There is a great misconception among Americans that the United States was founded as a Christian nation by Christians. Evidence actually suggests that many of the Founding Fathers neither believed in organized religion nor supported its principles. In John Adams’s A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America he wrote:
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the Gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
In Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason he wrote, ” I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God” and, “You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am a sect by myself, as far as I know.” James Madison wrote, ”During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” Many of the Founding Fathers, such as George Washington, paid public lip service to Christianity while they actually believed in Deism.
The Constitution does state “one nation under God,” but it does not say which God or which religion. The Fact that the very First Amendment to the bill of rights says, ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” should make it is quite clear how the Founding Father’s felt about religion in politics. If that was not enough to convince the public however, Article VI of the US Constitution states:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
The 1797 Tripoli Treaty, which was passed under George Washington and signed by John Adams, 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 Mussulmen [Muslim]—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] 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 Founding Fathers realized that religion is a dangerous, divisive element when given power. Yet, as has been the case with almost every other one of their intentions, secularism has been trounced upon. The United States has become the most fanatical Christian nation on the planet. American laws have become based on Christian conceptions of morality. We have anti-suicide laws, anti-euthanasia laws, and anti-drug laws, to name a few. The United States has gone into the business of legislating Christian morality. In order to run for political office, one claim to be religious or abandon any hope for victory. Every single one of the 535 members of Congress claims to have a religious affiliation.