Today's Poll: Is this a Christian nation?
Mostly Christianity and founded on Christianity base faith. Now we have a growing muslim faith in this nation. I do believe this nation is a "Christian Nation".
founded on Christianity base faith.*
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. - The constitution
Governments are instituted among men. - The declaration of independence
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion - Treaty of Tripoli
"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it." - Thomas Jefferson on Common Law.
Wow Cj you took out of text. Who established the colonies? Guess what their primarily religion was, Muslim, Buddist, Christian or other.
The only colony that came out of a religious background for forming was Massachusetts, the rest were founded by nobles, or companies such as the London Company and New Sweden Company.
Actually, at the time the first people came to America, and formed a new nation, weren't they even a minority religion then? There were a lot more Native American at that time.
The United States is not a Christian nation.
Very true Jay but, the colonies were the establishment of the United States not native Americans. Natives of the land weren't not Christian but, the citizens of United States were. Once again Cj point I was making seems to be flying way above your head. I am not saying the foundation of the United States is Christainity. All I am saying is the citizens were of Christian based faith. So, it is my opinion that the United States is a Christian based majority making it a Christian Nation. Our government uses "In God We Trust" on our currency and our courts display the Ten Commandments.
The Treaty of Tripoli answers the question directly: "As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion..." This was written by the Founding Fathers, while George Washington was President, and ratified when Jefferson was. It was put in the nations newspapers and never questioned.
As for Moses and the Ten Commandments... That's Judaism. And on the doors, not all 10 are listed. Moses is not alone either. He's there with at least 18 other lawgivers from Confusius to Solon. And the Lady Justice statue, holding the scales? That's Themis, Roman Goddess of Justice. In God We Trust is from the 1950s, to separate ourselves from the "godless" Soviets.
No, this is not a Christian nation. But it is a religious one, an enlightened one. And we shouldn't need government to justify our beliefs by debating if it is or is not a Christian nation.
JR, OK, the first citizens of the United States were Christians. I was taught in school that they based there laws on the British system of laws with some changes. One of the main changes was the freedom of religion.
I was told by someone at a law school, that the reason that law school and courts display the 10 Commandments was not a religious reason, but because it is considered as the first written laws.
Hmmm, it seem this nation is represented by this government of ours. The last I knew this nation is ran by the people. Our Government shouldn't be a reflection of this nation. It is the People of this nation that should reflect what the United States is. This government is representatives of the People. However, it has become self serving. Greed and power has taken over. Politicians playing U.S. Americans against U.S. Americans! So, I guess this all is base on how you look at it. Heck, the President is a figure head like the Queen of England. Special interest rule this country.
This is not the same world our forefathers lived in. We need to get into the 21st century line of thinking.
Our forefathers did not witness jetliners crashing into buildings killing thousands of innocent people.
Our forefathers could not envision a nuclear weapons capable Iran, or what that means to the rest of the world.
Our forefathers did not have to deal with the ACLU, and their bleeding hearts.
This nation is at risk, from both domestic and foreign threats and we had better wake up to it, or just maybe the world will be ending in 2012.
More importantly, is this a caring nation? There are small pockets all over the country that scream a resounding YES. But the rest of America is mute.
Live and learn: "Morality in terms of behavior, not in terms of theology."
Frank is just as relevant today as he was then and we are now. Speak up and never shut up.
The truth about the Treaty Of Tripoli and how it is misrepresented.
