Throughout the recent election, I've heard a lot of cr . . . er . . . ah . . . rhetoric -- yeah, that's it -- about this country being founded on the Christian religion. I also got the idea that my flavor of Christianity is not the Christianity that these people believe in which immediately makes anything I say suspect so if you feel that way, stop reading now. The Constitution's Bill of Rights clearly states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I put on my Thinking Cap and went into research mode. The results below are the fruits of this endeavor. It's a series of quotes from our Founding Fathers on religion. Enjoy!!!!!!! And if you don't like them, I don't want to hear about it. You can't re-write history and if you try, you're writing lies. I was both fascinated with and very proud of their words.
* If Religion consist in voluntary acts of individuals, singly, or voluntarily associated, and it be proper that public functionaries, as well as their Constituents shd discharge their religious duties, let them like their Constituents, do so at their own expense. (James Madison, memoranda, 1820)
* That religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience. (Patrick Henry)
* I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta [Constitution] of our country. (George Washington, 1789).
* It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was by the indulgence of one class of the people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that those who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it, on all occasions, their effectual support. (George Washington, letter to the Touro Synagogue 1790. )
* We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions ... shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power ... we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society. (John Adams)
* As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith. (Thomas Paine, the Rights of Man)
* All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish [Muslim], appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. He takes up the profession of a priest for the sake of gain, and in order to qualify himself for that trade he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive anything more destructive to morality than this? (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason)
* "The legitimate powers of government," he wrote, "extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia,)
* And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
(James Madison, Letters, 1822)
* I will never, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others. (Thomas Jefferson, Letters, 1803)
I think these words above make it pretty clear what the roles of government and religion were meant to be in this country. If you've studied some of the horrendous persecutions of religions in history and some that are going on today, you know that the Founding Fathers had it right when they wrote the First Amendment.