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Was America Founded On Christianity?

One of the many attacks on our country from the Religious Right is the claim that our country is a Christian Nation...not just that the majority of people are Christians, but that the country itself was founded by Christians, forChristians. However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. Those people who spread this lie are known as Christian Revisionists. They are attempting to rewrite history, in much the same way as holocaust deniers are. The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true. They were Freethinkers who relied on their reason, not their faith.If the U.S. was founded on the Christian religion, the Constitution would clearly say so--but it does not. Nowhere does the Constitution say: "The United States is a Christian Nation", or anything even close to that. In fact, the words "Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, Creator, Divine, and God" are never mentioned in the Constitution-- not even once. Nowhere in the Constitution is religion mentioned, except in exclusionary terms. When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article 6, section 3) This provision was radical in its day-- giving equal citizenship to believers and non-believers alike. They wanted to ensure that no religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had.

The Declaration of Independence gives us important insight into the opinions of the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea that the power to rule over other people comes from god. It was a letter from the Colonies to the English King, stating their intentions to seperate themselves. The Declaration is not a governing document. It mentions "Nature's God" and "Divine Providence"-- but as you will soon see, that's the language of Deism, not Christianity.

The 1796 Treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was "not in any sense founded on the Christian religion" (see the image on the right). This was not an idle statement meant to satisfy muslims-- they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.


None of the Founding Fathers were atheists. Most of the Founders were Deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. They spoke often of God, (Nature's God or the God of Nature), but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity. Some people speculate that if Charles Darwin had lived a century earlier, the Founding Fathers would have had a basis for accepting naturalistic origins of life, and they would have been atheists. We'll never know; but by reading their own writings, it's clear that most of them were opposed to the bible, and the teachings of Christianity in particular.

Yes, there were Christian men among the Founders. Just as Congress removed Thomas Jefferson's words that condemned the practice of slavery in the colonies, they also altered his wording regarding equal rights. His original wording is here in blue italics: "All men are created equal and independent. From that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable." Congress changed that phrase, increasing its religious overtones: "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights." But we are not governed by the Declaration of Independence-- it is a historical document, not a constitutional one.

If the Christian Right Extremists wish to return this country to its beginnings, so be it... because it was a climate of Freethought. The Founders were students of the European Enlightenment. Half a century after the establishment of the United States, clergymen complained that no president up to that date had been a Christian. In a sermon that was reported in newspapers, Episcopal minister Bird Wilson of Albany, New York, protested in October 1831:"Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism." The attitude of the age was one of enlightened reason, tolerance, and free thought. The Founding Fathers would turn in their graves if the Christian Extremists had their way with this country.

Consider this: IF indeed the members of the First Continental Congress were all bible-believing Christians, would there ever have been a revolution at all?

"For rebellion as is the sin of witchcraft." 1 Samuel, 15:23

This passage refers to humans rebelling against god, a statement that establishes the precedence of unconditional subservience which is further illustrated, very explicitly, by the following two passages:

1 Peter 2:13: "For the Lord's sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right."

Paul wrote in Romans 13:1: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resist authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

Would our Founding Fathers have initiated a rebellion if they thought it was a sin equal to witchcraft (a crime punishable by death)? The bible gives clear instructions to Christians on how to behave when ruled under a monarchy, as the Founders clearly were. The Founders obviously did not heed what was written in the bible. If they were in fact good Christians, there would never have been an American Revolution. Compare the above passages with what is written in the Declaration of Independence:

"When a long train of abuses and usurpations... evinces a design to reduce (the people) under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."

