Was the United States founded as a religious nation? What are your thoughts.

I recently commented about an article about Wikipedia lists E pluribus unum as one of the mottoes of the United States and notes that it was the de facto motto until 1956, when "In God We Trust" was officially adopted.




I received the following response from two friends of mine:

FRIEND 1:‎  "Omitting the word 'Creator' once was a mistake; but twice establishes a pattern," the group complained."

Actually, once is an occurrence, twice is a coincidence, three times establishes a pattern.


FRIEND 2:  The Raw Story gets an Epic Fail for this one. Wikipedia is about as reliable as our politicians. At any rate. As much as it may bother some our country was pretty much founded on conservative Christianity. I more or less agree with the fact that although the Church and the State should be separated the state was based on the church. I don't see a problem with mentions of religious points brought up in speeches. I think it's pretty important especially when it comes to religious tolerance. Although I'm not a very religious person I think that there is nothing wrong with government's having a religious base.


FRIEND 1:  Disagree. This nation was founded first by those fleeing religious persecution, and then codified by men who were liberal in regards to the rights of man. They also clearly established that while a moral pretext regarding life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the religion must be kept away from government as it naturally persecutes the non-believer.

And Wikipedia is very reliable.

If you can get a look at the Great Seal of the US, you can see the E pluribus unum written on it.


Friend 2:    I stay away from Wikipedia because it can be edited without verification and I've run across too many things that had been altered with bad information. Great concept, not well maintained. 

Oh and I'm not arguing the E Pluribus Unum, I know it was a motto. I just don't like how so many people try and push all religious background from our government. Yes they were fleeing persecution. But they were also puritans who were being persecuted because they felt that the Church of England didn't purify itself enough when it broke from Catholicism. 

My only complaint about the move away from a religious base in government is that too many people move completely away from any type of morals. My problem with some of those that use religion as a justification for action is that they base their argument in Bullshit and are hypocrites to the nth degree.

I like Obama using our older Motto, but I agree that he may be pushing too far away from the religious moors our country was founded with. If that makes sense.


ME:  Sorry, I also disagree that this country was founded on Conservative Christianity. As the United States delved into international affairs, few foreign nations knew about the intentions of the U.S. For this reason, an insight from at a little known but legal document written in the late 1700's explicitly reveals the secular nature of the U.S. goverenment to a foreign nation. Officially called the "Treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary," most refer to it as simply the Treaty of Tripoli. In Article 11, it states:

"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 tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan 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." 

Yes, many Americans did practice Christianity back then, but so also did many believe in deistic philosophy. Indeed, most of our influential Founding Fathers, although they respected the rights of other religionis, held to deism and Freemasonry tenets rather than to Christianity.

The United States Constitution serves as the law of the land for America and indicates the intent of our Founding Fathers. The Constitution forms a secular document, and nowhere does it appeal to God, Christianity, Jesus, or any supreme being. The U.S. government derives from people (not God), as it clearly states in the preamble: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union...." The omission of God in the Constitution did not come out of forgetfulness, but rather out of the Founding Fathers purposeful intentions to keep government separate from religion. Furthermore, it goes on to state 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. Thomas Jefferson made an interpretation of the 1st Amendment to his January 1st, 1802 letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association calling it a "wall of separation between church and State." Madison had also written that "Strongly guarded. . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States." There existed little controversy about this interpretation from our Founding Fathers. The end of the Constitution records the year of its ratification, "the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven." Although, indeed, it uses the word "Lord", it does not refer to Jesus but rather to the dating method. This scripted form served as a common way of dating in the 1700s. The Constitution also uses many pagan words such as January (from the two-headed Roman god, Janus), and Sunday (from the word Sunne, which refers to the Saxon Sun god). But we don't hear anybody trying to argue for the justification of a pagan god based on the Constitution? 

If the religious better understood the concept of separation of Church & State, they would realize that the wall of separation actually protects their religion. Our secular government allows the free expression of religion and non-religion. 

And lastly, one hardly needs religion to be moral. As a matter of fact, more people who are religious who practice suspect morals than those who proclaim to have no religion. Yes, the argument could be made that the size of the groups differ, but that doesn't remove the fact of the matter. There are many examples to be given here,the sex scandals of the Catholic Church or that the Vatican has the highest crime rate per capita then anywhere else in the world, just to name a couple. And I could go on and on. (But i'm pretty sure you already know that.)


