The Intentions of the Founding Fathers: Christian Nation?

There’s a raging debate in America about whether America is primarily a “Christian nation.” The debate rests on what the founding fathers intended when they put together their plan for what America could be.

Us liberals say that freedom of religion is paramount to all that America stands for, that it was created as a place where people could be certain of being free to practice religion or lack of religion in whatever way worked for them (presuming it didn’t involve physically hurting others. Emotional hurting, well, evangelism does plenty of that). That the founding fathers envisioned a place where people would not have to fear that their religion or lack of a religion would put them in danger or make them second class citizens. Many of the first settlers were escaping religious persecution.

Conservatives say that the founding fathers of this nation could never have anticipated how far we have taken the concept of freedom or religion and separation of church and state. They say the founding fathers only knew varieties of Christians. They were trying to protect persecuted sects of Christians and not just anybody of any religion.

Obviously we can’t ask them for clarification now.

But it seems pretty clear to me that the founding fathers meant what they set up. We cannot presume to know what they would have thought if they had different knowledge. We can’t even presume to know what their knowledge was. They made their intentions very clear and it’s absurd to say that they didn’t really mean it.

In their eagerness to have the Founders on “their side,” modern Christians try to promote the idea that America is meant to be a Christian nation. But the Founding Fathers — those men who formed and nurtured this nation — were not all Christian. Most were free-thinkers, agnostics and Deists. No matter what their religious leanings, however, they fought for a secular state. They saw how Europe had fared with theocracies and state-sponsored religion and wanted none of it here.

The view that America is a Christian nation is nothing more than fantasy and revisionist history on the part of one religion. This religion has forced itself onto the state: from coinage to the Pledge of Allegiance, we see its fingerprints. This religion is shown deference in ways other religions have to fight for. But they still try to rewrite history to claim the Founding Fathers for their own religion. –21 Quotes from the Founding Fathers on the Separation of Church and State

Were the founding fathers Christian at all? Some of them yes. Some of them no. Some of them “spiritual but not religious” as we would put it today! Jefferson respected Jesus but rejected the teachings of the Bible. John Adams? A Unitarian. Famous for believing that Truth can be found in all traditions in the world. George Washington? ““If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
~~ Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789”  –21 Quotes from the Founding Fathers on the Separation of Church and State

We actually get the phrase “separation between church and state” from Thomas Jefferson:

In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson’s correspondence to call for “a wall of separation between church and State”, though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute. –Wikipedia 

founding fathers
By Guy Moss (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Here is another essay on the subject, this is the introduction:

Many well-meaning Christians argue that the United States was founded by Christian men on Christian principles. Although well-intentioned, such sentiment is unfounded. The men who lead the United States in its revolution against England, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and put together the Constitution were not Christians by any stretch of the imagination.

Why do some Christians imagine these men are Christians? Besides a desperate desire that it should be so, in a selective examination of their writings, one can discover positive statements about God and/or Christianity. However, merely believing in God does not make a person a Christian…

Merely believing in God is insufficient evidence for demonstrating either Christian principles or that a person is a Christian. –Notes On The Founding Fathers and the Separation of Church and State 

The founding fathers were responsible for the first amendment, guaranteeing religious freedoms for all. Here is more on how Jefferson felt about it:

Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists (a religious minority concerned about the dominant position of the Congregationalist church in Connecticut):

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.[9]

You will notice that these are two groups of Christians being spoken of. So yes, all these freedoms may have been set up to mainly protect different sects of Christianity, yet Jefferson says that religion is between a person and their God. Not the business of the government.

It actually seems very strange to me that the Republicans who fight for less government, smaller government, less regulations on our freedoms want the government meddling in citizen’s religious expression.

I really think we have to take the founding fathers on their word and trust them when they say that building a wall between church and the state is critical for the rights and freedoms of all Americans.  Separation of church and state protects us all.

(For more information, here is an interesting gathering of arguments on both sides on whether the founding fathers supported the separation of religion and government)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Larry Linn

    “This nation of ours was not founded on Christian principles.”— John Adams

    “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” – James Madison

    “Question with boldness even the existence of a god.” – Thomas Jefferson (letter to Peter Carr, 10 August 1787)

    • Tim Tremblay

      BS Larry – They were all believers in Almighty God in their own damned ways just like now. Some were more devout than others for sure and there were a few heathen dogs no doubt.

      • Sandpirate

        Just because they were Christians in their personal life does not mean that they intended the government or the people as a whole to be or act as Christians.

        • BlackRobe77

          Read the State Constitutions from the first thirteen colonies for crying out loud.

          • Sandpirate

            Ok. What do the other 37 state constitutions say? Are all 50 the same regarding the level of religious involvement in government affairs? Fact is we have freedom to follow any religion or none in this country so no, one religion gets to have priority in making laws.

          • BlackRobe77

            I don’t think the founders envisioned “Radical Islam”, do you? I don’t think the framers were thinking about “Sharia Law” , Do You?