Who were the Founding Fathers? American historian Richard B. Morris, in his 1973 book Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries, identified the following seven figures as the "key" Founding Fathers:


    [*]John Adams[/*][*]Benjamin Franklin[/*][*]Alexander Hamilton[/*]

    [*]John Jay[/*][*]Thomas Jefferson[/*]

    [*]James Madison[/*][*]George Washington[/*]


Of these, only John Jay can be considered an orthodox Christian. As Congress's Secretary for Foreign Affairs, he argued (unsuccessfully) for a prohibition forbidding Catholics from holding office. On October 12, 1816, Jay wrote, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." It is John Jay that the modern Christians have in mind when they talk about the Founding Fathers. Luckily for the rest of us, and all freedom-loving Americans, he was not in the majority.

Sometimes Christians offer up the Pilgrims as an example of our nation's Christian founding. That is sheer ignorance on their part. The Pilgrims weren't the ones who crafted the Constitution that governs our nation! They weren't the ones who rebelled against England. The Pilgrims fled from horrible religious persecution in England only to practice the SAME HORRIBLE RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION here, as you can read on this pious Christian site. The "religious freedom" so often spoken of in regards to the pilgrims was espoused by them only when they were the victims. It was not based on any principle of fairness-- it was a belief born of weakness, to be fogotten in their moment of power. Christian Colonists branded non-christians on the forehead with red-hot irons, bore them through their tongues, confiscated their property and threw them in jail, hanged them and burned them at the stake-- THAT is what happens when Christians have their way! But that website is wrong in claiming that non-Christians are "criminals under the CONSTITUTION". It's the Constitution that did away with Christian persecution. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That means people can freely exersize whatever religious belief they wish, Christian or not. Thanks to the Constitution, Christians can no longer persecute and kill those who do not agree with them.

Quotations regarding religious beliefs:

Thomas JeffersonJohn AdamsBenjamin FranklinThomas PaineJames MadisonGeorge WashingtonAbraham LincolnLinks



The fourth president of the United States, James Madison, was much like the other Virginia presidents--Washington and Jefferson--who went before him. Like them, he loved his home state only a little less than his country. Like them, he was a rich man who gave his whole life to public service. He was an able student of politics and government who brought real knowledge and skill to his job. In public office Madison was a calm, reasoning statesman who governed by force of logic. In a time when emotions ran high, he made common sense prevail. He was not always successful in dealing with foreign nations, but history has shown that he had right and justice on his side. He entered the presidency at a time when war clouds hung over the young nation. He saw his country through the disastrous War of 1812, and his final months in office produced the "era of good feeling" that lasted for many years. He did well as secretary of state and as president, but his greatest record was made earlier. For his outstanding work on the nation's charter, Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution. .---------------------------------------------------------
Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe
Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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"It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Gov't from interfence in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others."
James Madison, "James Madison on Religious Liberty", edited by Robert S. Alley, ISBN 0-8975-298-X. pp. 237-238 .



"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." - "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785
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"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." - Ibid, 1785
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"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." -letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774
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"Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."
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"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -1803 letter objecting use of gov. land for churches

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John Adams The second president of the United States was John Adams, lawyer and diplomat. Adams' public career lasted more than 35 years. He was second only to George Washington in making a place for the young United States among the nations of the world. In his devotion to the country he was second to none
Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe, Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" -letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816
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"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved-- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
-letter to Thomas Jefferson
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"The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A FREE INQUIRY? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes."
- letter to John Taylor
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"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."
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"The question before the human race is, whether the God of Nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?"
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"Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?" -letter to Thomas Jefferson
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"God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world."
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"Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years?"



". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."
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"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
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.Thomas Jefferson The third president of the United States was Thomas Jefferson. He had been the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. In an age of great men Jefferson was remarkable for his wide-ranging curiosity on many subjects. He helped the United States get started, and his plans for the future helped it grow. Many of the good things Americans enjoy today have come from Jefferson's devotion to human rights. Jefferson is often called the founder of the Democratic party. Many other groups also claim to follow his principles. He developed the theory of states' rights, which was against giving much authority to the federal government. He is known to everyone as the author of the ringing statement in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, that among their inalienable rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. His writings have stood as a torch to the defenders of individual freedom, in spiritual as well as in worldly affairs. .
Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe
Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Thomas Jefferson, because he was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the embodiment of our nation's expressions of freedom, is the Founding Father who is most often claimed by the Christians as one of their own. Unfortunately-- for them-- he left behind many writings which lead us to conclude that his beliefs were quite different from those of the common christian. The claim that Thomas Jefferson was a Christian can only be made by someone who has never read his original writings. Christians may think that just because he mentions "god", that makes him a Christian just like them. Jefferson absolutely believed in a god-- but not the god of orthodox Christianity. He was a Deist (Nature's God), not a Christian (the trinitarian God of Abraham and Isaac).

