations of freedom of opportunity and thereby are the negation of imperialism. They fail to realize that because of our abounding prosperity our youth are pressing...
  • December 3, 1900
    Upon every division and branch of the government of the Philippines, therefore, must be imposed these inviolable rules: [...] that no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be allowed. [...N]o form of religion and no minister of religion shall be forced upon any community or upon any citizen of the...
  • December 3, 1901
    Indeed, from every quarter of the civilized world we received, at the time of the President's death, assurances of such grief and regard as to touch the hearts of our people. In the midst of our affliction we reverently thank the Almighty that we are at peace with the nations of mankind; and we firmly intend that our policy shall be such as to continue unbroken these international relations of mutual respect and good will.
  • December 2, 1902
    Above all, we need to remember that any kind of class animosity in the political world is, if possible, even more wicked, even more destructive to national welfare, than sectional, race, or religious animosity. We can get good government only upon condition that we keep true to the principles upon which this Nation was founded, and judge each man not as a part of a class, but upon his individual merits.
  • December 6, 1904
    The cases in which we could interfere by force of arms as we interfered to put a stop to intolerable conditions in Cuba are necessarily very few. Yet it is not to be expected that a people like ours, which in spite of certain very obvious shortcomings, nevertheless as a whole shows by its consistent practice its belief in the principles of civil and religious liberty and of orderly freedom, a people among whom even the worst crime, like the crime of lynching, is never more than sporadic, so...
  • March 8, 1983
    Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness—pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.
  • February 6, 1986
    America will never be whole as long as the right to life granted by our Creator is denied to the unborn.
  • January 25, 1995
    And I would like to say a special word to our religious leaders. You know, I'm proud of the fact the United States has more houses of worship per capita than any country in the world. These people who lead our houses of worship can ignite their congregations to carry their faith into action, can reach out to all of our children, to all of the people in distress, to those who have been savaged by the breakdown of all we hold dear. Because so much of what must be done must come from the inside...
  • January 20, 1993
    And so, my fellow Americans, as we stand at the edge of the 21st century, let us begin anew with energy and hope, with faith and discipline. And let us work until our work is done. The Scripture says, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." From this joyful mountaintop of celebration we hear a call to service in the valley. We have heard the trumpets. We have changed the guard. And now, each in our own way and with God's help, we must answer...
  • January 1, 1781
    The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god... Constraint may make him worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them. Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to...
  • January 31, 2001
    We must encourage and support the work of charities and faith-based and community groups that offer help and love, one person at a time. These groups are working in every neighborhood in America to fight homelessness and addiction and domestic violence, to provide a hot meal or a mentor or a safe haven for our children. Government should welcome these groups to apply for funds, not discriminate against them. Government cannot be replaced by charities or volunteers. Government should not fund...
  • January 28, 2003
    Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity. We Americans have faith in ourselves, but not in ourselves alone. We do not know—we do not claim to know all the ways of providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life and all of history. May He guide us now. And may God continue to bless...
  • February 6, 1986
    We must continue the advance by supporting discipline in our schools, vouchers that give parents freedom of choice; and we must give back to our children their lost right to acknowledge God in their classrooms.
  • January 24, 1995
    Responsibility, opportunity, and citizenship, more than stale chapters in some remote civic book, they're still the virtue by which we can fulfill ourselves and reach our God-given potential and be like them and also to fulfill the eternal promise of this country, the enduring dream from that first and most sacred covenant. I believe every person in this country still believes that we are created equal and given by our Creator the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • January 23, 1996
    The threats we face today as Americans respect no Nation's borders. Think of them: terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime, drug trafficking, ethnic and religious hatred [...].
  • January 23, 1996
    I applaud the work of religious groups and others who care for the poor. More than anyone else in our society, they know the true difficulty of the task before us, and they are in a position to help. Every one of us should join them. That is the only way we can make real welfare reform a reality in the lives of the American people.
  • January 27, 1998
    And we must ratify the ethical consensus of the scientific and religious communities and ban the cloning of human beings.
  • April 23, 1995
    Let us teach our children that the God of comfort is also the God of righteousness. Those who trouble their own house will inherit the wind. Justice will prevail. Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear. When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. In the face of death, let us honor life. As St. Paul admonished us, let us not be overcome by evil but overcome evil...
  • January 20, 1997
    Our rich texture of racial, religious, and political diversity will be a Godsend in the 21st century. Great rewards will come to those who can live together, learn together, work together, forge new ties that bind together.
  • July 12, 1995
    Religious freedom is perhaps the most precious of all American liberties, called by many our "first freedom." Many of the first European settlers in North America sought refuge from religious persecution in their native countries. Since that time, people of faith and religious institutions have played a central role in the history of this Nation. In the First Amendment, our Bill of Rights recognizes the twin pillars of religious liberty: the constitutional protection for the free exercise of...
  • January 27, 2000
    [...W]e also have got to do our part in the global endeavor to reduce the debts of the poorest countries, so they can invest in education, health care, and economic growth. That's what the Pope and other religious leaders have urged us to do.
  • January 27, 2000
    We have Members in this Congress from virtually every racial, ethnic, and religious background. And I think you would agree that America is stronger because of it.
  • August 3, 2000
    When I act, you will know my reasons. And when I speak, you will know my heart. I believe in tolerance, not in spite of my faith, but because of it. I believe in a God who calls us not to judge our neighbors but to love them. I believe in grace because I've seen it, and peace because I've felt it, and forgiveness because I've needed it.
  • December 13, 1999
    BACHMAN: What political philosopher or thinker do you most identify with and why?

    BUSH: Christ, because he changed my heart.

    BACHMAN: I think that the viewer would like to know more on how He has changed your heart.

    BUSH: Well, if they don't know it is going to be hard to explain. When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your heart, it changes your life, and that's what happened to me.
  • January 10, 1967
    For all the disorders that we must deal with, and all the frustrations that concern us, and all the anxieties that we are called upon to resolve, for all the issues we must face with the agony that attends them, let us remember that "those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it." But let us also count not only our burdens but our blessings—for they are many. And let us give thanks to the One who governs us all. Let us draw...
  • January 4, 1965
    This, then, is the state of the Union: Free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.
  • January 12, 1966
    Scarred by the weaknesses of man, with whatever guidance God may offer us, we must nevertheless and alone with our mortality, strive to ennoble the life of man on earth.
  • March 8, 1983
    You know, I've always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle...
  • January 20, 1961
    The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.
  • January 30, 1961
    The hopes of all mankind rest upon us—not simply upon those of us in this chamber, but upon the peasant in Laos, the fisherman in Nigeria, the exile from Cuba, the spirit that moves every man and Nation who shares our hopes for freedom and the future. [...] In the words of a great President, whose birthday we honor today, closing his final State of the Union Message sixteen years ago, "We pray that we may be worthy of the unlimited opportunities that God has given us." [...] For it is...
  • January 20, 1961
    Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah -- to "undo the heavy burdens [...] [and] let the oppressed go free." [...] Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need—not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty,...
  • January 12, 1961
    Our goal always has been to add to the spiritual, moral, and material strength of our nation. I believe we have done this. But it is a process that must never end. Let us pray that leaders of both the near and distant future will be able to keep the nation strong and at peace, that they will advance the well-being of all our people, that they will lead us on to still higher moral standards, and that, in achieving these goals, they will maintain a reasonable balance between private and...
  • November 11, 1960
    Let us hope that some day, under a benevolent Providence and through the best use of the world's God-given resources, each nation will have reason to celebrate its own thanksgiving day.
  • January 7, 1960
    America did not become great through softness and self-indulgence. Her miraculous progress and achievements flow from other qualities far more worthy and substantial adherence to principles and methods consonant with our religious philosophy.
  • January 9, 1959
    If we make ourselves worthy of America's ideals, if we do not forget that our nation was founded on the premise that all men are creatures of God's making, the world will come to know that it is free men who carry forward the true promise of human progress and dignity.
  • January 9, 1958
    I am fully confident that the response of the Congress and of the American people will make this time of test a time of honor. Mankind then will see more clearly than ever that the future belongs, not to the concept of the regimented atheistic state, but to the people—the God-fearing, peace-loving people of all the world.
  • January 21, 1957
    Before all else, we seek, upon our common labor as a nation, the blessings of Almighty God. And the hopes in our hearts fashion the deepest prayers of our whole people. May we pursue the right—without self-righteousness. May we know unity—without conformity. May we grow in strength—without pride in self. May we, in our dealings with all peoples of the earth, ever speak truth and serve justice. And so shall America—in the sight of all men of good will—prove true...
