December 1, 2009
Was America founded as a Christian nation? I’ve heard sermons arguing so. John Holzmann disagrees.
He looks to the First Amendment, which says “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” Many claim that congress was rejecting the favortism of one denomination over another. This was not their intention, however, since the forefathers rejected earlier versions of the First Amendment with denominational language. Moreover, numerous State constitutions forbid denominational favortism, and even encouraged religious tests for voters. Vermont is an example, saying,
I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the old and new testaments to be given by divine inspiriation, and own and profess the protestant religion. And no further or other religious test shall ever, hereafter, be required.
The founding fathers rejected such strong Christian overtones or any denominational preference. In light of this, Holzmann states
By speaking of religion in general, the founding fathers placed all religions -Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Paganism, Atheism, Deism, all religions – on equal footing with one another … They cleared the field of a specifically Christian government.
As for George Washington himself, Holzmann points out “when out of the public eye, attended church only about once a month… Never received communion… and omitted the blessing when no clergy was present.”
In conclusion, Holzmann writes:
So what were the founders of our country trying to do when they ignored the explicitly Christian constitutions already in place in so many of the states? Why did they eliminate religious oaths? Why did they remove Christianity from the government of the United States?
The answer is clear: They wanted to stop condemning themselves by their own words! They wanted to stop perjuring themselves with religious oaths they did not believe.
Is the United States government Christian? Is it godly? I believe not. It was planned to be non-Christian right from the start. We are now beginning to reap what the forefathers of our country sowed at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
-John Holzmann, American History in Depth, Section Three, Appendix 5