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Patriotism and the 'God gap'
Surveys suggest a 'God gap' in views on American patriotism.
September 28th, 2011
07:19 PM ET

Patriotism and the 'God gap'

By Dave Schechter, CNN

(CNN)– “And may God bless the United States of America” is a popular closing line in speeches by presidents and presidential hopefuls.

Does a higher power, if one exists, “shed his grace on thee,” as the lyrics of “America the Beautiful” proclaim?

And if so, does this make the United States of America the greatest country in the world?

Christianity Today crunched data from a Pew Research Center poll that asked more than 1,500 Americans for their views of the United States.

“Nearly all Americans think they live in the best country on Earth. While a majority of Americans believe there are other countries just as great, nine in 10 say no nation is better. Within this high view of America, there are differences between different religious groups,” the magazine noted.

To this end, Christianity Today suggested the existence of a “patriotism God-gap in America.”

Among those surveyed, evangelicals were the most likely to think the United States is No. 1.

“Other Christian traditions were less enthusiastic about America's position in the world, but they still saw the U.S. as one of the best on the planet. About 40% of other Christians said the U.S. stands alone as the greatest country; around 55% said it and some other countries were equally great. As with evangelicals, only a few said there were greater countries in the world.”

“Those with no religion, however,” hold a much less favorable view, according to the magazine.

"Only one in five of those without religious beliefs said the U.S. is the best country in the world, an equal percentage agreeing that 'there are other countries that are better than the U.S.' ”

Not everyone is enamored with equating religious conviction and patriotism. Consider these excerpts from the comments that followed the Christianity Today article:

“To call yourself a Christian evangelical and still think that America is the greatest is ironic to say the least. God is not about country. God is about love and everyone is equal in his eyes, including the rest of the world.”

“What's really sad is the widespread perception among evangelicals that there is some kind of link between America's standing and the work and purpose and success of God's kingdom. There is not. Two words: wrong kingdom. I repeat: wrong kingdom. It matters not a whit what America's status in the world is. The kingdom of Jesus Christ does not depend on this in any way and will continue regardless.”

“When our astronauts look down at the Earth it doesn't look like a classroom globe with lines on it. All of those lines are drawn in the minds of human beings. I am grateful to be an American. But sometimes I think that some elements of conservative Christianity really see their religion as patriotism, their scripture the Constitution and God their servant to gain their personal aims. This whole Earth is the object of God's love and concern. And to claim that any one nation in today’s world is more favored than another may be promoting a Christian heresy.”

Flying the flag is among the easiest ways to display patriotism. Is it also an expression of religion?

In an article titled “Flag Desecration, Religion and Patriotism,” Temple University associate law professor Muriel Morisey suggested that for proponents of a constitutional amendment, “the American flag is the equivalent of a sacred religious icon, comparable to Christianity’s crucifix, Judaism’s Torah and the Quran of Islam. No court has designated patriotism as a religion for Establishment Clause purposes, but in every other significant respect it operates as a religion in American culture. Regardless of the religious beliefs we profess, we simultaneously practice patriotism.”

That said, a “God gap” may exist in the flying of Old Glory as well.

A Pew poll taken March 30-April 3 suggested that 78% of religious people display the flag on their clothing, in the office or at home, while 58% of nonreligious do likewise.

Evangelicals were the most likely to say they displayed the flag; those Americans unaffiliated with religion the least likely.

As to the religious identity of the nation, 62% said the United States is a “Christian nation” in a survey of 1,000 adults done a couple of years ago for Newsweek, while 75% of Americans call themselves Christian, according to the American Religious Identification Survey also done in 2009.

