There’s an excellent article by Brooke Allen up on CBS News.com about the myth of America being founded on Christian principles. It covers many of the same facts that have been oft-repeated here on SEB, but hopefully will find purchase with a wider audience. It’s the sort of article that deserves to be printed out and hung up in your cubical or on your fridge where folks will have a chance to see it.
It is hard to believe that George Bush has ever read the works of George Orwell, but he seems, somehow, to have grasped a few Orwellian precepts. The lesson the President has learned best—and certainly the one that has been the most useful to him—is the axiom that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. One of his Administration’s current favorites is the whopper about America having been founded on Christian principles. Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones. God only entered the picture as a very minor player, and Jesus Christ was conspicuously absent.
Our Constitution makes no mention whatever of God. The omission was too obvious to have been anything but deliberate, in spite of Alexander Hamilton’s flippant responses when asked about it: According to one account, he said that the new nation was not in need of “foreign aid”; according to another, he simply said “we forgot.” But as Hamilton’s biographer Ron Chernow points out, Hamilton never forgot anything important.
The article goes on to cover most of the major founding fathers as well as things such as the Treaty of Tripoli. A good read that will likely be ignored by those it’s most directly aimed at.