          • a r tompkins

            I doubt if they were all envisioning the exact seem things, but I think it’s fair to say that by consensus they were envisioning NO religious law as the law of the land. They were envisioning a secular government where no one is above the laws and laws are inspired by reason. Don’t take my word for it. Read the US Constitution for christ’s sake.

          • Sandpirate

            No, I don’t think they were thinking of any theocracy taking over; Christian, Muslim, or otherwise.

          • lageorgia

            The founders were very well aware of “Mohammedians” or what we today call Muslims. It was the writing of T. Jefferson who stated he wished there were MORE Mohammedians in our government. From the very beginning of our country there have been Muslims living here.

            The founders would be wary of “radical” Islam just like they would be wary of fundamentalist right wing Christianity trying to take over. But thankfully “radical” Islam is not the norm for followers of Islam.

            As for Sharia law, you are watching way too much Fox. Our Constitution is our law and there is no possible way for any stated, city, or body of law to implement any facet of Sharia law.

            Our wall between church and state allows me as a Christian to practice my faith and EQUALLY gives my neighbor, a Buddhist the same rights. ALL faith is equal in this country. We are not a Christian country that tolerates other faiths, all faiths are of equal worth in the eyes of our Constitution

          • BlackRobe77

            I don’t watch Fox News. Isn’t it nice to be judge and accused by a tolerant person such as yourself. Read some Bridgette Gabriell and find out what the moderates do when the Radicals gain an upper hand.The so called “Moderates” in Lebanon before the PLO took over. School teachers, doctors, lawyers, school mates, moderates that she shared her life with at community events, in the market place etc. Well, the moderates turned into killing machines over night when the radicals took over.

            Why can’t you just live in peace with the 2,900 red rural county’s that voted for Trump? As opposed to the 480 little pockets of Blue that surround the cities. Why are you so intolerant of Evangelical’s ?

            Why do you force your agenda and beliefs upon others? As Andrew Breitbart said. There is no leaving in peaceful harmony with progressives, there is no white flag, there is no live and let live”. No, you want to impose your values and beliefs upon the rural areas because of our Bibles and Gun’s. You hate us, and your going to keep pushing and pushing and pushing until we reach the point of No return. God Help us when that day comes.

            Sorry, I don’t buy into your Saul Alinsky tactics nor do most of the 60 MILLION people that voted for Trump.

          • Ambaa

            I think that a secular government protects all of us. Christians won’t be forced to practice a different religion or atheism. And us Hindus won’t be forced to practice Christianity. I do want to live and let live, to live in harmony To ask that we not be coerced into Christianity in our government is not imposing our beliefs on you. YOu are free to practice and we are free to practice without persecution with all beliefs. I don’t hate you or your Bible or your guns. I have no problem with any of that.

          • lageorgia

            I don’t force my faith on anyone. But I do follow the Constitution and your post is exactly what the Founders warned against.

          • Harry

            I don’t know anyone who wants to impose on your rights as a US citizen except as to REASONABLE gun safety measures. (I’m aware that there is a fringe opinion about banning guns.) The legislatures are full of people that speak as you do- that are doing every thing they can to impose their hate filled anti- Christian laws on everyone else. I am far more concerned about political christians (no capital- intentional) doing the same things here as the barbarians are trying to do in the middle east. Christians kill here- and support killing. ( Do not even try tell me that they do not- I hear it every day- just yesterday from a person I love irrespective of our vast disagreements.) I just wish political christians would “fear not”. Fear is NOT a Christian tradition. But they- perhaps you as well- can’t seem to find peace in ANYTHING. There is NO sharia law in the US- no matter how much you need something to be afraid of. And I looked at Bridgette Gabriell s statements on Islam. If there were as many radicals in Islam as she states there is- there would be NO WAY that ISIS would be on the run in Iraq and Syria- Europe would be burning. Last point is a question- why is radical christianity so interested in emulating those they proclaim fear of- by seeking to impose their law on everyone else?

          • fifthdentist

            Paranoid-crazy, much?
            By the way, that means 250-plus million didn’t vote for Trump.
            Just like how Bill O’Reilly used to claim to be the most-watched cable news show. Yeah, with some 3 million nightly viewers he had less than 1 percent of the U.S. population tuning in.
            You guys are just so used to getting your way that you think you’re being persecuted when the law says you aren’t allowed to persecute against others.
            It’s really that simple.
            But go ahead and conjure up those bogeyman in your fevered swamp of a mind. Stupid and paranoid is no way to go through life.

          • Judgeforyourself37

            You are correct!

          • Ambaa

            Freedom of religion means that radical Islam can’t take over either. “Sharia Law” can’t take over. No religion is above any other and we all have freedom to practice. We are all subject to the lasw of the country, not the laws of religion.

          • fifthdentist

            The only people in the U.S. worried about “Sharia Law” being a thing to worry about here are under their beds in puddles of their own urine and drool.

          • lageorgia

            One of the biggest arguments during our founding was the fight between states rights and a stronger federal government. There were months of heated letters going back and forth, accusations, verbal abuse etc.

