Wednesday, October 24, 2007

U.S. of J.

I suppose that even though it's been refuted again and again on the websites listed to the right (as well as countless others not listed), and by numerous authors in major best-selling books, articles, columns, videos, and blogs, I guess I'll have to make my own rant for those not yet aware of reality.


Please don't take me yelling it as a reason to trust it. I'll prove my point with evidence.

Nature's God
I will not deny that a lot of our Founding Fathers were religious; many were Episcopalian, some Presbyterian, even a Catholic or two. In reality, there were over ten different "faiths" among the lot.

But most were Deists. A Deist believes in a God who created the universe and everything in it (including humans), and then just sort of "let it go", like a wind-up toy. The Deist God doesn't answer prayers, write holy books, or care about your sex life. Some modern Deists take the explanation of evolution by natural selection as the way that this "First Cause" God set things up. I think Deism a cop-out answer, because there's no evidence for the claims of God, but it's one of the steps most people take when reconverting from a religion where God cares what you think.

But we're not talking about Deism today, and I'm not suggesting that America's founders were idiots or deconverters. I wanted to make it clear that most of these men thought of God in the Einsteinian sense of "Nature's God"; an idea synonymous with the way nature works. This obviously has nothing do with anyone being nailed to a cross because the first humans ate off-limits apples. It has nothing to do with any religion.

The 10 Command-stutions
Of course, the Christians never cease with there claims that America is a Christian nation, and anyone who doesn't agree should just leave. They also claim that the Framers of the Constitution used God's 10 Commandments as a cornerstone to our nation's laws.

Really? Let's look at a couple real quick:

Commandment #1 (about not worshiping anyone 'cept Jesus's Daddy) is contrary to our right to freedom of religion and against the establishment of State-sponsored religion. As Dan Barker puts it in his book "Losing Faith in Faith": This is better suited to establishing the nation of Israel, not the USA.

Commandment #2 is contrary to freedom of speech, and the Catholics don't seem to mind it at all!

Commandment #3 is also against free speech, and dissenting opinion is what built this country.

I'll cover the rest in an upcoming post more suited to attacking these commandments, but needless to say these are not good morals, wise guidelines, or American law.

The Words of our Forefathers
The Fathers of our country understood what it was like being ruled under a theocratic dictatorship. They knew how it felt to have absolutely zero church-state separation, and having to support the religion of the King. They wanted to be free to worship as they saw fit and to think and debate concepts of God and other taboo conceptions. They knew that in order to have freedom of religion, there must also be freedom FROM religion. These brave men deliberately set up a secular Constitution--which makes no mention of a God, and certainly no Christ.

Sure, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that men are endowed with inalienable rights "by their Creator", but this document did not establish US law. The Constitution does.

And the Puritans wanted a Christian Nation, but they preceded the founding of the nation by more than a century.

"In God We Trust" was established as the national motto in 1956, the phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 (62 years after Francis Bellamy wrote it) -- all as a reaction to "godless communism" during the Cold War McCarthyism era.

Let me allow our Forefathers speak for themselves:

"What has been Christianity's fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution." -James Madison

"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." -John Adams

"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness." -George Washington

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." -John Adams, Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11

One Nation, Indivisible
Freedom of religion helps churches -- you're free to go into any church anywhere and believe whatever the hell you want (or don't want). Think of what life would be like if the Constitution said that we must support Jainism.

If you honestly have a "love it or leave it" mentality toward people of opposing faiths, I'd implore you to look into the empathic teaching of your own religion. Sure, the Founding Fathers weren't 100% right or "good" in everything they did (Washington, Jefferson, and others, owned slaves). But that doesn't mean that we have to accept things the way they are. Why not "make it better"? That's what those men (and indeed, women) of the past fought and died for. For our freedom to believe, to question, to think, and to change.

And just because the majority of Americans are Christian doesn't make it right to call the United States of America a "Christian Nation". The majority of Americans are also white. Does that make America a "white nation"?


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