Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy President's Day

Today is President's Day in the United States. Far too often I hear uninformed and deluded people spouting nonsence declaring that the U.S. is a Christian nation. Claiming all the founding fathers and presidents to have been devout Christians. I believe that people should spend more time reading history and less time trying to rewrite it. I thought I'd remember our presidents and honor the day by posting a couple of reminders and more than a couple of quotes that give an indication of where we came from. What we were and where we SHOULD be.

“…the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them…”

“…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”
-The Declaration of Independence

“…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
U.S. Constitution, Article VI, Section 3

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment

The passages quoted above are the ONLY mention of God or religion in the founding documents of the United States of America.

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

-Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, officially ratified by the Senate, signed by President John Adams on 10 June, 1797.

George Washington

George Washington left behind a plethora of written letters and personal documents. While he mentions “Providence” many times, one is hard pressed to find the name of Jesus Christ or mention of the Christian religion. Bishop White knew Washington well for many years and wrote after Washington's death that he had never heard him express an opinion on any religious subject and added that although Washington was "serious and attentive" in church, he never saw him kneel in prayer. It is also documented that he refrained from receiving communion.

John Adams

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

"Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it."

"But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed."

"The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles."

Thomas Jefferson

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."

"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies."

"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites."

"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"

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own"

"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State."

"The clergy...believe that any portion of power confided to me [as President] will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion."

James Madison

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has 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."

"In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people."

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."

"...the number, the industry, and the morality of the priesthood, and the devotion of the people, have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the church from the State"

"Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together"

Abraham Lincoln

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."

"My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."

Ulysses S. Grant

"Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separated."

William Howard Taft

"I do not believe in the divinity of Christ and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe."


Kitty said...

Cool post Bruce. I agree with Ulysses S Grant ... and most of the others, actually. x

Mike said...

Great post and unfortunately our government has been hijacked by the religious right (aka the American Taliban). I sincerely hope we get it back under control come November.

Malicious Intent said...

Great post. It amazes me how much people believe, just because some nut job told them it was true. See, the winners really do write history. We have a responsibility to our country and future generations to ensure the truth our forefahters spoke it kept pure and not altered for political gain.

Of course, I also want 5 million dollars, a new house, car and not have to work ever again...but that ain't happening either!

Malach the Merciless said...

Most of these guys were free masons anyway

Tequila Mockingbird said...

jesus is still alright with me, jesus is still alright OH YEAAAAAH...

oh wait.. not so much.

i love the myriad of fantastical things Thomas Payne had to say on religion and governent

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Thanks Kitty. I like Grant's attitude too. Don't have anything against them but they should definitely support themselves. I'd go a step further and make them non-tax exempt. It'll never happen but it's how it should be.

Yeah, Mike hijacked is a good word. Here's hopin'.

MI the winner's getting to right history is one thing but this is a situation of choosing to ignore history and rewrite it to suit themselves. There are all these bullshit arguments about what the "intent" of this phrase or that amendment in the Constitution. If you want to understand the intent read the words of the men who wrote it! Their letters, journals, and other written works are plentiful and available and most of them state in no uncertain terms what the intent was. It certainly was NOT to have religious interference in government.

Yes Mal, many of them were. They were also Deists. They believed fervently in God ("Nature's God) they just had no use for organized religion. Even Jefferson stated that he was a Christian but only in as much that he believed that Christ was an amazing MAN with a beautiful message. He even went as far as to rewrite his own version of the New Testament keeping the message but leaving out the myth and fantasy.

TM, Payne was a VERY outspoken Deist. "Age of Reason" should be required reading. Ethan Allen was pretty outspoken too. He stopped his wedding ceremony to clarify what the minister meant by God and to be sure that it was understood that he wasn't acknowledging belief in the Christian God before he said "I Do". Many of the "Founding Father" felt this way, I just listed quotes from some presidents in honor of the holiday.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

I should really learn to proof-read my comments before I hit "publish".
MI that would be winners (without the 's) and Write not right. Good grief.

Hungry Mother said...

Good post, but you're preaching to the choir. The hardcore, closed-minded don't go near blogs that don't exactly fit their beliefs.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

HM,I don't know what you mean. Sure the choir are the ones that publicly post comments but I just know that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are closet readers of my blog.

Malicious Intent said...

Hey, we both got props over at Vicki's!

meggie said...

Down here in Oz, I have always been the lone looney voice crying in the wilderness. Abolish all religion, & soccer, & the world will be OK!!
For ever & ever!!

Colonel Colonel said...

Well, that's all well and good, but remember- whenever you quote a Founding Father you make the Baby Jesus weep, and God kills another kitten.

Tequila Mockingbird said...

i love ethan allen. he makes great home furnishings!