America not a "Christian Nation" in late 18th century

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  1. LondonGirl profile image79
    LondonGirlposted 9 years ago

    I've seen several discussions of the extent to which the USA was historically a Christian country, and came across this treaty from 1797, placed before the Senate, which stated:

    "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 Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan 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."

    The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816
    Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796

    1. dutchman1951 profile image61
      dutchman1951posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      London Girl, hope this helps...

      Here is link to Yale Law School to read the original treaties as they were written:

      It is not this way, the way you have this portrayed, there is a lot of real history behind this, if you care to research it.

      here is some additional thoughts about this Treaty to read;

      United States Treaties with the Barbary States (conclusion)
      By Chris Rodda Sat Oct 06, 2007 at 09:06:54 PM EST  print story

      This is the third and final installment of the serialization of the chapter of my book, Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History, on our early government's dealings with the Barbary States. (The first installment can be found here, and the second here.)

      As demonstrated by Chuck Norris's two recent WorldNetDaily articles, "A 200-year-old lesson on 9/11" and "Is America a Christian nation?," the revisionists are now equating the Barbary Wars of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries with the current "War on Terror" -- "Once a religious war, always a religious war," according to Norris.

      Most of the lies used by Norris pre-date the current war, and were originally created by revisionists like David Barton to support their assertion that the Barbary Wars are proof that the United States was a Christian nation, simply because the enemies were Muslims. Now, of course, there is a new use for these lies -- justifying the invasion and occupation of Iraq. But, as you will see below in Thomas Jefferson's account of "General" Eaton's unauthorized military operation, Jefferson, along with his Secretary of State, James Madison, "considered that concerted operations by those who have a common enemy, were entirely justifiable, and might produce effects favorable to both, without binding either to guarantee the objects of the other," but said of Eaton's promise of United States help to affect a regime change in Tripoli that a "stipulation so entirely unauthorized, so far beyond our views, and so onerous, could not be sanctioned by our Government." Once a treaty was negotiated with the reigning ruler of Tripoli, and the United States' problem was solved, the involvement of United States was over. The fact that Tripoli still had a tyrannical ruler who had stolen the throne from the legitimate heir just wasn't our problem. So, there is a lesson to be learned from history here, it just isn't the one that Chuck Norris wants it to be.

      This final installment of "Treaties with the Barbary States" finishes up the "General" Eaton story, and then addresses the final revisionist argument against the 1797 treaty with Tripoli -- that the absence of the "not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" phrase in a later treaty with Tripoli, made in 1805, is evidence that the presence and approval of these words in the earlier treaty was some sort of mistake that the later treaty corrected.


      Additional for you to consider;

      The Original Constitution Up-holds that we all have certin in-aliable rights given at birth, not granted by a goverment a king or an individual group of belivers in control of a majority.

      It was not founded on Religion, The Puritans were breaking from English rule, away from Monarchy, a single party system, and also from Group of Religionist Theorists whom were proscuting them in England. They had a bad taste for Monarchy, and single party Goverment. And ruling Church Heads of State.

      The Constitution is based on a Beliefe in mans' in-alieable rights at Birth, and that we as humans have those in-alieable rights granted by birth as humans, under God . They are Already given to us and that no Religion, no King or person or goverment can choose to grant them. Or gift them to us, as we already have them!

      It was revolutionary thinking at the time! (God over King!)

      It was written to Gaurantee that fact only, that all Americans will have those same birth rights. It stops short of going further. Adams, Rush, Hamilton, Jefferson and the Others believed in this, not in churches and religion as a governing body. Religion was left to as a moral issue and personal belief issue.

      In the Federalist papers. In Hamiltons defense to New York, of the Constitution, in his Articles, and in all the writings of all of these men that voted and contributed to the Constitution, there is an underpinning of this Belief in a God given birth right. A Strong under-pinning.

      The arguments they had were about the powers of the Govermewnt, the Office powers, The Legislative Body, the courts, the make up of the Goverment, Check and Balance in the system etc... States rights verses Gov. Responsibilities. Not about religion, they had no use for it as a governing body.

      Now, The Laws they made to follow, do indeed follow Bible law as a guide, no stealing, no murder, not taking of property that is not yours (stealing, coveting etc...etc...) and thats were they held to Gods law, as a base for US Law. Moral law.

      Even Today in US Legal Briefs and Filings, the First sentence always still says.."We pray the Court"...

      The Constitution, the real document, is not what people claim it to be, and research on your own will show this.

      God given birth rights of men have always been inter-twined into the Constitution. Not religion.

      The seperation of Religion from state is a valid argument, and that should be kept seperate from mans in-aliable rights at birth. There is a difference from freedom at birth, and choosing your religion. On this Adams, Jefferson, and the Others argued but did all agree.

      They were intent on granting the Birth right, a gaurantee of the freedom, not a gaurantee of any religion. You were already free to choose what religion, sect, and that was a moral, personal issue to them. But Gods given right was central to there grounding, thinking.

      What you have in your post is an argument by a Reloginist, downing America, for past wars with Muslum countries and reading into the treaty something that was never there. A Political spin, so to speak; A one sided slant- a lie, please look at the Yale site for the real treaties. The actual words and corrections made at the time they were written.

      The US struck the treaties to stop having to pay large Tributes to the Barbery Coast Countries, so the Pirates would stop attacking trade ships, and America, a new country, could safely transport goods to trade and make money to grow the treasury.

      Somolia is trying that same thing today!

      We had to, in the begining, keep Borrowing monies from France and the Netherlands, loans to keep the Country going, pay an army to fight, build an economy without taxing the people to death! We had to stop the tributes.

      England, obviously was not going to trade with us! France did, but wanted certin things back in return that could inhibit us as a new country, so we had to be carefull with that. We had to open the trade routes.

      I'll get off the sopa box now, sorry for the length, just felt the point being missed.


  2. Mark Knowles profile image60
    Mark Knowlesposted 9 years ago

    I think you will find that logic and facts have no place in any discussion on this particular issue. wink

    What it was - this piece of paper was just written to appease the Musselmen at the time and they did not really mean it. At least that is the basis of the arguments I have been offered in the past.... lol

  3. Eaglekiwi profile image77
    Eaglekiwiposted 9 years ago

    Most western nations claim to be ,guess it just looks 'civil' lol  written down

  4. profile image58
    C.J. Wrightposted 9 years ago

    The idea is that the country was founded primarly by Christian peoples.  The government intentionaly insilated it self from religion.  However religous beliefs often define who we are and effect how we see things. In theory the Separation of Church and State is a great idea, and should be practiced where ever possible.  Practically speaking ones religous beliefs will allways bleed over into their politics.

  5. Dark knight rides profile image67
    Dark knight ridesposted 9 years ago

    America was a Christian nation in the 18th century in so far as if was founded and populated by Christians, of a variety of sects. But that is different from, say Iran, which is a Muslim nation or China which is an athiestic nation. In those cases the religion is dictated by the government and all citizens, regardless of actual belief, are bound to the state religion. The U.S. of course has never had a state religion, but it is very much a Christian nation. Just look at the power the Christian groups have had over gay marriage.

    1. tksensei profile image60
      tksenseiposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I see your point, but the China example doesn't really fit.

  6. profile image0
    Madame Xposted 9 years ago

    Our founders believed in God but they did not found America on Christianity. They had had enough of Christian bickering in England and the rest of Europe - hence the First Amendment.


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