Secularism and the Founding Fathers

October 14: Washington reviews the army assemb...

Myth: The founding fathers of the Americas were Christian. They are also believed by many to have put the ten commandments in the courthouses and instituted the words “under God” and the pledge of allegiance.

Wikipedia: The Founding Fathers

Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay,Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.[5]

  • John Adams
  • Benjamin Franklin – Deist
  • Alexander Hamilton
  • John Jay
  • Thomas Jefferson – Deist
  • James Madison
  • George Washington – Pantheist

Fact: Even if we insist they were religious, these men were not Fundamentalists. They believed in no religion dominating their daily life. They believed so strongly in separating religion and government that they wrote this need down. This was a priority for them for establishing their government. The church of England left a very bitter taste in their mouths.

The First Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . . “

Myth: The constitution of the United States of America was based upon the moral principles of the Bible. 

Fact: The pursuit of happiness is no where in the Bible. It’s the opposite. Seeking God and obeying him is in the Bible. There is nothing in the constitution about the Bible, religion, or God’s authority. Why is that?

The 1796 Treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” This was not an idle statement meant to satisfy muslims– they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams. – Our Founding Fathers, Freethought

The Bible is based upon the final authority, the chain of command from God down to slaves. It establishes a form of government styled as a dictatorship, kingship, or theistic. The one thing the founding fathers had in common and strongly emphasized was their rebellion to the crown and church of England. Freedom from established religion’s choke hold on people and the government.

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

Being Secular is not the opposite of Christianity. Most secular proponents want a separation of church and state. Does that sound familiar?

secularism [ˈsɛkjʊləˌrɪzəm]n

  1. (Philosophy) Philosophy a doctrine that rejects religion, esp in ethics

  2.  the attitude that religion should have no place in civil affairs

  3. the state of being secular

A secularist does not burn crosses, whether upside down or right side up. They don’t hate crosses. They don’t care if you have crosses in your home. Just don’t make their children pledge to your god or your cross. As I’ve heard many of them say, I state now also, “What you do with religion or crosses in your own house is your business. Keep it there.”

 

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3 thoughts on “Secularism and the Founding Fathers

  1. Janet, you raise some great points. However, starting with a source as necessarily still dubious as Wikipedia does not really help your case. I’m curious, have you read Plato or Aristotle on (H)appiness vs. (h)appiness? The Founding Fathers did and did believe a government which protected all its citizens from the abuses of any religion served all people best – allowed each to pursue either (h)appiness (i.e., Hedonism) or (H)appiness (i.e., something more lasting – eternal even). While America is not founded on the Bible, it is a huge claim to promote the Founders had no love of God or Bible. Many of them did – they just didn’t believe they had the right to force anyone else to believe the way they did… And, for the record, I don’t find any real religion that legitimately forces others to its way of belief. The Founders envisioned a place where a perfect law based on liberty could prevail (and that liberty included their right to continue to practice their faith, Christian or otherwise, as they determined). Thank you for raising these thoughts!

    • Thanks for your comments. I’m in the process of learning more. I have a lot of catching up to do since I’m a late starter on this road away from religion. Plato is on my list to read. Any other writers you have to suggest I will keep them in mind. My main point is against the fundamentalist mindset that I grew up with. The belief that God rules the government and appoints our leaders and the Bible should be our counsel on making decisions for the health of the country. I’m not against religion so much as I’m for a secular government.

      • I find God authorizes Man to establish government, but that Man is free to mess things up (just look at Solomon in the Old Testament – wisest human ever, dumb decisions regardless…). I’m grateful to live as a Christ-follower in the context of a secular government dedicated to protect everyone’s universal liberty.

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