            In the end the decision to have a stronger federal government that would rule over the states with the states retaining some rights but always be subjugated to the federal government won. So states that came up with their own laws that were directly in opposition to federal law would always lose in court.

            An example is N.C. today. Trying to pass a bill that would make same sex marriage illegal in the state thus activating their state rights clause will eventually go to federal court where the ruling will be that same sex marriage is the law of the land decided on by the federal Supreme Court thus N.C. will lose.

          • John Cochran

            I don’t have them handy.

          • Dan Slaby

            The colonies supported religion with taxation, but the Constitution was written to prevent religion with taxation.

      • lageorgia

        The beliefs of the founders was formed in a Protestant Europe and a rejection of the Roman Catholic faith. In fact one of the reasons they were so strong on the wall between church and state was they saw what the Catholic church had done to Europe and they wanted to avoid that here.

        While their culture was of Protestant theology there was also a third arm that had gained strength and taken root…that of the Enlightenment..meaning the age of reason; the age of man. Most of our founders fell into this latter group: men of the Enlightenment.

        The grand experiment of the new America was no king, no God at the helm but a country created based on reason, science, and man.

        So with all of this (I have a PhD in Enlightenment history) there were 2 founders who we could classify as more traditional Christian but their input didn’t take and their influence was minor. The rest fell into the humanist, man centered, scientific realm albeit their culture, their background was of a Protestant Christian Europe.

        The mistake is always placing our 21 century values on people of history. Our definition of what makes a Christian is very different from a defined 17 and 18 century Christian. And even in our own time we have different values for whom can really be called a Christian. Those, like myself, who are liberal but believe in Christ are not accepted by those of an extremely conservative bent. And we Christian liberals tend to look down our noses at the right wing fundies as being everything Jesus taught not to do.

        Some of the first European settlers were the Pilgrims and the Puritans but by the time of the actual creation of our founding documents no Puritan or Pilgrim was consulted for their input. In fact their faith and their reason for coming here (to create a land ruled by their theology even if the two groups disagreed over whose theology was the correct one) had died out to a great extent by the time the Constitutional Conventions got underway

    • Mark R Hoffman

      The quote you say is from John Adams is a misquote- he didn’t say that. He did say this: “Let them revere nothing but religion, morality and liberty”

      Letter to Abigail Adams (15 April 1776) [1]

    • Mark R Hoffman

      Also, after his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in that they held in the House of Representatives. https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06-2.html

  • Tom Gordon

    “Conservatives say that the founding fathers of this nation could never have anticipated how far we have taken the concept of freedom or religion and separation of church and state. They say the founding fathers only knew varieties of Christians. They were trying to protect persecuted sects of Christians and not just anybody of any religion.”

    That argument could be used against firearms and the Second Amendment then, too.

    Sorry, “conservatives,” you can’t have it both ways.

    • fifthdentist

      Actually, they can and do. Hypocrisy is their chief sacrament.
      They argued — successfully — in court that it was unconstitutional to force local law enforcement to enforce federal law with the thread of withholding federal funding in retaliation. That was when the issue was gun laws.
      Now the Trump administration wants to punish “sanctuary” cities and states they’re using the exact same tactic — threatening to withhold federal money to governments and law enforcement agencies who won’t help it enforce FEDERAL immigration laws.
      They’re hypocrites of the first — and worst — order.

  • Tim Tremblay

    WASHINGTON KNELT DOWN and Prayed to Almighty God on the frozen Potomac River and if that does NOT tell you all that he was a “CHRISTIAN” I don’t know what does~! Wake Up dammit~!!!

    • Michael Reid

      So the people in mosques who kneel down to pray must also be Christians, right? Same with those guys in the black hats and prayer shawls at the Wailing Wall – they must be Christians, too!

    • lageorgia

      Ummm no he didn’t. That painting and story were created later just like the “I can not tell a lie I chopped down the cherry tree” to make Washington into the kind of hero we wanted as our first president.

      Because he was away from his wife, Martha, for most of their marriage we have a great insight into his feelings and beliefs through all the letters written back and forth. Martha was a believing Christian but George was not. He wrote often how he wished he had her faith but he couldn’t believe in any God after the horrors he witnessed in the war.

      The myth of Washington and the reality parted ways decades ago. I have a PhD in history and I am also a Christian.

      Their marriage, as was common, was a marriage of convenience. She was a wealthy widow who needed someone to help her run her plantation and he was in need of money and position. Did they love each other? They greatly respected each other but as for love we don’t know.

      You probably believe that Washington was our first president as that is what is taught in schools. To have a war hero be our first is very romantic but false.

      Our first president was John Hanson but he has been lost to history. The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation.

      This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15,1777.

      Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large amounts of land).

      Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the country.

      John Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington). In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major player in the revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress.

      He took office right after the Revolutionary War ended.

      After Hanson there were 7 other presidents until we arrive at Washington.

      Seven other presidents were elected after him — Elias Boudinot (1782-83), Thomas Mifflin (1783-84), Richard Henry Lee (1784-85), John Hancock (1785-86), Nathan Gorman (1786-87), Arthur St. Clair (1787-88), and Cyrus Griffin (1788-89) — all prior to Washington taking office

      So what happened?

      Why don’t we hear about the first eight presidents?

      It’s quite simple — The Articles of Confederation didn’t work well. The individual states had too much power and nothing could be agreed upon. A new doctrine needed to be written — something we know as the Constitution.

      And that leads us to the end of our story.

      George Washington was definitely not the first President of the United States. He was the first President of the United States under the Constitution we follow today.

      And the first eight Presidents are forgotten in history while Washington had his true story warped by myth to fit an image needed for the new country

      • Ambaa

        That is so interesting!

      • Dan Slaby

        Nice to read reason from a Christian. The history of religion in America is not so straight forward – some good reads include:

        1. Chris Lehmann, “The Money Cult, Capitalism, Christianity and the unmaking of the American Dream”
        2. Kevin Kruse, “One Nation Under God, how corporate America invented Christian America”

    • Ambaa

      Even if Washington was Christian, that does not mean that he wanted the government to impose Christianity on everyone. He most clearly did not.

  • Tim Tremblay

    TO THIS DAY FOOLS say in their hearts “there is no God”~!! I have “seen Christ” and KNOW full well HE IS GOD~!

    • a r tompkins

      how do you “down-vote” somebody – your post deserves it.

    • Adam King

      You should schedule an eye exam.

      • Tim Tremblay

        You should schedule an Anal Exam., eh?

        • http://amarchotoprithibi.blogspot.com/ Andrea

          Did Jesus say that in the Bible? I see you follow his example by word and deed

        • fifthdentist

          I think a psychiatric exam would be more relevant for you.
          Although you may want to have that whole “talking out of your ass” thing checked on as well. A colonoscopy might help them find your brain.

    • lageorgia

      Please put down whatever you are smoking.

      • Tim Tremblay

        Please wake up and pull your head out of your own BUTT~! Lol~!!!

    • Ambaa

      Good for you. Enjoy your belief in Christ, have great joy in it. Let it light your life with goodness and kindness. And let us have our own equally sincere belief and trust in our Gods!

      • Tim Tremblay

        I have seen Christ and know HE alone is GOD my dear Ambaa., HE is King in the Spirit Realms and King over all the earth~! If You don’t believe it now you will most definitely see one day. God Bless~!

        • Dan Slaby

          Read the Koran for another opinion.

    • Dan Slaby

      Apparently God does not know much about human biology – the heart is an organ that pumps blood, but the brain is the organ of speech. Don’t let God fool you with his ignorance.

    • fifthdentist

      Pics or it didn’t happen.

  • BT

    A “raging” debate is an overstatement. There is a small-ish group (primarily Christian reconstructionists and “American civil religion” converts) that’s raging over it, but for most everyone else it’s been settled for quite some time.

    • a r tompkins

      Unfortunately, that “small-ish group” is in charge of the three major branches of US government and many of its states. :(

    • RPlavo .

      Those reconstructionists get elected to state legislatures, like in PA, and decide to run for the Senate

    • lageorgia

      They are a small but very powerful group. They are the group in charge of writing the history books used in our public school systems.

      • BT

        I agree with all of the above. I’m just not that comfortable calling it a “raging debate”. That seems in my mind to confer upon it an intellectual credibility that it just doesn’t have outside a small – though currently powerful – group.

        There’s really not much of a debate on it per se – just a highly vocal and powerful (if not terribly well informed) minority.

    • Ambaa

      Fair enough! It feels “raging” to me since I interact with people who believe it!

  • BeaverTales

    If Christianity’s mission was the extinction of non-European pagans and their beliefs, it nearly accomplished its mission. As a religious haven, it worked best for Christians and few others, until secularism was born.

  • a r tompkins

    “… founded on biblical principles…”. I have asked those that maintain that delusion to show me where in the Bible is there anything about “one white-landowning-man per vote”, or about “pursuit of happiness”, or about a three-pronged system of checks and balances, or about a government that should not make laws that inhibit freedom of speech or religion, or about the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and illegal search and seizure, or about the right to a speedy trial and to be judged by one’s peers, etc, etc. Where in the Bible is there anything at all about any of those things? They never show me. Why? Instead, the Bible is chock full of shit like punishing fornicators, non-virgins, bastards, gays, infidels, etc, with death by stoning. Thank god we’re not a government of god’s principles. Thank god.

    • Ambaa

      Good point!

  • lageorgia

    The beliefs of the founders was formed in a Protestant Europe and a rejection of the Roman Catholic faith. In fact one of the reasons they were so strong on the wall between church and state was they saw what the Catholic church had done to Europe and they wanted to avoid that here.

    While their culture was of Protestant theology there was also a third arm that had gained strength and taken root…that of the Enlightenment..meaning the age of reason; the age of man. Most of our founders fell into this latter group: men of the Enlightenment.

    The grand experiment of the new America was no king, no God at the helm but a country created based on reason, science, and man.

    So with all of this (I have a PhD in Enlightenment history) there were 2 founders who we could classify as more traditional Christian but their input didn’t take and their influence was minor. The rest fell into the humanist, man centered, scientific realm albeit their culture, their background was of a Protestant Christian Europe.

    The mistake is always placing our 21 century values on people of history. Our definition of what makes a Christian is very different from a defined 17 and 18 century Christian. And even in our own time we have different values for whom can really be called a Christian. Those, like myself, who are liberal but believe in Christ are not accepted by those of an extremely conservative bent. And we Christian liberals tend to look down our noses at the right wing fundies as being everything Jesus taught not to do.

    Some of the first European settlers were the Pilgrims and the Puritans but by the time of the actual creation of our founding documents no Puritan or Pilgrim was consulted for their input. In fact their faith and their reason for coming here (to create a land ruled by their theology even if the two groups disagreed over whose theology was the correct one) had died out to a great extent by the time the Constitutional Conventions got underway

    Thus we must be very careful to observe through the historical lens this group of men who created our Constitution by the frame work of our own 2017

    • Ambaa

      Thank you so much for bringing your learning to this discussion!

      • lageorgia

        Your welcome!! I finally get to use some of my degrees and all my years of studying. Never did get a job in my field and now I am a juried artist and having the time of my life. It does bother me that our history is being rewritten and the truth seems to be unneeded in today’s political climate.

  • Terry Washington

    All I can say(as a practising Roman Catholic) is that how depressing it is to see self styled “conservatives” yearning for the state mandated religious orthodoxy that their forefathers rightly fled to the New World to escape!

  • Andrea Fitzgerald

    We liberals…

    • eeldeer

      Shudder . . . thank you!

  • http://jdeveland.com/ JD Eveland

    Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli (1797), unanimously ratified by the US Senate, says: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli

    Since treaties are in effect part of the Constitution, that would seem to settle it right there.

  • Joseph O’Neill

    The Evil Empire

    Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:

    Attempted to remove more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.

    Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.

    Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.

    Attempted to suppress populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.

    Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries.

    Developed 1000 military bases world-wide.

    Supported the 50 year genocidal occupation of the remaining 22% of the
    Palestinian homeland – currently giving $3.8 billion yearly to the
    apartheid Israeli regime for this purpose.

    Though not as easy to quantify, has also led the world in torture; not only the
    torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture
    equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person
    guidance by American instructors.

    The
    details can be found in the bestselling well-researched book “Rogue
    State, A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” by William Blum. Blum
    worked for the US equivalent of the UK Foreign Office, so he knows what
    he is talking about.

    Thank God for brave well-informed people like Mr Blum.

    According to the 2008 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, almost 25%
    of Americans identify themselves as Catholic (approximately 72 million
    of a national
    population of 306 million residents).

    Why do we hear no protest from the US Catholic population?

  • samnigromd

    CHRISTIANS CREATED AMERICA FOR EVERYBODY…and do not forget it!

    Book Review of The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States
    by Benjamin F. Morris, American Vision, Georgia, USA 2007, 1060 pages

