Thoughts and satire about news & politics. Check out the Archives for other great articles.
posted by Hawkeye® -- Saturday, August 21, 2010
The Victory Mosque affair has seriously damaged the image of The Religion of Peace™ in the eyes of ordinary Americans. We can consequently expect a lavish petrodollar-funded campaign of taqiyya (lying about Islam to the infidels) in the MSM, in an attempt to lull the American public back to sleep. So, as a high priority to immunize the American people against the coming onslaught of Islamic propaganda, could bloggers please familiarize their readership with the techniques of lying, deception, feigned moderation, guilt-inducement, diversionary tactics, twisted logic and half-truths embodied in the Islamic practice of taqiyya.There's a description of the main features of taqiyya HERE ... http://crombouke.blogspot.com/2010/01/twelve-tactics-of-taqiyya.html
All together now, let's recite the 1sr Amendment...'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.'There. Pretty simple really. so the choice is yours - is the constitution the sacrosanct foundation of your Republic or a mere set of suggestions that can be ignored when any one of them becomes inconvenient?Protecting the rights of those you passionately disagree with is a true test of your values and principles, a test you are failing. Jefferson et al would not be impressed.Man up America; get a grip and stop whining like a bunch of six-year-old pageant queens - it's getting embarrassing. CheersElroy
Elroy,Get a grip, man. You don't even understand the meaning of the 1st Amendment. Allow me to paraphrase..."Congress shall make no law which establishes a state religion, or which prohibits people from exercising their religion freely."Don't give me your crap about how it's OK for Muslims to freely exercise their religion, when you and your kind have done everything in your power to stop Christians from freely exercising our religion. We can't have the 10 commandments on public property. We can't pray on public property. We can't open a Bible on public property. We can't have a cross on public property. Our kids can't wear t-shirts with Christian symbols or sayings on them.You guys always want it both ways, and as usual, the crap that comes out of your mouth stinks like... hypocrisy.
Elroy,P.S.-- The "wall of separation" that Jefferson was referring to was, in his mind, required in order to protect Christians from the government... NOT to protect the government from Christians. As usual, the government has gotten things entirely back-asswards.
The one with everything ass-backwards is, of course, you.Me and 'my kind' have no objection to you worshipping whatever deity takes your fancy so long as it takes place within the confines of private property. This goes for everyone, Jews, Zoastrans, Hindus, Buddhitsts, Janists and even, gasp, Christians and Muslims. Not allowed to put the 10 Commandments on public property? Good.Sulk and pout all you like but here's the thing - it's PUBLIC property which belongs to the aforementioned Jews, Zoastrans, Hindus, Buddhitsts, Janists as much as the Christians, Muslims and my brother atheists which is why NO-ONE should be allowed to plaster it with their preferred dogma. Savvy?But this isn't about what me or my kind might or might not do or be doing; it's about what you and your kind ARE doing, so don't change the subject.It is amusing to observe militant Christians demanding the right to do the same as those nations which they purport to hate and institute a theocracy, despite what their precious constitution expressl forbids - 'Congress shall make no law which establishes a state religion' - but we grown-ups long since stopped expecting consistency or logic from the cry-baby Right.And what part of '...or which prohibits people from exercising their religion freely' do you not understand? At the very least, surely Matthew 7-12 - Do unto others as you would have others do unto you - applies? And if not, when does it?As for your contention that Jefferson's wall of separation was 'required in order to protect Christians from the government... NOT to protect the government from Christians', on what do you base this supposition? Given that walls, by their very nature, are designed to work BOTH ways - there is no such thing as a 'one-way' wall - you must have some pretty powerful documentary evidence to back up this theory, so where is it? Please, clue me in, because quotes like 'History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes' [Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813] appear to point to contrary, as does 'Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.' [Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802]And when we take into account that The Treaty of Tripoli, written during the Washington administration, sent to the Senate during the Adams administration and passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in 1797, reads 'The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion', your premise looks rather dubious, no?
