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Nobody can deny the fact that Christianity has played a huge role in our history. From the first Thanksgiving to the ideas of Jesus Christ that are embroidered in our culture today, Christianity and the Bible is responsible a big part of our heritage.

However, many conservatives will take this fact way out of context. They'll think that you have to be a Christian to be patriotic, which is simply not true. Following the more secular teachings of Jesus Christ (being charitable, loving one another, treating strangers with kindness) is what the men who founded this country were for.

I don't want to waste my time listing all these obscurant far-right arguments, so instead I'll list the facts straight from our forefathers.

“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
- George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia (1789)
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr (1787)
"In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.”
- Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)
“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”
- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791)
“Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.”
- Roger Sherman, Congress (1789)
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1758)
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people build a wall of separation between Church & State."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)
"To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis No. V (1776)
Note: You can read Paine's whole pamphlet, where he expresses his atheistic beliefs, here.
“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”
- Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
"Christian establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."
- James Madison, letter to William Bradford, Jr. (1774)
"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
- George Washington, address to Congress (1790)
"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."
- James Madison, General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1785)

Originally posted to Tolerant Libertarian on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:52 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists, Street Prophets , and Daily Kos Classics.

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    Gay couples should be able to protect their marijuana plants with guns.

    by Tolerant Libertarian on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 10:52:57 PM PDT

    •  why should I care? (8+ / 0-)

      I'm tired of using "the framers" to justify why society should do this or that. The framers are dead, and we've have 200 years of intellectual and philosophical progress since the Constitution was written. Yes, the framers are dead white guys who owned slaves, but they also did not have the same understanding of economics, sociology, psychology, and political science that we do.

      Granted, many of their writings are of value, and their views should not be ignored. Also, invoking the framers to undermine the positions of Tea Partiers can be fun and tactically effective. However, there is better ground to stand upon.

      If we were a nation like Panem or Putin's Russia, the philosophy of the framers might be a good place to start a liberal democracy. However, we can do better.

      •  why should I care? (35+ / 0-)

         In regard to the defense of religious liberty and liberty of conscience, I defy you to find better writing than the ones cited.

        What is the better ground you think we can stand on?

        •  What about everyone since? (6+ / 0-)

          If the framers are the authors of American government, then those who came behind them are the revisers and editors of American government. Those people took the framers' ideas and made them better. I prefer Jefferson's ideas as amended by MLK to Jefferson's ideas alone. I prefer Hamilton ideas amended by FDR to Hamilton's ideas alone. Many of those who came behind the framers provided us with better ground when it comes to dealing societies issues.

          It is the nature of creating a more perfect union.

          •  But now you're (7+ / 0-)

            undermining the ground these fools like a Malkin or a Beck depend on to spew their hate and weaken those trying to good.  This is a war that needs to be fought on any and all levels, just like they do.

            •  Wow. Excellent points all (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DeanObama, Gentle Giant, NM Ray, Ado Annie

              Dean is correct that the fetishizing of the framers, a la Scalia, ignores the very nature of the constitution.  It is a document based in reason and the intellectual progress since then is absolutely critical.  Just to mention three examples, we obviously should largely ignore the framers positions on race (many were slaveholders after all), the status of women in society, and economic privilege (note that many supported requirements of property ownership for voting.   This is definitely a 1% document).  We have taken those excellent ideas and forged new ground as they did.  Also we have additional historical experiences to discern what they got wrong.

              However, this is a war of arguments and shooting down the ideas of the dominionists is critical so we need to forcefully argue both

              Nice thread, folks

              •  Yeah, but Scalia does not really (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Badgermom, anotherbarb, kitchieboy

                "fetishize" or even care about the framers.  He merely uses his insipid "original intent" argument as cover for his right wing views.  Whenever that "original intent" conflicts with his ultra-conservative garbage, he quickly forgets the founding fathers.

                In short, Scalia is nothing but a conservative fraud and hack.  How that horrible disgusting excuse for a legal mind ever got on the Supreme Court is beyond me.  Hell, I find it hard to believe he graduated law school and passed the bar.

                Time sets all things right. Error lives but a day. Truth is eternal. - General James Longstreet

                by kbrown2225 on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 02:28:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  IMO the best way to argue a point is to talk in (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  their terms.  If the right is using "original intent" then the best way to shoot holes in their arguments is to shred their version of "original intent."

