Not A Judeo-Christian Nation

Barack Obama said that we were not a Christian nation but did say we would be one of the largest Muslim nations (a patently false claim). His defenders here and other places claim that the Nation’s Founders did not put christian items in our Founding Documents and claim that Christian references were not in them on purpose. The nation was founded on Judeo-Christian teachings and values and that can be seen in a number of documents and writings including the Constitution.

Article VII of the Constitution:

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names. [emphasis mine]

Is there any doubt that the Lord is Jesus Christ since the dating system referred to him when used that way? It is true that dating was traditional but they did not mention the Lord in other dates and they could have easily left it out if they truly wanted a secular document.

Is it absolute proof that our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles? No, but taken with the references cited in the video it is obvious that the Founders did not have a completely secular vision and that Judeo-Christian history played a part of it.

Big Dog

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22 Responses to “Not A Judeo-Christian Nation”

  1. Adam says:

    For the Republicans and for you to roll out arguments that we were founded as Christian nation as a counter to Obama is as pointless as it is disputable.

    However, this has very little to do with what our nation was and everything to do with what our nation is today. When you read Obama’s statements you see that.

    Obama isn’t denying the idea that many of our founders were Christians or that Christian ideas influenced early foundational policy. He is just simply pointing out the truth that we are a religiously diverse nation and that most of us celebrate that.

    I assume the video and your quote refer to April 16, 2009:

    And I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is — although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.

    This goes back further in time with Obama’s remarks June 28, 2006:

    Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

    As for the Muslim nation stuff? It’s hard to figure out exactly what Obama was trying to say. Maybe Biden had that gaffe put in at the last minute without it being vetted.

  2. Darrel says:

    I watched the first minute of the video, and I’ll answer the two questions he would like answered.

    1) “Whether or not we ever considered ourselves a Judaeo-Christian nation?

    2) “And, if we did, what was that moment in time when we ceased to be so.”

    Answer:

    1) The US has never been a Christian Nation. See the constitution.

    2) See answer one.

    Alternate answer to number two for those who are confused about number one and incorrectly think it is answered in the affirmative:

    June 10, 1797.

    That’s the date John Adam’s signed the legally binding treaty (US law is bound by it’s treaties), which reads:

    “As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion,…”

    Incidentally:

    “The Senate’s ratification [of this treaty] was only the third recorded unanimous vote of 339 votes taken. The treaty was printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two New York papers, with no evidence of any public dissent.”

    This is because the US was profoundly unchurched at the time:

    “At the time of its Founding, the United States seemed to be an infertile ground for religion. Many of the nation’s leaders – include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin – were not Christians, did not accept the authority of the Bible, and were hostile to organized religion. The attitude of the general public was one of apathy: in 1776, only 5 percent of the population were participating members of churches.”

    [Ian Robertson, _Sociology_, 3rd editions, Worth Publishing Inc.: New York, 1987, page 410]

    DAR
    As to the lame attempt that “year of our Lord” is in the date. This phrase is a matter of convention, a formal way of stating the date, and is not part of the text, the legal content, of the constitution. It’s just the date.

    Nice try though.

    D.
    ——————
    ” Nevertheless, the “Christian America” myth lives on. We again return to the previous question: If America was truly founded as an explicitly Christian nation (as is continually proclaimed by “Christian” activists such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy, Chuck Colson, Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, Bill Gothard, etc.), then why do we find no mention whatsoever of Jesus Christ in America’s founding documents? — not in the Declaration of Independence nor in the
    Constitution of the United States! In fact, the Constitution does not even make a single reference to God! (When Alexander Hamilton was asked why the Constitution fails to mention God, he allegedly replied, “We
    forgot.”) And the reference to God in the Declaration of Independence is merely “Nature’s God,” a God that is vague and subordinated to natural laws that everyone should know through common sense, i.e.,
    “self-evident” truths. Moreover, the Bible is never mentioned nor alluded to in either document! Nor is God or Jesus Christ mentioned in the hundreds of pages of the Federalist Papers (the “working documents”
    of the founding fathers). In fact, the United States was the first Western Nation to omit explicitly Christian symbolism, such as the cross, from its flag and other national symbols”

    –Jim Beard, Christian

    • Big Dog says:

      It is in article VII which is a legal part of the Constitution. No one said it was an explicitly Christian nation. I notice you like to take a few words, change them and then assume it is part of the original. You are deceptive and manipulate things to give the appearance of answering something. I said we were founded on Judeo-Christian principles and that is true. No one said we were explicitly Christian.

      Nice try

      The dating convention is not used in other areas. It could have been changed but it was not. You also told me there was no reference to Jesus in the Constitution.

      Sociology books are often biased to the view of the writer which is what we all tend to do. Find a source that agrees with our viewpoint and print it. It is not a great reference.

