Right. Not a G.Q.
It might be interesting to note that none of these documents that mention any kind of religious belief are the Constitution, which is the document that establishes the state and defines its basis.
The Constitution begins "We the People …. That’s the basis of our state and our government. The fact that the founders may have individually believed in a god or that a god was ultimately the source of the human condition is beside the point.
I myself am an atheist and I emphatically do not believe that the United States was founded as an atheistic state. It was founded as a state that takes no position on the existence or nonexistence of a god, that does not encourage nor discourage any particular belief or disbelief in god, and that does not take action that (either morally or financially) supports or attacks any particular point of view with respect to a god.
Not a Christian nation, not a religious nation, not an atheist nation. In short, a secular nation. This would be true even if all the founders had been fully devout Christians (which, all indications are, they all were not, particularly Adams and Jefferson). This would be true even if all the past, present, and future residents of the United States be fully devout Christians, which we most definitely are not.
To take any other point of view would be by definition to relegate some number of Americans as second-class citizens, and I, for one, refuse to accept such a position. I am an atheist and I am the offspring of dark-skinned, non-Christian immigrants and I am an American, damn it, and I possess exactly the same degree of Americanness as any white Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
Believe whatever you wish, please. I invite you to, I beg you to practise exactly what you believe in your own home and in your own church and in your own private gatherings with your family, friends, and co-religionists. That is your right and I will defend that right. I don’t care what you believe. I really don’t care.
However, when you are elected or appointed or employed in an office in which you are representing the people, remember that you are representing me and your duty is to me as a member of the public. When you are acting in your official capacity, please, keep your beliefs to yourself. Keep your religious beliefs, expressions, symbols, and signs out of my public laws, out of my public documents, out of my public ceremonies, out of my public acts, out of my public symbols, out of my public buildings.
I grew up in public schools in which school events such as graduation ceremonies would begin with a benediction. Usually the prayer specifically mentioned Jesus. The one message I got from this is: This place does not belong to you; it belongs to us. You are not an equal member of our community. We suffer you to be here at our pleasure and at any time we can change our minds, so keep your place and mind you don’t annoy us too much.
Interesting column by David Greenberrg in Slate: http://slate.msn.com/?id=2067499