No Professor Fea, The Founders Did Not Want Ministers to Stay out of Politics.

by Dr. David Barton

Dr. John Fea is a professor of history at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. He has been an outspoken critic of those who believe that America had a Christian founding or think ministers should be active in politics. 1 In addition to being an historian, he writes political columns praising those on the political left. For example, he called President Barack Obama “the most explicitly Christian president in American history,” and asserted that his “piety, use of the Bible, and references to Christian faith and theology put most other American presidents to shame.” 2 Given Professor Fea’s political disposition, it is perhaps not surprising that his blog posts and opinion pieces on political issues are regularly critical of religious conservatives.

For instance, Dr. Fea strongly objected when 700 pastors gathered to hear from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The candidate addressed issues of immediate concern to some pastors, notably the Johnson Amendment – a 1954 law that many believe unconstitutionally prohibits churches from addressing or speaking about political issues or candidates. (In my view, whether or not churches should address issues of public policy or endorse candidates is a question that should be decided solely by individual churches, not the federal government.)

Fea seems particularly upset by the idea that these 700 ministers might exercise their rights as American citizens to be involved in politics. Misusing historical arguments to bolster his own personal views, he writes:

The founders who crafted the original state governments – those governments celebrated by today’s conservative politicians as the most important source of democratic life – thought it was a good idea for ministers to stay out of politics [emphasis added]. The state constitutions of North Carolina (1776), New York (1777), Georgia (1777), South Carolina (1778), Delaware (1792), Tennessee (1796), Maryland (1799), and Kentucky (1799) all banned clergymen from running for office. The 1776 North Carolina Constitution states “that no clergyman, or preacher of the gospel of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the Senate, House of Commons, or Council of State, while he continues in the exercise of the pastoral function.” The 1777 New York Constitution uses similar language: “And whereas the ministers of the gospels are, by their profession, dedicated to the service of God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function; therefore, no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall, at any time hereafter, under any pretense of description whatever, be eligible to, or capable of holding, any civil or military office or place within this State.” 3

It is true that some state constitutions prohibited clergy from holding office. It is important to note that one reason they did so was because their framers had such a high view of the ministry that they did not want clergy to be distracted by “worldly” concerns. Yet only a small minority of states 4 ever attempted to exclude ministers from public office, and most states that did eventually decided these restrictions were inappropriate and voluntarily removed them. In 1978, the United States Supreme Court declared the few remaining disqualifications to be unconstitutional. 5

But it is not just states that changed their minds. Consider the views of Thomas Jefferson, often presented as one of the least religious of the Founding Fathers. The 1776 Virginia constitution contained a clergy-exclusion clause 6 that Jefferson originally supported, explaining:

The clergy are excluded because if admitted into the legislature at all, the probability is that they would form its majority, for they are dispersed through every county in the state; they have influence with the people and great opportunities of persuading them to elect them into the legislature. This body, though shattered, is still formidable, still forms a corps, and is still actuated by the esprit de corps. The nature of that spirit has been severely felt by mankind, and has filled the history of ten or twelve centuries with too many atrocities not to merit a proscription from meddling with government. 7

This was the early constitution of a state that, like many of the other states that excluded clergy from holding public office, had formally established the Church of England (that is, Anglicanism) as the colony’s official religion. Under these establishments the free exercise of religion was severely restricted for Quakers, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and other non-Anglicans, who were sometimes beaten, imprisoned, or fined by civic authorities joined to the state-established church. 8 Moreover, clergy from these established churches were far more likely to be Loyalists (that is supportive of Great Britain and opposed to American independence) than clergy from other denominations. Clergy-exclusion clauses generally were not enacted in states with a history of republican or patriotic ministers, such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Jefferson, being from Anglican Virginia, feared that the religious persecution that had occurred earlier in his state might return in the newly independent Virginia. He wanted that possibility precluded and thus supported the constitutional provision. He may have also been concerned about the loyalty of these Anglican clergy. But later, when the power of the state-established church in Virginia had been fully broken and a proven record of all Christian denominations being treated equally under the law had been thoroughly demonstrated, Jefferson no longer supported that clause, explaining in 1800 to the Rev. Jeremiah Moore:

