The United States government was founded on the Constitution. This document defines and determines the nature and intent of the structure of our country’s ruling body. Nowhere in the Constitution is “God” mentioned. However, religion is referenced in the First Amendment of the Constitution stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Regardless of the personal religious views that our Founding Fathers may have held, there is a reason why separation of church and state was always important to these great men.
“Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance. Religion and government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together” — James Madison.
The phrase “under God” was not part of our original Pledge of Allegiance; it was only added in 1954. The Founding Fathers did not use the words “In God we trust” on U.S. currency. Again, these words were not used until 1957.
Further separating our country’s foundation from a Christian nation was the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by then President John Adams in 1797. In Article 11 the treaty states, “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
Thomas Jefferson said in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom enacted in 1786, “Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions.”
We, the people, have the power to ensure that the progression of the United States moves in a forward and positive direction. Our country’s fate is not in the hands of any one person’s idea of God, it is in the hands of its own citizens.
Angela M. DonGiovanni