  • January 10, 1957
    The State of the Union, at the opening of the 85th Congress, continues to vindicate the wisdom of the principles on which this Republic is founded. Proclaimed in the Constitution of the Nation and in many of our historic documents, and founded in devout religious convictions, these principles enunciate: A vigilant regard for human liberty. A wise concern for human welfare. A ceaseless effort for human progress.
  • January 6, 1955
    As we do these things, before us is a future filled with opportunity and hope. That future will be ours if in our time we keep alive the patience, the courage, the confidence in tomorrow, the deep faith, of the millions who, in years past, made and preserved us this nation. A decade ago, in the death and desolation of European battlefields, I saw the courage and resolution, I felt the inspiration, of American youth. In these young men I felt America's buoyant confidence and irresistible...
  • January 7, 1954
    No government can inoculate its people against the fatal materialism that plagues our age. Happily, our people, though blessed with more material goods than any people in history, have always reserved their first allegiance to the kingdom of the spirit, which is the true source of that freedom we value above all material things. But a government can try, as ours tries, to sense the deepest aspirations of the people, and to express them in political action at home and abroad. So long as action...
  • January 20, 1953
    My friends [...] would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own [...]: Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment my future associates in the Executive branch of Government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng and their fellow citizens everywhere. Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby and by...
  • January 20, 1953
    At such a time in history, we who are free must proclaim anew our faith. This faith is the abiding creed of our fathers. It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man, governed by eternal moral and natural laws. This faith defines our full view of life. It establishes, beyond debate, those gifts of the Creator that are man's inalienable rights, and that make all men equal in His sight. [...] The enemies of this faith know no god but force, no devotion but its use. [...] Whatever defies...
  • November 12, 1936
    Having safely passed through troubled waters, it is our right to express our gratitude that Divine Providence has vouchsafed us wisdom and courage to overcome adversity. Our free institutions have been maintained with no abatement of our faith in them. In our relations with other peoples we stand not aloof but make resolute effort to promote international friendship and, by the avoidance of discord, to further world peace, prosperity, and happiness.
  • January 4, 1950
    As we go forward in achieving greater economic security and greater opportunity for all our people, we should make every effort to extend the benefits of our democratic institutions to every citizen. The religious ideals which we profess, and the heritage of freedom which we have received from the past, clearly place that duty upon us.
  • January 4, 1950
    We work for a better life for all, so that all men may put to good use the great gifts with which they have been endowed by their Creator. We seek to establish those material conditions of life in which, without exception, men may live in dignity, perform useful work, serve their communities, and worship God as they see fit. These may seem simple goals, but they are not little ones. They are worth a great deal more than all the empires and conquests of history. They are not to be achieved by...
  • November 1, 1951
    We deeply appreciate the strength of our democratic institutions and the preservation of those ideals of liberty and justice which form the basis of national stability and international peace. The times demand more than the wisdom of man can provide. There should be in the hearts of all good men and true a realization that as the Psalmist said: "There is no king saved by the multitude of a host; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength." Humbly grateful for these benefactions, may we...
  • January 20, 1949
    The American people stand firm in the faith which has inspired this Nation from the beginning. We believe that all men have a right to equal justice under law and equal opportunity to share in the common good. We believe that all men have a right to freedom of thought and expression. We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God. From this faith we will not be moved.
  • January 20, 1949
    These differences between communism and democracy do not concern the United States alone. People everywhere are coming to realize that what is involved is material well-being, human dignity, and the right to believe in and worship God.
  • January 20, 1949
    Steadfast in our faith in the Almighty, we will advance toward a world where man's freedom is secure. To that end we will devote our strength, our resources, and our firmness of resolve. With God's help, the future of mankind will be assured in a world of justice, harmony, and peace.
  • August 28, 1947
    An enduring peace can be built only upon Christian principles. To such a consummation we dedicate all our resources, both spiritual and material, remembering always that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. [...T]he valiant pioneers who left Europe to establish settlements here [...] declared their faith in the Christian religion and made ample provision for its practice and for its support. The story of the Christian missionaries who in earliest days endured...
  • January 6, 1947
    We have recently witnessed in this country numerous attacks upon the constitutional rights of individual citizens as a result of racial and religious bigotry. Substantial segments of our people have been prevented from exercising fully their right to participate in the election of public officials, both locally and nationally. Freedom to engage in lawful callings has been denied. The will to fight these crimes should be in the hearts of every one of us.
  • January 6, 1947
    The spirit of the American people can set the course of world history. If we maintain and strengthen our cherished ideals, and if we share our great bounty with war-stricken people over the world, then the faith of our citizens in freedom and democracy will be spread over the whole earth and free men everywhere will share our devotion to those ideals. Let us have the will and the patience to do this job together. May the Lord strengthen us in our faith. May He give us wisdom to lead the...
  • August 15, 1946
    To all my fellow citizens of the Jewish faith I extend hearty greetings and good wishes on their New Year's Day. Its celebration this year comes at a time when the United States and its allies are seeking to lay the foundation of lasting peace in the world. This task cannot be completed unless all persons, without distinction of race, language or religion, are made secure in the enjoyment of their inherent human rights. To this end, the treaties of peace now being discussed bind the nations...
  • August 16, 1945
    Our global victory has come [...] with the help of God, Who was with us in the early days of adversity and disaster, and Who has now brought us to this glorious day of triumph. Let us give thanks to Him, and remember that we have now dedicated ourselves to follow in His ways to a lasting and just peace and to a better world. Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Sunday, August 19, 1945, to be a day of prayer. I call upon the people of...
  • April 16, 1945
    At this moment, I have in my heart a prayer. As I have assumed my heavy duties, I humbly pray Almighty God, in the words of King Solomon: "Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?" I ask only to be a good and faithful servant of my Lord and my people.
  • November 1, 1944
    In this year of liberation, which has seen so many millions freed from tyrannical rule, it is fitting that we give thanks with special fervor to our Heavenly Father for the mercies we have received individually and as a nation and for the blessings He has restored, through the victories of our arms and those of our allies, to His children in other lands. For the preservation of our way of life from the threat of destruction; for the unity of spirit which has kept our Nation strong; for our...
  • January 6, 1942
    They know that victory for us means victory for religion. And they could not tolerate that. The world is too small to provide adequate "living room" for both Hitler and God. In proof of that, the Nazis have now announced their plan for enforcing their new German, pagan religion all over the world—a plan by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced by Mein Kampf and the swastika and the naked sword.
  • January 6, 1942
    Our enemies are guided by brutal cynicism, by unholy contempt for the human race. We are inspired by a faith that goes back through all the years to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis: "God created man in His own image." We on our side are striving to be true to that divine heritage. We are fighting, as our fathers have fought, to uphold the doctrine that all men are equal in the sight of God. Those on the other side are striving to destroy this deep belief and to create a world in...
  • January 6, 1941
    In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere...
  • December 16, 1940
    Our modern democratic way of life has its deepest roots in our great common religious tradition, which for ages past has taught to civilized mankind the dignity of the human being, his equality before God, and his responsibility in the making of a better and fairer world. [...] In teaching this democratic faith to American children, we need the sustaining, buttressing aid of those great ethical religious teachings which are the heritage of our modern civilization. For "not upon strength nor...
  • January 3, 1940
    We must look ahead and see the kind of lives our children would have to lead if a large part of the rest of the world were compelled to worship a god imposed by a military ruler, or were forbidden to worship God at all; if the rest of the world were forbidden to read and hear the facts—the daily news of their own and other nations—if they were deprived of the truth that makes men free. [...] The permanent security of America in the present crisis does not lie in armed force alone....
  • January 3, 1940
    The permanent security of America in the present crisis does not lie in armed force alone. What we face is a set of world-wide forces of disintegration—vicious, ruthless, destructive of all the moral, religious and political standards which mankind, after centuries of struggle, has come to cherish most. In these moral values, in these forces which have made our nation great, we must actively and practically reassert our faith.
  • January 4, 1939
    Storms from abroad directly challenge three institutions indispensable to Americans, now as always. The first is religion. It is the source of the other two -- democracy and international good faith. Religion, by teaching man his relationship to God, gives the individual a sense of his own dignity and teaches him to respect himself by respecting his neighbors. Democracy, the practice of self-government, is a covenant among free men to respect the rights and liberties of their fellows....
  • November 12, 1935
    But in our appreciation of the blessings that Divine Providence has bestowed upon us in America, we shall not rejoice as the Pharisee rejoiced. War and strife still live in the world. Rather, must America by example and in practice help to bind the wounds of others, strive against disorder and aggression, encourage the lessening of distrust among peoples and advance peaceful trade and friendship. The future of many generations of mankind will be greatly guided by our acts in these present...
  • December 3, 1929
    The test of the rightfulness of our decisions must be whether we have sustained and advanced the ideals of the American people; self-government in its foundations of local government; justice whether to the individual or to the group; ordered liberty; freedom from domination; open opportunity and equality of opportunity; the initiative and individuality of our people; prosperity and the lessening of poverty; freedom of public opinion; education; advancement of knowledge; the growth of...
  • December 17, 2001
    Eid is a time of joy, after a season of fasting and prayer and reflection. Each year, the end of Ramadan means celebration and thanksgiving for millions of Americans. And your joy during this season enriches the life of our great country. This year, Eid is celebrated at the same time as Hanukkah and Advent. So it's a good time for people of these great faiths, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, to remember how much we have in common: devotion to family, a commitment to care for those in need, a...
  • May 1, 1978
    The establishment of the nation of Israel is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and the very essence of its fulfillment.
  • June 16, 1978
    Separation is specified in the law, but for a religious person, there is nothing wrong with bringing these two together, because you can't divorce religious beliefs from public service. And at the same time, of course, in public office you cannot impose your own religious beliefs on others. I have never detected nor experienced any conflict between God's will and my political duty. It's obvious that when I violate one, at the same time I violate the other.
  • June 16, 1978
    Thomas Jefferson, as he considered what the emblem of our Nation ought to be, the Seal of the United States, suggested that it be a picture of the people of Israel following a cloud and a column of fire, because he saw this inner journey and the outward journey interrelated, and also visualized, although he was not a very deeply religious man on the outside, he saw that dependence on God was good for his new Nation that he loved. So, the great outward journey of the Israelites, of our own...
  • March 1, 1985
    For me there is no way to approach or enter Israel without thinking first about the Bible and the history of the land and its people. The names and images have long been an integral part of my life as a Christian.
  • February 2, 1978
    A few months back, the words "born again" were vividly impressed on the consciousness of many Americans who were not familiar with their meaning. They've been used in many headlines and on the front covers of many magazines. But for those of us who share the Christian faith, the words "born again" have a very simple meaning—that through a personal experience, we recommit our lives as humble children of God, which makes us in the realest possible sense brothers and sisters of one...
  • February 2, 1978
    As part of my preparation for meeting with Indian leaders, I read the Bhagavad-Gita and later visited the site where Mahatma Gandhi's body was cremated and [...] I felt a kinship with him and a kinship of the Indian leaders who have not always been our friends in recent years. [...] Last year, at a relatively small supper at the White House, Crown Prince Fahd from Saudi Arabia ... gave one of the most eloquent impromptu speeches I have ever heard about how a common religious faith and their...
  • November 12, 2003
    FROST: And at the same time, you'll be working with Tony Blair. And what is the key to your working together so well? I mean, it's like you have a special relationship. Is partially the bond the bond of—that you're both men of strong faith?

    BUSH: I think so. Tony is a man of strong faith. You know, the key to my relationship with Tony is he tells the truth and he tells you what he thinks. And when he says he's going to do something, he's going to do it. I trust him, therefore. I have...
  • August 14, 1997
    My own faith, rooted in the assurance of things hoped for and the convictions of things unseen, calls those of us who share it to a lifelong effort not only to deepen the understanding of the soul but to bring our actions, thoughts, and feelings into harmony with God's will. On that journey, as I have said many times in the past, I have been immeasurably enriched by the power of the Torah, the beauty of the Koran, the piercing insights of the religions of East and South Asia and of our own...
  • August 14, 1997
    My great hope is that we can enter this new century and this new millennium as the most successful multiracial, multiethnic, multireligious democracy the world has ever known. We will get there through efforts like this, men, women from all walks of life coming together to respect and celebrate our differences while uniting around the ideals that bind us together, more importantly, as one America. Religious freedom is at the heart of what it means to be an American and at the heart of our...
  • November 30, 1786
    Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being...
  • February 28, 1857
    In entering upon this great office I must humbly invoke the God of our fathers for wisdom and firmness to execute its high and responsible duties in such a manner as to restore harmony and ancient friendship among the people of the several States and to preserve our free institutions throughout many generations. Convinced that I owe my election to the inherent love for the Constitution and the Union which still animates the hearts of the American people, let me earnestly ask their powerful...
  • April 30, 1789
    There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that 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...
  • July 12, 1995
    Public schools may not provide religious instruction, but they may teach about religion, including the Bible or other scripture: the history of religion, comparative religion, the Bible (or other scripture) as literature, and the role of religion in the history of the United States and other countries all are permissible public school subjects. Similarly, it is permissible to consider religious influences on art, music, literature, and social studies. Although public schools may teach about...
  • July 12, 1995
    The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment does not prohibit purely private religious speech by students. Students therefore have the same right to engage in individual or group prayer and religious discussion during the school day as they do to engage in other comparable activity. For example, students may read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, and pray before tests to the same extent they may engage in comparable non-disruptive activities. Local school...
  • July 12, 1995
    It appears that some school officials, teachers and parents have assumed that religious expression of any type is either inappropriate, or forbidden altogether, in public schools. As our courts have reaffirmed, however, nothing in the First Amendment converts our public schools into religion-free zones, or requires all religious expression to be left behind at the schoolhouse door. While the government may not use schools to coerce the consciences of our students, or to convey official...
  • November 14, 1820
    When, then, we take into view the prosperous and happy condition of our country in all the great circumstances which constitute the felicity of a nation—every individual in the full enjoyment of all his rights, the Union blessed with plenty and rapidly rising to greatness under a National Government which operates with complete effect in every part without being felt in any except by the ample protection which it affords, and under State governments which perform their equal share,...
  • March 6, 2001
    America was built on a strong spiritual foundation, and the celebration of faith is central to our lives. As you celebrate the annual Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, you honor the great sacrifice and devotion of Abraham as recognized by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. By educating others about your religious traditions, you enrich the lives of others in your local communities. The variety of nations and cultures represented by those who travel to Mecca each year, and the varied ways in...
  • November 14, 2000
    I have never bought the thesis—on an inevitable collision course with the Islamic societies, or that the 21st century had to be dominated by terrorists with highly sophisticated weapons, fueled by broad popular resentment from people who are both disenfranchised and poor. I don't think it has to be that way, and I think if we could really make a big dent in this problem, it would give confidence to the forces of reason and progress throughout the region.
  • April 15, 1999
    I think it is one of the worst examples of systematic human rights abuses in the world today, and a terrible perversion of Islam.
  • April 12, 1999
    It may be that the Iranian people have been taught to hate or distrust the United States or the West on the grounds that we are infidels and outside the faith. [...] I think it is important to recognize, however, that Iran [...] has been the subject of quite a lot of abuse from various Western nations. And I think sometimes it's quite important to tell people, "Look, you have a right to be angry at something my country [...] did to you 50 or 60 or 100 or 150 years ago. But that is different...
  • April 12, 1999
    I believe that every good Jew, every good Christian, and every good Muslim, if you believe that love is the central value of the religion, you have to ask yourself, why is that? The reason is, we are not God; we might be wrong. Every one of us—I might be wrong about what I've been advocating here tonight. It's only when you recognize the possibility that you might be wrong or, to use the language of Saint Paul, that we see through the glass darkly, that we know only in part, that you...
  • March 23, 1999
    The second [obstacle to an undivided, democratic, free Europe] is the problem of Greece and Turkey. Why should that matter to you, unless you're Greek or Turk? Because Turkey has been a moderate Muslim state, a buffer between the West and radical, revolutionary-and I think, perverted-theories of Islam that are bubbling up in the Middle East, which is right next door. And we've got a lot of difficulties working all that out. We've got to keep working until we get it done.
  • December 18, 1998
    Warm greetings to all those observing the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a special time of reflection and renewal for Muslims around the world, including the six million Americans who are making Islam one of our nation's fastest-growing religions. Through fasting and devoted reading of the Koran, Muslims strengthen their faith in God and deepen the compassion that gives their faith such dignity and power in the eyes of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is a time for renewing our...
  • December 14, 1998
    I feel this all the more strongly because the act of a few can falsify the image of the many. How many times have we seen it? How many times has it happened to us? We both know it is profoundly wrong to equate Palestinians, in particular, and Islam, in general, with terrorism or to see a fundamental conflict between Islam and the West. For the vast majority of the more than one billion Muslims in the world, tolerance is an article of faith and terrorism a travesty of faith.