I observe . . . an abridgment of the right of being elected, which after 17 years more of experience and reflection, I do not approve: it is the incapacitation of a clergyman from being elected. . . . Even in 1783, we doubted the stability of our recent measures for reducing them [the clergy] to the footing of other useful callings [but i]t now appears that our means were effectual. The clergy here seem to have relinquished all pretension to privilege and to stand on a footing with lawyers, physicians &c. They ought therefore to possess the same rights. 9

Not only did Jefferson think clergy should be able to run for office, there are even times when he encouraged them to do so. For instance, when he learned that his friend the Rev. Charles Clay was a candidate for Congress, he wrote him a letter wherein he wished him “every prosperity in this and in all your other undertakings.” 10 And he personally recruited the Rev. William Woods, a local Baptist pastor, to run for a seat in the state legislature. 11

As in Virginia, Georgia’s first state constitution contained a clause declaring: “No clergyman of any denomination shall be allowed a seat in the legislature.” 12 When Presbyterian minister and signer of the Declaration John Witherspoon learned of this provision, he was livid. He had invested much of his adult life in securing not only civil but also religious liberties for every individual, including ministers, and he was not about to see a reduction of those liberties. He therefore sent off a fiery public letter, pointedly asking Georgia’s lawmakers:

Now suffer me to ask this question: Before any man among us was ordained a minister, was he not a citizen of the United States, and if being in Georgia, a citizen of the state of Georgia? Had he not then a right to be elected a member of the assembly, if qualified in point of property? How then has he lost, or why is he deprived of this right? Is it by offence or disqualification? Is it a sin against the public to become a minister? Does it merit that the person who is guilty of it should be immediately deprived of one of his most important rights as a citizen? Is not this inflicting a penalty, which always supposes an offence? Is a minister then disqualified for the office of a senator or representative? Does this calling and profession render him stupid or ignorant? 13

Witherspoon then raised additional questions Georgia legislators apparently had not considered when drafting this clause. For example, what is it that makes a man a minister? Does he have to be ordained by the Pope? Or is it because his denomination or even local church considers him a minister? Or what if he simply declares himself a minister, with no confirmation by anyone else? Furthermore, how long is a person a minister? If he is retired, is he still disqualified from running? And what if he is bi-vocational – what if he also runs a business, or also teaches science and math? Is he a mathematician or a minister? Ironically, there was no disqualification against a corrupt individual running for office, or a known criminal, but there was a disqualification against a preacher? Having pointed out absurdities in their policy, Witherspoon sarcastically concluded:

I cannot help thinking that these difficulties are very considerable, and may occasion much litigation if the article of the constitution stands in the loose, ambiguous form in which it now appears; and therefore I would recommend the following alterations, which I think will make everything definite and unexceptionable:

“No clergyman of any denomination shall be capable of being elected a member of the Senate or House of Representatives because {here insert the grounds of offensive disqualification, which I have not been able to discover}. Provided always – and it is the true intent and meaning of this part of the constitution – that if at any time he shall be completely deprived of the clerical character by those by whom he was invested with it [that is, he is defrocked], as by deposition for cursing and swearing, drunkenness or uncleanness, he shall then be fully restored to all the privileges of a free citizen; his offence [of being a minister] shall no more be remembered against him; but he may be chosen either to the Senate or House of Representatives, and shall be treated with all the respect due to his brethren, the other members of Assembly.” 14

Witherspoon’s critique must have struck a chord. When Georgia re-wrote its constitution in 1798, the clause prohibiting ministers from state office was deleted and a strong declaration of the rights of religious persons was inserted 15 – a vast reversal from its first constitution.

It is not clear if Fea, in opposition to Jefferson, Witherspoon, and the United States Supreme Court, thinks it is appropriate to exclude clergy from holding public office. But he indisputably states that America’s Founders “thought it was a good idea for ministers to stay out of politics,” 16 a position he endorses. He couldn’t be more mistaken.

Throughout American history clergy have played a key role in American politics, some while holding office and others without doing so. Consider, for instance, those brave ministers who led the fight against slavery, opposed Indian removal, and advocated for civil rights. One strongly suspects that Fea would support the political activities of these ministers.

