Is America a Christian Nation? Were the founding fathers Christian and was their original intent to found America on the teachings of Christ?
Chris Pinto, founder of Christian film company Adullam Films, rejects the notion of a Christian nation. In the recently released film, The Hidden Faith of the Founding Fathers, Pinto uses history to show the founding fathers were religious skeptics and often critical of the Bible.
Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, called the book of Revelations "the ravings of a maniac." "Rights of Man" author Thomas Paine was also prone to penning anti-Christian writings. Scientist and early politician Benjamin Franklin was a member of English occult group The Hell Fire Club, notable for performing satanic rituals.
"They were not Christians according to the Bible," Pinto insists.
He maintains that the founding fathers intended to create a secular government not meant to be idolized or espoused as Christian.
David Barton, on the other hand, has built up a historical organization, Wall Builders, to point to the contrary. Barton, who collects facts as well as historical artifacts about the founders, acknowledged in a 2009 FOX News interview that Franklin and Jefferson were among the least religious members of the Continental Congress. But he said they were more religious than politicians now.
"[Jefferson] is also the guy who started church at the U.S. capital, which ran for almost 70 years. He attended church at the capital during his eight years; he had the Marine Corp band come play the worship services at the capital church … He's the least religious founder but he's way out there, further than most religious right today," said Barton.
Of Franklin, Barton found that he encouraged the second Continental Congress to hold regular prayers during the creation of the U.S. Constitution.
"When Franklin was in there signing the Declaration of Independence, they had daily prayer, they had lengthy prayer, they had assigned chaplains," he asserted.
During the formation of the Constitution, Barton contended, "According to George Washington, they took three days off and went to church."
He also has argued that 29 of the 56 of delegates at the Continental College held seminary degrees. Of those 29, he pointed to figures such as Dr. Benjamin Rush, founder of America's first Bible society and Sunday school movement; John Witherspoon, who Barton said was a well-known gospel evangelist and theology teacher in his day; and John Thompson, creator of the Thompson Bible.
Barton, who has appeared on national networks, college campuses and churches, continually shares what many consider proof that America was formed on Christian values.
Former presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shared a similar statement on BeliefNet during his presidential campaign.
"The Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation" and is based on Judeo-Christian values, he said.
He continued, saying that the founding fathers were "inspired" and, even in the creation of the "separation of church and state" Entitlement Clause, emphasized a belief in "a divine creator."
Pinto, a Christian, disavows those views and blasts Barton in his film.
"The reason that men like David Barton want to take the founders and go into churches and try and convince you that these guys were Christians is because they want you to become entangled in the politics of this world," said Pinto.
He asserts that Christians are being led astray from the Bible by those who hold this country as a Christian kingdom on earth.
"Our kingdom is above," he stressed.
On the Web: http://www.adullamfilms.com/HiddenFaith.html