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Our Founding Fathers were NOT Christian...

Original post made by PEACE on Jun 13, 2009

One of the most common statements from the "Religious Right" is that they want this country to "return to the Christian principles on which it was founded". However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States had little use for Christianity, and many were strongly opposed to it. They were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true.
When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article 6, section 3) This provision was radical in its day-- giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike. They wanted to ensure that no single religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention religion, except in exclusionary terms. The words "Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God" are never mentioned in the Constitution-- not once.

The Declaration of Independence gives us important insight into the opinions of the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea of divine authority.

The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was "in no sense founded on the Christian religion". This was not an idle statement, meant to satisfy muslims-- they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.

Comments (39)

Posted by Agreed, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 13, 2009 at 10:29 am

Peace,

Point well taken! It seems that too many people try to say that our nation was founded on religious principals.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 13, 2009 at 10:41 am

"God" is mentioned in the opening line of the Declaration of Independence. "Creator" is mentioned in the second...


Posted by Really?, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2009 at 11:33 am

Had you paid attention in your Government class in high school or taken AP Government or Comp Civics you would have been disabused of your misstatements and incomplete statements above. Please do the COMPLETE research and then repost with accuracy not rhetoric.

All the touch- feely, PC correct non-sense may be easy to swallow, but so is junk food. No substance, just feels good.


Posted by Rae, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 13, 2009 at 11:35 am

The Declaration of Independence refers to the "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" and states that "all men . . . are endowed by their Creator".

Nothing alludes to a single God or Creator (i.e. Christianity) - it's really up to each person to decide what those terms mean, or don't mean to them.

Personally, I think the reference to "Nature's God" is all very Wiccan; as for my Creator, well, she's definitely creative!


Posted by Anthony, a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 13, 2009 at 11:59 am

Peace I believe you made the whole thing up as I checked the first 15 names on the declaration of independence and they were all christians. Nice try.


Posted by Indeed, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jun 13, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Anthony,

Nice try moron!


Posted by IronFist, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2009 at 1:35 pm

We all need to be good Christians! George Bush was a good Christian and GOD told him to go to war in the middle East. Thank GOD we went to the middle east on a killing spree and are now able to instil our beliefs and values there!


Posted by How sad you are..., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2009 at 2:17 pm

How sad that someone can tell a lie, another agree with telling a lie, and yet another believe a lie.

The average life span of an American is not that long...how many years do you have left to believe your own fiction? I don't have to prove anything, your own mortality is proof enough of your limitations. I really hope you all work things out for yourselves soon...based on the average life span I mentioned above, it is unlikely you don't have too much time left on this side to work it out.

Ever consider how long Eternity is? I think that is a more important question to ask of yourself than the ridiculous questioning of the already established fact that the Founding Fathers were indeed Christians. Still think they weren't? I'm trying to remember the religious influence in Europe in the 1700's. Hmmm...I think that is your answer and I'll give you a clue...it was aetheism, Islam, or other "eastern" religions...


Posted by Deism, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Historians believe that Jefferson could be described as a Deist.

Web Link

I don't think any of the founding fathers were fundamentalist Christians, in the modern sense. I don't think any of them believed that the King James Bible was the literal word of God.

That said, their beliefs were strongly influenced by Christianity, and many called themselves Christian. Does anyone here doubt that?


Posted by LogTall, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm

"how sad YOU are"

"aetheism, Islam, or other "eastern" religions"

At least these group have compassion and are sane!

BTW- man evolved from APE, so I understand that your familiy is a little behing the curve.


Posted by Faith, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 13, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Read "Founding Faith"; the separation of church and state is intentional--though the founding fathers had varying degrees of belief in a God.


Posted by Nice try!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2009 at 9:31 am

"aetheism, Islam, or other "eastern" religions"




At least these group have compassion and are sane!


LogTall,

How is Christianity not the source of compassion? Just Christianity alone compared to Islam: God dies for us versus we die for God. Sounds like the ultimate compassion!

What can you know about a faith that you have never sat down to learn about or investigated? C.S. Lewis set out to disprove Christianity and became a Christian. Pick up a copy of his work "Mere Christianity" and read it - it's short. If you really want to understand compassion and it's source, start there, then simply read the Book of John. If you are honest and not just someone who throws bobs and runs, but are truly interested in knowledge, read these 2 short books and then tell me about Christianity and how it is "not compassionate".

Gotta run, I'm off to Sunday Service at my place of worship to learn about how to love my neighbor even when he hates me...be sure to comment on how you actively seek how to live in peace with those around you...