  • March 15, 1965
    In our time we have come to live with moments of great crisis. Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues; issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression. But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved Nation. The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is...
  • August 22, 1998
    In particular, it is very important that Americans understand that the threat we face is not part of the Islamic faith. Hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world, including millions right here in the United States, oppose terrorism and deplore the twisting of their religious teachings into justification of inhumane, indeed, ungodly acts.
  • October 23, 1998
    Just as I was able to say a thank you to Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, let me say to Chairman [Yasser] Arafat, I thank you. I thank you for turning away from violence toward peace. I thank you for embracing the idea that Palestinians and Israelis can actually share the land of our fathers together. I thank you for believing that the home of Islam and Judaism and Christianity can surely be the home of people who love one God and respect every life God has created.
  • August 20, 1998
    I want you to understand, I want the world to understand that our actions today were not aimed against Islam, the faith of hundreds of millions of good, peace-loving people all around the world, including the United States. No religion condones the murder of innocent men, women, and children. But our actions were aimed at fanatics and killers who wrap murder in the cloak of righteousness and in so doing profane the great religion in whose name they claim to act.
  • April 11, 1995
    Today's meeting reaffirms the longstanding friendship between Pakistan and the United States. It goes back to Pakistan's independence. At the time, Pakistan was an experiment in blending the ideals of a young democracy with the traditions of Islam. In the words of Pakistan's first President, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, "Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught us the equality of man, justice, the fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of the glorious traditions and are...
  • March 15, 1995
    Finally, I'd like to express my own gratitude to the King [Hassan II] for his enlightened leadership of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. I share his conviction that Islam can be a powerful force for tolerance and moderation in the world and that its traditional values—devotion to family and to society, to faith and good works—are in harmony with the best of Western ideals. As I said in my speeches to the Parliaments of Jordan and Israel, the United States has great...
  • October 26, 1994
    America refuses to accept that our civilizations must collide. We respect Islam. Every day in our own land, millions of our own citizens answer the Moslem call to prayer. And we know the traditional values of Islam, devotion to faith and good works, to family and society, are in harmony with the best of American ideals. Therefore, we know our people, our faiths, our cultures can live in harmony with each other. [...] This was the message of Moses' farewell address to the children of Israel as...
  • June 7, 1994
    We are very concerned about the rise of militant fundamentalism in the Islamic states. And the potential is enormous. There are 17 of the 22 Islamic states in the world have declining incomes. Seventy percent of the Muslims in the world today are young people. The potential for explosion is great. [...] But what the United States wants to do is to stand up against terrorism and against destructive fundamentalism, but to stand with the people of Islam who wish to be full members of the world...
  • November 30, 1993
    I [met with Salman Rushdie] to make the point not that I agree with the attacks on Islam in the book that Mr. Rushdie wrote but that in our country and in the countries who respect freedom of speech, freedom of speech includes especially the willingness to respect without threatening the life of or the rights of people who write things that we do not agree with. Indeed, for a Westerner, I have tried for more than 20 years now to study and have an appreciation of Islam. And I respect the...
  • October 21, 1993
    Clearly, we know if we could bring peace to the Middle East, it might revolutionize the range of options we have with the Muslims all over the world and give us the opportunity to beat back the forces of radicalism and terrorism that unfairly have been identified with Islam by so many people.
  • March 8, 1991
    And I'm not a student of religion, but I don't find anything in what the principal teachings of Islam that put us in contradiction at all. In fact, the principles are the same as what—we have a diverse religious culture. But it's kindness, it's be good to your neighbor, it's love, and it's take care of children. It's all these things that—so there's no anti-Islam.
  • December 6, 1880
    The Government of the United States has also lost no opportunity to urge upon that of the Emperor of Morocco the necessity, in accordance with the humane and enlightened spirit of the age, of putting an end to the persecutions, which have been so prevalent in that country, of persons of a faith other than the Moslem, and especially of the Hebrew residents of Morocco.
  • September 11, 2001
    America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I...
  • September 14, 2001
    On this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, we ask Almighty God to watch over our Nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn and the promise of a life to come. As we have been assured, neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, can separate us from God's love. May He...
  • November 20, 2001
    As we go into Thanksgiving we ought to thank God for our blessings, for our families, for our fantastic country, for the greatest country on the face of the earth. We ought to thank Him for the protection that we've received since the attack; thank Him for our blessings, but at the same time seek ways to help, seek ways to help our fellow human, seek ways to save a heart, seek ways to save a soul.
  • December 7, 2001
    We join all people of Jewish faith in thanking God who has "sustained us and enabled us to reach this season." May the candles of Hanukkah light our memories of those lost on September 11. And may this be a season of joy for us all.
  • January 24, 2002
    I have not given up on my Faith-Based Initiative. Many of you understand the power of faith-based programs in your communities, church programs, programs out of synagogues and mosques. I believe so strongly in the power of faith. I believe strongly that we must unleash the armies of compassion in every city in America to provide hope for people where hope doesn't exist. And I want to work with you to do just that. I think we can get a bill out of Congress. I bring up matters of the spirit...
  • January 20, 2005
    We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty;...
  • October 13, 1960
    [...] we can't have any test of religion. We can't have any test of race. It must be a test of a man. Also as far as religion is concerned. I have seen Communism abroad. I see what it does. Communism is the enemy of all religions; and we who do believe in God must join together. We must not be divided on this issue. The worst thing that I can think can happen in this campaign would be for it to be decided on religious issues. [...] I say—say to this great audience, whoever may be...
  • October 21, 1960
    What will determine whether Senator Kennedy or I, if I am elected, was a great president? It will not be our ambition that will determine it, because greatness is not something that is written on a campaign poster. It will be determined to the extent that we represent the deepest ideals, the highest feelings and faith of the American people. In other words, the next president, as he leads America and the free world, can be only as great as the American people are great. And so I say in...
  • October 6, 1976
    I believe that the boycott of American businesses by the Arab countries because those businesses trade with Israel or because they have American Jews who are owners or directors in the company is an absolute disgrace. This is the first time that I've—remember in the history of our country when we've let a foreign country circumvent or change our Bill of Rights. [...] It's not a matter of diplomacy or trade with me. It's a matter of morality. And I don't believe that Arab countries will...
  • September 21, 1980
    I don't think there's any way that we can suggest that because people believe in God and go to church, that they should not want reflected in those people and those causes they support, their own belief in morality, and in the high traditions and principles which we've abandoned so much in this country. Going around this country, I think that I have found a great hunger in America for a spiritual revival. For a belief that law must be based on a higher law. For a return to traditions and...
  • October 7, 1984
    I have gone to church regularly all my life, and I started to here in Washington. And now, in the position I hold and in the world in which we live, where Embassies do get blown up in Beirut [...] but I pose a threat to several hundred people if I go to church. I know the threats that are made against me. We all know the possibility of terrorism. We have seen the barricades that have had to be built around the White House. And, therefore, I don't feel—and my minister knows this and...
  • October 7, 1984
    I, too, want that wall that is in the Constitution of separation of church and state to remain there. The only attacks I have made are on people who apparently would break away at that wall from the government side, using the government, using the power of the courts and so forth to hinder that part of the Constitution that says the government shall not only not establish a religion, it shall not inhibit the practice of religion. And they have been using these things to have government,...
  • October 7, 1984
    I have [...] the firmest possible belief and faith in God. And I don't believe—I believe, I should say, as Lincoln once said, that I could not—I would be the most stupid man in the world if I thought I could confront the duties of the office I hold if I could not turn to someone who was stronger and greater than all others. And I do resort to prayer. At the same time, however, I have not believed that prayer should be introduced into an election or be a part of a political...
  • October 13, 1988
    I think human life is very, very precious. And, look, this hasn't been an easy decision for me to meet. I know others disagree with it. But when I was in that little church across the river from Washington and saw our grandchild christened in our faith, I was very pleased indeed that the mother had not aborted that child, and put the child up for adoption. And so I just feel this is where I'm coming from. And it is personal. And I don't assail [Michael Dukakis] on that issue, or others on...
  • October 16, 1996
    This is the most religious, great country in history. And yet, interestingly enough, we have the most religious freedom of any country in the world, including the freedom not to believe. And now we have all these people just up the road in Los Angeles County, we have people from 150 different racial and ethnic groups and tons of different religions, but the fundamental tenets of virtually every religion are the same, and what I try to do is to support policies that would respect religion and...
  • October 16, 1996
    We don't need a constitutional amendment for kids to pray, and what I did was to have the Justice Department and the Education Department for the first time ever issue a set of guidelines that we gave to every school in America, saying that children could not be interfered with in religious advocacy when they were praying, when they were doing whatever they could do under the constitution, just because they were on a public school ground, and I think anyone who's experienced this will tell...
  • October 8, 2004
    I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of Allegiance couldn't be said in a school because it had the words "under God" in it. I think that's an example of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the decision-making process as opposed to a strict interpretation of the Constitution [...] I would pick people that would be strict constructionists. We've got plenty of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Legislators make law; judges interpret the Constitution. And I suspect one of us...
  • October 13, 2004
    First, my faith plays a lot—a big part in my life. And that's, when I was answering that question, what I was really saying to the person was that I pray a lot. And I do. And my faith is a very—it's very personal. I pray for strength. I pray for wisdom. I pray for our troops in harm's way. I pray for my family. I pray for my little girls. [...] I love the fact that people pray for me and my family all around the country. Somebody asked me one time, "Well, how do you know?" I said,...
  • October 13, 2004
    But I'm mindful in a free society that people can worship if they want to or not. You're equally an American if you choose to worship an almighty and if you choose not to. If you're a Christian, Jew or Muslim, you're equally an American. That's the great thing about America, is the right to worship the way you see fit.
  • January 31, 2006
    We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery.
  • January 31, 2006
    No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam—the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death.
  • January 20, 2004
    We also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare. It is mistaken, and condescending, to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government. I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again.
  • January 28, 2003
    We Americans have faith in ourselves, but not in ourselves alone. We do not know—we do not claim to know all the ways of Providence, yet we can trust in them, placing our confidence in the loving God behind all of life and all of history.
  • August 20, 1778
    The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.
  • March 4, 1825
    Such is the unexaggerated picture of our condition under a Constitution founded upon the republican principle of equal rights. To admit that this picture has its shades is but to say that it is still the condition of men upon earth. From evil—physical, moral, and political--it is not our claim to be exempt. We have suffered sometimes by the visitation of Heaven through disease; often by the wrongs and injustice of other nations, even to the extremities of war; and, lastly, by...
  • February 7, 2006
    In the critical hours of the civil rights movement, there were always men and women of conscience at the heart of the drama. [...] They knew that much established authority was against them. Yet they also knew that sheriffs and mayors and governors were not ultimately in control of events; that a greater authority was interested, and very much in charge. The God of Moses was not neutral about their captivity. The God of Isaiah and the prophets was still impatient with injustice. And they knew...
  • January 20, 2001
    We are not this story's author, who fills time and eternity with his purpose. Yet his purpose is achieved in our duty, and our duty is fulfilled in service to one another. Never tiring, never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose today, to make our country more just and generous, to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life. This work continues. This story goes on. And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.
  • September 20, 2001
    I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab...
  • September 20, 2001
    Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber—a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms—our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other. They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive...
  • October 3, 1789
    Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation.
  • June 4, 2009
    [...] Freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That's why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it. [...] So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or...
  • March 4, 1829
    And a firm reliance on the goodness of that Power whose providence mercifully protected our national infancy, and has since upheld our liberties in various vicissitudes, encourages me to offer up my ardent supplications that He will continue to make our beloved country the object of His divine care and gracious benediction.
  • March 4, 1837
    Beyond that I only look to the gracious protection of the Divine Being whose strengthening support I humbly solicit, and whom I fervently pray to look down upon us all. May it be among the dispensations of His providence to bless our beloved country with honors and with length of days. May her ways be ways of pleasantness and all her paths be peace.
  • December 10, 1843
    If any people ever had cause to render up thanks to the Supreme Being for parental care and protection extended to them in all the trials and difficulties to which they have been from time to time exposed, we certainly are that people.
  • December 7, 1841
    We are in the enjoyment of all the blessings of civil and religious liberty, with unexampled means of education, knowledge, and improvement. [...] peace has been in our borders and plenty in our habitations, and although disease has visited some few portions of the land with distress and mortality, yet in general the health of the people has been preserved, and we are all called upon by the highest obligations of duty to renew our thanks and our devotion to our Heavenly Parent, who has...
  • March 4, 1845
    All citizens, whether native or adopted, are placed upon terms of precise equality. All are entitled to equal rights and equal protection. No union exists between church and state, and perfect freedom of opinion is guaranteed to all sects and creeds.
  • December 7, 1846
    Numerous emigrants, of every lineage and language, attracted by the civil and religious freedom we enjoy and by our happy condition, annually crowd to our shores, and transfer their heart, not less than their allegiance, to the country whose dominion belongs alone to the people. No country has been so much favored, or should acknowledge with deeper reverence the manifestations of the divine protection. An all wise Creator directed and guarded us in our infant struggle for freedom and has...
  • December 5, 1848
    Under the benignant providence of Almighty God the representatives of the States and of the people are again brought together to deliberate for the public good. The gratitude of the nation to the Sovereign Arbiter of All Human Events should be commensurate with the boundless blessings which we enjoy. Peace, plenty, and contentment reign throughout our borders, and our beloved country presents a sublime moral spectacle to the world.
  • December 4, 1849
    We are at peace with all the other nations of the world and seek to maintain our cherished relations of amity with them. During the past year we have been blessed by a kind Providence with an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and although the destroying angel for a time visited extensive portions of our territory with the ravages of a dreadful pestilence, yet the Almighty has at length deigned to stay his hand and to restore the inestimable blessing of general health to a people who have...
  • December 4, 1854
    We have to maintain inviolate the great doctrine of the inherent right of popular self-government; to reconcile the largest liberty of the individual citizen with complete security of the public order; to render cheerful obedience to the laws of the land, to unite in enforcing their execution, and to frown indignantly on all combinations to resist them; to harmonize a sincere and ardent devotion to the institutions of religions faith[sic] with the most universal religious toleration [...]...
  • November 19, 1794
    Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of Nations to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to the confirming of our Constitution; to enable us at all times to root out internal sedition and put invasion to flight; to perpetuate to our country that prosperity which his goodness has already conferred, and to verify the anticipations of this Government being a safeguard of human rights.
  • December 8, 1857
    Governor [Brigham] Young has been both governor and superintendent of Indian affairs. [...] His power has been, therefore, absolute over both church and state. The people of Utah almost exclusively belong to this church, and believing with a fanatical spirit that he is governor of the Territory by divine appointment, they obey his commands as if these were direct revelations from Heaven. [...] In order to [restore the supremacy of the Constitution and laws], I appointed a new governor and...
  • December 8, 1925
    The Government of the United States has been created by the people. It is solely responsible to them. It will be most successful if it is conducted solely for their benefit. All its efforts would be of little avail unless they brought more justice, more enlightenment, more happiness and prosperity into the home. This means an opportunity to observe religion, secure education, and earn a living under a reign of law and order. It is the growth and improvement of the material and spiritual life...
  • December 19, 1859
    But we are obliged as a Christian and moral nation to consider what would be the effect upon unhappy Africa itself if we should reopen the slave trade. This would give the trade an impulse and extension which it has never had, even in its palmiest days. The numerous victims required to supply it would convert the whole slave coast into a perfect pandemonium, for which this country would be held responsible in the eyes both of God and man. Its petty tribes would then be constantly engaged in...
  • March 4, 1925
    Unless the desire for peace be cherished [in the heart of humanity], unless this fundamental and only natural source of brotherly love be cultivated to its highest degree, all artificial efforts will be in vain. Peace will come when there is realization that only under a reign of law, based on righteousness and supported by the religious conviction of the brotherhood of man, can there be any hope of a complete and satisfying life. [...] America seeks no earthly empire built on blood and...
  • June 6, 1924
    I hope it is true [that Howard University was the outgrowth of the inspiration of a prayer meeting], and I shall choose to believe it, for it makes of this scene and this occasion a new testimony that prayers are answered. Here has been established a great university, a sort of educational laboratory for the production of intellectual and spiritual leadership among a people. [...] The accomplishments of the colored people in the United States, in the brief historic period since they were...
  • May 17, 2009
    For if there is one law that we can be most certain of, it is the law that binds people of all faiths and no faith together. It's no coincidence that it exists in Christianity and Judaism; in Islam and Hinduism; in Buddhism and humanism. It is, of course, the Golden Rule—the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love. The call to serve. To do what we can to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we share the same brief moment on this Earth.
  • March 4, 1897
    In obedience to the will of the people, and in their presence, by the authority vested in me by this oath, I assume the arduous and responsible duties of President of the United States, relying upon the support of my countrymen and invoking the guidance of Almighty God. Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers, who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial, and who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and...
