Third Party & Independents Archives

Keeping Church and State separate

I do agree that we as a country have went to far in the wall of separation, Kevin but that is a discussion for another time. Actually Kevin let me rephrase that. I do agree that we as a Country have went beyond the intentions of the founding fathers in building the wall of separation between church and state .

The above comment was made in reply to Kevin Nye's response to a comment I had made in a previous thread here on WB.

The problem as I see it is simply this, there are to many religious activist trying to use the government to further their own religious beliefs, to institute their particular beliefs upon others by using the power of the government. On the other hand there are those anti-religious activist trying to remove any and all things religious. The wall of separation that started with the Constitution and has continued to be built throughout the history of our Country is needed to protect these religious and anti religious activist from themselves and our government. The wall of separation is also needed to protect the rest of us and our government from them.

The attempt by the current bunch of religious and anti religious activist to impose their beliefs on the rest of us is nothing new to the Country, in fact it has been going on long before the Constitution was signed. The fight has been ongoing based upon the wording of the Constitution and the intent of the founding fathers when writing the Constitution. Like many issues involving the Constitution the wording of the Constitution leaves room for these arguments to continue. It seems the reason for this particular argument is the founding fathers did not define the term " religion" in the Constitution when they wrote in the first amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; nor when they wrote in Article 6 of the Constitution "but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. "

IMHO the intent of the founding fathers was to allow each and every one of us to practice or not practice our beliefs as individuals , the belief was between each of us and our God. Not between the preacher and the government. The founding fathers did not want the government to dictate religious beliefs to anyone nor did they want any specific religion to dictate to the government. Religion is a private matter between the person and the persons God. The founding fathers were wise in that they didn't want church and state mixed.

We as a people have went to far by putting our religious beliefs or our lack of religious beliefs in the political sphere. We have used the wall of separation to make political hay, sway elections and get the government involved in what should be a matter between each of us and our own personal beliefs.


Posted by j2t2 at December 4, 2011 11:25 AM
Comments
Comment #332687

J2T2,

Good post. I must say that I agree. I also just re-read our prior conversation and reflected on it. We mostly agree with the exception of the “separation” phrase, but I think I figured out why.

It all comes down to how one defines the phrase. If used in a general sense that the Founders didn’t want the Government to have any control over religion, that would be one thing. If it’s used as many do to justify the complete eradication of religion from public life, then that’s another thing entirely.

In hindsight, I think you probably meant it in the former sense, as opposed to the latter, which I would agree with. I guess I just bristled at the notion that somehow the Founders took issue with the mixture of religion in public life.

Posted by: Kevin Nye at December 4, 2011 1:24 PM
Comment #332689

Kevin I think the founders meant to keep organized religion out of the running of the government and the government out of the running of organized religion.

In this time frame there were states that required one to belong to a certain church. Many came from England where they were persecuted by the church and hence the government of England.

When you think about it do you really want your spiritual adviser to sully him or her self in politics?

Over the years leading to the “Age of Reason” the catholic church thought it had the say in picking the Kings, A divine right to lead. Church and State were intertwined and the result was one war after another. Political power corrupted many church leaders. The “business” of religion superseded the “work” of religion.

The founding fathers saw the conflict within the states, the conflicts in Europe, with the combining of organized church and state. It was a two way street, the State used the church for political gain and the church used the state for political power. A bad combination that resulted in the individual and his personal beliefs being tossed aside. The founding fathers wanted the individual to worship or not worship as they saw fit. They wanted a wall of separation between the church and the state.

“Echoing the language of the founder of the first Baptist church in America, Roger Williams—who had written in 1644 of “[A] hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world”— Jefferson wrote, “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 & State”.[1]”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

Of course over the past 30 or so years some of us have decided that the wall extends upward into outer space and downward through the earth and into space. That is the extreme as is the evangelical argument of a State controlled by the church, IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 4, 2011 1:56 PM
Comment #332697

The Founding Fathers wanted to avoid a state supported religion, as was common almost everywhere else. They clearly did not intend religion to be banished. George Washington took an oath on the Bible.

For most of our history, religion and the state got along just fine. We recognized that we were a secular government with a religious people.

Secularists can point to heroic episodes like the Scopes trial, but the trouble really started when activists started to try to ban religion from the public square.

The state should not support religion, but neither should it treat it like a pariah. In some cases state facilities that are open to secular groups are denied to religious ones. This is wrong.

Posted by: C&J at December 4, 2011 5:02 PM
Comment #332698


Allowing religion in the public square brings up the subject of choice and competition. I believe a majority may see nothing wrong with a nativity scene in the public square, but what if it is sandwiched between a replica of Stonehenge and a crudely built mock flying saucer complete with little green men and their human worshipers?

How about decorating D.C. to look like Mecca during Ramadan?

How about nativity scenes and the Ten Commandments only?

There is no large politically active, secular group, the equivalent of religious conservatives, attacking Obama for mentioning God.

With Christianity on the decline, is it less of a threat to the separation of religion and state or more of a threat?

Posted by: jlw at December 4, 2011 11:11 PM
Comment #332705

You make a good point jlw, are we as tolerant of the religious beliefs of others?

Christianity may be on a decline but it is still enough of a threat that we want the wall of separation between religion and the state. After all the same wall serves to keep the state from interfering with the religion as well.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 5, 2011 8:15 AM
Comment #332715

There’s a couple of big elephants in this room we should mention. One of them is Deism and the other is Freemasonry. A large number of the founders of this nation were one, or the other, or both.

Webster’s Dictionary definition of Deism:

“a movement or system of thought advocating natural religions based on human reason rather than revelation, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe.”

Deism is reflected in the Declaration of Independence by the founders using the words: “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and with choosing to use the word “Creator.”

As for Freemasonry, it operates under the principle that men should worship only according to their own consciences. This is why the Masons accept members of any religion or non-religion, because to them all religions or none are perfectly valid. All that is actually required is that members claim to believe in the concept of a “Supreme Being.”

Jack wrote:

George Washington took an oath on the Bible.

Yeah, but Washington was himself a Deist, and the bible he took that oath on happens to be a very important historical detail. George Washington was sworn in as first President of the United States by a guy named Robert Livingston — the Grand Master of New York’s Masonic lodge — and the bible that he swore that oath on came from Washington’s own Masonic lodge.

Washington wrote a letter to United Baptist Churches in Virginia in May, 1789, and sounding like both the Deist and Freemason he was, said:

“Every man ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”

A few more details: Washington’s initiation into Freemasonry took place at the Fredericksburg Lodge in 1752, and in 1799 he became a Master Mason. He remained a member until the day he died. Also, a large number of the generals under Washington, and a majority of the commanders of the Continental Army were Freemasons. Edmund Randolph, a member of a Williamsburg Virginia lodge, was Washington’s aide-de-camp. He later became Washington’s Attorney-General and then the first Secretary of State, then The governor of Virginia — and also The Grand Master of Virginia’s Grand Masonic Lodge.

There is no mention at all of God or Religion in the Constitution — other than the First Amendment and Article VI, Section 3 which states there will be no religious test or requirement as a “qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Of the men who were most responsible for that document, there was Madison (some evidence of Masonic membership), who wrote the famous statement on behalf of religious liberty entitled ‘Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments’, which was written in 1785 to oppose a bill that would have authorized tax support for Christian ministers in Virginia, and also wrote an article for the National Gazette in 1792 entitled: Who are the Best Keepers of the People’s Liberties? There was Jefferson (Deist, with many Masonic connections) who wrote the famous letter to the Danbury Baptist Association that clearly outlines the “separation of church and state”, there was Washington (Deist, Master Mason), there was Franklin (Deist, Grand Master of Pennsylvania’s Masonic Lodge), there was Edmund Randolph (Deist, Grand Master), and there was John Adams (Unitarian, who spoke favorably of, but did not join the Masons) but who as president did appoint another very prominent Freemason, John Marshall, as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Other famous freemasons of the founders era (to name just a few): John Hancock, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, Ethan Allen, and Edmund Burke.

An interesting fact relating to Freemasonry in the founding of this nation is that The Boston Tea Party was planned at The Green Dragon Tavern, which was considered the headquarters of the Revolution — and was also known as the “Freemasons’ Arms.” Also, the Cornerstone of the Capital Building was laid by the Grand Masonic Lodge of Maryland.

Personally, I’ve always thought that the Treaty of Tripoli spelled out the founders views on the separation of church and state as clearly as it can be spelled out:

the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…

There is just no valid argument against this statement of fact — and this was a treaty that was ratified by the Congress of the United States.

To sum up it all up: The founders were men who believed in complete and total religious freedom, AND in the separation of church and state — and it seems pretty clear that this has a whole lot to do with the fact that so many of them were Deists and/or Freemasons.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2011 2:50 PM
Comment #332717

Good points all Adrienne, The founding fathers were indeed a mixed bunch when it came to their spiritual beliefs.That is why they wanted a distinct wall of separation between organized religion and state. They had history to tell them what happens when the two mix. They wanted religious freedom and the only way to get religious freedom was to keep church and state separate.


We also need to understand it was the age of reason and some of the founding fathers looked to philosophers such as Locke when it came to establishing a government.

I find it interesting that Thomas Paine isn’t included in those you mentioned.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 5, 2011 4:37 PM
Comment #332719

One thing that was not mentioned was that Church services were held in public buildings by ministers of different faiths and denominations up to I think but not sure until sometime around the civil war. Clearly the founding fathers and beyond thought faith was important. I do believe there SHOULD NOT be a state sanctioned religion and be seperate from government but ones personnell beliefs do NOT stop at the door to the Capital building or any other public building or play a part in the way one governs.

Posted by: KAP at December 5, 2011 5:47 PM
Comment #332721

The wall of separation between government and religion seems to be built of bricks constructed of money and property held in common.

It is true that denying prayer in our schools is founded on the belief that since schools are funded with taxpayer money, religious expression is prohibited.

We find the same connection with money and common property in the attempt to remove all religious symbols from our courthouses and courtrooms.

Recently, we have read of ACLU attempts to ban religious symbols from our national cemeteries and from the waysides of federal and state highways commemorating deaths which have occurred there. Here again, we hear the argument of separation. Since cemeteries and highways are publicly funded, there must be no symbols of religiosity.

There are other examples, and the conclusion is simply that if there is a dollar of taxpayer money, or an ounce of government interest in a thing or action, religion is forced to withdraw and become invisible.

Yet, we have the word GOD printed on our paper money. Congress employs a chaplain as does our military. Obviously, there are exceptions to this wall of separation which logic and historical precedence seem to justify. I believe every president has taken the oath of office with one hand on the bible, and not resting on some government document.

Without doing a google search I will risk saying that every president has proclaimed in public the name of God and called down His blessing upon our nation.

Since presidents, our military, judges, and such are all paid from the treasury are their actions not a violation of the separation clause? Should the ACLU bring a civil action against these persons and institutions?

How can a nation, with a separation clause, justify a national holiday which contains the name of Christ? How do we justify not taxing the assets of recognized religious organizations?

I am not arguing for tearing down any reasonable walls of separation between church and state. I am advocating for some reasoned judgement in this area and respect for our national history.

Those of us who wish marriage to remain a union of man and woman are often asked…what’s the harm with same sex marriage?

I would ask, what’s the harm with consensual prayer in school or with religious symbols in our national cemeteries.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 5, 2011 6:10 PM
Comment #332724

Royal prayer is allowed in public schools. Anyone can pray to their maker in a public building. The problem comes when one person wants to lead a prayer service that includes many others in a captive audience or when the one p. I often see some members of a football team or some such kneel and have a quick group prayer on a public school playing field,. It is all voluntary and it doesn’t impose upon others.


I agree with you on the religious symbols in the national cemeteries.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 5, 2011 7:19 PM
Comment #332725

j2t2 is correct, prayer in a public school is not banned by our constitution provided it meets certain requirements issued by the Supreme Court. However, the ACLU has repeatedly attempted to curtail prayer which is sanctioned. I won’t bother the reader with quotes from cases the ACLU attempted to win regarding prayer. However, the interested reader can go here for more info…

http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 5, 2011 8:19 PM
Comment #332731

What I’ve heard, basically, is that there were discussions about an established church, but what the framers realized, with all the denominations and state branches of the former part of the Church of England, was that if they put any one church in charge, it would offend and alienate the others.

In what may have been the wisest decision made in modern times, the framers decided to have a system where government and religion were separate, if for no other reason than to keep the peace.

Not only has it worked, but it is, I believe, the main reason why today’s America is fairly religious, while today’s Europe, from which the majority of its descendants came, are not. When Religion joins with politics, it shares in the highs and the lows of the political parties they throw their lot in with.

Those who think something is missing when God isn’t brought into the mix of government should think again. It is better that people decide who God is to them, and then let them decide what politics is acceptable to them, rather than have the politicians have a hand in the shape of American religious life.

Whatever laws a religiously mandated government might pass, they are enforced by the will and the power of the state, and that is the will and the power to which people direct their loyalty, rather than God.

Putting “In God We Trust” on our bills did not increase faith in God, and doesn’t really express much faith in the judgment of the average American. We don’t need people like you trying to push an agenda that will achieve nothing more than to add an insidious breach of American moral freedom to our nation’s other troubles.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 5, 2011 11:29 PM
Comment #332733

j2:

I find it interesting that Thomas Paine isn’t included in those you mentioned.

You’re right j2, I really should have mentioned Paine! (Btw, the guy happens to be my most favorite person among ALL of the founders.) What I was doing above was focusing strictly upon those who were both Deists AND Freemasons. Men who worked on either drafting the Declaration or on the Constitution — yet Paine really does need to be included here.

Of course, Thomas Paine really only qualifies as a Deist - he was never a member of the Freemasonry. Despite this fact, he wrote an important and extremely elucidating tract entitled: ‘An Essay on the Origin of Free-Masonry.’ In it, Paine claimed that the Bible was comprised of nothing more than what we know as allegorical myths — and also said that that the bible had more to do with Astrology than with The Godhead that people had intentionally created for themselves. Here’s a key quote from that:

The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun, and pay him the adoration originally payed to the sun.

Even though I have to admit that I thoroughly agree with him in this, the above quote still strikes me as kind of unnecessarily dismissive of what is undoubtedly a widespread belief (religious tradition) — both in his time, and in my own.

Setting that aside, the Thomas Paine that I unabashedly and truly love was clearly an expert in the advanced art of kicking religion all the way to the curb, in order to joyfully express so much solidly positive humanist philosophy. Stuff which simply bursts with good progressive/spiritual mojo.
For example, there is this gem:

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man, and I believe that the religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavouring to make my fellow creatures happy… I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

Testify, my brother!
That’s a quote from ‘The Age of Reason.’

I also totally love how Paine described his own personal Deism (this is also from ‘The Age of Reason’):

How different is this (Christianity) to the pure and simple profession of Deism! The true Deist has but one Deity, and his religion consists in contemplating the power, wisdom, and benignity of the Deity in his works, and in endeavoring to imitate him in everything moral, scientifical, and mechanical.

Purely and simply, this is the intelligent, good-hearted, (& slightly nerdly) enthusiasm of Thomas Paine at his best — and I’ve always carried a huge historical-style crush on the man as a result. :^)

RF:

Yet, we have the word GOD printed on our paper money.

Yeah right. You mean, ever since Samuel Chase insisted that we should start ILLEGALLY printing that on our money. Chase was a Republican Party member who was an advocate of the ‘Slave Power conspiracy’ thesis. This was a BS thesis crafted well before Lincoln even came to power — and Chase coined that slogan on behalf of his Free Soil Party, along with the phrase: “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men.”

Btw, that slogan actually meant the opposite (much like Republican phrases tend to do) of what it sounds like. What it really spelled out was a conspiracy of Southern Slave Owners to take over the federal government and block all progressive freedom for all American People so that rich white people could get even richer with the aid of black slaves.

As a result, “In God We Trust” eventually ends up being adopted as the official motto of the United States of America, and we now have that unconstitutional motto printed on most of our money.
Let me be perfectly clear here and make no mistake — it is, IN CLEAR POINT OF FACT a violation of our Constitution — which had forbid our the government to “make any law respecting the establishment of religion.” Unfortunately we had an Supreme Court which absolutely didn’t give a sh*t and who were thus willing to (illegally and unconstitutionally) allow this disgusting motto free reign. In 1956 this officially became the case — and this now as then is, NOTHING BUT BULLSH*T.

E Pluribus Unum is the motto that HAS BEEN and SHOULD be on ALL of the currency of the United States — because it means: Out Of Many, We Are ONE.
That is, we WERE, right up until Samuel Chase, and ultimately all the Nutbag McCarthyites and Crazy Authoritarian Christians in 1956 decided that couldn’t possibly remain the American reality — and now they insist on enforcing a LIE as the official motto of the United States of America.
A FACT WHICH IS A CRYING SHAME — yet dimwitted, Fox Newsy types of people don’t even seem to have enough sense to understand this to be the case.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 6, 2011 4:10 AM
Comment #332736

Keeping church and state separate is impossible given a representative form of government where the majority of the people represented are religious.

Posted by: George at December 6, 2011 11:20 AM
Comment #332737

George, while most people believe in God and view themselves as religious they also view themselves to have a specific set of beliefs. These belief sets vary greatly amongst the religious. Which particular belief set should have the will of the majority to dictate law to the rest of the people?

It seems to me that you are saying that a persons individual beliefs cannot be separated from their political views and I would agree. The founding fathers wanted each and every one of us to worship in our own way. They did not want the government to interfere with that. Nor did they want one religious persuasion to interfere with your ability to worship as you wanted to by imposing the rule of law upon it.

Their is a distinction between an individual and his religious beliefs and the religious beliefs of an organized religion, IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 6, 2011 12:02 PM
Comment #332738

Oops, in my previous post it is Salmon Chase, not Samuel Chase, who was responsible for the “In God We Trust” motto.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 6, 2011 12:04 PM
Comment #332739

Putting “In God We Trust” on the money is not an establishment of religion. How silly can one be.

Which religion do you think it establishes. Establishes meaning set forth in motion or put in place.

The separation clause is just a stretch of mans imagination and put forth by men to justify some form of belief in itself.

The proper description of many in power and authority both past and present is “Humanism”. In Humanism we are our own god. And there are many gods.