Thomas Jefferson did not believe in the Trinity, and he said so:

"The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs." -- Letter to James Smith, December 8, 1822

"It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet the one is not three, and the three are not one: to divide mankind by a single letter into ["consubstantialists and like-substantialists"]. But this constitutes the craft, the power and the profit of the priests. Sweep away their gossamer fabrics of factitious religion, and they would catch no more flies. We should all then, like the quakers, live without an order of priests, moralise for ourselves, follow the oracle of conscience, and say nothing about what no man can understand, nor therefore believe; for I suppose belief to be the assent of the mind to an intelligible proposition." -- Jefferson's Letter to John Adams, August 22, 1813

(John Adams' reply to this letter shows that he did not believe in the Trinity either): "The human understanding is a revelation from its maker, which can never be disputed or doubted. There can be no scepticism, Pyrrhonism, or incredulity or infidelity here. No prophecies, no miracles are necessary to prove this celestical communication. This revelation has made it certain that two and one make three, and that one is not three nor can three be one. We can never be so certain of any prophecy, or the fulfilment of any prophecy, or of any miracle, or the design of any miracle, as we are from the revelation of nature, that is, nature's God, that two and two are equal to four." --Adam's Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 14 September 1813

Thomas Jefferson did not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, and he said so:

"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. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors." -- Jefferson's letter to John Adams, April 11 1823

Jefferson was a rationalist. He believed that Jesus was a pure and ethical teacher of morals. To that end, Jefferson took a razor to the New Testament and removed passages he thought to have been inserted by the authors of the gospels (whom he called the "commentators"), and he pasted what remained together as "The Jefferson Bible". With his razor blade, he removed every verse dealing with the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, claims of Jesus' divinity and other puerile superstition, thus leaving us with a very much shorter book. In 1904, the Jefferson Bible was printed by order of Congress, and for many years was presented to all newly elected members of that body.

"No one sees with greater pleasure than myself the progress of reason in its advances towards rational Christianity. When we shall have done away the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, that three are one, and one is three; when we shall have knocked down the artificial scaffolding, raised to mask from view the simple structure of Jesus; when, in short, we shall have unlearned everything which has been taught since His day, and get back to the pure and simple doctrines He inculcated, we shall then be truly and worthily His disciples; and my opinion is that if nothing had ever been added to what flowed purely from His lips, the whole world would at this day have been Christian. I know that the case you cite, of Dr. Drake, has been a common one. The religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, as to shock reasonable thinkers, to revolt them against the whole, and drive them rashly to pronounce its Founder an imposter. Had there never been a commentator, there never would have been an infidel." -- Jefferson's Letter to Timothy Pickering, 21 Feb 1821

"The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.
1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect.
2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin:
1. That there are three Gods.
2. That good works, or love of our neighbor, are nothing.
3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in the faith.
4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save.

Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian? He who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus? Or the impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin? Verily I say these are the false shepherds fortold as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mohomet. Their blasphemies have driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the supposed author himself, with the horrors so falsely imputed to him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian." --Jefferson's letter to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, June 26 1822


Jefferson was called an ATHEIST by Christian ministers of his day, who tried to block his presidency! How can Christians claim him now as one of them, now that he's dead?!
http://www.newwest.net/city/article/thomas_jefferson_atheist_and_leveler_from_virginia/C108/L108/
"As to the calumny of Atheism, I am so broken to calumnies of every kind, from every department of government, Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary, and from every minion of theirs holding office or seeking it, that I entirely disregard it, and from Chace it will have less effect than from any other man in the United States. It has been so impossible to contradict all their lies, that I have determined to contradict none; for while I should be engaged with one, they would publish twenty new ones." -- Jefferson's Letter to James Monroe, May 26, 1800

The most famous ‘out of context’ religious quote of Thomas Jefferson is to be found in the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. Around the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial, in large gold letters, is the quote: “I HAVE SWORN UPON THE ALTAR OF GOD, ETERNAL HOSTILITY AGAINST EVERY FORM OF TYRANNY OVER THE MIND OF MAN.” The quote was taken, completely out of context from a letter that Jefferson wrote to Dr. Benjamin Rush September 23, 1800. The quote put in its original context says just the opposite of the pious sentiment it is made to say. In his letter to Dr. Rush Jefferson is talking about the Christian clergy who were working against his being elected President by saying Jefferson was an infidel. The complete quote says: “The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their (the Christian clergy) hopes, and they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” So we see that in his letter Jefferson is saying that the “tyranny over the mind of man” that he is opposed to are the schemes of the Christian clergy, and the god he is referring to is the god of Deism, not the god of the Christians.

"If by religion we are to understand sectarian dogmas, in which no two of them agree, then your exclamation on that hypothesis is just, "that this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." But if the moral precepts, innate in man, and made a part of his physical constitution, as necessary for a social being, if the sublime doctrines of philanthropism and deism taught us by Jesus of Nazareth, in which all agree, constitute true religion, then, without it, this would be, as you again say, "something not fit to be named even, indeed, a hell." -- Letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, May 5, 1817

Thomas Jefferson did not believe that Jesus was God, and he said so:

"The office of reformer of the superstitions of a nation is ever dangerous. Jesus had to walk on the perilous confines of reason and religion; and a step to right or left might place Him within the grasp of the priests of the superstition, a bloodthirsty race, as cruel and remorseless as the Being whom they represented as the family God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel. They were constantly laying snares, too, to entangle Him in the web of the law. He was justifiable, therefore, in avoiding these by evasions, by sophisms, by misconstructions and misapplications of scraps of the prophets, and in defending Himself with these their own weapons, as sufficient, ad homines, at least. That Jesus did not mean to impose Himself on mankind as the Son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in the lore." -- Thomas Jefferson's letter to William Short, August 4, 1820

To claim that Jefferson was a Christian is outright dishonest. He was a MATERIALIST, and he said so:

"But while this syllabus is meant to place the character of Jesus in its true light, as no imposter himself, but a great reformer of the Hebrew code of religion, it is not to be understood that I am with him in all his doctrines. I am a materialist; he takes the side of spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance towards forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it." -- letter to William Short, April 13, 1820;Definition of a Materialist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism



"In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot ... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose." - to Horatio Spafford, March 17, 1814
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"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." - "Notes on Virginia"
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"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. 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 blindfolded fear. - letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 10, 1787
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"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." - to Baron von Humboldt, 1813
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"On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind." - to Carey, 1816
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"Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a common censor over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." --Notes on Virginia.



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"Creeds have been the bane of the Christian church ... made of Christendom a slaughter-house." - to Benjamin Waterhouse, Jun. 26, 1822
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. . "It has been fifty and sixty years since I read the Apocalypse, and then I considered it merely the ravings of a maniac."
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"They [preachers] dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live."
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"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology."
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"We discover in the gospels a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstition, fanaticism and fabrication ."
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"No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever." -Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
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"... I am not afraid of priests. They have tried upon me all their various batteries of pious whining, hypocritical canting, lying and slandering. I have contemplated their order from the Magi of the East to the Saints of the West and I have found no difference of character, but of more or less caution, in proportion to their information or ignorance on whom their interested duperies were to be played off. Their sway in New England is indeed formidable. No mind beyond mediocrity dares there to develop itself." - letter to Horatio Spofford, 1816
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"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
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"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law." -letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1814
."In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot.... they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose." - to Horatio Spafford, March 17, 1814
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"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."
-letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT "The Complete Jefferson" by Saul K. Padover, pp 518-519

