Often in public discourse we hear that The U.S. was founded on Christian/biblical principles. This, of course, sends many unbelievers into apoplexy because they see the principles of equality and freedom as anathema to orthodox Christianity, rather than as being an element thereof. After all a doctrine that ascribes a special status before God to “Christians” and which involves manifold rules and requirements hardly epitomizes equality and freedom.
The entire notion of our democratic institutions as having sprung from Christian roots presents a definite irony, because those making such claims are often the most fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, whose doctrine draws such a small circle around those accepted by God. There is little doubt that by most evangelical definitions, few if any of the so called founding fathers would qualify as Christians. That implies that these revered founders of American democracy, these sages of the nation founded on Christian principles, all reside in eternal torment. As their reward for establishing the blessed sanctuary of Christian governance, these fathers of our country truly paid the ultimate price.
Of course, the fact that these non-Christians could conceive of and establish a nation based on such enlightened principles flies in the face of Christian orthodoxy’s long standing contention that morality and ethics reside solely within their jurisdiction. These religious traditionalists incessantly proclaim that without the Bible as a standard, men have no moral compass. They contend that only moral/ethical absolutism based on God’s revelation can appropriately restrain and guide human behavior. Any evidence to the contrary, such as the example of these “founding fathers,” is inconvenient to say the least. Many if not most of the leaders who drafted our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are identified as “Deists”, a “deist being one who recognizes human logic and reason as the pathway to God and not a written text, divinely inspired or otherwise. Though the “deist” label can be disputed, the fact that these men for the most part were not “Christians” by the current evangelical fundamentalist definition is apparent. These men, as gifted and enlightened as they inarguably were, could not pass muster in many churches.
As always happens, a doctrine that fails the scrutiny of honest debate, also fails the test of faith. No one should feel compelled to believe, accept, and internalize incomprehensible confusion such as this. God cannot be the author of confusion, but one could never tell that from listening to evangelical Christianity and its message of exclusion.