One can use the phrase of Deist all they want. The writings of those who are included must be read in an extensive manner. Then the understanding of each person can be made, instead of selected quotes to anchor ones own thinking.

I sense that the Illuminati would have been a more preferable choice of alignment for some of the writers above. Well, we do have a number of followers of Weishaupt et al in our annals of American history.

The writers above, in general, take a negative position concerning God, the Creator.

The Bible teaches that at one time in all of our lives we will bend our knew and acknowledge the Jesus Christ is Lord.

It is sad that so many people deny Him.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at December 6, 2011 12:09 PM
Comment #332743

It seems to me that you are saying that a persons individual beliefs cannot be separated from their political views and I would agree.

Exactly J2 (sorry my answers are short but work is well…). Religous folks will not check their values at the door when they enter the public square and that’s why many of our public laws, processes, and symbols have christian values instilled in them. Prayer in school is a natural by-product of representative government. Swearing on the Bilble and In God We Trust are tokens of our form of government. This is why the most common attack on religion in politics comes from the courts and not the legislature; you only need a few black robes.

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”
-Georg Washington

A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens: The more decent the citizens, the more decent the state. If you practice a religion, whether you’re Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or guided by some other faith, then your private life will be influenced by a sense of moral obligation, and so, too, will your public life. One affects the other.
-Ronald Reagan

Posted by: George at December 6, 2011 1:46 PM
Comment #332744

Tom it is not a negative position of God. It is a negative position of mixing Religion and Politics in my case. There is a difference between the two, a big difference.

When you stop to think how many times people have used “God” to bend others to their will it becomes clear what the founding fathers were trying to prevent.


I think the SCOTUS agrees with us that “in God we trust” doesn’t establish a religion as I to don’t have a problem with that. I wonder if they would agree if it was decided to mint a coin that said “in Allah we trust” or “in Om we trust” or in the case of some “in God we don’t trust”.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 6, 2011 1:53 PM
Comment #332745


Tom Humes brings up some good points and reminds us of why that wall must be kept strong.

Christianity has had a major impact on our government and our way of life. Social justice Christians provided many of the votes that helped bring about the Progressive Era of legislation and other great events in our history.

Posted by: jlw at December 6, 2011 2:00 PM
Comment #332746
Chase was a Republican Party member who was an advocate of the ‘Slave Power conspiracy’ thesis. This was a BS thesis crafted well before Lincoln even came to power — and Chase coined that slogan on behalf of his Free Soil Party, along with the phrase: “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men.”

Btw, that slogan actually meant the opposite (much like Republican phrases tend to do) of what it sounds like. What it really spelled out was a conspiracy of Southern Slave Owners to take over the federal government and block all progressive freedom for all American People so that rich white people could get even richer with the aid of black slaves.

I’m really busy with my exams, but I want to point out that the free soil party is not what you say it was. Chase and the rest of the Free Soil movement were ardent abolitionists. Here’s his biography.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 6, 2011 2:31 PM
Comment #332750

If the government cannot promote one religion over another; why are they so eager to promote Global Warming and abortion? Are these not the modern day religions of the left?

Posted by: Steve at December 6, 2011 3:59 PM
Comment #332753

After reading Adrienne’s comments about the motto…”In God we Trust, it left me wondering who she hates more, God, or the followers of God.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2011 5:16 PM
Comment #332755

Is it possible that the Founding Deists were actually promoting their own religion by walling off all others? :-)

Posted by: Rob at December 6, 2011 5:27 PM
Comment #332756

What I find most interesting, is that those who fear others forcing them to do something in the name of “God,” are also the ones who have no problem forcing others to do something in the name of government.

Posted by: kctim at December 6, 2011 6:01 PM
Comment #332758

Great observation kctim. I find that quite a few admitted atheists replace God with government. This seem to fit in nicely for them as God can not be manipulated and government can be.

To believe in God requires man to be humble.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2011 6:48 PM
Comment #332759

So, are we looking at new coins and paper money that say, “In Government We Trust”?

Posted by: Steve at December 6, 2011 6:58 PM
Comment #332761

Well Steve, should obama be reelected we may experience that along with his image on the million dollar bill. We will require denominations of that amount to buy a loaf of bread.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 6, 2011 7:53 PM
Comment #332763
If the government cannot promote one religion over another; why are they so eager to promote Global Warming and abortion? Are these not the modern day religions of the left?

Steve we have to assume that government is actually promoting Global warming and abortion which I don’t see happening. Can you back that up with some facts?

I think you mistake religion and a cause Steve, as I don’t know anyone that worships either global warming or abortion.


Is it possible that the Founding Deists were actually promoting their own religion by walling off all others? :-)

I think they walled theirs off as well Rob.


What I find most interesting, is that those who fear others forcing them to do something in the name of “God,” are also the ones who have no problem forcing others to do something in the name of government.

kctim, I can no more force you to do something through government than you can force me to do something through government. In theory at least, our differing viewpoints are why we the people have elected representatives to do the work of government. If you think you are above the law then perhaps you may have force used against you but then you have violated your part of the deal.

Great observation kctim. I find that quite a few admitted atheists replace God with government. This seem to fit in nicely for them as God can not be manipulated and government can be.

To believe in God requires man to be humble.

You are confused about the issue Royal, it is religion not God that is called out in the Constitution. That being said there are many that use God to manipulate government and people, which is why organized religion has such constraints in the Constitution.
IMHO those groups like the one you linked to above like the fact that the atheists challenge these issues in the court of law. They make a good living fighting these issues out in court. It is how our system works. You guys make it sound as if they weren’t right you could still be forced to do something you don;’t want to. Not only that you guys also make it sound as if conservatives would never use government to force someone into doing something, and we all know that is just silly, just plain wrong.


Posted by: j2t2 at December 6, 2011 8:30 PM
Comment #332764

Everybody has a religion. Not everybody believes there is a God who is the Creator and Savior of mankind.

For some people their religion is drugs.

For some people their religion is their boat.

For some people their religion is money.

And on it goes.

People have substituted the meaning of religion. That is not new.

In the Bible it says: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world”.—James 1:27

Using that reference religion is a good thing and should be pursued eagerly.

But it gets messy here. What is the church or a church? You can get a different definition for as many as want to offer. My definition is that the church is made up of Christians. The organization may be Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and on. The Bible references “My church” when the Lord is speaking and it references believers no matter what part of the world they come from or which organization they belong to.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at December 6, 2011 9:08 PM
Comment #332772

Warped Reality:

Chase and the rest of the Free Soil movement were ardent abolitionists.

I’ve seen this claim made before, but it’s not really true. The Free Soil Party’s main interest was in trying to prohibit slavery from spreading to the western territories, but they never advocated for a complete and total emancipation of all people being held as slaves. Instead, they advocated for the mere containment of slavery within areas where it had already existed for a very long time. Of allowing those who already owned slaves to be able to continue to keep them (and their children). They claimed that in this way slavery would be likely to gradually, one day, eventually, fade away.

Ardent abolitionists advocated for emancipation. Period.

And, The Free Soil Party’s position never actually made any sense. People who were being held as slaves would have continued to have children — born into slavery. So slavery would have continued indefinitely, and to this day there would still be wealthy white landowners who owned segments of the black population and held them in bondage as a personal slave labor force had the Free Soil Party’s platform become the law of the land.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 6, 2011 11:40 PM
Comment #332773
After reading Adrienne’s comments about the motto…”In God we Trust, it left me wondering who she hates more, God, or the followers of God.

I don’t hate anyone for their religion. Like the founders I simply believe in the separation of church and state. If religious people want others to start really hating religion, forcing it on everyone against their wills all the time is a great way to foster a lot of ill will.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 6, 2011 11:50 PM
Comment #332775
Putting “In God We Trust” on the money is not an establishment of religion. How silly can one be.

Yes it is — and it’s very silly to try to deny that it isn’t an establishment of religion.
“E Pluribus Unum” is a motto that was (is) capable of applying to each and every American.
“In God We Trust” isn’t that kind of motto. Instead, it’s a government motto that means to completely exclude a large number of it’s own citizenry.

I do not trust in God because as an Agnostic I do not know whether God exists at all — and if God does exist, whether this entity is or can be in any way knowable. I for one, can only put my trust in things and beings that I can perceive, know, and understand.
Thus, when my government tries to tell me that “We” must trust in “God” I immediately understand that my government is not one that can or should be trusted by any person like myself.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 7, 2011 12:13 AM
Comment #332781

Adrienne,

E Pluribus Unum means “from many, one.” Meaning many different cultures form one nation Adrienne. But that is precisely the opposite of how the left and political correctness divides our country into Black Americans, and Latino Americans and Gay Americans and on and on. Ballots in every written language imaginable.

Mention the idea of “one” national language, or even sovereignty, to a leftist and you will likely get an explosion.

The American Values system is printed on every coin. The three fundamental elements that created the environment that allowed us to prosper and is (as we speak) being undermined.

1) Liberty - which I read as freedom from government and a host of other wonderful, necessary freedoms.

2) In God we Trust - The idea that unalienable rights and morality come from a power higher than man and government… for if those rights and values were just created by mere men, then the mere men of the day can change those rights. Trusting in “GOD” (Whatever god you choose) means that your fundamental, inalienable rights, should not and cannot be taken away by the johnny-come-lately neo-con or now neo-marxist propagating catastrophes in order to erode more liberties.

3) E Pluribus Unum - When you become an American Citizen you become an “American.” Not an [insert former country]-American. You keep your traditions and your heritage and your delicious cooking and your religious beliefs and your accent, but you assimilate into ONE society. OUR society. You don’t insist the country bend to accommodate YOU, you learn English, you learn American history, you learn to appreciate the Nation to which you are “swearing alliegance.”

This whole thread has been interesting to read, and while I admire your encyclopedic knowledge of the framers, I disagree completely with the idea that “In God We Trust” is a motto that alienates a large number of its own citizenry.

I would agree with you if it were “In Christ we trust” or “In Allah we trust” but it is (and likely was an intentionally Freemasonic term) In “God” we trust. And thank “GOD” the framers didn’t put our rights and liberties in the exclusive trust of government.

Have you ever thought about the inherent value in having our basic human rights NOT come from the idle minds of the men in charge at the present moment?

I have, and I’m glad that phrase is EVERYWHERE. And I don’t actually believe in a bearded man in the sky pulling the strings, to my wife’s everlasting disappointment.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at December 7, 2011 2:35 AM
Comment #332787

Well said Yukon Jake…

Posted by: Frank at December 7, 2011 11:38 AM
Comment #332788

Ah, but you do J2, everytime my individual rights are stripped from me to support what you believe in. Just because people re-interpret the Constitution to suit their agenda and a small majority of people support it, does not mean all is hunky dory.

Tell me, would you be ok if we took the literal meaning of the words “establishment of religion” to mean only that government cannot establish a religion, as the founders did, simply because a majority of people said that is all they meant?

Posted by: kctim at December 7, 2011 2:00 PM
Comment #332790


Why was it left to our Founding Fathers to pronounce to the world that men have unalienable rights given to them by God? Why did God not produce a bill of rights carved in stone and placed right beside the ten commandments in the Ark of the Covenant? In what scripture does Jesus teach us about the unalienable rights of man? What verses in the Bible were used by slave owners to justify the enslavement of men with unalienable rights given to them by God? Who really believes that slave owning Founding Fathers really believed that ALL men had God given unalienable rights?

Jesus answered, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” “And they were utterly amazed at him…”

Perhaps there is inherent value in believing that rights come from a God rather than the minds of men, but there is no proof of that and the evidence suggests otherwise.

Posted by: jlw at December 7, 2011 2:23 PM
Comment #332794

jlw, there isn’t any chapter, or verse on rights but the bible does give us choices. But the first chapter of the book of Genesis verse 28 God does give man RIGHTS over everything on earth and many of our rights are determined by the laws set by God such as life, Thou shalt not kill, property, Thou shalt not steal, and also the right to choose what God or gods we worship.

Posted by: KAP at December 7, 2011 3:15 PM
Comment #332797

jlw, if I hadn’t heard better from you in the past in other threads this might sound personal, but it is not meant to be:
That is the most juvenille argument I’ve ever heard.

You might as well ask why God doesn’t appear before you right now when you ask him to - it’s about as useful or relevant.

You keep going back to Jesus, but our nation doesn’t have or say “in Jesus we trust” or “in Christ we trust” stated anywhere. God is an idea (in my opinion). A transcendant guide that in an ideal world would cause evil men to question their actions for fear of the ultimate judgement, and offer good men the stamina they couldn’t find within to go the extra mile in helping their fellow man.

Yes, our country was founded on Judao-Christian principles and the ten commandments were the basis for our legal rights, but if you are unable to see the wisdom in a society that enforces “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not kill” and encourages men and women not to covet other people’s things or sleep with other people’s spouses simply because the book they come from makes claims with which you take umbrage (that those notions don’t come from the minds of men, but from God), then you must be 13 and think the world is either black or white.

No one, least of all me the non-believer, gives a rat crap if you believe in Jesus. But if you want to abandon wisdom that has stood a test of time like none other, simply because it’s origins makes you uncomfortable… well, would nanny-nanny-boo-boo be appropo?

Posted by: Yukon Jake at December 7, 2011 5:53 PM
Comment #332798

I anticipated the hostility toward any religiosity in our government as expressed by atheists writing on this subject.

Most wrote about their belief that the motto, “In God We Trust” should not appear on our money.

It leaves me wondering about other issues I raised…

Is it constitutional to:

Have Military chaplains

Open each session of congress with a prayer

Have Religious symbols in national cemeteries

Have Federal authorities being sworn into office with a hand on the bible

Exempt from taxation the assets of recognized religions

Allow federal officials to make speeches containing religious references

Have a national holiday containing the name of Christ

Allow some federal buildings to display religious symbols

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 7, 2011 6:02 PM
Comment #332799

jlw,
Excellent post! Yet, I still have to take issue with this:

Why was it left to our Founding Fathers to pronounce to the world that men have unalienable rights given to them by God?

The founders were wise enough not impose this upon We The People. They used the word “Creator” and “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” not “God.” There is a HUGE difference between those two concepts. A Creator or Nature’s God could really mean anything — thus it is open to every individual’s own interpretation. It could be “God”, or “Allah”, or “Yahweh”, or the “Great Spirit” or it could be an Unknowable Phenomenon, or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The “God” of “In God We Trust” is very recognizable as a Christian God that is being imposed upon We the People — whether we like it or not, and whether we happen to believe in that “God”, or not.

But I absolutely agree that our unalienable rights do not come from “God.” Instead, such rights come from the acknowledgement of We The People of the United States of America in the foundational philosophical concept of self evident Human Equality.

E Pluribus Unum means “from many, one.” Meaning many different cultures form one nation Adrienne.

No. I don’t know why you’re trying to do this, but you’re clearly narrowing the idea and meaning of “many” here.
“Many” in this instance automatically encompasses much more: Cultures, yes, but also Races, Creeds, Opinions, Sexes, Sexual Orientations, etc., etc.

But that is precisely the opposite of how the left and political correctness divides our country into Black Americans, and Latino Americans and Gay Americans and on and on. Ballots in every written language imaginable.

This is BS. It is not the left or political correctness that divides We The People. It is the sheer variety of people’s cultures, beliefs, opinions and so on that naturally creates all sorts of inescapable divisions. But the wonderful concept of E Pluribus Unum: Out of Many, We Are One, brings us all together again as Americans — despite all our divisions and differences. It creates room for, and fosters acceptance of all kinds of differences.

Mention the idea of “one” national language, or even sovereignty, to a leftist and you will likely get an explosion.

I hate to disappoint you since I have no intention of exploding, however I do wonder why there is so much outraged insistence on the idea that there can only be one acceptable language in America. After all, since we are comprised of so many, why should We The People be “officially” allowed to have only one language?

The American Values system is printed on every coin. The three fundamental elements that created the environment that allowed us to prosper and is (as we speak) being undermined.

You forgot to say: In your opinion.

1) Liberty - which I read as freedom from government and a host of other wonderful, necessary freedoms.

What I find hilariously funny about this statement is that freedom from government is Anarchy. If We the People lived under Anarchy we wouldn’t be too likely to have only one currency, but many different currencies.

2) In God we Trust - The idea that unalienable rights and morality come from a power higher than man and government… for if those rights and values were just created by mere men, then the mere men of the day can change those rights.

No. I agree with what jlw said — our inalienable rights and morality do not come from “God.” They are “self evident” and come from our humanity and from our belief in the philosophical concept of human equality.

Trusting in “GOD” (Whatever god you choose) means that your fundamental, inalienable rights, should not and cannot be taken away by the johnny-come-lately neo-con or now neo-marxist propagating catastrophes in order to erode more liberties.

I choose no “God”, and I do not “Trust in God.”
Our unalienable rights should not be taken away because our government laid a solid foundation that informed We The People that they CANNOT be taken away. Thus, if our rights can be taken away (by the government, or by other people) — or in other words, if they can be alienated from us — then we know that we are not being allowed to be considered the equal of others.

3) E Pluribus Unum - When you become an American Citizen you become an “American.” Not an [insert former country]-American. You keep your traditions and your heritage and your delicious cooking and your religious beliefs and your accent, but you assimilate into ONE society. OUR society.

Yes. We are the Many, and together We become One, in the United States of America.

You don’t insist the country bend to accommodate YOU, you learn English, you learn American history, you learn to appreciate the Nation to which you are “swearing alliegance.”

I agree that it is helpful to learn English, and it’s important to learn American history and appreciation for the ideas and ideals that founded this nation.

This whole thread has been interesting to read, and while I admire your encyclopedic knowledge of the framers,

I consider it vitally important to know who these men truly were, and what their ideas actually were, and where all of those ideas came from. Because the founders were very intelligent, progressive, principled, and broad-minded people for their era. We the People should learn from and emulate all of those things — and then try to further them in every generation.

I disagree completely with the idea that “In God We Trust” is a motto that alienates a large number of its own citizenry.

It obviously does alienate large numbers of We the People. This phrase (whether you personally wish to acknowledge this or not) alienates everyone who doesn’t happen to “Trust in God.”

In “God” we trust. And thank “GOD” the framers didn’t put our rights and liberties in the exclusive trust of government.

They didn’t put our rights and liberties in the trust of “God.” They were declared to be self evident. Therefore, they are actually in the Trust of We the People. Out of Many, We Are One — in acknowledging Our Equality.

