Did the founding fathers of America intend for America to be a Christian nation?

The founding fathers of America did not intend America to be a Christian nation. The founding fathers were very much aware of the dangers of the union of church and state which was widely prevalent in Europe and did not at any cost wish America to be in chaos because of such a union. The U.S constitution and the Bill of rights have no references to any particular religion and are wholly secular documents. When the Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson, language that would apply to all religious groups was used and words specific to any particular religion like Christianity were not used. The founding fathers felt that religion did not need the support of government.

The Virginia Statute for Religious Liberty was a law passed in 1786 which gave religious freedom for all. All documents prepared for governing the nation did not have any influence or authority over religion. If the founding fathers had intentions of America being a Christian nation their thoughts would have definitely been reflected in the U.S constitution. Article XI of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Tripoli states that ‘the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion’ providing enough proof that the founding fathers did not want America to be a Christian nation. George Washington was responsible for this treaty with Muslims of North Africa. A secular nation with independence of church and state was their intentions at all times. The founders of America wanted the state and church to be totally independent of each other.

They were wary of religious fights going on everywhere, rather than being affiliated to any particular religion they called themselves Unitarians or Deists. According to the Constitution every American has his right to choose his own religious belief. The founding fathers intended America to be a democracy that welcomed people of all faith and patronized everybody with no bias for any one single religion. The rights enjoyed by Americas today would not be possible if the founding fathers had intended a Christian nation. The founding fathers always believed that Americans could be united as one nation, only by having religious freedom for all. They felt that trying to unite America by terming it a Christian nation would only cause religious riots within the nation, whereas providing religious freedom would unite people as one nation because each has his own belief and the nation as a whole respects and recognizes that belief. The founding documents of America were all intended to provide freedom for all in the nation. America was never intended to be confined to the realms of Christianity. The United States of America was founded adopting principles that were not confined to any particular religion.

Article VI, Section 3 of the constitution says that no religious tests are ever required as qualifications for any public or official trust in the United States. Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Washington were presidents when America was being founded and all of them were opposed to linking Christianity with government. They did not want the government too to have any rights over religious institutions. If their intention was a Christian nation they would have linked the church with the government and included all Christianity related words in the founding documents. From the beginning the government did not adhere to rules and regulations of any one particular religion. A good example would be delivering mail. When the founding fathers were building the nation the post offices were delivering mails everyday, including Sunday thus not following Sabbath of Christianity. Every single system formed in the governments run by the founding fathers did not adhere to any religion; they were all functioning independently without bias to religion.

For centuries people were under the impression that political powers were only with God and never with people. That was the reason that the founders decided to create a nation with a Constitution that would liberate people from the confines of one particular religion. The founders strongly believed that one particular religion should not govern the entire nation and felt that by keeping religion out of the government people will not be obliged to follow one religion only and thus will be free to follow their own beliefs independently. The first Amendment to the U.S Constitution says that no law will be made respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the same.

They preferred a nation run morally by a good government that would look in to issues of all people without being biased by views of any particular religion. America was intended to be a secular nation with spirituality clearly distinct. All laws passed are based on public interest and have nothing to do with religion.  Thomas Jefferson has clearly stated that his intention was to create a ‘wall of separation’ between the church and the state. The framers of the Constitution wanted distinction between government and religion. They did not want America to be a Christian nation because that would lead to disagreements within the different sects of Christianity leading to dissent and fights. The founders have all agreed that terming America as a ‘Christian ‘ nation would mean that every action taken by the government would be Christian and that would certainly hurt the sentiments of people of others religions.

Acclaiming a Christian nation would eventually lead to literally forcing Christianity on several people who may not believe in that religion. By providing religious freedom people of all religions act together and unite as one nation. If not for the founding fathers America can not have been a nation as it is today with liberty for all. It is due to the Constitution which is free of religion that people of various sects, believers, and non believers are united as one nation with liberty being given priority come what may, developing a prosperous nation which is successful in all fields.

References

Is America a ‘Christian nation’? Retrieved Nov 13, 2006 from

http://www.au.org/site/PageServer?pagename=resources_brochure_christiannation

America: A Christian nation or a secular nation? Retrieved Nov 13, 2006 from

http://members.aol.com/VFTfiles/A-T3.htm

Did our founding fathers intend to create a nation of God’s laws? Retrieved Nov 13, 2006 from

http://cantkeepquiet.com/index.php/2006/08/25/did-our-founding-fathers-intend-to-create-a-nation-of-gods-laws/