Re “The founding fathers intended the United States to be a Christian nation. Atheists aren’t welcome.”
Actually a number of the founding fathers were probably deists and certainly not Christians. They didn’t hardwire the separation of church and state into the constitution on a whim. THEY REALLY MEANT IT!
Thomas Jefferson: “I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.”
John Adams: “Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?”
Thomas Paine: “I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book (the Bible).” “Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to ‘God’ to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not dare so dishonor my Creator’s name by (attaching) it to this filthy book (the Bible).” “It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible.” “Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins…and you will have sins in abundance.” And; “The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in pretended imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty.”
James Madison: “What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy.” Madison objected to state-supported chaplains in Congress and to the exemption of churches from taxation. He wrote: “Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
Excellent quotes. A minor point, though: it might be said that at least some of the founding fathers were Christians in a very specific, technical sense. Jefferson, for example, thought that Jesus was a wise man and a good example, even though he didn’t believe any miracles were involved. So if one were to define “Christian” as “someone who follows the example of Jesus,” then Jefferson would be a Christian.
I have met some Christians who try and say that Jefferson is a Christian just like them by using this type of logic, but of course that is not the case at all. Jefferson didn’t think that the parts of the Bible that spoke of magic were true, as his creation of The Jefferson Bible demonstrates. He certainly didn’t intend for religion to have anything to do with government, as your quotes readily demonstrate.