Was the US founded as a Christian Nation?

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    Jun 08, 2008 6:12 PM GMT
    No, it was not. It may be described today as a Christian nation in the sense that it is a female nation, heterosexual nation or white nation if simple majorities are to the primary descriptor, but even that loses the spirit of what this country was actually founded upon: private property and personal liberty as long as it doesn't infringe upon the rights of others.

    McCain is a little more off his rocker than I thought. I'll be upfront in that I am a Ron Paul guy, so I tend to lean conservative but away from Bush; I love political science, especially the era of the nation's founders. McCain is completely wrong on this:



    I am only a few pages into the book The Fouding Faith by Steven Waldman, co-founder, editor-in-chief, and CEO of Beliefnet.com; and even he recognizes that the US was not set up as a Christian nation. It was created with the explicit purpose of having no State faith. An interesting presentation by the author:

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    Jun 08, 2008 9:35 PM GMT
    I'd like to see what exact words in the Constitution John McCain is reading that leads him to believe the USA was established as a Christian nation.

    Maybe he's not familiar with the Treaty of Tripoli, passed by Congress unanimously in 1796 and signed by President John Adams, but it's pretty unequivocal. It says, "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

    Most people who believe America was founded as a Christian nation have fallen for the fabrications of author David Barton, who compiled a list of alleged quotes from the founding fathers ostensibly supporting that notion, for his 1986 book The Separation Myth. It was later revealed that Barton simply fabricated most of them, a fact he was forced to admit on his own website.

    Nonetheless, a bell can't be unrung and there are many people still citing these fabricated quotes. They are mentioned on popular talk radio shows by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, as well as cited in numerous letters to the editor in newspapers all across the country every day.

    Barton deliberately invented these quotes knowing they were bogus, but in the end, he's still accomplished what he wanted. To convince America's evangelicals that the USA was founded as a Christian nation and to see that false notion perpetuated.
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    Jun 08, 2008 10:53 PM GMT
    Global_Citizen said
    Most people who believe America was founded as a Christian nation have fallen for the fabrications of author David Barton, who compiled a list of alleged quotes from the founding fathers ostensibly supporting that notion, for his 1986 book The Separation Myth. It was later revealed that Barton simply fabricated most of them, a fact he was forced to admit on his own website.

    Barton deliberately invented these quotes knowing they were bogus, but in the end, he's still accomplished what he wanted. To convince America's evangelicals that the USA was founded as a Christian nation and to see that false notion perpetuated.


    And this is the challenge isn't it...to re-educate a large segment of the population that has NO INTEREST in being divested of their false beliefs....icon_confused.gif
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    Jun 08, 2008 11:03 PM GMT
    what's the link to that first video clip? i'd like to email it to my dad.
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    Jun 08, 2008 11:08 PM GMT
    If you click the Quote button of a posting, you can see (and edit out) the link.

    http://www.youtube.com/v/9izhjnaLa3M&hl=en
    http://www.youtube.com/v/kpB4ytLDoeQ&hl=en
  • kansascityman

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    Jun 08, 2008 11:11 PM GMT
    I listened to an NPR interview with Waldman. Really interesting and thoughtful. Here's the link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88096495

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    Jun 08, 2008 11:14 PM GMT
    In the context of the horrifying religious persecution of the time, the United States was *virtuously* founded as a nation where the State exercises no opinion on private religion.

    This is one of the best qualities of the United States. These words from McCain ought to horrify any Republican who believes in limited government, personal freedom and state noninterference. If they are logically consistent that is.

    Posturing, mere posturing.
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    Jun 08, 2008 11:19 PM GMT
    "Republican who believes in limited government, personal freedom and state noninterference"


    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    HAHAHAHAHAH! HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Oh, and HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
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    Jun 08, 2008 11:30 PM GMT
    This is a big thing for which I am proud of America: freedom of religion.

    "Amendment I

    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."

    McCain will get smacked by this clause in a debate if Obama pulls out his Bill of Rights card.
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    Jun 09, 2008 12:53 AM GMT
    I think there is a difference in saying the country was founded by Christians people vs. it was found as a Christians nation.

    I listened to a really good program on NPR in which a historian would read statements from the founding fathers that clearly showed how they were nothing like they are portrayed by today's modern conservative religious groups.

    There were non-Christians and other groups that would probably not be considered traditional Christians by some of today's Christians. Here is a letter from George Washington expressing his support for early American Jews (1790) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/bigotry.html The letter, a foundation stone of American religious liberty and the principle of separation between church and state, is signed, simply, “G. Washington.”

    Here is a nice link to show religious diversity of the founding fathers .. http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html

    There were for instance those who did not accept a "Trinity" which according to many Conservative Christians is necessary to be a Christian. http://www.earlyamericanhistory.net/founding_fathers.htm
    Deism could fall into certain subcategories of Deist-Christian (i.e. Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson) and Deist non-Christian (i.e. Thomas Paine, Ethan Allen). Deist-Christians generally believed the Bible provided good lessons to live by and they attended church regularly. Deist non-Christians generally felt that Christianity was largely an impediment to growth and they did not attend church regularly. Also of Benjamin Franklin: Like most Deists, he questioned the Trinity and the resurrection, and was skeptical of the miracles of Jesus.

    I certainly believe that we should be able to practice any religion we want (even fundamentalism), BUT I think many Americans don't realize how radical our founding fathers really were. I think they (our founding fathers) would be shocked to see some of the fundamentalist claims today and I think some modern-day Conservative Christians would find themselves at odds with our founding fathers.

    If the USA were as "Christian" (by some Conservative Christians definitions) at it's founding, the founding fathers would have written themselves out of the Constitution.
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    Jun 09, 2008 12:55 AM GMT
    original714 said McCain is a little more off his rocker than I thought. I'll be upfront in that I am a Ron Paul guy.


    Oh the irony.
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    Jun 09, 2008 1:33 AM GMT
    ActiveAndFit saidI think many Americans don't realize how radical our founding fathers really were. I think they (our founding fathers) would be shocked to see some of the fundamentalist claims today and I think some modern-day Conservative Christians would find themselves at odds with our founding fathers.

    But you'll never hear us telling the Christians, "America, love it or leave it!"
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    Jun 09, 2008 1:34 AM GMT
    jprichva saidOh the irony.
    Heh heh.
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    Jun 09, 2008 1:41 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidBut you'll never hear us telling the Christians, "America, love it or leave it!"
    Why not?
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    Jun 09, 2008 1:42 AM GMT
    ActiveAndFit said I think many Americans don't realize how radical our founding fathers really were. I think they (our founding fathers) would be shocked to see some of the fundamentalist claims today and I think some modern-day Conservative Christians would find themselves at odds with our founding fathers.


    Where's the smiley face for wild applause????
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    Jun 09, 2008 1:48 AM GMT
    ActiveAndFit saidWhy not?
    Because we, meaning non-Christians, respect the Establishment Clause and won't rely on jingoistic bumper sticker bullshit to provoke divisiveness. Are you asking me rhetorically, or do you think I'm disagreeing with you?
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    Jun 09, 2008 1:49 AM GMT
    RunintheCity saidWhere's the smiley face for wild applause????
    icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 09, 2008 1:53 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidBecause we, meaning non-Christians, respect the Establishment Clause and won't rely on jingoistic bumper sticker bullshit to provoke divisiveness. Are you asking me rhetorically, or do you think I'm disagreeing with you?
    OK. I am good with that. I am hardly even noticed anyway. I'll settle for a nice round of schoolhouse rock that teaches basic concepts of liberty ..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNb9AoY5XXE
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    Jun 09, 2008 2:03 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said Are you asking me rhetorically, or do you think I'm disagreeing with you?
    It just popped into my head, I would be surprised if no one ever said that.
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    Jun 09, 2008 11:24 AM GMT
    Although I'm not a christian myself I have to agree somewhat with Senator McCain. He could have articulated it better, but in an interview, the questions come fast and fast responses are expected.

    Take for example the dividing issue of the war in Iraq.
    An American and liberal core value is taken from that "Do unto others" passage in the new testament. The invasion of Iraq certainly does violate that idea.
    Waterboarding terrorist suspects is an outrage and we get that from Christian roots. Christianity is the source of many of our values of right and wrong.

    The founding fathers could not have known about the nazis, radical muslims and the communists or understood how modernity could shrink the world. Events and global interactions are much more complicated these days. Strict adherence to such principles can leave us vulnerable in this day and age. This leaves us in the current dilemma that divides us so. Do we risk the survival of our civilization by maintaining these principles under unusual threats or maintain them regardless?

    In this sense, Senator McCain is correct, the United States is founded on Christian and Hebrew principles.








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    Jun 09, 2008 9:27 PM GMT
    John43620 saidTake for example the dividing issue of the war in Iraq.
    An American and liberal core value is taken from that "Do unto others" passage in the new testament. The invasion of Iraq certainly does violate that idea.
    Waterboarding terrorist suspects is an outrage and we get that from Christian roots. Christianity is the source of many of our values of right and wrong.


    Actually, the Golden Rule predates Xianity, as do most values of right and wrong that are found in the Bible. So falsely attributing their origin to a Judeo-Xian ethic as evidence that the US is founded on Xian principles is simply fallacious.
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    Jun 10, 2008 12:10 PM GMT
    Oh stuff it Robis, they didn't know the archeological record that well in 1775 or 1787. It was in the Old and New Testaments and that's where it influenced our American culture. It doesn't matter where the Old and New Testaments got it from in this context.


  • roadbikeRob

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    Jun 10, 2008 11:20 PM GMT
    No way was America founded as a "Christian nation" that is baseless bullshit. I wish these Christian conservatives would stop polluting the air with their empty, baseless rhetoric that America is a Christian nation. America was founded on the principals of religious freedom and that there can be no state sponsered or mandated religion. The founding fathers were considered very radical for their time, most of them were deists. They were not the God fearing Christians that these narrow-minded, bible thumping screwballs make them up to be.
  • swimbikerun

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    Jun 10, 2008 11:35 PM GMT
    ActiveAndFit
    I certainly believe that we should be able to practice any religion we want (even fundamentalism)
    I absolutely disagree. Many fundamentalist tenants: calling for women to be subservient, indoctrination of children, calling for the deaths of sinners and unbelievers, killing sinners and unbelievers can all be viewed as crimes against humanity.
    At what point does society as a whole say, enough. You don't have the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre and you shouldn't have the right to incite hatred against other human beings.
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    Jun 10, 2008 11:37 PM GMT
    I think that the founders held a predominantly Christian worldview, but, given England's state religion, separation of church and state was always an underlying goal of the founders.

    Anyway, I think it would be more appropriate to say that the US was founded as a Masonic nation. :p