(CNSNews.com) – A new documentary detailing the history of the United States from the first colony in Virginia through the Civil War focuses on the beliefs of the nation’s founders and the written documents that grant each citizen freedom of religion and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The film, “Rediscovering God in America II: Our Heritage,” is not a commentary on the Founding Fathers’ theology or lack thereof. It is an oral history using in the founders’ own words to describe how God played a role in America becoming a nation of religious liberty and tolerance.
The documentary is the second in a series of films produced by the conservative group, Citizens United. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista “guide” viewers along the historical route the nation has taken since the first Europeans settled here in 1607.
“It’s a story, which is in many ways, profoundly different than the secular version that is now authorized in the government schools,” Gingrich told CNSNews.com at the world premiere of the documentary last week on Capitol Hill.
“So much of American history is in one way or another involved in a relationship with God,” Gingrich said. “That it’s really almost impossible to have a purely secular history of the United States that has any meaning.”
The film uses the words spoken or written by Samuel Adams, John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and others. Their words reveal the profound role they believe God played in the nation’s heritage.
Featured in the film are words of these men:
“Resolved, that there are certain essential rights of the British Constitution of government, which are founded in the law of God and nature, and are common rights of mankind. No law of society can, consistent with the law of God and nature,’ take those rights away.” – Samuel Adams.
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” – Patrick Henry
“It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the universe propitiously to defend the cause of the United American States, and finally by raising us up a powerful friend among the princes of the earth, to establish our Liberty and Independence of lasting foundations.” – George Washington
“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you.... You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it.” – Abraham Lincoln
“We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart. The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy peace whose joyous expression cannot be restrained. In the midst of this, however He from whom all blessings flow, must not be forgotten.” -- Abraham Lincoln
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, hosted the documentary’s premiere. In his opening remarks, he spoke about how the United States has “fallen victim to revisionist history.” He said Americans should stand up against “political correctness.”
David Bossie, president of Citizens United, said the film is designed to document an accurate history of the United States.
“This film is what we term a record correction, if you will, to the political correct folks out there who want to eliminate God from America,” Bossie told CNSNews.com. “What we tried to do is in a historical fashion, show and prove exactly what the Founders believed and the words they used and how important those words were to them.
“And, if we’re going to have an accurate reflection of history, we need to be students of what they actually said,” Bossie said.
Gingrich and Bossie both said their goal is to widely distribute the film, including to schools across the country.
“My greatest hope is that we can convince teachers to be accurate historically,” Gingrich said. “They have an absolute obligation to include the role of religion and the role of God in explaining American history.
“If we could win the purely historical factual argument, that these things are true and therefore students ought to learn the truth,” he said. “They’re not theological, it’s not ideological. These are facts; this is what actually happened.”
In the film, Gingrich summarizes those facts succinctly: “Our Founding Fathers believed that our Creator is the source of American liberty and freedom.”