Your Opinion: Founders penned views on religion
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
With the continuing discussion of the attitude of our founding fathers on religion in this country, I think it is appropriate to look at writings and documents from the time. One very important such d
ocument is the Treaty of Tripoli. In 1795 George Washington sent delegates to negotiate a treaty with Tripoli.
The treaty was ratified and signed by President John Adams in 1797 (just six years after the adoption of the Bill of Rights). The treaty was read aloud to the Senate and printed copies were distributed. Twenty-three of the 32 sitting senators were present and voted unanimously to ratify the treaty.
The treaty states in part: “As the Government of the United States is not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Mussulmen (sic) ...”
It can be argued that the statement signed by the president and ratified by 23 senators is evidence of the attitude of the Founding Fathers on religion in America.