  • March 4, 1889
    Entering thus solemnly into covenant with each other, we may reverently invoke and confidently expect the favor and help of Almighty God—that He will give to me wisdom, strength, and fidelity, and to our people a spirit of fraternity and a love of righteousness and peace. [...] No other people have a government more worthy of their respect and love or a land so magnificent in extent, so pleasant to look upon, and so full of generous suggestion to enterprise and labor. God has placed...
  • March 4, 1881
    With unquestioning devotion to the Union, with a patience and gentleness not born of fear, [African Americans] have "followed the light as God gave them to see the light." They are rapidly laying the material foundations of self-support, widening their circle of intelligence, and beginning to enjoy the blessings that gather around the homes of the industrious poor. They deserve the generous encouragement of all good men. So far as my authority can lawfully extend they shall enjoy the full and...
  • December 8, 1885
    The history of all the progress which has been made in the civilization of the Indian I think will disclose the fact that the beginning has been religious teaching, followed by or accompanying secular education. While the self-sacrificing and pious men and women who have aided in this good work by their independent endeavor have for their reward the beneficent results of their labor and the consciousness of Christian duty well performed, their valuable services should be fully acknowledged by...
  • December 8, 1885
    [The Utah commissioners] further report that [...] at the last election in the Territory all the officers elected, except in one county, were men who, though not actually living in the practice of polygamy, subscribe to the doctrine of polygamous marriages as a divine revelation and a law unto all higher and more binding upon the conscience than any human law, local or national. Thus is the strange spectacle presented of a community protected by a republican form of government, to which they...
  • December 7, 1903
    The Chinese Government engages, on fair and equitable conditions, which will probably be accepted by the principal commercial nations, to abandon the levy of "liken" and other transit dues throughout the Empire, and to introduce other desirable administrative reforms. Larger facilities are to be given to our citizens who desire to carry on mining enterprises in China. We have secured for our missionaries a valuable privilege, the recognition of their right to rent and lease in perpetuity such...
  • December 6, 1892
    The treatment of the religious and educational establishments of American citizens in Turkey has of late called for a more than usual share of attention. A tendency to curtail the toleration which has so beneficially prevailed is discernible and has called forth the earnest remonstrance of this Government. Harassing regulations in regard to schools and churches have been attempted in certain localities, but not without due protest and the assertion of the inherent and conventional rights of...
  • December 2, 1895
    The reported massacres of Christians in Armenia and the development there and in other districts [of Turkey] of a spirit of fanatic hostility to Christian influences naturally excited apprehension for the safety of the devoted men and women who, as dependents of the foreign missionary societies in the United States, reside in Turkey under the guaranty of law and usage and in the legitimate performance of their educational and religious mission [...] their protection in person and property has...
  • November 23, 1963
    I earnestly recommend the people to assemble on that day in their respective places of divine worship, there to bow down in submission to the will of Almighty God, and to pay their homage of love and reverence to the memory of a great and good man.
  • January 23, 1980
    Three basic developments have helped to shape our challenges: the steady growth and increased projection of Soviet military power beyond its own borders; the overwhelming dependence of the Western democracies on oil supplies from the Middle East; and the press of social and religious and economic and political change in the many nations of the developing world, exemplified by the revolution in Iran. Each of these factors is important in its own right. Each interacts with the others. All must...
  • January 23, 1980
    The implications of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan could pose the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War. The vast majority of nations on Earth have condemned this latest Soviet attempt to extend its colonial domination of others and have demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops. The Moslem world is especially and justifiably outraged by this aggression against an Islamic people.
  • March 4, 1981
    I'm told that tens of thousands of prayer meetings are being held on this day, and for that I'm deeply grateful. We are a nation under God, and I believe God intended for us to be free. It would be fitting and good, I think, if on each Inaugural Day in future years it should be declared a day of prayer. [...] It does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God's help we...
  • January 25, 1983
    In 1983 we seek four major education goals: a quality education initiative to encourage a substantial upgrading of math and science instruction through block grants to the States; establishment of education savings accounts that will give middle and lower-income families an incentive to save for their children's college education and, at the same time, encourage a real increase in savings for economic growth; passage of tuition tax credits for parents who want to send their children to...
  • December 2, 1895
    Correspondence is on foot touching the practice of Russian consuls within the jurisdiction of the United States to interrogate citizens as to their race and religious faith, and upon ascertainment thereof to deny to Jews authentication of passports or legal documents for use in Russia. Inasmuch as such a proceeding imposes a disability which in the case of succession to property in Russia may be found to infringe the treaty rights of our citizens, and which is an obnoxious invasion of our...
  • December 2, 1895
    By treaty several of the most powerful European powers have secured a right and have assumed a duty not only on behalf of their own citizens and in furtherance of their own interests, but as agents of the Christian world. Their right is to enforce such conduct of Turkish government as will restrain fanatical brutality, and if this fails their duty is to so interfere as to insure against such dreadful occurrences in Turkey as have lately shocked civilization.
  • April 30, 1789
    In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own, nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. 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.
  • December 7, 1896
    [...] it would afford me satisfaction if I could assure the Congress that [...] the shocking features of the situation [in Asiastic Turkey] had been mitigated. Instead, however, of welcoming a softened disposition or protective intervention, we have been afflicted by continued and not unfrequent reports of the wanton destruction of homes and the bloody butchery of men, women, and children, made martyrs to their profession of Christian faith. [...] I do not believe that the present somber...
  • February 11, 1985
    As the guardians of Mecca and the protectors of your faith, you rightfully exert a strong moral influence in the world of Islam, and the people of the United States are proud of their leadership role among the democratic nations.
  • April 23, 1986
    And let no one mistake this for a conflict between the Western democracies and the Arab world. Those who condone making war by cowardly attacks on unarmed third parties, including women and children, are but a tiny minority. Arab nations themselves have been forced to endure savage terrorist attacks from this minority. We hope and pray the Arab world will join with us to eliminate this scourge on civilization. I might add that Colonel Qadhafi's expectation of unquestioned support from the...
  • February 11, 1985
    The people of the United States share with the people of Saudi Arabia a deep moral outrage over the continuing aggression and butchery taking place in Afghanistan. The citizens of the Western democracies and the Muslim world, by all that they believe to be true and just, should stand together in opposition to those who would impose dictatorship on all of mankind.
  • February 11, 1985
    Marxist tyranny already has its grip on the religious freedom of the world's fifth largest Muslim population. This same grip strangles the prayers of Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. We all worship the same God. Standing up to this onslaught, the people of Afghanistan, with their blood, courage, and faith, are an inspiration to the cause of freedom everywhere.
  • March 21, 1983
    Today, March 21st, is New Years Day in much of the Moslem world. New years, of course, should be an occasion for celebration. But for the Moslem people of Afghanistan, whose country was attacked and is occupied by the Soviet Army, it is a bitter reminder of a national calamity that befell their nation more than 3 years ago. To focus the world's attention on this crime against an innocent and brave nation, we observe today the second annual Afghanistan Day.
  • April 9, 1986
    HELEN THOMAS: Mr. President, I know you must have given it a lot of thought, but what do you think is the real reason that Americans are the prime target of terrorism? Could it be our policies?

    REAGAN: Well, we know that this mad dog of the Middle East has a goal of a world revolution, Moslem fundamentalist revolution, which is targeted on many of his own Arab compatriots. And where we figure in that, I don't know. Maybe we're just the enemy because—it's a little like climbing Mount...
  • December 15, 1983
    INTERVIEWER: With the prospect of continuing widespread terrorist attacks, how can the United States retaliate, especially when such attacks are inspired or sponsored by governments?

    REAGAN: One of the hardest things, of course, is to prove that the terrorist attacks are sponsored by a government. For example, these groups that are taking credit for the recent suicide attacks are believed to have an Iranian connection. There is a faction of Iranians that believe in a holy war. We do have the...
  • June 28, 1957
    The countries which have sponsored and built this Islamic Center have for centuries contributed to the building of civilization. With their traditions of learning and rich culture, the countries of Islam have added much to the advancement of mankind. [...] Civilization owes to the Islamic world some of its most important tools and achievements. From fundamental discoveries in medicine to the highest planes of astronomy, the Muslim genius has added much to the culture of all peoples. That...
  • June 28, 1957
    And I should like to assure you, my Islamic friends, that under the American Constitution, under American tradition, and in American hearts, this Center, this place of worship, is just as welcome as could be a similar edifice of any other religion. Indeed, America would fight with her whole strength for your right to have here your own church and worship according to your own conscience. This concept is indeed a part of America, and without that concept we would be something else than what we...