There is certainly no proof that Jefferson was a 'Christian' at all; you claim to know what was 'in his mind', but yet again you appear to be in ass-backwards land. Jefferson, by his own admission, 'never submitted the whole system of [his] opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where [he] was capable of thinking for [him]self. Such an addiction', he attested, 'is the last degradation of a free and moral agent' [Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789]And when Richard Price, British moral philosopher, preacher and champion of the American Revolution, asked Jefferson "Would not Society be better without Such religions? Is Atheism less pernicious than Demonism?", Jefferson replied 'I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians' [Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789].In fact it would seem that Jefferson was a 'deist' as opposed to a 'theist' and that very few of your precious founding fathers were doctrinaire Christians as such. Check these out:Thomas Paine: 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...Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all." [The Age of Reason, pp. 8,9]John Adams bemoaned the 'pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces' among the clergy [Adams in a letter to Charles Cushing Oct 19, 1756] and in 1817 wrote to Jefferson 'Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!'James Madison: 'Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.' [Madison in a letter to William Bradford April 1, 1774] and
'During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its 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.' [Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments by James Madison, June 1785]Col. Ethan Allen wrote 'That Jesus Christ was not God is evidence from his own words' and that he was generally 'denominated a Deist, the reality of which I never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian.' [Allen, Reason, the Only Oracle of Man,1784]. Furthermore, Allen stopped his own wedding ceremony when the judge asked him if he promised 'to live with Fanny Buchanan agreeable to the laws of God' until the judge agreed that the God referred to was the God of Nature, and the laws those 'written in the great book of nature.'
Benjamin Franklin: 'As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion...has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble [Letter by Benjamin Franklin to Exra Stiles March 9, 1790]
The reality is, my dear Hawkeye, that there is very little doubt over how Jefferson felt about religious freedom. In reference in his autobiography to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, a tract he rated as important as the Declaration of Independence, he wrote 'Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.'And it looks like George Washington agreed. 'Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind' he wrote in a letter to Sir Edward Newenham in 1792, 'those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecatedAnd he also opined in 1775 that 'while we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others.'So much for those guys then. The irony in Christian conservatives trying to co-opt a revolution that was the work of atheist lefties is only lost on Christian conservatives; the rest of us are chuckling heartily. The truth is that the USA is a product of the Enlightenment, a period which was all about piercing the impenetrable gloom of Christian dogma with the blinding light of science, no matter what Glenn Beck might tell you.CheersElroy
Elroy,Me and 'my kind' have no objection to you worshipping whatever deity takes your fancy so long as it takes place within the confines of private property.OF COURSE that would be what you and 'your kind' want. But too bad... that's not what the U.S. Constitution guarantees. The 1st Amendment does not say WHERE people can practice their religion, it says that the Congress shall make no law "prohibiting the free exercise thereof". Anything the government does to prohibit my free exercise of religion is simply unconstitutional, plain and simple. I am free to exercise my religion however and WHEREVER I want to. The liberal idiots that don't agree with that, including those on the Supreme Court, simply don't understand the Constitution and the principles of the Founders.You guys don't like it when people talk about homosexuals saying: "We have no objection to whatever sexual practices suits your fancy so long as it takes place within the confines of private property", do you? No, that makes homosexuals second class citizens, doesn't it? Well you my friend are doing exactly the same thing. You are a bigot, an anti-Christian bigot. We are supposed to accept homosexuals with open arms... but you Christians, you keep your religion in the closet. Well, with all due respect... screw you.Sulk and pout all you like.I'm not sulking and pouting. I'm standing up for my rights. My rights are being stolen. As an older, Christian, conservative, white male of European descent, I am now the one being discriminated against. It seems that only people of color, young people, women, gays, and Muslims have rights any more. Well, if other discriminated classes can rebel, so can I. If they have free speech, so do I. I'm just saying what I believe... and you have to respect that, whether you like it or not.And as for PUBLIC property, that's correct. It is PUBLIC. The word "public" if you didn't know, means that it is accessible to everyone... including your long list of religions. Since the 1st Amendment prohibits Congress from passing any law which prohibits me from the free exercise of my religion, they cannot prevent me or ANYONE from practicing their religion ANYWHERE. All have equal access under the law, and all are equally protected from being discriminated against. All have the right to "plaster it with their preferred dogma". Savvy? The 1st Amendment is not "Freedom FROM religion", but rather "Freedom OF religion". Savvy? It's atheists like you that have perverted the plain truth.
