Friday, February 25, 2005

"Our Godless Constitution," and the Treaty with Tripoli

Brooke Allen, at the Nation, has an essay on the Godlessness of the U.S. Constitution and the founding fathers. It's essentially a remix of Susan Jacoby's book Freethinkers, and about half a dozen recent op-ed type essays she's published along the same line.

As Ralph Luker points out, the paydirt in the piece is really Allen's citation of the U.S.'s 1797 "Treaty of Peace and Friendship" with Tripoli:

As the Government of the United not in any sense founded on the Christian religion--as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity of Musselmen [Muslims] --and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan [Mohammedan] 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.

I agree with Luker that such phrasing -- which was unanimously ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1797 -- would be inconceivable today.


Anonymous said...

my mother, brooke allen, has never even read free thinkers.

9:02 PM  

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