The historical lie that the United States is a Christian nation
Whenever an American politician wants to unethically exploit religion for political purposes (for example, John McCain selling his soul in the 2008 presidential elections - see below), he will joyfully refer to the United States as "Christian nation". Same-sex marriage - not something for a Christian nation. Stem cell research - not something for a Christian nation. One problem - constitutionally, legislatively and historically - the United States is NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION. For example, legally the United States is not a Christian nation:
"As 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 tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
Article 11, Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of the Bey of Tripoli of Barbary, 'Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.'
Historically, the Founding Fathers not only stated that the United States was not a Christian nation, but many of them had very skeptical views about the authenticity of Christianity, with Thomas Jefferson going so far as to prepare the Jefferson New Testament, in which he kept the nice sayings of Jesus and cut out the mythical, fairy tale stuff.
John Adams, Ben Franklin, and James Madison are clearly on record as being for the prohibition on religious tests, and Washington was the chair of the Constitutional Convention that passed it. Madison was also one of the people most active in getting the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom passed, which Jefferson wrote. The first seven (actually, apparently at least the first 19) Presidents were all for a secular Republic and weren't even Christians themselves.
Finally, since the majority of citizens of the United States are not Jews, and since Jesus of Nazareth repeatedly stated his message was only for Jews: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel (Mathew 15:24, 10:6)", then the United States can never be a Christian nation, at least according to Jesus.
Some historical quotes from America's Founding Fathers:George Washington, 1st President (1789-1797): "... the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion ...", Source: The "Treaty of Tripoli," negotiated and signed by the First President of the United States, on November 4, 1796
John Adams, 2nd President (1797-1801): "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religions in it."Source: A letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 15, 1817
Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President (1801-1809) "Christianity ... (has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ... Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers ..." Source: Six Historic Americans, by John E. Remsberg
James Madison, 4th President (1809-1817), often called the Father of the Constitution: "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."Source: Letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774
Benjamin Franklin: "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies."Source: "Toward the Mystery"
Thomas Jefferson: "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot ..." Source: Thomas Jefferson letter to Horatio G. Spafford, 1814.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865): "The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." Sources: Salvation for Sale, Gerard Thomas Straub; also quoted by Joseph Lewis
"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses." John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" (1787-88)
"Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination." Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, re Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1650.htm
"I could not do otherwise without transcending the limits prescribed by the Constitution for the President and without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion nowadays enjoys in this country in its complete separation from the political concerns of the General Government."U.S. President Andrew Jackson, 12 June 1832, letter to the Synod of the Reformed Church of North America, explaining his refusal of their request that he proclaim a "day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer." http://www.adherents.com/people/pj/Andrew_Jackson.html
"...Is it not strange that the descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom have always proved the most intolerant of the spiritual liberty of others?" Robert E. Lee, in a Letter to President Pierce
Not a single one of the first seven presidents was a Christian in the sense most people then accepted (believer in the Trinity, member of a church, and partaker of communion):The Rev. Dr. Wilson, who was almost a contemporary of our earlier statesmen and presidents, and who thoroughly investigated the subject of their religious beliefs, in his sermon already mentioned affirmed that the founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected -- George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson -- not one had professed a belief in Christianity. From this sermon I quote the following: "When the war was over and the victory over our enemies won, and the blessings and happiness of liberty and peace were secured, the Constitution was framed and God was neglected. He was not merely forgotten. He was absolutely voted out of the Constitution. The proceedings, as published by Thompson, the secretary, and the history of the day, show that the question was gravely debated whether God should be in the Constitution or not, and, after a solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it. ... There is not only in the theory of our government no recognition of God's laws and sovereignty, but its practical operation, its administration, has been conformable to its theory. Those who have been called to administer the government have not been men making any public profession of Christianity. ... Washington was a man of valor and wisdom. He was esteemed by the whole world as a great and good man; but he was not a professing Christian."--Six Historic Americans, George Washington, by John E. Remsburg, 1906
From the U.S. Constitution written by the non-Christian Founding Fathers, which never mentions God or Jesus, but does mention religion twice to state that the federal government should stay out of religion:Article VI clause 3: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
In the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"
This link has details on how God was voted out of the Constitution: (http://candst.tripod.com/testban2.htm).
As an example of a politician unethically exploiting religion for personal gain, we have John McCain, a long time U.S. Senator who should know something about the Constitution, stating the following in an interview for the Web site beliefnet.com (from a New York Times article):These statements are false, and Senator McCain knows so. That he lied for votes is unethical. And all that the poll shows is that churches refuse to teach their members much of the truth.Senator John McCain said in an interview posted on the Internet on Saturday (9/29/2007) that the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation ... "I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles ... Mr McCain said in the interview that he agreed with the results of a poll that showed that a majority of Americans believe the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. ... "I would probably have to say, yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation."