“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

America Founded a Christian Nation? You Bet!

haplain Jacob Duche leading the first prayer in the First Continental Congress, 1774

Chaplain Jacob Duche leading the first prayer in the First Continental Congress, 1774

The United States of America was founded by Christians as a Christian nation.

No, it was not and is not a theocracy. We do not have an official state church or an official state religion. In fact, the same Constitutional amendment which guarantees our freedom of religious expression also forbids an official state religion or church:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

But our country was undoubtedly founded by Christians. A few of the founders such as Benjamin Franklin and possibly Thomas Jefferson were not Christians, but even they were well grounded in the Bible and generally adhered to the moral and philosophical wisdom of Christianity.

From the colonial charters which almost universally cited the glory of God and the advancement of Christianity as their motivation, to the Declaration of Independence which cites “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and our Creator as the source of our rights and appeals “to the Supreme Judge of the world” and declares “a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,” to the U.S. Constitution which acknowledges the Christian worldview and even the Christian day of worship, our nation was founded on Christian principles so clearly that it cannot be rationally denied.

I will not take the time to convey here and now any more of the mountain of evidence that America was founded on the Christian worldview, but if you have any doubt whatsoever, I suggest you read extensively here and here. I would also suggest you read “Democracy in America,” the unabridged version. If you ever doubted America’s Christian character, you will be amazed.

For now, though, the video below shows Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) on the floor of the US House.Congressman Forbes asks the questions “Did America ever consider itself a Judeo-Christian nation?” and “If America was once a Judeo-Christian nation, when did it cease to be?” on the floor of the US House.

The speech came in response to President Barack Obama’s April 6 speech in Turkey where he said that “we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation…”

This is a transcript of the speech:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, on April 6th of this year, the President of the United States traveled halfway around the globe, and in the nation of Turkey, essentially proclaimed that the United States was not a Judeo-Christian nation.

I don’t challenge his right to do that or dispute the fact that it is what he believes, but I wish he had asked and answered two questions when he did that. The first question was whether or not we ever considered ourselves a Judeo-Christian nation, and the second one was, if we did, what was the moment in time where we ceased to be so? If asked the first question, Mr. Speaker, you would find that the very first act of the first congress in the United States was to bring in a minister and have congress led in prayer, and afterwards read four chapters out of the bible. A few years later, when we unanimously declared our independence, we made certain that the rights in there were given to us by our creator. When the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, it ended the revolutionary war and birthed this nation. The signers of that document made clear that it began with this phrase, “in the name of the most holy and undivided trinity.”

When our constitution was signed, the signers made sure that they punctuated the end of it by saying, “in the year of our lord, 1787”, and 100 years later in the supreme court case of Holy Trinity Church vs. United States, the Supreme Court indicated, after recounting the long history of faith in this country, that we were a Christian nation. President George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan, all disagreed with the President’s comments, and indicated how the bible and Judeo-Christian principles were so important to this nation. Franklin Roosevelt even led this nation in a six-minute prayer before the invasion of perhaps the greatest battle in history, in the Invasion of Normandy, and asked for God’s protection. After that war, congress came together and said, “Where are we going to put our trust?” It wasn’t in our weapons systems, or our economy, or our great decisions here. It was in God we trust, which is emboldened directly behind you. So, if in fact we were a nation that was birthed on those Judeo-Christian principles, what was that moment in time when we ceased to so be?

It wasn’t when a small group of people succeeded in taking prayer out of our schools, or when they tried to cover up the word referencing God on the Washington Monument. Or, when they tried to stop our veterans from having flag-folding ceremonies at their funerals on a voluntary basis because they mentioned God, or even when they tried in the new visitor’s center to change the national motto, and to refuse to put “in God we trust” in there. No, Mr. Speaker, it wasn’t any of those times because they can rip that word off of all of our buildings and still those Judeo-Christian principles are so interwoven in a tapestry of freedom and liberty, that to begin to unravel one is to unravel the other.

That’s why we have filed the Spiritual Heritage Resolution, to help reaffirm that great history of faith that we have in this nation and to say to those individual’s who have yielded to the temptation of concluding that we are no longer a Judeo-Christian nation, to come back. To come back and look at those great principles that birthed this nation, and sustain us today. We believe if they do, they will conclude as President Eisenhower did and later Gerald Ford repeated, that “without God, there could be no American form of government. Nor, an American way of life.” Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first, the most basic expression of Americanism. Thus the founding fathers of America sought and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back.

So as we celebrate the 233rd birthday of our great nation, this great gift of God to Americans and to all mankind, let us not forget to thank the One to whom we owe all.


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12 Responses to “America Founded a Christian Nation? You Bet!”

