Happy Atheist Forum

Debunking the "US is a Christian Nation" Myth


  • Miscreant Erendrake
  • *****
  • 7100
  • Gender: Male
  • infidel barbarian
Debunking the "US is a Christian Nation" Myth
« on: May 19, 2019, 05:03:38 AM »
An interview with the author of The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American.

"Demolishing the right's 'Founding Myth': America was never a 'Christian nation'" | Salon

As I reported last year, nothing did more to elect Donald Trump than the belief in America as a “Christian nation.” By that measure, nothing could be more timely than a book that takes that myth head on and fundamentally destroys it. Such a book has just been published: “The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American” by Andrew L. Seidel, a constitutional attorney who works for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Seidel is far from the first author to address the historical myths and confusions of political philosophy that sustain Christian nationalism. But no one has written a book quite like this before, because of its sweep, its depth, its viewpoint and its tone. "The Founding Myth" goes far beyond debunking the false history that Christian nationalists advance to a detailed examination of how biblical principles are fundamentally at odds with our constitutional order. The rare exceptions at the time of our founding — biblical support for slavery and the subjugation of women — do not reflect how we view the Constitution today.

In addition, the fact that the Constitution has evolved, and was designed to do so, points to another sharp contrast with the unchanging edicts of the Bible, many of which simply go ignored today in order to preserve the mythic appeal. Seidel also examines how linguistic trappings — “In God We Trust” on our currency, “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. — do not reflect deep principles of national political philosophy, but rather episodes of national weakness and political opportunism that cloud and obscure our true heritage.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


  • The wise one.
  • *****
  • 6240
  • Gender: Male
Re: Debunking the "US is a Christian Nation" Myth
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2019, 10:13:41 PM »
That claim has long been a source of annoyance to those of us who have actually read a little bit about our nations history.

The first settlement by the English, at Jamestown, was not for religious reasons. It was more nearly a commercial venture financed by the London Company. That community preceded the Mayflower group of intruders by several years. The Spanish were here long before either of the English contingents.  Who is to say exactly by whom and for what reason this nation was founded?   

 The people who are so insistent about our "founders"  Christian intent, ignore a relevent detail.   When they originally came here, the Christian bible ( most American Christians consider the King James Version to be their authoritative book)  had not even been completed by James committee of 54 scholars. 

The Pilgrims were probably using the Geneva Bible or the Doual-Rheims. James sister, Queen Elizabeth, had died in 1604. She had been a Catholic or something similar.  She had the official religion of Britain comply with her own religious position.  James, inheriting the throne, was inclined to believe a little differently and he caused the new bible to be invented written.

In fairness, most of the various bibles dating from the first century AD had JC as an important figure even a divine being.   The dfferent accounts in the Latin Vulgate, the Alcuin, the Wycliffe, the Gutenberg, the Erasmus translation, the Luther, the Tyndale, the Coverdale, and the rest of them, we can consider that all of them might have given Jesus a seat at the head table. 

Moving foreward to the time of our actual founding, at the time of the Declaration of Independence, we had some of the framers who were decidedly unchristian.  ..................'scuse me I am on a rant..........I will go to my room now.

Dark Lightning

  • ****
  • 1515
  • Gender: Male
  • Curmudgeon
Re: Debunking the "US is a Christian Nation" Myth
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2019, 03:47:40 AM »
No excuse necessary. But my understanding of the separation of church and state involves the founding father's thinking with regards to religious persecution. Many of the early settlements adhered to strict religious tenets, and persecuted other sects. The founding fathers were aware of this, and wrote the separation of church and state into the Constitution for that reason. Waiting for a religious to come and refute this in 3,2, 1...

Ecurb Noselrub

  • No Wall in my name!!!
  • *****
  • 6894
  • Gender: Male
Re: Debunking the "US is a Christian Nation" Myth
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2019, 03:38:37 PM »
The Treaty of Tripoli, 1796, specifically states that the US is not a nation founded on the Christian religion.  That was removed in a superseding treaty in 1805, but it’s a good indicator of what Congress and the President thought at the time.