The link: http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=125
Treaty of Tripoli
David Barton - 01/2000
The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, specifically article XI, is commonly misused in editorial columns, articles, as well as in other areas of the media, both Christian and secular. We have received numerous questions from people who have been misled by the claims that are being made, namely, that America was not founded as a Christian nation. Advocates of this idea use the Treaty of Tripoli as the foundation of their entire argument, and we believe you deserve to know the truth regarding this often misused document. The following is an excerpt from David Barton's book Original Intent:
To determine whether the "Founding Fathers" were generally atheists, agnostics, and deists, one must first define those terms. An "atheist" is one who professes to believe that there is no God; 1 an "agnostic" is one who professes that nothing can be known beyond what is visible and tangible; 2 and a "deist" is one who believes in an impersonal God who is no longer involved with mankind. (In other words, a "deist" embraces the "clockmaker theory" 3 that there was a God who made the universe and wound it up like a clock; however, it now runs of its own volition; the clockmaker is gone and therefore does not respond to man.) Today the terms "atheist," "agnostic," and "deist" have been used together so often that their meanings have almost become synonymous. In fact, many dictionaries list these words as synonym. 4
Those who advance the notion that this was the belief system of the Founders often publish information attempting to prove that the Founders were irreligious. 5 One of the quotes they set forth is the following:
The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion. GEORGE WASHINGTON
The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli is the source of Washington's supposed statement. Is this statement accurate? Did this prominent Founder truly repudiate religion? An answer will be found by an examination of its source. That treaty, one of several with Tripoli, was negotiated during the "Barbary Powers Conflict," which began shortly after the Revolutionary War and continued through the Presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. 6 The Muslim Barbary Powers (Tunis, Morocco, Algiers, and Tripoli) were warring against what they claimed to be the "Christian" nations (England, France, Spain, Denmark, and the United States). In 1801, Tripoli even declared war against the United States, 7 thus constituting America's first official war as an established independent nation.
Throughout this long conflict, the four Barbary Powers regularly attacked undefended American merchant ships. Not only were their cargoes easy prey but the Barbary Powers were also capturing and enslaving "Christian" seamen 8 in retaliation for what had been done to them by the "Christians" of previous centuries (e.g., the Crusades and Ferdinand and Isabella's expulsion of Muslims from Granada 9). In an attempt to secure a release of captured seamen and a guarantee of unmolested shipping in the Mediterranean, President Washington dispatched envoys to negotiate treaties with the Barbary nations. 10 (Concurrently, he encouraged the construction of American naval warships 11 to defend the shipping and confront the Barbary "pirates" – a plan not seriously pursued until President John Adams created a separate Department of the Navy in 1798.)
The American envoys negotiated numerous treaties of "Peace and Amity" 12 with the Muslim Barbary nations to ensure "protection" of American commercial ships sailing in the Mediterranean. 13 However, the terms of the treaty frequently were unfavorable to America, either requiring her to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of "tribute" (i.e., official extortion) to each country to receive a "guarantee" of safety or to offer other "considerations" (e.g., providing a warship as a "gift" to Tripoli, 14 a "gift" frigate to Algiers, 15 paying $525,000 to ransom captured American seamen from Algiers, 16 etc. 17). The 1797 treaty with Tripoli was one of the many treaties in which each country officially recognized the religion of the other in an attempt to prevent further escalation of a "Holy War" between Christians and Muslims. 18 Consequently, Article XI of that treaty stated:
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 [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] and as the said States [America] have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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. 19
This article may be read in two manners. It may, as its critics do, be concluded after the clause "Christian religion"; or it may be read in its entirety and concluded when the punctuation so indicates. But even if shortened and cut abruptly ("the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion"), this is not an untrue statement since it is referring to the federal government.
Recall that while the Founders themselves openly described America as a Christian nation (demonstrated in chapter 2 of Original Intent), they did include a constitutional prohibition against a federal establishment; religion was a matter left solely to the individual States. Therefore, if the article is read as a declaration that the federal government of the United States was not in any sense founded on the Christian religion, such a statement is not a repudiation of the fact that America was considered a Christian nation.
Reading the clause of the treaty in its entirety also fails to weaken this fact. Article XI simply distinguished America from those historical strains of European Christianity which held an inherent hatred of Muslims; it simply assured the Muslims that the United States was not a Christian nation like those of previous centuries (with whose practices the Muslims were very familiar) and thus would not undertake a religious holy war against them.
