The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The fallacy that America is a Christian nation

No. 5: I’ve had to deal with a lot of false claims when it comes to Christians. That whole Noah’s ark thing and Moses parting the Red Sea is annoying just on a scientific level. I have heard people (even my acquaintances) argue, “America is a Christian nation.” I can fully accept that the predominant religion in America is Christianity. Some 78 percent of Americans consider themselves to be Christians. Unfortunately, this isn’t all they claim. They argue that our Christian forefathers founded this country on Christian principles, and that is B.S.

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, to name a few, were not Christians. Those who argue the “Christian nation” do not like to admit this, but many of our founding fathers strongly disliked organized religion. Many of our founding fathers were deists and not Christians. Deism is the religious philosophy that derives the existence and nature of God from reason and personal experience, according to Wikipedia; basically a belief in a God that created the universe, with none of the other stuff. Thomas Paine once wrote, “All national institutions of churches… appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” John Adams famously wrote, “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.” Jefferson argued, “Question with boldness, even the existence of God; for if there be one, he must more approve of the homage to reason than that of blindfolded fear.” Our founding fathers were not at all Christians and argued against organized religion.

There is still the argument that this country was built on Christian principles. Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli reads, “As the Government of the United States of America, is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” This peace treaty was ratified by a unanimous vote by all 23 senators in May 1797. If you just read the history and intent of the founding fathers, you will realize that this country was founded on secular principles. They were enacted in order to ensure the freedom of the citizens of these United States and thus to protect ourselves from religious persecution.

Many people don’t realize that you can’t use the public square to promote religion. Amendment I of the Constitution of the United States (engraved on the side of Umphrey Lee): “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.” The amendment means that the Boy Scouts of America, who use public land and use public funds, cannot discriminate against homosexuals and atheists (which they do). This also means that students cannot be required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The funny thing about the Pledge of Allegiance is that it did not actually have the words “under God” in it until 1957, not to mention that it was written well after the founding of our country (in 1892). George H.W. Bush said, “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” Which brings me to the fallacy of the day: No True Scotsman. This fallacy is a combination of equivocation and ad hoc. For instance, I say that no patriot is an atheist. In which case you reply, well, Christopher is an atheist and he is a patriot. To which I say, ah yes, but no true patriot is an atheist. Dissent is one of the most patriotic things. Never forget that.

It is important to understand why we have the laws that we do and where they come from, and to understand our history. You are free to recite anything, practice anything and worship anything you want so long as you don’t force others. Some will try to change the past to legitimize turning this country into a theocracy. To that, I say, eat a Danish! Freedom forever!

Ken Ueda is a senior math, physics and philosophy major. He can be reached for contact at [email protected].

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