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Is Rick Santorum right America was founded on ‘faith and freedom?’

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Apr 28 04:37 pm
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Kevin (No)

Assigning any specific set of beliefs to the US 'Founding Fathers' as a group is, at best, factually inaccurate. The website worldhistory.us points out the Founders had a range of beliefs; they 'were a mixture of deists, Christians, and possibly one atheist.' Furthermore, they were deliberate in their choice not to base their new government around such beliefs, even going so far as to ban religious tests as a qualification for office, 'because of their own diversity and experience with state sponsored religion.' The founders were influenced by Enlightenment ideals, and if there was a majority view among them, speaking in terms of numbers, it would be Deism. This is a view which says that 'reason and observation' lead to evidence of a 'Supreme Being,' rather than spiritual revelation or 'faith,' as in traditional Christian views.

While the Founders may have been concerned with their own freedom, the fact that the Constitution allowed slavery as they wrote it and that several of them owned slaves suggests that they were concerned only with their own freedom and did not understand the concept as we do today. When they said 'of, by, and for the people,' they quite literally meant something different from what that phrase has come to mean in the minds of most Americans. To understand this, one must again consider the context of the times in which they lived and what is known as the Bourgeois Revolution. In short: to them, 'the people' did not include peasants. The founding of the US is actually a perfect example of how history rarely holds up to such idealistic framings.

 

Heather (Yes)

Rick Santorum is right to say that America was founded on 'faith and freedom' because the Founders of the United States of America were seeking to be free of religious persecution and tyranny. These core values shaped the culture of this nation to produce the freest country in the world, as a nation that would not even exist without the Christian-Judeo faith to believe in liberty and the passion for being free. While it is true that Native Americans were the first peoples to inhabit the land, the nation that is still known today as the United States of America was colonized and founded by pilgrims, pioneers, and settlers who were seeking to practice faith freely without persecution from the state. 'They enthusiastically supported the efforts of their leaders to create a 'city on a hill' whose success would prove that God's plan could be successfully realized in the American wilderness.' 

This kind of faith in God, in the value of freedom from tyranny, the right to own and expand prosperity, exercise self-governance under the Rule of Law is what has shaped American culture today. Touchstone phrases like 'In God We Trust' and 'One Nation Under God' only reveal the Founders' worldview further. Without this passionate desire for freedom to practice faith and to defeat the British against all odds during the Revolutionary War, the United States of America would not even exist to grow, flourish and become the great world superpower that it is today. Therefore, there can be no doubt, America was absolutely founded on faith and freedom.

Fact Box

  • At the Young America's Foundation’s Standing Up For Faith & Freedom Conference on April 23-24, former Senator and CNN commentator, Rick Santorum, stated, “[America] was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty, to practice their faith, live as they ought to live, and have the freedom to do so.” He also likened America’s beginnings to “Judeo-Christian principles.”
  • In the same speech, he made other controversial comments, such as “there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,” and “we came here and created a blank slate, we birthed a nation from nothing,” that has resulted in calls for his firing from CNN.
  • The Charters of Freedom are three documents that are considered to be essential to the founding of America: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. 
  • The Founding Fathers are thought to have used Judeo-Christian morals as well as Deism in the historical document. The Declaration uses terminology like “Nature’s God,” “their Creator,” and “Supreme Judge of the world.”
  • America was founded on July 4, 1776 with the approval of the Declaration of Independence that separated the 13 North American British colonies from Great Britain.
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