Religious Beliefs Founding Fathers U.SA.

The U.S. Founding Fathers: Their Religious Beliefs

Although the United States of America Declaration of Independence mentioned “Nature’s God” and the “Creator,” the Constitution made no reference to a divine being, Christian or otherwise, and the First Amendment explicitly forbid the establishment of any official church or creed….

One quasi-religious conviction they all shared, however, was a discernible obsession with living on in the memory of posterity.

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The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments t...
The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution - Image via Wikipedia


The Constitution in its main body forbids titles of nobility (I, 9) and religious tests for officeholding (VI)

Under the First Amendment, Congress can make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting its free exercise, or abridging freedom of speech or press or the right to assemble and petition for redress of grievances.

The Bill of Rights derives from the Magna Carta (1215), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the colonial struggle against king and Parliament, and a gradually broadening concept of equality among the American people. Virginia‘s 1776 Declaration of Rights, drafted chiefly by George Mason, was a notable forerunner.


God and Saints of Christ, Church of
God Defend New Zealand
God in Christ, Church of
God Save the Queen
God, Church of
God, Church of
God, Kingdom of
God, Peace of
God, Truce of




    There are constant disagreements over whether our Founding Fathers wanted this country to be built as a Christian nation—especially between those on the far right.    Tea Party members believe that our Founding Fathers wanted our society and government to follow the Constitution literally word for word, while the Religious Right believe that our Founding Fathers wanted our government and society to follow the Bible word for word.  Other individuals believe that there should be a total separation between religion and the laws of this nation.  So, what did our Founding Fathers really expect for future generations?  That is a question many believe they have the answer to when actually all these answers are only a plethora of opinions – opinions formed in many different ways but opinions nevertheless.
  • Republican Legislature Seeks to Fund Religious Schools (
    Essentially changing the language originally meant to protect us from religion to protect religion from government handout discrimination: they gotta get there’s jack.
  • Florida Teachers Union Sues State Over ‘Religious Freedom’ Amendment (
    a “Blaine Amendment” that denies public dollars from being spent “directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination.
  • Understanding The First Amendment (
    … first lessons in the United States Constitution. She taught me that the writers of the First Amendment knew which end was the cart and which was the horse because they assured our freedom FROM a state-enforced or state-preferred religion and from laws written by churches before they assured our right to worship in the manner of our choice. It’s right there in the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Freedom FROM, then freedom OF.Even if a particular religion is not banned, if the followers of that religion are denied civil liberties and equality, they are not truly free to practice their faith. Catholics were free to practice Catholicism in Ireland, England, and all the British colonies, they just had no civil liberties. They couldn’t vote, couldn’t hold property, couldn’t choose what schools to attend or what careers to follow. It was slightly better in Canada under British rule, but not much. Protestants, whose religion allowed divorce, could not get divorces in Catholic countries. The French Protestant businessmen who funded the establishment of the Canadian colonies were driven out of the operation by Cardinal Richelieu.

    As long as one religion has preference over others, being able to worship isn’t enough.

    Some Christians in America, fundamentalists, evangelicals, whine that their religious rights are being curtailed because our nation has allowed abortion and is allowing same-sex marriage and openly gay service personnel. They claim their rights are being infringed by not being allowed to use public space to display religious themes. They claim our nation was founded as a Christian nation, even though we have the written proof that it was not.

  • Religious Right Aims to Change Florida Constitution (
    This proposed Amendment to the Florida Constitution is an end run to directly funding religious schools with taxpayer money. This bill will also open up funding of religious based hospitals and other religious charities and organizations directly from taxpayer coffers.

    The religious right display a cognitive dissonance that does not enable them to see their own hypocrisy.

  • A Continuing Commitment to Supporting Religious Freedom (
    The United States has a long-standing commitment to supporting religious freedom around the globe. That commitment is rooted in our own values and experience as a nation, which dates back to our Founding. It is also rooted in our belief that the freedom of religion is a universal right that should be respected everywhere. To that end, the United States government continues to speak out for right of people to practice their religion in all parts of the world.
  • Obama Asked About Faith-Based Religious Discrimination (
    It’s very straightforward that people shouldn’t be discriminated against for race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation.What has happened is that there has been a carve-out dating back to President Clinton’s presidency for religious organizations in their hiring for particular purposes. And if — this is always a tricky part of the First Amendment. On the one hand, the First Amendment ensures that there is freedom of religion. On the other hand, we want to make sure that religious bodies are abiding by general laws. And so where this issue has come up is in fairly narrow circumstances where, for example, you’ve got a faith-based organization that’s providing certain services. They consider part of their mission to be promoting their religious views.
  • Assaulting Religious Freedom (
    The alleged assault on religious freedom relates to fundamental questions about society that Manning et al. purport to answer in ways that starkly contrast with basic principles of liberal society. If compelling compliance with one’s religious belief is necessary for the practice of that religion, then the religion is not compatible in that respect with a liberal society.
  • One of the problems with this debate is the lack of understanding on the part of many conservative Christians as to which issues are really in play. As has been pointed out many times on various blogs (including the old Crunchy Con), this conflict is really about anti-discrimination laws, not marriage equality laws.
  • Nine and a Half Amendments in Some Copies of the Bill of Rights? (
    Asked by host Chris Wallace if any community could ban a mosque if it wanted to, Cain said: “They have a right to do that.” Cain, an African-American who grew up during the civil rights era, claimed he was not discriminating against Muslims. He said it was “totally different” than the fight for racial equality because there were laws prohibiting blacks from advancing.