      • Darrel says:

        Bigd: “It is in article VII which is a legal part of the Constitution.”>>

        DAR
        What is? The date?

        BIGD: “No one said it was an explicitly Christian nation.”

        DAR
        The treaty of Tripoli says explicitly we are not a nation founded on the Christian religion, and our Constitution has no mention of God or Christianity.

        BIGD: I notice you like to take a few words, change them and then assume it is part of the original.>>

        DAR
        You provide no example.

        BIGD: You are deceptive and manipulate things to give the appearance of answering something.>>

        DAR
        I typed in the questions from the fellow in your video clip, *verbatim,* and then I answered his questions directly. How is that not “answering something?”

        BIGD: I said we were founded on Judeo-Christian principles and that is true.>>

        DAR
        It’s not clear what you mean by “Christian principles.” Does my neighbor run his business based on “Christian principles?”
        Could you be a little more foggy? We have a godless constitution and a law that specifically states the US is:

        “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

        Bigd: “No one said we were explicitly Christian.”>>

        DAR
        Keep moving the goal posts back till I can’t seem them anymore. The US is not Christian, in any official sense, and this is prohibited by the Constitution.

        Is the Christian religion so weak and defenseless that it needs official government endorsement? Why is that? Why do so many Christians want to use the power and authority of the government to impose their religion on others? Why can’t they just be happy worshiping in freedom rather than grasping for official endorsement. Something to think about.

        Bigd: The dating convention is not used in other areas.>>

        DAR
        That’s nice. It’s the date. What matters is the text/content of the document. And that part is Godless.

        D.
        —————–
        “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 upon fables and mythologies.” –Jefferson, The Jefferson Bible, distributed to all members of Congress

        • Blake says:

          Just because there is an Intentional absence of a “State” religion, you term the document to be “Godless”- it is not, it just purposely doesn’t designate a “God” or religion. Why? That was part of its purpose- to make no religion ascendant over any other- not to abolish all, but to embrace all.

        • Blake says:

          I have found that atheists claiming to know religion is akin to vegans knowing the taste of steak.
          They are so intent on debunking religion that they never consider the possibility that they might be wrong.

        • Blake says:

          That part is without specificity with regard to religion. It is the atheist in you that insists on it being “Godless”. This is not unexpected, as you have been more than willing to push your agenda on us here, whether we wish it or not.
          One would almost believe you to be evangelical.

        • Darrel says:

          BLK: “there is an Intentional absence of a “State” religion, you term the doc**ent to be “Godless”>>

          DAR
          I say the document is God-less because there is no reference to God in the text (you can have the date). That makes it God, less.

          BLK: “atheists claiming to know religion is akin to vegans knowing the taste of steak.>>

          DAR
          Yes, you’ve said that three times recently. Growing up on a dairy farm, I’ve had a lot of steak. I don’t eat it anymore, but I know what it tastes like. Likewise, I have calculated that I spent over 10,000 hours in church related activities by my mid teens. And lots of time studying these issues in the three decades after that.

          So I know more than a bit about religion. It’s a specialty of mine.

          The details for my calculation of 10,000 hours can be viewed HERE.

          In my parents religion, going to college was either not allowed or very strongly discouraged. So I didn’t go. They changed this rule in the early ’90’s. The first time I went to collage was when a professor asked me to give a guest lecture, on religion (I had just published a book on the doctrine of biblical inerrancy).

          BLK: “They are so intent on debunking religion that they never consider the possibility that they might be wrong.”>>

          DAR
          As a freethinker, I am constantly scrutinizing my beliefs/claims to see if they are wrong. That’s what freethinkers do. After a while, this skeptical scrutiny tends to weed out the junk and you find your beliefs really hold up well to examination.

          You could benefit from this method.

          D.
          ———————
          “He who cannot reason is defenseless; he who fears to reason has a coward mind; he who will not reason is willing to be deceived and will deceive all who listen to him.”

        • Blake says:

          And actually, D- I have used the vegan- steak claim just once- in this thread, while you are a “specialist” all the time- your unbridled and unjustified ego is beyond comprehension.

        • Darrel says:

          BLK: I have used the vegan- steak claim just once- in this thread,>>

          DAR
          That’s why I specifically said “recently.” That’s also why you added “in this thread.”

          If you try to out nitpick me, you will lose. Do keep trying though! It tickles.

          BLK: while you are a “specialist” all the time- your unbridled and unjustified ego is beyond comprehension.>>

          DAR
          Well then perhaps you should expand your comprehension. Sometimes your stupidity is beyond my comprehension, and (as you know), I reckon I can comprehend a lot.

          D.
          ——————–
          “It’s not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you.” — Frank Zappa

    • Savonarola says:

      Darrel, what are you thinking? It’s not a nice try at all. It’s a pathetic try.