                •  I SO Agree about Scalia! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  And we definitely need to add Clarence Thomas to the list!  He has had nothing of consequence to say since being appointed--just follows the Far Right line of "reasoning" to the mat.  Speaking of disgusting excuse for a legal mind. . .

                  A lot has happened in the 200+ years since the Constitution was written.  The nature of conservatism is to deny that change happens at all and, if that doesn't work, stop thinking entirely!  Just go by the bible and whatever else supports a static worldview.

                •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I soooo agree with you.  Same thing for that....that.....that....corpse that quit breathing decades ago and still hasn't had the grace to fall over (Thomas).


                  by wherearecheanddebswhenweneedthem on Sat Apr 04, 2015 at 09:53:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Scalia? Fathisizing the Framers? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kitchieboy, Yonit, Barb G

                I think Scalia uses that as an excuse and takes everything out of context.  He doesn't really care the Framers intent had been.  

          •  Framers (0+ / 0-)

            Very well put.

          •  I'd be interested to know (0+ / 0-)

            what ideas of Jefferson you feel MLK amended, and how, and which ideas of Hamilton's were altered, and how, by FDR.

            The value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it.--Oscar Wilde

            by Gene in L A on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:42:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry to speak for others, but... (0+ / 0-)

              Jefferson wrote, "All men are created equal."
              MLK spoke, "ALL men are created equal."

              Turns out there's a pretty big difference between the two.  

              •  Then we must add Alice Paul (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Black Mare

                    Quote from Wikipedia, "Following the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women throughout the United States the unabridged right to vote, Alice Paul, a suffragist leader, argued that this right alone would not end discrimination based upon sex. Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment and, in 1923, presented it as the "Lucretia Mott Amendment" at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention and the Declaration of Sentiments.[3]

                Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction."

          •  What you say is sound, but... (5+ / 0-)

            totally ignores the issue that the right is trying to claim that we are a Christian nation. They, in effect, want to install a Christian version of Sharia law on the rest of us, and nothing in what you write addresses that. No Amendment since the first Amendment has asserted freedom from religion, and the first really is subject to interpretation as "freedom of religion," (although the right would love to outlaw Islam), that one could chose whether to be Catholic, or Baptist or Episcopalian, etc., as long as they were Christian religions. So tell me, just what are you working on that will improve the constitution to clarify that we atheists are entitled to not only not believe in a make believe creator but are actually entitled to persuade others to that effect.

            •  You have the right to free speech. (5+ / 0-)

              I am 56 and have had a fair number of atheists tell me about their beliefs over many years.  I was agnostic and my brother was atheist for several decades.  Have you been jailed for talking to people about atheism?

              I would note, though, that you aren't "entitled" any more than are people of various religions.  If any come to my door or attempt to talk to me about religion of any kind including atheism, I am "entitled" to shut the door or walk away.  

              •  Amen, Brother (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                anotherbarb, kitchieboy, hwgray, Yonit

                Evangelical atheists are just as annoying as, say, evangelical Baptists. Perhaps moreso, because at least the Baptists realize that they are attempting to inflict their beliefs on you, while many evangelical atheists really seem to believe that their belief in absence is the absence of belief and therefore somehow more rational. Far as I'm concerned, atheists, Baptists, Catholics, agnostics, Hindus, Muslims, etc., all deserve the same right to practice their religion as guaranteed by the first amendment--and all are equally forbidden to use the machinery of the state to inflict their beliefs on anybody else.

                •  Evangelical atheists give atheists a bad name. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Some far right fundamentalists talk about atheism being a religion, and evangelical atheists seem to play into that trap.

                  When I was an MIT undergrad years ago, we had an informal group that we called the "God Squad".  The group served as a resource for people whose roommates had been preyed upon by overzealous fundamentalist Christians.  We tried to save them back.  We had ex-Southern Baptists, A Jew who had been president of his Methodist Youth Fellowship in High School, and one Jesuit-trained Catholic.  

                  The Jesuit's job was to de-evangelize the evangelical atheists; and it was a joy to watch him construct his Thomistic logical traps that - 20 minutes later - would leave the evangelical  atheist on with a dilemma of either denying logic or going to Mass.  We didn't bother "normal" atheists.

            •  Say what, now? You can not be serious! (0+ / 0-)

              "We atheists are entitled to not only not believe in a make believe creator but are actually entitled to persuade others to that effect."

