The Instigator
Peepette
Pro (for)
Tied
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The Contender
The-Voice-of-Truth
Con (against)
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The Unites States is not a Christain Nation

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/27/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 996 times Debate No: 85657
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

Peepette

Pro

Rules:
No kritiks, semantics, trolling or forfeits
Citations in text of debate
R1 Acceptance with opening statements


Definitions:

Christian: A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

Constitution, United States: A document that embodies the fundamental laws and principles by which the United States is governed.


The United States was not founded as a Christian nation.
In light of how the early Puritan settlers established Christian Commonwealths in the early colonies, the founding fathers were acutely aware that a religious state was a problematic notion. They were also mindful of constitutional monarchies and state church relations which were the basis of governments in several European countries of the time. As a result, nowhere in the Constitution does the word God appear, and explicitly states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" an intentional creation a secular state.


The-Voice-of-Truth

Con

Acceptance:
I thank Peepette for hositng this debate. I understand that I will be attempting to prove that the United States is a Christian nation.

Opening Statement:
The United States of America was founded as a Christian nation. The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." This provides for the free exercise of religion, and it stipulates that congress cannot establish a national religion.

Also, each of the 13 Original Colonies had some form of state-supported religion relating to the Christian Faith.

The Supreme Court, in cases from the gaining of independence until 1947, ruled in favor of Christianity.

The Declaration of Independence references God and His authority circa 40 times. The Declaration of Independence is the national charter for the United States of America. A charter, such as one for a company, provides the base values of the established institution. Followwing this charter is a set of rules; basically, the Law. The Constitution of the United States of America is that set of rules, which are based on the charter.

Abbreviations:
After this round, I shall henceforth abbreviate "Supreme Court" as SC.

After this round, I shall henceforth abbreviate "First Amendment" as FA.

The First Amendment:
Due to the nature of the debate, I will provide the complete text of the First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

I look forward to a good, intellectual debate.

And so continues the Assault on Reason.
Debate Round No. 1
Peepette

Pro

In Virginia, the Baptists were persecuted by the Anglican Church. They were concerned over the establishment of a new national religion. They, a minority religious group, were seeking assurances from Federalist James Madison that this was not to occur. Baptist Minister, John Leland and political activist, penned a letter expressing his reservations that the Constitution had no Bill of Rights ensuring freedom of the press and protections of religious liberty. Leland was not only known to James Madison but also Thomas Jefferson [1, 2]

In response to Leland and the Danbury Baptist congregation, Thomas Jefferson wrote “Sowing Useful Truths and Principles” Where-in he states, “. . .I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State” [3]. Prior to sending this letter it was reviewed by two members of the Cabinet where Jefferson revealed what he wished to achieve was condemnation of any alliance between state and church [4].

James Madison had distaste for tax supported churches and attempted to maneuver to an end to the practice in Virginia legislation with his General Assessment Bill, Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments.” Here James Madison states ““the Civil Magistrate” any power over religion because “Religious truth” and “the means of salvation” are beyond the concerns of the state ” [10]. Eventually, the bill attained 1,552 signatures. Though this bill died in process, it later rematerialized under Jefferson as the “Establishing Religious Freedom” bill. At the time the Anglican Church was the official church of the state. The bill eliminated the churches status and any recognition of any other denomination was rejected [11] This bill is considered the precursor to provisions in the Constitution.

Rebuttal Opening Statement: Correct, Congress can make no law to establish a religion, nor does it keep anyone from practicing their faith. But this does not establish the US as a Christian Nation.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, (This is referred to as the Establishment Clause) or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; (This is referred to the Free Exercise Clause.)


The 13 Original Colonies did have individual constitutions which described their governance was by divine authority for Godly pursuits; establishment of Christian Commonwealths. But, like themselves who were once persecuted by England, began to persecute others who did not step in line with their brand of faith, or of a different religion. Outsiders were punished and sometimes put to death deemed heretics or blasphemers. Only members of their church were permitted to vote, and regular attendance was a requirement [5]. The Puritan colonies were anti-Catholic and anti-Quaker [7], who are also Christians; as well as anti-Jew [9]. They created laws limiting their freedoms [6]. Roger Williams, a Puritan was banished from the Massachusetts colony for his belief that civil matters had no place in involving faith [8]. The founding fathers were aware of such biases due to their continued occurrence.


Rebuttal:The Supreme Court, in cases from the gaining of independence until 1947, ruled in favor of Christianity.