  • September 3, 1978
    Rosalynn and I are pleased to extend warmest good wishes to our fellow citizens of the Muslim faith who will be celebrating Id al-Fitr. May this joyous occasion bring each of you the fullest measure of happiness and satisfaction. You can take great pride in the constructive influence you have on American life by your devotion to the moral and spiritual values of your faith. My family joins in your prayer that we will see continued progress toward the goal of peace and a greater realization of...
  • October 14, 1974
    On the occasion of the special feast days concluding Ramadan, Mrs. Ford and I wish to extend our warmest greetings to all Americans of the Islamic Faith. For nearly two hundred years, our nation has derived its strength from the diversity of its people and of their beliefs. That strength has been greatly enhanced by your own religious heritage. I am sure that the completion of your month of fasting will bring home to you more than ever the importance of religious responsibilities in daily...
  • November 28, 1979
    We're not approaching any sort of cold war with the Islamic countries. So far as I know, every Islamic country has condemned Iran for its capture of our hostages, and has been very supportive. [...] It's certainly not part of the Islamic faith to condone [...] kidnapping or terrorism. So, I think that we have a very good relationship with the people and the governments of the Islamic world, and I don't think it's deteriorated in this instance. In some ways, we've been drawn closer to these...
  • December 13, 1979
    We've seen divisions among people because of religious beliefs. The recent events in Iran are an unfortunate example of that misguided application of belief in God. But I know that all Americans feel very deeply that the relationships between ourselves and the Moslem believers in the world of Islam is one of respect and care and brotherhood and good will and love.
  • February 7, 1980
    The history of Islam is very long compared to that of the United States. Islam is celebrating the first year of its 15th century. As an independent nation, we have only just entered our third. But from the beginning, the United States has enjoyed close and valued ties with the Muslim world. A Muslim state, Morocco, was the first to recognize our independence. Our kaleidoscopic population includes a vigorous Islamic community. Many scholars from the Muslim world pursue their studies here....
  • February 7, 1980
    I have been struck [...] by the human and moral values which Americans as a people share with Islam. We share, first and foremost, a deep faith in the one Supreme Being. We are all commanded by Him to faith, compassion, and justice. We have a common respect and reverence for law. Despite the strains of the modern age, we continue to place special importance on the family and the home. And we share a belief that hospitality is a virtue and that the host, whether a nation or an individual,...
  • February 7, 1980
    In a time of grave danger and upheaval, I want to reaffirm what I said a few weeks ago: We have the deepest respect and reverence for Islam and all who share the faith of Islam. Of course there is indignation among Americans today over events in one Islamic country. I share that indignation. But I can assure you that this just anger will not be twisted into a false resentment against Islam or its faithful. I say that with confidence, because a respect for religious faith is so deeply...
  • September 4, 1990
    I've been appalled by reports from some of you, friends of mine, here in this room—by reports of discrimination against Arab-Americans. And I condemn such acts, and I will continue to condemn them. This administration has supported enactment of the hate crimes legislation because bigotry and hate still do exist in this country. And hate breeds violence, threatening the security of our entire society. As I said when I signed the bill, all Americans must join together to rid our...
  • November 22, 1990
    The grand experiment called America is but a recent manifestation of humanity's timeless yearning to be free. Only in freedom can we achieve humanity's greatest hope: peace. From the wisdom of Solomon to the wonder of the Sermon on the Mount, from the prophecies of Isaiah to the teachings of Islam, the holy books that are our common heritage speak often of the many blessings bestowed upon mankind, often of the love of liberty, often of the cause of peace.
  • March 1, 1991
    And I think we've gone out of our way to make clear that our argument was not with the people of Iraq but with this dictator, you see. And I think that's helped a little bit. We've tried to be sensitive to the culture, tried to understand and empathize with the religious persuasions of these people. But there's nothing in Islam that condones the kind of brutality that we've seen from Saddam Hussein. So when he was posturing as a man of religion, it caused unease even from some of his...
  • June 6, 2009
    [...W]e should not have two standards for freedom of religious expression, one for Muslims and one for non-Muslims. That doesn't mean that each country isn't going to be working through these issues with its own history and its own sensitivities in mind. And I don't take responsibility for how other countries are going to approach this. I will tell you that in the United States our basic attitude is [...] that we're not going to tell people what to wear. If, in their exercise of religion,...
  • March 30, 1863
    Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God. [...] And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the...
  • December 19, 1859
    Our deep and heartfelt gratitude is due to that Almighty Power which has bestowed upon us such varied and numerous blessings throughout the past year. The general health of the country has been excellent, our harvests have been unusually plentiful, and prosperity smiles throughout the land. Indeed, notwithstanding our demerits, we have much reason to believe from the past events in our history that we have enjoyed the special protection of Divine Providence ever since our origin as a nation....
  • March 4, 1861
    Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people. [...] If it were admitted that you who are...
  • December 4, 1865
    The Union of the United States of America was intended by its authors to last as long as the States themselves shall last. "The Union shall be perpetual" are the words of the Confederation. "To form a more perfect Union," by an ordinance of the people of the United States, is the declared purpose of the Constitution. The hand of Divine Providence was never more plainly visible in the affairs of men than in the framing and the adopting of that instrument. It is beyond comparison the greatest...
  • December 7, 1824
    In every other circumstance a correct view of the actual state of our Union must be equally gratifying to our constituents. Our relations with foreign powers are of a friendly character, although certain interesting differences remain unsettled with some. Our revenue under the mild system of impost and tonnage continues to be adequate to all the purposes of the Government. Our agriculture, commerce, manufactures, and navigation flourish. Our fortifications are advancing in the degree...
  • December 8, 1885
    Question has arisen with the Government of Austria-Hungary touching the representation of the United States at Vienna. Having under my constitutional prerogative appointed an estimable citizen of unimpeached probity and competence as minister at that court, the Government of Austria-Hungary invited this Government to take cognizance of certain exceptions, based upon allegations against the personal acceptability of Mr. Keiley, the appointed envoy [whose wife is Jewish], asking that in view...
  • December 8, 1885
    Questions concerning our citizens in Turkey may be affected by the [Sublime] Porte's non-acquiescence in the right of expatriation and by the imposition of religious tests as a condition of residence, in which this Government cannot concur. The United States must hold in their intercourse with every power that the status of their citizens is to be respected and equal civil privileges accorded to them without regard to creed, and affected by no considerations save those growing out of...
  • December 6, 1886
    When the existing system was adopted, the Indian race was outside of the limits of organized States and Territories and beyond the immediate reach and operation of civilization, and all efforts were mainly directed to the maintenance of friendly relations and the preservation of peace and quiet on the frontier. All this is now changed. There is no such thing as the Indian frontier. Civilization, with the busy hum of industry and the influences of Christianity, surrounds these people at every...
  • December 9, 1891
    There is great advantage, I think, in bringing the Indian children into mixed schools. This process will be gradual, and in the meantime the present educational provisions and arrangements, the result of the best experience of those who have been charged with this work, should be continued. This will enable those religious bodies that have undertaken the work of Indian education with so much zeal and with results so restraining and beneficent to place their institutions in new and useful...
  • December 3, 1900
    I regard as one of the essential factors of a durable adjustment [to effect foreign rights in China after the Boxer Rebellion] the securement of adequate guarantees for liberty of faith, since insecurity of those natives who may embrace alien creeds is a scarcely less effectual assault upon the rights of foreign worship and teaching than would be the direct invasion thereof.
  • December 3, 1901
    If the hand of the Lord is heavy upon any country, if flood or drought comes, human wisdom is powerless to avert the calamity.
  • December 6, 1904
    Even where it is not possible to secure in other nations the observance of the principles which we accept as axiomatic, it is necessary for us firmly to insist upon the rights of our own citizens without regard to their creed or race; without regard to whether they were born here or born abroad. It has proved very difficult to secure from Russia the right for our Jewish fellow-citizens to receive passports and travel through Russian territory. Such conduct is not only unjust and irritating...
  • December 4, 1917
    A supreme moment of history has come. The eyes of the people have been opened and they see. The hand of God is laid upon the nations. He will show them favor, I devoutly believe, only if they rise to the clear heights of His own justice and mercy.
  • December 6, 1932
    But I would emphasize again that social and economic solutions, as such, will not avail to satisfy the aspirations of the people unless they conform with the traditions of our race deeply grooved in their sentiments through a century and a half of struggle for ideals of life that are rooted in religion and fed from purely spiritual springs.
  • October 16, 1996
    We have a lot of differences in our country, and some of us feel that other people's decisions are wrong, even immoral. But under our constitution, if you show up tomorrow and obey the law, and you work hard and you do what you're supposed to do, you are entitled to equal treatment. That's the way the system works. All over the world, people are being torn apart—Bosnia, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Ruwanda [sic], Burundi—you name it—because of all their differences. We...
  • October 13, 2004
    Prayer and religion sustain me. I've received calmness in the storms of the Presidency. [...] Religion is an important part. I never want to impose my religion on anybody else, but when I make decisions, I stand on principle. And the principles are derived from who I am. I believe we ought to love our neighbor like we love ourself. That's manifested in public policy through the Faith-Based Initiative, where we've unleashed the armies of compassion to help seal—heal people who hurt. I believe...
  • September 20, 1814
    [...] Having manifested on every occasion and in every proper mode a sincere desire to arrest the effusion of blood and meet our enemy on the ground of justice and reconciliation, our beloved country, in still opposing to his persevering hostility all its energies, with an undiminished disposition toward peace and friendship on honorable terms, must carry with it the good wishes of the impartial world and the best hopes of support from an omnipotent and kind Providence.
  • December 1, 1890
    The recent letter of Wilford Woodruff, president of the Mormon Church, in which he advised his people "to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the laws of the land" has attracted wide attention. [...] But the fact should not be overlooked that the doctrine or belief of the church that polygamous marriages are rightful and supported by divine revelation remains unchanged. President Woodruff does not renounce the doctrine, but refrains from teaching it, and advises against the...
  • June 24, 1826
    May it be to the world, what I believe it will be (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all), the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.
  • June 4, 2009
    It's easier to start wars than to end them. It's easier to blame others than to look inward. It's easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There's one rule that lies at the heart of every religion—that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples—a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian or...
  • May 17, 2009
    Remember, too, that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. [...] This doubt should not push us away our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, cause us to be wary of too much self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open and curious and eager to continue the spiritual and moral debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us even as we cling to our faith...
  • June 4, 2009
    Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. [...] That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it's being challenged in many different ways. Among some Muslims, there's a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of somebody else's faith. The richness of religious diversity must be...
  • April 6, 2009
    One of the great strengths of the United States is, although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.
  • April 6, 2009
    America's relationship with the Muslim community, the Muslim world, cannot, and will not, just be based upon opposition to terrorism. We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstandings, and we will seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world—including in my own...
  • September 19, 2001
    The war against terrorism is not a war against Muslims, nor is it a war against Arabs. It's a war against evil people who conduct crimes against innocent people.
  • December 5, 1853
    Recognizing the wisdom of the broad principle of absolute religious toleration proclaimed in our fundamental law, and rejoicing in the benign influence which it has exerted upon our social and political condition, I should shrink from a clear duty did I fail to express my deepest conviction that we can place no secure reliance upon any apparent progress if it be not sustained by national integrity, resting upon the great truths affirmed and illustrated by divine revelation. In the midst of...
  • January 21, 2009
    For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world...
  • January 21, 2009
    To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.
  • March 6, 2009
    But in recent years, when it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly.
  • June 19, 2009
    We can begin by giving thanks for the legacy that allows us to come together. For it was the genius of America's Founders to protect the freedom of all religion, and those who practice no religion at all. So as we join in prayer, we remember that this is a nation of Christians and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and non-believers. It is this freedom that allows faith to flourish within our borders. It is this freedom that makes our nation stronger.
  • June 19, 2009
    In all that we do, we must be guided by that simple command that binds all great religions together: Love thy neighbor as thyself. In the 21st century, we've learned that this truth is central not just to our own lives, but to our success as a nation. If our children cannot get the world-class education they need to succeed, then America will not be able to compete with other countries. If our families cannot afford health care, then the costs go up for all of us—individuals,...
  • June 14, 1954
    Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious belief—and I don't care what it is.
  • July 11, 2009
    Now, we all have many identities—of tribe and ethnicity; of religion and nationality. But defining oneself in opposition to someone who belongs to a different tribe, or who worships a different prophet, has no place in the 21st century. Africa's diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division. We are all God's children. We all share common aspirations—to live in peace and security; to access education and opportunity; to love our families and our communities and...
  • July 24, 2009
    I pray all the time now. Because I've got a lot of stuff on my plate and I need guidance all the time. [...] When you're in this job I think that every president whose had it is constantly humbled by the degree to which there are a lot of issues out there and the notion that one person alone can solve all these problems I think you're cured of that illusion very quickly. This is something where you just hope that you are aligning your work with His purposes and that you're attuned to the...
  • January 4, 1939
    An ordering of society which relegates religion, democracy and good faith among nations to the background can find no place within it for the ideals of the Prince of Peace. The United States rejects such an ordering, and retains its ancient faith. There comes a time in the affairs of men when they must prepare to defend, not their homes alone, but the tenets of faith and humanity on which their churches, their governments and their very civilization are founded. The defense of religion, of...
  • August 16, 2008
    Well, I think the first thing we have to do is to bear witness and speak out, and not pretend that [abuse of religious freedom] is not taking place. You know, our relationship with China, for example, is a very complicated one. [...H]aving an administration that is speaking out, joining in international forums, where we can point out human rights abuses, and the absence of religious freedom, that, I think, is absolutely critical. Over time, what we are doing is setting up new norms and...
  • January 1, 1983
    Abortion concerns not just the unborn child, it concerns every one of us. [...] Every legislator, every doctor, and every citizen needs to recognize that the real issue is whether to affirm and protect the sanctity of all human life, or to embrace a social ethic where some human lives are valued and others are not. As a nation, we must choose between the sanctity of life ethic and the "quality of life" ethic. [...] I have often said we need to join in prayer to bring protection to the unborn....
  • July 15, 1979
    In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.
  • September 12, 1960
    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
  • September 12, 1960
    But let me stress again that these are my views for, contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters and the Church does not speak for me.
  • July 2, 1964
    This Civil Rights Act is a challenge to all of us to go to work in our communities and our States, in our homes and in our hearts, to eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in our beloved country. [...] Let us close the springs of racial poison. Let us pray for wise and understanding hearts. Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our Nation whole. Let us hasten that day when our unmeasured strength and our unbounded spirit will be free to do the great works ordained for this...
  • July 1, 2008
    You see, while these groups are often made up of folks who've come together around a common faith, they're usually working to help people of all faiths or of no faith at all. [...] Few are closer to the people than our churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques. That's why Washington needs to draw on them. The fact is, the challenges we face today - from saving our planet to ending poverty - are simply too big for government to solve alone. We need all hands on deck. I'm not saying that...
  • July 1, 2008
    And President Bush came into office with a promise to “rally the armies of compassion,” establishing a new Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. But what we saw instead was that the Office never fulfilled its promise. […] Rather than promoting the cause of all faith-based organizations, former officials in the Office have described how it was used to promote partisan interests. […] Well, I still believe it’s a good idea to have a partnership between the White House and grassroots...
  • June 28, 2006
    […A] sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation—context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase "under God." I didn't. Having voluntary student prayer groups use school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans...
  • December 4, 1882
    Our long-established friendliness with Russia has remained unshaken. It has prompted me to proffer the earnest counsels of this Government that measures be adopted for suppressing the proscription which the Hebrew race in that country has lately suffered. [...] There is reason to believe that the time is not far distant when Russia will be able to secure toleration to all faiths within her borders.
  • March 4, 1881
    The Mormon Church not only offends the moral sense of manhood by sanctioning polygamy, but prevents the administration of justice through ordinary instrumentalities of law. In my judgment it is the duty of Congress, while respecting to the uttermost the conscientious convictions and religious scruples of every citizen, to prohibit within its jurisdiction all criminal practices, especially of that class which destroy the family relations and endanger social order. Nor can any ecclesiastical...
  • December 4, 1871
    Neither polygamy nor any other violation of existing statutes will be permitted within the territory of the United States. It is not with the religion of the self-styled Saints that we are now dealing, but with their practices. They will be protected in the worship of God according to the dictates of their consciences, but they will not be permitted to violate the laws under the cloak of religion.
  • January 31, 1862
    Let us look forward to the time when we can take the flag of our country and nail it below the Cross, and there let it wave as it waved in the olden times, and let us gather around it and inscribe for our motto: "Liberty and Union, one and inseparable, now and forever," and exclaim, "Christ first, our country next!"
  • December 23, 1920
    Anti-Semitism is a noxious weed that should be cut out. It has no place in free America.