FRIEND 2: Ummm ok... so let's say that when it came to the further establishment of the government of this country they put in place a system which was to prevent, or place a wall, to keep the Church from overtaking the government, and preventing the government from abusing the church. We can further apply that to any religion. Because frankly, at that point in time during history many Catholics did not view Lutheran's as Christians and vice versa so technically many branches of Christianity could be viewed as completely separate religions. However I digress...

http://www.ushistory.org/d eclaration/document/

Here is a link to the Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America. I would like to point out that although the Constitution makes a very important point in leaving out any type of God in order to keep the two major forces from causing problems in leading the people of the new nation, the Declaration of Independence was steeped in religious background.

The most important, in my humble opinion, being "... Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..." and "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." This lays they flat out belief that what we have is based on some type of God or Creator, and that People create a Government to PROTECT those God/Creator given rights. Am I wrong or does this make sense?


ME:   OK, first, what do you mean as further establishment? And yes, your right, it does apply to any religion. The same arguments against Christianity apply to all other religions in so far as it relates to the separation of church and state.


Many Christian's who think of America as founded upon Christianity usually present the Declaration of Independence as "proof" of this Christian America. The reason are obvious: the Declaration mentions God. You may notice that many Christians avoid the Constitution, with its absence of God.

The Declaration of Independence does not represent any law of the United States. It came before the the Constitution. The Declaration aimed at announcing the separation of America from Great Britain and it listed the various grievances with them. The Declaration includes the words, "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America." As the grievances against Great Britain no longer hold today, and we have more than thirteen states, it holds no legal power today. Even though judges may mention it in their summations, it represents a historical document about rebellious intentions against Great Britain at a time before the formation of our government.

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman wrote the Declaration of Independence aimed at a future government designed and upheld by people and not based on a superstitious god or religious monarchy. It observed that all men "are created equal" meaning that we all have the natural ability of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men." The Declaration says nothing about our rights secured by Christianity or any other religion.

Furthermore, the mentioning of God in the Declaration does not describe the personal God of Christianity. Thomas Jefferson who held deist beliefs, wrote the majority of the Declaration. The Declaration describes "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." This nature's view of God agrees with the deist philosophy. Nowhere in the Declaration is Jesus, Moses or the Bible ever mentioned. If America was founded as a Christian nation this would not be the case.

The below information is from: World Union of Deists (http://www.deism.com/)

"Deism is the recognition of a universal creative force greater than that demonstrated by mankind, supported by personal observation of laws and designs in nature and the universe, perpetuated and validated by the innate ability of human reason coupled with the rejection of claims made by individuals and organized religions of having received special divine revelation." Source: World Union of Deists

In a letter to Benjamin Rush dated April 21, 1803 Jefferson wrote, "To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other." 

Thomas Jefferson's Deistic mind would not let him accept the Biblical Book of Revelations. According to Charles B. Sanford's book THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THOMAS JEFFERSON, Jefferson described the Book of Revelation as, ". . . merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams."

In fact, Jefferson thought the Bible to be so violent and degrading to the image of God and to the true teachings of Jesus he literally cut and pasted the gospels, removing reference to supernatural assertions such as the virgin birth and the resurrection, and came up with what he called THE LIFE AND MORALS OF JESUS OF NAZARETH, but is now more commonly referred to as THE JEFFERSON BIBLE. This treatment Jefferson gave to the Christian scriptures demonstrates his rejection of the claim that they are divinely inspired.

When Thomas Jefferson gave advice to his nephew Peter Carr regarding religion Jefferson wrote: "RELIGION. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty and singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, and the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand shake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

The above came from World Union of Deists:(http://www.deism.com/)

To answer your question, No, and here's why. Deists, and our founders for that matter viewed religion as a COMPLIMENT to their knowledge, for those who did believe in god, which it can be argued most of them did. However their views were far more hands off than today, and they would most likely view our current use of religion with horror. Furthermore, the founders supported much of their beliefs based from Magna Carta. 

“When Englishmen left their homeland to establish colonies in the New World, they brought with them charters guaranteeing that they and their heirs would "have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects." Scant generations later, when these American colonists raised arms against their mother country, they were fighting not for new freedoms but to preserve liberties that dated to the 13th century.”

“When representatives of the young republic of the United States gathered to draft a constitution, they turned to the legal system they knew and admired--English common law as evolved from Magna Carta.” 

http://www.archives.gov/ex hibits/featured_documents/ magna_carta/

It stands to reason that the Declaration of Independence would be based in these same manner on the same beliefs and from the same source material, as it predates the Constitution.

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