The argument usually starts the same way.   Somebody in the blogo-sphere expresses dismay at the moral decline of the United States and wonders why ‘in a Christian nation’ are there  such things as   ___________________  (fill in the blank yourself)…  abortion, same gender marriage,  dirty movies, Planned Parenthood… the secularization of our institutions, and how  could be happening with such intensity?”

 Then, somebody will blog a response like,  “DudeAmerica was never a Christian country and the law expressly denies it.”

 Then, the other guy will write, “Oh yeah, what law?”

 “The 1790 Treaty with Tripoli says, ‘...the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion’…and you Christian nut balls are ignorant of history.”

 The Christian nut ball either gets brain freeze or he tries to reason with the other guy using history.   This is usually a big waste of time as once the conversation gets this far everyone stops listening and the name calling begins.

 Everyone shuts down their computer, smugly thinking their one-liner or abusive language has won the day.

 Usually, these exchanges are a huge waste of time.

 However, since this canard is served up with some frequency,   I’ll make a few observations.   

 From my Facebook page, here’s an example of what I’m talking about from a recent conversation between a couple of guys were having a go at each other.   Writes the first guy:

 ”We aren't and never were a Christian nation. Those among us that we're the Jersey with the cross on it, want us to be. Our founders tried to avoid this by using ambiguous words like "creator". And "nature's god", when they could have just said god of Abraham or Jesus' dad. They didn't. So now, we still have millions of uneducated boobs running around believing the opposite of what the founders really wanted. Read the Treaty of Tripoli, article 11. "as the US is in NO WAY founded on Christianity". Ratified in 1790 by the very founders you claim wanted us to be a Christian nation. It's honestly moronic…You have personal quotes, I have a ratified treaty, which is LAW, you tard. You started this post by claiming we are a Christian nation, the treaty I submit says exactly the opposite of your claims written and ratified by the very men that founded this great nation.”

 This view is wrong headed and anti-historical on two levels.    First,  is the  mistaken notion of what jurisdiction treaties actually have.   And the second is the removal of the treaty from its historical context.  

 Contemporary liberals lust after making treaties because they erroneously think they can bypass the limits of the Constitution with treaty powers.   In the past, treaties have been proposed which could even limit the Bill of Rights, the 2nd Amendment being a frequent target.   While treaties indeed become the Law of the Land under the Constitution they cannot be used to amend the Constitution itself.   Alexander Hamilton’s view was that treaties are instruments of agreement between nations and not international pacts designed to impact individuals.  “Treaties…are not rules prescribed by the sovereign to the subject, but agreements between sovereign and sovereign…the only constitutional exceptions to the power of making treaties is, that it shall not change the Constitution…”   Jefferson himself wrote, “…if the treaty making power is boundless, then we have no Constitution.”

 In 1956,  the Supreme Court in Reid v Covert,  “…SCOTUS regularly and uniformly recognizes the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty…no agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress or any other branch of government which is free from the constraints of the Constitution.”

 Therefore, any random or explicit language contained in a treaty has zero weight upon American culture if it fails to conform to our form of government. 

 Here’s the actual treaty language in question:

 “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion as it has in itself no character of enmity [hatred] against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] and as the said States [America] have never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

 The 1797 Treaty of Tripoli was designed to end hostilities of a war in which  Muslims felt it perfectly honorable to enslave and murder American merchant sailors while stealing their cargoes.   That why we called them pirates.   They felt justified in behaving this way since they were Muslims and Americans were not.   This attitude exists today contained in dhimmi  laws in many Islamic countries.    While the statement was mostly public relations to end the jihad,  in a legal sense it was true.    It  was also true  in a Constitutional sense.

 The Constitution expressly avoided establishing a Christian national state religion based upon any denominational affiliation.   If there had been any hint that the founders wanted to establish a national religion there would have been wholesale rebellion.   In fact the 1st Amendment properly removes any national religions jurisdiction of any kind from the federal government.   “Congress shall make no law respecting (regarding) the free exercise of religion”.   Plus,  there is an explicit prohibition of any religious test for any Constitutional office.  

