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God's Law in America

According to Christopher Columbus' diary from his 1492 voyage to America, one over-riding compulsion which drove him on the risky adventure was his wish to expand the gospel of Christ to the "isles at the ends of the earth." This evangelical concern stands out boldly in his diary. Later, the earliest immigrants from Europe, those who shaped America's culture, law, tradition, and ethics, were those who came from England. Our early forefathers were Pilgrims and Puritans - men and women of devout Christian faith. (In fact, as late as 1776 when the people declared independence, Puritanism provided the moral and religious background of fully 75% of the population.) The earliest English charters of the settlements in America made unequivocal references to their intent of spreading the Christian religion in the New World. The first charter of Virginia in 1606, the charter of Maryland in 1732, the charter of Massachusetts in 1729 are a few examples. The famous Mayflower Compact of 1620, which has been called the "foundation stone of democracy in America," states, "In the name of God, Amen. We .... having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony on the northern part of Virginia." The Massachusetts Civil Bay Code of 1640 made repeated references to Biblical law by direct citation and Scriptural annotation.