On my list of rules to live by, right above "Never get into a land war in Asia," is "Never get into a history argument with Fausto."
But rules were made to be broken. Fausto pointed out in the comments on my previous Founding father post that much of the Founding Father snark could be taken to be against specifically Catholicism rather than Christianity in general.
He's right to a point. The Fouding Fathers seemed to have saved their sharpest snideness for the Catholic Church, but several of them were frequently critical of Christianity in general.
Ben Franklin was, like me, an ex-Presby. He wrote in his autobiogrpahy, "I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian, and tho' some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc, appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from public assemblies of the sect."
For another example, in a letter to William Short, Thomas Jefferson wrote:
"The Presbyterian clergy are the loudest, most intolerant of all sects; the most tyrannical and ambitious, ready at the work of the law-giver, if such a word could be obtained, to put their torch to the pile and to rekindle in this virgin hemisphere the flame in which their oracle, Calvin, consumed the poor Servetus, because he could not subscribe to the proposition of Calvin, that magistrates have a right to exterminate all heretics to the Calvinistic Creed! They pant to re-establish by law that holy inquisition which they can now only infuse into public opinion."
Jefferson especially doesn't seem inclined to let the protestants off the hook, particularly given the prostestants' treatment of deists, Unitarians and anabaptists.
He also wrote several things, too long to quote easily here, that implied that his founding of UVA was based in part on his distaste for the Anglicanism of William and Mary, which at that point wasn't accepting non-Anglican students and had memorizing Anglican catchecisms as a required part of the curriculem.
I should mention here that while if I were to write, say, "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise," the way Madison did to William Bradford in 1774, I think my friends would assume the sentiment came out of intolerance for Christianity that is the mark of textbook asshat Humanism.
Though I am, I think, more inclined to draw connections from the ideas of the Age of Reason to Humanism and consider them two aspects of the same idea than Fausto is, I still don't think that asshat humanism was the true inspiration for the Founding Fathers' lack of enthusiasm for religion, and Christianity in particular.
The reformation, and the terrible violence that followed it, were fresh in the minds of the Founding Fathers. Ben Franklin's grandfather had hidden his bible in a secret compartment in a stool so it wouldn't be visibile to those enforcing religious laws. They were honestly committed to doing something different.
If someone were to come out of Eastern Europe or Northern Ireland today with a cynicism about religion and what those in power use it for, I think we would be inclined to cut them some slack.
We should also keep that context in mind when reading what the founding fathers had to say.