  1. Time and time again you read adamant claims from people saying that the U.S. was *not* founded on Christian principles. What is supposed to be the basis for these, anyway? Do people making these claims just disregard all relevant things the founders wrote? I see so much of an “if I say it wasn't so, then it wasn't” attitude on that side of the fence.

  2. What is a Christian Nation? Is it one that forgives its enemies, that, when struck on one cheek, turns the other? Is it a Nation that sells all it has, and gives the income to the poor, and then follows Jesus? Is it a Nation that is like little children, not asking who will be first in God's kingdom?

    If this is how we understand 'Christian Nation,' Are we one? If not, what is a Christian Nation?

  3. America was founded by people who by in large were Christians and based many of its principles and laws on Christian values and that is how its foundation is and should be accurately described. But is not now or ever was a 'Christian nation' and should not be referred to that way any more than we should call ourselfs a ' white ' nation . That actually would be more accurate since all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were white but they were not all Christians. You could accurately even say we are foundationally ' mainly a Christian nation' because most of our founders, laws and priniciples were mainly derived from Christianity.

  4. When the overwhelming majority of the founders were Christians, as was the overwhelming majority of Americans at that time, and Christian principles and the Christian worldview was instrumental in setting up our government, and the Christian character was so prevalent as to permeate every aspect of our culture as Alexis de Tocqueville described, and throughout the bulk of our history most Americans have ascribed to Christianity, and more than 80% of Americans today call themselves Christians…

    To make the claim that America has not been or even is not a Christian nation is either a statement of profound ignorance or a deliberate attempt to perpetrate a brazen fraud with the intend of de-legitimizing the aforementioned Christian foundation in our government and laws for the purpose of moving our nation away from that foundation.

  5. I totally agree that the overwhelming majority of the founders( and Americans) were Christians and that Christian principles and worldview was instrumental in setting up our government. I also do not want to de-legitimitize our Christian foundation because that would be fraudulent and simply against accurate history.

    The reason I say we are not a ' Christian Nation ' is because the Constitution forbides this nation from being any one ' Specific Religious Nation ' by i decree or definitionn and the term 'Christian Nation' defines and decrees us as that one specific nation. Again, the accurate statement would be the one you stated in your first sentence.

  6. What you secularists never seem able to grasp (or want to grasp) is that we do not have to be an officially Christian nation to be a Christian nation in character and every meaningful way. It's disingenuous and misleading even to intimate this is not our history even when doing so on an official technicality. The very people who crafted the First Amendment prohibition against an official church or religion knew at the same time that we were a Christian nation in character and in every even remotely important sense of the word. We could have a state religion, have a state church, and even be a full-blown theocracy, yet still only pay lip service and not be Christian in character–so the “official status” counts for little next to the question of character. And there is no rational doubt about the Christian character of America's founding and founders.

  7. Bob,

    Not sure about the use of your term 'Christian character', because that implies that the character of the Christian is on some higher plain that that of a a non-Christian which the founding fathers and most Americans should find abhorent from a nation( or national) standpoint.If one religion wants to feel that way about itself, thats its choice, but a nation cant feel that way. We dont put one belief above any other belief. Men and women of all beliefs are equal and only prejudice would claim the chracter of one race, gender or religion is preferable.I do believe the Constitution makes that clear Again,I will readily agree that the founders were mainly Christian and had Christian world views,

    America is a Christian Nation. That statement, standing alone, has many implications to it. far more than just we are are founded on Christian principles and you know that full well. When you say Christian nation, 'Christian' is an adjective that describes 'Nation' . Our founding fathers went to great lengths to make sure we were not described by any religious term.We must give them their do.

  8. Brian, let me be blunt. I've had about enough of your parsing and nit-picking over a subject that is astonishingly clear.

    What does the word “character” typically mean when we talk about the character of a person, a people, an organization, etc? As the dictionary defines it, ” one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual” or ” a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories.” That is the context in which I meant the “Christian character” of our nation, and it's not that hard to figure out.

    However, I have not the single, slightest, solitary doubt that the founders held the actual moral character, value, and superiority of the Christian belief system to be completely superior to every other belief system in the world. How do I know this? They said so. Exhaustively. Repetitively. I pretty much every way one can refer to belief systems. And I cited this in my article, and provided links to still more. (Just ONE example: “Christianity is the only true and perfect religion; and that in proportion as mankind adopt its principles and obey its precepts they will be wise and happy.” – Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration)

    Our nation was designed to operate on the Christian worldview, and it cannot be what the founders intended, it cannot continue to enjoy the tremendous success, prosperity and domestic tranquility we have known if we depart from it.

    To cite John Adams,

    The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.