And earlier this year, writing for the CNN Belief Blog, Boston University religion scholar Stephen Prothero analyzed the religious affiliations of those elected to serve in the 112th Congress and concluded: “Is this a Christian nation? No way, says the Constitution. But U.S. voters are telling us something else altogether.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church and state • Courts

soundoff (2,100 Responses)
  1. 1word

    Oh Brother, this article makes no sense. First of all, if you look at America's standing in the World we are the best nation because we can worship without someone dropping a bomb on us. Although we have these Muslims in our country who are willing to kill anyone that doesn't believe what they believe. That was going to be point #2. In God we trust means there is a higher being and his Son Jesus Christ is the only way for us to earn everlasting life. If you don't believe it, you will when you're on bended knees confessing your sins. If you seek God, he will make himself known to you, but you have to go all in and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you don't believe America is the best nation, then how come we're always being counted on to feed the other countries poor people during their time of need? God always provide a way for his people to Bless others. Those Muslim countries are train wrecks, all they do is kill kill kill and their people can't get away from those countries fast enough.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:51 am |
    • Joxer the Mighty

      Wow, did you fail history in high school? You dare to condemn the muslim countries when the history of nations with Christian empires are some of the bloodiest in history? Also, Just because there are a lot of Christian people in this country, doesn't mean this is a Christian nation. Just because we are looked up to for philanthropy, doesn't mean we are a Christian nation.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • Ali Honger

      @ 1word:
      “If you don't believe America is the best nation, then how come we're always being counted on to feed the other countries poor people during their time of need?” Is that really a sound argument? The World Bank and IMF (two agencies generally touted as examples of international largess), are in actual point of fact examples of incredibly mercenary corporations bent on enslaving others monetarily. To state that you are ‘counted on to feed people in times of need’ is essentially a mutually exclusive statement – indicative of the idea that no other countries, NGO’s or organizations are either capable or willing to do so. That is a logical fallacy wrapped in the flag of patriotism.
      Secondly, the statement “...God always provide a way for his people to Bless others” is also remarkable – implying that somehow the Creators blessing is with you (collectively) more so than any other nation. Piffle – There is not a single text in the Bible that corroborates that particular ideal.
      Thirdly, you state that “...Those Muslim countries are train wrecks, all they do is kill kill kill...” – Really. In 2009 37,000+ Americans were shot, stabbed, bludgeoned, poisoned, strangled, kicked and beaten to death (over 31,000 of those directly attributable to firearms – either intentionally or otherwise). So while ‘democracy’ is the daily watchword where you live, and ‘individual rights’ are a seemingly sacred trust, I guess you also reserve the right to not only end the lives of innocent people in countries that disagree with you, but also the lives of your neighbors as well.
      Yup – sounds rather Christlike to me...

      September 29, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  2. HeavenSent

    Happy Birthday Jesus (Born September 29th, conceived December 25th)

    Matthew 1:18-25

    18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to [engaged to marry] Joseph, before they came together [before s e x u a l i n t e r course], she was found with child [pre g nant] of the Holy Ghost.
    19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example [to not embarrass her publically with a perceived in fi delity], was minded to put her away [divorce] privily [privately, instead of telling the whole town that she was pregnant and not by him].
    20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that [Jesus] which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
    21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins ["Jesus" is the Greek word for the Hebrew name, Jehoshua' (Joshua); and Joshua in Hebrew means "Jehovah the Savior." Thus this Jesus ("Jehovah the Savior") was "God with us" (Emmanuel)].
    22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
    23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel [fulfilling Isaiah 7:14], which being interpreted [translated] is, God with us.
    24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife [he married her]:
    25 And knew her not [NO s e x u a l i n t e rcourse] till [until after] she had brought forth [delivered, bore] her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

    Amen.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:51 am |
    • TheWiz71

      First off, no-one knows when Jesus was actually born, and there's nothing in the text you've quoted to indicate your statement that it was on September 29. Secondly, According to the Hebrew Bible (or the Old Testament) God's Name is YHWH, which is pronounced "Yahweh". The whole "Jehovah" thing was a mistake. Thirdly, THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ARTICLE.

      September 29, 2011 at 8:39 am |
  3. TampaMel

    First, if you visit most western countries and asked the citizens in that country if they lived in one of the best countries in the world, they would probably say, "yes". Second, if you asked those Americans that do not think the US is one of the best countries in the world and asked them which country was better and would they move there (assuming you get an honest answer) they would probably tell you a country (maybe) and probably say, "no" to the move. In other countries (England, France, Germany) that have a state religion, you are not going to hear any politician state they have either no religion or a religion that is not main stream in that country. The US is not alone when its citizens prefer their politician to have the same general beliefs they do. All I am saying is the US is not alone in all those studies that people do that have a general negative tone and that negativity seems to be is presented an an 'American' only value. The values and belief systems (positive and negative) are generally found to be the same around the world.