This latter reading is, in fact, supported by the attitude prevalent among numerous American leaders. The Christianity practiced in America was described by John Jay as "wise and virtuous," 20 by John Quincy Adams as "civilized," 21 and by John Adams as "rational." 22 A clear distinction was drawn between American Christianity and that of Europe in earlier centuries. As Noah Webster explained:
The ecclesiastical establishments of Europe which serve to support tyrannical governments are not the Christian religion but abuses and corruptions of it. 23
Daniel Webster similarly explained that American Christianity was:
Christianity to which the sword and the fagot [burning stake or hot branding iron] are unknown – general tolerant Christianity is the law of the land! 24
Those who attribute the Treaty of Tripoli quote to George Washington make two mistakes. The first is that no statement in it can be attributed to Washington (the treaty did not arrive in America until months after he left office); Washington never saw the treaty; it was not his work; no statement in it can be ascribed to him. The second mistake is to divorce a single clause of the treaty from the remainder which provides its context. It would also be absurd to suggest that President Adams (under whom the treaty was ratified in 1797) would have endorsed or assented to any provision which repudiated Christianity. In fact, while discussing the Barbary conflict with Jefferson, Adams declared:
The policy of Christendom has made cowards of all their sailors before the standard of Mahomet. It would be heroical and glorious in us to restore courage to ours. 25
Furthermore, it was Adams who declared:
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were. . . . the general principles of Christianity. . . . I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God; and that those principles of liberty are as unalterable as human nature. 26
Adams' own words confirm that he rejected any notion that America was less than a Christian nation.
Additionally, the writings of General William Eaton, a major figure in the Barbary Powers conflict, provide even more irrefutable testimony of how the conflict was viewed at that time. Eaton was first appointed by President John Adams as "Consul to Tunis," and President Thomas Jefferson later advanced him to the position of "U. S. Naval Agent to the Barbary States," authorizing him to lead a military expedition against Tripoli. Eaton's official correspondence during his service confirms that the conflict was a Muslim war against a Christian America.
For example, when writing to Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, Eaton apprised him of why the Muslims would be such dedicated foes:
Taught by revelation that war with the Christians will guarantee the salvation of their souls, and finding so great secular advantages in the observance of this religious duty [the secular advantage of keeping captured cargoes], their [the Muslims'] inducements to desperate fighting are very powerful. 27
Eaton later complained that after Jefferson had approved his plan for military action, he sent him the obsolete warship "Hero." Eaton reported the impression of America made upon the Tunis Muslims when they saw the old warship and its few cannons:
[T]he weak, the crazy situation of the vessel and equipage [armaments] tended to confirm an opinion long since conceived and never fairly controverted among the Tunisians, that the Americans are a feeble sect of Christians. 28
In a later letter to Pickering, Eaton reported how pleased one Barbary ruler had been when he received the extortion compensations from America which had been promised him in one of the treaties:
He said, "To speak truly and candidly . . . . we must acknowledge to you that we have never received articles of the kind of so excellent a quality from any Christian nation." 29
When John Marshall became the new Secretary of State, Eaton informed him:
It is a maxim of the Barbary States, that "The Christians who would be on good terms with them must fight well or pay well." 30
And when General Eaton finally commenced his military action against Tripoli, his personal journal noted:
April 8th. We find it almost impossible to inspire these wild bigots with confidence in us or to persuade them that, being Christians, we can be otherwise than enemies to Musselmen. We have a difficult undertaking! 31
May 23rd. Hassien Bey, the commander in chief of the enemy's forces, has offered by private insinuation for my head six thousand dollars and double the sum for me a prisoner; and $30 per head for Christians. Why don't he come and take it? 32
Shortly after the military excursion against Tripoli was successfully terminated, its account was written and published. Even the title of the book bears witness to the nature of the conflict:
The Life of the Late Gen. William Eaton . . . commander of the Christian and Other Forces . . . which Led to the Treaty of Peace Between The United States and The Regency of Tripoli 33
The numerous documents surrounding the Barbary Powers Conflict confirm that historically it was always viewed as a conflict between Christian America and Muslim nations. Those documents completely disprove the notion that any founding President, especially Washington, ever declared that America was not a Christian nation or people. (Chapter 16 of Original Intent will provide numerous additional current examples of historical revisionism.)
1. American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition, s.v. "atheism."
2. Id., s.v. "agnostic."
3. Id., s.v. "deism"; see also American College Dictionary (1947), s.v. "deism."
4. Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (1964), see synonym for "deist"; Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1963), see synonym for "atheism"; The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia (1895), Vol. I, see synonym for "atheist"; Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of the English Language (1966), see synonyms for "skeptic."
5. Society of Separationists, "Did you know that these great American thinkers all rejected Christianity?" (Austin, TX: American Atheist Center); see also Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1995, p. B-9, "America's Unchristian Beginnings," Steven Morris.
6. Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Claude A. Swanson, editor (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1939), Vol. I, p. V.
7. Glen Tucker, Dawn Like Thunder: The Barbary Wars and the Birth of the U. S. Navy (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1963), p. 127.
8. A General View of the Rise, Progress, and Brilliant Achievements of the American Navy, Down to the Present Time (Brooklyn, 1828), pp. 70-71.
9. Tucker, p. 50.
10. President Washington selected Col. David Humphreys in 1793 as sole commissioner of Algerian affairs to negotiate treaties with Algeria, Tripoli and Tunis. He also appointed Joseph Donaldson, Jr., as Consul to Tunis and Tripoli. In February of 1796, Humphreys delegated power to Donaldson and/or Joel Barlow to form treaties. James Simpson, U. S. Consul to Gibraltar, was dispatched to renew the treaty with Morocco in 1795. On October 8, 1796, Barlow commissioned Richard O'Brien to negotiate the treaty of peace with Tripoli. See, for example, Ray W. Irwin, The Diplomatic Relations of the United States with the Barbary Powers (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1931), p. 84.
11. J. Fenimore Cooper, The History of the Navy of the United States of America (Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., 1847), pp. 123-124; see also A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: 1789-1897, James D. Richardson, editor (Washington, DC: Published by Authority of Congress, 1899), Vol. I, pp. 201-202, from Washington's Eighth Annual Address of December 7, 1796.
12. See, for example, the treaty with Morocco: ratified by the United States on July 18, 1787. Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America: 1776-1949, Charles I. Bevans, editor (Washington, DC: Department of State, 1968-1976), Vol. IX, pp. 1278-1285; Algiers: concluded September 5, 1795; ratified by the U. S. Senate March 2, 1796; see also, "Treaty of Peace and Amity" concluded June 30 and July 6, 1815; proclaimed December 26, 1815, Treaties and Conventions Concluded Between the United States of America and Other Powers Since July 4, 1776 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1889), pp. 1-15; Tripoli: concluded November 4, 1796; ratified June 10, 1797; see also, "Treaty of Peace and Amity" concluded June 4, 1805; ratification advised by the U. S. Senate April 12, 1806. Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols and Agreements between the United States of America and Other Powers: 1776-1909, William M. Malloy, editor (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1910), Vol. II, pp. 1785-1793; Tunis: concluded August 1797; ratification advised by the Senate, with amendments, March 6, 1798; alterations concluded March 26, 1799; ratification again advised by the Senate December 24, 1799. Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols and Agreements between the United States of America and Other Powers: 1776-1909, William M. Malloy, editor (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1910), Vol. II, pp. 1794-1799.
13. Gardner W. Allen, Our Navy and the Barbary Corsairs (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1905), pp. 33, 45, 56, 60.
14. Allen, p. 66.
15. Allen, p. 57.
16. Allen, p. 56.
17. See, for example, Report of the Committee of Claims, to Whom was Referred, on the Twentieth Instant the Petition of William Eaton (Washington, DC: A&G Way, 1804), pp. 6-34, “Statement Supported by Document Accompanying the Petition of William Eaton, presented the 20th of February, 1804,” Documents Respecting the Application of Hamet Caramalli, Ex-Bashaw of Tripoli (Washington, DC: Dwane & Son), pp. 53-54, letter from Secretary of State to James Cathcart, April 9, 1803, Documents Respecting the Application of Hamet Caramalli, Ex-Bashaw of Tripoli (Washington, DC: Dwane & Son), pp. 54-55, letter from the Secretary of State to Tobias Lear, June 6, 1804, Documents Respecting the Application of Hamet Caramalli, Ex-Bashaw of Tripoli (Washington, DC: Dwane & Son), pp. 71- 72, letter from Tobias Lear to James Madison, Secretary of State, July 5, 1805, Documents Respecting the Application of Hamet Caramalli, Ex-Bashaw of Tripoli (Washington, DC: Dwane & Son), pp. 80-81, letter from Tobias Lear to James Madison, July 5, 1805. All of these mention specific amounts paid to the Barbary powers for ransoms, as well as the numbers of ships and other supplies that was sent.
