Political pluralism: How gov’t can support conflicting religious beliefs by Sally Steenland Center for American Progress, tucsonsentinel.com, Apr 17, 2014
Letter to the Danbury Baptists from Thomas Jefferson, 1802 “Believing 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…their Legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free excercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
The Treaty of Tripoli — June 10, 1897 — Article XI of the treaty was a proclamation that 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 Musselman (Muslims).“ Upon signing the treaty Adams issued a statement which said, “Now be it known, That I, John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof.”
America is not and its Christians should not want it to be a Christian Nation by Martin Marty — It is a Christian-influenced nation, and much of that influence has been and is for the good. “Christian” would mean “named after Christ (Jesus)” who emphatically said his kingdom was not of this world, so a “Christian nation” would be against his wishes as described in the gospels.
Conservatives Want America to be a “Christian Nation” – Here’s What Would That Would Actually Look Like By Adam Lee. AlterNet, October 4, 2011 — …Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, in an appeal to evangelical voters, said “Christian values” and not “a bunch of Washington politicians” should be the touchstone guiding how Americans conduct their lives. …“America is going to be guided by some set of values,” Perry told a crowd of 13,000 students and faculty members yesterday at a sports arena on the school’s campus. “The question is going to be, ‘Whose values?’” He said it should be “those Christian values that this country was based upon.” It’s worth calling attention to Perry’s obnoxious rhetorical ploy of using “Christian values” to refer only to his own very specific, right-wing set of beliefs — preemptive war, gay-bashing, tax cuts for the rich, creationism in schools, deregulating corporations, dismantling the social safety net, the standard Republican package — as if he owned or had the right to define all of Christianity. In reality, there’s such a huge diversity of opinion among self-professed Christians past and present that the term “Christian values” could mean almost anything…Christians have advocated positions across the political spectrum, from environmental preservation to environmental destruction, from pacifism to just war to open advocacy of genocide, from civil rights to segregation and slavery. This broad range of opinion comes about because the Bible never mentions many of these issues, and addresses others in only vague or contradictory passages scattered throughout its individual books. This gives individual Christians wide latitude to find support in the text for virtually any political position you’d care to name. However, there’s one area where there’s much less room for debate, and that’s the question of political organization. The Bible sets out a very clear picture of what its authors believed the ideal state would look like…The Bible never even mentions democracy — that concept was completely unknown to its authors. The system of government it enshrines is divine-right monarchy — and not just monarchy, but kingship…the Bible’s ideal government is unequivocally a theocracy: a country where the church and the state are one, where there’s an official religion which all citizens are required to profess, and where law is made by the priests…The Bible also puts a high value on racial purity…By the time of the New Testament, much of this had changed…All these ideas, so clearly advocated in the Bible, are utterly contrary to what this nation stands for. The idea of divine-right kingship is what our founders successfully rebelled against in bringing forth this country.Americais a democracy where the people choose their leaders, a constitutional republic where the powers of those leaders are strictly defined and limited by law.Americais a multicultural, multiethnic nation founded on the idea of welcoming immigrants, the homeless and tempest-tossed of every land. Submission to the established authorities, of course, isn’t an American value: Americans have a long and colorful history of debate, protest, and civil disobedience, and the right to criticize our leaders is sanctified in the Constitution. And most of all,Americais a secular nation with a separation of church and state. We have no official faith, no national church as many European countries still do. But America’s Constitution is more than just a secular document; it’s literally godless. It doesn’t claim that the ideas it contains were the product of divine revelation.…If America’s founders had meant to establish a Christian nation, this is where they would have said so…The United States of Americawas the first modern republic that was created on the foundation of reason, without seeking blessings from a god, without imploring divine assistance or invoking divine favor.…What the religious right failed to achieve at the Constitutional Convention, they kept trying to do in the following decades…Only within the last 50 or 60 years, now that they’ve finally accepted they have no realistic hope of changing it, has the religious right flip-flopped and started claiming that the Constitution meant to establish a Christian nation all along. This staggeringly dishonest, wholesale rewriting of history has become their stock in trade, to the point of having full-time propagandists who obscure historical fact and promote the Christian-nation myth…We, as liberals and progressives, should know better than to accept this falsehood. We have every reason to speak out and uphold America’s proud history as a secular republic founded on reason and governed by the democratic will.