I have in recent months written a great deal about the bogus-history-based Christian nationalist movement. (I also discussed this a great deal in Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy.) Most if not all of the leaders of the Christian Right advocate the the view that the U.S. once was — and must be yet again, a Christian nation. But a reasonable study of history shows that the framers of the Constitution not only did not found the United States as a Christian nation, indeed, they were explicitly rejecting the idea.
History is a powerful and vastly underused tool in support of religious freedom and separation of church and state — and in opposition to Christian nationalism and the theocratic Christian Right. Jonathan Hutson has also persuasively written on this point at Talk to Action.
Bruce Prescott has scooped up today’s buzz of the blogosphere on the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Tripoli, a landmark document in American history for many reasons:
“The Anniversary of the Treaty of Tripoli: Two hundred and eight years ago today, President John Adams (F-MA) signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Three days earlier the U.S. Senate had unanimously approved the treaty. Why is this important today? Because Article XI of the treaty was a proclamation that 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 Musselman (Muslims).’ Upon signing the treaty Adams issued a statement which said, ‘Now be it known, That I, John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article hereof.'”
See Bruce’s site for more, and some interesting links.
And while we are at it, let’s not cede our history — or our future — to the snake-oil salesmen of Christian nationalism.
[Crossposted from FrederickClarkson.com