To the Editor:
I would like an opportunity to respond to a letter submitted by Robert Midura. I consider the Warwick Beacon to be a good newspaper and don’t wish to use it as a catalyst for any ongoing debate. I respect anyone’s right to express their opinion, but I do wish to counter what I perceive to be erroneous facts regarding the foundation of this great nation of ours.
First, in reference to the John Adams quote, “...the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion...” This was a clause written into the Treaty of Tripoli on Nov. 4, 1796. Before this treaty was written, the oceans for shipping at the time were being targeted by Muslim pirates. Christians were often prime targets. Initially, the American colonies using the shipping lanes were protected by the British. After the American Revolution, the Americans found themselves having to defend themselves and at first really didn’t have much of an advantage. This treaty was made to try and create some kind of peace.
There were two versions of the treaty and the one given to the Muslims did not contain this specific clause. Once America grew enough to have the “upper hand,” another treaty was signed on July 4, 1805, which overruled the first treaty and did not contain this statement.
Concerning the statement from Thomas Jefferson regarding a “wall of separation,” this figurative phrase was written in a personal response letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. It was not part of any official document.
Our founding fathers did not establish this nation in the hopes that everyone would walk around carrying a Bible or the Lord Jesus Christ would somehow be considered our president. What is undeniable, though, is the fact that they were influenced by Christian ideals and principals to form a nation unlike any other. They referred to the Bible, prayed to a Christian God, and help establish Christian churches. Even Thomas Jefferson, while in office, used some federal funds for Christian causes.
Were they all Christian? Don’t really know. That is between them and God, but from the Mayflower Compact on up, the Christian Scriptures were used as a basis to influence how this country should be created. Before the great push to eliminate and hide them, this Christian influence was found all over in government monuments, etc.
A “wall of separation” can be used for one of two reasons. First is to keep one side from influencing the other, and secondly, simply keep both sides from having anything to do with one another. To completely remove any resemblance of Christian influence in this country is wrong and weakens what was truly inspiring the founders of this nation.