21 May 2014

Yes, Virginia, the Founding Fathers WERE mostly Christians.

Sub Tuum.

Much ongoing debate centers around the notion of America as a Christian nation. Some claim that it is, while others claim that the clear intent was to be purely secular. Let's look at a few simple facts and lay this to rest. First, the clear intent of the new government structure was that there would be no official state-mandated religion, and the State would not and could not interfere with religion. That never meant that religion was to be disenfranchised and have no place in the public sphere. Just look at the common inclusion of prayer at public events, the offices of Chaplain of the House and Senate, and so much more. 

Others claim that the Founding Fathers were not actually Christians. This even on the surface makes no sense, considering that many came to the Colonies, especially to New England, to seek religious freedom. Lambert (2003) found that, of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, two were Roman Catholic, 28 were Church of England/Episcopalian, 8 were Presbyterian, 7 were Congregationalist, 2 were Lutheran, 2 were Dutch Reformed, and 2 were Methodist. That gives 51 Christians out of 55 delegates. Yes, 93% of the delegates who wrote the Constitution of the United States were indeed Christian. That's what we call a clear, overwhelming majority. Furthermore, half of the total delegates (or 55% of the Christians) were Church of England, which was actually the established Church during the Colonial era. 

The bottom line? The Founders created a culture in which the State could not interfere in religion, not not one in which the Church could not influence or participate in the government.