Post # 1
Also, do you believe it was founded to be a “Christian Nation”?
This is likely to cause a debate, but I’d like some insight as to what others believe.
I see often where people claim it was, but based on historical documents written by our founding fathers, I’m confused as to why this claim exists.
Of course, I could be missing something. So, you do you believe the US was founded on Christian principles? Why or why not? Whatever your arguement, would you be willing to provide support for it?
Post # 2
Well technically it was “founded” by Quakers which have Christian roots. But since native Americans were here first my answer is no.
Post # 3
mdcmod: Are you writing a paper?? I don’t think it was. We came in and killed the Indians, that’s not “Christian” or probaby any other thing except terrible. And people fled religious persecution in their own countries to come here and be whomever they wanted to be. Still holds fairly true.
Post # 4
I think it’s a really nuanced question and there isn’t a simple right or wrong answer. But my opinion is that while there are many explicit refrences to a god/creator figure and the founders were themselves Christian and living in an almost entirely Christian society, that no, the USA was not founded as a Christian Nation. Right from the get go explict language was put into the Constitution stating that government officers could not be subjected to religious tests and the 1st ammendment was regarding religious freedom.
I think the most important question is this: today, should the USA be a Christian nation?
I think that the answer is inoquivicably no. Certainly there are a lot of Christians in the USA, but any intelligent person who takes a look at current events can see that the freedom to practice your religion is critical. As a country that wants to practice true religious freedom it is critical that the government does not take up the mantle or cause of one relgion over another, as a way of avoiding systemic barriers to freedom.
Post # 5
mdcmod: The authors of the Treaty of Tripoli (1796) didn’t think so.
Article 11 is the key one here: “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 Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan 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.”
There are controversies over how to interpret this and as to how this clause was phrased in the Arabic, but this is the translation that was ratified by the Senate.
This is a complicated question that can’t be answered properly in this venue. I will grant that many who used variations of Locke’s argument in Letter Concerning Toleration in the Colonial period were largely interested in Christian denominations tolerating each other, the language of our founding documents contains no such narrowness.
I personally do not think it is possible for the contemporary United States to consider itself a Christian nation while remaining true to the true thrust of the principles of toleration embodied in its founding documents.
Post # 6
Not Quakers, Puritans. We were founded by a group of Christians so conservative that they couldn’t handle the Church of England anymore so they joined up with the people who were going to colonize the New World.
And yes, the idea was to have a Puritan country, but they were sick of being religiously persecuted which is why we have the whole freedom to practice religion thing.
So from the get go it’s been “Freedom of religion but mostly only if you’re a conservative Christian.”
All that being said, however, things have changed, people have progressed and generally the people who say we’re Christian when we officially aren’t are kind of jerks that want to push their values on others legally.
Very rarely is the whole “We are a Christian Nation” argument used in any other way. Yes, we were founded one way, but things have changed. Women are people, minorities are people, immigrants are people, every one should be equal and religious freedom should end at the tip of your nose.
Post # 7
mdcmod: Note that you’ve asked a few different questions, all which will have different answers:
– “Do you believe the US is based off Christian Values?”
– “Do you believe the US was founded on Christian Values?”
– “Do you believe the US was founded to be a ‘Christian Nation’?”
Post # 8
Mattyfeets: BWLE: No Quakers or Puritans…if you consider the Founding Fathers to be the founders of America, they were a group of mostly various types of Protestants, a few Catholics, and a few who were rumored to be athiests and were at least not associated with a particular church.
The people who first settled the colonies were not Americans.
Post # 9
Well, many of the founding fathers were Christian, so of course their values made their way into our beginning, though not always in a direct way.
However, the U.S. Consitution was also written in a manner to permit freedom of religion and none of the “self-evident truths” had anything to do with God or religion. Imo, the U.S. was NOT founded to be a Christian nation – it was founded to be a democratic nation where people had choices – nor is it a Christian nation now. (I don’t think it should be one either – I strongly believe that no one’s personal beliefs should be dictated by others.)
Post # 10
Post # 11
Mattyfeets: the Founding fathers were mostly Quaker, episcopalian, and Presbyterian, not Puritan. I wasn’t referring to who got here first.
Post # 12
Native Americans aside, America was “founded” by people who wanted freedom from the King. They wanted to be able to practice what religion they choose. So not necessarily for Christianity (even if that’s what the early settlers chose) but for the freedom to choose your religion.
Post # 13
LadyBear: You beat me to it lol, and said it in a much better way
Post # 14
mdcmod: in the broad sense, “Christian values” doesn’t even mean the same thing to different types of Christians. As someone else said, look at Iraq and the horrors that are between two sects of the same religion (and others). I’m a Christian and, other than the basics, the conservative Christian Right doesn’t represent my values at all. That means that it comes down to who’s in power telling people if they’re right or wrong. I don’t think that’s what the founding fathers had in mind.
Post # 15
My understanding (admitedly from a non-US perspective) was that the reason that religion was not written into the constitution was that the founding fathers could not decide which denomination of Christianity to follow, so they left that out.
My further understanding was that many of the pilgrims came to the new world in order to escape the religious reformation which was sweeping Europe, which eventually led to a form of European liberal, socialist Protestantism which largely dominated Northern Europe from the 1700s onwards. The Puritans etc initially fled to the Netherlands, correct? The Netherlands, as far as I understand it, resisted religious change and many of the aspects of the reformation (such as the removal of censorship laws etc) for far longer than many other European countries.
There was certainly a radical split between conservative and liberal protestantism during the 1700s, which led to very different outcomes…
I may be confused about the history here, as I am not a historian, but I would be interested to read everyone else’s responses…