Founding Fathers - Christian Or Not?

The Age-Old Argument

This piece was written after receiving an email that I felt compelled to do further research on. Below you will find the email itself (you may have seen it land in your Inbox as well) and the findings of my research into the email's claims.

The argument for our country being based on Christian principles is one that has concerned me for many years. My own research tells me this is most likely untrue, so I was troubled to receive the below email - even more so when doing a search for its source online showed that many people had posted it on message boards and websites claiming it as "truth". Not a one, I have found, took the time to investigate the claims put forth in this piece.

It is an injustice our founding fathers do not deserve to dogmatically assume they believed a certain way without any facts. It is foolish to post such postulations without doing a little fact-checking first; people apparently thought "oh, this sounds good" and appended it to a message, email or site simply because it furthered their own cause. Everyone who forwarded, posted or promoted this tripe should be ashamed of themselves.

It only took a few hours of research to point out the fallacies, half-truths and inaccuracies in this email. Every bit of what is offered up as "truth" can easily be refuted by simple facts found on the Internet or in an encyclopedia.

I urge you to do your own research on the claims posited in this email; bring an end to the falsehoods that have been circulating the online community for at least two years now. The great men who gave us our beloved country deserve nothing less; not only does this email claim they are something they were not, it uses this lie to further a cause they were likely absolutely against!

I am trying to find the source for this email along with the original author. If anyone knows where this was first shown/published and who wrote it, please leave it in the comments.

My findings on this email are below. Please take the time to read the other side of the coin before jumping to any final conclusions.

The Email

I was unsettled when I received an email entitled "God-based USA forgotten?" that read as follows:

This is worth remembering, because it is true. Those of you that graduated from school after the early 60's were probably never taught this. Our courts have seen to that! Did you know that 52 of the 55 signers of "The Declaration of Independence" were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? They all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention. It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society, immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of Scripture for the people of this nation. Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, 'Give me liberty or give me death,' but in current textbooks, his preceding words are omitted. Here is what he actually said: 'An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.' These sentences have been erased from our textbooks. Patrick Henry was a Christian? The following year, 1776, he wrote this: 'It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.'

Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the front of his well-worn Bible: 'I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator.' He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.

On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, 'The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.'

Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, 'The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.'

In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: 'The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.'

William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the 'Schoolmaster of the Nation.' Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey: 'The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it is derived our nation, on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free Institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible, I make no apology.'

Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures: 'Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.'

James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: 'We have staked the whole future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.'

Today, we are asking God to bless America - but how can He bless a Nation that has departed so far from Him? Most of what you read in this article has been erased from our textbooks. Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country's Christian roots.

Let's you and I share the truth of our nation's history and let it be told. For example, in John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.'

This information shared is only a drop of cement to help secure a foundation that is crumbling daily in a losing war that most of the country doesn't even know is raging on, in, and around them...

Please do your bit and share this with as many as possible and make the ill-informed aware of what they once had.

And please - begin to tell our children.

History Forgotten or History Misconstrued?

When I got this email the other day, it got me pondering on a years-long personal conundrum - were our founding fathers absolute, devout Christians and did they or did they not build the foundations of our government on conservative Christian principles?

I have always been under the impression that our founding fathers were Deists and Masons. It's not to say that they were not Christian, but that perhaps their world-view was a bit broader than your average, conservative Bible-beater. Those that were known to have actively studied Christianity I believed were merely, as Deists, reviewing it as part and parcel of their study of *all* religions and religious beliefs in their thirst of knowledge and personal truth.

However, in recent years there's been quite an uproar on the Christian front as the fight to have overtly-Christian iconography and ritual removed from public venues. The Christians' battle-cry is that our country was founded on Christian values, and to remove these things attacks the very heart of the principles this great country was founded on. Those on the other side of the coin say this country was founded on anything but - that, in fact, this country's forefathers were of the mindset that no organized religion should be more pertinent than another in a "free" country.