18. (See general bibliographic information from footnote 16 for each of these references) Morocco: see Articles 10, 11, 17, and 24; Algiers: See Treaty of 1795, Article 17, and Treaty of 1815, Article 17; Tripoli: See Treaty of 1796, Article 11, and Treaty of 1805, Article 14; Tunis: See forward to Treaty.
19. Acts Passed at the First Session of the Fifth Congress of the United States of America (Philadelphia: William Ross, 1797), pp. 43-44.
20. John Jay, Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry Johnston, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1893), Vol. IV, p. 491, Address to the Annual Meeting of the American Bible Society, May 8, 1823.
21. John Quincy Adams,An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport at Their Request on the Sixty-First Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), p. 17.
22. John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1856), Vol. IX, p. 121, in a speech to both houses of Congress, November 23, 1797.
23. Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 339.
24. Daniel Webster, Mr. Webster's Speech in Defence of the Christian Ministry and In Favor of the Religious Instruction of the Young. Delivered in the Supreme Court of the United States, February 10, 1844, in the Case of Stephen Girard's Will (Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton, 1844), p. 52.
25. John Adams, Works, Vol. VIII, p. 407, to Thomas Jefferson on July 3, 1786.
26. John Adams, Works, Vol. X, pp. 45-46, to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813.
27. Charles Prentiss, The Life of the Late Gen. William Eaton: Several Years an Officer in the United States' Army Consul at the Regency of Tunis on the Coast of Barbary, and Commander of the Christian and Other Forces that Marched from Egypt Through the Desert of Barca, in 1805, and Conquered the City of Derne, Which Led to the Treaty of Peace Between the United States and the Regency of Tripoli (Brookfield: Merriam & Company, 1813), pp. 92-93, from General Eaton to Timothy Pickering, June 15, 1799.
28. Prentiss, p. 146, from General Eaton to Mr. Smith, June 27, 1800.
29. Prentiss, p. 150, from General Eaton to Timothy Pickering on July 4, 1800.
30. Prentiss, p. 185, from General Eaton to General John Marshall, September 2, 1800.
31. Prentiss, p. 325, from Eaton's journal, April 8, 1805.
32. Prentiss, p. 334, from Eaton's journal, May 23, 1805.
33. Prentiss. See also, Report of the Committee to Whom was Recommended on the Twenty-Sixth Ultimo A Resolution Respecting William Eaton (Washington, DC: A&C Way, 1806), January 8, 1806.
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Amen Frank. Unfortunately, we have politicians who don't have to follow the same laws as the people, want to make illegal aliens citizens, want to police the world as long as they get something from it, who screw the average American to line their own pockets. Have a blind eye to the real threats to this nation. They do this to help themselves to gain power and status.
The Borders should be our first concern. The American people are not being told what's really happening. The media makes it seem like we are picking on these poor defenseless illegal immigrants and violating their civil rights. Amazing how they overlook the fact that they are breaking a law. We need to stop allowing illegals from taking advantage of our system and stealing taxpayer's dollars. If an illegal alien gives birth in this country the child becomes an automatic citizen, they get medical care, schooling and living assistance. I am all for immigrants coming to America but, through legal channels.
"The only colony that came out of a religious background for forming was Massachusetts....."
I believe that William Penn and the many other persecuted Quakers that followed him from England to this new land in the 1670's and 80's would disagree.
Well Richard, I believed that treaty has been broken for about 11+ years now. Once again this issue is about our perception. I still believe this is a Christian Nation base on majority of the PEOPLE and we can disagree till we are blue in the face. Sounds to me as the treaty was agreed upon due to the newly establish U.S. wasn't really strong enough to fight off the attacks. The treaty has been broken though in my eyes and many others on and actually before 30 nations lost members of their country on 9-11. You can say all muslim did not agree with the radical muslims but, ask yourself these questions. How come the muslim nations of the world were celebrating the attacks and why is it that only muslim nations are the only nations that DO NOT TOLERATE other religions.
