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The Founders Intended A Christian, Not Secular, Society
Posted: 17 November 2007 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The Founders Intended A Christian, Not Secular, Society

By Michael Medved

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Senator John McCain’s recent comments about America’s heritage as a “Christian nation” ignited an ill-tempered blast of self-righteous condemnation – a reaction that highlighted the widespread misunderstandings, distortions and downright ignorance surrounding the nation’s founders and their view of religion’s role in society.

Asked a question about a recent poll that showed 55% of the public believing that “the Constitution establishes a Christian nation,” McCain responded: “I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation. But I say that in the broadest sense. The lady that holds her lamp beside the golden door doesn’t say, ‘I only welcome Christians.’ We welcome the poor, the tired, the huddled masses. But when they come here they know that they are in a nation founded on Christian principles.” ...

Edited to remove copyrighted material. Please do not post full articles; link to them and/or quote selectively, as per “fair use”.

dougsmith—Admin

[ Edited: 17 November 2007 12:56 PM by dougsmith ]
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Posted: 17 November 2007 02:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Medved is a paid mouthpiece for the fundamentalist neo-cons.  He says what will make them happy; he isn’t at all interested in stating the truth.  This is just one more example of the false tripe he puts out.

McCain is desparate and hoping to recover some of the religious right votes.

Occam

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Posted: 18 November 2007 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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So all of the numerous Americans who are not Christian are not to be counted?  big surprise  What bigotry.

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Posted: 18 November 2007 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, we know not to vote for McCain.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 23 November 2007 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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“I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in…[the] superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.”
—Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and 3rd President of the United States

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
—Thomas Jefferson letter to Thomas Cooper on February 10, 1814

”...an amendment [to the Virginia Bill Establishing Religious Freedom] was proposed…inserting the words, ‘Jesus Christ…the holy author of our religion,’ which was rejected ‘By a great majority’ in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination.”
—Thomas Jefferson in his autobiography

“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!”
—John Adams, 2nd President of the United States

”…the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
—Treaty of Peace and Friendship, ratified by the Senate during Adams’ presidency

“Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?”
—James Madison, 4th President of the United States and so-called “Father of the Constitution”

“Congress should not establish a religion and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience.”
—James Madison in his 1789 Annals of Congress

”...no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
—Article VI U.S. Constitution

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

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Posted: 23 November 2007 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I do appreciate what I’ve learned about Thomas Jefferson.  It’s a shame we can’t have presidents like him, only in the modern age.  Some of the others you mentioned, Rocinante, might not be too bad either.  If more people who run for president studied the ways former presidents (esp the first several) ran the country, they might pick up some good ideas, learn what is a bad idea, and other things to help run the country.  Now, there are some limitations of how many ideas he can use, because Thomas Jefferson’s time was different from ours, so s/he would have to think how to bring the ideas to the modern age or set them aside if they are not appropriate for this day and age.  However, the separation of Church and State is timeless.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 23 November 2007 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Mriana - 23 November 2007 10:22 AM

If more people who run for president studied the ways former presidents (esp the first several) ran the country, they might pick up some good ideas, learn what is a bad idea, and other things to help run the country.  Now, there are some limitations of how many ideas he can use, because Thomas Jefferson’s time was different from ours, so s/he would have to think how to bring the ideas to the modern age or set them aside if they are not appropriate for this day and age.  However, the separation of Church and State is timeless.

With the exception of slavery (where individual’s rights were clearly being violated), I don’t know of any broad idea from Jefferson’s time that should be set aside in our time. 

Selectively choosing such things is setting up the scenario for conservatives and liberals to pick and choose ideas to eventually try and ram down the throats of everyone, while at the same time denying the rights of others based on nothing more than their own personal likes and dislikes.  As past and current events prove, given the chance, conservatives and liberals would cut out half the Constitution. 

So when you say something is not appropriate for our day and age, you are simultaneously setting the precedent for others to say the wall of separation between church and state should be torn down.  They will say something like, “After all, the Deism of the Founders in the 18th Century was fine then, but modern times need the moral structure offered by Christianity…”  They will turn your argument right around on you and you will have no choice but to accept it or be branded a hypocrite.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

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Posted: 23 November 2007 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Rocinante - 23 November 2007 11:28 AM
Mriana - 23 November 2007 10:22 AM

If more people who run for president studied the ways former presidents (esp the first several) ran the country, they might pick up some good ideas, learn what is a bad idea, and other things to help run the country.  Now, there are some limitations of how many ideas he can use, because Thomas Jefferson’s time was different from ours, so s/he would have to think how to bring the ideas to the modern age or set them aside if they are not appropriate for this day and age.  However, the separation of Church and State is timeless.

With the exception of slavery (where individual’s rights were clearly being violated), I don’t know of any broad idea from Jefferson’s time that should be set aside in our time.

I agree, but the others you mention, there maybe.  I haven’t studied them enough to know. 

Selectively choosing such things is setting up the scenario for conservatives and liberals to pick and choose ideas to eventually try and ram down the throats of everyone, while at the same time denying the rights of others based on nothing more than their own personal likes and dislikes.  As past and current events prove, given the chance, conservatives and liberals would cut out half the Constitution. 

So when you say something is not appropriate for our day and age, you are simultaneously setting the precedent for others to say the wall of separation between church and state should be torn down.  They will say something like, “After all, the Deism of the Founders in the 18th Century was fine then, but modern times need the moral structure offered by Christianity…”  They will turn your argument right around on you and you will have no choice but to accept it or be branded a hypocrite.