It would seem that the founding fathers, escaping a country of religious persecution themselves, would have gone out of their way to make sure the very mistakes they fled from were not repeated in their new, foundling country. It would seem this was their thinking when reading the very first amendment of our great Constitution:

..."Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances..."

I could spend pages rehashing the arguments over the correct interpretation of this amendment. Some believe it approbates the "separation of church and state"; some say it has nothing to do with that at all.

It would seem to me that our forefathers were looking to eliminate religious persecution - that they believed in a "free" country everyone should be able to think, act, believe and worship howsoever they saw fit. But does that mean our country was founded on Christian principles? That, though other religions and beliefs were acceptable, Christianity was seen as the prominent religion; so much so that our founding fathers embraced it and based all the rest of their decisions upon its morals?

According to this email circulating the online community, known most popularly as "Forgotten Roots in the United States", "One Nation Under God", "History Ignored and Forgotten", "Our Christian Heritage", or "Forgotten History", this would be the case. My own research tells a different story, however - and I'll share that with you now.

I'd like to, first, state that my main reason for looking into the claims of this email is not to take a side on whether our country is fundamentally based on Christianity. While I have my personal views on that it is not what urged me to show the other side of the coin. If, as I believe, these men were not Christian - if some were even adamantly not Christian - we do them a terrible disservice by eschewing their viewpoints to tout something they would have opposed. To take snippets of these brilliant minds' words and use them to further a cause they would not have supported were they alive to defend themselves is a disrespect the men who gave us this wonderful country do not in any way deserve.

I did not know these men. I cannot say whether they were or were not Christian, Deist or Agnostic. What I can do is look at a broader spectrum of their written words and personal letters to family and friends and compare them to the brief statements by them made in this email.

After reading these things, you will have to decide for yourself if you feel that you can, with 100% conviction, call these men fundamental Christians. You must determine if you feel it is right to add their name to the fight for "keeping" this country predominantly Christian or that they founded everything we stand for on Christian principles. If you feel even a shade of doubt, then it would be wrong to speak for these men and apply questionable morals and beliefs to their names - to do so would be to disgrace them.

Note: The email is in bold underline. Quotations I have found are ...italics... My excursus in regular font.

This is worth remembering, because it is true. Those of you that graduated from school after the early 60's were probably never taught this. Our courts have seen to that!

..."There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be." - Charles Sanders Peirce...

I'm not claiming here to know the truth, but am simply offering more evidence for you to make your own assumptions.

This email asserts itself as truth - yet so do spam and scam emails. The credibility of this information is questionable at the start simply for the medium through which it is conveyed. Searching for this essay online turns up a number of results - but nowhere is a source ever identified. Some say "a friend sent this to me", others simply post it on a page with no identifying origin or explanation. If this information is so vital and truthful why has it never been published or acknowledged anywhere other than online journals and forwarded emails?

Did you know that 52 of the 55 signers of "The Declaration of Independence" were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? They all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention. It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society, immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of Scripture for the people of this nation.

15 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were known Freemasons, importantly Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. 28 of the 40 signers of the Constitution were Freemasons or were affiliated with the organization, including George Washington, James Madison and Ben Franklin.

Robert Livingston, who was the Grand Master of New York's Masonic Lodge, swore in our first president, George Washington, who took his oath on a Bible from a Masonic lodge.

The American Bible Society was founded in 1816 in New York City; our Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 - hardly "immediately".

On September 11, 1777, the Continental Congress ordered 20,000 Bibles to be imported to American troops. This had nothing to do with the American Bible Society or the Declaration of Independence and the Bibles were not sent to American citizens, but to American soldiers. The law read as follows:

...The Congress....Desirous...to have people of all ranks and degrees duly impressed with a solemn sense of God's superintending providence, and of their duty, devoutly to rely...on His aid and direction...Do earnestly recommend Friday, the 17th day of May be observed by the colonies as a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may, with united hearts, confess and bewailed our manifold sins and transgressions, and, by sincere repentance and amendment of life, appease God's righteous displeasure, and, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain this pardon and forgiveness...