Posted by LogTall, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2009 at 10:04 am

Nice Try, you wrote:

"God dies for us versus we die for God. Sounds like the ultimate compassion!"

What are we doing in Iraq and Afghanistan? Bush had a vision form GOD, that resulted in the invasions and slaughter of woman and children in the name of our GOD!

As far as reading the book of John, I have SEVERAL times. I have also read the other books, to include the Old Testament. Very compassionate huh? O.K.


Posted by Nice Try, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Yes I think the Old Testament is compassionate. Have you read where God saw Hagar in the desert alone with her child and made a way for a rejected maid servant and her illegitimate son who would begin the nation of Islam?

I read where God took Joseph who was sold into slavery to Egypt by his own brothers, was put into a position as second in command only under Pharoah and helped him rescue his family.

See what I read in the Old Testament and New Testament is what trangressions man confounds his own circumstances with and how God repeatedly rescues him from - all of us.

We are currently under the New Covenant at this point in history and although man caused a great deal of pain for one another, why would we continue down that road?

The Founding Fathers indeed were Christians personally and came to this land to create a nation to protect others from persecution of the Church of England. They meant for separation of church and state to mean that a state couldn't force a religion, as was the case in their home land, but that they would be safe to practice their religion without the state involovment.

They also were sure to include God in the plan, since they were sincere followers of God. They knew that God and his morality and virtues would govern for itself a rouge nation without a criminal justice system established yet. They wanted the Bible to govern the conscience of man.

To try and rewrite history, no matter how you dislike a faith, as absent of a faith that caused the foundation of this nation, is to ignore history.

I still challenge you to read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, I don't think you will see things quite the same way.


Posted by dublinmike, a resident of Dublin
on Jun 15, 2009 at 11:17 am

Nice try states: ...I'm off to Sunday Service at my place of worship to learn about how to love my neighbor even when he hates me" Why do you have to go to a church to learn about common sense in how to deal with others?

If they hate you, then there is nothing you can do about irrational behavior (assuming, of course, you did not initiate a hostile action). Best to walk away from them and enjoy those that love and appreciate you instead.


Posted by PEACE, a resident of Avila
on Jun 15, 2009 at 11:49 am

DublinMike,

GREAT POINT! I don't get how going to church for hours every Sunday, for years and years, does anything, or teaches anyting that most of us already know and practice in our daily lives.

Good Grief!


Posted by K. Winters, a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on Jun 15, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Aside from history, there is something more important happening right now and that is the expansion of religions, ideals, ethnic groups and backgrounds that go into making modern America. I think the "real" question is not the religious or philosophical beliefs of our founding fathers, but in the integration of the mixture that we now face. There is a lot of "gangland mentality present in our world today, that is: "My turf is better than your turf" thinking. I believe the past is irrelevant, and integrating the diversity that is America today is a more pressing problem.


Posted by Nice Try, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Hi DublinMike,

I liked what you said about, "Best to walk away from them and enjoy those that love and appreciate you instead."

I agree and just have a little different perspective...

You asked, "Why do you have to go to a church to learn about common sense in how to deal with others?"

Because dealing with others doesn't come naturally to me, I guess? I have a need for it. I think there is a lot of important wisdom that I learn in the Bible and from going to church. I also love the community that I am involved with, that while they aren't perfect by any means, still strive to serve one another and care for one another in difficult times and times of celebration.

When I leave my church family atmosphere, it's tough for me. I live within a society that holds different values than I do in my home and church. I see people hurting others and I see people who need help. I participate in a church because I learn, I grow, and I learn about a God who loves me and others so much. My motivation is more pure...instead of just doing something because I should, I do the right thing out of gratitude to God which is much more easy to sustain the energy for and be real. It feels really good to be at church and part of the family of God, and it helps me to maintain perspective when I live in this society.

When I feel let down, betrayed, or even rejected by another human being, I learn how to release that to God and have him fill me with his care and his peace. Before I became a Christian, I never, ever, had this kind of peace and joy (not a "happy" feeling, but a feeling like I will always be okay). It's tough to describe, but it's really, really , REALLY different than before and I would never want to go back to how I felt before...

See, living in peace was not natural to me in this life. I learned how to live in peace with others by going to church and changing my response to others based on principles in the Bible. I personally need church for that. I also go to church because it is where I learn more and more about God. I don't just simply sit there for hours on end and learn nothing as maybe PEACE thinks I pointlessly do. I am fascinated by the spiritual walk I am on with my God and I am endlessly encouraged and filled with His love while I stay focused on these amazing attributes of the church.

Most of all, my church helps me remember that God wants to be in my life every moment, not just have me in church for no reason.

It's one of those things that is tough to describe until you know it, but after more than 20 years of attending church as an adult (I chose to investigate what a church was about in college on my own since I wasn't raised in church as a kid), I still sign up to go to Bible studies, small groups, book groups, couples groups and church on Sunday because I can't get enough! It's like eating chocolate and never feeling sick or gaining weight! :) (Ladies, you KNOW what I'm talking about!!).

I can tell you haven't had the same experience as me, and that is why it doesn't make sense...

I can assure you (and I am NO sales person), that if you had the chance to learn what I have learned, you also would understand what I have said here and agree.

Thanks for the chance to clarify my point. Yours is understood as well!


Posted by Dublinmike, a resident of Dublin
on Jun 15, 2009 at 8:57 pm

To Nice Try, thank you for a rationale discussion. I was about to bale out on PW Forum and you have kept me interested. We have a different viewpoint but we agree to continue a dialogue for a better understanding.

I started to question authority and the prevailing religious doctrine as early as 13 years old. I decided to seek out other viewpoints of life and found mine.

We see the world differently but I do greatly admire your determination to seek out what you believe is the truth. I chose to take a different path than you but, regardless, I see that we have more in common than not, nevertheless.

In my journeys, I discovered that when I "lose it" I have only myself to blame. My life's experiences and how I deal with them determines the final outcome. I call it "taking responsibility, right or wrong." For the most part, I am at peace... well, until I read the PW Forum... :)

I hope your day goes well.

Mike


Posted by GoodGrief, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Nice Try wrote:

"See, living in peace was not natural to me in this life. I learned how to live in peace with others by going to church and changing my response to others based on principles in the Bible. I personally need church for that."

Nice Try... I respect that you learned how to live in Peace by going to church. Can you respect that I learned how to live in peace through following Budda's teachings? Acctually VERY simple!


Posted by Rush, a resident of Danbury Park
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:15 pm

Hallaluja! Praise the Lord! You saved Dublinmike from bailing from PW forums! What a testimony!

GREAT WORK nice try!


Posted by dublinmike, a resident of Dublin
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Rush, .... ah, never mind...You wouldn't get it. What happened to you?

Sorry I wasted the time.


Posted by Nice Try, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Hey Mike,

I really appreciated your post. I think I try and convey to as many people as I can that the Christianity that I believe in centers on a relationship and it isn't just about "rules", it isn't just a religion. I believe the rules were made for and to benefit people, not a people created for rules. The principles I look to guide me in relationships with others and a relationship with God. That's all. I'm typically bummed that others have a negative view of my faith. It's a bummer that happens, especially when it brings me so much joy and I would like that same joy for others.

I respect that others look for their own way. It's like you said, the point is we are seeking, right?

You're a friend and I'm glad you didn't bail the PW forum - I might not agree with you always, but you always make me think! Thanks for that!



Posted by dublinmike, a resident of Dublin
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Nice try, you are welcome.

Good night friend


Posted by Nice Try, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Good Grief,

Of course I respect you and your decision to follow Buddhism. I absolutely respect anyone who purposes to live in peace with others.

I've never found it helpful to try and point out differences in one faith from another. I think it is usually most productive to point out similarities.


Posted by GoodGrief, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm

nice try,

You have a wonderful attitude and I thank you.

Have a great day!


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2009 at 10:38 am

If anyone's still reading this, you might want to check this out.
Web Link


Posted by Whatever, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2009 at 11:23 am

Were the land of the free! We are comprised of many productive citizens that practice a wide range of religion.

No ONE religion should be dominant and NO religion should be entagled with Politics~!


Posted by BenR, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 21, 2009 at 8:36 pm

As for the founding fathers religions..

Some of the 1787 delegates had no affiliation. The others were Protestants except for three Roman Catholics: C. Carroll, D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons. Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (Episcopalian, after the Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists, the total number being 49. Some of the more prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical or vocal about their opposition to organized religion, such as Thomas Jefferson, (who created the "Jefferson Bible"), and Benjamin Franklin. However, other notable founders, such as Patrick Henry, were strong proponents of traditional religion. Several of the Founding Fathers considered themselves to be deists or held beliefs very similar to that of deists.

NONE were "Born Again Evangaliticals"...


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 21, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Note that most of those denominations listed above are "Evangelical", although not necessarily "Fundamentalist".


Posted by Hey Clueless, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2009 at 8:34 am

Evangelical is a modern term for what churches have always done...share the Good News which is the fundmental purpose of the Church. Get educated.