Fea, like many on the political left, is guilty of embracing a double standard. If a member of the clergy supports a policy he favors, that is a good thing. But if a minister takes a political stand of which he does not approve, that cannot be tolerated. In this case, it is noteworthy that he is opposing clergy listening to a speech by Donald Trump, a candidate whom Fea has publicly criticized. 17

This sort of hypocrisy is nothing new. John Adams observed this same behavior toward the patriotic preachers of his day, noting that:

It is curious to observe the conduct of the Tories [those who opposed the patriots] towards this sacred body. If a clergyman preaches against the principles of the Revolution and tells the people that upon pain of damnation they must submit to an established government of whatever character, the Tories cry him up as an excellent man and a wonderful preacher, invite him to their tables, procure him missions from the society and chaplainships to the navy, and flatter him with the hopes of lawn sleeves [i.e., a special church appointment]. But if a clergyman preaches Christianity, and tells the magistrates that they were not distinguished from their brethren for their private emolument [personal economic benefit] but for the good of the people – that the people are bound in conscience to obey a good government but are not bound to submit to one that aims at destroying all the ends of government – Oh, sedition! Treason! 18

Significantly, Adams goes on to specifically reject Fea’s position, declaring:

It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times – to preach against such sins as are most prevalent and recommend such virtues as are most wanted [lacking]. For example, if exorbitant ambition and venality [public corruption and bribery] are predominant, ought they not to warn their hearers against these vices? If public spirit is much wanted [lacking], should they not inculcate this great virtue? If the rights and duties of Christian magistrates [public officials] and subjects are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, how much soever it may move the gall [anger the critics] . . . 19

Adams rejoiced that concerning civil issues, “the pulpits have thundered”; 20 but today Fea would apparently have the pulpits (or at least those pulpits promoting views to which he is opposed) be silent.

As Fea must know, there are a host of books by historians that attest to the important role both office-holding and non-office holding clergy played in the War for Independence and the creation of the new national government. 21 Consider a few additional historical facts that Fea ignores:

    • Numerous individuals who served in formal ministry at some point in their lives also served in the Continental and Confederation Congresses, including John Witherspoon, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Benjamin Contee, Abiel Foster, James Manning, Joseph Montgomery, Jesse Root, Hugh Williamson, Robert Treat Paine, Lyman Hall, Paine Wingate, and John Zubly. 22


    • The Rev. Jacob Green of New Jersey was chairman of the committee that drafted the state’s original constitution in 1776; 23 the Rev. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg helped draft Pennsylvania’s 1776 constitution; 24 the Revs. Samuel Stillman, Robert Treat Paine, and Gad Hitchcock helped write Massachusetts’ 1780 constitution; 25 the Revs. John Bailey, David Rice, George Stovall Smith, Benedict Swope, Caleb Wallace, and James Crawford helped draft Kentucky’s original constitution of 1792; 26 the Rev. John Smith helped frame Ohio’s original constitution of 1802; 27 and the Rev. Amasa Learned helped write Connecticut’s first constitution following the Revolution. 28


    • Christian ministers were also at the forefront of the movement for a federal constitution. The Revs. Jeremy Belknap and Samuel Stanhope Smith became leaders in pointing out the defects of the Articles of Confederation, 29 joining their voices with those of the Rev. Dr. Witherspoon and the Rev. James Manning, both of whom had personally experienced its shortcomings while operating under it as members of Congress. 30


    • Several delegates at the Constitutional Convention were trained in ministry or theology, including Abraham Baldwin, James Wilson, Hugh Williamson, and Oliver Ellsworth. 31


    • When the federal Constitution was submitted to the states for ratification, nearly four dozen clergymen were elected as ratifying delegates, 32 and many of them played key roles in securing its adoption. For example, in Massachusetts, it appeared that the Constitution would be rejected until the efforts of the Rev. Samuel West 33 and the Rev. Samuel Stillman helped carry the day in support of the Constitution. 34 Benjamin Lincoln (one of George Washington’s most trusted generals during the final campaigns of the War for Independence) reported to his former Commander-in-Chief: “It is very fortunate for us that the clergy are pretty generally with us . . .” 35


  • In addition to ministers holding office, active Christian leaders and laymen also played a key role. According to the historian Stephen Marini, “Literally hundreds of [delegates to the U. S. Constitution ratification conventions] were Anglican vestrymen, Congregational deacons, and Presbyterian ruling elders. These were the highest offices available to laymen, empowering them to maintain the financial health of the parish, to enforce the moral norms of the church, and often to choose the minister of the congregation. Many hundreds more of the delegates were loyal parishioners who held lesser church offices: trustees, wardens, tithingmen, assessors, teachers, moderators, commissioners, and committeemen.” 36

