What did John Adams mean: "We Are Not A Christian Nation?"

“The Treaty of Tripoli (Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary) was the first treaty concluded between the United States of America and Tripolitania, signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796 and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797. It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.

Art. 11.

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. George Washington First President !!!!”

My response:

Our issues at that time were with the pirates of the Barbary Coast and not the Muslim nations or Tripoli.  As Adams stated, it is true, we are not a theocracy, as many of the Muslim countries were at that time and if we had been they would have not wanted to make treaty with the US.  Because we signed this treaty does not mean that our country is not founded on Judeo-Christian values as evidenced throughout the symbology of our early currency, structures and symbols. And innumerable quotes of the early Founders. The citizens of the United States at that time were overwhelmingly Christian, so he obviously wasn't referring to that either.

To try to use these words of John Adams from a treaty with Tripoli as proof that our country is without Christian roots is a weak argument.   John Adams also said the following:

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. “ (Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. XIII, p. 292-294. In a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813)
My paintings do not promote that we are a theocracy or even a Christian government.  My paintings promote that our Constitution was divinely inspired.  I believe in the literal interpretation of the First Amendment--government should keep its nose out of religion.  (Not protect the people from being offended by religion.)  You can choose to accept or reject that as you wish.


Ron Paul or Mitt Romney?

I am a Constitutionalist, but I am also a realist.  I would prefer to eliminate the Federal Reserve, go back to the gold standard, and pull back the government bureaucracy, regulation, taxes and spending.  In fact, I would prefer a United States that existed prior to 1913 before Wilson set the wheels in motion to create the social democratic welfare state that exists today.  America has dug a hole so big it seems almost impossible to fix it.   But I believe it can be done.

Here is the wisdom:  it is not going to happen in a single election.  It is not going to happen this year or even the next.  It may take decades of elections, debate, and informing our fellow Americans to gradually sway the popular opinion of the majority—but it can be done.

This is more than a battle of Democrats versus Republicans.  It is a battle against an ideology of government, economics and social values.  It is defining what we want as Americans. Many people today focus on the acquirement of things, even if it means extending their credit limit. It is a “give it to me now” society that is reflected in both our people and government.  

So what is to be done?

In recent years there has been a push toward a constitutionally pure government.  The Tea Party conservatives and people like Ron Paul have created awareness among a growing number of Americans.  But I am afraid that there is a pervasive attitude among some of these fellow patriots that it is either all or nothing.  Some have said that a vote for Romney is no better than a vote for Obama.  Is that really true?  One it the fast track and the other the slow track to insolvency. (by not eliminating the Fed) But the country is not ready for a sudden reversal.  It will take time.  It took the left about one hundred years of patiently waiting to get where we are today.  Should we not be patient and careful as we try to save our country?  Why can’t we use faith and prayer and hard work, do our best to awaken the American spirit among our people? The polarizing effect of Obama will only strengthen this awareness as people begin to see the errors of Socialism.

If Mitt Romney were to be elected, (He's the most likely to get the GOP nomination.) he said he would take action to repeal Obamacare.  He would also loosen the federal government’s hold on small businesses and create an environment to help revive the economy.  These are big steps to reducing the size of government.  Realistically, Ron Paul does not yet have the support to win.  But when the country is ready, someone like Ron Paul will step forward and lead us back to true liberty.

Don’t lose hope!  We may not win the battle, but we can still win the war.


What is a True Christian?

In today's world, Christianity has become diverse with over 20,000 different Christian denominations; many of which profess completely different interpretations of the Bible. The Apostle Paul taught, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism." (Ephesians 4:5) So here we are, many of us trying our best to come to Jesus and be saved. How are we to know what "truth" is and where to go to find it?

In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus spoke of how the shepherd left the flock to find the one. Each of us is important to our Lord. If we will call out to Him, He will find us. We should not put our trust in man, but in our Father who is in Heaven. If we will do our best in this life to embrace what we believe to be true based on the words of the Master, I believe much of the misunderstandings on points of doctrine will be resolved in the world to come. God is merciful to those who love Him.

In my experience I have met with many groups of people as I have traveled. I have come to know the Catholics, the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Evangelicals, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons (this is my faith), the Mennonites, and many more. One common feature I have seen in every denomination that professes Christ is that there are truly good people who love Jesus and wish to emulate Him in there lives. But there are also those who are filled with hypocrisy and find fault in everyone else but themselves. I'm not mentioning this to point fingers...it is simply a fact of the world we live in.

Anyone can call themselves a Christian. But when has the acceptance of others ever been a prerequisite to entering the Lord's Kingdom? I believe the only thing that matters is how we stand in the Lord's eyes. In my painting, the suffering Jesus looks back as if to say, "What will you do? Will you stand as a witness of me?"

I believe God will judge us based on what is in our heart and our actions. It is true that we are saved by the grace of Jesus if we come to Him and repent. But to be numbered among the true Disciples of Christ we must truly love Him. "If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) And then He said, "Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self." (Matt 19:37-39) As humans, we often fall short, but if we strive to be more like Him and express that love through our service to others, we will be good Christians.

There is one more element that I believe qualifies one as a "true Christian." I like the scripture, "perfect love casteth out fear." (1 John 4:18) As a Christian, we must not fear. Even if it means that we must stand alone. And after we have done all that we can do, we must continue to stand. "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matt 10:22) A true Christian's love for Jesus Christ will motivate him to stand up for his beliefs, to love others unconditionally, and to be an advocate for truth and righteousness...regardless of the consequences. That we may find the strength do so is my reason for painting this picture.