The Treaty of Tripoli and the Myth of a Christian Nation

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2009-01-01
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Philosophy and Religious Studies
The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies focuses on two areas of study. Its major in Philosophy seeks to examine human experience and reality through critical reflection and argument, developing skills in critical analysis and knowledge of ethics and philosophy. The major in Religious Studies seeks to investigate and reflect upon world religions in an objective, critical, and appreciative manner, providing students with knowledge of religion’s nature and its roles in social and individual life.
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Debates about Christian privilege today often center on whether the United States was founded as a Christian nation. On one side of the argument are writers such as Terry Eastland, David Barton, and also Roy Stewart Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, who believe that the United States was founded, whether officially or unofficially, as a Christian nation. As Terry Eastland (1984) phrases it in his defense of a specifically Protestant Christian privilege: Let me therefore start with these propositions: that there was a principal religion in American life from 1620 until roughly 1920; that this religion was Protestant Christianity; and that Protestant Christianity has been our established religion in almost every sense of the phrase (p. 50).

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This chapter is published as "“The Treaty of Tripoli and the Myth of a Christian Nation,” in Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States, edited by Warren Blumenfeld, Khyati Y. Joshi, and Ellen E. Fairchild (Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, 2009), pp. 23-34. "

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Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009
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