Elroy,But this isn't about what me or my kind might or might not do or be doing; it's about what you and your kind ARE doing, so don't change the subject.That is utter BS. It's ALWAYS about what you and 'your kind' (hereafter 'YOU') are doing. 'YOU' always have an agenda. 'YOU' are always plotting and planning. 'YOU' are ALWAYS trying to replace capitalism with socialism. 'YOU' are ALWAYS trying to redistribute wealth. 'YOU' are ALWAYS trying to steal the product of someone else's labor. 'YOU' are ALWAYS trying to replace liberty and freedom with government control. 'YOU' are ALWAYS trying to legalize crime and destroy traditional values. 'YOU' "progressives" are always trying to move us toward economic and moral disaster. If there were no 'YOU', this blog would not exist.It is amusing to observe militant Christians demanding the right to do the same as those nations which they purport to hate and institute a theocracy.More BS. We are NOT "militant Christians", and we are NOT "demanding the right to... institute a theocracy". And 'YOU' know that. This is just more of 'YOUR' propagandist rhetoric. Well, you can continue to be "amused" with your irrationalities, but I find it insulting that progressive-liberals incessantly pursue the restriction of liberties for Christians (and others), then insinuate that WE are the bullies. 'YOU' continually labor to impose 'YOUR' agenda on us, then call us "dictatorial". My friend, 'YOU' blame others for that which 'YOU' yourselves are guilty of.we grown-ups long since stopped expecting consistency or logic from the cry-baby Right.I laughed so hard when I read this, that I snorted my drink through my nose. What a joke. You don't know how asinine you sound.At the very least, surely Matthew 7-12 - Do unto others as you would have others do unto you - applies?I agree. Let ALL people exercise their religion freely... INCLUDING Christians BTW.
Elroy,As for your contention that Jefferson's wall of separation was 'required in order to protect Christians from the government... NOT to protect the government from Christians', on what do you base this supposition?Have you ever read the letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 in which he mentions "the wall of separation"? Have you ever read the letter from the Danbury Baptist Association (DBA) to which he was repying?First, I will quote from the DBA letter which you can find HERE...Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty -- that religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals -- that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions -- that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbors; But, sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter together with the law made coincident therewith, were adopted as the basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and such had been our laws and usages, and such still are; that religion is considered as the first object of legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the state) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights; and these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgements as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those who seek after power and gain under the pretense of government and religion should reproach their fellow men -- should reproach their order magistrate, as a enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dare not, assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make laws to govern the kingdom of Christ. [emphasis added]The language is a bit archaic, but it should be clear that the DBA was concerned about "religious liberty". They wanted to make sure that the government was restricted to going "no further" than to punishing one who "works ill to his neighbors". They were concerned that religious freedom was not considered one of the "inalienable rights" along with "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". They feared that religious freedom might be construed as a "favor" granted by the government, rather than a "right" ordained by God. They feared that some "magistrate" (ie, President) might become an "enemy of religion" and pass laws "to govern the kingdom of Christ".(to be continued...)
(continued...)Now then, from Jefferson's response, which can be found HERE...Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion, practiced indeed by the Executive of another nation as the legal head of its church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.]We see here Jefferson agreeing with the DBA that religion is a personal matter. He wanted to assure the DBA that the government was limited to "legitimate powers". He said he 'revered' the words of the 1st Amendment, and he clearly explained that it is "Congress [which is] thus inhibited from acts respecting religion". Thus, in Jefferson's own words, it is Congress that is to be inhibited from interfering with religion. Religion is to be protected from government. He said this to reassure the DBA about their concerns. He probably made the comment about government not having "legitimate powers" to reach "opinions" as a way of excusing himself from showing favoritism toward their opinions regarding religious liberty as an "inalienable right".To go even further, Jefferson said that the Executive (ie, the President) is "authorised only to execute their acts", that is, the acts of Congress. In other words, the President is not allowed to have any say regarding religion either, since he can only enforce what laws Congress passes (and they are not allowed to pass any law with respect to religion). Bottom line, Congress is "inhibited" from interfering with religion and the President is likewise "inhibited".Jefferson further explained that his actions to refrain from "prescribing even those occasional performances of devotion" (such as decreed days of fasting and prayer) were a statement against "the Executive of another nation" who, as it happened, was "the legal head of its church". In other words, Jefferson did not want to emulate the King of England, who was the head of the Church of England. He was not against religion per se, but wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and to limit "religious exercises... to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect."And as respected as Jefferson is, I find it interesting that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (each with greater stature than Jefferson), had absolutely no problems declaring days of fasting and prayer or thanksgiving.
