In a recent Journal & Courier article, an attendee of a local gathering in observance of the National Day of Prayer alleged, “Our nation was founded on biblical principles.”
To the extent that our Founding Fathers had any religious affiliation at all, it was a tepid embracing of the philosophy of deism, a popular system of thought at the time. Jefferson, Franklin, Paine, among many others, held deist, rather than Christian, religious beliefs.
The two documents upon which our country was actually founded — i.e., the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States — contain not a word about Christianity, Christian principles, the Bible or Jesus Christ. Neither is there any mention of the Ten Commandments, heaven, prayer or being saved.
In 1797, the Treaty of Tripoli, negotiated by none other than George Washington, declared that “the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” Congress unanimously approved the text of this treaty, and John Adams signed it.
Mandatory church affiliation, among other factors, led to the establishment of the term a “wall of separation between church and state,” allowing, at each citizen’s discretion, freedom of religion or freedom from religion.
The phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, and our national motto became “In God We Trust” in 1956 in response to USSRs’ so-called “godless Communists.” It is historically incorrect to claim that America was founded upon Christianity.
Indeed, it was quite the opposite.
Randall S. Smith