Today I logged onto Facebook to find my feed quite concerned with the nature of our country’s origins. Now, I don’t consider myself an especially patriotic person, but I do love this country and I’m thankful I was born here (though The Netherlands makes a close second). I’d like to start out with a very popular quote when it comes to this matter as well as a passage from the Constitution itself:
“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”—John Adams
“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.”
I’m going to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume you know that the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights grants freedom of religion. Freedom of religion also encompasses freedom of non-religion, the choice to not belong to an organized belief society and/or to not believe in a god, God, or gods. Pretty much, you have your own say in what you believe and no one else gets to tell you otherwise. Somehow, this is where we lost a loud majority of Christians.
And before anyone starts screaming, “It isn’t a majority! They make us look bad!” I’m sorry, that argument has failed. Only a majority could get as much power as they have between their politicians and richer-than-the-Queen Mega Churches, and because there are many who won’t speak out and just follow the path laid out for them without questioning, without really asking “Why?” and “What for?” I do want to stop and say I realize not all Christians are like this. I am friend to many lovely people who believe in God, but they are very different from the people I speak against in this post. They do not judge others, they embrace them for their differences, and they are more like “Followers of Christ” than modern day “Christians.” If they lead their brethren, this would not be an issue.
Our Founding Fathers came from a place where they felt religious persecution for their brand of Christianity. I believe they were mostly thinking of themselves when they wrote it into law that no religion should rise above another in this country, because they did not want to see themselves persecuted again. But they knew who they would be protecting, they were men of vision after all. In fact, there isn’t a single mention of God through the entirety of the Constitution.
In his HuffPost article “Founding Fathers: We are Not a Christian Nation,” Jeff Schweitzer hits the nail on the issue’s head:
“The facts of our history are easy enough to verify. Anybody who ignorantly insists that our nation is founded on Christian ideals need only look at the four most important documents from our early history -- the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist Papers and the Constitution -- to disprove that ridiculous religious bias. All four documents unambiguously prove our secular origins.”
In fact, the entire article is a great read on this subject and I’ll leave you with it to end this post. Be forewarned that he is a bit combative, but this is something that has gone from a nuisance to downright irritating over the past few years and it needs to stop, so his tone should be at least somewhat forgiven.
Founding Fathers: We Are Not a Christian Nation