The Great Courses

Louisiana Politics and The "Christian Nation" Myth

The Thinking Atheist
Jul 6, 2012 at 8:16 AM
5 years ago

More proof that you don't need knowledge of 1) the constitution or 2) the founding fathers to be elected to public office.

Louisiana Rep. Valarie Hodges voted for the governor's voucher program that would allow state funds to be used to pay for religious schools. Apparently, she hadn't been informed that there were (wait for it!) other religions in the U.S. besides Christianity ("America’s Founding Fathers’ religion" - her words.)

So when state funds stood to also benefit Muslim schools, Hodges hit the roof. Religions other than Christianity would benefit? THE HORROR!

Ms. Hodges. You might want to do some homework on the founding fathers. Jefferson was a deist, not a Christian, as was Benjamin Franklin. John Adams and Thomas Paine were non-believers. George Washington never declared himself a Christian. James Madison stood publicly against "religious shackles."

The U.S. was founded by those wishing to escape from a nation assuming divine authority. And as stated in the 1796 Treaty with Tripoli (written during Washington's presidency and receiving a unanimous vote in the Senate), the United States was "not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." 

Nowhere in the Constitution is religion mentioned, except in exclusionary terms. When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article 6, section 3) 

"In God We Trust" wasn't added to U.S. coins until after the civil war (1864). It first appeared on U.S. paper currency in 1964. "Under God" wasn't part of the original Pledge of Allegiance, but was added by Congress in 1954.

Yeah, the original founders were smart enough to know that the church and state should be separated, to protect the state, and to protect the church. Religious freedoms should be protected in our free nation, but the state has no business showing favoritism toward them.

And the next time you'd like to punch a hole in that particular constitutional wall, remember that Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Hare Krishnas and the whack-jobs at Westboro Baptist get automatic invitations to sneak in as well.


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