How do Christians explain Article 11 in the Treaty of Tripoli?

I keep hearing the US is a Christian Nation crap over and over, so how do you explain Article11 in the Trety of Tripoli? It 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 tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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."

It was signed by President and Founding Father John Adams, and unaniomusly passed by the Senate. I think that says it all.


ROFL Justin. No biggie. Great minds think alike, huh? lolz

17 Answers

  • YY4Me
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Many Americans have no understanding of separation of church and state. It is meant to protect both religion and government. The founders (who were *not* all christians) understood the tyranny that resulted from mingling religion with government. They experienced it first hand. The United States was the first nation founded to be "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

    As for "Runkel v. Winemiller," it was not a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, but of a General Court in Maryland, which was abolished.

    "The fallacy of this argument consists in assuming that the General Court of Maryland had jurisdiction to issue the writ of mandamus because it was 'a case at law' whenever the party took the proper steps to show himself entitled to it. The reverse of this proposition is the true one. A 'case at law,' as I have already shown, means the same thing as a 'suit,' and the General Court had authority to issue the writ of mandamus not because the proceeding was a case or suit at law, but because no case or suit at law would afford a remedy to the party. This is the basis upon which rests the power of the court of King's Bench in England, and upon which rested the power of the General Court in Maryland before that court was abolished."

    * * *

    Misunderstandings arise when people take, on face value, those claims with which they agree, rather than take the time to investigate the veracity of such claims.


    Source(s): . ~ "A mind is a terrible thing to waste." ~ .
  • kelzer
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Treaty Of Tripoli Article 11

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm not a Christian, but I've got to wonder why you're asking a bunch of people who probably didn't realize that this even existed to take responsibility for it.

    Not every Christian hates non-Christians. Not every Christian thinks that non-Christians should be converted. Not every Christian thinks that all Americans are or should be Christian.

    That said, it's quite easy to explain: the people who first came here were Christians. The people who founded this country were Christians. The people who made the laws were Christians. In fact, to this day, nearly everyone in power in this country is Christian. Since this country's inception, pretty much everyone who has grown up here has been inundated with a culture and value system born of Christian people. It's kind of like saying that America is a wealthy nation. There are a TON of poor people. But the ones in power (who make the rules, etc) are wealthy. The culture certainly values wealth. What we present to the world is an image of wealth. The ways that we categorize ourselves (and are categorized by others) have little to do with meticulous accuracy.

    For better or for worse, one paragraph, signed by a bunch of dead guys before anybody alive today was born, has little bearing on a couple of centuries of tradition. Also, as recent history has made painfully obvious, what politicians decide doesn't always reflect what citizens believe, desire, or support.

    An excellent question. I thoroughly enjoyed considering it. :-) Mightn't it get more traffic on the political board?

    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Well, as a Christian, I have never claimed that the United States is a Christian nation. And considering that over 90% of Christians live outside the United States, I would say that they don't have much trouble explaining Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli either.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The people who claim this is a "Christian nation" are too poorly educated to know about the Treaty of Tripoli or the fact that this nation is specifically NOT Christian. Just because a majority of people here claim to be Christian, that doesn't mean that they get to make all the laws. The whole point of the Bill of Rights is to protect minority groups from the "tyranny of the majority" but they don't know enough about history to undestand that, either.

    This is the price we pay for letting our educational system go to hell - superstition and bigotry replace reason and justice.

  • 1 decade ago

    Careful research into the facts, accompanied by honest presentation of those facts, leads to important support for the thesis that the Constitutional framers intended this nation to have a government strictly neutral regarding religion.

    The pirates of the Barbary coast in general and of Tripoli (in what is now called Libya) in particular were destroying U.S. shipping and holding as prisoners U.S. seamen in the 1790s. It was a serious problem and a series of negotiators were sent to try to put together an agreement to improve it.

    On 4 November 1796, near the end of George Washington's second term, a treaty with the "Bey and People of Tripoli" was signed, promising cash and other considerations to Tripoli in exchange for peace.

    They bribed a Muslim nation.

    No more be said.

    Bet A Grip

  • 1 decade ago

    Article 11 has been a point of contention regarding the proper interpretation of the doctrine of separation of church and state. Supporters of the separation of church and state contend that this article is significant in that it confirms that the government of the United States was specifically intended to be religiously neutral.

    I am a Christian, who supports keeping the 'State' neutral in regards to religious affairs. This does not mean that someone should decide that I, or anyone else, cannot pray in schools or in any other government property. It meant that people of any belief should not be persecuted by the government for doing so.

    I support freedom, and one of those freedoms is freedom of religion. The government should stay out of it, and it's employees can show the religion of their choice according to their authority over the property in which they are employed.

  • 1 decade ago

    The Supreme Court which has greater authority than any international treaty, said (as I recently posted), "Runkel v. Winemiller (1799), “Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, 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…”

    The evidence for us being a Christian nation is overwhelming (Supreme Court decisions, references to God and Christianity in our state constitutions, quotes from our founders, etc). You would have to use very selective research to make a case stating otherwise. In fact, the Treaty of Tripoli is almost the only thing I ever hear from the other side, whereas there are literally thousands of evidences in favor of us being a Christian nation.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    One president says one thing other presidents have said another. I would have no heartburn with breaking the treaty of tripoli, after all we broke treaties with the indians.

    The founding fathers fought about this question in the continental congress for years. Adams just put in his 2 cents in the treaty.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    ever sicne the time of Jesus, Christian nations, in one form or another have been at the top. the richest. the most powerful. the most dangerous. the most vicious. the most unbeatable. the most in control of all the money, the world, and everyone in it. if these qualities are good enough for rappers why you callin us hypocrits? is it wrong to be on top? is it wrong to be winners? We can do what we want and no one can stop us. you don't believe in right and wrong or good and evil any way so what's it to ya?

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