As readers know here, I not only am strongly for separation of church and state, but I am convinced that the early founders of this country did not believe that ours was a *Christian nation* that ought to legislate religion into items such as our constitution or laws. I read something interesting last night in a Russ Kick book that I didn't know that not only shows that terrorism was around in the 1790's, AND that Congress was the entity that ratified treaties, but that the treaty explicitly says that the US is NOT a Christian nation.
By November 1796 the US was near the end of George Washington's second term and America was having problems with Muslim terrorists-seriously. These terrorists were attacking American ships in the Mediterranean, killing sailors and stealing cargo.
Let me emphasize this part here. Terrorism is nothing new. Bush would have people think that 9/11 changed everything and that the constitution has to be gutted in order to deal with *new* circumstances. But the original founders of this country didn't think that way.
George Washington sent a diplomat, Joel Barlow, to see if he could appease the leaders and pirates of several Muslim countries.
One of these nations, which is now Libya, signed a treaty with Barlow on Nov 4, 1796. It took some time for the treaty to get back to the US, at which time John Adams, who was president, sent the treaty over to the Senate. The Senate read the treaty aloud, a committee recommended ratification of the treaty and EVERY MEMBER of the Senate who was present voted to approve it, and the Senate then sent the treaty to the president. I call this part out because recently Bush tried to make a permanent presence in Iraq treaty and do an end run around Congress, and has even included a signing statement that what he wants to do isn't really a treaty so he can sneer at Congress. Well, that's Bush for you, but in our country originally, presidents sent treaties to Congress for ratification.
On June 10, 1979 Adams signed the treaty, it was put in the newspapers and can be seen in the Library of Congress. The treaty actually was pretty weak and when Thomas Jefferson became president he ended up sending the navy and marines over to wage war and stop the terrorism.
What's the point of mentioning this treaty (besides the fact that it also contains some interesting object lessons for our time about terrorism and Bush's contempt for Congress?
The eleventh article of that treaty, written (very likely) by John Barlow, a former chaplain... says
As the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.. it is declared by the parties that not pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever produce an interruption of harmony existing between the two countries.
The language of the treaty demonstrates any reasonable doubt that in the years soon after the US was officially started, everyone understood that "the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion".
This is why Huckabee is so misguided, as to want to change the constitution to be a Christian document. How is that different than Islamic edicts that want to run countries on religious law?