Heck, I was in Iraq numberous times and saw Christians who had to hide or die. We were not allowed openly to practice our religion. America is a melting pot.
Can I cut and paste Wikipedia into the Batavian? It would give me something productive to do so Billie wouldn't get mad at me for using the A word, the B word (several), the C word and I know a lot. The D word, I love the D words with S words and C words. The E words make me think but then "Eat Me" pops into my energetic equilibrium.
Not you Billie, I respect you and Howie. F is a treasure trove letter and G is for Geo. I think the rest of the letters are total *ssholes like the greedy 1%, but what do I know? Love y'all. Occupy everywhere and don't buy anything. Send them a message they can understand.
Marry Jesusmas, you know you love him.
I like him, he was a cool guy but I feel the same way about Tim Buckley. [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPtSVouKW10]
When the Constitution was written it prevented the Federal government from enacting an official church of the United States. It did not prevent state and local governments from designating an official church for the state. Many States had official churches at the time the Constitution was written. So yes the country was founded on Christian values.
More from Wiki:
"The majority of Americans (60% to 76%) identify themselves as Christians, mostly within Protestant and Catholic denominations, accounting for 51% and 25% of the population respectively] Non-Christian religions (including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc.), collectively make up about 3.9% to 5.5% of the adult population. Another 15% of the adult population identifies as having no religious belief or no religious affiliation. When asked, about 5.2% said they did not know, or refused to reply. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, religious belief varies considerably across the country: 59% of Americans living in Western states (the "Unchurched Belt") report a belief in God, yet in the South (the "Bible Belt") the figure is as high as 86%."
Obviously, we were founded as a Christian nation, and have flourished as one. I believe that our moral degradation due to getting further and further away from these beliefs and principles are the major reason for our decline as a free and prosperous nation.
Everyone believes for a little while and suddenly they are twelve.
If we are in fact discussing the United States of America, citations from the colonial period do not qualify. At that point in time the United States of America did not exist. Each colony/colonist existed as a contractual entity with a European government and/or corporate licensees/charter holders. More importantly, the demographics of the territories yet to become the United States of America clearly included a majority of non-Christian populations- namely natives.
If one is going to discuss the religious prerogatives of the United States of America, one must cite prerogatives existing under the constitutional mandate of a government established and ratified June 21, 1788. Any conflicting colonial prerogatives, after that date, are rendered null. The first amendment of the U. S. Constitution reads, "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."
Some states had independently established official churches, presuming the First Amendment applied only to the federal government, however, the U. S. Supreme Court in Everson v. Board of Education (1947) incorporated the Establishment Clause which left no doubt that states and lesser governments were bound by the same prohibition.
The debate as to whether the United States is a Christian nation or a polity of various faiths, pluralism; is primarily rhetorical. One need only visit the First Amendment to document the absence and prohibition of established religion. The question that supersedes (or should supersede) such debates is, "Why does it matter?"
It matters when status quo shifts or evolves. It matters when demographics change. It matters when differing traditions collide. The U. S. Constitution was never designed to be a static document. ...Nor was it designed to be selectively or whimsically enforced.
Like Father like sons, like it or not. Don't I know it, It's scary because I want better for them.
And then there is this: [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOoEYxt0PPA]
You don't even have to be a believer to believe in the right thing and to know what life is all about. It's the A word: "Appreciation."
John, the colonies were not the establisment of the United States as the result of an successful armed uprising by British citizens living in the colonies against the British Crown Rule. The citizens of the colonies first goal was autonamous rule and a commonwealth status while retaining full subject status.
The ascertion that the citizens of the United States were "Christians" is true only in the sense that many may have been "Christians", however to claim that all of the citizens were is patently false. Your ascertion is insulting and condescending to those who are not "Christians" and does little more than sow seeds of discord in much the same way a long list of haters who use religious differances to drive wedges in the community.
