Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Light on the Treaty of Tripoli and the Christian nature of America

For all the clear signs of our being under God's judgment there are moments these days when it seems God's hand of blessing is upon us in extraordinary ways too, bringing cause for hope His mercy will triumph over judgment in the end, or at least mitigate it, maybe bring us revival here and there. There's a small army of Christians out there working to straighten us out and working to bring the truth to light. We're sometimes at odds with each other, which is sad, which must be for God like herding cats at times, but if anyone can herd cats God can.

Anyway, the latest harbinger of hope I'm seeing comes from Chris Pinto's ministry, as it often does these days. On today's broadcast he reports his recent discovery of a Christian voice from the time of America's founders, objecting to Congress' passage of the Treaty of Tripoli which contains the controversial statement that confuses and horrifies so many Christians, the statement that "the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."

This is another of those ghosts from the past that can be dispelled by having a stronger light from history shone on it than we usually have available, like the quote from Richard Henry Lee I reported on in the previous post. Lee was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and his statement that Chris Pinto also found recently goes a long way to clearing up an important dispute about the original intent of the Second Amendment: He affirms that the "militia" referred to in the amendment means ALL the people, trained in how to handle guns, from which people a separated army may be drawn without in any way infringing on the whole people's right (and obligation) to possess arms.

Today the ghost of the supposedly nonChristian nature of the United States as defined by the Treaty of Tripoli is finally brought into question by Chris Pinto's discovery of one Christian from the founding generation who opposed Article 11 which declared that the American government was in no sense Christian. It was hiding in plain sight:

From Wikipedia on the Treaty of Tripoli:
The treaty was a routine diplomatic agreement but has attracted later attention because the English version included a clause about religion in the United States.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
The treaty is cited as historical evidence in the modern day controversy over whether there was religious intent by the founders of the United States government. Article 11 of the treaty has been interpreted as an official denial of a Christian basis for the U.S. government.[3]

At least one member of Adams' cabinet, Secretary of War James McHenry, is known to have protested the language of article 11, prior to its ratification.[5]
And here's the footnote to the above quoting McHenry on his objection to Article 11:
5.^ James McHenry to Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr., September 26, 1800:“The Senate, my good friend, and I said so at the time, ought never to have ratified the treaty alluded to, with the declaration that 'the government of the United States, is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.' What else is it founded on? This act always appeared to me like trampling upon the cross. I do not recollect that Barlow was even reprimanded for this outrage upon the government and religion.”[4]
And here is the Wikipedia article on James McHenry He was
a signer of the United States Constitution from Maryland and the namesake of Fort McHenry. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Maryland, and the third United States Secretary of War (1796–1800), under presidents George Washington and John Adams.
It helps a great deal to know that there was some Christian dissent to that article among the leaders of the day, which otherwise gives the impression that it spoke for the entire founding generation.

August 1, 2012: Today's show continues this subject of the Treaty of Tripoli and the founding generation in general, what freedom of religion meant and so on.

1 comment:

  1. There have been numerous postings refuting Mr. Pinto's extremely poor scholarship.



    To name but a couple. Why is it someone like Mr. Pinto feels he has some authority to declare someone a "pseudo historian"? Why is it he he feels he has to use that term in contrast to a "sincere believer in the Lord Jesus Christ"? As if to simply disagree with Mr. Pinto causes one to loose their very salvation? All this beside the point that it has been proven the founding fathers did NOT write article 11 of that treaty.