Gary responds to a Facebook commenter who claimed America was not founded as a Christian nation.

A single line in the first Treaty of Tripoli (ratified June 10, 1797) is often cited as incontrovertible evidence that our founders self-consciously denied any attachment to the Christian religion, and that there is a radical separation between religion and civil government. This conclusion is based upon Article 11 of the treaty that states, in part, that “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”[1]

In order to understand this statement, it must be read in its historical context, including what we know of Islam in the late eighteenth century. The 1797 treaty is the only treaty that includes the phrase “the Christian religion.” There must be a reason for this when there are other treaties that assume Christianity as the foundation of the nation. It is obvious by reading the original treaty that Tripoli considered America to be a Christian nation.

The treaty constantly contrasts “Christian nations” and “Tripoli,” a Muslim stronghold that served as a base of operations for Barbary pirates. The Barbary pirates habitually preyed on ships from “Christian nations,” enslaving “Christian” seamen. “Barbary was Christendom’s Gulag Archipelago.”

In drafting the 1797 treaty, the United States had to assure the Dey (ruler) of Tripoli that in its struggle with the pirates, to use the language of the treaty, “it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,” that “the said states never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan [Muslim] nation” due to religious considerations.

A survey of our nation’s state constitutions, charters, national pronouncements, and official declarations of the thirteen state governments would convince any representative from Tripoli that America was a Christian nation. The American consul in Algiers, Joel Barlow, had to construct a treaty that would assure the Dey of Tripoli that troops would not be used to impose Christianity on a Muslim people.

America's Christian History: The Untold Story

America's Christian History: The Untold Story

Christianity is written on every page of America's amazing history. Gary DeMar presents well-documented facts which will change your perspective about what it means to be a Christian in America; the truth about America's Christian past as it relates to supreme court justices, and presidents; the Christian character of colonial charters, state constitutions, and the US Constitution; the Christian foundation of colleges, the Christian character of Washington, D.C.; the origin of Thanksgiving and so much more.

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Gary responds to a Facebook commenter who claimed America was not founded as a Christian nation. The commenter uses the phrase from the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797 to make his case. His use is nothing new and it is both revisionist history and taken out of its proper textual context.

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[1] William M. Malloy, Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols and Agreements between the United States of America and Other Powers, 1776-1909, 4 vols. (New York: Greenwood Press, [1910] 1968), 2:1786.