    By: Samuel A. Nigro, M.D. July 2009

    No one should be President of the United States or hold any other office in the Executive, Legislative, or Judicial branches of any government in the United States without having read this book.
    If you ever had any questions about the essential Christian nature of the origin of the United States of America, this book will answer them. From start to finish, the documentation is overwhelming and exhilarating for Christians. America began with the Pilgrims and their Christianity was all they knew. Indeed, it becomes evident that prior to today’s communication technology (from newspapers to internet), reliable information and how to live were limited to the teachings and pronouncements from the churches. Almost all known was related to what was known from the Bible, the pulpit and related churches and church schools. In contrast, today, the people are influenced by an electronocelluoidink technology which provides mostly fantasy garbage and non-being (that which is not Truth, Oneness, Good or Beauty) unworthy of following except for momentary meaningless thrills which, sad to say, influences greatly millions of suggestible and gullible people. Truly, America would not have happened with today’s press & media nor is it likely to survive without those committed like the founders. Indeed, today, America is having a hard time surviving because those in charge of the press & media “know better” and do not really care about the original Constitution and flood the people with arrogant ignorance (a very bad combination).
    The book details the Christian basis of every state. One example is the colonization of Maryland under the auspices of Lord Baltimore and his brother, Leonard Calvert, who took possession of this country “for our Lord Jesus Christ and for our sovereign lord the King of England” (Pg. 122). And there in Catholic Maryland, religious toleration was proclaimed as one of the absolute laws of the colony: be true to yourself and “live and let live.” Catholic Maryland set the stage for religious tolerance and openness throughout all colonies.
    The legislation of the Continental Congress (Chapter 10) is found to be overwhelming in its Christianity – of basically “everyone for everyone” – with the understanding of the need for God, the impact of God and the conceptualization of God on the outcome of all activities. In contrast, today, the primary concern of politicians is “What will the press & media do?” which almost always is ignorant of or rejecting the Christianity which, this book documents, created the United States.
    Not that it was easy. The founders of America even argued about whose pastor would be the one to open Congress for the first time. They were so divided in religious sentiments, they could not agree until Mr. Samuel Adams rose and moved for a well known respected Episcopalian Clergyman. And on the 7th day of September, 1774, he read the 31st Psalm which was the collect for that day. John Adams wrote: “This was the first morning after a horrible rumor of the cannonade of Boston. I never saw a greater effect produced on an audience. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning. It had an excellent effect on everybody here and I must beg you to read that Psalm.” Then, gratefully, the book reproduces it for the edification of all on Page 247. It ought to be read every day by everyone. Quote after quote in the book proves the “good faith” (with the emphasis on “faith”) arguing which went on and on in the Lord’s name, all knowing they had to hammer out a way of life that was the Christian offering of love, freedom and sacrifice.
    Then there is Congress’ appropriation after the outbreak of the Revolution – to purchase, (guess what)… As duly described on the first order of Thursday, September 11, 1777, the founders realized it was too costly to print the desired 30,000 Bibles so they authorized the purchase of 20,000 copies by import (Pg. 252).
    George Washington issued many orders always sounding Christian themes. In an indirect acknowledgement of intrauterine life, there is even an admonition to respect the unborn! “The fate of unborn millions will now depend under God, on the courage and conduct of the Army…” from general order of July 1776 (Pg. 342).
    The prayerfulness of George Washington is described vividly. One cannot be moved more than the “The Scene At Valley Forge” (page 356) about the prayerful George Washington:
    While the American Army was at Valley Forge, Isaac Potts strolled up a creek that ran through his farm, and, walking quietly through the woods, he heard the tones of a solemn voice, and, looking around, saw Washington’s horse tied to a sapling. In a thicket nearby was Washington, on his knees, in earnest prayer. Like Moses, Mr. Potts felt he was on holy ground and retired unobserved. He returned home and, on entering the room of his wife, burst into tears and informed her what he had seen and heard and exclaimed, “If there is anyone on earth whom the Lord it will harken to, it is George Washington; and I feel a presentiment that under such a commander there can be no doubt of our establishing independence and that God in his providence has willed it so.”.

    There is much more about the prayerfulness of George Washington who must have prayed almost always! His “Maxims When A Boy” (page 614-615) deserve universal promulgation every year to all children in every school (change to “Maxims When A Child”).
    Of especial interest to Catholics is the sermon at the Philadelphia Cathedral Mass Celebration attended by Washington, Congress, and many others shortly after the British surrender at Yorktown on September 17, 1781 (pages 592-595). I add that the Catholic role (by the French especially) for America winning the Revolutionary War was crucial (There even were likely more priests with the French forces than Protestant pastors with the Americans at Yorktown): the French Fleet under Comte de Grasse controlling the sea; the 5,500 French soldiers under general Comte de Rochambeau with artillery (the Americans had no artillery); and British General Lord Cornwallis trying to surrender to French General Marquis de Lafayette instead of General Washington…no wonder they all went to celebrate a Catholic Mass afterwards as almost the first celebratory event at the end of the Revolutionary War with George Washington specifically thanking “a nation in which the Roman Catholic religion is professed.”
    The book describes the Christian basis for all: the early colonies, the State Constitutions, the Federal Constitution, acts and scenes of the Army of the Revolution, government chaplains, the women of the revolution, capitol scenes, American Courts, and eminent judges.
    Again, this is how things were in the days prior to the electronocelluloid print culture of philosophical, moral, and Christian degrading. Without a doubt, we would be better off if the press and media as we have today had never been brought into existence…or maybe all journalists and editors should read this book to learn how we got here and how we can survive.
    What becomes clear is that the founders of America did not want to impose their religion on anyone nor did they want to deprive anyone of their religion. Thus, an unnamed Christianity was encouraged in a universal way as the broad umbrella under which all was conceptualized for the people. The founders were cautious and minimized the promotions of their own points of view except as universally reciprocated; they expected and received mutual collaboration efforts with no obstruction to such as universally tendered, offered, and lived in a genuine Christian manner to promote the massive universal unique Christian principles of love, freedom and sacrifice manifest primarily as charity for all—and no other religion can say that. Indeed, it was only Christians struggling to be Christian who could have given America to the world!
    Unfortunately, thanks to the press and media overthrowing the Constitution (and the ignoring “natural born citizen” status for President is proof of that), the world is made up of suggestible idiots, gullible to all the advertising, slick promotions, loud colorful hawking, and smug somber firm statements by nicely dressed men and women. Without the mentality of the Christian founders of America, there is no America…and “Journalism” is the only “ISM” that could kill her when the people are not taught to thoughtfully remember and live the overlooked genuine Chistianity of the founders whether they are Christian or not.

