You Can’t Be an American and be an Atheist
The folks at the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) want to rid the country of every vestige of religion from every facet of society and make the nation officially atheistic. They contend that the Constitution requires it based on a tortured reading of the First Amendment and a rewriting of our nation’s history.
You don’t have to have a PhD in history to know that not one of our founders would have supported the exploits of the FFRF and Americans United for Separation of Church and State for the simple reason that history is against them.
Of course, atheists are Americans because they were born or have become citizens in accordance with specific constitutional requirements.
But it terms of how our founders understood what it meant to be an American, and the role they believed that God played in its founding, they are fundamentally un-American.
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As singular proof of this claim is President George Washington’s 1789 “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” which was issued soon after the passage of the Bill of Rights which included the First Amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . .”
If there had been a FFRF in 1789, Dan Barker, co-president of the FFRF, would have sued the President and Congress. Of course, the men who drafted the First Amendment would have been called as witnesses and would have testified that separating God from government, and that religion was ever an impediment to the development of science, was never the intention of the First Amendment.
Note the first line of the Proclamation and other references to God.
Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789. By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.