Is America a Christian Nation founded by Christians and based upon Christian principles? The Texas Board of Education thinks so, and now the Texas board is moving "to bring Jesus into American history." That quote is from an article in today's New York Times Magazine: How Christian Were the Founders?
It should come as no surprise that the same Texas Board of Education that is rewriting biology books is also rewriting American history books, and Don McLeroy is again the driving force. No longer chairman after demotion by the State Senate out of concerns over his religious views, conservatives still wield the most power over board decisions, and McLeroy appears to exert as much control over Texas educational policies and curricula as ever.
This raises concerns nationwide, because as Texas goes, textbook-wise, so goes the nation. Texas approves textbooks on a statewide level, and so its large population means that textbook publishers are willing to tailor their textbooks to Texas' standards.
The article doesn't explore the merits of the case that America is a Christian nation, but if there's interest I thought we could do that here in this thread. Education and Creation/Evolution would probably be the right forum.
I don't think Washington said that. Someone mentioned the Treaty of Tripoli earlier in this thread, and checking a little on the web I found that that quote, or something close to it, does indeed come from the Treaty of Tripoli, signed in 1796 while Washington was still president.
Speaking now to everyone here, like any large group of people I expect the founder's religious views were varied and probably highly nuanced, but there can be no doubt that they were wary of state sponsored religion. Modern interpretations of the establishment clause may have gone a bit too far (e.g., high school Bible study clubs have been challenged on 1st amendment grounds), but the 1st amendment is sufficiently unambiguous that even legal rulings by the Supreme Court could not significantly weaken it. Meaningful inroads toward making the United States an officially Christian nation would require its repeal.
So Christians can doctor up paintings that include our founders with Christian images, and secularists can misattribute quotes, and both will be successful at convincing people one way or the other, but only if Christians are so successful that the 1st amendment is repealed will the United States ever become a Christian nation.
But I'm still interested in the facts of the matter. I think both sides can agree that Thomas Jefferson would definitely not side with those claiming the United States is a Christian nation, but what about other founders such as Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin, among others.
I'm watching Bill Maher's documentary Religulous. Anyone who has ever found themselves tongue-tied while discussing Christian beliefs with Christians will greatly enjoy this video as Maher gets the best of one Christian after another. I got the video from Netflix.
But the reason I'm posting is because at around 32:30 the video displays three quotes from the founding fathers:
"Lighthouses are more useful than churches." --Benjamin Franklin
"This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it." --John Adams
"Christianity is the most perverted system that has ever shone on man." --Thomas Jefferson
I did a search to see if these quotes have appeared at EvC Forum before, and they have, but sparingly. However, I thought this post from Rahvin, Message 106, deserved mention. It contains a large number of quotes from Founding Fathers about religion generally and Christianity specifically - a good and ready reference. There are probably other messages in that thread that also have good material.