You will need to provide case names for this statement to be relevant.

1.https://en.wikipedia.org...

2.http://poseidon01.ssrn.com...

3. http://www.jstor.org...

4. http://www.allabouthistory.org...

5. http://press.princeton.edu...

6. http://www.traditioninaction.org...

7. http://www.publicbookshelf.com...

8. http://undergod.procon.org...

9. http://www.smithsonianmag.com...

10. http://founders.archives.gov...

11. http://www.religioustolerance.org...

The-Voice-of-Truth

Con

I would like to thank Peppette for her quick response.

Overview
America has had foundations in Christianity since the colonies and continued in its Christian foundations until 1947. Now, there is this doctrine called the “Separation of Church and State,” and many use this relatively new doctrine to say that America is not Christian.

The 13 Colonies

The 13 original colonies of the U.S all had some form of state-supported religion [1], and 8 of the 13 had a specific sect of Christianity [1,2]. Here are the colonies and their religions:

Virginia: Anglican/Church of England
New York: Anglican/Church of England
Massachusetts: Congregational Church
Maryland: Anglican/Church of England
Delaware: Non-Denominational Christianity
Connecticut: Congregational Church
New Hampshire: Congregational Church
Rhode Island: Non-Denominational Christianity
Georgia: Non-Denominational Christianity
North Carolina: Anglican/Church of England
South Carolina: Anglican/Church of England
Pennsylvania: Non-Denominational Christianity
New Jersey: Non-Denominational Christianity

There is already an evident religious foundation.

Early America

The American Constitution initially had no religious protection of people, in addition to other questionable freedoms that needed clarification. Thus, the FA was written to clarify the limits the federal government had regarding these freedoms.

But how was the FA even thought of? Was there a predecessor? Well, it is thought that Thomas Jefferson’s ‘Establishing Religious Freedom’ bill that he introduced in Virginia, which states:

…that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors,4 is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern…” [3]

This act was meant to protect citizens from state religion, and to keep the state from forcing others to abide by any given religion — not limiting and suppressing it. Many say this act was based off of Jefferson’s strong belief in a “separation of church and state,” even though those words fail to exist anywhere in this document or the FA. Rather, these words are from a letter to the Danbury Baptists. In 1801, The Baptists of Danbury worried over rumors that a national denomination would be established, and they sent Thomas Jefferson a letter addressing it. On January 1, 1802; he responded in kind. He assured them that the Federal Government would not establish any one Christian Denomination as the national denomination:

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” [2]

This phrase is not recorded during the Constitutional Convention or other Congressional sessions. This raises a question: why did Jefferson use this phrase? He was addressing Baptists, a denomination he didn’t adhere to. He wanted to create an understanding between him and them. He borrowed the phrase “wall of separation” from one of the more prominent Baptist ministers, Roger Williams, who said:

When they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world… and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day. And that… it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world, and all that be saved… are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the World.” [2, 4]

According to Williams, this “wall” was erected to protect the “garden of the church” from the “wilderness if the world” or the State [2].

SC Rulings

The SC ruled in favor of the Christian religion, even stating that it was the established religion:

Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799
"Religion is of general and public concern and on its support depend... the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people. By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing and are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty.” [2,5]

The People v. Ruggles, 1811
"[W]e are a Christian people and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters [other religions].... [We are a] people whose manners... and whose morals have been elevated and inspired... by means of the Christian religion… Though the constitution has discarded religious establishments, it does not forbid judicial cognizance of those offenses against religion and morality which have no reference to any such establishment... This [constitutional] declaration, noble and magnanimous as it is, when duly understood, never meant to withdraw religion in general, and with it the best sanctions of moral and social obligation from all consideration and notice of the law…" [2,5]

Updegraph v. The Commonwealth, 1824
"The assertion is once more made that Christianity never was received as part of the common law of this Christian land; and... if it was, it was virtually repealed by the Constitution of the United States... Christianity... is and always has been a part of the common law... not Christianity founded on any particular religious tenets; not Christianity with an established church... but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men… Thus this...legislature framed this great body of laws for a Christian country and a Christian people.... [T]hus it is irrefragably proved that the laws and institutions of this State are built on the foundation of reverence for Christianity.... In this the Constitution... has made no alteration nor in the great body of the laws which was an incorporation of the common-law doctrine of Christianity.” [2,5]