              So, in the wings, chomping at the bit and just waiting to be unleashed, are the legions of missionaries of Atheism's Witnesses and the Church of Present-Day Atheists?

              Missionaries for atheism want to to be "entitled" to be the same kind of gigantic pain in the ass that Chrishtan missionaries are? What will your selling point be? If people convert to the one, true faith of atheism, then they will not go to heaven?

              What the hell, briefal? Why not just let people be free to believe WTF they want to believe, without having to deal with some asshole trying to mind-fuck them that they should believe some version of some other bullshit, instead?

              There should  be an amendment against all forms of proselytizing.

          •  Then take the time to look up the references (3+ / 0-)

            from the more modern sources you would like to see.  It is easy to complain about what someone else did rather than put something out there yourself to let other people complain about.

            Personally, I like the diary.  The founding fathers were brilliant men.  It also meant to be an argument aimed directly at claims the far right make regarding the founding of our country and the intentions of the founders with regard to Church and State.  MLK and FDR were not there at the time.  

            I had a manager who told me his "rules" when I first started working for him.  One was that if someone had the energy to complain about something, he assumed they had the energy to do something about it and assigned solving the problem to them.

            •  "MLK and FDR were not there at the time" (0+ / 0-)

              Holy $hit !!  they WEREN'T ??  I must have fallen asleep in American History class in High School...

              Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

              by MrSkeptic on Sat Apr 04, 2015 at 05:37:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The reason to listen and respect is simple (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            That which they built still stands, despite attempts to royally fuck it up.
            Things have indeed improved, but improvement would have been impossible without the foundation of the most advanced Constitution of its era.

            As for the original intent of the article, it misses the boat in one way.
            Those who wrote the Constitution remember all too well the abuses of the past in England in particular and Europe in general. Where either Protestants or Roman Catholics were disarmed and persecuted. Where homes and families suffered for the "offense" of the man of the house. Where abomination upon abomination occurred as a matter of daily course.

          •  Updating framers basic ideas with modern examples (0+ / 0-)

            Well said!!!!!

        •  Founders (12+ / 0-)

          I agree,there's a lot more wisdom in their words than a majority of our representatives today. Principles of basic
          morality,fairness and justice have no expiration date.
          We're not nearly as sophisticated today as we would like to

        •  On historical grounds.. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          philipmerrill, caul, peacefulone

            One extra-Constitutional argument you can make is the collective lesson of history.  We needn't research the distant past.   In our own time, we see everywhere examples of fundamentalist sects who justify mass murder with their beliefs in some grand global mission.  Rationality gets them nowhere in their pursuit of meaning.  Rather, their faiths are  made clear to them by revelation, or appeals to authority.  If forcing the world's billions to submit to their religious tenets will bring about a spiritual new age for all, then salvation through theocracy is surely justified, even if it requires the slaughter of a thousand here and a million there.
             BTW, there are secular examples of such utopianism in our recent past as well, and the democratic nations of the world have successfully fought off their attempts at world domination.  With the wholehearted support of Christian sects, I might add.  

        •  Here's One: (0+ / 0-)

          Read "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris. We don't need to look to the 18th century for writings from men of sound reason and unassailable logic. We have such people living among us right now, and they need to be supported.

      •  Progress? (16+ / 0-)

        We can do better?  Since 1980, we've gone backwards. I think we need to start by asking, "What do people today want?" Seriously. What are the most urgent issues, and what can we do about them?

        •  Ask the wrong people today that question (8+ / 0-)

          Get slavery back, the inquisition and totalitarian rule.

          We have a representational government for a reason, to nullify the vote of the Athenian idiot.

          •  Ask the wrong people (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Slavery is alive and well
            Totalitarian Rule....rethugs and teapins  

            Most people do not use their brains, they have gone to robot mode and allow themselves to believe the treacherous cretins actually care about them.

            Ask a question    I have sat thru two years ...all over and heard same rhetoric.  I believe the R factor has chips and when they touch something like phone, or computer they are programmed.   I never heard same sentences on same subject form different parts of a State    it is very scary

        •  There are even better questions. (14+ / 0-)

          Such as, "what is economically just?" or, "what is ecologically sustainable." People's mere wants will reflect each individual's level of understanding, and that is often sadly lacking.