I wasn’t talking about selective choosing.  Slavery doesn’t work period, but other Jeffersonian ideas did.  However, Jefferson wanted to end slavery supposedly, but he supposedly did not know how.  Lincoln seemed to know how though and Kennedy seemed to know how to give people equal rights or at least he tried.

What most X-ians don’t realize, is that the deism of the past was close to atheism in the eyes of our ancestors.  Jefferson was accused of atheism many times, however, I have a bit of a theory on that.  If Jefferson was alive now and got the education we get today, he’d be an atheist and not a deist.  That is the key issue the theists forget.  Jefferson was a highly educated man and appreciated science greatly, so with today’s knowledge his philosophy would more than likely be far from X-ianity.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 23 November 2007 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Mriana - 23 November 2007 12:05 PM

However, Jefferson wanted to end slavery supposedly, but he supposedly did not know how.  Lincoln seemed to know how though and Kennedy seemed to know how to give people equal rights or at least he tried.

Just keep in mind that when you were taught in school that the U.S. Civil War was fought to end slavery, that bit of rewritten pseudo-history was just as wrong as the claim that the U.S. was founded as a Christian Nation.  Granted, the ending of slavery was a (fortunate) result of the Civil War, but not it’s primary purpose for the war:

“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union…”
—Abraham Lincoln

Thomas Jefferson condemned slavery in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.  But his written condemnation was removed in order to compromise with the southern states (today we would call that “bipartisanship”) so that they would approve of the Declaration of Independence.

Tactful wording in the Constitution was done to weaken the pro-slavery southern states.  It was not northern, but southern states that wanted to count blacks as whole persons.  But not because the south cared about blacks’ humanity.  Counting blacks would increase the south’s political power.  The north’s desire to not count blacks was not done out of any form of bigotry or racism, but to make sure the anti-slavery majority in Congress remained in the majority while keeping the pro-slavery southern states in the minority.  In fact it was the anti-slavery James Wilson of Pennsylvania who came up with the three-fifths compromise (something James Madison also discussed) to help ensure the north’s political power over the south. 

Of course, these facts aren’t taught in schools anymore.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

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Posted: 23 November 2007 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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States’ rights was the South’s reason for going to war- according to what they taught down here and still do.  The thing is, being South of the Mason Dixon Line, I have not idea what the North’s reason was.  I would assume it was to keep the Union together.  I know full well we don’t get the whole story.  I had ancestors who lived in Peducah, Kentucky.  While some had slaves and some did not, none of them wanted to fight each other, but were forced to fight- either for the Union or for the Confederate side.  My great great grandfather left and went West after his wife died in childbirth (and possibly to avoid the war), leaving his sons with his sister who gave them to a Black woman to raise.  This woman wet-nursed my great grandfather.  Later he told stories how it upset him to see a Black man fresh from Africa changed up like a wild animal.  These stories and others are still past down in our family.  The (confederate) money my ancestors had is now wallpaper in one of those old historic houses- if it’s not all been removed.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 23 November 2007 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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<>

[ Edited: 31 January 2008 06:36 AM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 23 November 2007 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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<>

[ Edited: 31 January 2008 06:36 AM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 23 November 2007 06:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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zarcus - 23 November 2007 03:49 PM

Since I have been spending considerable time reading John Adams and Jefferson, mainly their correspondence, I thought I would grab the John Adams quote above and run it through some references.

Rocinante offered this quote:
~“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!”
—John Adams, 2nd President of the United States

And here is the quote in context:
~“Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.”

Isn’t it hell with religion though?  Of course, if there were a happy medium, you know… Moderation in all things, maybe it would be the best possibility.  Who knows.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 23 November 2007 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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[ Edited: 22 January 2008 07:54 PM by zarcus ]
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Posted: 24 November 2007 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I think a closely related, and much more widely believed piece of misinformation about the United States, is that the U.S. was supposed to be a democracy.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Just as the words “Jesus”, “God” or “Christianity” don’t appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, the word “democracy” does not appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution or any of the 50 state’s constitutions. 

The Founders feared democracy just as much as they feared theocracy—and rightly so.  They intended the United States to be a Republic not a Democracy:

”[Democracies] have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
—Federalist No. 10

“Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
—John Adams, letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814

“It had been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience had proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.”
—Alexander Hamilton June 21, 1788

“A republic if you can keep it.”
—Benjamin Franklin, September 18, 1787 at the close of the Constitutional Convention, and upon being asked by a Mrs. Powel if the young U.S. would be a republic or a monarchy. 

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government.”
—Article IV, Section 4 U.S. Constitution

And while not Founders of the United States, the following are all correct on this subject:

“I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both.”
—Thomas Babington Macaulay

“Democracy forever teases us with the contrast between its ideals and its realities, between its heroic possibilities and its sorry achievements.”
—Agnes Repplier

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
—Alexander Tyler

Voting themselves a largesse from the public treasury is now the primary purpose most people vote.

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There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.

—James Madison

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Posted: 24 November 2007 08:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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If I remember right, but mind you, I can’t quote the pledge of alligance without a little help, it doesn’t say democracy, but rather republic.

Yes, I was born and raised in the U.S.  It’s just during the 70s there was this big todo about reciting the pledge, prayer/moment of silence, and alike, so the schools I went to over the years quit doing any of that, until sometime after I graduated.  Consequently, I never quite learned the pledge of alligance.  They say the pledge now though~ even in the high schools.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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