Ok, I'll fall for it and put in a few things for folks to chew on. First, consider the Pilgrims, that intolerant, dour group of pious malcontents, who with the help of the Indians, barely survived to found a colony that would later burn "witches" at the stake and slaughter Indians. These folks were considered by many of the "Founding Fathers" the same way we think of snake-handling fundamentalists these days. The Pilgrims weren't celebrated until relatively recently in US history and were mainly capitalized on when they did come into the public lore.
Here's a link to a good article from the (self-admittedly Leftist, however fairly scholarly) Nation on the founders religious beliefs and the Constitution. Basically it lays out a very good case that while they believed in some form of God, many were what we'd refer to as "humanists" these days.
Some highlights from the article:
On Jefferson: 'If we were to speak of Jefferson in modern political categories, we would have to admit that he was a pure libertarian, in religious as in other matters. His real commitment (or lack thereof) to the teachings of Jesus Christ is plain from a famous throwaway comment he made: "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."'
There are some really interesting facts such as that Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, which had no religious affiliation, did not allow theology to be taught.
On John Adams: "Speaking ... as a relic of the founding generation, he expressed his admiration for the Roman system whereby every man could worship whom, what and how he pleased. When his young listeners objected that this was paganism, Adams replied that it was indeed, and laughed."
On Washington and Madison:
'George Washington and James Madison also leaned toward deism, although neither took much interest in religious matters. Madison believed that "religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize." He spoke of the "almost fifteen centuries" during which Christianity had been on trial: "What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution." If Washington mentioned the Almighty in a public address, as he occasionally did, he was careful to refer to Him not as "God" but with some nondenominational moniker like "Great Author" or "Almighty Being." It is interesting to note that the Father of our Country spoke no words of a religious nature on his deathbed, although fully aware that he was dying, and did not ask for a man of God to be present; his last act was to take his own pulse, the consummate gesture of a creature of the age of scientific rationalism. '
Regarding the treaty with Tripoli, some research indicated that the verbiage is a central piece of evidence for a lot of folks that promote the notion of, in Jefferson's words, "separation of church and state." There were apparently a couple of versions of the treaty but apparently it was passed unanimously by the US Senate in 1797 with the wording: "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." The senators did not later face impeachment, have their careers ruined, etc. for voting for language that would have them lynched by today's good Christians. Here's a link to the the treaty as its presented by a website from GWB's alma mater, Yale University (see Article 11):
An internet search on the treaty's title will turn up references to it from all sides of the spectrum. It does exist and is not just a fabrication of pagans and atheists.
As for medman feeling so much contempt from folks on this website, check out what happens to folks voicing a liberal perspective on Fox TV's talk shows. The difference between the liberal and the conservative mindsets is that the liberals often see things in shades of gray, and consider competing ideas, while the conservatives often only see black and white, are convinced that what they feel is "right" and that other viewpoints don't need to be considered. That's always been a strategic weakness of the left and why they're so often in disarray rather than marching lockstep behind authority. There's a lot more to be said about those poor conservatives who whine about being persecuted and how the "librul press" is all against them, how judges have the audacity to rule against them, and so forth but I'll leave that for another time. In 2002 anyone who questioned the Iraq war had their loyalty to the US questioned and Laura Ingram publishes a best seller that states anyone who isn't with the right-wing agenda is guilty of "treason." With that kind of intolerance, its hard to imagine Dick Cheney or many others on the "right" saying "I may not agree with what you say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
That's it for now, I'm going boating. Maybe I'll see some of y'all down on the Ark this weekend.