Sarah Palin Says We’re a Christian Nation — She’s Wrong

At this point, if Sarah Palin told me it was ok to cross the street, I’d be double checking every direction. You just have to believe the opposite of whatever she says.

So when she spoke at the recent “Women of Joy” conference, she said exactly what you would expect her to say: a lie.

“And then, hearing any leader declare that America isn’t a Christian nation and poking an ally like Israel in the eye, it’s mind-boggling to see some of our nation’s actions recently, but politics truly is a topic for another day.”

Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our founding fathers, they were believers,” said Palin. “And George Washington, he saw faith in God as basic to life.”

“In Washington’s farewell address, he wrote ‘Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion, faith, morality are indispensible supports,’” she continued. “So Women of Joy, remember that, and remember that even today this nation needs you.”

But Paul Fidalgo of the Secular Coalition for America had a response that any atheist should keep in mind in case they have to defend the truth:

“While the founders’ views on religion varied from person to person, there is no doubt that they believed strongly that religion had no place in government”… “John Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli which stated in no uncertain terms that ‘the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.’

“Our Constitution established a secular government and has no mention of Jesus, Christianity, or a god of any kind, despite the false message spread by figures such as Sarah Palin who claim that America was founded as a Christian nation.”

Even the Christian Broadcasting Network is getting in on the war of words:



Pat Robertson gets in on the action by agreeing with Palin, saying that mentions of a Creator in the Declaration of Independence and use of the common phrase “In the year of our lord” in the Constitution is proof that we’re a Christian Nation. (See the 10:38 mark.)

Robertson adds at the 11:50 mark:

Perhaps we’re not a Christian Nation now, but Obama comes in and says we’re not a Christian Nation, we’re a Hindu nation…

No we’re not!

Umm… Obama never said we’re a Hindu nation.

Actually, what he has said is:

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers”

That sounds about right. Robertson doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Whatever we once were, we’re a pluralistic nation now.

But the facts show that we were never an officially Christian nation. Never were. Never will be. Our founders were a collection of Christians, Deists, and non-theists. Our Constitution embraced the notion of freedom of religion and freedom from it.

Palin is wrong.

Robertson is wrong.

Anyone who believes their lies is wrong.

  • http://jillswift.wordpress.com/ JillSwift

    It is entirely beyond my ken how anyone can take Palin in the least bit seriously.

    Never mind the bizarre (and, let’s be honest, desperate) re-interpretations of history to try and make the US into a “Christian” nation.

  • Joel

    There’s a huge difference between a “Christian Nation” and a “nation of Christians.” One of them is what the founding fathers were going for

  • Christophe Thill

    Sarah Palin is wrong ? Wow ! We have a true scoop here !

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Saying that Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson are wrong is like saying that water is wet. It really doesn’t need to be said at all.

  • Trace

    “In Devas we trust”

  • Matt

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.” -Thomas Jefferson

    Christian-nation revisionist history aside, which Founders were nonbelievers? I can’t think of any with weaker religious views than Jefferson & Franklin, and they were both Deists or very weird Christians.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Guess what Palin or Huckabee’s first action as president would be… To start an initiative to modify the US constitution to add the words “Christian Nation” somewhere in there. Then once they get that, they can leverage that to suggest all sorts of other changes or legal procedures.

  • Matto the Hun

    Jeff P, I shudder at you comment only because you are most likely correct.

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Victor

    Pat Robertson sure would be fun in a game of Telephone, though.

  • http://unfriendlyatheist.com UnfriendlyAtheist

    It is the same ol argument from these people, this “appeal to tradition.” Even if they were right that the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, SO WHAT? Things change, we evolve, improve, and progress. What if the nation was originally founded on Nazism? Would people still want to fight to call the US a Nazi nation? I don’t think so. The Christians just want to call the US a Christian nation because they feel that being able to call the US a Christian Nation, gives Christianity some kind of credibility and strength, it would allow it to thrive better. They don’t care about the nation, what they really care about is sustaining their religion and beliefs.

  • Flah the Heretic Methodist

    Is she aware that Israel isn’t a Christian nation? Or is she one of these kooks that are working towards the “end times”? Never mind. Trying to parse Palinese is kin to plowing the ocean.

  • galderon

    Huckabee has said almost exactly that:

    “I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

  • Scott K

    “Women of Joy” – Wouldn’t that make them fille de joi? I wonder if Palin knows this?

  • Tobytwo

    These people make me so angry, and I’m not even American. Even when I was a believer, I always argued with fellow Christians who insisted that our nation’s laws should reflect “Christian morals.”

    Some people just can’t see the importance of secular government. Sure, you might be a devout Christian who thinks gay marriage is an abomination and abortion is murder, but you have to recognize that we live in a nation with millions of people with thousands of different belief systems.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Well Christ is in the Constitution. It just need a little decoding. First take the word Constitution. Drop the ‘o’ because o’s look like zeros and zeros are equal to nothing. Leaving, ‘Cnstitutin. Secondly, rearrange the letters alphabetically, because God loves order. ‘Ciinnstttu.” The next step bit is a little tricky. Remove one of the i’s, because there is no i in team, and you want to be on Jesus’s team, leaving ‘Cinnstttu.’ Stack the i on the n creating the letter ‘h.’ This represents Moses on top of the mountain, getting the ten commandments, which leaves the word ‘Chnstttu.’ And according to math ‘tt’ is equal to t^2, so the word is Chnstt^2u. Because sin has entered the world and has caused things to fall apart, so naturally the n falls apart to an r + an i. Leaving the word ‘Christt^2u’. The last part of the word is just a message reminding you that it is a message from Jesus (represented by the cross (t)) and God (represented by the ^ to remind you where he is) 2 u. See Christ is in the constitution. You just have to know how to look. And yes I do have too much time on my hands.

    Noah and the dinosaurs

  • Hybrid

    I bet Robertson and Palin support biblical marriage too:

    http://images8.cafepress.com/product/18341288v1_480x480_Front.jpg

  • Chris

    Now, correct me if I’m wrong (rhetorical), but isn’t Washington’s Farewell Address the same address where he warns of getting entangled in foreign alliances? And what did Palin talk about earlier in her speech? How people aren’t being supportive of our good ally Israel?

    I swear, I expect politicians to be opportunistic liars, but that’s a rookie mistake right there.

    And with regard to her cherry picked quote, I’m surprised she didn’t carry on a bit further down in the paragraph:

    Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
    President George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

    I think she agrees 100% with President Washington, but knows exactly how bigoted it sounds. That, I won’t call a rookie mistake, but everybody is taught about Washington’s admonishment against alliances so you’d think she’d expect it to ring a bell…

  • Deiloh

    Sarah Palin has learned the formula for publicity. Maybe she took lessons from Ann Coulter. If she is smart, she’ll milk it for everything it is worth and then stay hell away from the elections. If she isn’t smart… well lets hope America isn’t stupid enough to elect her.

  • Erp

    First there were officially Christian (usually one particular denomination) colonies; they tended to fine, expel, or hang dissenters. I could easily see Massachusetts in the mid 1600s hanging members of Palin’s denomination.

    Second, proposing amendments to make the US more Christian is a long custom.

    Third, the founding fathers were a diverse group. Some probably leaned to established churches in their own states; some were fine with letting people of all religions (or none) being equal citizens (being female was a different matter).

  • bob

    Here’s proof that this is a christian nation. ;)

  • coyotenose

    Holytape,

    Looking at your work, all I could think was that it would be easier to insert ‘Cthulhu’ than ‘Christ’.

    Remember, there is no “Me” in “IA! IA!Cthulhu Fhtagn!”

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @Erp,

    Your link showed a little bit of frightening history. I guess it is a good thing it is hard to change the constitution.

  • http://chaoskeptic.blogspot.com Iason Ouabache

    …use of the common phrase “In the year of our lord” in the Constitution is proof that we’re a Christian Nation

    Are they seriously suggesting that the use of the English translation of Anno Domini (A.D.) proves that we are a Christian nation? If that is the best evidence that they have then they should just give up now.

  • Bo J

    I suppose it would surprise Palin to learn that Washington, while he may have even attended church (usually around once a month with his wife) never took communion and upon his death bed refused a minister. As for Jefferson, I think we can all agree that rewriting the bible sans miracles probably wouldn’t be the actions of someone who believed in the infallible divinity of jesus (which if you say backwards sounds like sausage). Then of course there’s Adams, who was at best a Unitarian (someone whom Palin would burn at the stake today, if given the chance) and who outright rejected his Calvinist heritage (something else that would thoroughly irk Mrs. Palin). And Lastly, my favorite, Madison, who aside from his anthropological interest in religion as a social institution was a fierce proponent of religious freedom on a state and national level (co-authoring the Statute of Religious Freedom in Virginia with Jefferson, and authoring the Constitution) and it could be most definitivley said, as with almost all founders, that he was a Deist. The stories of our friends Franklin and Paine need no recounting here, their words have not been bent nearly as much over the years.

    As someone who holds a degree in History I find claims that this is a christian nation founded on christian principles appallaing. Where in the bible is your right to free speech, or your protection from unfair search and seizure, or your right not to be self-incriminating. She is a fool, and an unfortunately popular one at that.

  • Pingback: More Christian Nation Controversy | Rationality Now

  • Centricci

    I think what Robertson is referring to is this speech:

    “What ever we once were, we’re no longer a christian nation…at least not just…we’re also a jewish nation, a muslim nation, and a buddhist nation and a hindu nation and a nation of non-believers.”

    But you are still correct, Hemant.
    Robertson is way off base.

  • Beijingrrl

    Wouldn’t it be cool if someone organized a gathering of all the people who aren’t Christian in America? I believe at last count that was approximately 77 million people. That would be a visual that would be hard to ignore.

  • muggle

    These people are scary and I fear Jeff is right. Were they ever to succeed, a second revolution would be necessary.

    Palin and Huckabee? Please tell me there’s someone else being floated for the Christian Nationalist Party, formerly known as the GOP. (With a shout out to The American Heathen, RJ Evans, for the phrase.)

    Of course, I’m probably going to be voting to re-elect Obama, both at the primaries (the Repubs and tea party nutjobs have driven me to registering Democratic at 52 years of age) and the general election. Since even when they get a viable third party candidate, they shut them out of the election anyway.

    There are some things about this country that really suck. Like how people get away with not playing fair. Sigh. I guess that’s the bad you take with the good to be free.

  • Siamang

    We seem to be a dumbass nation, though.

  • Casimir

    America was founded as a slave-owning nation and was intended to be a nation of slave-owners by the Founders.

    Nobody’s perfect.

  • Casimir

    I’m surprised nobody’s brought up Thomas Paine, who railed so passionately against Chrisitianity in The Age of Reason that many described him as an atheist even though he was a deist.

    On the subject of Washington’s Farewell Address, he spent a considerable amount of time warning the American people to not form political parties. So there’s that.

  • False Prophet

    Well, according to <a href="this book, the Founding Fathers were embroiled in a culture war not too dissimilar to today’s. The first five presidents’ relationships to religion are examined: these two reviewers sum up the book best.

    Adams was devoutly Protestant. Jefferson just as devout to reason, but religion and politics mixed freely in Washington during his administration.

    Washington avoided any appearance of favouring one church over another, and railed against clerical interference in politics.

    Monroe was even more secular than Washington, being the only one of the first five presidents who didn’t even keep up the appearance of attending church while in office. He was too apathetic towards religion in general to be disrespectful to religious beliefs.

  • dean sinnett

    the natural man recieves not the things of the spirit of God neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned—-everything dicussed above and below is only to be spiritually discerned and you’ll have your answer yes there is a few overcomers-ones that have overcome the devil the world and self,again only a few,i have since studied the subject well and by the spirit and the nation was founded on the premise to bring about the new world order which is the devils doings so athiests(God doesnt believe in you all,by the way)and all others
    all biblical discussions need to be from the spirit not reasonings and conclusions from intellect so if you heed this advise you get your answers if not you remain in the dark—all said by experience


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