Elroy,History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes' [Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813]I agree with that statement wholeheartedly. America is NOT "a priest-ridden people", and we don't want America to become "a priest-ridden people". The concept of a priest-ridden people would be similar to that of the Ayatollahs in Iran. America is FAR from that, and so be it.As to the Treaty of Tripoli, let's look at Article 11...Article 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion - as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen - and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.About this Wikipedia says HERE...According to Frank Lambert, Professor of History at Purdue University, the assurances in Article 11 were "intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers."To go beyond that and suggest (as does author Brooke Allen), that this demonstrates the Founding Fathers "were not religious men" is simply ludicrous. Revisionist liberal historians are prone to taking passages such as this one out of context and extrapolating them to the point of absurdity. To even suggest such a thing is a non sequitur. It does not follow: The Government of the U.S. is not founded on the Christian religion, therefore... the Founding Fathers were not religious men. Huh? How do you make that connection? It makes no sense.Article 11 is correct when it says that the Government of the Untited States is not "founded on" the Christian religion. There are no Biblical references or fundamental statements of faith in the Constitution. The Constitution does not require government employees to be professing Christians. It does not prevent adherents of other faiths from participating in government. It makes no claims to support or uphold Christianity at the expense of other faiths. Article 11 is also correct when it says the U.S. Government "has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (ie, Muslims)". The United States is not by nature anti-Islamic. I wish I could say so much for the governments of various Islamic states, which do indeed seem to have "enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility" of non-Muslim nations. But so much for irony.
Elroy,your premise looks rather dubious, no?No.There is certainly no proof that Jefferson was a 'Christian' at all.Wrong. Jefferson himself said: "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus." On April 21, 1803 Jefferson wrote to Benjamin Rush: "To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other."Jefferson served as a vestryman in Fredericksville Parish as a young man. As President, Jefferson attended church services in the House of Representatives. After his retirement to Monticello, Jefferson continued to attend church services, riding into Charlottesville to the court-house on horseback carrying a small folding chair.However, Jefferson was not a "typical" Christian. He was well familiar with the failings of the church and was opposed to "the corruptions of Christianity". He denied the divinity of Jesus and only acribed to him "every human excellence". He was horrified by the image of God as portrayed in the Old Testament, which he labeled as "cruel". In fact, on June 25, 1819, he wrote to Ezra Stiles Ely of his unique ideas, and said: "I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."In my opinion, Jefferson succumbed to the sins of pride and vanity. He did not like the image of God in the Old Testament, so he re-created God in his own image, that is, a person of "enlightenment". He did not like the image of Jesus in the New Testament, so he re-created Jesus in his own image, that is, an intelligent human being. He did not like the way the gospels were written, so he re-wrote them to suit his own liking.I have a copy of what is called "The Jefferson Bible", which is a misnomer in my opinion. It should be called "The Jefferson Gospel". He rearranged the four gospels into a single book and selected his favorite passages from each. He removed all references to the miracles or divinity of Christ, and focused on his teachings. The book ends with Jesus being laid in the tomb. End of story. No resurrection.Jefferson's Christianity is a small one, and a selfish one. By denying Christ's miracles, he reduces Jesus to a mere mortal. Jesus is no longer God incarnate, but merely a philosopher like Socrates. By eliminating Christ's divinity, Jefferson removes the need to "worship" him. Jefferson disdains "bending the knee". He is too proud for that.And Jefferson's Christianity is a puzzling one. Jefferson's Jesus comes up short. Jefferson cannot explain why crowds followed Jesus with awe and wonder. Jefferson cannot explain why disciples went to their deaths professing that Jesus was more than a mere mortal, but rather a resurrected Savior. Jefferson cannot explain why Christ's followers were so fervent, unlike those of Socrates or Descartes.Jefferson said he believed that Jesus never claimed to be anything more than a human. One can indeed believe such a thing if one re-writes the gospels and removes any passages wherein Christ makes such claims. One can indeed believe such a thing if one re-writes the gospels and removes any passages where Christ performs a miracle. One can indeed believe such a thing if one refuses to believe the testimony of eyewitnesses and martyrs. So be it. He is simply wrong in my opinion.But to say that Jefferson was not a Christian would be wrong. He was simply an atypical Christian. You can learn more HERE.
