Faith of the Founding Fathers debated

Monday was Presidents Day, in case you missed it. Did America's Founding Fathers miss the mark when they set forth in separating church and state, but including God in the nation's doctrine?
Mark Brooky
Feb 19, 2013

A blog on the Religion Link website, "Faith of the Founders: Presidents and religion in America," expands on that notion with background notes, links to many articles on the subject and a large list of regional sources.

"The Presidents Day holiday spotlights (an) enduring focus on religion and the nation’s leaders – then and now – a theme running through recent books and movies, and in ongoing arguments about church and state," the unnamed blogger notes. "President Barack Obama’s address at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 7 was the latest example of the spiritual role the chief executive is expected to play. Obama’s second inaugural address two weeks earlier, with its references to God-given freedoms and the American creed, was another."

The blogger notes that the roots of this tradition go back to the founding of the country, and the dispute over the religious zeal of the Founding Fathers and the early presidents, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln.

"Were they Christians, and hence is America to be considered a Christian nation? Or were they deists? Or men of no faith at all?"

A book published last year on Thomas Jefferson, "The Jefferson Lies" by David Barton, a conservative activist and prominent evangelical apologist, is fueling renewed debate. Barton wrote that Jefferson had an unorthodox view on religion and promoted the separation of church and state.

To read more of the blog, CLICK HERE.

Comments

Whatareyoutalki...

This is not news; this article is an attempt at trolling or self-promotion of an ideal that has no merit.

America was not founded on a specific religion. It was founded on the idea that all religions are valid and that no one religion should ever be held over another. (Among other non-religious virtues) The founding fathers were very clear about this, and be they Christian, Deist or any other religion it did not matter to the founding of the United States.

The Treaty of Tripoli is a great example of efforts made by the founding fathers to clearly establish America as a non-biased non-religious specific nation.

Art. 11. 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 [Muslims],—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.

I’m aware that the majority religion at the time was Christian. I’m also aware that the majority religion in the United States today is Christian. But the goal of our country was not to make a place of comfort for the majority, but rather a place of refuge for anyone who required it.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Pretty sure that sonnet does not only apply to Christians.

Mystic Michael

To borrow an apt phrase: "Amen"!

MM

Mystic Michael

No. There is no actual, living controversy here. Separation of church & state is established Constitutional policy in the United States, and has been so for a very long time - despite the apparent wishes of Mr. Barton, of Mr. Brooky's unnamed blogger...and possibly of Mr. Brooky himself. And for very good reason - not the least of which being the misguided ambitions and the not-so-hidden agenda of those very people who most intensely yearn for a return to those benighted days of state-sponsored - and state-controlled - religion.

No, Mr. Mystery Blogger: The Presidents Day holiday does NOT actually "spotlight (an) enduring focus on religion and the nation's leaders...". It is a secular holiday, merely for the purpose of honoring those who have served in the highest office in the land. That's all - despite your determination to interpret it otherwise.

In order for freedom OF religion to be most meaningful, there first must be freedom FROM religion.

MM

GH55

Politics is about compromise, religion is about faith. You either believe or you don't.
Whe poiltics mixes with religion you have trouble. That is what is going on today with the evangelical movement. There is no compromise.
Religion has no place in politics.
We should accept all for who they are, not for what they happen to worship.
That was the founding principal of this nation, a refuge for those persecuted souls yearning to be free.
We are not a christian nation. If you are, then live by that and treat others as you would be treated, not judged as to whether they conform to your view or not!

Lanivan

The First Amendment was a grand and noble statement that was written by a group of men representing a mixed bag of religions, using as models the writings of several religious leaders and various successful state experiments. The strong desire for religious liberty and governmental disengagement in religion, driven by the religious squabbles in the Old World where religion was state-controlled and sanctioned, and brought to this country by the Colonists, can not be attributed to any one man or any particular religion. It was a principle based on the desire to keep government out of religion and religion out of government, and for the free, impartial, and equal right to all religious faiths.

The First Amendment, calling for the government to remain neutral and not favor any religion or denomination as the state or established faith, actually created a sort of free market for religion (unprecedented) in the US, and competitive religious faith flourished. It was in the 1970's and the emergence of the Religious Right, that the 1st Amendment began to be trivialized. The idea that President's Day is a day to "spotlight religion" and while we're at it, our presidents, is a current rendition and is one of many areas where a group attempts to impose their specific understanding of faith through state coercion, and corrupts the First Amendment while doing so.

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