Faith and the Bible, however, were essential ingredients in the grand American experiment. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence through the Civil Rights movement, the Bible motivated American changemakers to pursue liberty and uphold justice. To fully understand who we are as Americans, we must understand the Bible’s influence on our nation.
In 2021, American Bible Society is opening the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center. This immersive experience on Philadelphia’s historic Independence Mall is led by a team of top historians and religious scholars. It will invite visitors of all backgrounds to discover the stories of great Americans and the values they embraced—and to discover what these values mean for themselves.
As biblical literacy and understanding have diminished in our society, so have many of the biblical values we hold dear. Too many Americans don’t respect that all people are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson echoed this thought, saying “all men are created equal.” Because our nation failed to fully live in that truth, other changemakers had to come along and point us back to our biblical roots. The great Sojourner Truth reminded us that women are included in that equality. Then, in his famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. presented a refreshed vision: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
It’s up to the next generation of Americans to continue the vital work of these changemakers. It’s of critical importance to our nation’s future to restore an understanding of America’s foundational, biblical truths like faith, liberty, and justice for all.
For the Next Generation
By restoring the memory and influence of the Bible in America, we can equip a new generation to live by the biblical values of:
The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center is right on Independence Mall, in the heart of Philadelphia’s historic Old City. We expect more than 250,000 visitors each year—including many public school students. At the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, students will be introduced to America’s spiritual heritage—a vital lesson many won’t learn at school. They’ll be taught to appreciate and perhaps even revere the Bible, just as our nation’s founders did.
For Our Country
Leaders throughout America’s history have turned to the Bible for strength and wisdom. At the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln said the Bible, “is the best gift God has given to man.” President Roosevelt prayed Scripture over our nation during his Fireside Chats after our entry into World War II. President Reagan depended on the Bible for guidance through the Cold War. What might it look like for Americans to reclaim this biblical legacy?
There is an opportunity for all Americans to understand afresh the story of faith in our nation and to grapple with that faith for themselves. American Bible Society hopes that by bringing the Bible back into public discourse, we can help restore its role as a foundational text for our families, communities, and nation.