This was done as aid for troops overseas by Congress after our Declaration had been signed and 39 years before the American Bible Society was founded.

Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, 'Give me liberty or give me death,' but in current textbooks, his preceding words are omitted. Here is what he actually said: 'An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.' These sentences have been erased from our textbooks. Patrick Henry was a Christian? The following year, 1776, he wrote this: 'It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here.'

From what I have read and seen, Patrick Henry was, indeed, a devout and devoted Christian and fervently dismissed claims that he was Deist:

..."The rising greatness of our country...is greatly tarnished by the general prevalence of deism, which, with me, is but another name for vice and depravity....I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and indeed that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory (being called a traitor), because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics....Being a Christian...is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast." - Patrick Henry - "The Life of Patrick Henry of Virginia", A.G. Arnold, 1854...

However, the radical Patrick Henry was not a signer of the Declaration of Independence so his importance in this issue is void.

A great number of political men in the late 1700s were fundamental Christians; no one is denying this fact. Patrick Henry is one of them. It lends no credence to the argument that this country was founded on Christian principles whatsoever.

Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the front of his well-worn Bible: 'I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator.'He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role.

It should be noted that while Jefferson considered himself a Christian, he was by no means a "traditional" Christian. Jefferson was a follower of Jesus Christ - and none other. He was against the hierarchy and rulership of the Church and spoke out most fervently on how he believed Jesus' teachings had been misinterpreted and abused.

In January 19, 1810, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to Samual Kercheval.

..."But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State." - Thomas Jefferson...

Jefferson was such a believer in Jesus' original and untainted teachings that he created was is known as "The Jefferson Bible".

It is said in Thomas Jefferson and His Bible that Jefferson's Jesus was not the Jesus of the Bible; in fact, Jefferson seemed not concerned with other aspects of biblical or Christian history but in shining light on what he believed were the true teachings of Jesus Christ:

...Who was the Jesus that Jefferson found? He was not the familiar figure of the New Testament. In Jefferson's Bible, there is no account of the beginning and the end of the Gospel story. There is no story of the annunciation, the virgin birth or the appearance of the angels to the shepherds. The resurrection is not even mentioned...

Jefferson may have called himself a Christian because he believed the tenements of Christ, but it is plain that he did not accept or practice orthodox Christianity and was not a proponent of the Christian Church.

In a letter to his rival and friend, John Adams, on April 11, 1823, Jefferson said:

..."One day the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in the United States will tear down the artificial scaffolding of Christianity. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." - Thomas Jefferson...

To say that Thomas Jefferson would have attempted to found this country on a religion he vehemently denounced is absurd at best.

On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, 'The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.'

On July 4, 1821, U.S. Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, delivered a speech to the House of U.S. Representatives in celebration of Independence Day. No where in that speech is the above quotation found.

In 1821, the President was James Monroe. John Adams was one of our founding fathers who was president from 1797-1801; his son, John Quincy Adams was president from 1825-1829. The above is attributed to a "President Adams"; since this email is trying to prove that our founding fathers were devout Christians one would assume they are claiming this was said by the first John Adams. However, the only John Adams to give a speech on July 4, 1821 was John Quincy Adams - our forefather's son.

There is a quotation by our sixth president that mirrors the above and is attributed to John Quincy Adams, but there has been some argument in the past as to whether he ever actually uttered these words. This page, "Did John Quincy Adams ever say that the American Revolution...", researched by Jim Allison, indicates this is most likely untrue.

Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, 'The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.'

Calvin Coolidge was not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, nor was he a founding father of this country.

Perhaps Calvin Coolidge was a Christian and did say this very thing. It is possible that Mr. Coolidge was ignorant of the religious and spiritual beliefs of predecessors that had created the government 134 years before him. Regardless, it lends no further credence to the assertion that our country was founded on Christian principles. President Coolidge's observations of what these men did over a hundred years before him are likely as muddled as our own.

