America: A Christian Nation?
   The Debate Over America's Religious Heritage











 The information and links below pertain to the myth of America as a Christian nation.





Some Christians today argue that America was founded as a Christian nation.  While it is true that some of the colonies were theocracies, the American nation was founded as a secular state, not a Christian state.  The only reference to religion or God in the U.S. Constitution notes that political service shall not be predicated upon religion.  The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, added at the insistence of Baptists who were heavily persecuted by colonial theocratic governments, delineates a separation of Church and State (a phraseology borrowed from Roger Williams by Thomas Jefferson in describing the First Amendment Jefferson helped author) in that government is forbidden from being involved in promoting religion (Establishment Clause) or prohibiting religious expressions (Free Exercise Clause).  Europeans, in light of America's refusal to recognize God in her constitution, criticized the new nation as being atheistic. 

Despite claims by the religious right that America's founding fathers were overwhelming evangelical Christians, virtually all held Deistic views of God or were otherwise non-evangelicals.  For some reason, the Religious Right has created a myth about America's beginnings, and is bent on using the myth to transform modern America into, seemingly, a theocracy of some type.  Strangely, the Religious Right holds up the colonial theocracies of the New England Puritan coloniesthe governments that beat, whipped, jailed, and exiled Baptistsas their model for what government should be.  The extent of the Religious Right's fascination with colonial theocratic governments has been further evidenced in recent years as more and more Christian schools in America have adopted colonial Puritan curriculum as the basis of their educational systems.

An Overview of the Debate Over America as a Christian Nation

The truth about America's Christian roots -- a brief essay
Fact of Myth? The Separation of Church and State -- a brief essay
Baptist Persecution in Colonial America -- a timeline
Test Your Knowledge of America's Religious Foundations -- an online quiz
Baptists and Religious Liberty -- George W. Truett
Baptists on Religious Liberty & the Separation of Church & State --Walter B. Shurden
Source Documents Pertaing to America's Secular Foundations -- Early Amer. Achives
America's "Forsaken Roots": The Use and Abuse of Founders Quotations -- Journal of
          Church and State
Notes: The Founding Fathers and  Separation of Church and State -- R.P. Nettlehorst

Original Sources:  Church and State in Colonial America & Early America

The Bloody Tenet of Persecution (Roger Williams, 1644)
A Letter Concerning Toleration (John Locke, 1689)
Declaration of Independence (1776)
Memorial and Remonstrance (James Madison, 1785)
The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia (1786)
United States Constitution (1789)
Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution (1791)
Letter from Danbury Baptist Association to President Thomas Jefferson (1801)
Jefferson's Response to Danbury Association, "Separation of Church and State" (1802)

An Introduction to Dominion Theology / Reconstructionism

Who is Trying to Turn America into a Theocracy? - You may be surprised

The Christian America Movement in Our Public Schools

The Bible as History and Literature -- a "Christian textbook" constructed on myths

Roger Williams and the Historical Roots of the Phrase "Separation of Church and State"

"When they [the Church] have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, etc., and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day. And that therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and Paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world, and all that be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the World." "Mr. Cotton's Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered," in The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, Volume 1, page 108, 1644.