Have you ever thought about the inherent value in having our basic human rights NOT come from the idle minds of the men in charge at the present moment?

Our rights don’t come from the minds of men at the present moment. They come from the self evident truth of our Equality.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 7, 2011 6:11 PM
Comment #332800

…rights come from the acknowledgement of We The People of the United States of America in the foundational philosophical concept of self evident Human Equality

Posted by: Adrienne at December 7, 2011 6:11 PM

I must remember this definition as a great example of PSYCHOBABBLE.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 7, 2011 6:45 PM
Comment #332811
Religous folks will not check their values at the door when they enter the public square and that’s why many of our public laws, processes, and symbols have christian values instilled in them.

George IMHO no one religious, spiritual or non-believers check their values at the door of the public square. It seems to me had the founding fathers not included natural rights as the basis of the constitution the christian values instilled in the public laws would include the divine right of kings. A good reason for the wall of separation if you ask me.


Posted by: j2t2 at December 7, 2011 10:44 PM
Comment #332812
Ah, but you do J2, everytime my individual rights are stripped from me to support what you believe in. Just because people re-interpret the Constitution to suit their agenda and a small majority of people support it, does not mean all is hunky dory.

No but it is the way our rights are protected kctim. If a law is passed by a majority it is the law whether we like it or not. If it is a constitutional law then your rights obviously haven’t been violated if the law is unconstitutional then your rights have been violated, in theory at least. It is a good system, better than what came before it.

Tell me, would you be ok if we took the literal meaning of the words “establishment of religion” to mean only that government cannot establish a religion, as the founders did, simply because a majority of people said that is all they meant?

It could come to that kctim, but the founders have chosen their words carefully and wisely. They have been interpreted by other wise judges over the years and it seems pretty clear the wall of separation was meant to keep church from running the government and the government from running the church.

It seems many forget it was the age of reason not the age of religion when the Constitution was developed.


“Laws made by common consent must not be
trampled on by individuals.”
Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: j2t2 at December 7, 2011 11:06 PM
Comment #332815

RF:

…rights come from the acknowledgement of We The People of the United States of America in the foundational philosophical concept of self evident Human Equality

Posted by: Adrienne at December 7, 2011 6:11 PM

I must remember this definition as a great example of PSYCHOBABBLE.
Posted by: Royal Flush at December 7, 2011 6:45 PM

Oooh look — you wrote that in All Caps! I’m now thinking that what I wrote must have hit a very big nerve!

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This is “psychobabble”? If so, it’s 235 year old “psychobabble” then; since that is what was outlined for us by the founders in the Declaration, and happens to be the foundational philosophical concept of self evident Human Equality that I referred to above.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 8, 2011 2:41 AM
Comment #332823

How come the left loves to attempt to quote Scripture and love to tell how tolerant they are of all religions, and even love to tell how religious they are personally; but when it comes to attacks on the beliefs of our founding fathers, or the fact that Judao-Christian beliefs were the foundation of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, we find such hatred and personal attacks on from the left?

The Law (10 Commandments) was the basis of the Bill of Rights. The fact that the founders recognized our rights as being God given infuriates the left. They become unhinged and thus, the most slanderous comments against Christians, the founders, and the Constitution. The left cannot help them; they believe all rights come from socialists in government. It’s really going to be a surprise for these agnostic/atheistic liberals when they stand before God. The OWS protests won’t work when He says to them, “DEPART FROM ME”.

Posted by: Frank at December 8, 2011 11:41 AM
Comment #332824

LOL! Frank’s comments are over the top cartoon-hilarious!

Posted by: Adrienne at December 8, 2011 12:00 PM
Comment #332826

The “separation of church and state” is always driven towards Christianity.

Christianity is not the offender.

Take a look at what Islam is doing.

Take a look at the Jesuits history.

Where is your ire? Where are your questions? Where is your diligence in doing the research? Where are you?

WB will not allow me to put what research I have done on these 2 groups and more.

The Jesuits and Islamic people are both open about their desire to make the US a nation after their own beliefs.

They are succeeding by piecemeal.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at December 8, 2011 12:13 PM
Comment #332828

Adrienne, your paraphrasing of the founders words you quoted are indeed…PSYCHOBABBLE. One can easily associate your beliefs with the OWS mob. It appears to me that you, along with the mob, have just discovered “WE The People” and are intent to bring new meaning to this powerful statement as you and they are obviously not content with the original meaning.

Since you deny God, you must credit man for our constitutional rights despite the fact that those men themselves credited God as the originator of which they wrote.

One must necessarily be a very angry person who would deny the obvious about the intentions of our founders.

You have a profound confusion and appear unable to distinguish between Natural and Legal Rights. Natural rights are those not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote…”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

Simple logic implies what Jefferson knew and millions of others know. There can not be a creation without a Creator.

The atheist believes in magical fantasy. That something may come from nothing.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 8, 2011 1:20 PM
Comment #332829


Tom, did your research reveal that the Jesuits are Christians?

Iran is a perfect example of Religion and religious leaders dominating a state. How would you like to be a Christian living in Iran?

Religion is no different than kings, the wealthy or socialist dictators, you give them the power to dominate and they will. They will persecute all who oppose their power.

Not Christianity but Christians in the name of Christianity have done this when they had the power to do so. Eventually the Protestant sects broke away from the Church, seeking their own influence and power.

The wealthy with their corporations have gained a dominate position of influencing with government. The OWS is protesting wealth’s domination and the benefits they have accrued from dominating government policies. Wealth has turned their attack dogs loose on the OWS. The attack dogs say things like, these kids are the worse form of scum on the planet. Bribe the politician, attack the opposition.

Those who have power use it to protect their power to the detriment of others.

The first day of core ethics class: Teacher asks: “How many of you are Christians?” Answer: 90%. “How many of you believe a woman has a right to choose to have an abortion?”
Answer: 70%. “All of you who believe a woman has a right to choose are not Christians.”

Conclusion: A majority of Americans are not Christians, they just think they are.

Posted by: jlw at December 8, 2011 2:09 PM
Comment #332830
those men themselves credited God as the originator of which they wrote.

No. As I said previously: The founders did not impose God upon We The People. They used the word “Creator” and “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” instead. There is a HUGE difference between those two concepts. A Creator or Nature’s God could really mean anything — thus it is open to every individual’s own interpretation. It could be “God”, or “Allah”, or “Yahweh”, or the “Great Spirit” or it could be an Unknowable Phenomenon, or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The Deism and Freemasonry of so many of the founders was obviously very influential in the way they chose to word this. Their wording intentionally left room for everyone. They made sure that all Americans, including agnostics like me, and even atheists, could agree with America’s foundational principles.
Your problem apparently is that you don’t approve of such room being made for everyone in this nation, so you stupidly try to claim that these men meant a Christian God, despite all of the many historical facts that clearly show otherwise.

One must necessarily be a very angry person who would deny the obvious about the intentions of our founders.

I’m not angry at all. I think it’s really very wonderful that the founders of this nation allowed for complete religious freedom. But I think it’s very clear that you are actually the angry one — because all of your comments show that you would rather make up a bunch of lies in order to suit your own religious fanaticism, as well as sneer in obvious bigotry against non-believers.

You have a profound confusion and appear unable to distinguish between Natural and Legal Rights. Natural rights are those not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable.

This comes straight out of left field. I have no confusion regarding this topic.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote…”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

Right. Human Equality is self evident. That means your belief in a Christian God is perfectly fine. And my agnosticism is also perfectly fine. And despite our differences of opinion, we are Equals as Americans, and are both endowed with unalienable rights.

Simple logic implies what Jefferson knew and millions of others know. There can not be a creation without a Creator.

Jefferson was a Deist. A Creator does not necessarily mean “God.”

The atheist believes in magical fantasy. That something may come from nothing

I feel very sorry for you. Because your comments to me reveal you as a liar and a bigot. And how ironic that is! Because on the one hand, your God preached love and forgiveness and tried to tell his followers to do the same, and on the other hand the founders of this nation chose not discriminate against people like me — instead, they were intelligent and wise enough to leave room for everyone’s beliefs and opinions.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 8, 2011 2:14 PM
Comment #332834

I find Adrienne’s remark about my so-called discrimination confusing. We are not arguing about who has “rights”, but rather, from where they emanate. She would have us believe that inalienable means of “man”. Jefferson clearly says they come from our “Creator”. So now, the discussion centers around what the word “Creator” meant to our founders, and means to us…today.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 8, 2011 3:46 PM
Comment #332835

Royal creator means different things to different people. Jefferson wrote “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

What he didn’t write was “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by yours or mine or a specific religions idea of Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

So to some it is in fact God to others it is a rabbit or something else. Evidently he didn’t want to establish a religion when writing this ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creator_God

Posted by: j2t2 at December 8, 2011 4:11 PM
Comment #332836

On the subject of Deism it is important to understand that this word is derived from the Latin word for God…Deus.

Deism is a natural religion. Deists believe in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion or religious authority or holy text. Because of this, Deism is quite different from religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The opposite of Deism is Atheism — the lack of a belief in god(s).

Deists disagree with Atheists who assert that there is no evidence of the existence of God

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 8, 2011 4:14 PM
Comment #332837

j2t2 writes; “Royal creator means different things to different people. Jefferson wrote “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

Yes, I supposed it does…and to Jefferson, a Deist, Creator meant God.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 8, 2011 4:27 PM
Comment #332838

My comment:

“How come the left loves to attempt to quote Scripture and love to tell how tolerant they are of all religions, and even love to tell how religious they are personally; but when it comes to attacks on the beliefs of our founding fathers, or the fact that Judao-Christian beliefs were the foundation of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, we find such hatred and personal attacks on from the left?”

Adrienne’s response to my comment:

“LOL! Frank’s comments are over the top cartoon-hilarious!”
Posted by: Adrienne at December 8, 2011 12:00 PM

Then Adrienne goes on to say:

“And how ironic that is! Because on the one hand, your God preached love and forgiveness and tried to tell his followers to do the same,”

Adrienne denies the existence of Jesus Christ or God the Father for that matter, and yet goes on to attempt to explain what Jesus (whom she does not believe in, and therefore does not believe in His Words) is actually saying to His followers. I understand this seems a little warped on Adrienne’s part. But this is common practice of SD, Adrienne, phx8, jlw, and all the rest of the socialists on WB. They love to quote Jesus Word’s to conservatives; Words they don’t believe or an author they don’t believe existed. And of course, this makes Adrienne laugh hilariously.

Here are some things for Adrienne to think about when she gets a chance:

“Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together…” —William Bradford (The Mayflower Compact)

“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?” “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity”?
—John Quincy Adams

“ God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel”—Benjamin Franklin

“For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.” —Alexander Hamilton

“ It has been the error of the schools to teach astronomy, and all the other sciences, and subjects of natural philosophy, as accomplishments only; whereas they should be taught theologically, or with reference to the Being who is the author of them: for all the principles of science are of divine origin. Man cannot make, or invent, or contrive principles: he can only discover them; and he ought to look through the discovery to the Author.” —Thomas Pain

“ The evil that has resulted from the error of the schools, in teaching natural philosophy as an accomplishment only, has been that of generating in the pupils a species of atheism. Instead of looking through the works of creation to the Creator himself, they stop short, and employ the knowledge they acquire to create doubts of his existence. They labour with studied ingenuity to ascribe every thing they behold to innate properties of matter, and jump over all the rest by saying, that matter is eternal.” —Thomas Pain

George Washington’s first official order after tang command of the Continental Army on July 4, 1775 read:

“The General most earnestly requires and expects a due observance of those articles of war established for the government of the army, which forbid profane cursing, swearing, and drunkenness. And in like manner he expects of all officers and soldiers, not engaged in actual duty, a punctual attendance on Divine service, to implore the blessing of heaven upon the means used for our safety and defense.”

Five days later, the Commander and Chief fired off another “religious” directive:

“The honorable Continental Congress having been pleased to allow a chaplain to each regiment, with the pay of thirty-three and one third dollars per month, the colonels and commanding officers of each regiment are directed to procure chaplains – accordingly persons of good character and exemplary lives – to see that all inferior officers and soldiers pay them a suitable respect, and attend carefully upon religious exercises. The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary, but especially is it in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor so to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.”

Adrienne, might I suggest you read some of General Washington’s accounts of Divine providence leading him and the continental army to victory. These quotes by the founders of this country fly in the face of your modern revisionist history. Might I suggest you read “What Hath God Wrought” by Dr. William P. Grady, American History professor at Hyles-Anderson University.

Now we see the quotes of Barrack Hussein Obama:

“Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”—Barack Obama

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it’s because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who’ve been all too eager to exploit what divides us.”
— Barack Obama

When Obama attacks Christian leaders and accusing them of dividing the nation, he is referring to the founding fathers of the nation.

Posted by: Frank at December 8, 2011 4:32 PM
Comment #332839

Just in case Adrienne was laughing hilariousy at the thought of the Ten Commandments being a basis for the writing of the Constitution, I will add this:

James Madison, known as the
father of the Constitution, said:

“We have staked the whole future of
American civilization, not upon the
power of government, far from it. We
have staked the future of all of our
political institutions upon the capacity
of mankind for self-government; upon
the capacity of each and all of us to
govern ourselves, to sustain ourselves,
according to the Ten Commandments of
God.”


Posted by: Frank at December 8, 2011 4:47 PM
Comment #332842

Frank, I enjoyed reading again the quotes you provided. No doubt Adrienne will find some objection, though I can’t imagine what it will be.

When someone laughs at those who do believe in God it only serves to strengthen our resolve for proper interpretation of our founding documents and the meaning of the words contained within them.

The atheist does not acknowledge God as the supreme being and grantor of our inalienable rights. They believe our rights come from man and thus, can be taken away by man. This is the danger that their view presents to all freedom loving persons around the world. To eliminate our freedoms means they must dispense with God first.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 8, 2011 5:23 PM
Comment #332843

“To eliminate our freedoms means they must dispense with God first.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 8, 2011 5:23 PM

Exactly Royal and this is the reason for the all out push to abolish all records of divine intervention. They believe if they quote revisionist history enough, people will begin to believe it.

I find Thomas Pain’s above comments so prevalent for today. Rush Limbaugh has hit on a point recently where all youth are told they must attend college or they will never amount to anything. This causes many young people to become indebted to the government for student loans, enriches the colleges and universities, and allows them to fill the heads of young people with the mush of revisionist history. Hence, the brain dead comments from the likes of Adrienne and other socialists.

Posted by: Frank at December 8, 2011 5:38 PM
Comment #332845
When Obama attacks Christian leaders and accusing them of dividing the nation, he is referring to the founding fathers of the nation.

Frank what nonsense you spout. Obama is referring to the evangelicals of this generation. Falwell Robertson, Van Imp, and the other haters that have been dividing the nation the past 30 years. These are exactly the people the founding fathers didn’t want running government.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 8, 2011 6:35 PM
Comment #332847

j2t2, I must disagree with your comment. That Christian leaders have urged their followers to vote for conservative family values is hardly evidence of hatred and division.

The Godless will always chastise believers. That Christians have values and look for candidates who espouse those values should come as no surprise. Since obama doesn’t attract the religious vote in any substantial numbers he must deride them. We all know of the church he attended and the inflammatory remarks he listened to in that church for many years. obama claims he is a Christian but many of us wonder what that may mean to him. Do his beliefs match those of his pastor of many years? Does obama also “damn” America? From some of his anti-American statements a case could be made that he does.

Where do you and obama find hatred and division in pro-family sentiments?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 8, 2011 7:27 PM
Comment #332849
“Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”—Barack Obama

Frank this quote by Obama is an accurate reflection of the facts. Despite your hatred for Obama the fact is he is correct. What is important to note is despite these differences in religious beliefs we can settle our differences without bloodshed. Not all countries can say that.

Christianity is not the offender.

Take a look at what Islam is doing.


Religious intolerance has been with this nation since before it’s inception. Look at the extremist conservatives of today that won’t vote for Romney because of his Mormon faith,Tom. The excuse that their extremist religious fanatics are worse than our extremist religious fanatics may be true Tom but that still doesn’t make our extremist right.

Learn from those living in a country rules by their religious leaders. They have Sharia Law, why would they want to bring it with them when they come here? Why would we want to go down the same path as the country where they came from, with any religion?

Frank interesting quotes from our founding fathers. Did you know the Adams, both John and Abagail along with their son John Quincy were Unitarians?

The founding fathers came from many different religious backgrounds. The one thing they agreed upon was the fact that in order for our system of government to work the people must be virtuous. We can believe or not believe, we can believe the same or we can believe differently and the system of government we have will serve us well if as part of our belief system we are virtuous, regardless of where the virtue comes from.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 8, 2011 7:44 PM
Comment #332854

“From some of his [Obama] anti-American statements a case could be made that he does.”

Royal Flush,

Its one thing to assert such a proposition. Its another to prove it. How about proving it for once! Full context of Obama’s anti-American statements would be appreciated.

Posted by: Rich at December 8, 2011 9:59 PM
Comment #332856
The Godless will always chastise believers.

And vice versa Royal. In fact it is usually those expressing family values that are doing the chastising. The evangelicals like to dish it out and then complain that it is the Godless chastising the believers.

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
Pat Robertson

That Christians have values and look for candidates who espouse those values should come as no surprise.

It comes as no surprise. Yet in a discussion on the wall of separation between church and state we see at least 2 conservatives here on WB bringing Obama into the conversation as if he was a founding father. It seems to me Royal that “values” is a mere political tool and the leaders that use this ploy usually don’t have any values but hate.

Since obama doesn’t attract the religious vote in any substantial numbers he must deride them. We all know of the church he attended and the inflammatory remarks he listened to in that church for many years.

The problem with social conservatives seems to be they think they are the only float in the parade Royal. This rigidity in thought and action is wrong IMHO. The fact is Obama does attract religious voters just not the kind that think Bachmann would be a good president.

“54% of Catholics voted for Obama (vs. 45% for McCain), although among White Catholics, 47% voted for Obama while 52% for McCain.”

http://thesocietypages.org/colorline/2008/11/06/14-exit-poll-statistics-about-obama%E2%80%99s-victory/


obama claims he is a Christian but many of us wonder what that may mean to him. Do his beliefs match those of his pastor of many years? Does obama also “damn” America? From some of his anti-American statements a case could be made that he does.