    September 29, 2011 at 5:42 am |
    • Ali Honger

      Germany has no specific 'state religion.' The government does, however, collect donations for churches (of VARIOUS denominations) by means of income tax. Citizens can, should they so desire, opt out of doing so.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:37 am |
  4. Steve

    I love my country, but I despise this government. I hold the beliefs that I feel our founding fathers held to be true: That limited government is the only way to operate. That there should be a clear separation of church and state. I do NOT believe that we were founded as a Christian nation. We are a free democracy...not a theocracy as countries in the middle east tend to be. We are better than that. We are supposed to be tolerant to an individuals religious beliefs and that extends to non-believers. The government should not foster a state endorsed religion. I personally feel let down by my government when its officials all the way up to the president end or start speeches with "god" mentioned. I am patriotic. I have a flag in my front yard and I'm proud of it....but lets please leave god out of it....god didn't fight for our freedoms, our service men and women have and will always fight for it.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:49 am |
  5. Micah Moore

    I love Jesus because I heard he has a huge...you know...=D

    September 29, 2011 at 4:35 am |
    • Big Art

      I have a huge . . . you know . . . Do you love me too?

      September 29, 2011 at 6:24 am |
  6. TTommy

    That's absolute NONSENSE. I am an atheist and couldn't be prouder to be American! Patriotism and religion are not somehow mysteriously intertwined. If you believe that poll, you are an ignorant American.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • Ain't life Strange?

      Well TTommy, I agree with you in content, but you have to consider the mind set of the christian fundalmentilists who think for some reason their god favors the US above any other nation and to not be in their lock step program there's no way you can be truely a patriotic person. To them, god and being patriotic are one and the same. Pretty sad, huh?

      September 29, 2011 at 4:37 am |
    • LuisWu

      I love America but hate the government. I'm an agnostic. But calling everyone that doesn't agree with you ignorant makes you a bigot.

      September 29, 2011 at 5:21 am |
  7. Wally zebco

    The last and second to last refuges of scoundrels.
    Judge people on their actions not the empty words
    of someone who needs attention.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:15 am |
  8. Ya No

    guy: It appears that you've joined the legions of posters that can't resist restating, or engaging in wild speculation about. what others are expressing in their posts. It's entirely conceivable, and very likely, they said what they meant, and meant what they said. You'll find more than enough opposed to your views without creative editing.

    September 29, 2011 at 4:13 am |
  9. DC

    Atheism says more about what one is against than what one is for.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:45 am |
    • Ya No

      dc: This discussion is about those with your sense of tolerance.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • Jeff

      So you would say if one is not actively "for" something that makes them definitively "against" it? Perhaps you should be "for" thinking before you speak (type).

      September 29, 2011 at 4:42 am |
    • Betsaroo

      I guess I'm a non-ice hockey fan then. I'm also a non-chocolate eater. To say being an Atheist is more about what you're againt is placing your belief at the center of the universe and everything else on the fringe, but I guess I'm not surprised at that mentality!

      September 29, 2011 at 5:54 am |
    • Dan

      DC – Are you "against" the tooth fairy? Are you "against" fat men in red suits climbing down your chimney to deliver presents? Are you "against" Zeus casting thunderbolts?
      No, of course you aren't. Because you don't believe in these things. You aren't "against" something you don't believe in. You just don't believe in it. It's as simple as that.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:00 am |
  10. DC

    Where are all the patriotic atheists...or do their 'authority issues' with God carry over to country too?

