Religion and the Founders
The Founding Fathers were not devout by the standards of many of today's fundamentalist Protestants. To carefully examine writings by the principal framers (Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington and Madison) is to note the striking degree to which they all shared attitudes toward religion that would disqualify them as "Christians" in the eyes of the religious right, even though they described themselves as such. All these men emphasized the supreme importance of individual reason and conscience--not ecclesiastical authority and dogma--in shaping personal faith. To be sure, they recognized religion's valuable social role, but the assertion heard so often these days, that America was founded as a 'Christian nation', simply is not true.