Continuing the study of our nation’s founding must include a factual and historical study of the founders. As a reminder, the charge by the progressive left today is that our founders were secularists and deists/atheists and founded the country as such.
John Jay certainly qualifies as a founding father. Jay was a very close friend and confidant of Washington (Great American Statesmen and Heroes, Catherine Millard, 1995, p149). Jay was reared in a Huguenot family (a Christian protestant group severely persecuted by the Catholic Church in France). He considered his upbringing an honor, being directly descended from those who suffered so in keeping the commandments of Christ (The Christian Statesmen of America, MA Sabbath School Society, 1848).
Jay was elected to the First Continental Congress in 1774, and elected President thereof in 1778, serving until the end of the war. Jay was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1789). When elected Governor of New York (1795) he resigned as Chief Justice, and served six years in New York. He did all this as a Christian man, serving his nation.
He was an exemplary Christian with respect to slavery. Jay ardently fought to abolish slavery. He ensured his financial future was independent of slavery therefore he practiced the biblical teaching of living in the world but not being of it (1 John 2:15-17). Hamilton and Jay worked together in attempts to abolish slavery. On 3/14/1779 they presented a plan to permit slaves to enlist and serve in the Continental Army in return for their freedom. The measure did not pass, but this did not stop Jay. Evidence shows a continued fight to free all men and women – such as a letter dated 3/15/1786, written to R. Lushington, describing his support. Lushington had written about a slave kidnapped in New York and sold on the block in Charleston. Jay (at the time Governor of NY) wrote, “In my opinion, every man, of every color, and description, has a natural right to freedom, and I shall advocate for the manumission (emancipation).”
Jay, our first Chief Justice, wrote the following concerning our success in securing independence from Great Britain: “The union was the child of wisdom, Heaven blessed it, and brought about our political salvation” (An Address to the People of the State of New York, 9/17/1787). He is stating that, essentially, God (Heaven, being capitalized is like saying “England” and indicating its king) brought about our political salvation.
He argued for the Constitution in the Federalist Papers with Hamilton and Madison. Jay wrote four papers, mostly concerning unity at a federal level over individual state control; in the vein of “united we stand, divided we fall.” He wrote, “With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence (capitalized to indicate a person – God – and since providence is the result of an action, this indicates an active God) has been pleased to give us this one connected country to one united people…professing the same religion” (Federalist 2). Deist? Secularist? Atheist? No. Christian. Most certainly.