    September 29, 2011 at 3:44 am |
    • Big Difference

      The country is real.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:42 am |
    • Dan

      Atheists don't have "authority issues" with Yahweh. Or Zeus. Or Vishnu. Or Bandonga. Many atheists are quite patriotic. However, they're less likely to believe in the idea of their country being superior to others in every way. After all; it isn't. Some countries have lower crime. Some countries have better health care systems (note the inclusion of the word system. I'm referring to the availability and effectiveness of health care as a public good for all. Health care only works really well for some people in this country). Some countries are more democratic. Some countries have less race issues. On and on. Atheists are merely more prone to acknowledge these facts.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  11. Ya No

    No way I'm evangelical, but my bumper sticker – if I chose to have one – would say...'God Bless Everyone'.

    September 29, 2011 at 3:35 am |
  12. JustAHuman

    God Bless the Earth, not America. No country is better than the other, regardless of size, wealth, or race. How can a country with as much gang violence and hate-crimes be "the worlds best country"

    September 29, 2011 at 2:52 am |
    • Ya No

      just: Your screen name says it all. Anything beyond that is simple conceit.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • HeavenSent

      God Blessed America to be the super power of super powers meaning, our forefathers were blessed with creative minds to be the best that He wanted us to be because they read. comprehended, and applied His spiritual truth (the Bible) to their lives. They were righteous people and didn't need to step on or over others to get what they wanted/needed They creatively produced because of wants/needs. Our forefathers strength came from knowing who they were and where they belonged in His plan for eternity via His spiritual/righteous truth.

      Amen.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:48 am |
    • Ya No

      heaven: Native American take exception to your generalizations. Are they, or rather weren't they, Gods children?

      September 29, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • Ali Honger

      @heavensent:

      No where will you find the Bible backing up your sweeping, generalized, statements. I fear that the flag wrapped around your head is cutting off oxygen to your brain...

      September 29, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  13. tallulah13

    It always seems to me that those who make the greatest show have the least substance. You don't have to tell everyone that you are a wonderful patriot or devout christian if your actions reflect those beliefs. Sadly, too many christians and too many patriots are simply superficial.

    September 29, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • pumpernickel1988

      No truer words were spoken.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:54 am |
    • Doris

      Another non-Christian expert or Christianity.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Answer

      Religious folks will wrap themselves up in any manner of label as long as they find that it suits them. Usually just the good parts that they can steal away from others.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:07 am |
  14. scottieG

    I am a Christian ministry student, and politicians beating the Bible for votes makes me sick. Brothers in Christ waving the flag and supporting wars makes me sick. People saying that Christianity supports government make me sick.
    Believers of old (and new in some places) were prosecuted, they paid taxes, and were good citizens, but they were prosecuted in Rome and abroad, and thus would by no means support government. This is what Pauls epistles are talking about. Baptists were prosecuted by the same King James who put out the most famous Bible translation ever. Theocracy in the middle ages led to all sorts of wrongs...Christianity is not nationalism, and mercy to those who confuse the two.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • JMG

      Patriotism isn't, "supporting government". Patriotism is being proud of your country's people, its history, and its fundamentals. I think Christians are so proud of our country because the specific ideals which make up the foundation of our country are very Christian in nature. That doesn't go to say these ideals are great because they are in the Bible. Individual freedom and equality are stressed upon in the Bible, but they are also arrived at in ethical philosophy by men who have zero belief in God. I don't think Christians are blindly patriotic, I just think your average Christian is more likely to closely share our Republics key values, while some only share those values partially or not at all. The problem with this correlation study is that 75% of Americans consider themselves Christians, while obviously a much lower percentage are truly practicing. Regardless, America is the greatest country in the world, unless you lack motivation and personal responsibility. And no, I'm not a Christian.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • Joe Schmuck

      Christians are more likely to shore the republics key values?? Boy, talk about being brainwashes!

      A large percentage of our founding fathers were atheists. I guess they didn't share the republics key values?

      September 29, 2011 at 6:15 am |
  15. Question everything

    Random question, why do christians always feel inclined to capitalize the H when refering to Him? Did I miss this in the New Testament? Why stop at the H? That is offensive to such a superior being. I say you all start brushing up on your CAP LOCK skills and finish off the job. Someone call the vatican I want the 10 billionth edit to happen on gods literal words and appropriately capitalize all H's in the NT.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • Nathan

      If you're not trolling i think part of it is tradition.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • Question everything

      Where did said tradition come from? Sounds to me like an "American orginal". Stop with the laziness christians and capitalize the whole word!

