Is not the United States of America philosophically founded on religion?

The United States was founded on the enlightenment philosophies of the time which principally advocated the supremacy of reason (over faith and revelation). The U.S. Founding Fathers built a system of government based not on religious dogma but on political science.

Contrary to statements by religious conservatives (and liberals) about the “Biblical foundations” of America, Mr. Jefferson writes in his Autobiography

“…an amendment was proposed by inserting the words, ‘Jesus Christ … the holy author of our religion,’” which was rejected “by a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindu, and the Infidel of every denomination.”

Moreover, in A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, Jefferson writes, “…that our civil rights have no dependence on religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics and geometry…”

This capitalist attitude to religion is best summarized by Thomas Jefferson who writes,

“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of a blind faith.”

Is Capitalism opposed to freedom of religion?

No. Capitalism is the only system that protects the individual’s freedom to live their life according to their personal/philosophical beliefs (of which religion is an instance), so long as their actions do not violate the rights of others.

This freedom is an application of freedom of property, association, free-speech and thought to how ones wishes to fundamentally live one’s life. However, the corollary of this freedom is the freedom of others to exclude themselves from it (as they also have an equal right to property, association, free-speech and thought).

In the words of James Madison,

“While we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the religion which we believe to be of a divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.”

Thus, capitalism neither supports nor opposes religion, if those religious practices do not violate the rights of others. Quoting Thomas Jefferson, 

“The legitimate powers of government tend to such acts as are injurious to others. But 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.”

What is the relation between religion and socialism?

Religion is hierarchically below than socialism; religion is a complete outlook of the world (it deals with more fundamental issues); socialism (as conventionally used) concerns itself with political-economy. 

Religion — a pre-philosophical outlook — can serve as an ideal philosophical base for socialism.

In metaphysics, religion affirms the supernatural and miracles (as opposed to the natural and causality), in epistemology religion affirms revelation and faith as one’s means of knowledge and grasping truth (as opposed to reason and logic), in ethics religion preaches self-sacrifice of altruism (as opposed to the selfishness of pursuing ones happiness).

The result of such a religious philosophy is in principle identical to that of Marxist atheists: some form of statism that denies the rationality of the individual human mind to justify the altruistic theory of self-sacrifice for the “greater good.”

What is Neoconservatism?

According to Professor C. Bradley Thompson in Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea:

“The neoconservative vision of a good America is one in which ordinary people work hard, read the Bible, go to church on Sunday, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, practice homespun virtues, sacrifice themselves to the “common good,” obey the commands of the government, fight wars, and die for the State. . . . the neoconservatives are the advocates of a new managerial State—a State-controlled and regulated by a new mandarin class of conservative virtucrats who think the American people are incapable of governing themselves without the help of the neocons’ special, a priori wisdom.”

Continues Dr. Thompson in a Harper’s interview:

“[Neocons] see nihilism as the inevitable outcome of Enlightenment liberalism and America’s founding principles. The real problem with liberal-capitalist society for Strauss, Kristol, and Brooks is that individuals do not sacrifice themselves to anything higher than themselves and their petty self-interest. What America needs, therefore, is a two-step antidote for its cultural malaise: the inculcation of public virtue and the promotion of nationalism. The neocons seek to restore a public philosophy that promotes sacrifice as the great moral ideal and patriotism as the great political ideal.”