          "You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room is the greatest arsenal we could have—arm yourselves!" -The Doctor

          by quillsinister on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:45:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  agreed backwards (15+ / 0-)

          We have gone backwards due to the overwhelming effects of Reagan economics. Giving the wealthy more and more money in hopes of it trickling down to the rest of us, is and was flawed from conception. What has arisen from this era is the new unbridled greed of our capitalistic society. Why capitalism is founded in the notion of greed to a certain extent, I am convinced that Smith would be mortified by what he would see here today. We have a system that does not rely on many buyers and sellers, rather we have allowed for consolidation of wealth to the extent that true competition is nothing more than a fancy notion.
          This was accomplished right under the ignorant watch of a nation more concerned about fighting over abortion rights, guns, gay rights, etc. while we allowed our leaders to continue to give our collective national wealth to a powerful few.
          The promise of a better tomorrow will only happen when we clean out all of Washington, and begin to elect reasonable centrist people to government. The extremism we have today will do nothing but finally nail shut the coffin of the America we once dreamed of.

          •  Unbridled greed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Alice in Florida, geez53

            has been an issue that the world'[s best writers and thinkers have confronted for hundreds of years. Thomas Carlyle, a writer and philosopher of the early 19th Century, dealt with this issue in such works as "Sartor Resartus", while C.S. Lewis (Narnia) in the 1940s dealt with a scenario in 1940s England that is eerily similar to the neoliberalism we face today in this country.

          •  We don't need "centrists"... (12+ / 0-)

            ...if you look closely, those "centrists" in the Democratic Party are mostly bought and paid for corporatist Democrats. You want traditional Dems - FDR Dems, progressive Democrats, pro-union Democratics - not the cat-food commission, Austerity Now(tm) crowd.

            Part of the trick the 1% played on the world is this: to make the Republicans so toxic with their blend of bigotry and religious zealotry as to make the 1% enablers among Democrats seem tolerable by comparison. Whether this trick is intentional or merely accident, I don't know, but it worked.

            Sorry to get off topic. This is a marvelous list of quotations, thank you for compiling them.

            Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

            by rbird on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:24:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  We have moved forward since 1776. nt (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pixie5, MichaelNY
          •  We have gone backwards because... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pixie5, dalef77, hardwroc

            The wealthy and the republican party they control want to exercise control of the government and use that control to enhance their wealth.  

            They have found the religious to be useful idiots that can be persuaded to vote for values issues and to ignore the economic policies the party follows.  Those values are that important.

            While they have been waving those values in front of their base like a carrot in front of a mule, they have gained enough power to be really dangerous.  

            This is why we are going backwards.

            The republicons moan, the republicons bitch. Our rich are too poor and our poor are too rich. Ferguson Foont

            by Josiah Bartlett on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:02:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  What I don't understand . . . (8+ / 0-)

            is how the arguments for charity, healing the sick, caring for children and so forth, keep getting shot down by people who think they are Christians.  Is there any part of the Republican agenda that isn't diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Christian bible?  Why aren't there more ministers, pastors, and priests denouncing rightwing policies and excommunicating the people who make them?

            •  Agendas (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              geez53, hardwroc

              You pinned the tail on the Donkey why are the lazy religious leaders not leading....?   This is worse than when Christ went into the Temple fact all I see is Heathens if I am to quote a word used so demeaning by White Phonies for centuries...  We are Heathens   we have no empathy for anyone but our selves.   thank you

            •  Values issues (3+ / 0-)

              During the 2008 election year, a coworker told me the only reason she always voted Republican was because of the abortion issue.  I asked her what any republican president had actually done to prevent abortions or lower the number of abortions.  She had no answer.

              Presidents know there is too much opposition or perhaps acceptance (except in TX and a few other Red States, of course) to do much to change abortion laws. Yet the people who care about such an issue continue to vote Republican, hoping for a miracle, I guess.

              The other thing I find ironic is that anti-abortionist groups (including the Religious Right and the Catholic Church) are against anything that might lower the number of abortions: sex education, contraception, condom use. Although I am definitely pro-choice, I would be glad if no abortions were necessary. Numbers of abortions will only be lowered when there is a concerted effort to educate everyone on effective pregnancy-prevention measures ---and it must be done early. (When I taught Middle School, we had a few sexually-active students.)

