Irishrosem: Haiman indirectly extends this colony/state; America/U.S. distinction to the often used argument that the U.S. began as a Christian nation. Haiman asserts that though America may have begun as a Christian nation, the United States of America is a whole other story. It's an interesting position that I had not encountered before.
It's also arguable whether it's accurate to refer to the American colonies, prior to the American Revolution, as any sort of nation. Each of the colonies began with a distinct character, religious distinctions being part of the whole. Americans tend to make the jump from the arrival of the first colonists to the Revolution as if there weren't an intervening period in between. It was a substantial period of time and quite a few changes occurred during it.
It's also worth noting that the modern perception of wholesale church attendance and devotion during the colonial period may be wrong as well. One of the best and most thoroughly documented studies of the history or religion in the United States is The Churching of America, 1776-1990: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy
by Roger Finke and Rodney Starke. The authors estimate that about 17 percent of the colonial population were members of Christian denominations at the time of the American Revolution. They also opine that the colonials of the day were more likely to be found in the village tavern on Saturday night than attending a church service on Sunday morning.
To be fair, it's likely that a frontier society was not so concerned about keeping membership talleys and the like, so the 17 percent may be understated somewhat. However, many members of the clergy and others had a great deal to say about the lack of piety on the part of the people during that period. So the view being encouraged today by the Religious Right is probably wrong on many levels.
All that aside, Haiman's point is a good one to keep in mind. More than 150 years passed from the establishment of the first of the 13 original colonies to the drafting of the Constitution. Many attitudes changed during the intervening period.
"Godlessness is not about denying the existence of nonsensical beings. It is the starting point for living life without them."
Godless in America by George A. Ricker