The Founding Fathers were indeed Christian. Not Muslim, etc. The Church has always been the guiding force in the foundations of cultures and their laws where that religion was paramountly believe by it's citizens. So it is with any other religion/nation. (The word culture contains the word "cult" meaning religion for a reason).

Keep it up with the "separation of church and state". The fundementals are the point. No secular 'state' has ever been created and maintained because nothing in mankind keeps themselves from themselves. God does that. Keep belittling the Judeo-Christian tenants that have produced the greatest nation and it's governing principles in the world and it will be replaced in short order with one more severe.

God created us with free-will the fundemental tenant of this nation created by men who knew Him. That is the principle the Framers intended...the Judeo-Christian principle of freedom and principles that guaranteed it. How then can you truly separate church and state? Take away one and you lose the other.

You aren't educated in this because you and your parents entrusted teachings of the church to be removed from the public schools. Keep it up...the tenants that give you your freedom won't be there if you keep removing the foundation. Eventually a house of cards collapses.

Only stupidity and pride will keep you from this:

Matthew 7:24-27 (New International Version)

The Wise and Foolish Builders
Jesus spoke and said,

24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Do you want this nation on a rock or on sand? It's a simple choice unless you are unwise...then it will seem meaningless to you.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 22, 2009 at 8:38 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Just a further distinction because no, not all churches are "evangelical". The term came into use from good old Martin Luther. It refers to an unmediated relationship between God and man, i.e., no priests needed.


Posted by Rae, a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 22, 2009 at 10:01 am

Hey Clueless, your comments definitely prove YOU are a Christian!

Quoting scripture, claiming a closeness to, and understanding of, God on one hand, while reflecting a judgemental, condescending and intolerant attitude on the other is exactly what I have come to expect from those who loudly proselytize their Christianity.

Good job!


Posted by Hey Clueless, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Stacey,

No, 'evangelical' does not currently refer to the term Martin Luther used to break from the Catholic Church in his great thesis regarding the individual relationship between God and man and that relationship not needing a mediator.

It refers to the Great Commisssion that we were given in the Church by our Lord - referring to all Christians as a whole - to share the Gospel, as I stated above, with those who have not yet heard.

The Great Commission is something the Catholic Church also participates in. Stacey, I'd assume you have heard of the California Missions? This was the Catholic churches "outreach ministry" or version of evalgelism back in the day and in fact goes back to the very foundations of the church in Jerulsalem when Jesus Christ gave his commands to reach out to all with the salvation only He gives for Eternal Life.

Since you are so fond of Wikipedia, here's a link for you Web Link


Rae,

Those are pretty big words of bitterness directed towards a pretty large group of people. The Church can rile you that much, huh? And I deserve the full vent of that, since, you know, we're all alike? You really should only paint the outside of a house with strokes that broad or you may miss something important.

Actually, I believe I have a right to defend my belief system against those like the posters above that seek to defile it and then YOU belittle me? I see. Christians just have to "take it" because we are a forgiving lot? I don't think so. In fact, we have every right under the law to defend ourselves.

It is generally considered hypocritical to accuse others of the very behavior you partake of. Sound familiar to you? Thank you for proving my point that people need God.

Have a super day! :)


Posted by Consistency, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 22, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Jesus came to save the lost, not the found.

If "Hey Clueless" says he's a Christian and demonstrates fallibility, then that is in alignment - those are consistent statements. Being Christian does not mean you are perfect and need to demonstrate perfection. It means your salvation is perfected - your behaviors will come into alignment later.

Those like "Rae" who do not claim to be Christian have NO excuse to refer to others as judgemental and condescending. You self identify as perfect and are demonstrating less-than perfect behavior. You reject the claim that you are not perfect and in need of Jesus, so you are fine on your own.

Rae, you are either in with Hey Clueless and on the road to perfection, or you are out and on your own and perfect now. You don't get to ride the fence. Looks like someone has some work to do and should focus on themselves and stop calling out others who never said they were perfect.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 22, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Hey Clueless,

Use a dictionary, not wikipedia.


Posted by Hey Clueless, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Stacey,

Thank you for the thoughtful suggestion! I actually have found throughout my education that a thesaurus builds my lexical skills at a greater depth than the rote memorization necessary using a dictionary. Or at least that was the strategy I utilized to help me receive a 780 on the verbal portion of the GRE. You should try it...

Also, I thought you preferred wiki since your post sounded like you quoted it directly. I tried to post a weblink in kind based on my hunch. My bad. I won't make that mistake again when replying to you. In fact, I won't reply to you at all!

Have a great night!


Posted by Mary, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 28, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Many of them were Deists..


Posted by pastor, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Why stop the debate? Our Founding fathers were indeed Christian!


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