Other cases include: Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892; United States v. Macintosh, 1931; Murphy v Ramsey, 1885; Reynolds vs. United States, 1878; and Davis v. Beason, 1889. [2,5,7]

Precedence
From the Founding, the SC ruled in favor of Christianity. That is, up until Everson v. Board of Education, 1947. In this case the SC cites only Jefferson’s eight words (“a wall of separation between Church and State”) and not their context or previous Supreme Court interpretations:


The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.” — Everson v. Board of Education, 1947 [6]

This violates Court Precedence. Courtroom precedence is important to the Judicial interpretation of law. The SC decides what enacted legislature means based on previous cases and how the verdict was reached. For the SC, the precedent must be followed. [8]

The SC even said that the Everson case was unprecedented. [9]
________________________________

Debate Round No. 2
Peepette

Pro

Rebuttal: The 13 Colonies

First, I refer to the heading of this debate “The Unites States is not a Christian Nation.” The title does it state, founded upon, or built on a foundation of. We are discussing our system of government. Rebuttals pertaining to the original colonies possessing religious constitutions are moot. It is known that the founding fathers wished not to maintain this structure of government due to the problems it had caused (ref. R2).

As signatories of the Constitution these individuals by consensuses agreed to the contents therein. They made their positions known on the separation of church and state.

John Adams felt the concept of a deity was absurd. In defense of the Constitution he believed its contents expressed the folly of superstition and hypocrisy. Those employed in government could not say they had exchanges with god; a government not based on miracles or enigma [5].

Benjamin Franklin: “The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history….. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses [5].

Thomas Jefferson: “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law” [5].


Rebuttal: Early America
Correct, there were versions of the Constitution that were written about, circulated and promoted by those involved. The development of the First Amendment was a result of concerned feedback (ref. R2).

Sir, you have not analyzed the Jefferson quote or the bill you cite, “Establishing Religious Freedom Bill” (ref. R2). The quote protectects citizens' rights to practice the religion of their choice; and is against who believe differently having to support a church not of his choosing. The bill nullifies state sanctioned or state (tax) supported churches. The point you make does not negate my assertion but, supports it; a secular government.

You second quote asserts my point again, “thus building a wall of separation between Church and state.” Whether Jefferson borrowed some words from Roger Williams is a non sequitur because, what one person states is not the same in context of another.

The author source you cited (#4, #2 inactive) is Tim Greenwood of Tim Greenwood Ministries; he is not a scholar, academic or authority on American History. His article makes several contentious claims. I have respect for people of faith but, hold no regard for convoluted story telling.

After the Constitution’s ratification, several ministers were angered that neither God nor Christianity was mentioned. Reverend John M. Mason of NY professed that God would be angry. Reverend Samuel Austin announced that the Constitution “is entirely disconnected from Christianity this one capital defect will lead inevitably to its destruction.” Reverend D. X. Junkin penned, “The Constitution is negatively atheistical, for no God is appealed to at all” [3]. Would such dissent have occurred if the Constitution stated to the contrary?

An example on our government represented to foreign powers was a treaty between the US and Tripoli 1797, Article 11 states: As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion ..[5].
Rebuttal: SC Rulings

Runkel v. Winemiller, 1799
This case was heard in the Maryland SC, by Samuel Chase, prior to his appointment to Federal Court. In his statement of establishment of the Christian religion, he was merely stating Christianity was a part of US life during the period (8). Samuel Chase was up for impeachment in 1807.


The People v. Ruggles, 1811
This was a malicious slander case against Ruggles who stated “"Jesus Christ was a bastard, and his mother must be a whore;" (disrespectful, riot inducing comments even by today’s standards) where the court ruled, although the Constitution prohibited the establishments of a national religion, it did not forbid the courts from ruling on religious cases. Ruggles was found guilty of public indecency, inciting public discord; he infringed on the public’s enjoyment of their liberty of conscience. Considering the religious tenor of the time, Ruggles’ statement was akin to screaming racial slurs in a shopping mall today (9).


Updegraph v. The Commonwealth, 1824
This case ruled against Updegraph under contra bonos mores; indecent or mischievous consideration. An obligation or engagement prejudicial to the feelings of a third party; or offensive to decency or morality; or which has a tendency to mischievous or pernicious consequences, is void (10).

Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892;
A judgement involved the Alien Contract Labor Act of 1885, which it made it illegal for employers to pay for alien migration to the US for the purpose of labor. The migrating Clergyman was providing intellectual labor rather than physical, Holy Trinity won due to the “spirit” of the law, inferring manual labor. Justice Scalia on numerous occasions stated the ruling derided the statues original intent. Justice Kennedy viewed the judgment was based on unathoritative literature and “spirit of the law” reasoning as an unsound practice for the judiciary (11).

Most of the court cases presented by you are those protecting the freedom to practice religion. The rulings do not contradict the Constitution’s ban on establishing a national religion. They do not infer or declare the nation is Christian; though at times, recognizes it as being the popular faith. There is a distinction.
It's understandable that assumptions can be made by reading incomplete snippets of rulings that Christianity is the “law” of the land. Due to cognitive bias, lack of law scholarship, along with old English language interpretation, the error can be easily made. One must note each case premise and review the legal analysis to fully understand on what basis these decisions were made. The internet and some publications are rife with misunderstanding and misinterpretation due to either lack of academic honesty or historical expertise. At times, essays are written in a manner tailored to sway opinion in favor of an organization or a groups’ particular agenda. Media in all forms has this propensity, an assessment on their veracity must be made.

Due to character limits and repetitiveness that would be inflicted upon the reader, I will not continue with commentary on the remaining cases you presented. Similar misinterpretations of a non-academic nature are present. I'd be happy to provide reputable legal analysis on those outstanding upon request, either in comments or PM.

In conclusion, no precedent has been established by law or by my valued opponent that establishes that the US is a Christian Nation.
The-Voice-of-Truth

Con

Danbury Letter
Pro states, “no precedent has been established by law… that establishes that the US is a Christian Nation.” Yet he uses Jefferson’s Danbury Letter, which holds no legal authority, for support of his position. If he wishes to see legal evidence, perhaps he too should provide some. I don’t think the use of double-standards is fair. I encourage the readers to dismiss this argument based on Pro’s own expectations.


What’s more, Pro’s 4th source shows that this “Separation of Church and State” that we know today is in no way what Jefferson meant by this letter. It observes that Jefferson attended a Sunday Service held in the House of Representatives. It also states that he mentioned religion was necessary for the welfare of a democracy/republic in his First Inaugural Address. [1]

Moreover, whence did Jefferson derive his expertise in the Constitution? He was not part of the Constitutional Convention, he was not a member of the Congress that constructed the FA, he was not a member of any legislature or committee that ratified the Constitution. In fact, He was in France[2][3].


General Assessment Bill
The phrase “means of salvation” is clearly Christian Terminology [4]. He is arguing that people can find their way to the Christian God however they please. The use of the word “religion” clearly means Christian Denomination, not Christian religion, as shown in Madison’s 4th argument (which can be found in Pro’s 10th source) when he says:


Are the Quakers and Menonists the only sects who think a compulsive support of their Religions unnecessary and unwarrantable?”
[5]

What Madison is arguing against is state supported denominations, not Christianity itself.


R1 Statement Rebuttal
Pro’s rebuttal to my argument only supports my argument!

He clearly states:

“The 13 Original Colonies did have individual constitutions which described their governance was by divine authority for Godly pursuits; establishment of Christian Commonwealths.”


13 Colonies
We are clearly not speaking of our system of government. The resolution is not, “The US government is a not theocracy.” It is “The US is not a Christian Nation.” Considering that the definition of “nation” is “a large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.”[6]

He also uses his R2 for his defense, however, I have just rebutted it, so he will have to reconcile it before his refutation means anything.

John Adams most certainly did not feel that the concept of a deity was absurd. In fact he was a Christian [7]. This point may be dismissed.

You misunderstand Franklin’s quote; you completely ignore the phrase after the underlined portion. This quote is saying that those employed by the Government do not have more favor in Heaven than those that work on ships or houses or work in merchandise or agriculture.

Again, when did Jefferson become a constitutional expert?


Early America
Yet again, I assert that the founders used the term “religion” synonymously with Christian Denominations and not the entirety of Christianity as shown by Madison’s use of it [5]. Any mention by the founders of the freedom to practice religion freely is the freedom to practice Christianity freely.

Furthermore, you say:

“...is against who believe differently having to support a church not of his choosing.” Note the use of the word “church” which is defined as a particular Christian group. [8] Again, it opposes state support of specific denominations.

Pro claims that I commit a non-sequitur, but that is a bare assertion. He fails to explain why it is a non-sequitur. Moreover, he does not provide any evidence that Jefferson meant anything different than what I have asserted.