Elroy,very few of your precious founding fathers were doctrinaire Christians as such.Every person is entitled to their own opinions and world view. No one in my opinion, has a complete and accurate understanding of the "truth". Some are a few percent wrong. Some are 100% wrong. Those who deny the existence of God are 100% wrong in my opinion.I will not go into a point by point argument with you over the depth of Christianity, or the lack thereof, which our Founding Fathers exhibited. Suffice it to say that everyone makes statements from time to time which may be taken out of context. And some of those you quoted do so quite nicely.To bemoan some clergy as "dunces" does not mean that the speaker professes no faith. To say that the world would be a better place without religion does not mean that the speaker professes no faith. To decry "religious bondage" or the past failings of the church does not mean that the speaker professes no faith. Even to question the divinity of Christ does not mean that the speaker professes no faith.The faith of each person is different and unique. Each person will stand before the judgment seat of God and give an account of themselves. God will render His judgment based on what each person believes and how they lived in accordance to what they believed. "Know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve." --Revelation 2:23The truth is, that the Founders were far more religious than liberals give them credit for. In general, revisionist liberal historians have sought to distort the truth about the Founders and strip them of any shred of faith they might possess. They have a political motive for doing so.Christianity is based on the Judeo-Christian principles of laws and limits on mankind. It establishes boundaries of right and wrong. Progressive liberals disdain such limits. They are constantly trying to eliminate those boundaries. They push to legalize every form of perversion and hedonism. Christians stand in their way and point to the traditional values of the Founders. Progressives seek to undercut their argument by smearing the Founders. That's what progressives do best... smear their opponents.I might also point to new information that has recently emerged which shows that George Washington was far more religious and faithful than anyone had previously imagined. A quiet faith does not imply a lack of faith.
Elroy,The reality is, my dear Hawkeye, that there is very little doubt over how Jefferson felt about religious freedom... 'the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.'Yeah, and so what? Most Christians believe in the Freedom of Religion. That's what the First Amendment of the Constitution is all about. Again, so what? Those who are well-acquainted with the scriptures know that you cannot coerce others to accept Christianity. Jesus himself told us to expect that some would never come to Christianity.He gave us a parable called "the sower and the seed". In the parable, the sower is Christ and the seed is the gospel. He said that some seed would fall on rocky ground and never take root - meaning that some people will hear the Word but never believe. Some seed would start to grow, but never really take root and die out quickly. He said that some seed would grow up only to be choked by weeds - meaning that the distractions or sinfulness of life would kill their faith. And finally, he said that some would grow and bear much fruit - meaning that those people will not only hear the gospel, but share it and bring others to Christ as well.As Christians, our duty is not to coerce others into coming to Christ. Our duty is to share the Word. Our goal is not to remove rocks from the rocky ground, or to pull weeds out of the briar patch. Our goal is to spread seed, and hope it takes root. And if that is the case, then this concept has ramifications. That is, that for all practical purposes, we are to leave others alone. We are to share the Word and then back off. We may be inclined to help seedlings towards maturity, but how each individual responds to the gospel is unquestionably a personal matter.Some Christians may be guilty of zeal or enthusiasm for their faith, but that is to be expected in any group of people. Those who rejected the narrow interpretation to which Jefferson referred, were not only correct in doing so, but were apparently more attuned to the scriptures and teachings of Christ than those who sought to insert it.