I don’t know Royal seeings your a social conservative evangelical do you seduce gay men with methamphetamine like Pastor Ted does? Instead of wondering if Obama is christian you guys should keep a better eye on your leaders IMHO. The audacity of the extremist right wing in attacking the presidents religious beliefs or as you say wondering what that may mean when he tells us he is a Christian is the best argument for the wall of separation between church and state, IMHO Royal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Haggard

I see you also make false accusations about the President of the United States. Are you also anti_American?

Where do you and obama find hatred and division in pro-family sentiments?

I didn’t know Obama was even in on this discussion, Royal, let alone taking the time to find hatred and division here. That statement was mine not Obama’s but it does explain a lot about how you guys get all mixed up with you facts so much.

To answer your question I would say that for starters I don’t find hatred and division in pro-family statements. But you incorrectly assume that is all your evangelical leaders do Royal so let me enlighten you.

“in February 2011, televangelist, founder and senior pastor of Glory House London, Dr Albert Odulele was charged with two counts of sexual assault, one involving a 14-year-old boy and another on a 21-year-old man.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_evangelist_scandals

That seems pretty hateful to me Royal, at the least it sure isn’t family values.

Here is another one from Robertson.
“You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist.” — Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 14, 1991

Posted by: j2t2 at December 8, 2011 11:22 PM
Comment #332860

RF:

So now, the discussion centers around what the word “Creator” meant to our founders, and means to us…today.

Deists don’t claim to know anything about “the Creator” they choose to believe in, even though many claim to see hallmarks of this entity all over the natural world. And Deists don’t bother to ascribe to any kind of religious teachings, since they obviously don’t think organized religion holds any real authority or actual knowledge on such questions, and thus, would not have answers they consider valid.

What the word “Creator” as used in the Declaration means to us today is open to our own individual interpretations, just as it has always been. The first amendment (then and now) protects the religious freedom of every citizen.

But here’s the thing, it’s like you’re intentionally insisting on missing the forest for the trees. You’re obviously so damn fanatically focused on religion that ALL you want to discuss is the word “Creator.”
News Flash! The Declaration of Independence wasn’t addressed to King George for religious purposes. It’s a declaration that informed a King that We The People would no longer be “his subjects.” That we were done with the pompous nonsensical horsesh*t of Monarchy. That the so-called “Divine Right” of monarchs to rule over us had come to an end. It is a statement declaring that what would guide this nation of people henceforth was Human Equality: “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.” The Declaration dissolved the groveling posture of masses of people before a King, and in standing up negated all of his power over us. By declaring our equality with the King and with each other we, assumed a realm of human dignity and power, and autonomy for ourselves.

Thus this question of what the founders meant by “a Creator” or “Nature’s God” is not a crucial question AT ALL. What IS important is having a government that chose to at long last acknowledge human equality as a self evident truth, and as a truth that naturally endows each and every one of us with unalienable rights.

On the subject of Deism it is important to understand that this word is derived from the Latin word for God…Deus.
No. The etymology of the word Deism is of zero importance here. What’s of real interest is trying to gain an understanding of the various philosophical underpinnings (including religion) of the men who founded this nation. The fact that they were Deists (and/or Freemasons) is only of importance to discuss because it is quite clear that it was a crucial factor in determining what kind of government America ended up with.

As a result of these men holding open-minded, rational, philosophical stances on religious and spiritual matters, they obviously weren’t going to want to make religion the foundation on which to build this new nation’s government. That’s what they knew that all of Europe had under Monarchy, and this was something they rejected entirely.

Instead, they opted for a separation of Church and State and went about creating a government that was designed to be strictly rational and broad-minded so it could function well for a nation full of people who were dedicated to the self evident truth of human equality — while being made up of people from wildly diverse backgrounds. An inclusive society fully capable of accepting many different opinions, and faiths — even including those people with no religious faith at all.

Deism is a natural religion. Deists believe in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion or religious authority or holy text. Because of this, Deism is quite different from religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The opposite of Deism is Atheism — the lack of a belief in god(s).

Deists disagree with Atheists who assert that there is no evidence of the existence of God

I’ve always thought of Deists as being rather like sentimental Agnostics. :^) Like Agnostics and Atheists they completely threw out all of the rote traditions and dogmas and hocus-pocus of established religions, yet decided to hold onto to the single idea that there was a Creator (and/or Divine Providence, to use their frequent parlance) that acts as a benevolent, though completely undefined and mysterious, force.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 9, 2011 1:32 AM
Comment #332863

Frank:

Adrienne denies the existence of Jesus Christ or God the Father for that matter, and yet goes on to attempt to explain what Jesus (whom she does not believe in, and therefore does not believe in His Words) is actually saying to His followers.

I was raised in the Christian faith, so I do know. I wouldn’t say a word if I didn’t.

I understand this seems a little warped on Adrienne’s part. But this is common practice of SD, Adrienne, phx8, jlw, and all the rest of the socialists on WB. They love to quote Jesus Word’s to conservatives; Words they don’t believe or an author they don’t believe existed.

Well, I won’t speak for the others, but yes, I always feel free to call out so-called Christians on their blatant hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty.

And of course, this makes Adrienne laugh hilariously.

No, what I find hilarious is your truly pathetic attempts at discussion and debate. You sound crazed with anger and hatred, and your arguments are all snotty and disrespectful, as well as incredibly non-linear — to the point of incoherence!
I really was assuming that you weren’t at all interested in being taken seriously. I mean, look at the list of quotes you posted above:

William Bradford (The Mayflower Compact)!!!
Thomas Pain(sic)?!!!
Dr. William P. Grady?!!!
Barack Obama?!!!
I’m sorry, but I just can’t help finding this side-splittingly funny!

Since you like quotes, here are some for you:

You gave a single quote from Madison (a man who spent his entire political career strenuously fighting for the separation of church and state, as well as for the separation of powers in our government), well here’s 24 more Madison quotes that outline his stances on religion and the separation of church and state:
Quotes on Religion — James Madison

You gave a couple from Thomas Paine — so here’s 63 more (he wrote quite a lot about religion):
Quotes on Religion — Thomas Paine

You also gave a couple quotes from George Washington — here are 9 more:
Quotes on Religion — George Washington

And finally, you gave one from Benjamin Franklin — here are many more:
Ben Franklin Quotes

I realize you probably won’t like the link sources above, but you can always google the quotes if you’re interested in fact checking them.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 9, 2011 2:48 AM
Comment #332870

The whole question is what is the status of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The founding fathers are gone. Our present day relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing. When you are no longer present on earth, where will you spend eternity? You can choose the home of the great deceiver, Satan, or you can choose the Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ. That really is not a difficult decision. But it is each one of us making that choice. We are not followers of Flip Wilson nor does our Heavenly Father force us to make that decision. It is left up to us.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at December 9, 2011 11:24 AM
Comment #332873

Tom. And that is a personal issue each of us must decide for ourselves. Not a Preacher seeking power through the federal government. Not the government seeking power over your spiritual decisions.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 9, 2011 11:42 AM
Comment #332875

Adrienne, you really are a silly girl. I have absolutely no problem with all the quotes you provided. They are directly in line with the quotes I provided. These founding fathers understood the religious hierarchy that the early settlers had escaped when coming to America. The dominant religions of Catholicism, Anglican, Presbyterian, etc., had been involved in control of government and in many cases were considered state religions. What you fail to understand is that Christianity (the Christianity established by Christ) was never an organized religion. In fact, the John the Revelator spoke of Christ’s hatred of a religious hierarchy system, in the Book of Revelation, Chapters 2 & 3. The words of our founding fathers also referred to these religious hierarchies as evil.

“Frank:

“Adrienne denies the existence of Jesus Christ or God the Father for that matter, and yet goes on to attempt to explain what Jesus (whom she does not believe in, and therefore does not believe in His Words) is actually saying to His followers.”

I was raised in the Christian faith, so I do know. I wouldn’t say a word if I didn’t.

“I understand this seems a little warped on Adrienne’s part. But this is common practice of SD, Adrienne, phx8, jlw, and all the rest of the socialists on WB. They love to quote Jesus Word’s to conservatives; Words they don’t believe or an author they don’t believe existed.”

Well, I won’t speak for the others, but yes, I always feel free to call out so-called Christians on their blatant hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty. ..

“I realize you probably won’t like the link sources above, but you can always google the quotes if you’re interested in fact checking them.”
Posted by: Adrienne at December 9, 2011 2:48 AM

Adrienne, you growing up in a Christian home certainly does not make you a Christian. In fact your comments show a resentment of how your parents raised you. In fact your comments, “blatant hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty”, are revealing not your opinion, but your hatred toward Christians. Hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty is a human factor and not just reserved for Christians. Unless you mistakenly believe that when a person becomes a Christian, he/she is miraculously transformed into a perfect human being?

I have absolutely no problem with any of the quotes. I find that like men or women in any point in history; we find differences in beliefs. But unlike the vitriolic hatred of the left today for anything closely related to God or Christianity; the founding fathers had no problem with the Bible or with Christianity. Remember, Christianity and religious hierarchies are two different things. The founding fathers had no problem with the worship of God, whether it is done by themselves or by others. But what they did have a problem with was the religious hierarchy that had entangled itself in the governments of Europe, and had been responsible for the persecution of millions of people, simply because of their religious beliefs.

One of the largest groups of Christians in America was Baptists. Baptist has no religious hierarchy; they were made up of individual churches that were only accountable to their own congregation. In fact, Baptist Churches were persecuted in Virginia until the writing of the Constitution. Read “Imprisoned Preachers and Religious Liberty in Virginia”, by Lewis Peyton Little, 1938.

“These Baptist, who were not affiliated with any organized religion, were a moving force behind the 1st Amendment, requiring freedom of religion:

“John Leland, a neighbor of both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, was nominated to be the Orange County delegate to the Virginia convention for ratification. Knowing that Reverend Leland’s concerns were not so much with what the Constitution said, but rather with what it specifically did “not” say, Madison embarked upon an historic private conference with the influential Baptist. When Madison assured the man of God and that he would lobby for a favorable amendment as a forthcoming member of the Virginia House of Representatives, his would-be rival not only pledged his personal support but graciously stepped aside, allowing the more persuasive and articulate Madison to attend the convention in his place.

After a long and hot debate, the Virginia convention ratified the Constitution on July 28, 1788, by a vote of 89-79, five days after New Hampshire’s endorsement had settled the nine-state minimum. The following year, Madison defeated James Monroe for Congress and set out to fulfill his part of the bargain…

In his closing remarks, the first president of the United States praised the Baptists for the exceptional patriotism they displayed throughout the revolution:

“While I recollect with satisfaction that the religious society of which you are members have been throughout America, uniformly and almost unanimously, the firm friends to civil liberty, and the persevering promoters of our glorious revolution, I cannot hesitate to believe that they will be faithful supports of a free yet efficient General Government. Under this pleasing expectation I rejoice to assure them that they may rely upon my best wishes and endeavors to advance their prosperity.”

We can all be grateful that these promises of Washington and Madison were made in a time when a man’s word was his bond. James Madison faithfully championed the historic Baptist distinctive of soul liberty, and there was no way to refute the argument. As Eidsmoe summarized: “Society is unable to give government authority over religion because society has no authority over religion—religion is a matter between God and each individual.”

When Madison introduced his initial proposal of the First Amendment on the floor of the House of Representatives on June 7, 1789, the wording stated: “The Civil Rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, nor on any pretext infringed.”

Because the First Amendment was such a political hot potato, Madison’s original draft was altered several times in committee. However, the cardinal point regarding his first proposal confirms the author’s clarity of intent. From the phrase, “nor shall any national religion be established,” we under -stand that the primary objective of the First Amendment was to check the possibility of another state church ever rearing its ugly head in America again.

Finally, 1,757 long years after God’s first preachers were confronted by local authorities who “laid hands on them,), the dawn of a new era had most definitely arrived. Collectively ratified on December 15, 1791, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights reads as follows:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

Is it any wonder that the renowned John Locke wrote: “The Baptists were the first and only propounders of absolute liberty”.

Thanks to the doggedness of a patriotic Baptist preacher, America could now be “free indeed”. (John 8:36b) The pastor’s memorial can be seen alongside a lone highway in Orange County, Virginia:

1754-1841
ELDER JOHN LELAND
COURAGE LEADER OF
THE BAPTIST DOCTRINE
ARDENT ADVOCATE OF THE PRINCIPLES
OF DEMOCRACY
VINDICATOR OF SEPARATION
OF CHURCH AND STATE
NEAR THIS SPOT ION 1788 ELDER JOHN LELAND
AND JAMES MADISON, THE FATHER OF THE AMERICAN
CONSTITUTION, HELD A SIGNIFICANT INTERVIEW
WHICH RESULTED IN THE ADOPTION OF THE
CONSTITUTION BY VIRGINIA. THEN MADISON
A MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM ORANGE PRESENTED
THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
GUARANTEEING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY, FREE SPEECH AND
A FREE PRESS. THIS SATISFIED LELAND AND HIS
BAPTIST FOLLOWERS.
PRESENTED BY EUGENE BUCKLIN BOWEN PRESIDENT
BERKSIRE COUNTY MASSACHUSETTS CHAPTER
SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

“What Hath God Wrought” by Dr. William P. Grady, Copyright 1996


We have a historical fact of Virginia Baptists involving themselves directly in the ratification of the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. According to today’s leftist Democrats, these people were in violation of unduly influencing politics. What is the difference between the Virginia Baptists standing upon moral grounds some 225 years ago and the involvement of Christians in moral laws today? I submit the only difference is those of the hearer: the founders of this nation did not have a problem with, morality, or Christianity, and neither did they have a hatred of Christianity. Yet today, the arguments of the left against morality and Christianity are based upon their hatred of morality and Christianity. While the left spouts religious liberty, they do not support religious liberty. The left’s words of today are an antithesis to everything our founding fathers believed.

Unless you are able to understand the difference between organized religion and Christianity, you will never be able to understand the Founding Father’s or my own comments. It was individual Christian churches who fought for religious freedom and our founding fathers understood the difference between these individual churches and organized religion. Organized religion is as much the enemy of Christianity as government is the enemy of the American citizen.

Posted by: Frank at December 9, 2011 1:55 PM
Comment #332877

j2t2,
Exactly. Btw, thanks for opening this discussion. I’ve enjoyed reading many of the excellent comments you’ve made in this thread.

Tom,
Oy vey. Do you ever get a twinge of self-awareness of how arrogant and fanatical your comments might sound to people who don’t happen to share your own religious opinions? Despite this fact, I really want to thank you for so clearly underscoring how incredibly lucky we were to have had an American government that was formed by large number of Deists and Freemasons.

If our founders had thought as you do that: “Our present day relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing” it would have been completely disastrous for this nation.
Because wise, effective, and capable governments do not preoccupy themselves with a nebulous afterlife, or eternities, or any invisible realms. A government’s job is to work for masses of people down here on Planet Earth — “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty…”

If we had had founders who think and feel as you do, we would never have had a Declaration that claimed for it’s nation’s people the self evident truth of human equality, or unalienable rights, or a Constitution that gave people democratic and religious freedoms, and complete freedom of the press, etc., etc. Instead, we would have had a narrow, tightly-controlled Theocracy.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 9, 2011 2:40 PM
Comment #332878

I am thankful every day that as an atheist in the United States, I don’t have to worry about being carted off to jail for not ‘worshiping god’. The same for my wife, a wiccan. Also my family who are mostly Roman Catholic, had a Baptist theocracy come into being.

Respecting the rights of others as long as we agree with them is easy. Respecting them even when we disagree is real liberty.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 9, 2011 2:52 PM
Comment #332882

Frank:

Adrienne, you growing up in a Christian home certainly does not make you a Christian.

I do not claim to be a Christian. I am Agnostic. I know the teachings of Christianity because I was raised by Christians, and because I have read the bible. Thus, I am able to quote and discuss what I know and learned, even though I do not ascribe to christian faith. What you’re trying to do is deny that I have any right to do so — and that is nonsense.

In fact your comments show a resentment of how your parents raised you.

No, that’s incorrect. I resent the bigotry and hatred of people who claim to be Christians against my Agnosticism. Indeed, I resent any person who tries to lie and assume outrageous and incorrect things about me — as you are doing.

In fact your comments, “blatant hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty”, are revealing not your opinion, but your hatred toward Christians.

I do not hate Christians, and wasn’t addressing Christians at large. I was calling out the people in this thread who call themselves Christians while being blatantly hypocritical, bigoted, and dishonest.

Hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty is a human factor and not just reserved for Christians. Unless you mistakenly believe that when a person becomes a Christian, he/she is miraculously transformed into a perfect human being?

What I dislike is Christians who claim or try to assume that they possess a superiority of character, ethics and morality, simply because they are Christians. When in fact, this is a clearly a false claim and/or erroneous assumption.

Re: Dr. William P. Grady — I don’t care about this man’s opinions, or his political slant on history. I already knew all about John Leland and the Baptist struggle for religious freedom in America. If you personally wish to give great weight to what this Grady person says on that subject, that’s fine — good for you. But you mustn’t expect the same of me.

We have a historical fact of Virginia Baptists involving themselves directly in the ratification of the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

It wasn’t just Baptists who were involved — there were all kinds of people involved in this process. Were you assuming that I would be surprised that the first ten amendments to the Constitution needed to be ratified? Well, I’m not. Indeed, the entire Constitution needed ratification by the States. But there were disputes between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists (especially Patrick Henry) over ratification. It did come down to hinging on the state of Virginia, because the anti-Federalists there insisted on the amendments that eventually became what we call The Bill of Rights before they would agree to a complete ratification of the Constitution. Madison was the sole author of the Bill of Rights.

According to today’s leftist Democrats, these people were in violation of unduly influencing politics. What is the difference between the Virginia Baptists standing upon moral grounds some 225 years ago and the involvement of Christians in moral laws today? I submit the only difference is those of the hearer: the founders of this nation did not have a problem with, morality, or Christianity, and neither did they have a hatred of Christianity. Yet today, the arguments of the left against morality and Christianity are based upon their hatred of morality and Christianity. While the left spouts religious liberty, they do not support religious liberty. The left’s words of today are an antithesis to everything our founding fathers believed.

