My entire life I was taught that the United States of America was founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that the Founders of our Constitution were men of great faith. In my twenties, I started doing academic research and learned the necessity of getting to the source of any topic in order to better understand it. A friend of mine around election time listened to me complain about how far America has come from the God-Christ-Centered nation that it used to be. After I quieted down he simply asked, “What would you say if I told you that America is not a “Christian” nation, never has been, and was never intended to be.”
I was ultimately speechless and had no idea what to think.
Election time is among us and I am already overrun by silly fliers, ridiculous ads, and invasive knocks on the door wanting my opinion about some “issue” that I didn’t know was an issue. My friend told me to read the founding documents of our country on the national archives website and to engage in the reading of the letters, not the historians, written by people like Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin. So, I found myself prying through many links and pages of online sources to finally get a picture of the foundations of our nation. He was right.
I will say before I move into a quick hydrant-hose expose on the religious nature of America that according to Scripture, God did purpose the founding of this nation. And it is a blessing to live here, with all its quirks and problems, because I can know and worship the Lord in peace without real persecution. I also believe that just like Israel in the Old Testament, Christians in the United States make up a very small minority if we measure what one believes about Jesus and His life. So, while I am writing to impose a different and more accurate presentation of American religious sentiment, I am also starting a series on the deconstruction of evangelicalism that is forthcoming. I guess this could be seen as a preface before the preface. I also open myself to correction according to the historical records, not historians, as I have become one myself just by writing about history. I am also very interested in your thoughts on why this matters. The primary purpose of this series will be to confront the fact that as a whole, the Evangelical movements and principles that have shaped our nation are indeed not cohesive with Scripture and that the true Church is able to stand on the mantle of Christ and make a change in the world, starting with our own households.
Remember, part of my intention is to “storm your brains” and “slay your sadness.”
There is ample evidence from the Founders of the United States that proves that the Christian faith was not among them. For example, Thomas Paine denied the very nature of Biblical revelation calling Christianity and the idea of a god becoming human “a fable.” Being a protege of Benjamin Franklin, who snorted at the idea of any divine revelation in any sense, much less a written collection of books. Deism was the pressing ideology of the founders of this new republic, and along with it, the ideas of dogmatic revelatory religion were mocked and belittled against the notion that man’s experience and his reason are the foundations of any belief system. This ideology was the framework of the United States Constitution and is obvious with an elementary reading thereof.
Because of the Anglican oppression of many who fled to the New World, the founders of this new world made certain that each person (those who were at the time considered to be persons) had the right to decide whatever they desired regarding their faith, their god, or any other notion. The language of the document is not biblical and never submits in any sense to the idea of a Christ figure. The Deism of the day was the prevailing wind that set the course of American democracy and the notion of “Freedom of Religion” was its foundation.
While on the surface there may be a hint of Christian morals, the very attitude of the founding law excluded human beings based on economics, skin color, origin, or sex, which would not be addressed for nearly one hundred years later. Roger Williams, one of the foremost proponents of this religious freedom, was indeed a professing believer in Jesus Christ. However, he understood the nature of this new world and its government and was the very proponent of the first amendment clause concerning one’s faith and freedom. The idea of this freedom prohibited any religious order from interfering in matters of the state and vice versa. It is the point of the bill of rights, that we can be free in our religion but also be free from anyone else’s or all religion if we so choose. Williams stood on these principles with such convictions that he broke his relationship with Puritan separatists and would spearhead what we now would call autonomous Baptist congregationalism. He even fought very hard to provide religious freedom for the indigenous Americans who were victims of fraud, unjust robbery, slavery, and genocide. From 1491 in the name of a divine right of some god, the population of the Native Americans fell from 145 million to 15 million in 1691. This was and will always be a satanic principle and complete blasphemy to consider it in any form god-given as many early settlers and colonists would argue. While Williams did clash with the Quakers, he stood his ground that legally, under the ideas of scripture and this new world, no one should ever be coerced to believe or worship in any form they did not wilfully desire. It was William’s influence over Thomas Jefferson, who denied any divine power and thought the story of Jesus a fable, that carved the restrictions and limits of the First Amendment.
Other aspects of Deism invaded all parts of religious faith in the colonies and ultimately gave birth to every manner of cult and religious ideation that we presently know of. Nearly all the cults of history are birthed from this new freedom and Deistic expression of any man’s god. Even if Christian language was adopted, there is no evidence that any founders claimed to believe in the authority of Scripture or the person of Jesus as the God-man. Washington was one who was surely brought along by the ideas of Deism and as the voices of these men continued to purvey the new horizon, a new form of “Christian Deism” arose. Others like John Adams didn’t care for the attributes of Deistic thought in religion and became strict Unitarian and denied much of the Trinitarian beliefs held by Christian thought.
Not all the founders were of the same religious mind, even though they all adopted the liberal ideas birthed out of Deism. Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry, for example, continued to avow a Christian faith, even though politically they were held to the standards of the other Framers. They understood that their personal faith had no place in the marketplace of democracy unless America too would succumb to whatever group declared the greatest divine control over culture and those who comprise it. America is the birthplace of religious liberty and most of all, religious tolerance and liberalism as it was intended to be.
As Americans, we are bound to be not only tolerant but inclusive in the community and culture of all faiths and non-beliefs. To think anything different is to ignore the reality of historical fact. Many who dare to stomp about the US being a Christian nation are unable to divorce themselves from the talking points, or experiences of individualism. They don’t realize that they have been duped into believing something that the Founders didn’t even desire and that evangelicalism as we now know it is no different than any other form of religious bigotry found among the invaders during the crusades, Islamic expansion, or the conquest of Nazi Germany.
According to the Constitution, the First Amendment is part of a divine right given to individuals to worship their gods, or not, without fear, prejudice, or influence in any sense, from any other religion or ideology. Sadly, a majority of Americans cannot see that the God of Scripture no more agrees with “conservatism” as it stands today. Furthermore, the biases and attitudes of many in the camp of “Christian America” are in direct opposition to the clear teachings of Christ and the Apostles. What is called conservatism in most camps is actually hard liberalism and hatred. The writings of the founders support and enforce this reality and they would be appalled at how this country stands now divided in the name of some ‘god’ or false ‘christ’ while standing for infidelity, thievery, misogyny, and many other evils that oppress and devour lesser people who are made in the image of their creator.
What a myopic group may believe today does not validate their fantasy. Then, according to these rights as Americans, even when one holds to certain precepts of their personal faith, they have no right to impose those things upon others by any means thereto. In the end, true believers need to grow into true followers of Jesus Christ and lay down these silly ideals that are lies from the enemy. It is time to see that so many have created a new god and placed him on the throne of their own political, social, and economic altars.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. As for me and my brothers and sisters, we will stand for the true faith. Enough said. As long as Christians claim that their right exists in what they deem to be “self-evident” they will always be following a false god. Believers have a role in democracy if it’s permitted by God, but not all places are supposed to have such government. We have the freedom to stand up and speak out against what we oppose, but we do not have a right to enforce Christian thought and live on those who are not born of God. America will be the first and biggest Babylon to fall in judgment, and the worse part of it is that Christians will often say, “Yeah, those evil people…” when they should be looking at themselves.