The founding fathers were a variety of beliefs regarding politics, many were indeed deists with close ties to Christianity. It is important to keep in mind that even with these convictions they were intelligent enough to realize and defend the right to freedom of religion. They wrote our founding documents with the intention that choice of religion must be left IN THE MIND OF THE INDIVIDUAL. They also understood that this choice should be protected and not influenced by government favoritism or persecution.
It is easy for atheists to sometimes inadvertently lend credence to the fallacy that the founders of our country were not religious individuals and wanted an atheist run government. I understand that many were indeed deeply religious. I also understand that because of what they had been through suffering their own persecution that they did not want a Christian use only government with all others being mere guests.
I like to think of the First Amendment as an anti-trust law that should prevent monopolies on power. This means that our government is not allowed to favor Christianity or any other religion. It is supposed to protect both theists and atheists from persecution.
I get pretty sick of people who don’t study their history and make unfounded claims that atheists want to make religion illegal. We simply want to get OUR GOVERNMENT, back to the neutral position the founders intended.
Prayer for example has not been outlawed in schools like they’d have you think. What is unconstitutional is creating a captive audience and forcing others to participate or to be singled out for not participating.
In conclusion, our government institutions have to be free from religious favoritism or persecution, so that we all can be free outside these neutral institutions to practice or believe what we want. Independence comes with the responsibility that it is not anyone’s right to use government to monopolize what it means to be a citizen.