Unless you are able to understand the difference between organized religion and Christianity, you will never be able to understand the Founding Father’s or my own comments.

This is just nothing but Idiotic Horsesh*t — start to finish.

It was individual Christian churches who fought for religious freedom and our founding fathers understood the difference between these individual churches and organized religion.

There was a demand for religious freedom since the beginning in America. However, James Madison was the founder who fought hardest for the separation of church and state in American government.

Organized religion is as much the enemy of Christianity

I don’t care about either one. I only think it’s important for every individual to be able to freely believe whatever it is that they want to believe.

government is the enemy of the American citizen.

Again, this is complete and total Idiocy and Horsesh*t! Without a government the people are defenseless against those whoever would seek to attack their rights and interests. Without a government people are only are left with Anarchy, Oligarchy, or Dictatorship. Since you seem to think that government is the enemy of Americans, maybe you would like to tell us which one of those three you support?

Posted by: Adrienne at December 9, 2011 4:05 PM
Comment #332883

Baptist have ALWAYS rejected theocracy; there was a time when the Dutch Baptist were so popular (because of their industrious work ethic and morality), they were asked to represent Holland as a state religion. The Dutch Bapist refused. Baptist have always held to seperation of church and state. Baptist believed people could worship any way their conscious desired; they only rejected the European state religions which demanded government sponsored religion.

Posted by: Frank at December 9, 2011 4:15 PM
Comment #332884

Adrienne, all you have managed to do is reiterate your dislike for Christianity based upon your childhood. You claim your own personal interpretation of history supersedes historians who have spent their lives studying the subject. I further stated, if you cannot understand the concept of individual Christian churches and state organized religions, it will be impossible for you to understand what the founding fathers were talking about.

You said, correctly, that the ratification of the Bill of Rights came down to the state of Virginia and James Madison, but it was Virginia Baptist who demanded that James Madison stand up for religious liberty. It was the support of the Virginia Baptist that brought about the ratification. Now, you have the right to deny this, based on your preconceived hatred of Christianity, but that doesn’t change history. In fact, all of your argument is based upon your feelings and not upon fact. You spend most of your time saying how much you hate Christians and calling them names.

Who are you to call out Christians on WB; do you know anything about our lives? Do you know anything about our beliefs, education, or ministries? No, you don’t, but you make blanket statements about Christians based upon what your interpretation of what we should believe or not believe?

The problem with the left is their arrogance that everyone who does not believe like them is ignorant. If we do not believe in big government and socialism as you do, we are ignorant; if we support a conservative candidate, in opposition to your belief we should support a RINO, we are ignorant; we can’t even form our own interpretations of our religious beliefs, if we do, we are ignorant.

You say you were raised in a Christian home and have read the Bible and understand it, and at the same time you are agnostic. Let me say first, I don’t care what you believe and would certainly not entertain any thought of trying to convert you; but that being said, if you are a student of the Bible and able to teach it, I am sure you are familiar with these verses:

1Co 2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

What this says, is that the Word of God is revealed to those who are redeemed. Meaning, only Christians can interpret the Word of God, based on the fact that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and allows him to understand the Word. I’m sure you will disagree with this, and that’s fine, but it is based upon God’s Word. And let “God be true and everyman a liar”. So by your own statement, that you are an agnostic; from what God has told us in His Word, it is impossible for you to understand the Bible, no matter how many times you have read it.

Posted by: Frank at December 9, 2011 4:54 PM
Comment #332885


“Unless you understand the difference between organized religion and Christianity,”

If you can believe that there is a difference between organized religion and Christianity you can muddy the water with regards to the thinking of our Founding Fathers.

Christianity is divided into many organized sects, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Greek Orthodox, Quakers, Armenians, etc.

Baptists are members of one of the largest organized religions in the country.

If you practice Christianity or any other religious belief in private and do not participate in any religious groups, you may be considered not a member of an organized religion.

Religions form organizations that have meetings and conventions, write rules and regulations, make interpretations of scripture, teach those interpretations and many have open enrollment for new recruits willing to adopt their beliefs. Many small country churches are affiliated with a larger religious organization.

Many of them have what they call religious schools or Sunday schools where they attempt to indoctrinate the children while claiming that it is the public schools that are indoctrinating the children. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to indoctrinating our children.

Many evangelical Christian organizations have joined forces with the Republican Party and as things stand now, are supporting one of the least moral politicians in the country.

These Christian organizations are even considering rolling their organizations into one large evangelical organization encompassing all the evangelical sects.

Posted by: jlw at December 9, 2011 5:06 PM
Comment #332886

“Baptists are members of one of the largest organized religions in the country.”

jlw, your comments are typical of the anti-Christian left; all over the place.

You accuse Baptist of being an organized religion, you accuse religion of indoctrinating their children, you accuse evangelical Christians of joining forces with Republicans, and you accuse evangelicals of forming an ecumenical organization. Why do you guys on the left always use the subject of religion to announce your plethora of objections? Your arguments don’t really make any sense.

Re/Baptist; I assume you are referring to the SBC as being the largest organized religion in the country? First, the SBC was not in existence in the late 1700’s and is a moot point. Secondly; even though many Baptist churches are part of the SBC, they are also autonomous and self governing; unlike organized religions like Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Anglican, etc; who are subject to the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the organization. Southern Baptist Churches are not subject to any ecclesiastical body. They handle their own finances, have monthly business meetings, and vote in the own officers and pastors with no approval of a board. But beside that, there are thousands if independent Baptist churches who are not affiliated with any association, just as they were during the days of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. You might want to stick to a subject you know, but I know that is impossible because liberals are experts on every subject.

If you want to continue this line of thought, I will ask you to provide proof of Baptist churches being subject to ecclesiastical boards.

Posted by: Frank at December 9, 2011 6:04 PM
Comment #332887

Frank:

Adrienne, all you have managed to do is reiterate your dislike for Christianity based upon your childhood. You claim your own personal interpretation of history supersedes historians who have spent their lives studying the subject. I further stated, if you cannot understand the concept of individual Christian churches and state organized religions, it will be impossible for you to understand what the founding fathers were talking about.

You said, correctly, that the ratification of the Bill of Rights came down to the state of Virginia and James Madison, but it was Virginia Baptist who demanded that James Madison stand up for religious liberty. It was the support of the Virginia Baptist that brought about the ratification. Now, you have the right to deny this, based on your preconceived hatred of Christianity, but that doesn’t change history. In fact, all of your argument is based upon your feelings and not upon fact. You spend most of your time saying how much you hate Christians and calling them names.

These are the comments of a blatant liar and troll. I don’t like liars and I don’t feed trolls. Goodbye, Frank.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 9, 2011 6:34 PM
Comment #332890

“Goodbye” is an easy way to get out of tryig to defend your false claims. Oh, that the rest of the libs on WB were so easy to capitulate.

Posted by: Frank at December 9, 2011 6:56 PM
Comment #332904
Who are you to call out Christians on WB; do you know anything about our lives? Do you know anything about our beliefs, education, or ministries?

I will gladly call out Christians on WB and yes I do. I grew up Roman Catholic and was a born again Christian preacher in college in Chicago, ministering to the poor souls on the shores of Lake Michigan.

I am now an atheist because I studied quite a bit of the bible and learned that much of what Christians are told about the bible are lies, coupled with the hypocrisy and contradictions within the bible, and the fact that the ONLY proof anyone has that there is a ‘god’ is from that flawed work, leads a logical thinker to the only conclusion possible, it was put together to force people to behave a certain way by using fear as its only real motivational technique.

I find myself in disagreement with Adrienne quite a bit, but you are going to have to do better than to try to throw out a bunch of nonsense and call it meaningful just because you believe in it. That’s not how WB works.

What this says, is that the Word of God is revealed to those who are redeemed. Meaning, only Christians can interpret the Word of God, based on the fact that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and allows him to understand the Word. I’m sure you will disagree with this, and that’s fine, but it is based upon God’s Word.

Hey, I have a bible too, it’s by my lord and master, the flying spaghetti monster. It says that unless you really believe in the flying spaghetti monster, you can’t really understand anything about him and have no standing on questioning him. It also says he is the only real god, that the one of Christian faith is a lie.

Now tell me, how do you counter that paragraph? When you do, reverse the words and point it back to yourself and you will maybe see just how stupid that your whole argument really is…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2011 4:54 AM
Comment #332906

Rhinehold, the only thing I feel for you is pity. To claim to have once known the Savior of the world and now spending your life and energy denying him is a shame. I wonder how many have plunged headlong into hell because of your testimony?

Your anger at God has nothing to do with what Adrienne and I were discussing. She was claiming to have read the Bible and was able to quote verses. I simply explained to her that the Bible is not just a history book, but also inspired by the Holy Spirit and those who will understand it do so by the aid of the Holy Spirit. Since she is an agnostic, logic would tell us she has no Holy Spirit to interpret the Word for her. Therefore, she has no understanding of what the Word means.

When your “flying spagehetti monster’s” book has been around for 4000 years and has stood the test of time and the attacks and insults of some of the greatest minds on earth, then I will be glad to discuss this juvenile nonsense.

I have appreciated much of your writing, but it just goes to show, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. For some reason, there is a real deep seated anger in your heart toward God and apparently toward God’s people too.

Posted by: Frank at December 10, 2011 9:42 AM
Comment #332910

Frank,

“When your “flying spagehetti monster’s” book has been around for 4000 years and has stood the test of time and the attacks and insults of some of the greatest minds on earth, then I will be glad to discuss this juvenile nonsense.”

Except for the fact that the book you place so much credence in, in it’s present form hasn’t been around for nearly half that long, you might have a point.

I too, was raised a Catholic. I too read the Bible.I was an Altar boy when we had to learn Latin to serve, and attended Parochial school for 10 1/2 years.

I also took much on faith until there were too many questions and not enough answers.

Save your pity for someone that wants it.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at December 10, 2011 11:03 AM
Comment #332911
the only thing I feel for you is pity

You can do me a favor and shove it, k?

To claim to have once known the Savior of the world and now spending your life and energy denying him is a shame.

Yet, you deny the flying spaghetti monster, to deny him is a shame. To place another ‘god’ in front of him and plunging headlong into the abyss he sends those that he doesn’t like is also a shame for you.

Your anger at God has nothing to do with what Adrienne and I were discussing.

I have no anger at imaginary objects. It’s something that only an atheist can understand though, so you’ll have to just accept that, right?

She was claiming to have read the Bible and was able to quote verses.

What? A woman was READING? And claiming to have actually understood what she was reading? I can’t believe the audacity.

I simply explained to her that the Bible is not just a history book

There, I fixed that typo for you.

but also inspired by the Holy Spirit and those who will understand it do so by the aid of the Holy Spirit.

It was written by men to control men. Trying to use what it says to prove that what it says is true is the height of illogic.

Since she is an agnostic, logic would tell us she has no Holy Spirit to interpret the Word for her.

No, just a brain that ‘god’ gave her. Was he flawed in doing so? Only a believer can understand something enough to believe in it? I can’t believe you think this is somehow worthy of the capabilities that your ‘god’ has purportedly given us.

When your “flying spagehetti monster’s” book has been around for 4000 years and has stood the test of time and the attacks and insults of some of the greatest minds on earth, then I will be glad to discuss this juvenile nonsense.

Actually, I was being ironic. To be honest, I am a Taoist, the taoist books have been around longer than the bible. We could go back and discuss the books that the bible stole their stories from if you like? I mean, if you want to discuss how the bible ‘stands the test of time’, being able to show how it goes a bit further back might help you.

BTW, it hasn’t ‘stood the test of time’. People who study it not as a faith (and therefore requiring a withdrawl from logic by definition) but as it is understand what it really is.

Are you going to now call Taoism ‘juvenile nonsense’, text that have been around for 6000 years?

For some reason, there is a real deep seated anger in your heart toward God and apparently toward God’s people too.

Again, I have no anger towards imaginary objects. I don’t have anger towards Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny either.

I do have huge problems with people who have made some sort of ‘personal relationship’ with that imaginary object and then try to force those emotions and rules that they choose to live by onto others as if they have some sense of superiority. It’s laughable and sad, all at the same time.

Isn’t your relationship with ‘god’ supposed to be between you and him? Why do you insist in dragging it out into the open and demanding that others respect you for doing that?

As I said, most of my family is Roman Catholic. That is their choice. My dad was also a sheet metal worker. That was his choice. He doesn’t feel the need to make me a sheet metal worker, nor does he feel the need to make me a Roman Catholic either. Understanding individual liberties and freedoms are what makes us more human than any book written by men trying to subjugate them into submission as the bible was can ever possibly do.

You can put your holier than thou attitude right back in your bible and learn to let people make up their own minds. Maybe then you can learn a little of that humility that your book is supposed to be teaching you.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2011 11:12 AM
Comment #332912
I simply explained to her that the Bible is not just a history book

Sorry, formatting issue, it’s fixed right now.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 10, 2011 11:14 AM
Comment #332913

Rhinehold:

Yet, you deny the flying spaghetti monster, to deny him is a shame. To place another ‘god’ in front of him and plunging headlong into the abyss he sends those that he doesn’t like is also a shame for you.

Rhinehold, clearly Frank does indeed reside on the other side of the colander — for he does not know of his tender, noodly appendages, or been anointed with the (olive) oil. Only Pastafarians can truly see and know him in all his glistening, steaming glory. Ramen!
:^)

What? A woman was READING? And claiming to have actually understood what she was reading? I can’t believe the audacity.

Guilty as charged. I’ve always been such a naughty, wicked bibliophile!

Only a believer can understand something enough to believe in it?

It’s even more hilariously nutty than this. Frank tried to claim above that not only am I incapable of understanding the bible because I’m not a believer, but he also claims:

if you cannot understand the concept of individual Christian churches and state organized religions, it will be impossible for you to understand what the founding fathers were talking about.

He’s saying this because he obviously wants the separation of church and state to have been only about and all thanks to the Baptists of Virginia. This is incorrect. Sure the Baptists applied plenty of pressure to keep church and state separate, because the Anglicans wanted to run roughshod over the religious rights of the people there. But the Presbyterians objected too, along with large numbers of people who were civil libertarians (whether believers or non-believers).
Civil libertarians like Madison and Jefferson — who fought tirelessly for strict separation, simply on principle.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 10, 2011 12:29 PM
Comment #332916
Baptist have ALWAYS rejected theocracy;
Frank,I say Good for them. It is the right thing to do and I applaud them, if this is factual correct, for their wise ways. I don’t doubt that many Christians of different denominations helped to craft the Constitution and get it ratified.
Baptist have always held to seperation of church and state. Baptist believed people could worship any way their conscious desired; they only rejected the European state religions which demanded government sponsored religion.

0nce again, good for the Baptist. It is great that as a religious group those folks can see the problems that would arise from knocking down the wall of separation in our Constitution. I believe it is due to the abuse they suffered prior to the Revolution at the hands of states that had religious requirements for it’s citizens.

That being said it seems that today’s Southern Baptist are dealing with-
“Many Southern Baptist churches are seriously dysfunctional. There are schisms and divisions everywhere… within the congregations. There are competing attitudes that do not show evidence of love on any level.”


It seems to me they spend a lot of time involved in politics and perhaps this could be the source of their problems.

Frank, here is a list of signers of the Declaration of Independence with a column indicating their religious affiliations.

I assume the Baptist were part of the Congregationalists of the time. Perhaps you can clarify that.

“Without higher courts to ensure doctrinal uniformity among the congregations, Congregationalists have been more diverse than other Reformed churches. Despite the efforts of Calvinists to maintain the dominance of their system, some Congregational churches, especially in the older settlements of New England, gradually developed leanings toward Arminianism, Unitarianism, Deism, and transcendentalism.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregational_church


Posted by: j2t2 at December 10, 2011 1:52 PM
Comment #332917

Rhinehold Thanks. The discussion between Adrienne, Frank,jlw and yourself has also been enlightening. AT the very least it shows why church and state need to be separated, now more than ever.

It seems to me the more some religious leaders, and when I say that I include Agnostics and Atheists as well, want to be involved in politics the more problems it creates for themselves. The more rigid both sides become the more they lose. Converting souls is a calling that doesn’t lend itself to politics it seems.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 10, 2011 2:00 PM
Comment #332923

I wish to thank Adrienne for continuing her discussion with a “Liar and Troll”; much like alcohol makes some people brave, we see that support from Rhinhold has caused Adrienne to come out of her shell.

j2t2:

“That being said it seems that today’s Southern Baptist are dealing with-

“Many Southern Baptist churches are seriously dysfunctional. There are schisms and divisions everywhere… within the congregations. There are competing attitudes that do not show evidence of love on any level.”

As I said before, the SBC did not exist in the late 1700’s; however, the SBC may have had noble reasons for coming into existence, but like unions and government, one has to follow the money. The SBC has increasingly tried to gain control over local churches. The SBC has attempted to set themselves up as an overseer or hierarchy over local congregations. The link you provided deals with the very fact that the work of SB churches needs to be returned to the local congregations.

The Baptists were not part of the Congregationalist churches, and it doesn’t really matter what religion the founding fathers practiced. In fact, as I said before, Baptist in Virginia were persecuted by controlling denominations; of which you also agreed, “I believe it is due to the abuse they suffered prior to the Revolution at the hands of states that had religious requirements for it’s citizens.”

I am not saying that only Baptist worked to guarantee freedom of religion; but history proves they were deeply involved in the discussion. There is a deep seated resentment of Christians and Baptist because of their involvement in the War of independence and the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This post is about the separation of church and state, and most liberals believe the conservative evangelical movement is an attempt to govern in American by theocracy. Nothing could be further from the truth. And as there were many denominations of religion involved with the founding fathers, I will deal with Baptist simply because the left considers Baptist as a leading denomination with the evangelicals.