Tim Greenwood is not the author of my second source. As far as using Bias sources goes, here is a list of a few of your biased sources:

http://www.nobeliefs.com...

http://www.alternet.org...

http://freethought.mbdojo.com...

When Pro provides quotes from ministers and reverends, he is making a straw man of my position. I never asserted that the words “God” or “Christianity” were in the Constitution.

According to Frank Lamber, Professor of History at Purdue University, the quote you provided from the Treaty of Tripoli was “intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.” [9].

SC Cases
Runkel v. Winemiller
You cite a blog for your defense, which I do not mind, but the problem is that we do not know how qualified the author is; furthermore, even the author of this site is just asserting this. He does not provide any support for it. On top of this, how can you say that it is not stating that that the established religion, when it says the Christian religion is the established religion? I fail to see the logic in this.


People v. Ruggles
Again, Pro does not explain how the court’s use of Christian morals as justification for their decision does not support my position. Furthermore, Pro fails to explain away the fact that the court uses the words, “[W]e are a Christian people and the morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity and not upon the doctrines or worship of those imposters [other religions].” The closest he gets is his last sentence regarding this case, which is a bare assertion.

Updegraph v. The Commonwealth
Pro ignores the fact that the court said “Christianity... is and always has been a part of the common law,” I would agree that it was ruled under contra bonos mores. However, Pro fails to explain how this voids this argument. What’s more, the Court asserts that it violated Christian morals. (See R2 quote)

Holy Trinity v. US
Regardless of Scalia’s and Kennedy’s opinion on this case, it has not been overturned, therefore it is still valid law.



Precedence
Pro completely drops this argument.


The resolution remains negated.

_____________________________________________

[1] http://www.allabouthistory.org...

[2] Myth of Separation, by David Barton

[3] https://history.state.gov...

[4] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

[5] http://founders.archives.gov...

[6] http://tinyurl.com...

[7] John Adams, by David Mccullough

[8] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

[9] http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 3
Peepette

Pro

Rebuttal: Danbury Letter: To prove intent. This letter along with “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” and “Establishing Religious Freedom” influenced the First Amendment.

#4 citation R3, pertained to Touro Synagogue. I failed to delete after reducing character counts. Pres. Washington address to Touro Synagogue, "the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support." Considering that Jews were barely tolerated, this was a poignant statement [1].

Rebuttal: Jefferson attended various denominations; he did not ascribe to a sect. Jefferson was a delegate for the Continental Congress and Confederation Congress [9]. He was in France at the time of the signing but, was influential in Constitution content; thus had authority and expertise.

An amendment proposal by Patrick Henry [7] for the “General Assessment Bill” sought sponsorship of all Christian religions. Madison con: “Who does not see that the same authority, which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?” Jefferson concurred: “ the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination” [2,6,9]. As I stated earlier, the bill died in process and was resubmitted as Jefferson’s “Establishing Religious Freedom,” the precursor to the FA [5]

Legal: Everson v. Board of Education 1947, the Supreme Court deemed Jefferson as the authority on the First Amendment religious clause. “This Court has previously recognized that the provisions of the First Amendment, in the drafting and adoption of which . . .Jefferson played such [a] leading role “[7]. Upheld, Jefferson/Madison: Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education 1948, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943 [8]
Inaugural Address
“… enlightened by a benign religion, professed indeed and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty…”[3] Read his address in full. Jefferson refers to freedom to “practice in all forms” He felt strongly about religious freedom and did not cast a negative tone on others of a different faith.

Rebuttal: Your Christian “terminology” is an interpretative stretch (ref. quotes above). Furthermore, Madison's quote is out of context. During arguments for GAB he made this statement due to these sects not seeking, nor wished state tax support, whereas the Anglican Church at the time was receiving it and trying to maintain.
Rebuttal: 13 Colonies
Using your Nation definition: 30% in the US are not Christians; therefore, the US is not a Christian Nation. Your contention counter rebutted.

Rebuttal: (#7 link is broken) John Adams: “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.” [8]

Rebuttal: Ben Franklin, It is upon you to interpret quote correctly. Here's another “who could "live a virtuous life without the assistance afforded by Religion." Most of the world, he believed, was made up of "weak and ignorant Men and Women" who needed religion to "restrain them from Vice, and to retain them in the practice of it [virtue] till it becomes habitual." [10] Franklin had no objections toward religion, he felt it had purpose in developing morality and virtue for the public good; but, he did not belong to a sect as an adult.
Rebuttal: Early America
Linguistic assumptions, I have provided evidence the term religion used in a Constitution sense is global to all forms.

