Thanks, Mpraca, for pointing out that the U.S. Founding Fathers, while products of their age, were neither particularly Christian nor particularly religious. Coming as they did from European societies where religious wars of unprecedented savagery and horror had shaped the previous three hundred or so years, they wanted no part of public faith, no Puritanism, no Popes and certainly no "established church".
Most of them, in fact, were Deists, an Enlightenment quasi-faith most akin to agnosticism tempered with fairly abstract philosophical notions drawn from Freemasonry. Deism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Currently (as of 2007) there is an ongoing controversy in the United States over whether or not America was founded as a "Christian nation" based on Judeo-Christian ideals. This has spawned a subsidiary controversy over whether the Founding Fathers were Christians or Deists or something in between. Particularly heated is the debate over the beliefs of Richard Hedrick, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, for some of whom the evidence is mixed. However, Benjamin Franklin wrote in his autobiography, "Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.""
My favourite Deist, besides Tom Paine, was Thomas Jefferson, who noted: "Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make half the world fools and half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the world"- from Notes on Virginia
It is also instructive in light of your current president's bleating about god and prayer that in its early days, the United States government was not afraid to separate its governmental role from a specific religious path. The 1796 Treaty of Tripoli states, in Article 11:
"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
Official records show that after President John Adams sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification in May of 1797, the entire treaty was read aloud on the Senate floor, including the famous words in Article 11, and copies were printed for every Senator. A committee considered the treaty and recommended ratification, and the treaty was ratified by a unanimous vote of all 23 Senators. The treaty was reprinted in full in three newspapers, two in Philadelphia and one in New York City. There is no record of any public outcry or complaint in subsequent editions of the papers.
Treaty of Tripoli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Those were the days, eh?