In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: 'The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.'

On January 21, 1781, Robert Aitken presented a petition to Congress to allow him to print an "Americanized" Bible or as he put it "a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use in schools".

At the time the only Bibles available hailed from Europe and publishing a new Bible was prohibited without a special license from the British government. Aitkens sought to publish the first English-language Bible in America and appealed to Congress for permission to do so.

On September 12, 1782, Congress acted on the petition by "highly approving of the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken". This endorsement was printed in the Bible.

Congress did not vote to recommend and approve the "Holy Bible" for use in schools in 1782. It did, however, approve an English-speaking Bible published by Robert Aitken that was recommended, because of its easy readability, for use in schools.

William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the 'Schoolmaster of the Nation.' Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey: 'The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it is derived our nation, on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free Institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible, I make no apology.'

It is ridiculous to base an argument on our founding father's intentions on the words of a professor who based his entire career on morality. He may have been a bright man who did many wonderful things for the school system, but stating his beliefs on the nation's Christian roots is no more useful than quoting any semi-famous conservative Christian who's lived in the past hundred years.

McGuffey was no more present in the minds of our founding fathers than any of us. Simply because he was a devout Christian lends no proof to the fact that our country might be based on the religion. He isn't even a politician.

Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures: 'Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.'

From Harvard University's official website: Although many of its early graduates became ministers in Puritan congregations throughout New England, the College was never formally affiliated with a specific religious denomination.

It makes one wonder how many of these other "106" were supposedly "Christian".

James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: 'We have staked the whole future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.'

On the page Is it true that James Madison said..., it is noted that this quotation has not been able to be attributed to Madison from but one source - and that one is not direct:

...no such quote has ever been found among any of James Madison's writings. None of the biographers of Madison, past or present have ever run across such a quote...

However, many, many more quotes - some directly taken from letters written by Madison - paint a different picture. Does this sound like a devout, orthodox Christian to you?

...During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution." - James Madison...

I believe this quote by Madison describes perfectly how he feels about a religion being the foundation for government:

..."[The] civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner or on any pretext infringed." - James Madison...

This was said June 8, 1789 in an introduction to the Bill of Rights at the First Federal Congress. "...nor shall any national religion be established" leaves little wiggle-room.

James Madison believed that church and state should not intertwine, as he said in a letter to Edward Livingston on July 10, 1822:

...I observe with particular pleasure the view you have taken of the immunity of Religion from civil jurisdiction, in every case where it does not trespass on private rights or the public peace. This has always been a favorite principle with me; and it was not with my approbation, that the deviation from it took place in Cong[ress], when they appointed Chaplains, to be paid from the Nat[ional] Treasury. It would have been a much better proof to their Constituents of their pious feeling if the members had contributed for the purpose, a pittance from their own pockets. As the precedent is not likely to be rescinded, the best that can now be done, may be to apply to the Const[itution] the maxim of the law, de minimis non curat." - James Madison...

It seems a mockery of his beliefs to claim that James Madison helped to found this country on Christian principles and morals.

To lend further credence to the idea that our country was not principally founded on Christian principles, Thomas Jefferson says this in his own autobiography:

..."[A]n amendment was proposed by inserting 'Jesus Christ,' so that [the preamble] should read 'A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion'; the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination" - Thomas Jefferson...

If most of our forefathers were Christians creating a Christian-based government, then who was this "great majority" that voted to keep the preamble open to all believers of all religions?

Today, we are asking God to bless America - but how can He bless a Nation that has departed so far from Him? Most of what you read in this article has been erased from our textbooks. Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country's Christian roots.

Most of what you have read in this email is falsehoods, misconstrued and improperly quoted text, and blatant misinformation. Much like Jefferson believed the Bible to a bastardization of the true teachings of Jesus, this and documents like it, make folly of the true intentions of our founding fathers by "revising" the truth to speak how they wish it to.

