Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Christian values are not American values. The belief that America is a 'Christian nation' is a very dangerous one because it's wrong and it justifies intolerance against other religions as well as those who have no religion.
The First Amendment begins, “…no law respecting the establishment of religion" then it says "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The wording was arranged that way for a reason. Clearly, freedom FROM religion comes before freedom of religion.
The Pilgrims came to America to get away from religious intolerance, but as soon as they got here they started doing the same things to others who were not of their faith. At the time the Constitution was written, there were areas in America that were run by different theocracies. In Massachusetts, the Congregationalist establishment enforced taxation for its benefit on all believers and expelled or even put to death those who would not accede to its beliefs. The founding fathers saw religious intolerance as a mortal threat to the representative democracy they envisioned, so they specifically excluded religion from government.
Since the 1950s, and initially in response to the perceived threat from communism, Christians have been on a crusade to rewrite history in order to make America a Christian nation.
The "american taliban" claim that the U.S. was founded as “One Nation under [their] God” and one nation under their religion. However, the historic truth is that few early Americans were members of a Christian church. In the 1933 Yearbook of American Churches, it says that just 6.9% of U.S. citizens belonged to a church in 1800. By 1850, religious membership had risen to 15.5%. By 1900, Christians had doubled their percentage to 37%. However, not until 1942 did Christian affiliation exceed 50% of the U.S. population.
Christian activists rail against a non-existent "war on Christianity" and push their faithful to attack any appearance of religious neutrality. Over the past sixty years they have been quite successful in forcing their theological beliefs on all Americans.
In 1954, the U.S. Congress, in direct violation of the First Amendment, began to secure the presence of Christianity’s monotheistic God in government. Pressured by McCarthy-era hysteria and Christian groups such as the Knights of Columbus, the Pledge of Allegiance went from a patriotic oath declaring liberty and justice for all, to a religious invocation through the insertion of the words “under God.”
This made the Pledge of Allegiance into a Judeo-Christian prayer advocating, as the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court ruled in 2002, “an impermissible government endorsement of religion [that] sends a message to unbelievers that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community, and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.” What was America’s response to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court? Condemn those liberal judges!
Then Christian activists removed the original national motto, E Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one,” which was coined by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, from U.S. currency and public places. Then "In God We Trust" was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956 and on paper currency only since 1957.
Recent court decisions have upheld the right of employers to use their religious beliefs to deny birth control to women and domestic partner benefits to gays. Every year we are treated to a chorus of whining from the religious right about a "war on Christmas." State legislators insist on putting the 10 Commandments and other Christian religious symbols on public property, but refuse to allow symbols of other religions. Laws have been passed in many states and localities that mandate that creationism be taught as if it were scientific fact, on par with evolution.
Quotes from our founding fathers:
"Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society."
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1808
Common law “is that system of law, which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England . . . about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century. . . We may safely affirm that Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.”
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1814
Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize, every expanded prospect.
-- James Madison, 1774
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, or on any pretext infringed.
-- James Madison, 1774
The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion.
-- 1797 the treaty of Tripoli, signed by President Washington
When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obligated to call for help of the civil power, it's a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1780
Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.
-- Benjamin Franklin
God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world.
-- John Adams
This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.
-- John Adams
Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.
-- Thomas Paine
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
-- Thomas Paine
These are not the words of men who thought that America should be a Christian nation governed by the Bible. On the contrary, the great majority of America's Founding Fathers believed strongly in separation of church and state. This country has survived for over two centuries as a secular state and it is only now when conservatives are attempting to destroy the cornerstone on which American freedom and liberty was built that we find American civil discourse becoming more divided and politically charged than ever before.