      Darrel, you and I — and other people with any semblance of an understanding — know that the Gregorian calendar is the internationally recognized standard calendar, not some “tradition.” Because it is based on the (erroneously calculated) date of Jesus’ birth, years after this event are titled /Anno Domini/, which translates to the phrase used in the Constitution: in the year of our lord.

      Big Dog says that the dating convention is not used in “other areas,” but I’m not sure what he means. There are no other dates in the Constitution, so there’s no reason it would be used elsewhere in the Constitution. If he means elsewhere in legal documents, he’s just completely wrong. Again.

      So remember, Darrel: “the big dog is always right.” Except when he’s not. Which is a lot.

    • Blake says:

      We are a nation founded on Christian values and laws based on Christian ideals. That is a fact, whether your atheistic butt likes that or not D.
      Year of our Lord is a part of the whole, just as “In God We Trust” , putting our hand on the Bible before testifying, etc.
      Christian values and tenets are interwoven throughout our society.
      That sucks for you D.

      • Randy says:

        In God We Trust was invented in the ’50’s. Not part of the founding fathers plans at all.

        • Darrel says:

          DAR
          Well, the In God We Trust motto first appeared on a United States coin in 1864. But that was back in the day when they put lots of weird things on coins. I liked “Mind Your Business.” You’re right if you mean it wasn’t made the national motto until 1956.

          It was a phrase that the founders never heard nor would likely have approved of. They preferred the secular and inclusive: “E Pluribus Unum (“from many, one”) which “was approved for use on the Great Seal of the United States in 1782.”

          When government endorses religion it is always divisive. Best for it to stay neutral. I have talked to a marine that used to be able to proudly say the pledge of allegiance but wouldn’t after they inserted religion into it. That’s too bad.

          D.

          • Big Dog says:

            Acknowledging religion is different than endorsing it.

            • Darrel says:

              When government acknowledges a deity it endorses religion over non-religion. That’s taking a side. Christians (some) desperately want this government endorsement but it’s best when government stays neutral on the religion question. It’s none of it’s business.

              D.
              ——————-
              “Obama has shown an unusual sensitivity toward atheists, the first president to mention non-believers in an inaugural address when he said, “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers.
              “It’s not his job to tell people to pray,” David Silverman, national spokesman for the organization American Atheists, told CNN.”

        • Randy says:

          You are correct, my wording could have been better. Thanks for the clarification.

        • Blake says:

          Randy- I don’t believe I claimed that In God WE Trust was a part of any founding document- that might require you to read more carefully- what I said was that that saying as well as putting our hand on a Bible before testifying, as well as other little things like those permeate our society in day in, day out things we do- gee, that is just our society, and who we are- a basically Christian nation that tolerates all faiths fairly well. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • Darrel says:

        BLK: “putting our hand on the Bible before testifying,…”

        DAR
        Actually, that’s a little ceremonial thing mostly done on TV shows. It’s not required. I was in a court case about two years ago in Missouri and there were no Bibles around or used.

        Note also:

        “…the Constitution guarantees all federal and state officials the right to avoid taking oaths of office. Further, the Constitution guarantees that there will be no religious tests for federal office. In the words of Joseph Story,* the effect of these provisions is to “cut off for ever every pretense of any alliance between church and state in the national government.”

        Presidents and other federal officials may swear on the Bible and say the words “so help me God,” but this does not make the Constitution any less secular (saying these things has no legal significance). The Constitution requires nothing of federal officers in the way of religion. The framers saw no need to refer to God in the oath of office, and explicitly provided an alternative to the oath that guaranteed secularity.”

        *Joesph Story was an early Justice of the Supreme Court and the author of the first detailed commentary on the United States Constitution, 1833.

        http://candst.tripod.com/tnppage/arg11.htm

        D.
        ——————-
        “I’m looking for loopholes.”
        [W.C. Fields, when caught reading the Bible]

    • Blake says:

      The US was NOT “profoundly unchurched” but had so many different religions that the Constitution had to reflect this polyglot of religion by making no one better than any other. The Founding Fathers were Deists, meaning they believed in God, but for purposes fo the Constitution and other government documents, they didn’t identify with specific sects.

      • Darrel says:

        “Five percent” is “profoundly unchurched.” I provided a reference showing:

        “…in 1776, only 5 percent of the population were participating members of churches.”
        [Ian Robertson, _Sociology_, 3rd editions, Worth Publishing Inc.: New York, 1987, page 410]

        I have others showing the same. What have you got beyond mere assertion?

        D.

        • Blake says:

          Do you know how it was back then? Oh- that’s right, its probably a “speciality” of yours- but it was not always easy to get to a church back then. It certainly did not mean they did not pray in their homes.