Sunday, February 04, 2007

Have we always been a Christian Nation?

One of the fastest growing cliches/falsehoods, which stands the chance of becoming fact, is the idea that America was solely founded by Christians for Christians. This is a dangerous fiction. It is being used to suffocate pluralism and erect a theocratic Vampirarchy. This stands contrary to everything the founding fathers intended.

The Declaration of Independence:

Think of the concept of the Declaration of Independence in the context of this Bible verse:

13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

1 Peter 2: 13-18

Take the core of Jefferson's argument for his tender nation: "...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." What could be more opposed to Biblical teaching than revolution? The scriptures emphatically state that the power of nations are precipitated by God. According to the "Declaration" people animate the engine of our government.

Founding Fathers:

Thomas Paine wrote a book called The Age of Reason in which he openly denounces Christianity. Paine stated about Religion in general: "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."

Jefferson did not go any easier on the faith in his criticism of the religion, "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus…will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." He also said, "The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between Church and State," which should lay that debate to rest.

And if you're still not convinced none other than George Washington himself commented on the essence of our nation, "The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion."

The truth was and still remains that our founding fathers escaped King George and the Anglican Church in search of a new, multi-cultural society. One where issues can be debated and differing perspectives can be explored without interference. This is a system that continues to be as beautiful as it is radical.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

Interesting blog entry.
I'll bare it in mind the next time I end up in a religious debate with a right wing American.
Unfortunately most of them are either too blinkered, or uneducated, so they wouldn't understand.
Bravo to you.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and timely discussion. It is certainly true to argue that it was established by Christians; but the argument, as you nibble at, of whether it was established as a Christian nation is problematic and ultimately false. As a note, Paine's Age of Reason did not argue against Christianity as a faith, his argument was against the established church, its control, and its interpretation of the faith.

rich_of_spirit said...

Thank you for your critique, however, I would argue Jefferson, Washington and Paine were not Christians. In fact, mingled amongst the Bible-believers were Agnostics and Deists.

As for your characterization of Age of Reason, Paine does all those things you listed but he also says the following: "As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a species of Atheism — a sort of religious denial of God. It professes to believe in a man rather than in God. It is a compound made up chiefly of Manism with but little Deism, and is as near to Atheism as twilight is to darkness. It introduces between man and his Maker an opaque body, which it calls a Redeemer, as the moon introduces her opaque self between the earth and the sun, and it produces by this means a religious, or an irreligious, eclipse of light. It has put the whole orbit of reason into shade."

He also said this of the Bible: "People in general do not know what wickedness there is in this pretended word of God. Brought up in habits of superstition, they take it for granted that the Bible is true, and that it is good; they permit themselves not to doubt of it, and they carry the ideas they form of the benevolence of the Almighty to the book which they have been taught to believe was written by his authority. Good heavens! it is quite another thing; it is a book of lies, wickedness, and blasphemy; for what can be greater blasphemy than to ascribe the wickedness of man to the orders of the Almighty?" After stating this how are the remnants any different than general Theism or Pantheism?