I’ve heard this argument so many times I decided it needed to be investigated. Was America founded on Christian values?
There are two places for us to look for answers: 1. Do Christian values agree with the values this country were founded upon, and 2. Did our founding fathers make any comments regarding this possibility?
Let’s start with looking at Christian values and American values and see how much overlap there really is. A quick read of the bible or even a quick goolge of Christian morals and values brings up these values defined in the Christian bible.
Jesus Died for Our Sins
This is one of the biggest defining principles of Christian religion. Having one entity/person/god take the punishment so the guilty party can go free is not only immoral but is entirely against the ideas of moral in today’s America and wasn’t considered moral by our founding fathers. Therefore, the biggest principle of Christianity is completely contrary to American morals.
Sacrificing for God
The bible is rich with ritual of sacrifice of both human and animal. No one today or at the founding of our country ever thought that it was acceptable to kill humans or animals for a deity.
Judge Not Lest You be Judged
Again, this is one of the principle definitions of Christianity and is referenced in the bible repeatedly. However, our country’s constitution defines judges as a fundamental part of the government.
Subjugation of Women
America’s founding fathers were mostly pagans but there were a couple devoutly religious in the mix. Still, there is no reference in any of our country’s founding documents, including all the notes on all the discussions leading up to the constitution that makes any reference to women being second class citizens or requiring women to be subservient to their husbands or covering their heads. Yet, these are defining principles in many of the bible’s stories. Even Jesus was quoted as being abusive to his mother.
The list of defining Christian morals that don’t match morals of our country are endless. I could continue but I believe I’ve proven my point.
Secondly, what did our founding fathers say about religion and government?
Founding Fathers’ Religious Comments
Let us start with the most obvious, the first amendment: Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion.
Isn’t that pretty obvious? If it’s not, if you want to interpret it to mean Congress shall make laws respecting… then you might have missed something in your English language class in elementary school. No means no. Even if you wonder if it really means yes, then correspondences with the founding fathers would illuminate that, but as it turns out, documents of their correspondences show that they mean “no”. For example, Thomas Jefferson wrote to say the 1st amendment made a ”wall of separation between church and State.”
Madison was quoted as saying, ”Strongly guarded. . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States.”
Not obvious enough, yet?
In an international treaty, The Treaty of Tripoli, drafted in the late 1700s 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.
The only way to continue to believe that America was founded on Christian principles is to refuse to accept facts. Unfortunately, though, this is also a defining characteristic of Christianity.