I called the avidly religious lady to alert her to a TV show that might interest her, since she is a strong believer that the USA is and always was a Christian nation. I told her about the TV show on Religion and the Revolution that was about to start on the History Channel.
“Well you know,” she replied, “that Ben Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were very religious and followed the Lord’s word. They were strong Christians.”
“No, they weren’t,” I replied.
“What?” She stuttered in shock.
“They were not religious and were not Christian, they were Deist. And the nation was not founded on Christianity” I stated. “If you want to check, turn on your computer and put in the search bar ‘June 10, 1797 treaty’. This treaty with Tripoli was written by learned scholars appointed by George Washington, unanimously approved and ratified by the Senate, signed by President Adams. It specifically states that the United States, ‘shall in no ways be considered a Christian nation.”
The Article 11 of the treaty reads, “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 Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] 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.”
It is of course, in the Congressional Record of the time and copies of the treaty were handed out to all members of Congress at that time.
“Well how do you know?,” the lady asked. ”Were you there at the time?” Knowing her from previous exchanges, I was not too surprised that she would reduce her answer to a childish response. A childish response like this is the last resort for those too stupid to think and unable to develop any reasonable ideas to counter a fact thrown out by someone else.
I could not help myself and responded in kind. “How do you know about Jesus? Were you there 2,000 years ago during his time, wandering around Jerusalem?” She sputtered some more, trying ineffectively to recover. Our conversation, if it was a conversation, ground to a halt.
Of course, you can’t find the words Jesus, Christ, God, Lord, Messiah, Holy Spirit, or anything similar in the U S Constitution. Go ahead – try to find something.
Also, I never did get around to explaining about Jefferson making his own Bible by discarding the parts that he did not like, Franklin’s views as a Deist, or Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists on the separation of church and state.
In this letter of January 1, 1802, Jefferson states, “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 & State.”
That all of course ties in with Amendment 1 of the U S Constitution which states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . .” And Anne Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation points out that “There can be no religious freedom without the freedom to dissent.”
Of course, since I was not there when this Constitution was written, how would I know?