Question with 11 notes
katscratch666 asked: Hi! First, I'd like to say I loveeee your blog. Okay on to the question: I recently talked with some Christians who swear up and down that the United States is "founded" on christian values, is a christian nation, and the founding fathers meant for this nation to be "Under God" and etc., which I know is all bullshit. I provided them with countless quotes from Thomas Jefferson to the Treaty of Tripoli (of course none of that got me ANYWHERE, as to be expected...) but I would just like to know what you would say to them?
Hey thank you for the message. This topic seems to be coming up more and more all the time. I imagine the debate has been happening for a while but due to people wanting to rewrite history in their own image it is showing up more often. It seems to be put out there by Christians as a case for why Christianity must be an established part of the United States, because it is the foundation right? No, not really, but they like to imagine a lot of things that aren’t really true.
I’ve started to shy away from arguing over whether a particular founding father was or was not an Atheist/deist/theist. The majority of them did not have a fondness for religion but many still remained at least deists. There wasn’t as much scientific information available at that time and to confess complete unbelief would leave a lot of unanswered questions for them.
The Treaty of Tripoli was much more important in establishing publicly and directly that we are not a Christian nation. Not only was it presented by president John Adams but it was ratified unanimously by the US Senate. It was only the third time at that point that the US Senate had voted unanimously on anything meaning that no one saw any reasons to dispute that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”. It seems like such a strong refutation especially with the added “in any sense” emphasis.
The most important document in the foundation of the United States is certainly the constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Seems fairly straight forward, black and white. The United Stated will neither prohibit nor facilitate any religious institution or group in any way. This is not just for the good of the non-religious but the religious as well.
The founding fathers looked at England and did not want to end up in a similar situation. They did not want a national church that they had to pay taxes to. They did not want an established institute that would look to oppress all other religions and the non-religious. They did want all people to be free and to be who they are regardless of their personal beliefs.
Really though, the easiest way to counter act it I’ve found is this. If they really did found it on Christian values, and wanted this to be a Christian country, how come they never told anyone, ever? How come they never wrote anything like that? How come there is not one single mention of Christianity, Jesus, or “God” in the entire constitution or any of the amendments? If this was supposed to be a Christian nation, someone should of let the founding fathers in on that little secret.