      September 29, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Nathan

      I think it is because "him" is a pronoun. "Lord" is always in all caps because it takes the place of yahweh, God's actual name in hebrew.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:01 am |
    • Doris

      Was that supposed to be thoughtful commentary?

      September 29, 2011 at 3:40 am |
  16. Dennizen

    OK, so the nation has a majority of flag-waving true believers. I'm not one of them, but hey, it's a free country. I'm sure a lot of them are nice people, but thosewho posted comments here seem more intent on putting down anyone who doesn't think like them than talking it over. This is a worrying characteristic of fundamentalist true believers of all stripes. How about some discussion instead of just put downs? Why is it that the putdown artists (including true believers in non-belief) never seem to have anything original to add to the discussion...only comments disparaging of others? America's current problems are based mostly on the inability of its citizens (and politicians) to understand the difference between argument and discussion, and are more concerned with winning than arriving at a workable solution. Will it only be when everything has descended into complete chaos that we'll be willing to stop the name calling and work together. Nothing like a post-apocalyptic world to bring a little focus unity of purpose...

    September 29, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • Nathan

      Who the hell wants to hear what you have to say?

      September 29, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Sam

      Id happily listen to Dennizen talk, considering hes completely and utterly right.

      September 29, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • Dan

      I'll second that, Sam.

      September 29, 2011 at 7:12 am |
  17. Michelle

    It stands to reason. If you don't believe in invisible men, you're less likely to believe the b.s. that's spouted by government officials. It's called critical thinking and it really comes in handy!

    September 29, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • S1N

      Well said. If you blindly accept what an authority figure tells you, of course you are more likely to be both patriotic and religious. In fact, in the past year, I have only met 2 self-described Christians capable of critical though when discussing their religion.

      I'm glad I did. Before that, I had resigned myself to the fact that ALL evangelical Christians were idiots. Now I know there are at least two exceptions in the world.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • JMG

      Oh please. Go watch another Michael Moore film. Buying into his BS takes 10x the ignorance it takes to believe in God. Christians like the country better because it was founded on Christian ideals, thats it. Meanwhile everyone else who thinks this isn't the greatest country in the world, is sadly wasting time looking for things to cry about when they should be out taking advantage of the amazing dumb lucky break they got when they were born here. Were not perfect, but the best? In this world? Yea, we are. And don't give me this Switzerland,Denmark,Canada BS. Yes, its easier to operate an efficient federal government when your country's population is dwarfed by that of California, let alone when the vast majority of your people are of one background. in ALL of Europe, the entire continent, there are only 2 people for every one American. Lets see every country in Europe, with all their cultures and ideals, send half its population to America and see how they get along and what they accomplish. Oh wait, this experiment already happened. And resulted in the most prosperous, inventive, groundbreaking civilization in the history of the world. In fact, half of Europe came to America, then turned around and kicked the other half of Europe's ass, twice. Then years and years later, the descendants of that half of Europe who left for freedom, hopped on boats and went back to the lands of their ancestors, to save Europe from destroying itself, this also happened twice. My point is, its downright ridiculous that a country composed of every race, every culture, could possibly become what the United States has. We aren't perfect, and its ok to fight for what you think is wrong with this country, to fight for change. But to not be thankful, to not take pride, to not sit back and admit the good, I don't get that.

      September 29, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • PopulationCounter

      Euh, JMG... Europe has more inhabitants then the US...

      From wikipedia "In 2009 the population of Europe was estimated to be 852.4 million according to the United Nations,[1] which was slightly more than 13% of world population.".
      Also "As of September 28, 2011, the United States has a total resident population of 312,265,000, making it the third most populous country in the world."

      September 29, 2011 at 3:51 am |
    • Ain't life Strange?

