Perhaps you have received the latest version of the e-mail that boldly provides numerous statistics showing that America was founded, and is indeed a Christian nation. It claims that 86% of Americans are Christians (more accurately “believe in God) although that demographic may not be entirely accurate. How does one define “Christian”? There may be dozens of very different groups represented under this broad category.
The e-mail further declares such things as the existence of Bible verses on federal buildings and depictions of Moses and the Ten Commandments in certain places. There are also quotes offered that suggest some of the founding fathers declaring their allegiance to Christianity and insisting on Christianity in the public arena.
The bulk of this e-mail can be read at the end of this web-site. Preceding that is information regarding the authenticity of the contents of the e-mail in question. It is true that many of our founding fathers were religious men who believed that churches and religious observance played an important role in the life of the new nation. But even a casual perusal of what they said and did quite convincingly shows that they also believed that the government must remain neutral in matters of faith.
But what society has ever completely abandoned any and all religion? Remember, even communist leaders saw the need for at least a form of religion in the lives of the masses. Karl Marx is quoted as saying, “Religion is the opiate of the people.” Religion in thousands of different forms has been a mainstay of humanity in all eras and places.
Our founders, however, had one primary objective in the formation of this nation and the laws under which we should live. The storied history of rebellion against Great Britain screams the principle of freedom, best expressed in the phrase, “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Nothing about our separation from the religious Monarchy of England could in any sense be derived from the teachings of the Bible or Christianity. As I have stated before, history shows that religion is generally not a good model for successful governing, and we should all be thankful that they chose freedom over continued bondage.
Most of the founders who it is claimed were “Christian” had very little commitment to what we would call Christian principles. Remember that the churches of the original colonies ranged from Anglican (church of England) to Quakers. In some colonies you could be jailed or even killed for not attending the proper church. George Washington is one who was well known for attending church while having no dedication to it. In fact, he was member of several churches including an Episcopal church where the minister even declared that he was a Deist.
When faced with the prospect of remaining subservient to a religious tyrant, our forefathers chose to shun that model in favor of one embodied by freedom of choice and tolerance. All of our founding documents bear this out. In true Deist form, they declared dependence on God/Providence, while maintaining a firm belief in the necessity of individual choice and responsibility in matters of faith.
Evidence such as this abounds, showing that many of those thought to be Christians would actually be more accurately labeled Deists. This most likely is true of those who claim belief in God in modern day polls. Unfortunately, most Christians today are easily mislead by those in whom they have put their trust; this is why every person must do their own research rather than accept what they are told without question.
If we are to keep the freedom that was won through great sacrifice, we must defend it from those who would steal it away by self-serving deception. Otherwise we will find ourselves thrust back into the past with its ignorance and bondage.