No, America is not founded on Judeo-Christian values

As a secular humanist who was raised Jewish, I have learned to ignore the Christmas excesses and platitudes that inundate us for two months of every year. 

But one idea, especially on display at Yuletide, I have never accepted: America is founded on “Judeo-Christian values.”   This claim has no basis in reality.  “Judeo-Christian values” are either moral precepts so obvious (love thy neighbor) as to be ubiquitous among the world’s major religions, or they are rooted in the primitive ethos of the Bible, which prescribes death for homosexuality, practicing another religion, working on the Sabbath, disrespecting your parents, and much else.

America is founded on humanistic values that sprung from the 18th-century Enlightenment: equality before the law, government (by the consent of the governed) charged with protecting life, liberty, and numerous individual and group rights (e.g., to assemble peacefully, to petition the government for redress, to have a speedy and fair trial by jury).  Underlying all of this is the notion that after centuries of autocrats, we would finally have a country where individual freedom (with responsibility) is paramount.   None of that is in the Bible, and I daresay that few of the “Judeo-Christian nation” people would prefer to live under real Judeo-Christian values. 

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