LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - US not founded as Christian nation

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Wishful thinking, not historical evidence, best describes statements made in a recent letter to the editor.

"We were founded as a Christian nation..." and "The Trinity was the belief of our Founding Fathers" are simply not true.

In a treaty with the Muslim nation of Tripoli initiated by George Washington, completed by John Adams, and ratified by the Senate in 1797, the Founders declared that "the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion..."

Thomas Jefferson excised references to the deity of Jesus from his Bible. He described the Trinity as "mere Abracadabra." Benjamin Franklin publicly doubted the concept of the Trinity. In fact, many of the Founding Fathers were deists (no Trinity).

Practicing the sin of arrogant privilege -- being a Christian in a Christian nation -- runs the danger of strangling the life out of our country. Besides, it does a terrible injustice to the Founding Fathers by minimizing their brilliant leadership in shaping the life of our country.

Freedom was their main objective, including freedom to be a Christian. Or not.

Because of this, they successfully resisted efforts by religious leaders of the time to define the new nation as "Christian." It was important to them to speak of God in a way that was unifying, not divisive. "Nature's God" and "their Creator" were the terms they chose.

Fear and certitude are the twin marks of religious extremism and exclusiveness.

They corrode the soul. The mark of the Christian is love. Not wishful thinking.

Susan J. Day
Walla Walla

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