Yes, although it would be more accurate to say that America was founded by those who believed in Judeo-Christian principals.
All, or nearly all, of those who signed the Declaration of Independence were Christians, and all were very familiar with the Bible.
There were quite a few ministers among the Signers. George Washington and John Adams, the first two presidents, were devote Christians.
The main writer of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson. He admired Christ very much, but did not believe in any of the miracles. But the most well-known part of the Declaration of Independence states:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This has been called one of the best-known sentences in the English language, containing the most potent and consequential words in American history.
So our country was founded on this belief that our liberty was endowed to us by God, and therefore there could be no laws infringing upon our liberties. This is explicitly stated in the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Benjamin Franklin believed in a Judeo-Christian God. He didn’t seem to belong to a particular religion, and he donated money to various churches, and at least one Jewish group. He asked that a prayer be said before the Continental Congress met to discuss declaring independence from England. Franklin wrote a letter to the President of Yale University a few weeks before his death:
"I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable Service we render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this one.”
Abraham Lincoln, our most beloved president, considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy, and argued that the Declaration is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted. He also instituted Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
The Ten Commandments were known by all, and was assumed to be the basis of morality. It is etched in many government buildings, including a number of places in the building that houses the Supreme Court.
The Founders did not want laws requiring particular religious beliefs. Nor did they want laws abridging religious liberty or any other liberty. Therefore, our Constitution prevents Congress from passing laws that infringe upon our liberties.
But the Founding Fathers also believed that America could not be a great country unless it was a moral country.
John Adams said,
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Thus, the Constitution, which defines the powers of government, does not deal with morality or religion, because these do not come under the purview of government. This, I believe, is what causes some people to mistakenly believe that our country was not founded upon Judeo-Christian principals.
But reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which contains the Bill of Rights, along with all the other writings of our Founding Fathers, show that the creation of our country was guided by Judeo-Christian principles.
Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. The views expressed herein are those of the author. One of his main interests is the reconciliation between science and spirituality. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at . Twitter account: