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Are We A Christian Nation?

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Saturday, 23 January 2010

 

What began as a blog comment in answer to a post titled "Religion in the Affairs of Government" by Jeff Schweitzer on Huffington Post was too big to fit there, so I posted it here.  I'm now using it as a work-in-progress note pad, if you will, where I'll post research notes and thoughts as I examine the historical record. 

From the Library of Congress on Religion and the Federal Government:  http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel06.html

"That religion was not otherwise addressed in the Constitution did not make it an "irreligious" document any more than the Articles of Confederation was an "irreligious" document. The Constitution dealt with the church precisely as the Articles had, thereby maintaining, at the national level, the religious status quo. In neither document did the people yield any explicit power to act in the field of religion. But the absence of expressed powers did not prevent either the Continental-Confederation Congress or the Congress under the Constitution from sponsoring a program to support general, nonsectarian religion."

Here's my original blog comment that never was:  Let me start by stating, emphatically, that I don't support and will stand with you, Mr. Schweitzer, against any attempt to establish a State religion. 

Having said that – true, we are not a theocracy, but our nation is far from a secular nation.  I suspect that when this "large majority" you speak of "incorrectly but firmly believes this country is a Christian nation," what they really mean is that the "large majority" of citizens are of Christian faith and the imprint of Christian influence all over the history of this nation is undeniable.  This is not the same as believing that our government has the power to institute Christianity as a state religion.  It is certainly not the same as believing our government SHOULD have the power to institute a state religion.

We are a nation of people free to worship whomever and however we choose, which includes, however unfortunately, Pat Robertson's right to speak his personal beliefs.  On the other hand, so what?  He has a right to say them and you have the right to disagree.  The ability to get inside another's mind to diagnose "malicious" intent and "wanton craziness," though, is a skill I envy...how DO you DO that?

Our Constitution does NOT protect against "wanton craziness."  In fact, so long as it's not infringing on another's rights, its governance protects the wantonly crazy!  Our government structure DOES protect us against TYRANNY of whatever form.

The facts of our history are INDEED easy enough to verify.  You are 100% correct that our founders purposefully crafted the Constitution with neither mention nor favor to any religion.  However, to deny that the Founders' beliefs, principles, and values were inspired by great philosophers, scientists, historians and clergy who acknowledged a Creator and basic human rights vested to us by our Creator is, maybe, "woefully and shamefully ignorant," which I suspect you are not, so shall I conclude – “malicious”?   A cursory look at their diaries, letters and personal library lists will show anyone that our founding fathers were predominantly believers in a Higher Intelligence, if not unapologetically Christian. 

"European sensibilities"?  Are you kidding?  You mean the same European sensibilities that engaged in religious persecution and tyranny in loyalty to the Crown?  The founders first appealed to King George and those in Parliament who believed in America's full rights under English Law and Natural Law.  It had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with oppressive taxation.

I've already addressed Jefferson's letter to Adams.  I still contend you misrepresent context, but let your readers refer to the actual letter and decide for themselves.

The "In God We Trust" thing - yeah, I agree.  The "Under God" thing - agreed.  If there are any fellow Christians reading this...c'mon, write the Commandments, mottos, mantras and prayers on your hearts.  There is no need to print them on money, post them in courthouses or pledge them to a flag.  I’m pretty sure God looks deeper than that.  Live your faith and spread the love of Christ, but please, don't push your faith.

Following Christ and forcing others to worship Christ are mutually exclusive acts.

Your 3rd and 2nd from the last paragraphs are full of generalizations, fear mongering and over-simplification of deep and complex issues.  Who are the religious extremists?  All Christians?  Christians who don't support the far-left agenda?  Religious groups that seek to overthrow the government?  Who are they?  What about the far-left attempts to shove down our throats morals and values inconsistent with the majority of Americans' beliefs?  Same thing, right?  What about global warming extremists who insist climate change is man-made and would have us living as if in the dark ages?  There's enough ignoring, twisting and lying about the past – and present - from both extremes.

Atheists are quick to point out all the "suffering" in the world caused by religious extremists.  The truth, and history proves this, is that more world suffering has been meted by atheists than all theistic religions combined.  Ever.

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Edit:  This last paragraph is tricky to justify.  Reliable historical data is hard to parse with limited time.  Rather than say "More world suffering has been meted by atheists than all theistic religions combined" I probably need to start with the argument posited by atheists that religion is the motivation behind world suffering. The numbers don't support that position. Religion may be A BIG motivator, but not THE or even THE LARGEST motivator. Pride, selfishness, greed and plain cruelty are among the motivators, irrespective of religion. 

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm - Selected Death Tolls for Wars, Massacres and Atrocities Before the Twentieth Century.

 
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