Founding Fathers: America NOT founded on Christian Principles

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I want to know what you think and why, especially if we disagree. Civil discourse is free speech: practice daily. Always question your perspective.
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Many charismatic Christians Insist America’s

Founders Intended All Citizens to be Christians

Contrary to some of the more radical Christians in America, the founders of this country did not intend United States citizens to be monotheistic in any way.

That Christian pastors want to flout laws that prohibit tax-exempt churches charities from campaigning should give us pause. A Christian who identifies her/himself as a strict constitutionalist seems to forget that Christians have no legal right to propound their beliefs on government policy.

Is America a Christian Nation

Those who proclaim that the United States was founded on Christian principles are misguided at best. Our Founders never intended Christianity as a precept on which America should base its government. For this reason, the First Amendment, according citizens Freedom of Speech and Religion, is the most important right—it is the first right that was incorporated into the Bill of Rights.

In fact, that implicit dictum relating to freedom of speech and religion is the First Amendment, indicates our Founders considered these the most important foundations of our nation. After all, many who fought in the American Revolution did so not only as revolt against taxation, but also for the right for individuals to practice their chosen faith in peace. It is for this reason that the primary goal of the United States is to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

There are more than a few quotes from our founders that strongly indicate that America was not founded on Christian principles. Yet, Pat Robertson calls this perspective a “lie of the left.” He and others like him would have their followers believe the co-mingling of Church and State were the very principles on which America was founded.

These perspectives are clearly myths. In the Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, John Adams specified that “The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

He stated This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it and the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson, a Deist, firmly rejected the superstitions and mysticism of Christianity. He edited the gospels to remove the miracles and mysticism of Jesus and left only what he deemed the correct moral philosophy of Jesus. He strongly rebuked Christianity.

Christianity…(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man…Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the first great corruptor of the teachings of Jesus. The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves…these clergy in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.”

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies, that the General Government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and the right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it.

Thomas Paine did not mince words regarding Christianity and the Bible:

Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to ‘God’ to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not dare so dishonor my Creator’s name by (attaching) it to this filthy book.

It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible. Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins…and you will have sins in abundance.

“What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy.

James Madison held opinions similar to Jefferson and Paine: Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

As Jonathan Swift wrote We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.

Amen.

How do you respond to people who insist America is founded on Christian principles?

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Posted by on October 7, 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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8 Responses to Founding Fathers: America NOT founded on Christian Principles

  1. jenny40 Reply

    October 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    You’ll never be able to convince the Fundies that America isn’t all about Jesus. Never.

  2. John Myste Reply

    October 8, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Dorothy,

    Much in the same way you do. In fact, I had a Founding Father’s series in the works, one that would look very much like the one you just posted!

    • Dorothy Anderson Reply

      October 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      John, I’d love to read whatever you care to share with me. It’s a great topic.

  3. The Lawyer Reply

    October 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Nicely done, Dorothy. The founding fathers were almost all Masons. Masonry, in its more metaphysical and historical musings regarded Paul, and by extension Rome, as a usurper of real Christianity, which they viewed as more esoteric and egalitarian.

    What the Christian right doesn’t seem to understand is that the first amendment was as much for their protection as it is for the rest to be free of having any one particular religion forced upon us.

    • Dorothy Anderson Reply

      October 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks… the Founders were also Deists and UUs in addition to being Masons. The Christian right doesn’t get it: either does the KKK.

  4. anti_supernaturalist Reply

    October 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    The US is a Secular State

    Fundies are fond of using phrases like ‘xian country’ or ‘xian nation’ since ‘country’ and ‘nation’ are weasel words. Their ambiguity allows fundies to use fallacious reasoning and to lie.

    To be precise: the US population in general is nominally xian. Nevertheless, as a form of government the US is a secular state. Despite fundie lies to the contrary, the US has always been a secular state. It remains a secular state.

    • Examples of states deliberately based on religious claims: one limited democracy, one theocracy

    By way of contrast, Israel is the Jewish state. Judaism is its state religion. In Israel, the state entwines with Judaism so firmly that Israel welcomes Jews from around the world ‘back to their homeland’ conceived religiously, based on the alleged promise of a god made in an ancient text Jews consider sacred. That Israeli law would be skewed towards requirements of Jews should come as no surprise.

    The most bellicose of Israel’s enemies, Iran also entwines its form of government with religion, the shia sect of islam. The clerics of shia islam dictate foreign and domestic (secular) policy in the name of god. The word ‘tolerance’ does not enter their vocabulary. Just as there is but one god, there is but one true faith — shia islam. Iran’s 1979 revolution made clerics into rulers; Iran is a religious dictatorship, a so-called theocracy.

    • Just as in today’s Iran, America’s xian theocrat wannabes have no place in their ideology for dissent or toleration.

    People as meretricious as Perry, the “C” Street Family, assorted televangelists, and millions of soggy tea-baggers look forward to that bright day when “God” rules or “Jesus” rules. Their ideology of Dominionism espouses a xian dictatorship as vile as that in Iran.

    • A new order is declared— Mr. Madison’s de-deification of the western political state

    James Madison, primary author of the US Constitution, in a masterful secularization of government made certain that the word ‘God’ did not occur in the foundation document.

    Moreover, the word ‘religion’ (without specific reference to any) appears only once. And it applies to religious institutions (not to their supernatural claims).

    By truly intelligent design, the US became the first state deliberately constructed to remove supernatural interpretations from political discourse and to replace them with rational accounts of political events.

    Neither the federal government nor the states can impose a state supported religious institution upon the people. The first amendment — indicates the assigned place for freedom of religious institutions within a secular polity.

    It is not a matter of whose supernatural beliefs are “best” — all are false. Rather the state cannot endorse or underwrite any religious institution. The so-called ‘establishment clause’ forbids the US becoming another Israel or another Iran.

    • In addition, two rules of secular politics follow based on freedom from state religious institutions:

    1. Religious ideology enjoys no advantage over any other political ideology because of its alleged divine origin
    2. No religious institution can assume a “god-given” political right to exert secular power.

    There is no “executive privilege” for God. In our secular state a god’s purported proxies on Earth have no divine right to participate in or to dominate politics.

    All claimants to political power must open their ideologies to examination, scrutiny, questioning. And if that questioning amounts to refuting supernatural beliefs? So much the worse for supernaturalism. An ideology is a public object.

    Religious institutions exhibit a poor record in dealing with challenges to their presumed god-authorized secular authority. What did you expect from inveterate authoritarians?

    the anti_supernaturalist

    • Michael John Scott Reply

      October 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      This is great. You should write for us. This would have made for an enlightening and informative article.

    • Dorothy Anderson Reply

      October 11, 2011 at 1:14 am

      What an insightful, intelligent rhetoric, anti_supernaturalist.

      As a spiritual person myself, I would foist not my spiritual beliefs on the American government…. or anyone, for that matter.

      I share Mike’s hope that you write for Mad Mike’s America… or, at least, stop by again.

      Please?

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