“Of the 100 plus chaplains employed in the Continental Army, over a third of them were Baptists. Because of their reproachful tag as “dissenters”, the Baptist clergymen were compelled to seek written permission that they “might be allowed to preach to the troops during the campaign with the same freedom as the chaplains of the established Church.” (J. T. Headley, “Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution”, pg. 71, 1864)

“Not only did Washington concur in this analysis, declaring, “Baptist chaplains were among the most prominent and useful in the army,” but even the British general, Howe, was forced to concede, “The Baptist were among the most strenuous supporters of liberty”

“Reverend John Gano, a pastor of the First Baptist Church in New York City, became one of the most influential chaplains of the entire war, especially with Washington, Christian states, “As a minister of Christ he shown like the of the first magnitude in the American churches, and moved in a widely extended field of action” (John T. Christian, “A History of the Baptist”)

“While Catholic and Episcopal priests were under constant suspicion for their Loyalist sentiments, Baptist preachers like Gano were having profound influence on Washington. In his famous biography, “The Life of George Washington, M. L. Weems shares the unforgettable encounter that a friend of the General’s named Potts experienced while walking through the snow at Valley Forge during the winter of ’77.

“Treading his way along the venerable grove, suddenly he heard the sound of a human voice, which as he advanced increased on his ear, and at length became like the voice of one speaking much in earnest. As he approached the spot with a cautious step, whom should he behold, in a dark natural bower of ancient oaks, but the commander in chief of the American armies on his knees at prayer! Motionless with surprise, a friend Potts continued on the place till the general, having ended his devotions, arose, and with the countenance of angelic serenity, retired to headquarters: friend Potts then went home, and on entering his parlour called out to his wife, “Sarah, my dear! Sarah! All’s well! All’s well! George Washington will yet prevail” (John Eidsmoe, “Christianity and the Constitution, pg. 113)

Washington was especially fond of his Baptist chaplains because they were not only moral, but were excellent shots with the rifle. In fact, the British placed bounties on the heads of Baptist chaplains.

I mentioned the Reverend John Gano, a Baptist pastor, because his relationship with George Washington advanced to the point where Gano baptized Washington. Although not much is said about this, but there is historical record. I might also add, that Gano would never have baptized Washington until he had first made a confession of accepting Christ as Savior:

“The Baptist pastor , John Gano, continued to be an obvious favorite of the General who normally maintained a reticence in religious matters throughout his long political career. When the eighth anniversary of the battle of Lexington was commemorated at New Windsor, New York, with the official proclamation by Congress of a cessation of hostilities, it was Washington’s personal request that “prayer was offered to the Almighty Ruler of the world by Rev. John Gano” (Thomas Armitage, “History of the Baptist”, pg. 794). However, the apex of Washington’s confidence in Gano just may be the best-kept secret in “religious” history. Despite the lack of official documentation, three of the pastor’s own children personally testified that their father baptized Washington in the Hudson River at the close of the war. Citing “The Baptism of George Washington” as recorded in the archives of the First Baptist Church of New York, New York, E. Wayne Thompson writes that Washington declared to Gano:

“I have been investigating the Scripture, and I believe immersion to be the baptism taught in the Word of God, and I demand it at your hands. I do not wish any parade made or the army called out, but simply a quiet demonstration of the ordinance” (Thomas and Cummins, “This Day in Baptist History”, pg. 237 and 327).

Dr. James Norwood, a former associate pastor of Dr. J. Frank Norris, cites from “A History of the First Baptist Church in the City of New York”, by I. M. Haldemann, DD.:

“While in camp at Newburgh, General Washington requested Pastor Gano to baptize him according to the Scriptures. He did so immersing him in believer’s baptism, in the name of the Fsather, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Thompson further states:

Daniel Gano, one of Gano’s sons and captain of the artillery, was present and said that he , with about forty officers and men, accompanied the chaplain down to the Hudson River where the Reverend John Gano baptized George Washington.

In 1908, E. T. Sanford of Manhattan’s North Church commissioned a painting of Gano baptizing Washington. The painting was taken to the Baptist Church at Asbury, New Jersey, where it hung until Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston, John Gano’s great-granddaughter, presented it to William Jewell College, Liberty, Missouri, in 1926”. (Thomas and Cummins, “This Day in Baptist History”, pg. 327-28).

So any ideas that Washington was a deist or anything other than a Baptist are false, and are only wishful thinking from the left. Most of my information, except for the identified quotes came from”What Hath God Wrought”, by Dr. William P. Grady.

Posted by: Frank at December 10, 2011 6:18 PM
Comment #332924

Frank,

When you next lecture others about constitutional history, you would do well to drop the quotation you attribute to James Madison. It’s fake. http://candst.tripod.com/misq1.htm

Your understanding of Madison’s understanding of the First Amendment is demonstrably mistaken. Madison initially doubted the need for any amendment on the subject because he considered the matter beyond the government’s power anyway; since others insisted on it, though, he was persuaded to introduce a proposed amendment. In doing so, he proposed what he thought others wanted. During the discussion, some expressed a desire to focus the amendment on establishment of a national religion by law. Madison was generally comfortable with much of what others proposed, including that. With respect to a proposal stating “no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed,” he thus proposed adding the term “national,” thinking that would address the expressed concerns of some. Following his motion, others expressed misgivings not only about the wording but also the scope of the proposal. Mr. Livermore suggested that it be altered to state “Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.” Madison withdrew his motion, and the House then considered and passed Livermore’s motion. The Annals of Congress reveal little more other than that over the next several weeks, the proposal went through several more iterations and emerged as what we now know as the First Amendment. If anything, Congress’s explicit consideration and rejection of language focusing the amendment on establishment of a national religion suggests that the ultimately adopted version is not so focused.

To the extent there may be doubt on this score, Madison largely removed it by confirming his understanding that the Constitution and First Amendment “[s]trongly guard[] … the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guard against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, e.g., Madison’s statements, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by Congress and/or the Executive doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion—stopping just short of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new church.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 10, 2011 6:19 PM
Comment #332925

Perhaps someone could explain to me why I jhave struck such a raw nerve with the left. I am simply making statements and backing them up with facts.

Doug, thanks for the info, but I already knew what Madison had proposed. The fact is, the Baptist of Virginia did not agree with Madison and demanded “Freedom of Religion”

Since I have never heard of Doug Indeap, I must assume you are one of WB’s regular liberals writing under an alias.

Posted by: Frank at December 10, 2011 6:46 PM
Comment #332926

As the constitutional separation of church and state prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions, the point you have in mind with respect to the Baptists is not apparent.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 10, 2011 7:05 PM
Comment #332927

Whoops! Unduly fast editing. That should say: “does not prevent.”

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 10, 2011 7:07 PM
Comment #332928

“So any ideas that Washington was a deist or anything other than a Baptist are false, and are only wishful thinking from the left.”

Frank,

Wish as you wish that George Washington was a Baptist. However, the historical record is less than clear about Washington’s religious beliefs. While, he was a member of numerous churches of different denominations, he attended none frequently and made very few public pronouncements on religion. He was, after all, a consummate politician.

“On February 1, 1800, a few weeks after Washington’s death, Thomas Jefferson made the following entry in his journal, regarding an incident on the occasion of Washington’s departure from office:[30][31]

“Dr. Rush tells me that he had it from Asa Green that when the clergy addressed Genl. Washington on his departure from the govmt, it was observed in their consultation that he had never on any occasion said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Xn religion and they thot they should so pen their address as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so. However he observed the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice. Rush observes he never did say a word on the subject in any of his public papers except in his valedictory letter to the Governors of the states when he resigned his commission in the army, wherein he speaks of the benign influence of the Christian religion. “I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his secrets & believed himself to be so, has often told me that Genl. Washington believed no more of that system than he himself did.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_and_religion

Posted by: Rich at December 10, 2011 7:28 PM
Comment #332929
I wish to thank Adrienne for continuing her discussion with a “Liar and Troll”; much like alcohol makes some people brave, we see that support from Rhinhold has caused Adrienne to come out of her shell.

Lol. The difference being, Rhinehold isn’t anything like a liar talking completely out of his ass, nor is he a troll who without any proof makes bullsh*t personal claims about people. Thus despite the fact that Rhinehold and I have often disagreed, I consider him worthy of having discussions with.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 10, 2011 8:05 PM
Comment #332930

“Perhaps someone could explain to me why I jhave struck such a raw nerve with the left. I am simply making statements and backing them up with facts.”

I don’t know, Frank, but perhaps its because of your insistence that “Judao-Christian beliefs were the foundation of our Constitution and Bill of Rights,..” or your insistence that the beliefs of a particular sect [Baptists] were instrumental in the foundation of this country.

You apparently fail to see the contradiction between embracing separation of church and state on the one hand and on the other hand insisting that Christian religious beliefs, particularly of Baptists, are core foundational principals.

Posted by: Rich at December 10, 2011 8:11 PM
Comment #332932

Doug Indeap:

Frank,
When you next lecture others about constitutional history, you would do well to drop the quotation you attribute to James Madison. It’s fake.

Well, this figures.
Rich:

However, the historical record is less than clear about Washington’s religious beliefs. While, he was a member of numerous churches of different denominations, he attended none frequently and made very few public pronouncements on religion. He was, after all, a consummate politician.

Indeed. It appears that Washington sometimes chose to attend church with his wife, but this means very little since he was a politician — attendance was expected of public figures whether they were believers or not.

This webpage does a pretty good job of compiling all the evidence there is regarding his position on religion, as well as the statements that were made by people who Washington knew personally.
Six Historic Americans
George Washington

Quote from the link:

Washington rarely attended, as we have seen, any church but the Episcopal, hence, if any denomination of Christians could claim him as an adherent, it was this one. Yet here we have two of its most distinguished representatives, pastors of the churches which he attended, the one not knowing what his belief was, the other disclaiming him and asserting that he was a Deist.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 10, 2011 9:21 PM
Comment #332938
As the constitutional separation of church and state prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions, the point you have in mind with respect to the Baptists is not apparent.

Wow, Doug how exactly does the government prevent citizens from making decision based on religious principles? Is there some sort of secret cone of silence above my head when I vote?

And someone please give me a year in history when this “wall of separation” ever existed.

Posted by: George at December 11, 2011 10:38 AM
Comment #332942

George,

You noticed the typo but not the correction. (Check the comment following the one you noted.)

1999, for instance. Your point?

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 11, 2011 12:39 PM
Comment #332943

O.k. got it Doug! I hate the inability to edit on this site too!

The point being that religion has always been an integral part of our government precisely by the process of religious people participating in representative government. In 1999 there was still the “In God We Trust”, under God in the Pledge, God in the Supreme Court building, prayer in school, churches meeting on public grounds, so help me God, so help me God… Religious people put these symbols and traditions in government by way of participation and many of our laws have their moral basis in religious doctrine. If the founders wanted a secular nation they sure did choose the wrong form of government.

You see the same thing playing out in the Middle East today. People seemed shocked when people in these countries, when given the freedom to vote, tend to vote for religious based political parties. As long as there are religious people there will be many holes in the so called wall.

Posted by: George at December 11, 2011 1:14 PM
Comment #332946

I believe the problem remains that the liberal left has a real problem with Christianity. Not the “Christianity” of Roman Catholic or other established religions; but the Christianity of evangelical religions. The very thought of our founding fathers being Christian or Judeo-Christian beliefs being part of their mindset when writing the Constitution and Bill of Rights is more than the left can stand. It all comes down to a real physiological mindset against Christianity. Not one of your responses have refuted the historical facts I provided; but your arguments are still based upon your feelings about Christianity.

“As the constitutional separation of church and state prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions, the point you have in mind with respect to the Baptists is not apparent.”

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 10, 2011 7:05 PM

Tell me Doug, since you claim a “constitutional separation of church and state”, perhaps you could quote to me the words of “Separation of Church and State” as found in the Constitution? I do not believe they exist.

Rich said:

“Frank,

Wish as you wish that George Washington was a Baptist. However, the historical record is less than clear about Washington’s religious beliefs. While, he was a member of numerous churches of different denominations, he attended none frequently and made very few public pronouncements on religion. He was, after all, a consummate politician.”

Rich, George Washington was the member of the Episcopal Church at the time of his Baptist baptism. In the quotes I presented above, George Washington had stated it was his opinion, based upon the teaching of Rev. John Gano (Baptist Minister) and the Scriptures that baptism was by emersion. To be able to understand what was going on; one would have to understand George Washington’s Episcopal baptism was by sprinkling and Gano had convinced Washington of the need for emersion as the form of believer’s baptism. As a result Washington requested Gano to baptize him. It was witnessed by above 40 officers and enlisted men, as well as civilians; but most importantly, it was recorded in the historical records of the First Baptist Church of New York. Baptist Churches have always been sticklers for records. Baptist believes baptism is a pre-requisite for church membership and is indeed important; therefore accurate records were kept. In the information I quoted to in the above post, it stated Washington’s desire to remain quiet about his Baptist baptism. Number one, because of his affiliation with the Episcopal Church; and number two, because the Baptists remained very unpopular in Virginia, even though the numbered in the thousands. Up until the time of the ratification of the 1st Amendment, Baptist ministers and laypeople were suffering persecution and imprisonment at the hand of the established religions. So, Rich, my information would be right in line with your quote from Wikipedia.

Adrienne, do you think it is possible for you to intelligently express your thoughts without foul language? It is very unladylike and shows your ignorance of the English language.


To all, ss I have said previously, Baptist were not the only denomination involved in the 1st Amendment, but they were certainly a major factor. Therefore, by historlical Baptist beliefs; the modern day statement, by the left, that the religious right wants a theocracy is totally unfounded. Their beliefs are no different today than they were 300 years ago. The left believes that one’s personal beliefs (if they are a Christian) has no place in determining their political decisions and yet the liberal left’s claims of being agnostic or athiests is well within their ability to make political decisions. In closing, there can be no doubt that the liberal left uses any oportunity to attack Conservative Christians, based solely on their religious beliefs and not upon fact.

Posted by: Frank at December 11, 2011 1:42 PM
Comment #332948

To expand on the theme.

How can you explain the “separation of church and state” with Islamic practices? We have a number of Muslims appointed to high level positions as well as elective positions with government. There beliefs will have an influence on decisions made daily. Christians likewise. So the above arguments of “separation” go down the primrose path. The “establishment of religion” as referenced in the first Amendment is only for setting forth in motion an organization which practices church activities. The phrase following the word religion says, “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”. This should be coupled with the free speech provision of same amendment.

So there are people who want to practice the made up clause of “separation of church and state” but deny the “free exercise” of religion.

I explained simply that to establish is to set in motion and put in place. This is also conducted with the consent of legislatures.

There is no argument that a state religion is not correct and legal according to law and the Constitution. That is also why any ism can be declared and practiced in this country.

What seems to be a problem with above writers is that “the free exercise thereof” is wrong with some people.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at December 11, 2011 2:32 PM
Comment #332951

Tom Humes, you bring up a valid point. Do Muslim legislators, senators, or even judges allow their Muslim beliefs to reflect in their votes or judgments? My guess is that the left has no problem with whether they do or not. The arguments only apply to christians.

Frank has brought out some good points that I did not know. I believe he is correct when he says the driving force behind the socialists claims is objection to christianity. If evangelical christians were against a state religion 250 years ago, why does the liberal socialists claim they are trying to establish a state religion today? I think socialists fear anything that is connected to the word christianity. I also think they are simple terrified that the word christianity would be connected to the writing of the constitution or believed by our founding fathers.

Posted by: Mike at December 11, 2011 3:43 PM
Comment #332954

Frank,

Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of “We the people” (not a deity), (2) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (3) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (4), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day, the founders’ avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

That the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the text of the Constitution assumes much importance, it seems, to some who may have once labored under the misimpression it was there and, upon learning they were mistaken, reckon they’ve discovered a smoking gun solving a Constitutional mystery. To those familiar with the Constitution, the absence of the metaphor commonly used to name one of its principles is no more consequential than the absence of other phrases (e.g., Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, fair trial, religious liberty) used to describe other undoubted Constitutional principles.

To the extent that some nonetheless would like confirmation—in those very words—of the founders’ intent to separate government and religion, Madison and Jefferson supplied it. Madison, who had a central role in drafting the Constitution and the First Amendment, confirmed that he understood them to “[s]trongly guard[] … the separation between Religion and Government.” Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). He made plain, too, that they guarded against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Mindful that even as new principles are proclaimed, old habits die hard and citizens and politicians could tend to entangle government and religion (e.g., “the appointment of chaplains to the two houses of Congress” and “for the army and navy” and “[r]eligious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgivings and fasts”), he considered the question whether these actions were “consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom” and responded: “In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the United States forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion.”

You seem as well to labor under some misunderstandings of the principle. It is important to distinguish between the “public square” and “government” and between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square—far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views—publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

Nor does the constitutional separation of church and state prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions. Moreover, the religious beliefs of government officials naturally may inform their decisions on policies. The principle, in this context, merely constrains government officials not to make decisions with the predominant purpose or primary effect of advancing religion; in other words, the predominant purpose and primary effect must be nonreligious or secular in nature. A decision coinciding with religious views is not invalid for that reason as long as it has a secular purpose and effect.

Wake Forest University recently published a short, objective Q&A primer on the current law of separation of church and state–as applied by the courts rather than as caricatured in the blogosphere. I commend it to you. http://tiny.cc/6nnnx

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 11, 2011 4:07 PM
Comment #332955

George,

I agree with your thesis that the founders would not establish a government that is inherently at odds with their religious convictions, which were largely Christian in nature. Moreover, given the republican nature of our government, I think it is only natural and expected that the laws enacted by our government—in both the founders’ time and today—largely reflect Christianity’s dominant influence in our society.

That said, there is no reason to suppose that Christianity or theism is an inherent aspect of our constitutional government. Indeed, any such claim is antithetical to the constitutional principle against government establishment of religion. By founding a secular government and assuring it would remain separate, in some measure at least, from religion, the founders basically established government neutrality in matters of religion, allowing individuals to freely choose and exercise their religions and thus allowing Christianity (and other religions) to flourish or founder as they will. As noted above, it is to be expected that the values and views of the people, shaped in part by their religions, will be reflected in the laws adopted by their government. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires or calls for this; it is simply a natural outgrowth of the people’s expression of political will in a republican government. To the extent that the people’s values and views change over time, it is to be expected that those changes will come to be reflected in the laws adopted by their government. There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent this; indeed, just the opposite—the Constitution establishes a government designed to be responsive to the political will of the people. It is conceivable, therefore, that if Christianity’s influence in our society wanes relative to other influences, that may lead to changes in our laws. Nothing in the Constitution would prevent that—and moreover the establishment clause would preclude Christians from using the government to somehow “lock in” (aka establish) Christianity in an effort to stave off such an eventuality.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 11, 2011 4:09 PM
Comment #332956

Doug Indeap, your style of writing is very similar to Stephen Daugherty’s; you write a whole page to finally make the statement that the term “Seperation of Church and State” is not in the Constitution. But it was you who said, “As the constitutional separation of church and state prevent citizens from making decisions based on principles derived from their religions, the point you have in mind with respect to the Baptists is not apparent.”; with the correction of “does not prevent”.

