Although it’s what we are lead to believe the United States was not founded by a rock of Christians. The pledge of allegiance didn’t include God until the 1950’s. Religious freedom is quickly going into the hamper.
George Washington, the first elected President of the United States, never undertook communion. It is widely believed that he was a Deist. In his speeches as President he never brought religion in. It wasn’t part of the government. Church and state were separate entities during that time period.
In February, 1800, a few weeks after. Washington’s death, Jefferson made the following entry in his journal:
“Dr. Rush told me (he had it from Asa Green) that when the clergy addressed General Washington, on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to disclose publicly whether he was a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly, except that, which he passed over without notice” (Jefferson’s Works, Vol. iv., p. 572).
It’s fitting that in his farewell address liberty is mentioned fifteen times. God nor Jesus were mentioned.
The second elected President of the United States was John Adams. Adams was a a Unitarian. According to the dictionary Unitarians believe:
A Christian denomination that rejects the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, asserts the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of humanity, and gives a pre-eminent position to Jesus as a religious teacher, while denying his divinity.
Unitarians believe in individual conscience and reason as a guide to right action, rejecting the doctrines of original sin, the atonement, and eternal punishment. Unitarianism is widespread in England and North America.
In his, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” [1787-1788], John Adams wrote:
“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
His own words tell of how the country was founded. Considering the fact he was there during that time, I would have to say he had some personal insight.
“Thirteen governments [states & former colonies] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretense of miracle or mystery…are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.”
Thomas Jefferson, the one who penned the Declaration of Independence, was not a Christian. His writings show a man who thought the faith was absurd at times. He was a Freethinker like Rousseau, Paine and Ingersoll.
In a letter to John Adams, written August 22, 1813, Jefferson says:
“It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticism that three are one and one is three, and yet, that the one is not three, and the three are not one…. But this constitutes the craft, the power, and profits of the priests. Sweep away their gossamer fabrics of fictitious religion, and they would catch no more flies” (Ibid, p. 205).
In his “Notes on Virginia,” the following caustic allusion to Christianity occurs:
“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites.”
Jefferson like the two elected Presidents before him did not see religion being part of the government.
Consider this, Jefferson who wrote the Declaration of Independence was a Freethinker. One who has rejected authority and dogma, especially in religious thinking, in favor of rational inquiry and speculation. That is the definition of the belief. The United States is based on those beliefs.
James Madison was next in line. He was the main author of the Constitution and many consider him to the “Father of the Constitution” because of that.
# From a document in Madison’s own hand and re-published in the William and Mary Quarterly of October 1946.
* “The danger of silent accumulations & encroachments by Ecclesiastical Bodies have not sufficiently engaged attention in the U.S.”
* “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, my be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their shorty history.”
* “But besides the danger of a direct mixture of Religion & the civil Government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded agst in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations. The power of all coprporations , ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acuired by them never fails to be a source of abuses.”
We can continue to search for an early religious founding father. Not until 1829 when Andrew Jackson became President did the White House have a religious man residing in it.
Jackson was a very religious man. He also did not believe that Church and State should be the way the government was run.
“I could not do otherwise without transcending the limits prescribed by the Constitution for the President and without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion nowadays enjoys in this country in its complete separation form the political concerns of the General Government.” (letter explaining his refusal to proclaim a national day of, among other things, prayer.)
The Presidents have not all been Christian and yet the country stood strongly. The man responsible for ending slavery, Lincoln was not a Christian.
Ulysses S. Grant
“Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church and the private school supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate.”
“To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”
The United States is becoming a country where God is in every other line. The politicians try to convince people it’s that Christians are the rock of the foundation. Yet the founding fathers were not all Christian. There were Jews. There were people who believed in nothing. The one thing that they all believed in though was having the freedom to choose.
The original The Pledge of Allegiance was written in in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy. His hopes were that the Pledge could be used in any country.
“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
In 1923 the first alteration came.
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Eisenhower had the last alteration added in1954.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
While the largest religion base in the United States is the Christian faith it is not the only one. When a country reins in to base it’s laws and ideals for only one religion chaos ensues.
Take a look at America.