Let's you and I share the truth of our nation's history and let it be told. For example, in John 3:16, 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.'

This information shared is only a drop of cement to help secure a foundation that is crumbling daily in a losing war that most of the country doesn't even know is raging on, in, and around them...

The war is that fundamental Christianity wants to become the nation's religion-of-choice; that people like this want to impose their views and religious beliefs upon you - to the point of ignoring the freedoms this country was based upon. If these bigots win this "war" a dark hour will come to pass over America's freedom.

Please do your bit and share this with as many as possible and make the ill-informed aware of what they once had.

Do your bit and search out your own truths before heedlessly swallowing up the "research" of others - even in regards to this piece that I have written.

And please - begin to tell our children.

Instead, tell our children the truth - that it is fine to worship however you want to, but it is never right to push that religion on another or to use that religion to judge another as beneath you. Teach them that it is not the "American way" to force others in submission or to follow beliefs against their own in the name of religion - at least, it should not be.

Teach your children that regardless of whether our founding fathers were Christian or not, they should always follow their own hearts - wherever it may take them. Tell them to always fight for the right to follow those hearts as well, for that is what this country stands for.

More by this Author


Comments 21 comments

In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California

You have certainly done an large amount of research on this issue. As a Christian, Mormon, I follow this belief,

"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

This is more in line to me with the research you have done on the founding fathers. Thank you for this Hub and your insights on this issue.


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 8 years ago from Louisiana Author

Hi ItD, thanks for the compliments and sharing.

I don't have anything against Christianity - I do want to say that, and I wasn't meaning to attack it here with this piece. Instead, I only wanted to look at the discussion of whether our founding fathers were Christians and based our country's principles on those beliefs. I just wanted to be clear on that because I didn't want anyone to feel I was attacking their beliefs. ^_^

Thank you for the quote, and I think it's a beautiful one. In fact, I'd like to add it to my quote book - who said it? I honestly believe that's the way it should be and the way America should be run in regards to personal religion and religious choices.

I really appreciate your sharing - it's a topic I do enjoy talking with others about because there are so many opinions and thoughts on this.


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California

Hi Skatoolaki,

I think that our "Founding Fathers" probably believed in Jesus Christ in some form or another. I think that the Masonic beliefs are also part of a Christian belief system, if I am correct. I agree that they were not what is commonly known as "Christian" today, but believed in the concepts taught by Christ himself. To me this is evidenced by their works and thought processes. I too, agree with you that propagandizing on what "they would have done or said" to further one's cause is simply wrong.

As for the quote, it is one of the 13 Articles of Faith that were written by Joseph Smith when he was asked to summarize what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon's believed in. It is really quite ironic that religious persecution by Christians themselves was the plight of the early Mormon church, to the martyrdom of Joseph Smith himself. Joseph Smith was a firm believer in the Constitution of the United States and taught that the premises contained therein were indeed inspired by God. Even when the United States government turned from guaranteeing these rights to the Mormon people themselves as they were persecuted unjustly for religious sake, he still preached the importance of the document and taught that the only way to real freedom was to uphold the constitution and ideals on which this nation was founded. He had great respect for our founding fathers and was a true patriot. Many today would label Joseph Smith as a non-Christian, this is not a true assumption.

I appreciate your zeal for knowledge in this issue and admire you in the fact that you researched what most would commonly take as fact. Prove all things, hold fast to that which is true.


akeejaho profile image

akeejaho 8 years ago from Some where in this beautiful world!

Nice Hub Skat. Loved it, as usual. Nice research. People believe what they want to believe, despite truth to the contrary.


Misha profile image

Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

Great hub Shanna, thorough research and interesting reading. You have a lot of stuff to write on if you continue that route though - most of what we believe is history is outright lie :)


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 8 years ago from Louisiana Author

@ItD: Thank you for the info on the Mormons and 13 Articles of Faith; I didn't know that. I just love that quote!

