The Founders' views on Faith: Day 3

America’s Prophet: How the Story of Moses Inspired the Founding Fathers

by Bruce Feiler


Author, America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story


America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story

A few years ago, I set out looking at the role of Moses in inspiring generation after generation of Americans.  I had just returned home from a decade retracing the bible through the Middle East for a series of books called Walking the Bible, Abraham, and Where God Was Born, and was interested in how the Bible helped shape America.

I sailed on Plymouth Harbor, where the Pilgrims compared their journey to Moses; I retraced the Underground Railroad where “Go Down, Moses” was the national anthem of slaves; I climbed the Statue of Liberty, whose spikes of light and tablet were taken from the moment Moses comes down Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments; and I donned the robe Charlton Heston wore in The Ten Commandments

But nothing surprised me more than how central Moses and the story of the Exodus were to the Founding Fathers.

As the Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia in 1776, comparisons with the Exodus filled the air.  From politicians to preachers, many of the rhetorical high points of the year likened the colonists to the Israelites fleeing Egypt.  The Liberty Bell has a quote from Moses on its side, “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants Thereof – Levit. XXV 10.”  Thomas Paine invoked the analogy in Common Sense, the best-selling book of the year.  Samuel Sherwood made it the centerpiece of the year’s second best-selling publication, The Church’s Flight into the Wilderness

And on the afternoon of July 4th, after passing the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress asked John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin to come up with a public face of the new United States.  They chose Moses.

Three of the five drafters of the Declaration of Independence and three of the defining faces of the Revolution proposed that Moses be the face of the United States of America.  In their eyes, Moses was our true founding father.

But how did this happen exactly?  How did the reluctant leader of Israelite slaves end up as the favorite son of the founding fathers?  In short, how did Moses become the hero of the Revolution? 

The themes the Founders drew from the Exodus were similar to the ones the Pilgrims and Great Awakening preachers had emphasized: freedom is a God-given right; God promises liberation to the oppressed; God freed the Israelites from Egypt, he can do so for the colonists.  But the new generation of Exodus-lovers went further, insisting that the Bible expressly rejects the British form of government, the divine right of kings, and endorses the kinds of freedom the patriots were proposing.  In 1775, Samuel Langdon, the president of Harvard, said Americans should adopt the form of government that God handed down to Moses on Sinai.  “The Jewish government,” he wrote, “was a perfect republic.”

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense invoked the Moses story to make similar attacks on the English political system.  Paine was the anti-religious zealot who continually cited religious examples.  He hated Scripture but quoted it relentlessly, showing the enduring power of the Bible even for Deists.  In Common Sense he cites Gideon, Samuel, and David, to show how the Bible argues against kingship.  And he calls King George III the “hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England.”  By contrasty, Paine never quotes Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Bacon, the pantheon of Enlightenment thinkers.

The pace of Mosaic references seemed to escalate as Independence drew closer.  The seeds of biblical promise first hinted at by Columbus in 1492 and planted by the Pilgrims in 1620 finally appeared to be reaching full flower in 1776.  Like Moses, the country was prepared to stand up to the most powerful force in the world and declare, “Let my people go.”

“I think what’s important about all this language,” said Tim Safford, the preacher of Philadelphia’s Christ Church and a student of the Revolution, “is that these leaders were using the Bible to convince themselves they were free.  They’re not that biblically pure; often they’re not that religious.  But they’re using these stories to build the case that they’re justified in standing up to the Crown.  You’re individuals, they’re saying to the Colonists.  You’re children of God.  You’re no longer subject to the king.”

“So you don’t think this reliance on the Exodus is unusual, or over-the-top?” I asked.

“The founders were otherworldly to a great degree,” he said, “but generally they were hugely influenced by rationalism and pragmatism.  For them, this whole notion of deliverance was a practical matter.  They weren’t looking for the freedom of Christ in the next world, they were looking for the freedom of Moses in this world.”

“So they wanted the story to be true.”

“It certainly seems that way.  John Adams sailed multiple time to Europe.  Benjamin Franklin did the same.  They were willing to risk everything because they believed in something.  And what they believed is that you should sacrifice your own fat-and-happiness for something far greater than yourselves.  That is an Old Testament narrative.  You risk.  You don’t look back, or you’ll end up a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife.” 

“Do you believe,” I said, “that pilgrims could have gotten on that ship, or the Founders could have signed the Declaration –“

He cut me off.  “The only reason they could have done that is because they had a narrative larger than their own lives.  A narrative of God delivers me through the Red Sea.  A narrative that if you’re lost in exile, you can remain holy.  A narrative of life is stronger than death, love is more powerful than hate.  If you do not have a narrative larger than the world gives you, you’re just going to get sucked up by the world.

“The question to ask about the Founder is not whether they believed in the Bible,” he continued, “it’s Are you going to live by the narrative you find there?  The Pilgrims, George Whitefield, even Benjamin Franklin I would say, trusted the narrative.  They believed God would deliver them.  They never sunk into the pure limitations of rationalism, that the world was only what they could perceive.  They always seem to be fueled by a reality they couldn’t see.  And because of them, that narrative became America’s narrative.”