      @JMG... your post is well written and well taken, but your belief this country was founded on "christian ideals" is not correct. It was founded on ideals of freedom, love of neighbor, and brothethood. You have to research the religious background of the founding fathers to see how your fact falls short of reality. Very few of them were in fact christian, many agnostic. They believed in a higher power, but believed that higher power should play no role in the governance of this country. It wasn't until the late 40's early 50's some began to inject god into the concept of patriotism.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:56 am |
  18. dudley0418

    It is simpler than that. Christianity teaches that allegiance to your nation is an admirable and necessary trait. It makes sense to Christians to be loyal to, believe in, and defend their nation, whatever nation it happens to be.

    This is a portion of the metric that this article ignores, implying that this is an Americans-only trait.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:35 am |
  19. wyciwyg

    and furthermore, which would you appeasers like to see? this freedom of religion or that poor Iranian born Christian pastor who faces execution (probably beheading, given Iran's bloodthirsty past and prtesent practices) unless he recants and reverts to the Islamic "true faith?"

    September 29, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • Answer

      Yes that is a funny article. It is a classic ironic situation.

      All the religions try to out convert each other and they do not like it when it comes to actual death.
      It's perfectly fine when they can get away with it without being killed though.

      September 29, 2011 at 4:12 am |
  20. wyciwyg

    what REALLY irks me is, all other relgions being observed in this country are allowed FREE EXPRESSION and DISPLAY of their beliefs icons and so forth, EXCEPT Christians. Somehow CHristianity has become a dirty little secret, to be denied and tucked away in a closet. Sionce WHEN did our nation's guarantee to practice all religions unmolested devolved into "except christianity"?

    if a person believes n his navel as the direct conduit to a supreme being, that's perfectly ok. The apologists (aka appeasng lefties) are so intent on making everyone ELSE feel welcome, they are driving Christians underground.

    ENOUGH! This nation was founded by Christians (French Hugenots among others who were persecuted by the predominantely Catholic govt) seeklng a haven to practice their faith unmolested. No decree by BHO declaring USA is not a Christian nation can make it so. Our social and legal "bones" of the country R based on Judeo-Christian values,

    September 29, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Gbird

      And no ranting and ravings on a message board will make anything you just said true.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Observer

      "all other relgions being observed in this country are allowed FREE EXPRESSION and DISPLAY of their beliefs icons and so forth, EXCEPT Christians."

      LOL.Just wishful thinking on your part. Get back to reality.

      This nation was not founded as a Christian nation according to the Treaty of Tripoli, unanamously passed by Congress and signed by President John Adams.

      Doing some research would sure help.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Michelle

      Are you folks being fed to the lions while nobody's watching or am I missing something? Everything you said is total nonsense. Christians and Jews are the only people in this country with true religious freedom. You will never in a million years hear an American politician admit to being a Buddhist, Atheist, Taoist or any other faith but Christian or Jewish. Why? Because it would be political suicide. The religious right has our government in a strangehold – Obama being a perfect example. He's gone to the same CHRISTIAN church for 20+ years, but because a few morons don't like him, he's accused of being a Muslim – as though that in itself is some great sin. And by the way, the founding fathers were predominately Deists- meaning they believed in some type of Supreme Being, but believed that being had much better things to do than fool with human lives. And by the way, even the crappy, whitewashed, revisionist history books that exist now point out that most of the 13 colonies were started as financial ventures, not as havens for people suffering religious oppression. With a very few exceptions, they were begun as settlements to take the raw materials from here and send them back to England, France, Spain, etc. Oh and one was a prison colony. Critical thinking skills are a marvelous thing to cultivate, although it does usually send people running from churches in droves.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • bobo737

      It is so true. The 90%+ of the country that considers themselves Christians is being driven underground by the other 10% (maybe 5% other religions and 5% non-religious). It is impressive that such a small minority has the power drive that huge majority underground. Puleeze.

      September 29, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • YourWrongBud

      Our fore father's were diest and wanted seperation of church and stater. becasue of the salem withc trails. Where they pretty much used demons angels and gods as evide3nce they learned then and there religion is not a basis of evidence. Science is our religion I'm Sorry but you can cry about it!

      September 29, 2011 at 2:52 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.