Thursday, November 25

Happy Thanksgiving Founding Fathers views on Religion, The Thomas Jefferson edition.

The third president of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence, Architect, Scientist, Farmer, Renaissance Man, Genius. The man had his own Bible.

Now as many of you are aware, a movement looms in this country, believing that the country should be ruled by "God's Law" as written in the Bible, and was founded as a "Christian Nation". Now the trouble with these folks is a ratherinteresting approach with regard to history, in other words, that which does not support their thesis gets tossed. As we saw below, these folks are not terribly interested in being above board when it comes to the advancement of their agenda. These "true believers" wish to bring salvation to america, they desire to "bring America back to God" as Falwell puts it:
“If we are going to save America and evangelize the world, we cannot accommodate secular philosophies that are
diametrically opposed to Christian truth ... We need to pull out all
the stops to recruit and train 25 million Americans to become informed pro-moral activists whose voices can be heard in the halls of Congress.

I am convinced that America can be turned around if we will all get serious about the Master's business. It may be late, but it is never too late to do what is right. We need an old-fashioned, God-honoring, Christ-exalting revival to turn American back to God. America can be saved!”
And What has Radical Cleric Dobson have to say about our situation.
"Fortunately, those who would rid us of our spiritual heritage have an impossible task on their hands. To sanitize our history, it would be necessary to expunge all official records, burn old textbooks, close the Library of Congress, destroy the existing diaries and letters and sandblast half the buildings in Washington, D.C. And still the evidences of our faith would exist.

An image of Moses faces the Speaker of the House of Representatives; our coins proclaim, 'In God We Trust' {on some coins since 1864, and on paper since 1954}; our Pledge of Allegiance declares that we are 'one nation, under God'; our Declaration of Independence asserts that we are 'endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights;' the oath of office for the presidency ends with the phrase, 'so help me God'; and on it goes."
which means that the troubles some of the founders had with religion and why the separation of church and state is addressed in the first ammendment, but I digress, lets see some of Jefferson's thoughts on the subject of Religion.
I have examined all the known superstitions of the Word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the world ...
The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves. [They], in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.
The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes; fools and hypocrites. To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.
Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins ... and you will have sins in abundance. I would not dare to dishonor my Creator's name by [attaching] it to this filthy book [the Bible].
For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate error so long as reason is free to combat it.
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God.
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 blind-folded fear.
............... The following is from another source.
Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus.
Jefferson seems to have some issues with the church, though not with belief in a higher being, nor a repudiation of Christ. Representatives of the Danbury Baptist Association were concerned about the issue of the Separation of Church and state and whether there was to be established a state religions, an excerpt.
Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty -- That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals -- That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions - That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor: But Sir our constitution of government is not specific.
This is when I think of the bright young lad who looking to the future with vision would have had the temerity to suggest that the right to privacy be specifically enumerated, as he could foretell a time when the lack of such provision might lead a judicial body to conclude that privacy was not a constititutional right. (I'm looking at you Thomas, Scalia) Unfortunately we do not know if the suggestion was ever made during the Bill of Rights debate, but if indeed it was, I can imagine that it was recieved with laughter as some smarty pants replys "Should we not then enumerate, within this bill, the right to breathe?" The following is part of his reply to the Danbury Baptist Association.
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."
Interesting. So Jefferson is pretty clear on the issue. Religion is a matter between man and his God, and a wall of separation protects the rights of everone with respect to religion. A great site on the subject of Separation of Church and State. And it occurs to me that I spend far too much time trying to debunk or slapdown falsehood or misrepresentation. Seems like I could use my powers for more productive ends. Hmmmm maybe when they actually teach people things like history.