    And

    We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    At the risk of unfairly elevating myself, I cannot see how any human being can be more clear on this topic than I have been here. But when one is determined to avoid an unpleasant truth, no amount of words, no combination of words, can penetrate that closed mind.

    I have indulged your pettiness on this topic longer than I would from most because you have historically proven yourself to be more reasonable than most liberals. However, over the course of the last two days, you have proven the disclaimer that the contention that “our nation was founded on Christian principles so clearly that it cannot be rationally denied.”

    Consider this thread closed.

  9. The USA was not founded as a Christian nation. Anyone who believes it was needs to explain the wording of the Treaty of Tripoli from 1797 which was written while George Washington was still president but did not go to the Senate for a vote until John Adams was president. It is one of the few things that has ever gone to the Senate and passed by a UNANIMOUS vote. Article 11 of the treaty applies to the founding principles of the USA and begins: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…” I guess the founding fathers were just confused???

  10. Since you've been mislead by a common secularist misrepresentation of both our Christian Heritage and what the Treaty of Tripoli communicates, I'd be happy to explain the wording of the Treaty of Tripoli.

    In fact, I have already explained it (http://www.dakotavoice.com/2008/10/confusion-at…) and will provide an excerpt of that explanation here:

    Muslim nations were–and many still are–genuinely theocratic institutions. Their laws come directly from their holy text and they are ruled in part or in whole by religious officials. As such, they rightly saw themselves as “Muslim nations,” but also saw the Western nations they warred against (England, France, Spain, the United States, etc.) as “Christian nations.” This could be said to be true of most of these nations in a couple of senses. It was true that the people of these nations almost all ascribed to the Christian religion. And in the case of most of them, they actually had official state churches and official state religions.

    The United States obviously did not have an official state church or an official state religion. However, we were closely associated with the other European nations that did, and almost all citizens of the United States were in fact Christians.

    Based on their own nationalized religion, and on that of several European nations, the Muslims saw (and still do to a great extent even today) conflicts between Muslim and “Christian” nations not as secular conflicts over land and property and such, but as religious conflicts.

    It was in this manner that Article XI of the treaty stated the United States was not “is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

    But what secularists usually don’t include (and overlook even if they do included) from the Treaty of Tripoli is precisely what is needed to understand just what the authors of the treaty meant.

    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 [Muslims] and as the said States have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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.

    So you see, the Treaty itself explains that it is not making a statement about the religious character of the people of the United States, nor about the principles upon which our nation founded. It was rather intended to assure the members of the Muslim nations with whom the treaty was made that we bore them no official hostility or disagreement based on “religious opinions.”

    I hope this helps.

  11. The USA was not founded as a Christian nation. Anyone who believes it was needs to explain the wording of the Treaty of Tripoli from 1797 which was written while George Washington was still president but did not go to the Senate for a vote until John Adams was president. It is one of the few things that has ever gone to the Senate and passed by a UNANIMOUS vote. Article 11 of the treaty applies to the founding principles of the USA and begins: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…” I guess the founding fathers were just confused???

  12. Since you've been mislead by a common secularist misrepresentation of both our Christian Heritage and what the Treaty of Tripoli communicates, I'd be happy to explain the wording of the Treaty of Tripoli.

    In fact, I have already explained it (http://www.dakotavoice.com/2008/10/confusion-at…) and will provide an excerpt of that explanation here:

    Muslim nations were–and many still are–genuinely theocratic institutions. Their laws come directly from their holy text and they are ruled in part or in whole by religious officials. As such, they rightly saw themselves as “Muslim nations,” but also saw the Western nations they warred against (England, France, Spain, the United States, etc.) as “Christian nations.” This could be said to be true of most of these nations in a couple of senses. It was true that the people of these nations almost all ascribed to the Christian religion. And in the case of most of them, they actually had official state churches and official state religions.

    The United States obviously did not have an official state church or an official state religion. However, we were closely associated with the other European nations that did, and almost all citizens of the United States were in fact Christians.

    Based on their own nationalized religion, and on that of several European nations, the Muslims saw (and still do to a great extent even today) conflicts between Muslim and “Christian” nations not as secular conflicts over land and property and such, but as religious conflicts.

    It was in this manner that Article XI of the treaty stated the United States was not “is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

    But what secularists usually don’t include (and overlook even if they do included) from the Treaty of Tripoli is precisely what is needed to understand just what the authors of the treaty meant.

    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 [Muslims] and as the said States have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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.

    So you see, the Treaty itself explains that it is not making a statement about the religious character of the people of the United States, nor about the principles upon which our nation founded. It was rather intended to assure the members of the Muslim nations with whom the treaty was made that we bore them no official hostility or disagreement based on “religious opinions.”

    I hope this helps.