 However, when asked about the state of religion following the writing of the Constitution, Jefferson reported, “We have left religion where we found it,” meaning that  religion was a State’s issue and  that the newly formed national government had nothing at all to say about it.  Why?  Because  the national government had no Constitutional  jurisdiction.    This is the true meaning of the 1st Amendment and Jefferson’s ‘Wall of Separation’.”  

 This is also the meaning of that phrase in the Tripolitan Treaty.    The US indeed was not a Christian country in an ecclesiastical sense.    What the Treaty didn’t say was that at the time,  all of the original colonies had some kind of relationship with the Christian religion and 9 of the 13 had established state churches.

 Moreover, when the treaty was re-newed by Jefferson in 1805,   the phrase, “ not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion…”  was dropped by Jefferson.

 It’s interesting that some consider Jefferson to be an infidel or at least a deist.   They should read his 1805 “National Prayer”

 “Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage: we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will…endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home and through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of earth.  In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we as through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen”. 

 Just in case somebody is a little stubborn and insists that treaty language or court opinions bind our country to the philosophical notions of the authors,  I say,  “Cool,  if that’s what you really want”.

 “In 1783, at the close of the war with Great Britain, a peace treaty was ratified that began with these words:  ‘In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity, it having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain’.      That treaty was signed by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay.    Keep in mind that it was Adams who signed the 1797 treaty of Tripoli, even though he was not a Trinitarian.”  1

 “In 1822, the United States, along with Great Britain and Ireland, ratified a ‘Convention for Indemnity Under Award of Emperor of Russian as to the True Construction of the First Article of the treaty of December 24, 1814.  It begins with the same words found in the Preamble to the 1783 treaty:  “In the name of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity.’  Only Christianity teaches a Trinitarian view of God.  The 1848 Treaty with Mexico begins with “In the name of Almighty God, the author of peace…”  If one line in the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli turns America into a secular State (which it does not), then how do the critics deal with the treaties of 1783, 1822, 1805, and 1848?  They don’t.” 

1. DeMar’s   “America’s 200 Year War with Terror”.

 More than just treaties, there are hundreds of proclamations, court decisions and the Pre-amble of the Declaration of Independence (part of the organic law of the United States) ,  which assert the Christian nature of our civilization.

 Here’s just a few.

 July 4, 1821 John Quincy Adams...   “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this:  it connected, in one insoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity….from the day of the Declaration…they (American people) were bounds by the laws of God, which they all and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all acknowledged as the rules of there conduct.”

 DeTocquevilles  “Democracy in America”  …in the United States the sovereign authority is religious…there is no country in the world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence of the souls of men that in America.”

 March 27, 1853 Committee on the Judiciary, US House of Representatives reported:  “Down to the Revolution, every colony did sustain religion in some form.  It was deemed peculiarly proper that the religion of liberty should be upheld by a free people. Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle.  At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the Amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged-not any one sect.  Any attempt to level or discard all religion would have been viewed with universal indignation.  The object was not substitution Judaism or Mohammedanism, or infidelity, but to prevent rivalry among the sects to the exclusion of others.”

 SCOTUS…1799  Runkel v Winemiller   “…by our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion.”

 SCOTUS…1931  in review of an 1892 decision reiterates that “Americans are a Christian people”.

 Then of course,  there are the preambles of every state Constitution in the country.

 This is just a quick start.   I don’t want to write a book.   There are dozens already which make the point much better.

 The historical record of the Christian character of our institutions, laws, and beginnings is overwhelming.  Revisionists depend upon the historical illiteracy and laziness of the public to say otherwise.   This little blog barely scratches the surface of our heritage.   Feel free to scratch deeper.









Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm CDT





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