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'Christian' Nation

November 21, 1985

While I was in the East a few months ago some quotes by our Founding Fathers on the subject of religion and our government were brought to my attention. I think they are worth attention because there seem to be a number of people now who think the United States is a "Christian" country.

When George Washington signed the Treaty of Tripoli he wrote, "As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, and tranquility of Mussulmans, it is declared that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Our second President, John Adams, said, "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship."

Thomas Jefferson also supported Washington regarding equitable esteem for the conscience of all man. He spoke of a "wall of separation between church and state," and persuaded the Virginia Assembly to pass the Statute of Religious Liberty and directed that it be commemorated on his tombstone along with the Declaration of Independence.

James Madison refused to appoint chaplains to the Army or to Congress, saying, "Religion flourishes in greater purity without than with the aid of the government."

HELEN R. LAMBERT

Carmel-by-the-Sea

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