    • eeldeer

      An academic historian would not deny that for many, even most, in the New World Christianity was their “team.” The nation was actually founded, however, by adoption of the Constitution, and the point of the article “[t]hat the founding fathers envisioned a place where people would not have
      to fear that their religion or lack of a religion would put them in
      danger or make them second class citizens” is quite accurate historically. Please embrace that fact and realize that any attempt to institutionalize Christianity in our nation is constitutionally inappropriate, and please read Patheos a little more closely and realize that the true religious spirit of “charity for all” is universal, not unique to Christianity.

      • samnigromd

        The Founders struggled greatly with their realization of the defects of politicizing a religion. But “all they knew” was what they realized were the benefits and necessity of VIRTUE as they understood it beginning with the secular Greek temperance, prudence, fortitude, and justice. They knew, if the people were no good, nothing would work well for long. They wanted the First Amendment to be the reminding, teaching, indoctrinating source of “treatment of all” with virtue…”all” being distorted by the social-politics absolutes of millenia which defined women and slaves differently, changes too great for the 13 colonies to address without compromise and without compelling agreement. Today’s outcome has been a failure of the First Amendment people to do what the Founders hoped (and prayed) for.
        Journalism–First Amendment Responsibilities and Need For
        Certification and Licensure
        by Samuel A. Nigro, MD, copyright c 2016, retired,
        “deplorable” ad hominem pamphleteer,
        Clinical Professor Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

        The First Amendment:
        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

        “They will lie, sir, with such volubility that you would think truth were
        a fool.” All’s Well…(about “journalism” for sure)

        “The real danger to the American system of government is a fraud press unavailable to the people and not loyal to the Founders’ Principles. Editors are enslavers of the press & media. ”
        Luigi Panzini, MD

        The First Amendment was given to the people and not just to priests, ministers, or rabbis, nor just to broadcasters or celebrities, nor just to editors or journalists, nor just to assembly hall owners. The people have the right for their words to be prayed, broadcast, printed, and announced to assemblies, provided their words are logical, rational and consistent with the Founders’ Principles. The First Amendment makes those mentioned responsible to serve the people and to promulgate the words of the people and not just the words of the owners of communication methods. The goal of the First Amendment was to teach virtue and the Ten Commandments to the people so they could keep a civil society not needing laws. Those freed by the First Amendment have an absolute duty to be true to the Founders Principles as manifest by the first thing the new Congress ever purchased–20,000 Bibles (Will the “separation” people please be quiet and pray as the Founders did.).

        The First Amendment was given first to keep the people informed with Truth, Oneness, Good and Beauty (the “transcendentals”), consistent with the hope and expectation that the people could be transcendent citizens not needing many laws or government controls. The Founders knew that if the citizens were “no good”, nothing would work well and law after law would be needed. The Founders hoped for the common good which in their mind basically was the Ten Commandments, which in those days were the themes espoused by all. The Judeo-Christian principles of the Founders was why religion was first in the First Amendment. The First Amendment was to promote good citizens living democratically by free religion, then free speech, then free press, and then free assembly. “Religion” was first because without some elements Judeo-Christianity, the people are no good and nothing will work well for a decent culture. Hoped for and expected was allegiance with Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (“Happiness” is best understood as meaning “transcendentals”). This implied the “learned professions” providing directions for the common good: Medicine for Life. Law for Liberty. Divinity for Pursuit of Transcendentals (“nee “Happiness”). All three professions were given “transcendental” freedom (It was not “anything goes” pseudo-freedom).
        Unfortunately, electronocelluloid technology has made the free press into a “disturbance of the common good” tyranny not available to the common man (although the World Wide Web may correct this when all journalism dies). The “free press” does not belong to the people but to editors and owners who only promulgate what “fits” as the New York Times exploiting logo documents. Today’s “free press” has no ethics, no morality, no values of transcendence, no standards or allegiance to Natural Law of the Founders, necessary for genuine civilization for citizens to be FREE from evil (“Evil” is the “creation of non-being”). Today’s “free press” does not know the difference between true “art” and “disturbing the peace” or “destroying the common good.” Journalism today is just manipulation and suggestibility, and not worth a dime. No way did the Founders want culture-destroying anti-Ten Commandments pollution to come from the First Amendment. The Founders listed “religion” first for good reason–the Ten Commandments–which have been replaced by Ten Thousand Legalisms. The Founders would have applied capital punishment to the editors and owners of the “free press” of today because of their culture-destroying advertising, dehumanizing promotions, anti-family and polluting pretenses of “art,” “entertainment,” and “information.” The Founders would not have allowed the Law’s destruction of the free and independent professions of Medicine and Divinity. The Founders would not have allowed the Law to become an “established religion” which it now is.
        Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.” That is what the First Amendment is all about explicitly giving all citizens the right to express their “heart of liberty” (which, if it is genuine “freedom” or “liberty,” must be consistent with Natural Law –“Nature and Nature’s God” as mentioned in the Constitution, which means “transcendent–being, matter, identity, truth, oneness, good and beauty”). The First Amendment gives rights which also means “responsibilities” i.e., the “transcendentals.”
        The results are protests and riots from the Losers (nee’ Womens) March to Berkeley–ALL raging rioting protestors NEED (from the press over and over) Octavio Paz’ “San Ildefonso nocturne”:
        Good, we wanted good:
        to set the world right.
        We didn’t lack integrity:
        we lacked humility.
        What we wanted was not
        innocently wanted.
        Precepts and concepts,
        the arrogance of theologians,
        to beat with a cross,
        to institute with blood….
        Some
        became secretaries to the
        secretary
        to the General Secretary of the
        Inferno.
        Rage
        became philosophy,
        its evil has covered the
        planet.
        AND JOURNALISTS NEED TO BE LICENSED WITH TRANSCENDENTAL ETHICS AFTER CERTIFICATION IN PRINCIPLES OF THE FOUNDERS–OTHERWISE IT IS “PATRONIZM” (1)…The “free press” cannot mean lies, sedition, treason, or ugliness by journalists. The “death” of journalism began with Roe v. Wade which not only destroyed journalism’s Ethics of Sigma Delta Chi, but the Hippocratic Oath of physicians replacing traditional social mores with abortionismo, manifest by destruction of childhood, loss of Judeo-Christian family norms, and lack of good faith interactions (2).

