In 1787, the year our nation’s constitution was written and approved by Congress, this same Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance. This Ordinance stressed the importance of religion and morals to be taught in schools, saying in Article 3:
Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. (George B. de Huszar, Henry W. Littlefield, and Arthur W. Littlefield, eds., Basic American Documents [Ames, Iowa: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1953], p. 66)
Notice that formal education was to include among the responsibilities the teaching of three important subjects:
1. Religion, which might be defined as a “fundamental system of beliefs concerning man’s origin and relationship to the cosmic universe as well as his relationship with his fellowmen.”
2. Morality, which may be described as “a standard of behavior distinguishing right from wrong.”
3. Knowledge, which is “an intellectual awareness and understanding of established facts relating to any field of human experience or inquiry (i.e., history, geography, science, etc.).” (W. Cleon Skousen, The 5000 Year Leap, The 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World, National Center for Constitutional Studies)
These inexorable truths combined make up a fundamental principle upon which our nation was founded. That principle, Religious Morality, is necessary to the freedom of our nation and the maintenance of good government.