Founded NOT as a Christian Nation

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The founding fathers were painfully aware of the excesses of religious fanaticism.  They neither wanted a state dominated by zealots, or a state church dominated by politicians. 





It is common to hear fundamentalists proclaim that the US was founded as a specifically Christian nation, and that they are working toward making America the land it was meant to be - i.e. a religious country. This is all very convenient for the Religious Right's political agenda - to get them more power - but it is not true. This page should refute this idea.

Thomas Paine was a pamphleteer whose manifestoes encouraged the faltering spirits of the country and aided materially in winning the War of Independence. But he was a Deist:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. (Richard Emery Roberts, ed. "Excerpts from The Age of Reason". Selected Writings of Thomas Paine. New York: Everybody's Vacation Publishing Co., 1945, p. 362)

John Adams, second US President, was a Unitarian who rejected the Trinity and the deity of Jesus - how can anyone claim he was a Christian? It was while he was in office that the treaty of Tripoli was signed.

The words of Benjamin Franklin have often been used to show that he was a Christian:

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth...that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?....I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - that God governs in the affairs of men. (Catherine Drinker Bowen. Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787. New York: Book-of-the-Month Club, 1966, pp. 125-126)

This looks like evidence that at least one of the founding fathers was Christian, right? Nope! His motion that the assembly pray was voted down! What is more, he wrote a letter which states:

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity... (Carl Van Doren. Benjamin Franklin. New York: The Viking Press, 1938, p. 777.)

Evidently, he was not a Christian, then!

Thomas Jefferson is infamously, not a Christian. He said that the writings of John in Revelation were the ravings of a maniac. It has been said of him that:

There has certainly never been a shortage of boldness in the history of biblical scholarship during the past two centuries, but for sheer audacity Thomas Jefferson's two redactions of the Gospels stand out even in that company. It is still a bit overwhelming to contemplate the sangfroid exhibited by the third president of the United States as, razor in hand, he sat editing the Gospels during February 1804, on (as he himself says) "2. or 3. nights only at Washington, after getting thro' the evening task of reading the letters and papers of the day." He was apparently quite sure that he could tell what was genuine and what was not in the transmitted text of the New Testament...(Thomas Jefferson. The Jefferson Bible; Jefferson and his Contemporaries, an afterward by Jaroslav Pelikan, Boston: Beacon Press, 1989, p. 149.)

James Madison, fourth president and father of the Constitution, was highly critical of Christianity:

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." (James Madison, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Joseph Gardner, p. 93, (1974, Newsweek, New York, NY) Quoting Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments by JM, June 1785)

So how can Christians say America is a Christian nation? If these men were of any religion, it was deism or unitarianism ("The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation." American Heritage Dictionary) not Christianity.





Evidence in support of this conclusion is widely known.  I have published a similar collection of quotes.

Certain people of Christian faith have in support of their own interests sought state funding.  They have taken out of context certain conciliatory statements of the founding father for to argue that the separation of state and church was contrary to the intent of the founding fathers.  (If it was, then why didn't they fund the churches?)