        (1) “Patronizm”—Contemporary Journalism (From my article “The Results of
        and Psychological Causes of Contraception,” Social Justice Review December 1993, 209-213… http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=721 ):
        Today, the practice (“charade” really) of journalism is the patronizing of one group or another and the censoring of the rest—thus “patronizm.” The most accurate description of today’s press and media is: Patronizm, not journalism. Patronpaper, not newspaper. Patron press, not free press. Patronizer, neither journalist nor reporter. For those described, the First Amendment does nothing but give them immunity to truth, justice, the common good and trustworthiness. Most of today’s “journalists” are self-promoting perverters of the First Amendment who have aborted those who gave them the First mendment. Do not trust what you see or hear in the press and media. Most is “pretend.” And, patronizm (nee’ journalism) does not believe in equality because the fraud press do NOT treat all with equal coverage or consideration.
        (2) Moral authority is gone…the First Amendment people fail the Founders by not helping the people know Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness,the Ten Comandments, and Nature and Nature’s God—all mentioned many times by the Founders and the basis for deTocqueville’s bewilderment that the early Americans needed no laws for their righteous civility. Fascist lying editors instead have given the people abortion and all its subliminal spinoffs and results: ABORTIONISMO. The Fraud Press needs to look in the mirror to find what happened to “the people”. If the people are no good, nothing works well for very long. The Press and Media are run by dirty old men, dirty minded schoolboys never grown up, the gay cult genital maniacs, and haremfeminists manipulating the people into absence and suppression of virtue. Deny all you want. Rationalize all you want. America is dead. The Fraud Press killed it. The people act out and live “abortion” routinely. The Founders would have hung you all.

        • eeldeer

          Sigh

    • a r tompkins

      wow, dude, rather than reading some book with a clear pro-christian agenda, you could’ve saved yourself much time and embarrassment by perusing the US Constitution. Had you done that instead, you’d have come across this little passage right here, where the religiosity requirements of the people that form our republican government is clearly codified:

      “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the
      several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of
      the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or
      Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be
      required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United
      States.”

      Further, what constitutional, democratic principles, so brilliantly outlined in our foundational documents, can be trace to anything in the christian holy books?

  • Kyllein MacKellerann “

    Let’s see: Southern Founding Fathers were for the most part Deists. They viewed the Creator as some great engineer who set the universe in motion and then sat back to watch it go. Washington was notorious for walking out on boring sermons.
    In the North, Adams was a Congregationalist. He felt the Bible was the supreme guide for the Church – but not for the State. He even discounted the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.
    They were all affected by Thomas Paine’s book “Common Sense” (which could be called the “Dr. Spock’s baby book” of the Republic) in the effect it had in the founders’ concept of what a government should be.
    Altogether, although they disagreed on the nature of worship and religion, they were united in the idea that Religion and a Republican government did not mix. That concept is as valid today as it was two hundred-forty years ago: Religion is a personal matter while Government is the business of the State.
    Today, certain unscrupulous pretenders to Religion seek to upset this careful separation by the intermixing Sect and State. This will be interesting to watch and a salutary example of the wisdom of the Founders as the Hybrid, neither trainable nor useful, stumbles its way for a time before collapsing into hubris-fired total incompetence and is put down for the good of the People.
    The time of the Founding of our Nation was called the “Age of Reason” for an obvious cause, and the Founders themselves were schooled in both logic and history and thus had a historical reference for that which had not worked and that which had worked – and from that created mankind’s greatest invention: The United States Constitution and the Nation that it governed, Would that we had similar minds today in place to support that creation, but it appears that we do not.

  • billwald

    The American Revolution was organized by land and business owners and it was about money. Money has always been the civil god of this nation.