The Founding Fathers Fallacy

The Argument

This fallacy is presented by an American Christian when they seek to validate their actions or opinions when concerned with putting more "god" into government. In the USA, we have a clear separation between church and state yet the religious right wing population seeks to tear down that wall with a demolitions team consisting of The Holy Trinity. These Christians would include everyone from the normal citizens and elected Government officials.

Separation of church and state

This separation of church and state occurs in the First Amendment to the US Constitution:

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 wall of separation is built here: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;." They try and twist this section into somehow meaning that religion just shouldn't be restricted by government and that it doesn't mean that religion shouldn't mix with government at all. Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter just for that:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

That was a letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists Association in 1802 and it's clear what the intention was when he helped build our government. Jefferson, as well as the other authors of our constitution, specifically wrote god out of the Constitution in order to create a purely secular document and government.

Treaty of Tripoli, 4 Nov 1796

If TJ wasn't enough, how about John Adams in the Treaty of Tripoli:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims], and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Now I have given this particular part of the counter argument its own section because there are some outrageous arguments against this bit of evidence. Apparently, Christians are now trying to pass off this part of the Treaty as being inserted by Adams' assistant. They think this because arabic drafts of the Treaty that were not passed by congress do not contain this passage. It doesn't matter what the drafts contain. The only thing that matters is the version of the Treaty that was signed into law by John Adams and that version contains the passage about religion.

Another part of their argument against it is that it was fluff put in so that the opposing parties wouldn't think it was a religious conflict. As I stated earlier, none of that matters. The only thing that does matter is that this version of the Treaty was the final version and is the version signed into law.

Sources that aren't US Law

It is common in this argument for Christians to bring up portions of the Declaration of Independence or other such documents / speeches that are not US Law. The US Government is set up so that it is not dependent on someone's personal beliefs about a magic wizard in the sky. Whatever is said by those initial founders of the US Government is purely just their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions.

If they wanted something to be reflected in the government, do you know what they did?


They didn't make a speech on the lawn of the white house. They didn't make off hand comments during a meeting. The reason the letter from Jefferson to the DBA is used to support the separation of Church and State is that it provides an extended explanation of a law from the author of it.

Concerning the Declaration of Independence, it's not law. The Declaration of Independance was our breakup letter that we sent to the United Kingdom telling them that we are tired of their bullshit. More importantly IT'S NOT LAW.

The DOI shouldn't be used in an argument about current law.

Final Thoughts

It's not like those that built our government didn't have god on their minds. There are state constitutions that directly mention god that were in fact written before our federal constitution. They did have god on their mind and that is the exact reason they wrote god out of the constitution.

Just so this group of Christians do not go unmentioned, apparently these people exist:

American Patriots Comment

Created: 2014-05-03 08:01:41

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