5 thoughts on “Religious Beliefs Founding Fathers U.SA.

  1. reaction from the U.S.A. 
    The U.S. Founding Fathers: Their Religious Beliefs, cont.
    Posted: 01 Mar 2007 03:00 AM CST on the Encyclopedia Brittanica Blog

    Michael Novak and I are friends, and though we disagree about the religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers (see his post in response to my original blog on this subject), we share a common conviction that civil discourse and honest argument are the best paths to heaven. Michael’s posting on Tuesday was a model of the abovementioned civility. I hope my response can meet the same standard.
    The core of our disagreement, as I see it, is the definition of religion. If the definition is quite broad, the belief that there are providential forces at work in the world which mere humans can never fully understand, or the belief that there are certain rights (i.e., life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) that should be granted a semi-sacred status in America’s “civil religion,” then all the prominent Founders were religious.
    If the definition is more narrowly Christian, to include the belief that Jesus was the divine son of God, and the belief there is life after death in a heavenly location where the saints communed everlastingly with God, then the matter gets much messier. Different Founders took somewhat different postures on these issues, and several of them changed their positions during their respective lifetimes.
    Hamilton, for example, was an agnostic and deist for most of his life, who regarded attendance at Episcopal services as a social obligation rather than a devotional occasion. At the Constitutional Convention, when Franklin (of all people) proposed that the delegates invite a minister to bless their deliberations with a prayer, Hamilton observed that “I see no reason to call in foreign aid.” But in the last few years of his life, after his eldest son was killed in a duel defending his father’s honor, Hamilton became much more devoutly Christian, a decision that probably led to his death on the plains of Weehawken when he chose to waste his shot at Aaron Burr.
    Jefferson was generally regarded as an atheist by most New England clergy and newspaper editors. (The president of Yale College once threatened to revoke the degree of any Yale graduate who voted for that man from Monticello.) In response to these attacks Jefferson prepared his own edition of the New Testament (still on sale at Monticello). But his correspondence with British Unitarians at the time clearly shows that Jefferson did not believe in the divinity of Jesus, but rather regarded him (or Him) as a wonderful role model, much like Socrates.
    Adams began as a Congregationalist, though a staunch opponent of New Light evangelicalism, then ended up a Unitarian. His endorsement of a religious establishment in Massachusetts was rooted in political rather than religious convictions, a conservative belief that social change was always best when done gradually. In the famous correspondence with Jefferson in their twilight years, both men envisioned heaven as a place where they could continue their argument about the true meaning of the American Revolution and Adams could accost Benjamin Franklin for his depravities and inflated reputation. On the question of life everlasting Adams embraced a version of Pascal’s Wager. To wit, one might as well presume it is true, because if it proves incorrect one will never know it. Again, the Adams view of Christian doctrine about everlasting life was always driven by concerns about its function as a brake on human crime and misbehavior. “If it can ever be proved,” he noted near the end, “that there is no life ever-after, my advice to every man, woman, and child would be to take opium.”
    As Michael has noted, George Washington always believed that American victory in the War for Independence was, as he said, “a standing miracle,” guided by other-worldly forces that he referred to as “providence” or “destiny.” He seldom used the word “God.” I regard him as a pantheist rather than a deist because he believed these other-worldly forces, whatever we called them, had earthly presences. Like Hamilton, he regarded his attendance at Episcopal services as a social obligation. In his last hours no ministers or chaplains were invited to his bedside. He died as a Roman stoic more than a Christian believer.
    Two final points. The common conviction that bound together most of the Founders was the belief in the complete separation of church and state. As products of the Enlightenment, they shared Diderot’s vision of a heavenly city on earth where the last priest would be strangled with the entrails of the last king. This was a radical doctrine at the time, and even now in Iraq we can see that it is an idea yet to be regarded as, shall we say, self-evident. Let me acknowledge that it was easier to implement in the United States than elsewhere, because the vast majority of the populace were practicing Christians of various denominations that shared core values, and also because there was a century-old tradition of religious toleration generated by the multiplicity of sects. That said, it seems to me that the central legacy of the Founding Fathers was a “hands off” policy towards any specific religious doctrine. No faith was to be favored.
    Finally, Michael has argued, quite correctly, that the secularists in this debate have their own prejudices, just as do the evangelicals. At the theoretical level, I concur. But at the practical level, out there on the lecture trail and the call-in radio shows, the evangelicals are the dominating influence. They care more about this debate than the secular humanists, they have the most edgy agenda, they seem to have more at stake. As with the creationism debate, they bring the energy of believers in a lost cause. I respect them, want to put my arms around them, regard Michael as their ablest defender, but in the end believe that this is a nation of citizens rather than Christians.


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