@akeejaho: Thank you very much. Sometimes I often wonder if ppl don't research things b/c it's easier to just take certain things as truth!

@Misha: Thanks! I appreciate the compliments. It's a very interesting topic and there is so much to cover about it directly and even indirectly. You're right; I could write on it for days and never run out of material! Remember what they say too, as to your last line, history is written by the *winners*. ;)


Jon Rowe 8 years ago

"Our courts have seen to that! Did you know that 52 of the 55 signers of 'The Declaration of Independence' were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? They all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention. It is the same Congress that formed the American Bible Society, immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence."

The only problem with this and much else of what you write is that it isn't true. For actual history see my blog American Creation.


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 7 years ago from Louisiana Author

Jon, apparently you did not actually take the time to read my article.  The entire piece is refuting the claims - like the one you stated above - as false and/or misinformation.


automated ebook software 7 years ago

This is some interesting information. I have never heard this side of it, taking a class about it now. thanks for the blog.


Nights  6 years ago

I thank you for the article, I'm currently fighting ignorance of America's foundation in my little corner of the world. A losing battle I may add. Even my father, who is a firm believer of Jesus Christ, can agree with me that America was founded to break away from church-state. In fact it was him who pointed it out to me. My general question for people who believe that Christianity America's foundation is always, "If the forefathers were such devout Christians, why didn't they establish America as a church-state?" I'll admit I get quite smug when there is no response to my simple logical question.


simple 6 years ago

If your argument is to be considered factually accurate why is there a fight to REMOVE the established... Prayer in schools, Congress(which is still happening), Inaugurations,The Ten Commandments placed in public buildings, In God We Trust on our currency, putting your hand on the BIBLE in court(why not other religious books also), when inaugurated as President,I could go on and on. If these institutions were not intended by the Founding Fathers it would seem they would not be so prolifically practiced in America. There are valid points on both sides but can YOU argue history and facts? The email has evidence, and you have evidence but what does the BULK of history say? How long did America, for the most part, harmoniously practice Judeo Christianity beliefs. And what about the rights of these Judeo Christians? They are not saying get rid of other religions they are saying let us continue to practice what was established since the founding of our country. Maybe there are no rights for Christians... hmmmm.


booyah 6 years ago

@simple: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion - John Adams: Treaty of Tripoli


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 6 years ago

This is extremely thorough. It also coincides with what I recently read in a book called "The Faiths of Our Fathers." The founding fathers were not a single entity. They had their own individual beliefs that could evolve and change over time. This is why people can find quotations to support whatever position they wish. The idea that the majority of them were orthodox Christians, however, is clearly inconsistent with the facts. And the primary thing that they shared was a desire to maintain religious liberty in this nation.

The only problem with your approach is that a large percentage of people are not interested in evidence. Whatever sources you cite, some will say that they are some sort of secular propaganda, and they will choose to believe the quotations that are consistent with what they want to believe. I hope that some, however, will be open-minded enough to look at the bulk of the evidence.

The blog "American Creation" mentioned above is actually really cool; although Jon Rowe clearly did not read your post very carefully.

Good job.


Don Camp 6 years ago

Certainly there are some mistatements in the email and a failure to research carefully. But aside from critiquing the email, I don't think you proved your thesis - that the founding fathers did not build the foundation of our government on concservative Christian principles.

Of course, there is a lot of wiggle room in the definition of "conservative Christian principles." Do you mean conservative as used today? Then perhaps not. But by a more general definition - conservative of the past - I don't know how you can debate that. Even the idea of freedom from a state religion and of conscience had a Christian basis for most of these men. The laws of our land were founded on biblical principles. I could go on.

