From the Arizona State University State Press, April 29, 1986, vol. 68, no. 132.

America not founded on Christian principles; Bible rejected as word of God by founders


Richard Niichel states in his letter that this nation was founded on Christian principles and biblical truths (April 24). This is not at all the case. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Question with boldness the existence of God. I do not believe any of the Christian doctrines." [Actual quotation: "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."]

James Madison wrote, "During almost fifteen centuries the legal establishment known as Christianity has been on trial, and what have been the fruits, more or less, in all places? These are the fruits: pride, indolence, ignorance and arrogance and servility in the clergy. Ignorance, arrogance and servility in the laity, and in both the clergy and laity, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."

Thomas Paine wrote in his "Age of Reason": "Whenever we read the obscene stories, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."

George Washington refused to take communion or kneel in church, and was called "only a Unitarian, if anything" by Episcopalian minister James Ambercrombie.

Benjamin Franklin was a member of Dashwood's notorious "Hellfire Club," which engaged in activities not at all Christian.

The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, ratified soon after John Adams became president, says in part: "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 enimity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen (Muslims); and as the said States never have entered into any war or acts of hostility against any Mahametan 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." [Similar language, minus the "not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion" phrase, is in the 1805 Treaty of Tripoli. -JJL, 2007/10/04.]

Very few of the founding fathers were actually Christians. Most were deists who rejected the Bible as the word of God. [This overstates the case, in hindsight. -JJL, 2005/05/28]

Jim Lippard
Junior, Philosophy