Regarding sources: I have provided substantial authoritative academic sources throughout this debate.
Straw Man Position: It is by process of one point to another, that if God is not mentioned in the Constitution, Christianity is not inferred; resulting in the angry ministers.

Treaty of Tripoli: Using your citation #9, [11] “the country assured the world that the United States was a secular state, and that its’ negotiations would adhere to the rule of the law, not the dictates of the Christian faith.” Treaty assured that tenants of Christianity would not influence the treaty's enforcement or interpretation.
SC Cases: I will clarify
People v. Ruggles 1811-Cursing was considered blasphemous to public order and morality. Since there was no previous US precedence, the judge referenced English Common Law. Kent did not make it unlawful to slander any religion, only Christian. Judge Kent violated the NY State Constitution. His opinion incorrect due to America having no establish church he could not cite English Common Law (Anglican). Laws created by his ruling were struck down during the 1821 constitutional convention; which Kent backed. Later “Kent offered that his opinion did not declare Christianity to be the legal religion of the state”. [12, items 12, 14, 17, 18, 19]

Runkel v. Winemiller 1799:-Prior to the 14th Amendment, interpretation of religious freedoms was left to individual states; but states were restraining and discriminating against specific religions; in this case Maryland. The Federal Everson case cited Interstate Ry. v. Massachusetts 1907, negating state interpretation as it excluded “Catholics, Lutherans, Mohammedans, Baptists, Jews, Methodists, Nonbelievers, Presbyterians, or the members of any other faith, because of their faith, or lack of it”[13]. Due to this transfer of interpretative power to the federal level Runkel v. Winemiller’s ruling, establishing “Christian religion is the established religion” was negated.

Updegraph v. The Commonwealth-The court's decision on this trial was reversed by appellate court [14].

Holy Trinity v. US-This was a case on imported labor. Court decisions are written in 3 parts. Rule of Law as if applies to case facts of the case, Rational, reasons for the decision, within this are Non-Essential Comments (dictum). Dictums are not law binding or weigh on future cases or law. The court's decision pertained only to the immigration law and not religion. The Christian nation statement was a part dictum which has no bearing in law or rational applied [15]; ergo, the statement has no legal value.

Precedence: I have address precedence in my above arguments.

1. http://www.mountvernon.org...
2. http://www.earlyamerica.com...
3. https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu...
4. https://www.loc.gov...
5. http://www.crf-usa.org...
6. http://www.earlyamerica.com...
7. http://www.pewforum.org...
8. http://www.thefederalistpapers.org...
9. https://history.state.gov...
10. http://www.phmc.state.pa.us...
11. Ref. Con’s R3 #9
12. http://candst.tripod.com...
13. https://supreme.justia.com...
14. http://candst.tripod.com...
15. http://candst.tripod.com...
The-Voice-of-Truth

Con

Danbury Letter
I know your letter was meant to prove intent. That still does not change the fact that you expect me to provide legal evidence while you think that it is fine for you to use nonlegal evidence. You also claim that the letter influenced the FA, but the letter was written in 1802 and the FA was ratified in 1791[1,2]. I again urge voters to dismiss this point based on Pro’s expectations.

Touro Synagogue
This point, again, only helps my case. Pro states. “Considering that Jews were barely tolerated…” Other religions were not tolerated. Note that I am not anti-Jewish. I am simply trying to prove a point.

Jefferson’s Constitutional Expertise
This is a non-sequitur. The Continental Congress did not discuss the FA. The Confederation Congress did, but only after he left. Your own source says that he was a member until 1784 [3]. But the FA was not proposed until 1789[4]. Your last statement pertaining to this is a bare assertion.

General Assessment Bill
The quote you provide from Madison only helps my case. Madison is basically asking, “Who’s to say that we won’t start supporting specific sects [of Christianity]?” He is clearly in opposition of the bill because he does not want a specific Christian sect to be supported more than another. On Jefferson’s quote, how would he know why the opposition rejected it? He was not one that objected to it. Had I been Pro, I would have cited another quote from someone in opposition of the bill, not someone in support of it. Your 2nd and 6th source are the exact same, just to let you know. Your 9th source does not even support this argument.

