Our Founding Fathers on ChristianityAnyone who tells you that the Founding Fathers were trying to create a Christian nation is either a liar or parroting what other liars told him. This is what they really had to say about Christianity.
The Faith of our Founding Fathers By Dean Worbis No one disputes the faith of our Founding Fathers. To speak of unalienable Rights being endowed by a Creator certainly shows a sensitivity to our spiritual selves. What is suprising is when fundamentalist Christians think the Founding Father's faith had anything to do with the Bible. Without exception, the faith of our Funding Fathers was deist, not theist. It was best expressed earlier in the Declaration of Independence, when they spoke of "the Laws of Nature" and of "Nature's God." In a sermon of October 1831, Episcopalian minister Bird Wilson said, "Among all of our Presidents, from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism." The Bible? Here is what our Founding Fathers wrote about Bible-based Christianity Thomas Jefferson "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth." SIX HISTORIC AMERICANS By John E. Remsburg, letter to William Short Jefferson again "Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the first great corruptor of the teachings of Jesus." More Jefferson "The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulturated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ." Jefferson's word for the Bible? "Dunghill." John Adams "Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole cartloads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?" Also Adams "The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity." Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 states "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." Here's Thomas Paine "I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book (the Bible)." "Among the most detesable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to 'God' to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not dare so dishonor my Creator's name by (attaching) it to this filthy book (the Bible)." "It is the duty of every true Diest to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible." "Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins...and you will have sins in abundance." And; "The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in pretend imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty." Finally let's hear from James Madison "What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyrrany. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy." Madison objected to state-supported chaplains in Congress and to the exemption of churches from taxation. He wrote "Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together." These Founding Fathers were a reflection of the American population. Having escaped from the state-established religions of Europe, only 7% of the people in the 13 colonies belonged to a church when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Among those who confuse Christianity with the founding of America, the rise of conservative Baptists is one of the more interesting developments. The Baptists believed God's authority came from the people, not the priesthood, and they had been persecuted for this belief. It was they - the Baptists - who were instrumental in securing the separation of church and state. They knew you can not have a "one-way-wall" that lets religion into government but that does not let it out. They knew no religion is capable of handling political power without becoming corrupted by it. And, perhaps, they knew it was Christ himself who first proposed the separation of church and state; "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto the Lord that which is the Lord's." In the last five years the Baptists have been taken over by a fundamentalist faction that insists authority comes from the Bible and that the individual must accept the interpretation of the Bible from a higher authority. These usurpers of the Baptist faith are those who insist they should meddle in the affairs of the government and it is they who insist the government should meddle in the beliefs of individuals. References The writings of Thomas Jefferson exist in 25 volumes. The references for this article were found in the book, SIX HISTORIC AMERICANS, by John E. Remsburg (who interviewed many of Lincoln's associates). Much of his work on Jefferson came from THE MEMOIRS, CORRESPONDENCE AND MISCELLANIES FROM THE PAPERS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON, 4 volumes ed. by Thomas Jefferson Randolph (the grandson of Thomas Jefferson). WWJD What Would Jefferson Do? April 13, 2000 marks Thomas Jefferson's 257th birthday. In honor of this occasion, Americans United has pulled together some of Jefferson's best statements on church and state. Jefferson, along with James Madison, was a key architect of the religious liberty guarantees we enjoy today. What better way to honor the memory of this visionary founder than spending a few moments reading and reflecting on his timeless wisdom? With issues such as voucher aid to religious schools and government-sponsored prayer in public schools pending in Congress and the state legislatures, Jefferson's comments are just as relevant today as they were then. Religious Right activists claim the framers never intended to separate church and state. Christian Coalition president Pat Robertson says separation is a "lie of the left." TV preacher Jerry Falwell calls it "a modern fabrication." Here are Jefferson's own words on the subject. Separation of Church and State
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State." --Letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, January 1, 1802 Taxation for Religion "[T]o compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing of him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness....Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." --Excerpts from Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786 Government-Sponsored Prayer and Other Religious Worship "I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies, that the General Government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and the right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it." --Letter to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808One quote the writer forgot to include: "I have sworn an oath on the altar of God of eternal hostility to tyranny" from Tom Jefferson.