So ministers were not only vital in helping secure America’s independence and its form of government but they were also at the forefront of celebrating the new federal Constitution. During the ratification parade in Philadelphia, signer of the Declaration Benjamin Rush happily reported:

The clergy formed a very agreeable part of the procession. They manifested by their attendance their sense of the connection between religion and good government. They amounted to seventeen in number. Four and five of them marched arm in arm with each other to exemplify the Union. Pains were taken to connect ministers of the most dissimilar religious principles together, thereby to show the influence of a free government in promoting Christian charity. The rabbi of the Jews locked in the arms of two ministers of the Gospel was a most delightful sight. There could not have been a more happy emblem. 37

When the first federal Congress convened, its members numbered several ministers, both active and inactive, including the Revs. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, Abiel Foster, Benjamin Contee, Abraham Baldwin, Hugh Williamson, and Paine Wingate. In fact, the first Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives was the Rev. Frederick Muhlenberg; and his is one of only two signatures appearing at the bottom of the Bill of Rights – which was intended to secure the right of every citizen – including ministers – to participate in the political process. This includes the First Amendment rights that protect the ability of ministers to publicly criticize the government, to speak freely about what is occurring in the civil arena, to join with other ministers and Christians to do the same, to express their personal religious convictions about any public policy issue, and to serve in public office!

And just as history does not demand the exclusion of ministers, neither does the Bible. Consider how often God sent His ministers to publicly confront civil leaders or expose their wicked policies:

      ➢ Elijah confronted civil leaders Ahab and Queen Jezebel over issues such as their unjust use of eminent domain, religious persecution, and subornation of perjury (1 Kings 21:1-24, 1 Kings 18:18).


      ➢ Isaiah confronted civil ruler Hezekiah over national security failures and issues related to the treasury (1 Chronicles 32:27-31, 2 Kings 20:12-19)


      ➢ Nathan confronted civil leader David over his wicked moral policies and practices (2 Samuel 12),


      ➢ Eliezer and Jehu confronted King Jehoshaphat over his blunders in foreign relations and ill-advised foreign alliances (2 Chronicles 19:1-2, 2 Chronicles 20:35-37)


      ➢ John the Baptist confronted civil leaders for their hypocrisy (Matthew 3:7)


      ➢ Jeremiah confronted King Zedekiah over numerous of his wicked public policies (Jeremiah 34)


      ➢ John the Baptist confronted King Herod over his divorce and marriage practices (Luke 13:32. Matthew 12:23, 23:33, 23:27)


      ➢ Samuel confronted King Saul over not fulfilling his assigned responsibilities (1 Samuel 13:1-14, I Samuel 15)


      ➢ Micaiah regularly confronted King Ahab over his wicked public policies (1 Kings 22:7-18)


      ➢ Gad confronted King David over wrong-headed public policies stemming from his own pride and arrogance (2 Samuel 24)


      ➢ Jesus refused to be intimidated by Herod (Luke 13:31-32) and confronted the teachers of the law (Matthew 23)


      ➢ Daniel confronted Nebuchadnezzar over his pride and arrogance (Daniel 4:1-27), and Belshazzar over his moral debauchery (Daniel 5:17-28)


    ➢ Azariah (along with eighty other priests) confronted King Uzziah for usurping religious practices through an improper expansion of government powers (2 Chronicles 26:16-21)

And God’s ministers not only called out bad civil leaders and pointed out unBiblical public policies, they also frequently partnered with civil leaders in constructing good public policies and offering sound guidance. For example:

      ➢ Elisha provided the King of Israel counsel and advice regarding military intelligence and policy (2 Kings 6)


      ➢ Nathan provided guidance to David on architectural issues (2 Samuel 7:1-13)


      ➢ Ezra gave strong counsel on marriage policy (Ezra 9-10), and Governor Nehemiah implemented that counsel into public policy (Nehemiah 8:1-6, 13:23-27)


      ➢ Paul provided civil leaders with guidance during times of impending disaster and natural calamity (Acts 27:9-12)


      ➢ Jeremiah provided military guidance to King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 21:1-10)


      ➢ King Joash pursued good policies as long as the priest Jehoiada provided him counsel, but when Joash lost that Godly input, his policies became wicked (2 Chronicles 24:1-2, 15-19)


    ➢ Isaiah provided guidance on national security issues and foreign policy to King Hezekiah (Isaiah 37)

The Bible is loaded – and almost overflowing – with such examples. But Dr. Fea holds an opposite view. In fact, in lamenting how unhistorical it was that 700 ministers should hear from a presidential candidate and consider becoming involved in politics in different ways, he condescendingly quipped:

There’s an old Baptist saying that goes something like this: “If you mix horse manure and ice cream it doesn’t do much to the manure, but it sure does ruin the ice cream. ” . . . For all those concerned about the witness of the Christian church in the world, let’s remember that the founders thought it was a bad idea to mix horse manure and ice cream. 38

The real horse manure is Dr. Fea’s claim that either the Founders or the Bible opposed the active participation of ministers in the civil arena.



