To The Daily Sun,
Gene Danforth seems to think there is either ignorance at the root of it or possibly a conspiracy. In regards to what? God? Natural law?
Anyone can put together a collection of founder quotes to make their case and folks on the right try exceedingly hard to use such quotes to establish a case for religion in government. The problem with that agenda is the foundation on which our laws are built, the United States Constitution, is godless and secular. There is no mention of God, Christianity, Jesus, or Moses, yet the folks on the right put much energy into using quotes, some spurious and many without citations, to advance a religious political agenda. But Article Six of the constitution bans religious tests for oaths of office. This clause makes one's religion irrelevant for the functions and purposes of the state. The Constitution also puts a barrier between the free exercise of religion and lawmaking with the first amendment's establishment clause. The state can not promote any religion in any official manner, thus making religion not only irrelevant in matters of governance but actually saying your free exercise ends at a specific point. Furthermore, in a blow to those who would specify Christianity as the religion the founders based their ideas on, the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli stated unequivocally in Article. "as the Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion". The treaty was crafted and negotiated by Joel Barlow during the Washington administration and signed into law by President John Adams after it was ratified unanimously in the U.S. Senate. But who were these men? They were prestigious men who did not see their nation or its founding in any way similar to the view held by today's religious right.
At one time or another, 17 of the 23 Senators were delegates to the Continental Congress (Congress of the Confederation). Three of them attended the Philadelphia Convention of which two signed the Constitution. One signed the Declaration of Independence and most of them served in some important way in the Revolutionary War. Nearly all of them served in their state legislatures. Five of them helped frame their own state's Constitution and four of those supported the ratification of the federal Constitution at their state's convention. Blount signed the U.S. Constitution, framed his state's Constitution and was a driving force behind his state's ratification of the federal Constitution. In the ratification convention, Livermore urged New Hampshire to affirm the federal Constitution and was later a framer of the second and third New Hampshire Constitutions.
Most were attorneys educated at either Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, or the College of William and Mary. All of these school were bastions of liberal thinking during the American Enlightenment. One was a physician and some were wealthy shipping merchants or planters. Most had "Ivy League" education steeped in enlightenment thought and in the writings of classical antiquity. Universities were also strongholds of Deism, the religion of the enlightenment. Six of the senators were judges of which five became the chief justices of their state supreme courts. Two of these judges also served as U.S. District Court judges. One was also a probate judge and another a naval admiralty judge. One of them served as chief justice of their state's highest court and then as justice of the U.S. Circuit Court. One was part of his state's war council, one was deputy governor and six became governors of their states.
"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion..." You can view the Treaty that was voted on at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fe/TreatyofTripoli.gif
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