But, you seem to try to change the subject. I gave you fact after fact, showing the involvement of evangelical Christians demanding freedom of religion in the 1st Amendment and you ignore the facts and go off on a tangent to explain something everyone understands. I know the principle of “Seperation of Church and State” and I know my Baptist forefathers fought for this right. But the left continues to view Christian conservatism as the enemy trying to create a theocracy.

Posted by: Frank at December 11, 2011 4:26 PM
Comment #332957

I wrote all those words in response to your specific question.

With respect to your many words about the role of Baptists in developing the principle of separation of church and state, my question remains: What is your point?

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 11, 2011 4:47 PM
Comment #332964

Doug Indeap

Despite what the Supreme Court has issued, the argument of “separation of church and state” is a strawman argument.

Amendment I

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In no way is separation a principle in the first Amendment. The Government cannot get involved in passage of law calling for one organization to be the national church. That is it period. The government can participate in religious activity. That is not an establishment of a religion. It is only activity, not legislation. The Government often gets involved in religious activity.

The additional part is that the Government cannot limit my freedom to exercise my choice of beliefs.

Maranatha


Posted by: tom humes at December 11, 2011 9:32 PM
Comment #332965
I believe the problem remains that the liberal left has a real problem with Christianity.

I think it is obvious that this is the case for certain people Frank. Some of us on the left do and some don’t. But then again there are some on the right that have a problem with atheist, agnostics, humanist and others that practice a religion different than Christianity. The rights treatment of Muslims is also a good example of how religious intolerance can swing both ways.


Not the “Christianity” of Roman Catholic or other established religions; but the Christianity of evangelical religions.

Perhaps it is because the evangelicals seem to be the Christians that attack these other religious and nonreligious groups more so than others.

The very thought of our founding fathers being Christian or Judeo-Christian beliefs being part of their mindset when writing the Constitution and Bill of Rights is more than the left can stand. It all comes down to a real physiological mindset against Christianity.

Speaking for myself Frank I would say that could be due to the Christians being unable to realize that many others hold similar mind sets when it comes to morals and ethics. Long before Christianity existed there were morals and ethics. However some Christians, usually those with a political agenda, claims “The Law (10 Commandments) was the basis of the Bill of Rights.” Which is pretty arrogant if you ask me. To hear many on the right claim this nation to be a christian nation when in fact it is a secular nation causes one to wonder why these people want to make these claims.

Not one of your responses have refuted the historical facts I provided; but your arguments are still based upon your feelings about Christianity.

But Frank didn’t Doug call you on a fake quote? Wouldn’t you consider that to be a refutation of the “facts” you provided? From what I have read your point seems to be the Baptist helped to get the Constitution ratified. So what, so did people from many other religions. It doesn’t really prove anything. It certainly has no bearing on what evangelicals are up to today. In fact most of what you claim to be facts, although some may well be, don’t really prove anything other than Baptist participated in the founding of the country along side many others.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 11, 2011 9:50 PM
Comment #332966

Marantha (tom?),

As I noted above, the Constitution separated government and religion in several ways; the principle rests on more than just the First Amendment.

While the First Amendment undoubtedly was intended to preclude the government from establishing a national religion as you note, that was hardly the limit of its intended scope. The first Congress debated and rejected just such a narrow provision (“no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed”) and ultimately chose the more broadly phrased prohibition now found in the Amendment. As also noted above, Madison confirmed that he understood the Constitution and First Amendment to “[s]trongly guard[] … the separation between Religion and Government,” by which he meant guarding against more than just laws creating state sponsored churches or imposing a state religion. Madison, Detached Memoranda (~1820). During his presidency, Madison also vetoed two bills, neither of which would form a national religion or compel observance of any religion, on the ground that they were contrary to the establishment clause. While some in Congress expressed surprise that the Constitution prohibited Congress from incorporating a church in the town of Alexandria in the District of Columbia or granting land to a church in the Mississippi Territory, Congress upheld both vetoes. In keeping with the Amendment’s terms and legislative history and other evidence, the courts have wisely interpreted it to restrict the government from taking steps that could establish religion de facto as well as de jure. Were the Amendment interpreted merely to preclude government from enacting a statute formally establishing a state church, the intent of the Amendment could easily be circumvented by government doing all sorts of things to promote this or that religion–stopping just short of cutting a ribbon to open its new church.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 11, 2011 9:54 PM
Comment #332967

“I wrote all those words in response to your specific question.

With respect to your many words about the role of Baptists in developing the principle of separation of church and state, my question remains: What is your point?”

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 11, 2011 4:47 PM

Well Doug, I guess my point is that the left has completely misinterpreted what the founding fathers wanted to do; the Constitution says nothing about separation of church and state; and the left on WB has completely and purposely misquoted what our founding fathers believed simply because those on the left have a fear and hatred of Christianity.

Posted by: Frank at December 11, 2011 10:01 PM
Comment #332969
Marantha (tom?),

Welcome to Watch Blog Doug! I hope you will stick around and continue sharing your comments with us.

BTW, Marantha is not Tom’s name, it’s a profession of his religious beliefs. See here.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 12, 2011 12:05 AM
Comment #332973

Warped Reality,

Thank you for the correction, lesson, and the invitation.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 12, 2011 1:35 AM
Comment #332974

Frank,

While the religious views of various founders are subjects of some uncertainty and controversy, it is safe to say that many founders were Christian of one sort or another and held views such as you note regarding religion. In assessing the nature of our government, though, care should be taken to distinguish between society and government and not to make too much of various founders’ individual religious beliefs. Their individual beliefs, while informative, are largely beside the point. Whatever their religions, they drafted a Constitution that establishes a secular government and separates it from religion as noted earlier. This is entirely consistent with the fact that some founders professed their religiosity and even their desire that Christianity remain the dominant religious influence in American society. Why? Because religious people who would like to see their religion flourish in society may well believe that separating religion and government will serve that end and, thus, in founding a government they may well intend to keep it separate from religion. It is entirely possible for thoroughly religious folk to found a secular government and keep it separate from religion. That, indeed, is just what the founders did.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 12, 2011 1:36 AM
Comment #332977

Doug-

Whatever their religions, they drafted a Constitution that establishes a secular government and separates it from religion as noted earlier.

Again that is a conclusion that is not supported by history. Religion was a key component of early American life and was interwoven into government from the very beginning. Most of the interaction between government and religion occurred at the State level, but that was more a function of Federalism and the idea that States had fewer limits on them. If the Founders established or wanted to establish a secular government than how do you explain Mass, VA, and other “Nursing Fathers?”

Here is an exhibit from the Library of Congress, “Religion and the Founding of the American Republic” that outlines this in great detail. The result was that a religious people rose in rebellion against Great Britain in 1776, and that most American statesmen, when they began to form new governments at the state and national levels, shared the convictions of most of their constituents that religion was, to quote Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation, indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions.

Posted by: George at December 12, 2011 11:33 AM
Comment #332979

An observation.

The mentality of the left above in applying the thought process to a statement, does not understand the thinking of day to day activity of our founding fathers.

The left gives the impression that the way they thought then is the same way man thinks today. Not so.

That is a terrible error.

The brilliance of those founding fathers far exceeds most of the so-called thinkers of today.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at December 12, 2011 2:29 PM
Comment #332980

DougInDeap:

While the religious views of various founders are subjects of some uncertainty and controversy,

There is no uncertainty that many of the founders were Deists. And there is no uncertainty that many were Freemasons who believed that all people should be free to worship (or not worship) only according to their own consciences.
The only reason that controversy has arisen over these facts is because some people like to insist that each and every one of the founders were ardent Christians, and that despite the clear fact that it was not, claim that this nation’s government is not secular, but was instead founded upon Christianity.

it is safe to say that many founders were Christian of one sort or another and held views such as you note regarding religion.

Yes. And it is also safe to say that many did not.

George:

Excerpt from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy In America, Chapter XVII:
PRINCIPAL CAUSES WHICH TEND TO MAINTAIN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC IN THE UNITED STATES

On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country. My desire to discover the causes of this phenomenon increased from day to day. In order to satisfy it I questioned the members of all the different sects; I sought especially the society of the clergy, who are the depositaries of the different creeds and are especially interested in their duration. As a member of the Roman Catholic Church, I was more particularly brought into contact with several of its priests, with whom I became intimately acquainted. To each of these men I expressed my astonishment and explained my doubts. I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.

This led me to examine more attentively than I had hitherto done the station which the American clergy occupy in political society. I learned with surprise that they filled no public appointments; 4 I did not see one of them in the administration, and they are not even represented in the legislative assemblies. In several states 5 the law excludes them from political life; public opinion excludes them in all. And when I came to inquire into the prevailing spirit of the clergy, I found that most of its members seemed to retire of their own accord from the exercise of power, and that they made it the pride of their profession to abstain from politics.

I heard them inveigh against ambition and deceit, under whatever political opinions these vices might chance to lurk; but I learned from their discourses that men are not guilty in the eye of God for any opinions concerning political government which they may profess with sincerity, any more than they are for their mistakes in building a house or in driving a furrow. I perceived that these ministers of the Gospel eschewed all parties, with the anxiety attendant upon personal interest. These facts convinced me that what I had been told was true; and it then became my object to investigate their causes and to inquire how it happened that the real authority of religion was increased by a state of things which diminished its apparent force. These causes did not long escape my researches.

The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. Man alone, of all created beings, displays a natural contempt of existence, and yet a boundless desire to exist; he scorns life, but he dreads annihilation. These different feelings incessantly urge his soul to the contemplation of a future state, and religion directs his musings thither. Religion, then, is simply another form of hope, and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself. Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments. Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind. If we consider religious institutions merely in a human point of view, they may be said to derive an inexhaustible element of strength from man himself, since they belong to one of the constituent principles of human nature.

I am aware that at certain times religion may strengthen this influence, which originates in itself, by the artificial power of the laws and by the support of those temporal institutions that direct society. Religions intimately united with the governments of the earth have been known to exercise sovereign power founded on terror and faith; but when a religion contracts an alliance of this nature, I do not hesitate to affirm that it commits the same error as a man who should sacrifice his future to his present welfare; and in obtaining a power to which it has no claim, it risks that authority which is rightfully its own. When a religion founds its empire only upon the desire of immortality that lives in every human heart, it may aspire to universal dominion; but when it connects itself with a government, it must adopt maxims which are applicable only to certain nations. Thus, in forming an alliance with a political power, religion augments its authority over a few and forfeits the hope of reigning over all.

As long as a religion rests only upon those sentiments which are the consolation of all affliction, it may attract the affections of all mankind. But if it be mixed up with the bitter passions of the world, it may be constrained to defend allies whom its interests, and not the principle of love, have given to it; or to repel as antagonists men who are still attached to it, however opposed they may be to the powers with which it is allied. The church cannot share the temporal power of the state without being the object of a portion of that animosity which the latter excites.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 12, 2011 2:41 PM
Comment #332981

By the way, I do not agree with de Tocqueville assertion that:

Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments. Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind. If we consider religious institutions merely in a human point of view, they may be said to derive an inexhaustible element of strength from man himself, since they belong to one of the constituent principles of human nature.

Indeed, as an Agnostic I think it is utterly preposterous. However, I did want to give everyone a full sense of his opinion on why we had a separation of church and state, and how religious leaders of that era did not fear that state of affairs in the least.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 12, 2011 2:49 PM
Comment #332991

Adrienne-

Yes from my memory of “Democracy in America” I’m sure there are many passages that you would not agree with as an Agnostic.

That the Priests knew that religion “flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt (Madison)” is not in debate (at least by me). However, this argument doesn’t open the leap to a secular government at its creation where government is not influenced by religious thought. Religion and religious doctrine were made an integral part of our government because the people participating in a representative government were religious. They did religious things like prayed in Congress, held church in Congress, had days of prayer, swore on bibles, proclaimed national holidays based on religious celebrations, etc. and etc. States went further with most having established churches.

Would you consider any of these unconstitutional? Would you consider Mass’ law requiring church attendance for every man to be unconstitutional? They sure didn’t.

Posted by: George at December 12, 2011 6:06 PM
Comment #333001

George:

However, this argument doesn’t open the leap to a secular government at its creation where government is not influenced by religious thought.

A Democratic Government is naturally going to be influenced by the people’s thoughts. Period. No matter whether they are religious people’s thoughts or non-religious people’s thoughts. What’s important about having a secular government is that it is built upon the principle that the thoughts of ALL the people will be considered valid and none should be excluded. This is why the Constitution insisted that there was to be no religious test to hold public office. And why the first amendment spells it out clearly:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I think the wording of this amendment makes it very clear that the founders wanted everyone to have a voice, and that no American would or should be silenced or excluded.
If the thoughts of one group of people thoughts (due to their religion being in the majority, or favored by the rich and powerful, or favored because they find a way to have the best propaganda machine, etc.) were allowed to take precedence and begin dictating to everyone we would no longer be living in a free country.

Religion and religious doctrine were made an integral part of our government because the people participating in a representative government were religious.

So then, if this is actually the case, should ALL religions and ALL religious doctrines become integral to doing the business of the government? Or only some? Should ALL religions automatically have government representation? How about Atheists and Agnostics? Should we also have government representation?

They did religious things like prayed in Congress, held church in Congress, had days of prayer, swore on bibles, proclaimed national holidays based on religious celebrations, etc. and etc.

Yeah, but the question is should they do this? And should this be done for Everyone’s faith? Should we turn the business of government into one big daily festival of glorious religious observance? Failing that, should we turn into a tug of war between competing religions of various sorts? Or a tug of war between religious and non-religious people? Fight. Fight. Fight?! And hopefully here and there they’ll find a minute or two to take care of some piece of government business?

States went further with most having established churches.

Or in other words: no liberty or pursuit of happiness for you.

Would you consider any of these unconstitutional?

Yes, unconstitutional, and disruptive. Because it is not conducive towards our forming a “more perfect Union”, or establishing “Justice”, or “insuring domestic Tranquility.”

Would you consider Mass’ law requiring church attendance for every man to be unconstitutional? They sure didn’t.

Yes, unconstitutional, not to mention incredibly stupid from the religious standpoint, as well. Do churches really want to be requiring the attendance of large numbers of people who truly want to worship other religions, or people who are complete non-believers? Wouldn’t that just create an uncomfortable atmosphere of deep resentment, rebellion, and disrespect, rather than deep contemplation and devotion?

The way I see it George, the founders meant to give birth to a nation and a government where people could give each other enough room so we could honestly and respectfully observe each others various beliefs, not try to dishonestly mandate observance and disrespectfully try to forcibly ram religion down each others throats.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 12, 2011 9:00 PM
Comment #333004
States went further with most having established churches.

This was how the nation was founded, by and large George, with religious groups escaping persecution in Europe, Unfortunately they in turn became the persecutors, over time, as they gained/retained power in their particular state. That was the problem IMHO, the same old persecution here in the new world because they knew no better for all their religious knowledge. This was the same old persecution that had been SOP in Europe and elsewhere for centuries.
The age of Reason sought to change this, and they did, with the first amendment to the Constitution. If you will look at the same dollar bill that has in “God we Trust” you will notice it also has the great seal and Novus Ordo Seclorum” or as we say it “New Order of the Ages”. What they didn’t use was “Deo Favente” or “With Gods Favor”.

Make no mistake many of the states didn’t want to change but most did disestablish religious constraints around the time the constitution was signed. Massachusetts did somewhat but it wasn’t until the 1830’s that they finally did away with remnants of the previous system. The 14th amendment ended what was left of the religious controlled states.


Would you consider any of these unconstitutional? Would you consider Mass’ law requiring church attendance for every man to be unconstitutional? They sure didn’t.

Of course they did, at least on a national level but not yet on a state level. Old habits die hard George. The Constitution promised a more perfect union not a perfect union. It was exactly this reason the first amendment was written the way it was, to allow religious freedom for everyone.

BTW the link to the Library of Congress exhibit is excellent. I started going through it but it will take some time. I don’t know how far you made it through. Did you notice the constant theme of religious persecution by the different denominations and religions up to the time of the revolution? Surely those that ushered in the Age of Reason knew government would survive with this type of ongoing persecution.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 12, 2011 9:58 PM
Comment #333005

Reach for an explanation of this.

Supreme Court has no protestants serving.

There are 6 Roman Catholics.

There are 3 Jewish members.

Just food for thought, since how people were influenced was a common point earlier and continued thru.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at December 12, 2011 10:08 PM
Comment #333008

George,

In the Constitution, the founders established only a secular federal government. It is well recognized that the states remained free to establish or promote or oppose this or that religion, and indeed nearly all had established or favored religions.

It is instructive to recall that adoption of the First Amendment reflected, at the federal level, a “disestablishment” political movement then sweeping the country. That political movement succeeded in disestablishing all state religions by the 1830s. (Side note: A political reaction to that movement gave us the term “antidisestablishmentarianism,” which amused some of us as kids.) It is worth noting, as well, that this disestablishment movement largely coincided with another movement, the Great Awakening. The people of the time saw separation of church and state as a boon, not a burden, to religion.

As Adrienne noted, this sentiment was recorded by a famous observer of the American experiment: “On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention… . I questioned the members of all the different sects… . I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America, I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.” Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835).

Contrary to your apparent supposition, the Constitution’s separation of the federal government and religion does not, in the least, conflict with the fact that, at the time of the founding, the several states had established religions of one sort or another. Indeed, some founders were motivated to separate the federal government from religion in order to preserve the states’ purview over such matters. That changed when the 14th Amendment guaranteed individual rights against infringement by states, including equal protection and due process of law and the rights and privileges of citizenship, and the Supreme Court ruled that among the rights so protected are freedom of religion and freedom from government established religion. While the founders drafted the First Amendment to constrain the federal government, they certainly understood that later amendments, e.g., the 14th, could extend that Amendment’s constraints to state and local governments.