Elroy,The irony in Christian conservatives trying to co-opt a revolution that was the work of atheist lefties is only lost on Christian conservatives; the rest of us are chuckling heartily.You simply don't get it my friend. We are not trying to co-opt the Revolution... 'YOU' are. The Founding Fathers were far from "atheist lefties". To suggest as much reveals your ignorance. Please feel free to chuckle, but 'YOU' present yourselves as snickering fools.What is patently clear, is that you don't seem to understand Christianity. You seem to approach Christians and Christianity as a Liberal would approach politics. Liberals and "progressives" are selfish and will fight for their cause by whatever means necessary. They will lie, cheat, steal, smear their opponents, and demagogue to get their way. But you don't seem to understand that Christians are not like that. You are projecting onto Christians what you would do if you were a Christian.Therefore, when you argue that the Founders could not have been Christians because they were not acting in a manner that would be typical of Liberals and Progressives, you entirely miss the point. The Founders were acting in a "Christian manner". Christianity teaches us that all people are children of God and are to be equally respected. We are to treat others as we would wish to be treated. Because the Founders did so and said so, you claim that they are not Christians.Granted, throughout history Christians have not always been respectful of others. So be it. Despite such corruptions, that does not diminish the original nature of Christ's teachings. It is exactly such corruptions that our Founders dismissed and decried. You misinterpret such statements as proof that they were not Christians... and you are wrong in doing so.
Elroy,Allow me to share some proofs of the faith our Founders expressed...In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, written 37 years after the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote: "The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young gentlemen could Unite. ... And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: ... Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System."John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, wrote in a letter to a friend, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."John Adams and John Hancock: "We Recognize No Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!" [April 18, 1775]John Adams: "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." [October 11, 1798]John Adams: "I have examined all religions, as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life, would allow; and the result is that the Bible is the best Book in the world. It contains more philosophy than all the libraries I have seen." [December 25, 1813 letter to Thomas Jefferson]John Adams: "Without Religion this World would be Something not fit to be mentioned in polite Company, I mean Hell." [John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, April 19, 1817]Samuel Adams: "Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity... and leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system." [October 4, 1790]Benjamin Franklin: "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” [Constitutional Convention of 1787]In Benjamin Franklin's 1749 plan of education for public schools in Pennsylvania, he insisted that schools teach "the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern."In 1787 when Franklin helped found Benjamin Franklin University, it was dedicated as "a nursery of religion and learning, built on Christ, the Cornerstone."Alexander Hamilton: "I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man."On July 12, 1804 at his death, Hamilton said, “I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.”
Elroy,More to ponder...Patrick Henry: "It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here." [May 1765 Speech to the House of Burgesses]Patrick Henry: "The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed."Patrick Henry: "This is all the inheritance I can give my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed." [The Last Will and Testament of Patrick Henry]John Hancock: "In circumstances as dark as these, it becomes us, as Men and Christians, to reflect that whilst every prudent measure should be taken ... at the same time all confidence must be withheld from the means we use; and reposed only on that God rules in the armies of Heaven, and without His whole blessing, the best human counsels are but foolishness ... Resolved; ... Thursday the 11th of May ... to humble themselves before God ... to confess the sins that have deserved them, to implore the Forgiveness of all our transgressions, and a spirit of repentance and reformation ... and a Blessing on the ... Union of the American Colonies" [A Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, with a total abstinence from labor and recreation. Proclamation on April 15, 1775]Thomas Jefferson: "The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man."Thomas Jefferson: "Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus."Thomas Jefferson: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever." (excerpts are inscribed on the walls of the Jefferson Memorial in the nations capital) [Source: Merrill . D. Peterson, ed., Jefferson Writings, (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 1984), Vol. IV, p. 289. From Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781.]James Madison: "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We've staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity... to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]James Madison: "I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare the unsatisfactoriness [of temportal enjoyments] by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way. [Letter from Madison to William Bradford; September 25, 1773]James Madison: "It is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other."At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison proposed a plan to divide the central government into three branches. He discovered this model of government from "the Perfect Governor", as he read Isaiah 33:22 -- "For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver,the LORD is our king; He will save us." [Madison claimed Isaiah 33:22 as the source of division of power in government. See also: pp.241-242 in Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle approach by Rosalie Slater]
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