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.George Washington Many United States presidents are honored for their great work, but two stand above all others-- George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is remembered for his great human qualities. Washington is beloved as the "father of his country." Washington was a "father" in many ways. He was commander in chief of the American forces in the American Revolution, chairman of the convention that wrote the United States Constitution, and first president. He led the men who turned America from an English colony into a self-governing nation. His ideals of liberty and democracy set a standard for future presidents and for the whole country. Washington seemed somewhat cold and formal to the public. With his family and friends he often relaxed. He helped family and friends with gifts and loans, asking only that they would not reveal the donor. However, he was quick to say "no" when he felt imposed upon. Washington's memory is held in honor by his fellow countrymen and by the world. The enemies and critics who attacked him in war and in peace are now largely forgotten. His name has become a byword for honor, loyalty, and love of country.
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Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe
Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved...
The father of this country was very private about his beliefs, but it is widely considered that he was a Deist like his colleagues. He was a Freemason.Historian Barry Schwartz writes: "George Washington's practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian... He repeatedly declined the church's sacraments. Never did he take communion, and when his wife, Martha, did, he waited for her outside the sanctuary... Even on his deathbed, Washington asked for no ritual, uttered no prayer to Christ, and expressed no wish to be attended by His representative." [New York Press, 1987, pp. 174-175]

Paul F. Boller states in is anthology on Washington: "There is no mention of Jesus Christ anywhere in his extensive correspondence." [Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963, pp. 14-15]
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"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society."
- letter to Edward Newenham, 1792
."Gouverneur Morris had often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system (Christianity) than did he himself." -Thomas Jefferson, in his private journal, Feb. 1800

More about Washington's Beliefs
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.Benjamin Franklin Few men have done as much for the world as Benjamin Franklin. Although he was always proud to call himself a printer, Franklin had many other talents as well. He was a diplomat, a scientist, an inventor, a philosopher, an educator, and a public servant. Any one of Franklin's many accomplishments would have been enough to make him famous. He organized the first library in America, and the U.S. Postal System. He invented many things, including the lightning rod and the Franklin stove. Franklin amazed scientists throughout the world with his experiments in electricity. In Europe, Benjamin Franklin was the most famous American of his time. It was he who persuaded the English to repeal the hated Stamp Act. It was also he who convinced the French to aid in the American Revolution. Franklin helped draft both the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution.
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Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe
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"I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did."
- letter to his father, 1738



". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."
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"I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it."
- "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion", 1728
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"I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity." - Works, Vol. VII, p. 75
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"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both here (England) and in New England."
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"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." -in Poor Richard's Almanac
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"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." -in Poor Richard's Almanac
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"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."
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"I looked around for God's judgments, but saw no signs of them."
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"In the affairs of the world, men are saved not by faith, but by the lack of it."



"It is much to be lamented that a man of Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done as much as he did to make others unbelievers" (Priestley's Autobiography)

