Enough! This Nation was NOT Founded on Christianity

This article was originally published in Forward Progressives and written by Allen Clifton.

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Conservatives seem to not quite understand that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are two completely different things. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson. The Constitution was put together by many different individuals and it essentially creates our government and lists the rights of its citizens.

Granted, the Declaration of Independence does say, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator…” with “creator” referring to some form of God. But, again, this document has nothing to do with our Constitutional rights.

Our Constitution has exactly zero mentions of God, Jesus, Christians or Christianity.

In fact, the First Amendment clearly states that we’re given the freedom of religion. It also says Congress can’t make any laws based on religious beliefs.

But let’s just look at a few comments from some key Founding Fathers about the United States, separation of church and state and how this nation wasn’t founded on Christianity:

  • The Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams: “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
  • Thomas Jefferson: “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 prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
  • James Madison: “And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
  • Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
  • Thomas Jefferson: “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”

And that’s not all of them – there are several more – but I figured those were pretty clear cut.

Now why, if our nation was founded on Christianity, would some of our key Founding Fathers speak so strongly against mixing religion and government? Why would our Constitution never once mention God, Christians, Jesus or Christianity? Why does our very First Amendment specifically say that Congress cannot make laws based on religion?

It makes absolutely no sense for anyone to logically argue that this nation was founded on Christianity when there’s overwhelming evidence that says otherwise.

These people who claim this nation was founded on Christianity are simply wishing that it had been, instead of facing the reality that it wasn’t. The problem is, they’re trying to base laws on their wishes instead of the clear cut facts on what the Constitution and our Founding Fathers mapped out.

Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column.

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  1. I have been saying this, writing this, insisting on this for years — I appreciate having the quotations. However, the author of this piece does not have the First Amendment quite right. That Amendment was borrowed from the Constitution of the State of Virginia and says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion [like the Church of England] or prohibiting the free exercise thereof [which Massachusetts had done since the founding of the Plymouth Colony]

  2. All the Founding Fathers agreed that why Europe was always at war was because of religion. In Europe having an official state religion led to some ugly stuff: Spanish Inquisition, Martin Luther’s reforms that led to bloody riots, etc. The people coming here: Quakers, Huguenots, Deists, Masons, etc.—were all fleeing government and religious persecution….

    Europe was really big on choosing religious sides and the nations taking a formal stance against the “other religion.” It was like they hadn’t had enough of the Crusades against the Muslims, and way before this the Jewish battles. Two thousand years of bloodshed for forgotten reasons was fresh in the minds of all Europeans. People left Europe because total religious domination of the people was so intense. The burning of Joan of Arc, France’s most successful military leader in a time of great strife, because she “might” of been a witch—made no sense to anyone except to the jaded religious leaders.

    The English had their religious refugees that came here and so did the Germans and the French. For example, in Ireland there are hundreds, if not thousands, of stone Catholic Churches that King Henry burned down. The Spanish had already dealt with Jewish people who were given the choice of death, conversion to Catholicism or leave to the New World—which may result in death.

    The Founding Fathers realized that the Native Americans and slaves were not Christians and had to be invited to the table to create a viable nation on this continent. The Founding Fathers, especially Franklin (and later Jefferson), looked at the Iroquois Confederacy for the roots of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers looked at all the European writers who blamed religion for all the ills of the nations; and took these lessons to heart.

  3. The First amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” so ” respecting AN establishment of religion” lets break this down; First it says AN establishment of religion, then respecting…Websters dictionary states ” considering or concerning” as the definition of respecting. So Considering or Concerning AN establishment of religion. That means no law that puts a particular religion first. Preventing the government from forming a government religion, which was why they left Europe in the first place( Puritans left England after a migration from other European countries, Denmark, France, Germany, etc, all had state religions). They wanted to worship as they chose. Now the second part “Prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The crackdown on allowing children to read their bibles privately in schools, or to say a private prayer over their OWN food, or bible clubs, or off campus Baccalaureate Celebration is EXACTLY that. They are not preaching, they are freely exercising their religious rights. The quote from Thomas Jefferson which so often is quoted in “separation of Church and State ” is taken wholly out of context. It is from a letter from then President Jefferson to a concerned Danbury Baptist Association regarding the very interruption of religious freedoms by the government. Read both letters to comprehend the statement. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptists_in_the_history_of_separation_of_church_and_state. and https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html. This discussion was about the freedom of religion from the government interference not interference into government by religious ideation. Hence separation of Church and State was a protection OF religion not a protection FROM religion.. The other quotes are also likely taken out of context. This country was founded by those who left a country who REQUIRED all to follow a religion the GOVERNMENT set up. They wanted to follow their own religious feelings ( very christian at the time). So Yes this country was established on Christian principles and practices. That being said the government cannot establish a STATE RELIGION and cannot prohibit the free practice of any religion. Are we a CHRISTIAN nation? NO. Are we a NATION of CHRISTIANS? YES and Jews, and Muslims, and Buddhists, and Atheists, and Agnostics,…and the list goes on. The Government has NO PLACE IN THE MIDDLE other than to protect against ACTIONS done by and to each of us to cause harm. Get your history straight.

    • There are NO restriction prohibiting any individual, even a child at school, from possessing or reading a Bible, praying (over a meal, test, or for any other reason), or participating in religiously based after school programs. There are, however, rules requiring that any school which has a religious club, must allow clubs from all religions, or non-religious groups. I'm willing to bet you would have no problem with the Good News Club setting up shop at your child's school, I for one would prefer to see Secular Student Alliance or the After-school Satan Club at my child's school.
      Finally, the letter by Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists was referring directly to the First Amendment and is not 'taken out of context', and if you do not understand that freedom OF religion demands freedom FROM religion, then you do not understand Freedom.

  4. The important words that are being ignored in our first amendment are "Congress shall make no law". The word Seperation is no where to be seen. If an establishment has a cross or their property, even though it may be government property, no Law has been made. If a church has a replica of the birth of Christ, where is the Law? If any religion wants to put something on their property, no one is stopping them. If a religious symbol is on government property, nothing is stopping anyone to request an additional symbol of a different religion. The government has NO PLACE other than to protect their citizens from being forced to practice a certain religion.

    • The problems arise when those who request equal representation in the public square are denied. If you think it is easy to get a non-christian symbol on government you haven't been paying attention.

  5. I don't want to be governed by 'your' superstitions! And, I believe the founding fathers felt the same way! 'Your' religious beliefs are for you, not for me! The USA is a secular nation not governed by religion!


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