posted on Jan, 6 2011 @ 10:16 AM
There is a not-so-disguised conspiracy by American religious fundamentalists and fanatics to label America as a Christian nation, or even worse, claim
that it was founded as a Christian nation. Though nothing could be further from the truth, the push is being made in order to overcome the very
secular mandates that keep Christianity (and all religions) out of government.
"Christianity neither is, nor ever was part of the common law"
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, Feb 10th.,1814.
"the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion"
-Treaty Of Tripoli, Article 11. Ratified unanimously without debate June 7, 1797
"One of the great strengths of the United States, is ... we have a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation
or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. "
Barack Obama, April 2009
The U.S. Constitution
The Constitution is a secular document. It contains no mention of God or Christianity and any references to religion are strictly confined to the
context of what the government cannot do:
"no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust" (Art. VI)
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (First Amendment)
The presidential oath of office does not contain the phrase "so help me God" or any requirement to swear on a bible (Art. II, Sec. 1, Clause 8).
Nothing in the Constitution - the foundation of the nation - indicates anything about Christianity, the nation being founded upon it, nor established
as a Christian nation.
The Declaration Of Independence
This document was designed to "dissolve the political bands", not to set up a Christian nation, and America is not governed by the document. It's
principle is that "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," which is contrary to the
biblical notion of rule by divine authority. The document does not discuss religion. References to "Nature's God," "Creator," and "Divine
Providence" in the Declaration do not endorse Christianity. Thomas Jefferson, its author, was a Deist.
"Separation Of Church And State"
The phrase was coined by President Thomas Jefferson in a carefully crafted letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, when they had asked him to explain
the First Amendment. The Supreme Court, and lower courts, have used Jefferson's phrase repeatedly in major decisions upholding neutrality in matters
Thomas Jefferson, explaining the phrase to the Danbury Baptists, said, "the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions."
Personal religious views are just that: personal. Our government has no right to promulgate religion or to interfere with private beliefs.
The Supreme Court has forged a three-part "Lemon test" (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971) to determine if a law is permissible under the First-Amendment
1. A law must have a secular purpose.
2. It must have a primary effect which neither advances nor inhibits religion.
3. It must avoid excessive entanglement of church and state.
"One nation under God" and "In God We Trust"
The words, "under God," did not appear in the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954 due to McCarthyism. "In God We Trust" did not appear on paper
currency before 1956. Though in 1956 the phrase "In God We Trust" was legally adopted as the United States' national motto by a law passed by the
84th United States Congress.(Public Law 84-851)", the original U.S. motto, chosen by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, is E
Pluribus Unum ("Of Many, One"), celebrating plurality, not theocracy.
Ten Commandments and American law
The first four Commandments have nothing to do with lawful behavior and none of them are punishable by American law. Additionally, Commandment Five
(Honor your father and your mother) and Commandment Ten (You shall not covet your neighbor's house, etc.) are also not punishable by law. The
remaining four (murder, theft, adultery and perjury) were crimes punishable by secular and or pagan laws, and can even be found in Hammurabi's Code
(dated to circa 1700 B.C.E.).
"The Founding Fathers were Christians"
The argument that 'since the Founding Fathers were Christians, therefore America is a Christian nation' itself is fallacious as a non-sequitur. Many
were Christians, some were Deists. Despite their personal religions they clearly and intentionally arranged an entirely secular government as is
evident by examining the documents establishing American government.
Supreme Court statements regarding church-state separation
The U.S. Supreme Courts have consistently preserved church-state separation, and therefore, religious liberty for all Americans. Never have the
Supreme Courts established Christianity or any other religion as foundational to government or its laws. Below are simply two quotes from relatively
recent S.C. cases:
"Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: why would we trade a system that
has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?"
-Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner on the Ten Commandments ruling, June 27, 2005
"When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored
beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some."
-Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun in the Lee v. Weisman ruling, 1992
It's an unfortunate era in American history when modern Christian fanatics are fed lies about America being a Christian nation or founded as such,
only to repeat those lies in an attempt for the concept to gain a foothold in the American psyche. The conspiracy comes in to play when politically
powerful people with these incorrect ideas can gain access to public office (i.e., S. Palin, et al) in an attempt to undermine the very religious
freedom which makes our country great. There is a huge agenda from religious conservatives attempting to reintroduce state-lead (Christian) prayers in
our schools as well as the dangerous push to introduce "creationism" (a.k.a. "intelligent design") to America's science classrooms. The lie of
America being/being founded as a Christian nation is a foundational component in swaying popular opinion in favor of these theocratic agendas.
Though even a cursory reading of America's foundational documents and subsequent court interpretations reveals no hint of Christianity anywhere, the
myth persists. I implore all readers of this post to investigate for yourselves and stop repeating a blatant and pernicious lie.