When the time came for those who were elected or appointed by a majority of citizens to meet and produce a Constitution that provides the framework and a foundation that legitimized the newly emerging nation they enshrined in the 1st. Amendment in the Bill of Rights the establishment clause that creates an impermeable barrier between church and state. The United States was formed as a non-sectarian nation.
First things first: WallBuilders.com is a website that states its religious doctrinaire goals right on the front page. Color me shocked that a writer for such a site would intentionally make the following statement mean the exact opposite of what it actually 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,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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."
Also, I can't help but notice that whenever this conversation comes up, the defenders of America as a Christian nation somehow find a way to slam all of the nations that are ruled by Islamic religious law.
Shorter theists: My brand of zealotry is better than your brand of zealotry, so it's ok for me to force my religion down the throat of everyone I meet and insist that they are just apostate guests in the hallowed halls of my loving God.
This is the part where I get called elitist, obtuse and glib. Then comes the part where I hand you people a mirror.
"why is it that only muslim nations are the only nations that DO NOT TOLERATE other religions."
We only have to look at some of the faith based organizations, right on our own soil, to find that religious intolerance is alive and well.
@Bea, or you could just look at some of the comments in this thread.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
There's nothing Christian about that quote Bob. As a matter of fact, it's so not-Christian, that it should make all of the people who are arguing for the US being a Christian nation step back and scratch their heads.
People only see what they want to see though. For example when modern Christians see words like 'Creator' in the Declaration of Independence and 'Nature's God' in Bob's quote, they immediately think in terms of their own religion or belief system.
I've read two of David Barton's books. I've watched two of his videos (owned them at one time, even). I've seen David Barton speak in a church in El Cajon. I've shaken the hand of Mr. David Barton and spoke with him briefly. I approached my study of Mr. Barton's work with an open mind and came to the conclusion long ago he's a charlatan and a crack pot who twists history to fit his agenda.
A much better book on this topic is Culture of Disbelief by Stephen Carter.
In order to understand how and why the founders worked so hard to make this nation independent of any one religion, I believe we do have to look at the colonies and their history. The founders didn't just pick 13 locations and decide they should be states. The representatives of each of those colonies, founded years before 1776, knew their history. Already cited are Pennsylvania and Maryland. Don't forget Rhode Island.
If the founders of the settlements in Rhode Island were here today, many on this board would be ready to hang them.
Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson and those who followed them, were progressives (egads!). They were way ahead of the curve when deciding on major items like religious freedom; neutrality and recognizing that those down on their luck needed a helping hand and not a cell in a debtors' prison.
They were NOT persecuted by England, but by the intolerance of those in Massachusetts.
The representatives of those 13 colonies brought their ideas to the table. This country should be open to all, regardless of faith or lack of.
We, who benefit from their foresight, should be eternally thankful that reason ruled.
Our country was established by a group of men who by ratio were overwhelmingly Christian, does that make us a Christian nation? No. Our laws are based on Judeo Christian principles, does that make us a Christian nation? No. God appears on our money, in our founding documents, and scripture is etched in granite on many of our Federal buildings, does that make us a Christian nation, No. It simply means that those who laid the framework for this nation were by and large men who held great faith in the God of the Bible. They were also men who in tremendous foresight saw to it that ours was a nation in which we have simultaneously the rule of law and the blessings of great freedom. That freedom includes the ability to practice whatever faith or lack of faith one adheres to and to be able to do so without reprisal nor pressure to adhere to a religion. Our founding fathers in many of their writings and speeches encouraged us to be citizens of faith and set themselves as examples by their faith in the God of the Bible. That does not in and of itself establish America as a Christian nation.
I think at times Christians look to the founding fathers expressions of faith and mistake it for government being a source of faith. The brilliance of the founding fathers and the documents written to establish this country is that government intends not to be a barrier of ANY kind in the practice of ANY faith. If one is looking to the government (or any man made organization) as a source of faith, they will be sorely disappointed. Our forefathers on many occasions implored us to pray, they encouraged us to use the Bible as a source of knowledge by enacting legislation that had Bibles printed specifically for use in our schools but at the same time did not do so in an act of proselytizing, but simply by sharing what was the source of their faith. There is no discouragement of the practice of religions other than Christianity in our founding documents, nor chastisement for not practicing faith. There is simply the statement that God has blessed them, God has blessed America and therefore they choose put their security and the future of our nation in the hands of the God that has proven to them to be faithful. I happen to put my faith in that same God.