              After reading this article and writing a comment about Jefferson's Bible which effectively kept Jesus's moral teachings and threw out the passages that defy the laws of nature, I was thinking, as you did, of how most Conservatives reject much of Jesus's teaching about loving they neighbor, treating others as one would like to be treated, not casting the first stone, giving money to the poor.  It seems the only Biblical laws they care about have to do with sex (abortion, gay lifestyles, conception, etc.)

              In their own perverted way, they are as obsessed with sex as any porn addict.

              •  On Values Issues (0+ / 0-)

                The Far "Religious" Right and the Catholic Church oppose sex education and contraception for different reasons.  The Far Right sees pregnancy as a requirement of sex, and if a young person has sex out of wedlock they see it as a punishment for that bad behavior.  To take that consequence away would remove an element of control.  The Catholic church also sees pregnancy as a requirement of sex, but they are wanting to ensure there are plenty of Catholics around to pay tithe to the church (a variation of the axiom "He who dies with the most toys wins").  Allowing sex education (beyond the nonsense 'abstinence' variety) or easy access to contraception would reduce the effectiveness of this punishment for the Far Right, and would run the risk of reducing the tithe to the Catholic Church.

                In case no one else noticed, the church has been fighting for many years to restore itself to some sort of primacy in the world.  They realize they have lost much of Europe and the United States to secularism, in part because they believe they didn't stand their ground sufficiently against advancements like the printing press and public education in time to keep many of us under their thumb.  Have you ever wondered why South America is so fervently religious, and has such poor infrastructure outside the cities?  It appears to be because the church realized what they had already lost elsewhere and worked very hard to avoid losing South America.  Telephone communication is limited outside of cities, TV and radio are available, but the information is skewed in favor of the church.  Road, outside of cities, are narrow and poorly-maintained, and unless they are major arteries are not even paved in most cases.  In some areas, ritual flagellation is still practiced as penance for ones sins.  Aside from the modern items like cars, clothes, and phones, you might as well be in 12th century Europe when you visit South America.  The church does not intend to lose control there, and it is always about control.

                •  Historically, the Catholic Church has a different (0+ / 0-)

                  reason to oppose ALL of the following: contraception (other than "rhythm") by married couples, and orgasms other than by PVI by married couples (i.e. oral, anal, hand by partner, hand by self) except "unintended" dreams, by anyone, as well as sex outside of a marriage blessed by the CATHOLIC sacrament of marriage: medieval beliefs about biology combined with a TOTALLY out of context interpretation of the Genesis story of Onan.

                  While Joseph was in Egypt (according to the sequence of the text, at least), Jacob's other sons had families.  Judah had three sons, and he found a wife, Tamar, for his first son Er.  Because of an unspecified "sin before the Lord," Er was killed by the Lord on his wedding night (we would say, died of some natural cause, but to the Biblical writers, that was God's punishment).  The text does not even say whether this was a sin he was committing ON his wedding night, or a sin from much earlier.

                  In accordance with the custom (later written into law in the Torah), the second son, Onan, was requested to stand in for his dead brother and beget a child with his widow IN HIS BROTHER'S NAME, after which, presumably, he would become her regular husband and beget his own children.  For an UNSPECIFIED reason (maybe he hated his brother and did NOT want Er to have a legacy, or maybe Er's sin was MOLESTING Onan when they were younger; we do not know), although Onan COULD have honestly declined the invitation, he accepted it and tried to evade it by "spilling his seed on the ground," i.e. by withdrawal (which modern doctors know is not always reliable, because some sperm leaks before orgasm), and he was punished by the Lord for TRYING TO DECEIVE OTHERS AND GOD, by dying as his brother had.

                  Most people stop reading here, but the story really gets juicy next.  Since the third son was still young, Judah uses that as an excuse and refuses to let him marry Tamar (even today, as viewers of "Yentl" may remember, a woman twice-widowed on her wedding night is believed to be bad luck for her future husbands), forcing her to live as a celibate widow in the camp.  But she sneaks away and impersonates a prostitute on the side of the road when Judah goes on a business trip to buy some young sheep.  He makes use of her services, and leaves his staff and signet ring as collateral, promising to pay her on the return trip with a young lamb.  She is gone before he comes back, and he forgets about it.  When Tamar is found to be pregnant, she produces the "collateral" in front of the whole family, and Judah admits he has not dealt honorably with her.  She has twin boys (presumably one is Er's heir and the other is Onan's heir, although this is not specified), who survive to produce the tribe of Judah, which would not have existed if not for Tamar's creative deception.

