There is a kind of meme among conservatives that America is a Christian nation — that the founders were Christian, that the Constitution is based on Christian principles, that sort of things. And so I thought it was interesting to discover that in our treaty with Tripoli
, passed unanimously by the Senate in 1797, Article 11 expressly states that "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."
Now, this isn't a note written by Thomas Jefferson or George Washington. It's merely the expressed views of a unanimity of senators at a time when they could personally recall exactly what the foundation of our country was about.
America has, from its foundation, embraced religious freedom. This is just one more example of how basic that idea was to the founding generation.
Labels: history, politics