If the founding fathers wrote the original U.S. Constitution to be in alignment with Judeo-Christian morals and values, does this mean that it was indirectly a religious-based document, and if so, does this mean that all Americans who have adhered to the Constitution over the past 242 years have thus indirectly adhered to a religious-based document?

Moreover, in the 1st Amendment it states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...", but is this a moot point if the Constitution itself is a religious-based document that is in alignment with Judeo-Christian morals and values?

I think if the founding fathers had truly intended to create a truly secular government, then before they signed it, they should have had a group of atheists proof-read the draft of the Constitution, and had them remove any adherence to Judeo-Christian morals and values.

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    Your last paragraph implies that atheists do not have judeo-christian values or morals. I'd like to see proof of this, given that these morals and western philosophy are fairly intertwined for the last few hundred years. Even today, it's easy to grow up atheist, hard to grow up without j-c morals and western ethics. Oct 7 '18 at 14:25
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    @FanofComets Your last sentence leaps to a conclusion. Atheists regard the bible and associated Judeo-Christian moral traditions as historically influential tradition that they (if they were born in Judeo-Christian countries) are part of. Judeo-Christian morals have evolved over the millennia; few now would argue for the Divine Right of Kings. Atheists also celebrate Christmas, but that doesn't mean they believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Oct 7 '18 at 15:01
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    Morals and values are not "religion" -- religion is how we are expected to respond to God. The 1st Amendment means that the Congress cannot require us to participate in church services, to be Protestant or Catholic in observation, etc., as a law or a requirement for privileges. It would be absurd to claim that the 1st Amendment forbids Americans to apply morals or values in making laws, etc.
    – user15103
    Oct 7 '18 at 15:15
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    Short answer: the Constitution varies vastly from the Ten Commandments (which do NOT permit free speech, for example).
    – user2565
    Oct 7 '18 at 18:29
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    Could you please provide some language from the Constitution that lean towards Judaism and Christianity more than, say, Islam and Buddhism? Oct 8 '18 at 21:09

The Constitution mainly derived from British commonlaw, the Magna Carta, the British Bill of Rights, other constitutions abroad, state constitutions, and Enlightenment era philosophy.
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution#Influences

The Due Process Clause of the Constitution was partly based on common law and on Magna Carta (1215), which had become a foundation of English liberty against arbitrary power wielded by a ruler.
British political philosopher John Locke following the Glorious Revolution (1688) was a major influence expanding on the contract theory of government advanced by Thomas Hobbes. Locke advanced the principle of consent of the governed in his Two Treatises of Government. Government's duty under a social contract among the sovereign people was to serve the people by protecting their rights. These basic rights were life, liberty and property.
In his The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu argues that the separation of state powers should be by its service to the people's liberty: legislative, executive and judicial.
The constitution was a federal one, and was influenced by the study of other federations, both ancient and extant.
The English Bill of Rights (1689) was an inspiration for the American Bill of Rights. Both require jury trials, contain a right to keep and bear arms, prohibit excessive bail and forbid "cruel and unusual punishments". Many liberties protected by state constitutions and the Virginia Declaration of Rights were incorporated into the Bill of Rights.

I think references to Judaism and Christianity in the Constitution are virtually nonexistent, aside from the word "blessings," in the preamble, which does not evoke any particular religion. There are no references to Jesus, Moses, Yahweh, the Bible, the Torah, or the Ten Commandments. The ideologies of the Constitution do not seem to line-up very closely with the ideologies of the Bible; aside from that the Constitution and the New Testament both promote general welfare. The Constitution enumerates some of the peoples' rights that the federal government should not infringe upon. The Bible / Torah does not do that at all; the closest thing it does is hand down laws of God, many of which do not line-up with the U.S.'s legal system.

So I would contend that the Constitution is more of a document of Enlightenment thinking than it is a Judeo-Christian document. It's been influenced by William Blackstone, John Locke, Montesquieu, Edward Coke, Thomas Hobbes, Francis Bacon, John Milton, William Penn; and of course, Enlightenment-era Americans like John Otis, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and Sam Adams.