Yes, there was the influence of the Enlightenment evident in many of the documents but not to the extent that it opposed Chrsitian values. That is why Jefferson - a Deist at best - could call himself a Chrisitan; he was not playing the Christian card as many of our politicians today do. He was simply honest; he shared the moral ethical values of Jesus. That is what you find in the Jefferson Bible.

Your post begs the question: If not Christian values, what? Alexis de Tocqueville writing within a generation of the founding of the country wrote this: "Moreover, almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same." Perhaps being closer to the time than we are his observations should be considered.


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

My thoughts on this are always confirmed, if you simply look at preamble to each states constitution....they ALL mention God, and many refer to Jesus. Why this bothers so many folks amazes me. Nobody is saying that we have to force any religion, but simply recognize the Heritage of our Nation..and it's strong faith in God and His significance in building our Country.


daniel 6 years ago

is this website credible?


Charles  5 years ago

15 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were known Freemasons, importantly Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. 28 of the 40 signers of the Constitution were Freemasons or were affiliated with the organization, including George Washington, James Madison and Ben Franklin.-

Robert Livingston, who was the Grand Master of New York's Masonic Lodge, swore in our first president, George Washington, who took his oath on a Bible from a Masonic lodge.------------------------------ I think you had better forget about this one--All Free masons are Christian's, if they weren't they wouldn't be a mason. When I saw this comment I knew you were just hawking and I have no faith in any thing else you say.


Emily 5 years ago

I believe that the important point is that the founders wanted state and church to be separate. Therefore, in a fundamental way, their own personal beliefs concerning religion or to what extent any religious beliefs framed their thinking is actually irelavent.

They would not want ANY religion to claim that it was the 'religion of America'-the entire point was to separate church and state, since they themselves were separating from a climate in which there was no freedom to believe whatever you wanted.

To me the origins of this idea would not likely come from traditional Biblical thought up to this time, for up until then, from what I understand, Kings were considered to be ordained by God to rule, and the state church was another God appointed authority which you could not question.

So what changed such that people wanted to separate the two????

There must have been some bigger social change going on although I don't know enough about history to say much about it, but for some reasons people were now able to break away from these old oppressive traditions.

If anyone suggests that America is a "FILL-IN-THE-BLANK Nation" because of what religion or lack of religion any founder had, it goes directly against their intentions.

The entire POINT was that you can believe as you like.

What seems to cause the current controversy is the INCREASE in seperation of church-state in recent times, which then created a backlash. Some people felt threatened by the changes.

Some see this as a kind of persecution of their beliefs, when it is actually a furtherance of the seperation and probably says more about the current diversity of thought and religion than anything else.

America is now a far more diverse place than it was in those days, and the essence of the constitution is that the state not be involved in promoting nor repressing anyone's beliefs.

What if you lived in a country in which children in school were taught to sing songs of another religion? What if you were a Protestent and had to sing about the deity of Mary? Should you have to do this?

And why are songs of a religious nature being put forward in public schools?

This is the essence of the problem. It doesn't matter what the thought is, if you lived in India perhaps it would involve Hindu thought being taught in school....flip it around, and it is the same thing that happened to the early Christians when they were killed for their beliefs....

Now when the Christian Right does the same thing, calls for America to be 'Christian', they are doing the same as their persecuters did, although in a far more mild way of course...

Such are my thoughts anyway......


tbowman 5 years ago

The writer of this article apparently did not do their own fact-checking. If you just research writings of the 56 signers of the declaration you will find an overwhelming majority of them not only believed in The Lord Christ Jesus but mention God multiple times through out their writings.


jessupsmith 4 years ago

no sir . this america was not all founded on christ! slavory for one. churches to held blacks as slaves. we were thought of as animals. america well answer to there so called GOD? ONE DAY.. people please read the true history of this america. yes sir no sir massa. please.


kenneth thomas 4 years ago

Not much truth to all the added OPINION of this writer going way out of the way to rewrite history very deceitful. If you don't believe in God you are able to make up any lie you wish and call it the truth but it doesn't make it so and you always pay a price.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working