Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Founders on God & Country: Alexander Hamilton

"I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man."
--Famous American Statesmen, p. 126.


Charles D said...

The operative pronoun here is "I", and under our secular Constitution which does not mention God, every American has the right to choose to believe or not to believe. The great insight of the Founders was that the only way citizens could have religious freedom was for the government to show no preference for any religious belief.

Clearly had the dominant religious ideas of their day been enshrined in the Constitution, it would have been exceedingly difficult for anyone to have established a new religion here.

Cameron said...

I think if you substitute "denomination" where you use "religion", your comment would be more accurate.

However, you're right that the Founders secured for everyone the right to believe or not to believe. But it's pretty clear which side they fell on.

Charles D said...

Cameron, there are as many quotes from the Founders attesting to their lack of orthodox Christian belief as there are on the opposite side. They surely tolerated and protected the right not to believe, and they didn't have to deal with non-Christian religions.

What exactly is your point? The Founder's religious beliefs are not consequential. Their political statements and documents are. The fact that religious men brought forth a secular nation is more important than the specific beliefs they may have held 200 years ago.