1. See various of his articles criticizing those who hold such beliefs, including David Lane (“Why the Founding Fathers wanted to keep ministers from public office,” Religion News Service, August 15, 2016; David Barton; Mike Huckabee (“Why Huckabee May Have a Shot at the GOP Nomination,”, January 23, 2015; Focus on the Family (“Is America a Christian Nation? What Focus on the Family Gets Wrong,”, November 4, 2012; Eric Metaxas (“Burkholder on Metaxas,”, September 26, 2012; and Peter Marshall (“Houston Chronicle Op-Ed,”, August 15, 2009.

2. “Would you vote for this man?Patheos, February 15, 2012.

3. “Why the Founding Fathers wanted to keep ministers from public office,” Religion News Service, August 15, 2016.

4. According to Francis Thorpe’s 1909 collection of state constitutions (Francis Newton Thorpe, The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and the Organic Laws of the State, Territories, and Colonies; Now or Heretofore Forming the United States of America. Washington, D.C. 1909), of the 46 states in the United States at that time, only 14 ever had a clergy-exclusion clause, and most of those were voluntarily repealed. Those 14 states: Delaware (1776, 1792, 1831), Florida (1838), Georgia (1777, 1789), Kentucky (1792, 1799, 1850), Louisiana (1812, 1845, 1864), Maryland (1776, 1851, 1867), Missouri (1820, 1865), Mississippi (1817), New York (1777, 1821), North Carolina (1776), South Carolina (1778,1790, 1865), Tennessee (1834, 1870), Texas (1836, 1845, 1866), and Virginia (1850, 1864).

5. McDaniel v. Paty, 435 U.S. 618 (1978).

6. The Constitution of the Sixteen States (Boston: Manning and Loring, 1797), p. 212, “The Constitution of Virginia” July 5, 1776, “…all ministers of the gospel, of every denomination, be incapable of being elected members…”

7. Thomas Jefferson, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Julian P. Boyd, editor (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953), Vol. 8, p. 470, to Chelier de Chastellux on September 2, 1785.

8. This type of Virginia persecution occurred from Anglicans against non-Anglicans. For an example of what Baptists suffered in Virginia, see: William Cathcart, Baptist Patriots in the American Revolution (Philadelphia: S. A. George & Co., 1876), pp. 12-18; Isaac Backus, A History of New England, With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists (Newton, MA: Backus Historical Society, 1871), Vol. II, pp. 97-98; George Bancroft, A History of the United States of America (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1858), Vol. 1, pp. 449-450; Sanford Hoadley Cobb, The Rise of Religious Liberty in America Republicanism in Jefferson’s Virginia (New York: MacMillan, 1902), p. 112; Bruce Gourley, “An outline of Baptist Persecution in America,” The Baptist Index (accessed August 17, 2016); Lewis Peyton Little, Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia (Lynchburg, VA: J. P. Bell Co., Inc., 1938), p. xiii; etc.

9. Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Paul Leicester Ford, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), Vol. IX, p. 143, to Jeremiah Moore on August 14, 1800.

10. Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew A. Lipscomb, editor (Washington, D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1903), Vol. VIII, pp. 3-4, to Rev. Charles Clay on January 27, 1790.

11. Rev. John B. Turpin, A Brief History of the Albemarle Baptist Association (Richmond, VA: The Virginia Baptist Historical Society, 1891), pp. 30-31.

12. The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charter, and Other Organic Laws, Francis Newton Thorpe, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909), Vol. II, p. 785, “Constitution of Georgia – 1777,” Art. LXII.

13. John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, Parliament-Square, 1815), Vol. IX, pp 220-223, “On the Georgia Constitution.”

14. John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, Parliament-Square, 1815), Vol. IX, pp 220-223, “On the Georgia Constitution.”