  • The Iroquois Confederacy and "other Indian Nations" also influenced the U.S. Const. and political system "Whereas the confederation of the original Thirteen Colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the Constitution itself... the Congress... acknowledges the contribution made by the Iroquois Confederacy and other Indian Nations to the formation and development of the United States" H.Con.Res 311 Oct 8 '18 at 4:36
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    "...the Constitution and the New Testament both promote general welfare." I think it would be quite reasonable to argue that the NT does not promote general welfare, so the idea of the Constitution having even that much relation to Judeo-Christian ethics is debatable.
    – jamesqf
    Oct 8 '18 at 17:01
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    @John excellent answer the best I have seen thus far, on this platform! I wanted to answer this question, but you said everything that I wanted to x10
    – Aporter
    Jan 1 '19 at 11:53

No, there was no conflict. To start, lets quote the first amendment in context, rather than cutting out a few words:

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.

When written, the establishment clause of the first amendment applied only to the federal government (congress). State governments were not (originally) considered subject to the restriction, for example Massachusetts officially was Congregational. Only much later (1925) did the U.S. Supreme Court rule that the first amendment could be applied to state government too.

But at a higher level, the OP is confusing freedom of religion (a secular state) with the absence of religion (state atheism, such as in present day China.) Establishing atheism was certainly not the intent of the drafters, so there was no reason to run this by an atheist. The point of the establishment clause was to distance the constitution from concept of a national religion, such as the Church of England.

P.S. According to Wikipedia, the US's status as a secular state is still ambiguous. This is because some US states still have laws that prevent an atheist from holding office, but such laws were declared unconstitutional in 1961, in a case involving the Maryland Constitution's requirement of a "declaration of belief in the existence of God". The supreme court's ruling in this case [Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961) was unanimous.


No, the Constitution of the United States is not a "religious-based document" and was not written to be in alignment with so-called "Judeo-Christian morals and values", whatever that is supposed to be - if other than any other political organization devoted to its own material expansion at the expense of any other parties in its path.

The Constitution of the United States is a contractual agreement among several interests. In general, see The Federalist Papers; where "Judeo-Christian morals and values" are not a major topic of debate, but rather, the practical concerns of consolidating the interests of the Several States. Essentially, since there is no honor among thieves, the parties to the document had to devise a means to balance the interests of thieves having varying degrees of material power in order to maintain the core interest: survival and expansion of the criminal organization.

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    @ guest271314, when I say that the Constitution was written to be in alignment with Judeo-Christian morals and values, what I am essentially saying is that the original Constitution did not contain anything that a Jew or Christian living in 1776 would have found to be offensive or at odds with the teachings of Judaism and/or Christianity.
    – user22226
    Oct 7 '18 at 17:34
  • @FanofComets That was not their concern. Even if that was their concern, that would not have changed their policies. If an individual does not believe in the fictitious stories relating to "Judeo-Christianity" then "Judeo-Christianity" is simply another political faction, no different than any other political ideology or faction. Remember, Dum Diversas, a "Judeo-Christian" papal bull reduced all "infidels" to perpetual servitude anywhere in the world "Christians" encountered them - that is, an official "Christian" policy of global genocide following the fall of Grenada in 1491-1492. Oct 7 '18 at 17:40
  • @FanofComets Of historical and legal importance, using the codified guide of statutory construction, the term "Judeo-Christianity" does not appear in the document itself and are not found as a major topic of contention when analyzing the minutes, debates preceding the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, constitutional conventions. The closest one might be able to connect the U.S. with an official "Judeo-Christianty morals and values" origin and policy is one side of the original design of the Great Seal (depicting "Moses" and "Pharoah") which was not officially adopted. Oct 7 '18 at 17:59
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    @FanofComets - Since many European monarchies had state religions, and the idea that the Christian God ordained the king/queen to rule over the people, the idea that the original Constitution would not contain anything offensive to the sensibilities of a that-era Christian is an unproven concept. Oct 8 '18 at 15:48
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    A Constitution is not a contract. What are you talking about?
    – user5097
    Oct 9 '18 at 17:55

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