Bruce Feiler is the New York Times-bestselling author of nine books, including Walking the Bible, Abraham, and the recently published, The Council of Dads.  This article is adapted from his book America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story, which Glenn Beck called “the best book of narrative history I have ever read....  A fantastic book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”  For more information, please visit www.brucefeiler.com or www.facebook.com/brucefeilerpage.

There is no transparency when it comes to the Biden administration, and Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's recent exchange with the FBI’s Jill Sanborn is just another example. When questioned about alleged involvement the FBI had on January 6, 2021, Sanborn refused to answer almost every single time.

Do our government officials still work for us? Take a look at the latest headlines: The DOJ and U.S. Army are preparing for possible conflicts with "domestic terrorists," Biden's education secretary allegedly requested the NSBA letter that suggested treating upset parents like domestic terrorists, and President Biden said if you're not with him on the Democrats' voting bills, then you're with the Confederacy. Meanwhile, the FBI won't tell Congress whether it was involved in the the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the corporate media insists that there's nothing to see here, especially concerning Ray Epps.

The American people are concerned, and it’s "extraordinarily disturbing" how far the federal government goes to avoid answering our questions, Glenn Beck said on the radio program. There's a very odd growing trend here: Our leaders, including the unelected ones, no longer answer to the people. This must stop now.

"The question that I have is, where is the transparency? And is anyone going to be held accountable? They are not afraid of our senators. They are not afraid of Congress," he stated. "This has got to stop. They have got to answer to the law. This is an oversight committee. Who is in charge, the FBI or the people? Once the people are not in charge and are not allowed to see the secret documents, we are toast. Toast!"

Watch the video clip below to hear for more from Glenn:

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Have you ever wondered why so many insane things are happening simultaneously RIGHT NOW? Big corporations are going woke. The stock market got red-hot during a FORCED recession. Stores like Walmart and Target were allowed to stay open during the lockdown, but mom-and-pop stores on Main Street had to close, some of them forever.

On Wednesday's "GlennTV" special, Glenn Beck explains it all in this sneak-peek episode — a primer to his new book and the upcoming explosive, in-depth special: “The Great Reset: Joe Biden & the Rise of 21st-Century Fascism.” Co-author Justin Haskins joins along with Glenn’s head writer and researcher, Jason Buttrill, to answer audience questions about a topic that the media has tried to censor and “fact-check.” You will be equipped with everything you need to know about what the global elites of the world have planned for the transformation of society and YOUR life.

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:


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After new information came out that suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci intimidated and bribed scientists into dismissing the COVID-19 lab-leak theory, Sen. Rand Paul and Fauci got into a heated debate in a Senate hearing. But instead of providing answers, Fauci accused Sen. Paul of endangering him.

Sen. Paul joined "The Glenn Beck Program" Wednesday with his response and explained why he believes "people live in fear of what [Fauci] will do to them."

"It's all about money. If you cross Tony Fauci, you don't get your money. He controls the purse strings for the entire country, the entire university system. And he's been doing it for forty years," Sen. Paul began.

"It's consistent with his arrogance, this level of arrogance that he's developed. He said several weeks ago, that he is science and any attack on him is an attack on science. Yesterday, he said anybody who opposes him is encouraging death threats," he added.

"Look, I've been on the receiving end of semi-automatic gunfire. I was 20 yards away from Steve Scalise when he almost died. I was 10 feet away from a staffer that was shot. And, you know what? The guy doing the shooting was a Bernie Sanders supporter. But not one of us, not one of the Republicans on the ball field, said, 'Oh, it was Bernie Sanders' fault.' But that's the juvenile level of personal attack that Fauci is now stooping to. He is saying that the personal threats he gets are actually the fault of his critics."

Sen. Paul continued, "But the thing is, [Fauci] needs to answer the question. Everything he did in the committee yesterday was misdirection so he didn't have to answer the question. The question was, why did he smear three scientists from Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard? Why did he smear them as fringe epidemiologists? And why did he conspire against Francis Collins to take them down in a very public way? He wouldn't answer the question."

Watch the video clip below to hear more of Glenn's conversation with Sen. Rand Paul:


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Over the past year, an increasing number of voices on the left have pushed for radical changes to our way of life, from reforming capitalism to enacting strict vaccine mandates. But are the American people behind these changes? A recent poll from the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen sought to find out, and the results are startling. The three-part poll asked likely voters for their thoughts on the Great Reset (half said they don't know what that is), COVID-19 authoritarianism, and whether they prefer former President Donald Trump or President Joe Biden.

The Heartland Institute's Justin Haskins joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to break down the results of this exclusive poll, including the disturbing revelation that roughly half of Democrats polled supported shockingly authoritarian COVID-19 policies. For example, nearly half of Democrats polled said they think federal or state governments should require unvaccinated people to live in "designated areas or facilitates," or essentially camps. Nearly half of Democrats supported a proposal "to fine or imprison individuals" just for questioning the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications. And, when asked if people who refuse to get vaccinated should lose custody of their children, 20% of Democrats answered "yes."

But the poll showed some good news, too. Watch the video clip below for more details:


Glenn and Justin’s new book, ‘The Great Reset: Joe Biden And The Rise Of 21st Century Fascism’ is available to order now.

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