On the USA as a Christian Nation: Part 3 of 4 – The No

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Question 2: Was the United States of America founded as a Christian nation?

The idea that the United States was founded as a Christian nation has been around since the country’s inception. Whereas the previous post listed the reasons supporting the claim, the purpose of this post is not to debate the issue, but to provide reasons for saying NO – the United States was not founded as a Christian nation. I welcome discussion and comments, but ask commenters to stay on topic. I numbered the reasons for easy identification. The next post will provide my concluding statements about this topic that are debatable.

Reasons Why the USA was Not founded as a Christian Nation

1) The Framers had the benefit of hundreds of years of history to develop a government – a history with the state persecuting religion – a history including the church controlling the state

2) Although six colonies were founded with official religions, no states have official religions

3) Just because some of the Framers were Christian is a fact about the framers, and nothing to do with the USA being a Christian nation

4) Other than personal writings, there is no definitive evidence of the Framers’ intent to establish a Christian nation

5) Examining individual writings does not provide Framer’s intent – but rather provides insight into the individual’s belief system

6) The Revolutionary War was not a religious event – although freedom of religion movement did piggyback the freedom for liberty movement

7) The Declaration of Independence uses “Creator” – but that is a term accepted by Christians, Jews, Muslims, Deists, Secularists, and others

8) Implying the three branches of Federal government established in the US Constitution directly correlates with Isaiah 33:22 is one example (of many) that are disparate attempts to establish the USA as a Christian nation (The Lord is judge, the Lord is our ruler, and the Lord is our king; he will save us.)

9) Although some states included religious preferences for elected officials, Article VI clearly states, “ … but no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trusts under the United States” – which the US Supreme Court has upheld.

10) The Bible does not include any covenant between God and the United States

11) The US Constitution does not mention “God”, “Christ”, “Jesus”, or “Jesus Christ”

12) The Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and any of the Federalist Papers lack Biblical references, direct references to the Ten Commandments, Christianity, Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ being Savior

13) Although elected presidents may include “So help me God” to conclude their oath into office, those four words are not a Constitutional requirement (Article 2, Section 1)

14) Even if the Framers established the US Constitution on Christian values and principles, this does not imply the USA is a Christian nation

15) Demographics of the country at any point in time is meaningless to the discussion because the documents matter

16) Placing “In God We Trust” on money started in 1861 with roots in the Civil War – not the country’s founding

17) Including “One nation under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance occurred in 1954 as a response to Soviet Communism – not the country’s founding

18) One should not confuse cultural heritage with Biblical Christianity

19) After the Constitution became established, some religious groups called it “blasphemous” while urging formal recognition of Christianity into the Constitution. Organizations as the National Reform Association sought a Constitutional Amendment in 1864 to officially establish America as a Christian nation. Additional sizable movements also occurred in the 1950s and 1960s – and these beliefs still exist today.

20) Treaty of Tripoli (1797), which the Senate ratified and President Adams signed, clearly states, “ The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

Next post: My personal concluding statements

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22 thoughts on “On the USA as a Christian Nation: Part 3 of 4 – The No

  1. Looking at your country from the outside, it is obvious that the US is a Christian nation. But there have been many different versions of Christianity as the years have passed; reformation and dispute regarding interpretations of the bible. It’s just for that reason that your founding fathers were careful to separate what they believed in and the structure of the state. In Europe of the time, it was common for all citizens to conform to the convictions of kings and princes. The founders believed in freedom, and in personal choice regarding the relationship of man and god. Many enlightened people see god himself as a concept, and the bible as a continuous testament, braiding history with an exposition of values. Others see god as an individual. Such understandings are not necessarily mutually exclusive,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shimon,
      I always appreciate your perspective, especially on this topic as one looking from the outside. One thing for sure, the Founders used their experiences to do something different. To you, is there a difference between a Christian nation and a nation composed of primarily Christians?

      Like

  2. Put side by side with the previous list this is even more interesting to me than if I’d read it cold. I think that #18 is the shorthand I’ve used in conversations through the years, but you’ve added so many details I wouldn’t have had ready to share. I think it’s worth studying. I have read and studied a lot of early American history, but the Treaty of Tripoli is new to me entirely. I don’t think I’ve ever even read about it, so you’ve given me a reason to go back to the books! Now how are you going to wrap all of this up? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      The fact that you placed the lists side by side made me smile – which is what one should do! The Adams statement in the Treaty of Tripoli is a strong statement, and if I correctly remember, didn’t I include an Adams quote on the Yes post? One thing for sure, no matter the topic, there is a lot to learn. … and glad you are enjoying this series. My thoughts and conclusions next!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You did mention the Treaty of Tripoli in the “yes” post, Frank. I was meaning that I had not heard of it prior to this series. There is always so much to learn, which is exciting, I think. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your approach to answering the questions: “Was the United States of America Founded on Christian Principles?” and “Was the United States of America founded as a Christian nation?” is working great (letting the facts speak for themselves). For me, the answer to question #1 is a Yes, for the same reasons used by the governments of the rest of the Great European Powers in 1787 with official state religions (all Christian/Catholic based), specifically England, France, Spain, and Russia. For question #2 my answer is a No based upon all of your 20 points (especially No. 11) and for the fact that the U.S., unlike the aforementioned countries, was totally and LEGALLY founded (no divine right stuff) on a document – the U.S. Constitution, over which the original states fought each other tooth and nail, for definitely UnChristian-like economic and political advantage, before finally reaching agreement (some kicking and screaming) on ratification.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim,
      I knew you would enjoy this series. With the previous post, you seemed to be unsure of my direction – but you better understand it now. I thought posting the YES list first was more effective. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, so the next post will show if we are aligned or to what extent.

      Like

    • Jo,
      Thanks for the kind words. I tried to be precise while promoting thinking over voicing an opinion. Well, except for my opinion coming with the next post. At least my thoughts will be based on the facts that I’ve laid out in the series. Glad you’ve enjoyed this topic.

      Like

  4. Pingback: On the USA as a Christian Nation: Part 4 of 4 – My Conclusion – A Frank Angle

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