Our Founding Fathers on Christianity

Anyone who tells you that the Founding Fathers were trying to create a Christian nation is either a liar or parroting what other liars told him. This is what they really had to say about Christianity.

The Faith of our Founding Fathers
By Dean Worbis


No one disputes the faith of our Founding Fathers. To speak of unalienable
Rights being endowed by a Creator certainly shows a sensitivity to our
spiritual selves. What is suprising is when fundamentalist Christians think
the Founding Father's faith had anything to do with the Bible. Without
exception, the faith of our Funding Fathers was deist, not theist. It was
best expressed earlier in the Declaration of Independence, when they spoke
of "the Laws of Nature" and of "Nature's God."

In a sermon of October 1831, Episcopalian minister Bird Wilson said, "Among
all of our Presidents, from Washington downward, not one was a professor of
religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism."

The Bible? Here is what our Founding Fathers wrote about Bible-based
Christianity

Thomas Jefferson
"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world and I do not find
in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They
are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men,
women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been
burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this
coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to
support roguery and error all over the earth."

SIX HISTORIC AMERICANS
By John E. Remsburg, letter to William Short

Jefferson again
"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on
man...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the
teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the
first great corruptor of the teachings of Jesus."

More Jefferson
"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for
enslaving mankind and adulturated by artificial constructions into a
contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy in fact,
constitute the real Anti-Christ."

Jefferson's word for the Bible? "Dunghill."

John Adams
"Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines
and Oaths, and whole cartloads of other trumpery that we find religion
encumbered with in these days?"

Also Adams
"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for
absurdity."

Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 states
"The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the
Christian religion."

Here's Thomas Paine
"I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to
that book (the Bible)."

"Among the most detesable villains in history, you could not find one worse
than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to 'God' to butcher the boys, to
massacre the mothers, and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not
dare so dishonor my Creator's name by (attaching) it to this filthy book
(the Bible)."

"It is the duty of every true Diest to vindicate the moral justice of God
against the evils of the Bible."

"Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins...and
you will have sins in abundance."

And; "The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in
pretend imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty."

Finally let's hear from James Madison
"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on
civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of
political tyrrany. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of
the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty
have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government,
instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy."

Madison objected to state-supported chaplains in Congress and to the
exemption of churches from taxation. He wrote "Religion and government will
both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."


These Founding Fathers were a reflection of the American population. Having
escaped from the state-established religions of Europe, only 7% of the
people in the 13 colonies belonged to a church when the Declaration of
Independence was signed.

Among those who confuse Christianity with the founding of America, the rise
of conservative Baptists is one of the more interesting developments. The
Baptists believed God's authority came from the people, not the priesthood,
and they had been persecuted for this belief. It was they - the Baptists -
who were instrumental in securing the separation of church and state. They
knew you can not have a "one-way-wall" that lets religion into government
but that does not let it out. They knew no religion is capable of handling
political power without becoming corrupted by it. And, perhaps, they knew it
was Christ himself who first proposed the separation of church and state;
"Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto the Lord that which is the
Lord's."

In the last five years the Baptists have been taken over by a fundamentalist
faction that insists authority comes from the Bible and that the individual
must accept the interpretation of the Bible from a higher authority. These
usurpers of the Baptist faith are those who insist they should meddle in the
affairs of the government and it is they who insist the government should
meddle in the beliefs of individuals.


References The writings of Thomas Jefferson exist in 25 volumes.
The references for this article were found in the book, SIX HISTORIC
AMERICANS, by John E. Remsburg (who interviewed many of Lincoln's
associates). Much of his work on Jefferson came from THE MEMOIRS,
CORRESPONDENCE AND MISCELLANIES FROM THE PAPERS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON, 4
volumes ed. by Thomas Jefferson Randolph (the grandson of Thomas Jefferson).





 WWJD What Would Jefferson Do?

April 13, 2000 marks Thomas Jefferson's 257th birthday. In honor of this
occasion, Americans United has pulled together some of Jefferson's best 
statements on church and state. Jefferson, along with James Madison, was a 
key architect of the religious liberty guarantees we enjoy today. What better 
way to honor the memory of this visionary founder than spending a few moments 
reading and reflecting on his timeless wisdom? With issues such as voucher 
aid to religious schools and government-sponsored prayer in public schools 
pending in Congress and the state legislatures, Jefferson's comments are 
just as relevant today as they were then.

Religious Right activists claim the framers never intended to
separate church and state. Christian Coalition president Pat Robertson
says separation is a "lie of the left." TV preacher Jerry Falwell calls it
"a modern fabrication."

Here are Jefferson's own words on the subject.

Separation of Church and State
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely
between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith
or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions
only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of
the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church
and State."
--Letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association, January 1, 1802


Taxation for Religion
"[T]o compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the
propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical;
that even the forcing of him to support this or that teacher of his own
religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of
giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would
make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to
righteousness....Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no
man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place
or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or
burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of
his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to
profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion,
and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their
civil capacities."
--Excerpts from Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786

Government-Sponsored Prayer and Other Religious Worship
"I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the
civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its
doctrines; nor of the religious societies, that the General Government
should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or
matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the
enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right
to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects
proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and the right
can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has
deposited it."
--Letter to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808


One quote the writer forgot to include: "I have sworn an oath on the altar of God of eternal hostility to tyranny" from Tom Jefferson.

I suggest as an exercise for the reader, look up that quote in context..
A.Lizard