..I'm so tired of hearing this crap.
I'd like a simple list of proof to negate it, and some of the arguments I might hear for it so I know what to expect and have a counter at hand.


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Treaty of Tripoli

Art. 11. 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.

Signed by one of the Founding Fathers, John Adams.
Signed by John Adams, unanimously approved by the House and Senate, and negotiated while George Washington was President.
And printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two New York newspapers without any evidence of public dissent.
Damn good coverage at that site. Thanks doone.
Got it and used it! Good find, Doone.

Ok.. so what are some arguments y'all have had thrown at ya in defense of this idiocy? Anything I should be prepared for?
Be prepared for a number of made-up quotations. I've seen several that, once researched, first appeared in a Christian apologetics book in the early 20th century, but nowhere else and it did not cite sources.
Everything that I've read actually indicates that James Madison, the mac daddy of the Constitution, was devoutly Christian. I would be hesitant to use any claims that the "founding fathers" were deists to support an argument that the US is not a Christian nation. The couple founding fathers who are most identifiable as "deists" - Jefferson and Franklin - were not involved in the writing of the Constitution - which I would argue comes closest to the "founding of this nation" given the sweeping changes in the union of states which it implemented.

The greatest arguments are, as Nelson points out, that having Christians write the Constitution or Declaration of Independence absolutely in no way supports the idea that the government they founded was based on any Christian values - making it a "Christian nation." The fact that they went out of their way to make it religiously neutral, and they had very good reason to do so, is enough proof that this is not a Christian nation. When the Constitution was written most states did support an "official" religion. Tax dollars went to supporting religion in general - or possibly only the official religion. Other religions were either forced to jump through near insurmountable hoops just to have the right to practice or they were not allowed to practice at all. And when I say "other religions" I mean Baptists, Catholics, and other non-Protestant denominations (in most states). Non-Christian religions were hardly allowed any rights at all, if they were allowed any. So the writers of the Constitution were very interested in keeping the federal government religion neutral so that all citizens really did have the freedoms they claimed to have revolted from England for.

Interesting side note, which I doubt any of those "Christian nation" supporters would have a clue about, but the Constitution, first amendment and all, originally only applied to the federal government. It was the 14th amendment, passed after the Civil War to, among other things, ensure that the rights granted by the federal government were not overruled by the states, which gives the Constitution weight over the states in all its articles. So one could argue that what the Founding Fathers wrote in the Constitution doesn't even matter because they were only laying out the rules of the federal government, which did not necessarily have absolute power over the states. In that case, it would be Lincoln and the Congress of that era's intentions that matter.

But I digress. The second best argument is that none of those "Christian values" which people claim this nation is founded on are actually unique to Christianity. They are values that Christianity co-opted into their own code of values, but they were not the brain child of Christians. In fact, you'd have to call them "Jewish values" were you to go that route. Though I've never heard anyone actually enumerate any of those values which are supposedly Christian on which this nation was supposedly founded.

Now, one argument which many people find, mistakenly, to be rather convincing is that the pilgrims on the Mayflower who were some of the key founders of a nation here on this continent were highly religious and that this nation was founded on the strong work ethic and quest for freedom, among other things, which those pilgrims espoused. Error number one: a strong work ethic is hardly a religious idea. Error number two: those pilgrims sought religious freedom for their own beliefs so that they could absolutely and without exception shut out all other religious belief and limit the freedoms of their community based on the Bible - clearly not something that our Constitution reflects, despite how hard the religious right attempts to inject the Bible into our laws. Further, one of the most telling "values" of the pilgrims was their absolute exploitation of and theft from the natives they encountered - which I must admit is one of the key "values" which our nation seems to be founded on, what with how we massacred, relocated, and stole lands from the native peoples in order to create this nation - however, I highly doubt any Christian would want to lay claim to that "value" in order to prove their point.
Stacy no much needs to be said after your brilliant explanation, however I do still have a few questions. Where was God and the guardian angels when over 12 million black people were murdered during slavery or where was he when the young 12 year old boy scout was eaten while alive by a black bear or the young girl who was eaten alive by a shark? The bible says :" ask and it shall be given and God will give thee the desires of your heart". Hum well when the desires and prayers of the poor and suffering African children were sent up to alleviate the pains of sickness, disease and starvation, they went unanswered and they just simply starved to death and died. And after thousands and thousands of years, its still happening today. Where was God? What about all of the innocent women and children who have been raped, molested and killed ? Where were their guardian angels? Who was there to protect them? Oh also all the innocents who are killed during war. Where were their guardian angels?
I was fortunate enough to hear Ed Buckner, president of American Atheists give a speech about this very topic.

From my blog:

Basically, Buckner discussed why the United States is not a Christian nation. He challenged other freethinkers to ask people who make this claim to explain what they mean by it. One could certainly argue that America has a Christian majority, but it also has a white majority, a female majority, and a majority of unmarried persons. If a nation is defined by its majority, then ours is a single white female Christian nation. You can easily understand why defining a nation by its majority does not always make sense. Sometimes when people claim that the US is a Christian nation, they mean that it was founded on Christian principles. Buckner asks these people to point to one single word in the Constitution that expresses any Biblical idea. Similarly, he challenges them to find one passage in the Bible that grants human beings civil rights; not divine rights and rewards, but the democratic ideas founded in the Constitution (such as the freedom of speech or the freedom of religion).

