Carol Platt Liebau: What the Founders Intended

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What the Founders Intended

Michael Medved makes a compelling case that America's founding fathers established this country on Christian principles.

It's not that America is for Christians only; we embrace people of all colors, creeds, and faiths. But the foundational principles of this land are indeed based on the Judeo-Christian religious tradition.


Blogger Joe Steel said...

Seems odd that a country founded on Judeo-Christian principles didn't reflect them in its founding document. Where is the concern for the poor mentioned or power to care for the sick enumerated?

2:58 AM  
Blogger Carol Platt Liebau said...


So glad you asked. The Declaration of Independence notes that people have been "endowed by their Creator" with "inalienable rights" including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

"Concern for the poor" and caring for the sick are indubitably Christian principles, but as their exclusion from our founding documents highlights, in the eyes of the Founding Fathers, those were not government functions -- those were the functions of private charities and individuals.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

But the founders thought one had to be a land owner to vote. Less than 10% of the citizens owned land. Native Americans were massacred. Africans were enslaved. Women were the property of men and did not have a right to vote. It is very difficult to pretend the nation was founded on Christian principles.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

Of course Carol also ignores the fact that there was no individual income tax, social security tax, unemployment tax, etc.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Excellent point, carol.

12:22 PM  
Blogger The Very Sane Woman Who Points Out the Obvious said...

So the fathers founded this nation on Christian principles; yet excluded these principles from the founding documents.

Logically then, they could have been a bunch of Buddhist, Jews, or druid earth worshipers who, excluding the principles of their religions, wrote up the founding documents to produce the same results.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Joe Steel said...


Maybe you're right. Maybe all the Christians of the late 18th century relieved themselves of any responsbility for de jure Christianity by excluding it from the documents. It just seems odd that the Christians of the 21st century want to use those same Christianity-free documents to force their way of belief on the rest of us.

3:10 AM  
Blogger Greg said...


Isn't it true that throughout history every society that rose to prominence did so at the expense of some other society? If that invalidates the newly prominent society, does that then invalidate every single society in the history of mankind?

Regarding the status of non land owners, women, etc.; where is the left's vaunted sense of cultural relativism? What was the status of these groups in other nations at the time our country was founded?

Shouldn't a society be evaluated on the basis of what it did AFTER it came into prominence? Wasn't it the United States of America that elevated the status of those who had never before been given a voice?

In your opinion, once established, has the United States been a force for good or evil?

I also find it interesting that you felt the need to augment your argument about the evils of the United States of America with the notion that the founders didn't raise taxes.

Is that a Freudian slip? Or do you really think that a lack of affinity for raising taxes on the part of the founders enhances your contention that America has always been bad?

Every day it becomes more apparent that, in the mind of the left, the United States has ALWAYS been evil.

I think I need a refresher. Can you explain to me again how this is actually some form of patriotism? I'm all in favor of patriots pointing out wrongs in a society they dearly love in order to improve that society. But there must be a basis of love of country for that to hold true. No?

6:05 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...


Christian principles were not fundamental interests of the founders. If it were, all people would have been treated equally. People had to fight and bleed for freedom and liberty. The government did not willfully hand it to them. I am of course referring to the Civil War, formation of the workers unions and labor laws, womens rights movement, and civil rights movement.

My comment is not Freudian on taxation, rather that the higher the taxation rate the more the government needs to provide, because obviously the people have less discretion over the use of their own wages and labor. The founders were reasonable to think with no taxation, citizens would donate 10% or so to charity. I doubt they would expect the same with all the taxes Americans pay to the government. And at the same time, I don't realistically expect the government to end taxation of income and wages.

Empire building, the stealing and control of other nations and other people's resources is not the work of God. It is of greedy men, living in a capitalist system.

Whether America is a nation of good or evil is a complex question and it is obviously always within some sort of context. Our reality is not a dichotomy, so it isn't entirely good or evil. Does our nation follow the teachings of Christ? Obviously no. On a scientific level, there are many signs our way of living is not sustainable.

I personally think, the scientific evidence that 50% of the species will be extinct by 2050, is the canary in the mine shaft. Indicating we need to change course very rapidly. Protection of a life sustaining world should be the highest priority of all good nations.

10:31 AM  

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