Everson vs Board of Education
I don’t know where you got that quote from, but it did not come from your 7th source. I don’t know where you got your information, but it did not come from your 8th source. This can be dismissed as this is an argument filled with miscitations.

Inaugural Address
Pro’s misunderstands the quote. It is clearly stating that there is a “benign religion” (undoubtedly within the US) that is practiced in “various forms.” The list I provided in R2, which I have copied below for the convenience of the reader, will help demonstrate a few things.

Virginia: Anglican/Church of England
New York: Anglican/Church of England
Massachusetts: Congregational Church
Maryland: Anglican/Church of England
Delaware: Non-Denominational Christianity
Connecticut: Congregational Church
New Hampshire: Congregational Church
Rhode Island: Non-Denominational Christianity
Georgia: Non-Denominational Christianity
North Carolina: Anglican/Church of England
South Carolina: Anglican/Church of England
Pennsylvania: Non-Denominational Christianity
New Jersey: Non-Denominational Christianity

It most certainly looks like this religion is 1) practiced within this country, and 2) practiced variously [5,6]. Once again, I assert that the evidence points to Jefferson talking about the freedom to practice Christianity.

Christian Terminology
This is a bare assertion on Pro’s part. He provides no sources to back up his claims (whereas I did).

13 Colonies
Another bare assertion on Pro’s part.

John Adams
First of all, “link 7” is not even a link. I can’t provide a link to a printed copy of a book that I own. Anyway, let’s take a look at what your 8th source actually says:

“Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, “‘This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!’ But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell.

I don’t feel the need to explain this.

Ben Franklin
How kind of you to offer me the full BOP. But alas, I cannot accept such a wonderful gift. I will give you a counter offer: Let’s keep the BOP the way that it has been.

The “living a virtuous life without religion” quote has nothing to do with the establishment of America as a Christian nation. It, however, has everything to do with being virtuous without religion. In another words, a non-sequitur.

Sources
I too have provided substantial authoritative academic sources. I never said that you did not. However, you did provide some insufficient sources. Such as your 12th, 14th, and 15th sources for this round. They themselves do not provide any sources on top of them being liberally biased. The point is that you should not try to call someone out on something that he could just as easily call you out on.

Straw-Man
Not only have I never argued that God was mentioned, but have I also never argued that the Constitution infers Him. So it is still a straw man.

Treaty of Tripoli
Treaty assured that tenants of Christianity would not influence the treaty's enforcement or interpretation.” So as to: “allay the fears of the Muslim state [7].” This does not refute my case.

People v. Ruggles
Pro supports his contention with an extremely biased source (#12). Furthermore, this source barely asserts everything that it says. It provided no citations. So Pro’s source commits a bare assertion, by extension, Pro commits a bare assertion. His refutation does not hold.

Runkel v. Winemiller
Before Pro can argue that transfer of interpretative power to the federal level in Everson v. Board of Education negates this case, Pro must first reconcile that Everson v. Board of Education was unprecedented, as stated by the courts in Walz v. Tax Commission, 1970 which Pro fails to do [8].

Updegraph v. The Commonwealth
Once again, Pro uses an extremely biased source that does not cite it’s information i.e. another bare assertion, by extension, a bare assertion on Pro’s part.

Holy Trinity v. US
For a third time this round, Pro uses an extremely biased source that does not cite it’s information i.e. another bare assertion, by extension, a bare assertion on Pro’s part.

But suppose that what this source states is true.

Let’s take a look at the portion that Pro used for support:

In the case of Holy Trinity the essential comments made by the Court concern the scope of an immigration law. The rule was that the Act did not prohibit foreign "toilers" of the brain from accepting employment in this country. The foreign-born professional worker, doctor, lawyer, businessman, or clergyman, would be able to use the rule in Holy Trinity and the rationale regarding the purpose of the Act to support his claim for employment in America. Consider the "absurd" result if a doctor from Russia at the turn of the century were to state that he could be hired by an American hospital because Holy Trinity stood for the proposition that "this is a Christian nation." It would not make sense for such a person to cite the dictum concerning America's religiosity as a reason for allowing him access to the American job market.

The bolded part attempts to establish that if the phrase “this is a Christian nation [9]” holds legal value, then it can only be used as justification for letting a foreigner to the US hold a job. But this is a non-sequitur. So It can be dismissed.

Precedence
Pro never dealt with Walz v. Tax Commission. This argument has been dropped.

