RE

"As Memorial Day Nears, Recall our Founders' Faith"

by the Rev. Jerry Fortunato (

May 22

):

I read your Faith column every Saturday because I like to stay informed about issues of religion, but this column left me angry and dismayed.

The Rev. Fortunato states that our Founding Fathers were "almost without exception committed to the Christian faith" and that our laws and jurisprudence "are based upon Scriptures as the Word of God." I'm an atheist, but even I know there's a commandment against bearing false witness.

Rev. Fortunato's statements are easily proven wrong by less than five minutes of research. The U.S. was set up as a place where people would be free to practice any religion they wanted. It's clearly explained in the Constitution.

Our Founding Fathers were not Christian. They were men of the Enlightenment, Deists who clearly believed in God. They could have declared America a Christian nation very easily, but they didn't.

The word God or Christianity appears nowhere in our Constitution, which would be very odd if the people who wrote that noble document were actually Christian. Especially given Christians' inability to go more than 10 minutes without mentioning that fact.

Rev. Fortunato makes much about Ben Franklin's late-in-life hardening of his belief in God, and this is true. What he doesn't tell you is that while Franklin admired Jesus for spreading his message of peace, he was always skeptical of Christ's supposed divinity.

More to the point, every piece of basic morality known by human beings had already been codified and practiced long before Jesus allegedly showed up.

It's true you can't ever repeat the message of being tolerant and loving toward your fellow man too many times, but to think this morality was unknown before Jesus is ludicrous.

Michael McGonigle

Philadelphia