Jeff, you put your well thought out there in terms that even an agnostic like myself can appreciate.
Thank you Ed
High five, Jeff.
Alright, now I'm beginning to worry...just kidding, thanks Chris
Of course there John. This intolerance for other religions in Muslim countries is conveniently not reported by the most of the new media here. They also do not report the rampant anti-Semitism and hate speech that is rampant with the occupying wall street crowd.
Good post, Jeff.
Well I guess Jeff we are an anti-christian nation and forming into anti-christ nation. So, what nation are we if not a Christian Nation? Take a survey of what religion people are in this country. Take a survey of what kind of nation are we? If this nations doesn't follow Christianity then what does it follow. I understand there are many different religions in this country. However, I like to bet most of this nation follows the Christian Faith. Go through your towns, villages, and cities, take note of what churches are in these places and tell me which one dominates. Muslim, Judaism, Buddhism, Christian or other.
John, with all due respect. We aren't talking about the number of people who follow what faith, or the number of edifices that dot our countryside, we are talking about the entity known as our nation. That entity does not recognize one religion over another.
For example, Great Britain may extend a welcome to other faiths, but they consider themselves a Christian Nation with their head of state (king or queen) as the head of the Anglican church.
We do not annoint our President as the head of a national place of worship.
Yes, Jeff at the same time lets go through your towns, villages, and cities to count the number of Whites, Blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics and Asians. When we see that there are more whites than all the rest combined should we say that we are a Caucasian Nation?
We aren't a Anti - Christ, or Anti - *insert religious figure here* nation, we are a SECULAR nation.
We are a christian dominate nation, in other words, christianity is the religion of choice for the majority of Americans. Can we all agree on that?
Thanks for your reference to David Barton. I had not heard of him. You may think he's a "crackpot" but I'm finding his articles informative and enlightening.
I don't understand your "crackpot" reference. I haven't really dug into his writings yet, but so far I am impressed with his common sense and factually based writings.
I'm bothered by this seeming need of certain Christian sects to establish doctrinal dominance in a secular country. The religious rule experiment has never worked and the speed at which the theists (even in this thread) cite religious intolerance in Muslim nations coupled with their inability to recognize the irony of that thought process boggles my mind.
Religious rule both covert and overt over the course of history has led to war, genocide, civil unrest, oppression, terrorism and any number of individual atrocities. No good has EVER come from establishing one religion over another, favoring this sect instead of that one or even giving a wink and a nudge to a certain group's beliefs while dismissing another.
America is a place where you can practice your religion freely without fear of retribution, bigotry or government intervention. Why can't that be a good thing? Why must we constantly struggle for dominance in our belief systems? I understand that one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith is converting the non-believers. It's the same with Muslims. As long as religious dominance is the goal, there will be religious war, there will be religious bigotry and there will be no peace for anyone.
Bob, but it's not factual. That's the problem. Barton is a master at shading the truth to fit his agenda. He serves up a heavy dose of opinion to tell you how to interpret his often out-of-context quotes. He leaves out whatever he finds inconvenient or contradictory to his overall thesis. He has absolutely no training as a historian, yet passes himself as one. He is, in short, a propagandist.
Chris I couldn't agree more. We sit back and watch what goes on in other countries controlled by theocrats and still believe that our religious zealots are some how different.
I think most of us can support Jeff's words. It was a very good post and sums up our nation nicely.
Chris, as a Christian - and speaking only for myself - I am in no way looking for dominance or dictating others' beliefs. I do, however, know that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ teaches us that our faith in Him leads not only eternal life, but a more fruitful life here on earth. Will I encourage a person to accept him? Absolutely. Demand it? I cannot.
I don't believe any thinking person can deny that following Jesus' teachings would lead to a better society.
H. O. as I said, I've only briefly looked at Barton's writings. I'll be looking deeper and get back to you.