Is America a Christian Nation Debate and Poll
Is America a Christian Nation? 


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Is America a Christian Nation?


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PRO 1 Christopher Columbus
"It is hoped that by God's assistance, some of the continents in the Ocean will be discovered....for the Glory of God."


PRO 2 Mayflower Compact, 1620
"Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian Faith and honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by the presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic..."


PRO 3 William Penn
"If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants."



All the original state constitutions explicitly referred to God. (Even today, all 50 still do.) Eleven of the 13 original states included in their constitutions explicitly religious tests for holding office. And some even established official state religions. The reason the Constitution does not refer more explicitly to religion is because religion was not thought to be any business of the limited federal government, but rather the business of state governments. The Establishment Clause was drafted to keep the federal government out of the states' way on the subject of religion. That is why it bans laws "respecting an establishment of religion"  it was phrased to prohibit both laws that set up a national church and also laws that might forbid established churches at the state level. Once again, it was certainly not passed to remove religion from public life. In fact, on the same day Congress proposed the First Amendment, it made provisions for hiring its own chaplain a practice that continues to the present.


To see what the Founding Father's thought Click Founding Father's Religion Debate



Religious persecution was one of the problems of British rule and because of that the very first line in the Bill of Rights reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".


PRO 6.1

The forefathers agreed that no denomination should be elevated by the state above another, and worked on the proper wording to express this. One draft stated "Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed." In fact, the first amendment was meant to mirror the resolutions of the states, such as Massachusetts and New Hampshire, whose constitutions stated, "And every denomination of Christians . . . shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law."


CON 6.11

When the Senate was originally considering the First Amendment, it defeated three separate motions that would have changed its language to prohibit only laws that established "one religious sect or society in preference to others."


In 1797 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 tranquility, 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 preliminary treaty began with a signing on 4 November, 1796 (the end of George Washington's last term as president). Joel Barlow, the American diplomat served as counsel to Algiers and held responsibility for the treaty negotiations. Barlow had once served under Washington as a chaplain in the revolutionary army. He became good friends with Paine, Jefferson, and read Enlightenment literature. Later he abandoned Christian orthodoxy for rationalism and became an advocate of secular government. Barlow, along with his associate, Captain Richard O'Brien, et al, translated and modified the Arabic version of the treaty into English. From this came the added Amendment 11. Barlow forwarded the treaty to U.S. legislators for approval in 1797. Timothy Pickering, the secretary of state, endorsed it and John Adams concurred (now during his presidency), sending the document on to the Senate. The Senate approved the treaty on June 7, 1797, and officially ratified by the Senate with John Adams signature on 10 June, 1797. All during this multi-review process, the wording of Article 11 never raised the slightest concern. The treaty even became public through its publication in The Philadelphia Gazette on 17 June 1797. So here we have a clear admission by the United States that our government did not found itself upon Christianity. 


If indeed our Framers had aimed to found a Christian republic, it would seem highly unlikely that they would have forgotten to leave out their Christian intentions in the Supreme law of the land. In fact, nowhere in the Constitution do we have a single mention of Christianity, God, Jesus, or any Supreme Being.



PRO 9 President Andrew Jackson
"The Bible is the Rock on which this Republic rests."


PRO 10 Abraham Lincoln
"It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord."


PRO 11 Grover Cleveland
"All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ results in the purest patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship.


PRO 12 Woodrow Wilson, 1911 Pre-Presidential campaign speech

"America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scriptures. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a very simple thing to ask of you. I ask of every man and woman in this audience that from this night on they will realize that part of the destiny of America lies in their daily perusal of this great book of revelations. That if they would see America free and pure they will make their own spirits free and pure by this baptism of the Holy Scripture."



PRO 13 President Harry S. Truman
"The fundamental basis of this nation's law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in the right for anybody except the state."


PRO 14

The national motto, "In God We Trust" still appears on our coins. The phrase "under God" remains in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Congress begins its day with an invocation. The Supreme Court begins its day with the cry "God save this honorable Court." And presidents invariably begin their terms by adding the phrase "so help me God" to the oath required by the Constitution, thus continuing a tradition begun by President George Washington himself. These are not merely antique anomalies. They are expressions of our American tradition that there is a God whose assistance we call upon and who is the author and guarantor of our individual rights.


CON 14.1

Unfortunately, later developments in our government have clouded early history. The original Pledge of Allegiance, authored by Francis Bellamy in 1892 did not contain the words "under God." Not until June 1954 did those words appear in the Allegiance. The United States currency never had "In God We Trust" printed on money until after the Civil War. Many Christians who visit historical monuments and see the word "God" inscribed in stone, automatically impart their own personal God of Christianity, without understanding the Framers Deist context.


CON 15

The Framers derived an independent government out of Enlightenment thinking against the grievances caused by Great Britain. Our Founders paid little heed to political beliefs about Christianity. The 1st Amendment stands as the bulkhead against an establishment of religion and at the same time insures the free expression of any belief. The Treaty of Tripoli, an instrument of the Constitution, clearly stated our non-Christian foundation. We inherited common law from Great Britain which derived from pre-Christian Saxons rather than from Biblical scripture. Today we have powerful Christian organizations who work to spread historical myths about early America and attempt to bring a Christian theocracy to the government. If this ever happens, then indeed, we will have ignored the lessons from history. Fortunately, most liberal Christians today agree with the principles of separation of church and State, just as they did in early America.


CON 16

We are not a Christian nation, however we are a nation of a majority of Christians,  There will be times when deference to this majority could  be made, albeit at an innocuous occasion.  (Christmas is one such example as a legal holiday enjoyed by most everyone) Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution is Christianity is mentioned.  The all knowing term God in America covers the deity of many different religions and satisfies most people except, maybe, the atheists.  Our forefathers knew very well what they were doing in separating church from State and tacitly said and wrote that we were (and still are) a deeply religious nation.  Submitted by Ted E=





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