Buckner went on to explain that if we look at other historical documents of our past, then we can understand why we would not want to strictly adhere to every idea put forward upon our nation’s founding. In the Mayflower Compact, for example, the governing document of the Plymouth Colony, the settlers swore to remain “loyal subjects of [their] dread Sovereign Lord King James”, and idea that would later result in revolution.

Let’s not forget that past attempts to inject Christianity into the veins of our governing body have failed throughout history.


Founded in 1864 by a coalition of conservative Protestant ministers, the [National Reform Association’s] top goal was to add a "Christian nation" amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ministers were convinced that the Civil War was God's vengeance on America for omitting religious language from the Constitution, and they sought to rectify that situation.

The House of Representatives rejected the amendment in 1874 and 1896. Recommending a vote against it in 1874, the House Judiciary Committee cited "the dangers which the union between church and state had imposed upon so many nations of the Old World...."

In 1950, a brief flurry of activity temporarily resuscitated the organization, at that time based in Topeka, when Congress considered yet another "Christian nation" amendment. The proposal, introduced by Sen. Ralph Flanders, a Vermont Republican, would have added language that "devoutly recognizes the Authority and Law of Jesus Christ, Saviour and Ruler of nations, through whom are bestowed the blessings of liberty."

The new "Christian nation" amendment was an even bigger bust than its predecessors, and it was never reported out of committee. Efforts to revive it in 1961, '63 and '65 were unsuccessful.

[From Americans United]

I'm going to be a tad lazy in my contributions... I had this dispute with someone not long ago; so I'm going to selectively paste in some of my response.

In response to the comment that our laws are based on the ten commandments:

How many of the commandments do we have equivalent laws for? So many religious people argue this case without thinking about it long enough to realize. Of the biblical ten commandments, only TWO are laws; 20%. Thou shall not kill and Thou shall not steal. Some people argue a third, Thou shall not bear false witness because of perjury laws; but outside of a courtroom you can lie without legal repercussions so you can’t really count it.

In response to the claim that many founders believed in [the Judea-Christian god] because they used the term "Creator":

Many of the founding fathers were agnostic or deists (and some would have been considered atheist by today's standards); even more were against the idea of christianity or any religion being allowed in government. Thomas Jefferson was an openly admitted deist. He believed in a generic ‘Creator’ that created the world, and then left man to his own devices; he did not believe in the judeo-christian god and openly stated that the church had twisted religion for its own gain. Benjamin Franklin was also a deist who thought the church had it wrong and was corrupt besides, and often expressed philosophies that would be considered atheist by today’s standards.

In response to the presidential oath having "so help me god" and the president swearing on a Bible:

Neither the Bible nor the phrase "So help me God" are required parts of the oath of office. For early presidents it was common place to say a prayer after completing the oath; although others might have said it, Chester A. Arthur is the first president officially on record having ended his oath with "I will, so help me God." Another interesting tid-bit here is that since it is not part of the oath, it is technically illegal for the Chief Justice to say it; the president has the option, but the Chief Justice shouldn’t prompt it. Something else of interest with the most recent oath, since the Chief Justice botched it so badly at the inauguration it was considered possibly invalid; President Obama retook the oath the morning of the 21st, and did it without a bible.

In response to the claim that the founding fathers created "In God We Trust" as a motto and put it on money:

Any reference to God was not placed on money for the specific reason that it could be seen as the government backing a form of religion. "In God We Trust" did not appear on money until 1864. After the Civil War is was a popular sentiment for church leaders to point to the nation moving away from God as the reason for the war. This lead to many appeals written to the government; among these were direct appeals to the Secretary of the Treasury stating that the US currency should display that the US is a "god fearing" country. So on April 22, 1864, Congress passed an Act (that over turned several other Acts, and ultimately went against the Constitution), directing that "In God We Trust" be stamped on two-cent coins. In March of 1865 they passed an Act allowing all coins to be minted with the motto. Along this line also, "under God" was not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954. "In God We Trust was not made the official motto until 1956.
Actually, six of the original 13 states were founded with official religions, and part of your tax money would go to that particular demonination. That was all outlawed, of course, but the United States as a whole wasn't founded on any religion nor did it enshrine a national religion.

Right-wingers love to point to the official religions of individual states as evidence of their claim, but they neglect to recall that the Constitution has no mention of god or the Christian religion. The Declaration of Independence doesn't mention Christianity at all, but they do mention the word "God" several times, which was used to appeal to a higher order of law. What's so often ignored is that the god and the higher order are specifically referenced in the first goddam paragraph: "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." Not Jesus. Not Jehovah. Not the holy spirit.

Conservative Christians are patently dishonest, and this is yet another example. When they quote the Declaration of Independence (sometimes mistaking it for the Constitution, as they did en masse at the 2009 CPAC when Rush Limbaugh repeated this mistake), they always begin with the paragraph that starts with "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." instead of the actual first paragraph--the one that starts with "When in the course of human events..."

Why do they do this? Because they're dishonest, Orwellian, historical revisionist scumbags with nothing but resentment for reality. No, I don't think I can rephrase that more politely without losing a significant amount of accuracy.
Very accurate summation, Frink, with one minor quibble. The word 'God' only appears once in the Declaration, in the very phrase you quoted, 'Laws of Nature and of Nature's God'. It appears nowhere else.


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