More about Franklin's Deism
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Thomas Paine was the "firebrand of the American Revolution." His writings brought courage in times of crisis. The first was in January 1776. At that time the colonies were still split on the question of declaring their independence from Great Britain. Some instructed their delegates in the Continental Congress to act against separation from the mother country. Thousands of colonists were undecided. On January 10 Paine published a pamphlet, 'Common Sense'. To rally the faltering he wrote: "Freedom has been hunted around the globe. Asia and Africa have expelled her . . . and England has given her warning to depart. O, receive the fugitive and prepare in time an asylum for mankind!" Colonists up and down the seaboard read this stirring call to action. George Washington himself said it turned doubt into decision--for independence.
As a young man he sailed to America from England, carrying letters of introduction from Benjamin Franklin, whom he had met in London. Franklin recommended him for the "genius in his eyes." Franklin's letters got him the post of assistant editor of the new Pennsylvania Magazine in Philadelphia. One of his essays denounced slavery in the colonies.
In England he published 'Rights of Man' in 1791, in support of the French Revolution. Today the book seems moderate, but it so stirred Britain that he was indicted for treason. He fled to France and was elected to the National Convention. There he opposed the execution of Louis XVI. His humanitarian stand won him the ill will of the Jacobins, and he escaped the guillotine only through the fall of Maximilien Robespierre. After ten months in prison he was released and aided by James Monroe, then United States ambassador to France and later U.S. president.
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Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe
Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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"The New Testament, they tell us, is founded upon the prophecies of the Old; if so, it must follow the fate of its foundation.''
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"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."
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"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half of the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call 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.
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"What is it the New Testament teaches us? To believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married; and the belief of this debauchery is called faith."
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"Take away from Genesis the belief that Moses was the author, on which only the strange belief that it is the word of God has stood, and there remains nothing of Genesis but an anonymous book of stories, fables, and traditionary or invented absurdities, or of downright lies."
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"We do not admit the authority of the church with respect to its pretended infallibility, its manufactured miracles, its setting itself up to forgive sins. It was by propagating that belief and supporting it with fire that she kept up her temporal power."
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"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."
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"The story of Jesus Christ appearing after he was dead is the story of an apparition, such as timid imaginations can always create in vision, and credulity believe. Stories of this kind had been told of the assassination of Julius Caesar."




"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
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"The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion."

-More of Thomas Paine's writings Online
-Buy Thomas Paine's complete works on CD-ROM
-Obtain a Bust of Thomas Paine

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Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War Hero

"I have generally been denominated a Deist, the reality of which I never disputed, being conscious I am no Christian, except mere infant baptism makes me one; and as to being a Deist, I know not strictly speaking, whether I am one or not."
preface, Reason the Only Oracle of Man
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Abraham Lincoln, although not a Founding Father, was an extremely influential and important U.S. President. He is considered, after George Washington, the greatest of presidents. Every child is taught about Lincoln's birth in a log cabin, but what is not taught is that he rejected Christianity, never joined a church, and even wrote a treatise against religion.At times religious wording was written into Lincoln's speeches, but such public soothes were brought at the insistence of White House staff members. In 1843, after he lost a campaign for Congress, he wrote to his supporters: "It was everywhere contended that no Christian ought to vote for me because I belonged to no church, and was suspected of being a Deist."

When Lincoln was first considered for the presidential nomination, Logan Hay wrote to his nephew, the future Secretary of State John Hay: "Candor compels me to say that Mr. Lincoln could hardly be termed a devout believer in the authenticity of the Bible (but this is for your ears only)."

Interviewer Opie Read once asked Lincoln about his conception of God, to which he replied: "The same as my conception of nature." When he was asked what he meant by that, he said: "That it is impossible for either to be personal."

His former law partner, William Herndon, said of him after his assassination: "[Mr. Lincoln] never mentioned the name of Jesus, except to scorn and detest the idea of a miraculous conception. He did write a little work on infidelity in 1835-6, and never recanted. He was an out-and-out infidel, and about that there is no mistake." He also said that Lincoln "assimilated into his own being" the heretical book Age of Reason by Thomas Paine.

Lincoln's first law partner, John T. Stuart, said of him: "He was an avowed and open infidel, and sometimes bordered on atheism. He went further against Christian beliefs and doctrines and principles than any man I have ever heard."

Supreme Court Justice David Davis: "He [Lincoln] had no faith, in the Christian sense of the term-- he had faith in laws, principles, causes and effects."
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"The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession."
-Spoken by Abraham Lincoln, quoted by Joseph Lewis



source: http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html


Added: Oct-14-2012 Occurred On: Oct-14-2012
By: maxwellthebest
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