Posted by: Doug Indeap at December 13, 2011 3:13 AM
Comment #333020

Doug-
You attempt to qualify your earlier assertion by saying that the founders wanted only a secular Federal government, but with all of the examples from the Library of Congress Exhibit it is clear that even in this regard they failed.

It is no exaggeration to say that on Sundays in Washington during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) and of James Madison (1809-1817) the state became the church. Within a year of his inauguration, Jefferson began attending church services in the House of Representatives. Madison followed Jefferson’s example, although unlike Jefferson, who rode on horseback to church in the Capitol, Madison came in a coach and four. Worship services in the House—a practice that continued until after the Civil War—were acceptable to Jefferson because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Preachers of every Protestant denomination appeared. (Catholic priests began officiating in 1826.) As early as January 1806 a female evangelist, Dorothy Ripley, delivered a camp meeting-style exhortation in the House to Jefferson, Vice President Aaron Burr, and a “crowded audience.” Throughout his administration Jefferson permitted church services in executive branch buildings. The Gospel was also preached in the Supreme Court chambers.

Notice how is was still o.k. to deny Catholics until the 1820’s. And of course if you were an Atheists well…

What I believe you see as a desire for a secular Federal government is probably the result of the conflict between Federalist vs. Anti-Federalists. J2 seems to intimate that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was a setup by the Founders to eventually lead to a secular government. However, with as much debate that occurred in the State legislators (especially VA and Mass) it was clear the States would have never ratified the Constitution or the Amendments if there was any intent to make the U.S. a secular government at any level. And it is clear from the actions of the early leaders at the Federal level that they never intended to build this wall.

Doug you bring up good points about the 14th Amendment as the Civil War and the resulting Amendments surely changed our country profoundly. I’d wager, however, that the Northern States (at that point the South had to agree to anything) would not have passed the 14th Amendment had the concept of “incorporation” been intimated. That came along in the late 1890’s and has led us to the government that you see today. I think the mistake most make is when they look at the Founding of this country through the lens of our modern day experience. It shows up when the 2nd Amendment arguments start flying too. What J2 and Adrienne see as unconstitutional now would never had been considered unconstitutional at the time. Hence, my statement from the beginning that there was never a desire in this country to have secular governance but to rather hold religion and the need to have religion in higher, not lower regard when entering the public square.

I’ve linked the Library of Congress Exhibit because I do think it is a fairly unbiased portrait of this subject. There is plenty in there to support my contentions and while I do not expect any of you to change your minds I do hope that you review that site. As J2 says it is excellent and a good reference when this subject comes up.


Posted by: George at December 13, 2011 12:03 PM
Comment #333029

Adrienne, Doug, and others have been throwing around the “age of reasoning”, “Deism”, and “freemasonry” as if they are reasons for our founding fathers to have had no religious beliefs. This is false and is only used as an attempt to make our founding fathers appear anti-Christian.

Membership in Freemasonry has always required a belief in a Creator, although Freemasonry is not a religion. Deism also, is not a religion but does not interfere with the right of a person to believe in Christianity.

“Freemasonry and Deism had some “reason-based” philosophical ties during the Age of Enlightenment, but American Freemasonry was not founded on Deism. I explore Deism more fully on the “Founding Fathers” page.

Deism has no church and no official organization, hence, it is not considered a religion any more than Freemasonry. One is a philosophical outlook and one is a fraternal organization with a civic mission. Deism is more a reason-based view of religion in general or perhaps it could be seen as a “religious philosophy”. The attitudes of a Deist might seem philosophically comfortable within a 1770 Freemasonry Lodge, but that connection was probably a product of Enlightenment ideals effecting Europe and America at the time. A Freemason is not required to a have a specific religious outlook, and most Deists were not Freemasons. The only link between the two is they both reflected reason-based Enlightenment thinking in the 18th century.

Deism had an influence among several important Founding Fathers. However, I think it’s relatively safe to say that most colonial American Freemasons (and most Americans at large) were more typically orthodox Protestants of varying denominations and included much smaller religious minorities of Catholics, and Jews. Deist-thinking Christians were in the minority at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution signings, even though some of the biggest names linked with those documents would be both Deists and Freemasons.”

http://earlyamericanhistory.net/freemasonry.htm

“I. Concerning GOD and RELIGION.
A Mason is oblig’d by his Tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient Times Masons were charg’d in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet ‘tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguish’d; whereby Masonry becomes the Center of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must have remain’d at a perpetual Distance.”

http://www.2be1ask1.com/library/anderson.html

There is not one single person on WB who does not believe the purpose of the founding fathers was to forbid a state run religion. These founding fathers, whether Deists or Freemasons were Christian in their beliefs and it was these Christian beliefs that influenced their work on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. This is a fact and not disputable. The problem that modern day liberals have is that Christianity was in any way tied to our founding as a nation. This is the result of their hatred toward Christianity and toward Christians. Adrienne, by her own statement is agnostic, while others are self proclaimed atheists. To the agnostic and to the atheist; it would go against their very core beliefs to accept God as the grand designer of all things. So the agnostic and atheist, who deny that the founding fathers accomplished what they did based upon their Christian beliefs; base their own ideas of the founding fathers on their own agnostic and atheist beliefs. So, as the founding fathers based their national work on their Christian beliefs; the left bases their denial of the founding fathers work, based on their own anti-Christian beliefs.

Posted by: Frank at December 13, 2011 4:41 PM
Comment #333039
Adrienne, Doug, and others have been throwing around the “age of reasoning”, “Deism”, and “freemasonry” as if they are reasons for our founding fathers to have had no religious beliefs. This is false and is only used as an attempt to make our founding fathers appear anti-Christian.

What is false Frank is your analysis of what has been said. I haven’t seen where anyone has said the founding fathers were anti-Christian, Frank. You seem to miss the point. If they were anti-Christian they would have banished all religion. Instead they did the opposite, the free practice of religion which was a new concept in governing. They separated religion from government. Perhaps because of your strong religious beliefs you cannot see the difference but it is a significant difference from what had been.

The Age of Reason or the Enlightenment is key to the issue Frank. It was when the thinking of how to run a government changed. Years of religious wars, the divine right of Kings, persecution for one’s spiritual beliefs or lack of belief were manifested in the church and government prior to the Age of Reason. Our founding fathers did things different they built a wall of separation between church and state. Even though many were religious themselves they saw the benefits of doing so. It wasn’t about hate or being anti-Christian it was about making a more perfect union.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 13, 2011 5:53 PM
Comment #333046

j2t2, the point you seem to misss is that liberals would rather have us believe these founding fathers had no Christian beliefs at all. The left today has no Christian beliefs and therefore would not want people today to believe the founding fathers had any either.

Posted by: Frank at December 13, 2011 6:40 PM
Comment #333048

Frank that is just nonsense. No one has said they had no Christian beliefs at all.

Many on the left have Christian as well as other religious and spiritual beliefs, some don’t. I am fine with that because like the Thomas Jefferson said It does me no injury if my neighbor tells me there is 20 Gods or none.

Perhaps those on the right, that think they have the right to persecute others for their religious beliefs, should take a lesson from pour founding fathers.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 13, 2011 7:07 PM
Comment #333049

Good reply j2.

By the way, that Early American History link above is a good one. It outlines how many of the founders were Deists and/or Freemasons. It also has a link to a main page:
The Revolution of Belief
Founding Fathers, Deists, Orthodox Christians, and the Spiritual Context of 18th Century America

That page backs up what you and Doug and I have written about in this thread. Btw, check out the charts on that page — the author fully understands that church attendance is actually a very poor indicator regarding what the founders true philosophies and beliefs really were.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 13, 2011 7:24 PM
Comment #333050

“j2t2, the point you seem to misss is that liberals would rather have us believe these founding fathers had no Christian beliefs at all.”

Frank,

Nobody has said anything of the sort. What is clear, though, is that many of the founding fathers questioned standard religious dogma, including the bible. For example, Jefferson called the Book of Revelations “merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams” along with questioning the divinity of Christ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Jefferson_and_religion

In fact, the more I read about the founding fathers and religion, the more I am convinced that they would be squarely in the left camp today. Thank you, Frank.

Posted by: Rich at December 13, 2011 7:31 PM
Comment #333188

Rich,

Not to digress and start another endless and unwinnable debate (they are all dead), but if you think the founding fathers would have supported the notion that a man be paid to sit on his fat ass for 99 weeks, with taxation at gunpoint taken from those with the work-ethic and will to make a living, then I think you are bat shit crazy. The founding fathers would have abhorred the welfare state the left uses as its voter incubation process.

The founding fathers may have wanted to always air on the side of caution and separation, but to bandy the claim that the values of the modern day left are more in alignment than the modern day right… ROFL.

Adrienne, J2t2, ad leftius, are correct (IMO) that the founding fathers wanted no part of legislatively bestowing or allowing a church or religious entity in America to dictate to the lives of its citizens, and kudos to them for that wisdom. The distinction is that the very recent proliferation of atheism, drunk on the worship of their own egos, now agressively challenges the inclusion of any religious tradition or ceremony in the annals of anything that is receiving or has ever received any funds from government.

All I hear from them is:
“I’m wiser than EVERYONE who came before me, just ask me, and I’ll explain. Can I borrow the car dad?”

Atheists and Deists and non-believers in the time of our founding (and I believe there were many, as I am today) understood the wisdom of sourcing our rights to something (they purposely didn’t specify) MORE ETERNAL THAN MAN.

Each day America squeezes the morality that all peaceful religions encourage further from mainstream life, to the detriment of ALL. If you think otherwise, then you probably wholeheartedly believe the infantile notion that people are basically good, and that bad behavior is only taught, not our natural predisposition from birth.

Whether the founding fathers were Christian or not is irrelevant, what I fear is a world where people like Adrienne get to pull out their pens and pencils and start telling me what right and wrong is in the new Earthtopia. That is exactly what the left wants to do, so that all of our legal notions of right and wrong come from “modern, accepted, societal norms.” God help us when that day comes.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at December 17, 2011 9:16 PM
Comment #333329


Yukon, aren’t you trying to do what you credit Adrienne of trying to do? You claim it is for a higher cause, American Christian morals, but you are still doing what you claim she is doing.

“Each day America squeezes the morality….”

No aspect of our society promotes immorality like capitalism does. Moral, amoral or immoral, if it will produce profits, it will be advertised and promoted. ‘Keeping up with the Joneses” is the morality promoted by corporate America.

What does the Bible say about vanity? That it should be a multi-billion dollar industry?

You can blame the American people for being less than moral. You cannot prevent this with legislation prohibition) or with religious goons roaming the streets, like we see in Iran.

Should we blame capitalism for promoting and making profit from the demand?

Another thing that many on the right seem to do is promote the idea that the average citizen of today is far less moral that his 1776 counterpart. I have seen no evidence proving that to be true.

O’Reily and his war on Christmas, did you know that Puritan Christians in early America were totally opposed to celebrating Christmas, Easter or any other religious holiday? Only Pagans did that. Puritans arrested people for celebrating Christmas while their neighbors were working.

What we need to realize about our Founding Fathers is that they were not perfect human beings who wrote a perfect document and they knew it. What they did was the best that had been done up to that point in human history, and they expected us to improve on it. But, before the ink was dry, factions were vying for power and control of the government. The faction that won was the banker/merchant/manufacturer coalition. That faction controlled our government, for the most part, up until the progressive Era, and it has fought to regain it’s dominance every since.

Posted by: jlw at December 20, 2011 5:08 PM
Comment #334002

jlw,
Wash off your glasses. You must be sincerely confused. Adrienne would have us up-end all of the scriptural language and deist references in our public culture. She would have us re-write the laws in accordance with current “socially acceptable norms.”

I’m stating the exact opposite. I’m stating that it was a strategic point that the founding fathers executed when they aligned our basic rights with something that the leaders of the current day couldn’t change, because they couldn’t speak for a creator.

If you have seen no evidence that the typical American today is less moral than his 1776 counterpart, then you are blind and deaf, and since you can’t see or read ANYTHING, you must be starved for up-to-date content in braille. What passes for mainstream entertainment, funded by advertisers who buy based on viewership, is the clearest example of where stands our societal compass. And I do think what you indulge your senses in is directly reflective of your moral compass and your morality. YOu obviously do not, but that’s a typical leftist cop-out: “look, you stupid republicans, our music and language is a byproduct of our social environment, it doesn’t create or propagate it, it is what it is, because that’s how it currently is.” I’m sure that resonates true with you, it would have to if you discount media as reflective of who we are as a nation.

Lastly, you’re right, our founding fathers weren’t perfect people, but their grand experiment fared better than all that came before it, and if it’s evidence that drives you, show me some ‘evidence’ that Adrienne or better yet, the top 100 “smartest” people you can find, would do a better job of creating something so simple and yet so powerful.

I can hear it now…

“You’d have to give us a chance, and we’d apply all our socialist ideals that have failed EVERYWHERE else, and after our utopian illusions crumble… well, it was the greedy conservatives who wouldn’t give us 80% of their taxes that did us in.”

Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 3, 2012 9:58 PM
Comment #334469

This sort of a ‘To Whom It may Concern’ comment.

I realize I’ve come to this discussion somewhat late, but after having read the various comments, I found myself needing to respond.

1. The actual subject was about the need (or not) for the separation of church and state. It was made abundantly clear simply by the onslaught of comments written that our country would never have succeed if our founding fathers had instituted a national religion. Instead it would have most likely led to the early death of our country.

2. I consider myself to a Christian. I attend church regularly, and am very active not only in my church, but my community. I didn’t and don’t appreciate being told by Pat Robertson that my beliefs are in “…the spirit of the Antichrist.”

I suspect most Christians would object to that categorization. After all, Who died and made him king - or God in this case? Frankly anyone who obviously doesn’t have their head on straight terrifies me.

And this is the Christian religion of mercy, love, faith, charity, and forgiveness that those on the far right want to impose upon our country? I literally find myself praying to God for His help in this matter.

3. I happen to agree with most of what Adrienne, j2t2, Doug, Rhinehold, and all the rest of the so-called leftists have written. I therefore will attempt to not to reiterate their valid points, except when I feel very strongly on the subject. I will then try to be brief.

4. Thomas Jefferson, as Frank noted, has been quoted, and therefore, presumably believed “… that all men are created equal, …”. The problem is he held slaves until his death. So much for ALL men.

5. If Frank were to actually do his homework, he would know that the type of practices and beliefs of the Anabaptist (NOT Baptist)of the late 1700’s are vastly different than those of today’s more evangelical beliefs.
He would also have to remember that even the SBC (the Southern Baptist Convention (not churches) have had their share of arguments over the years. (Which I am very aware of as I am from N.C.) He would remember the various discussions (to put it nicely) of the convention where differing views of what it means to be Baptist. Some have nearly torn the Southern Baptist Convention representatives apart. There have been many times when threats to pullout have been made. Is this Frank’s idea of what we need to have happen in our COUNTRY?
BTW, the Bible says churches. Not Baptist Church. And only if one interprets the ancient Aramaic and ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew in that manner.

6. I do not believe that those on the left fear Christianity. Nor do they hate those of us who are Christians. They fear, just as I do, the idea putting any particular religious sect as a national religion.

Were this to happen, frankly I believe that all hell (pardon me) would break out. What would we chose? I.e. Christian: Baptist, Anglicans, Catholicism, non-Christian: Judaism, Islamism, Hinduism, etc.)

7. Nazism is a perfect example of legislating a belief system. Hitler attempted to make everyone look, believe and behave in the same way. Fortunately he failed. I would not be happy if I lived in a WASP environment. (And I would be a typical WASP! White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant)

I much prefer studying, reading and learning about many ideas, and drawing my own conclusions. I definitely don’t want to be told I must believe what someone has decided I have to believe.

8. Morality has very little to do with religion, although there are many who believe that God somehow gave us a list of moral behavior. Yes, I know all about the 10 Commandments, however in virtually ever other religion currently practiced on earth, there is some form of the 10 Commandments. This has very little to do with the Bible. Again, I must point to Nazism as an example of using the Bible as a method to teach morality.

9. Morality has far more to do with ethics. Doing the right thing as taught by one’s entire belief system. I know many people who are not Christians, who live very moral lives. On the other hand I know many so-called Christians whose behavior I, at least, question.

10. Frank you used a debating technique I abhor. You tried to use statistics to prove your point. Sometimes this method can backfire.

You wrote:
“Of the 100 plus chaplains employed in the Continental Army, over a third of them were Baptists.”

What about the nearly 66 others? What part did they play?
You see, Frank, fully 2/3s weren’t Baptist. Who were they, Frank? I, so wish, you would get your terminology correct. Of the third you cite, most were Anabaptists.

I was also greatly offended at the idea that other Christian religions might not be moral. As you implied when you wrote this:

“Washington was especially fond of his (Ana)Baptist chaplains because they were not only moral, but were excellent shots with the rifle.” I imagine he much preferred the fact that they could shoot over their religious beliefs.

Once again you tried to prove a point with inaccurate information.

” In fact, the British placed bounties on the heads of (Ana)Baptist chaplains.”

There were bounties place all all religious leaders who agreed with the Revolution . Not, as you try to suggest only (Ana)Baptist.

And Frank,you need to get your facts right. You wrote: “James Madison faithfully championed the historic Baptist distinctive.” Madison was a Calvinist, not a Baptist, or what would be more accurately put an “Anabaptist”.

Frankly, Frank, as a practicing Christian, you scare the heck out of me. As do most of those who are like you. Please do not take it upon yourself to speak for all Christians. You might be surprised to discover that there are many who feel I do.

To those of you who were equally offended, I apologize to you on behalf of most Christians. If it weren’t for you, we’d have no one to ‘witness to’ to use a phrase I am sure many of those on the right are familiar with! Frankly, I prefer to witness by my actions, rather than by trying to bash people over their heads. I, do however, believe that others have the right to disagree with me, and as any American should (in my opinion) I would be ready, willing and able to stand up for their right (to be wrong). LOL Even Frank’s, Royal Flush, and tom humes.

By the way, tom humes , Jesuits are Christians. Your ignorance is showing. I realize that was pointed out earlier, but I just had to make sure you got the point.

“The Jesuits and Islamic people are both open about their desire to make the US a nation after their own beliefs.”

Now. I’ve said what I had to say. Thank you for your attention

Posted by: Highlandangel1 at January 14, 2012 2:26 AM
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