15. The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charter, and Other Organic Laws, Francis Newton Thorpe, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1909), Vol. II, pp. 800-801, “Constitution of Georgia – 1798,” Art. IV, Sec. 10.

16. “Why the Founding Fathers wanted to keep ministers from public office,” Religion News Service, August 15, 2016.

17. “Historians Against Trump,” The Way of Improvements Leads Home, July 12, 2016.

18. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), Vol. IV, p. 55, “Novanglus: No. IV.”

19. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), Vol. IV, p. 56, “Novanglus: No. IV.”

20. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), Vol. 3, p. 476, “The Earl of Clarendon to William Pym,” January 20, 1766.

21. For example, Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution (1928; reprint, New York: Frederick Ungar, 1958) and Keith L. Griffin, Revolution and Religion: American Revolutionary War and the Reformed Clergy (New York: Paragon House, 1994). See also the excellent collection of political sermons from this era edited by Ellis Sandoz, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era 1730-1805 (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund Press, 1991).

22. See, John Sanderson, Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence (Philadelphia: R. W. Pomeroy, 1823), Vol. V, pp. 102-104; Charles A. Goodrich, Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence (New York: Thomas Mather, 1837), p. 113; Hubert Bruce Fuller, The Speakers of the House (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1909), pp. 22-23; William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1850), Vol. V, p. 488; The National Cyclopedia of American Biography (New York: James T. White & Company, 1897)), Vol. VII, p. 148; Memoir of the Rev. James Manning (Boston: Perkins & Marvin, 1839), pp. 4-5; James H. Marshall, The United States Manual of Biography and History (Philadelphia: Leary & Getz, 1857), p. 182; Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: 177-Present for Lyman Hall, Joseph Montgomery, Jesse Root, Paine Wingate, and John Zubly. See alsoHistory of Clergy in Congress,” Pew Research Center, January 5, 2015.

23. B.F. Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Developed in the Official and Historical Annals of the Republic (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864), p. 366.

24. William Warren Sweet, The Story of Religion in America (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1950), p. 182.

25. Frank Moore, The Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution (New York: Charles T. Evans, 1862), p. 260; Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1888), Vol. IV, s.v. “Robert Treat Paine”; William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit; or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of the Various Denominations (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1865), Unitarian Congregational: Vol. VIII, p. 29.

26. Mrs. William Preston Drake, Samuel M. Wilson, Mrs. William Breckenridge Ardery, Kentucky in Retrospect: Noteworthy Personages and Events in Kentucky History: 1792-1942 (Commonwealth of Kentucky: Sesquicentennial Commission, 1942), pp. 141-142, 151, 153, 179-180.

27. “John Smith,” Ohio History Central (accessed on August 17, 2016).

28. “Learned, Amasa (1750-1825),” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (accessed on August 17, 2016).

29. James Hutchinson Smylie, American Clergymen and the Constitution of the United States of America (New Jersey: Princeton Theological Seminary, doctoral dissertation 1958), pp. 127-129.

30. James Hutchinson Smylie, American Clergymen and the Constitution of the United States of America (New Jersey: Princeton Theological Seminary, doctoral dissertation 1958), p. 139, 143.

31. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: 177-Present for Abraham Baldwin and Hugh Williamson; “James Wilson,” University of St. Andrews (accessed on August 24, 2016); William Garrott Brown, The Life of Oliver Ellsworth (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905), pp. 20-21.

32. John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1987), p. 352, n. 15.

33. James Hutchinson Smylie, American Clergymen and the Constitution of the United States of America (New Jersey: Princeton Theological Seminary Doctoral Dissertation, 1958), pp. 185-186; see also Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1958), p. 145.

34. Frank Moore, The Patriot Preachers of the American Revolution (New York: Charles T. Evans, 1862), p. 260.

35. The Papers of George Washington, Dorothy Twohig, editor (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997), Vol. 6, pp. 104-105, from Benjamin Lincoln on February 9, 1788.

36. Stephen A. Marini, “Religion, Politics, and Ratification,” in Religion in a Revolutionary Age, ed. Ronald Hoffman and Peter Albert (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994), p. 189.

37. Benjamin Rush, Letters of Benjamin Rush, L. H. Butterfield, editor (Princeton: American Philosophical Society, 1951), Vol. I, p. 474, to Elias Boudinot on July 9, 1788.

38. “Why the Founding Fathers wanted to keep ministers from public office,” Religion News Service, August 15, 2016.