As always, when you challenge a point and make it personal, I feel I ought to be scrupulously evidentiary in my reply in order that one of us, at least, learns something.
So I spent an hour or so researching the subject and found that there is no more debatable point in the history of the Founding than whether George Washington was a Christian, let alone religious. To ascribe to Heaven (and notice what you quote does not even mention “God” or “Christ”) the winning of the Revolution and his call to service is quite natural, just as is moaning “Oh, God” during certain moments of intimacy. That is, it is casual, figurative -- and expected.
His earliest prominent biographer established Washington’s deep faith by use of incidents that were later proved never to have happened. This would be Parson Weems, and to believe him about religion would suggest you also believe that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and threw a silver dollar across the Rappahannock.
There is much evidence, however, that Washington in his presidential years and beyond often skipped church, was never seen to take Communion when he did go, and attended many different denominations’ services probably because he was a politician at heart. He basically tagged along with his Communicant wife. He also is credited with being the first lay American leader to recognize religious freedom for Jews, and presumably other nonbelievers. Many of his advisers were Unitarians, Jews and Deists.
If you wish to begin a battle of quotes, lay on!
Every man "ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience." - George WashingtonHad you bothered to link to my original citation about the academic study of references to “God” in the public addresses of presidents, you would never have written the abject incorrect assertion that it is not modern. There is other research on the same point – the use of the modern presidency not as a bully pulpit but as a real pulpit.
"I believe in one God, Creator of the universe.... That the most acceptable service we can render Him is doing good to His other children.... As to Jesus ... I have ... some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble." - Benjamin Franklin
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind." - Thomas Paine
"Question with boldness even the existence of a god." - Thomas Jefferson
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." - James Madison
"Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?" - John Adams
"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." - Treaty of Tripoli, 1797 signed by President John Adams.)
Ronald Reagan was the first president to end every single public pronouncement with “God Bless America,” but could you ever find him in church? Do you even know which church he was affiliated with? Did he have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? If so was it before or after he impregnated his second wife before their marriage or before he finally began paying child support for the children living with his first wife?
Speaking of Reagan, I commend to you the column cited in the comment preceding yours written by Peggy Noonan, the Author of Reagan’s presidency.
Cloaking one’s self in religion is not only a modern thing but a Republican thing, because it invokes that party’s support of everything that no one can argue with – motherhood (but only within marriage), God (but only a Christian one) and the flag (while trampling on the very liberties George Washington said the Author had inscribed in America’s soul.)
I am not questioning religion here; I am making the point that history, law and my own experiences show that while religion may help people live better lives and may inform anyone – even a president – as to what is right, religion has no place in school, political campaigns or the functions of government. None – as the Constitution explicitly forbids in Article VI and Amendment I. And the reasons are self-evident. Religion divides and not unites.
Finally, Mitt Romney is a man whose father disqualified himself from the presidency by claiming he was “brainwashed” by generals into supporting the War in Vietnam. His son ought to be disqualified from the presidency for being brainwashed by generals of the Christian Right. He made that lovely sounding speech in order to say he stands for *something* -- his religion – because he has flip-flopped on all the major questions important to Republicans. He was taking a ”religious test as a qualification for … office,” and while the oral presentation was perfect, he failed on the substance.