Evangelicals misinterpret references to Bible
March 4, 2021
To The Eagle:
A contributor recently stated his opinion that our country’s Constitution was “divinely inspired.” That brings to mind the oft mentioned fallacy that America was founded as a Christian nation.
Evangelicals misinterpret references to God in the words of the Founding Fathers. Those who insist that America was founded as a Christian nation run roughshod over the historical record, one example of which is The Treaty of Tripoli, approved by Congress in 1797, which declared that “. . . the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion. . .”
Because John Adams and George Washington quoted from the Bible does not mean that they were trying to construct a Christian nation. They spoke as natural philosophers of the 18th century, drawing upon ideas from the European Enlightenment as well as Christian culture. Some Founders professed discomfort with the beliefs defining that culture. Very few of them would qualify for membership in today's evangelical churches. Many were humanists and Deists.
The fact that “In God We Trust” has been stamped upon our currency since 1864 and “one nation under God” was added to the “pledge of allegiance” in 1954 is evidence, not that we are a Christian nation, but rather that the Supreme Court has failed to enforce our 1st Amendment’s protections against religious establishment. That court continues to erode the foundational principles of our decidedly secular republic.
A prime example of that is their 2014 decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, in which it was judged that a Christian business owner could legally deprive his female employees of company subsidized reproductive health care insurance, because it offended his religious principles.
Freedom of religion has thus been transformed into freedom to discriminate, against women and marginalized social groups, by churches who justify their bigotry as being “divinely inspired” religious doctrine. Such grotesque perversion of a freedom enumerated by the Founders is proof enough to me of their wisdom in establishing our liberty upon secular ideals. Thank God this is not a Christian nation.