_______________________________________________________
[1] https://www.loc.gov...
[2] http://www.history.com...
[3] https://history.state.gov...
[4] https://www.archives.gov...
[5] http://undergod.procon.org...
[6] Myth of Separation, by David Barton (i.e. not Tim Greenwood)
[7] http://tinyurl.com...
[8] https://supreme.justia.com...
[9] https://supreme.justia.com...
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by whiteflame 11 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: HSamei1999// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: A lot of Pro's references and claims were either terribly out of context, biased, or just false. Pro's main supports were the FA, Danbury letter, and some out of context quotes. Con refutes these points to respectable degree by offering a perspective which makes sense, is supported by evidence (SC ruling) , and promotes his argument that the US was founded a christian nation. One disappointment was that since the topic being debated is that the US is not a Christian Nation, Pro could have focused on the present and show how a lot of non christian things are legitimized to promote his argument. Nonetheless, good debate, but for Pro, please consider the context and credibility of your sources. Just a general tip.

[*Reason for removal*] While the voter does a sufficient job of examining the sources, there's little to no explanation of why the argument points went to Con here. The voter just says that the evidence informed the decision, but that's insufficient explanation without examining specific arguments from both sides, which the voter fails to do on Pro's side of this debate.

Note: While this debate is past the statute of limitations, the previous reason for non-removal was faulty, and as such are being modified.
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Posted by Hayd 1 year ago
Hayd
@Molon

Voice's argument was that "my position was right because the supreme court agrees with me" and then cites SC cases.

The version of appeal to authority that you are using is correct as well, but it is not used very often.

Argument from Authority: Appealing to the fact that someone is either really smart or important as a reason why something is right. For example, the argument that "Because Barack Obama supports pro-choice, abortion ought to be permissible" is an appeal to authority.
[https://docs.google.com...]

This ruins the reason for debating, because I could just say "this guy agrees with me therefore I'm right", this is not an argument. The debater needs to explain why its true, not that people that agree with him 'say' its true.
Posted by 21MolonLabe 1 year ago
21MolonLabe
Hayd, I've been following this debate closely, and I had just one question about your RFD.

How is citing Supreme Court Cases an appeal to authority?

The way I brain it, using the Supreme Court isn't an Appeal to Authority. You see, the Supreme Court actually is an authority on the Constitution. The fallacy is only committed when the so called "authority" is actually not an authoritative source. But, on top of that, in order for the US to be a Christian Nation, there needs to be a something that holds legal value such as a Supreme Court opinion that says so. At least, that is what how I see it. Perhaps you could shed some light on this.
Posted by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
I've been very busy recently. I would have voted VoT on arguments though. If you still want an RFD I can try and get one ready but I won't be able to produce in time for the deadline. Sorry.
Posted by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
I'm working on an RFD for this guys. It'll most likely be complete tomorrow or at the very latest the day after that. If haven't got a vote up by then, then I've most likely forgotten, so don't hesitate to PM me or post a comment on my profile as a reminder.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: HSamei1999// Mod action: NOT Removed<

5 points to Con (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: A lot of Pro's references and claims were either terribly out of context, biased, or just false. Pro's main supports were the FA, Danbury letter, and some out of context quotes. Con refutes these points to respectable degree by offering a perspective which makes sense, is supported by evidence (SC ruling) , and promotes his argument that the US was founded a christian nation. One disappointment was that since the topic being debated is that the US is not a Christian Nation, Pro could have focused on the present and show how a lot of non christian things are legitimized to promote his argument. Nonetheless, good debate, but for Pro, please consider the context and credibility of your sources. Just a general tip.

[*Reason for non-removal*] The vote goes into more than enough detail to show how the voter perceived the debate and the sources in particular. While the reporter might find these views problematic, this vote doesn't defy any of the standards.
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Posted by Peepette 1 year ago
Peepette
Hayd, that very much would be appreciated.
Posted by Hayd 1 year ago
Hayd
I'll be voting on this
Posted by The-Voice-of-Truth 1 year ago
The-Voice-of-Truth
I will provide rebuttals next round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hayd 1 year ago
Hayd
PeepetteThe-Voice-of-TruthTied
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: Cast on behalf of the Voter's Union. If you have an unvoted debate, submit it to Donald.Keller to ensure that one of our members votes on it. RFD here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mCgucQegHHc-H0d3h-LBnzY1ICXtRivv0elqAiqA-1s/edit?usp=sharing