                  Anyway, Catholic (and a great deal of Jewish and Protestant) scholars interpret Onan's punishment as meaning that ANY case of "spilling one's seed," either by withdrawal or by non-vaginal forms of male orgasm, and by extension even non-penile forms of female orgasm, are sinful, especially since medieval scholars believed that every SPERM CELL contained a fully formed baby, which if male contained the fully formed babies HE would beget, ad infinitum, or at least ad finitum mundi.  Therefore, any DELIBERATE attempt to prevent any of those homunculi from being planted in a uterus would be murder.  If a man TRIED to plant them in a wife, and God decided not to let them grow, or if he ACCIDENTALLY released them in his sleep, that was God's decision, not his.

                  So that's the bogus theology behind centuries of parents telling little boys AND girls not to "touch themselves" (as EVERY parent did as a child and still does in secret).  And that "logic" is why a Catholic couple who are infertile and TRYING to have children have only one church-blessed way to get sperm specimens for analysis or for artificial insemination: having standard sex with a deliberately leaky condom.  Leaky so that IF God chose to make a miracle baby with the tiny amount of sperm which leaked out, He could (never mind that an omnipotent God could make sperm "quantum tunnel" through the rubber).

                  Of course, if these rules result in more Catholic children being born, the Pope wouldn't exactly complain ... but he SHOULD because there are too MANY children of ALL religions being born for the planet to handle.  By the way, the Jewish law helps to increase conception rates also: no sex from the start of a period until after the Mikveh bath which is 7 days after the end of the period, usually a total of 14 days from the start of the period, in other words, prime ovulation time.  And if hubby has no other wives and behaves himself, he has a full load also.  But today's Jews ARE allowed to practice birth control (except for some Orthodox sects).

                  What this planet needs is a default birth control method which makes everyone sterile except when they seek medical help to reverse it long enough for one pregnancy.  After all, no one should be an accident.

              •  Amen! (0+ / 0-)

                You couldn't be righter (correcter, that is.)

            •  The Christ (0+ / 0-)

              they do not serve the teachings of Yahseus, they are the anti-Christians. they can not see the sickness of those that live to deny.

            •  You can thank Reagan for (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              hwgray, Yonit

              ushering in the 'me generation' and the phony insistence of personal responsibility.  I was on another site the other day where we were talking about the history of social security and it's various programs.  One woman came on complaining that her son tried to get supplemental security income due to depression and how the SSI program is one reason that social security is having problems; this is to say nothing of her complaints about her 'lazy' son.  I took it upon myself to explain that SSI has nothing to do with the retirement or medicare accounts.  SSI is nothing more than federal welfare, restricted for disabled people who hadn't worked enough for disability.  Now, disability as well as survivors benefits do come out of the trust fund--which I personally do see a problem with.  I also gave her a lesson in mental illness and how even depression can be very debilitating.  I mean how is a person expected to hold down a job when it hurts to get out of bed in the morning?  
              The woman quickly changed her tune and said that her does work, though he'd rather be on SSI.  She also claimed that she is very happy her part in making sure that people who can't take care of themselves have a safety net.  

              All of this goes back to personal responsibility.  When that previous conversation started, the woman was claiming her son wasn't taking responsibility for his life.  But isn't seeing that he had an income of some kind, seeking treatment and striving to be as well as could possibly be being responsible?  Not everybody can be a millionaire and when I see righties go off about schooling and not settling for jobs at WalMart or McDonald's or such places, it really rocks my boat.  Who do they think will do those jobs if we are all working in offices shuffling money around?  

              The way I see it, everybody is just as valuable as the next person, every job as valuable as the next job.  And we, as a society need to drop the phony 'personal responsibility' crap and work together as a society.  But the righties don't want that.  They don't seem to care about society at all.  Remember the flak Hillary Clinton got when she wrote her book "It Takes a Village"?  

          •  Backwards AND forwards. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

             Clearly human rights have been advanced over the long haul in Western societies and some others.  There has been material progress, the fruits of which have been more equally distributed than in the past - although these advances are being rolled back.  But this is a discussion of the place of religion in government.  And here we are witnessing a regression towards mass movements based on intellectually irresponsible and mutually exclusive faiths.

              Even Russia, once oppressively atheistic, is reverting to the old marriage of religious and political evangelism, in the person of a former chief of the Communist inquisition, aka Vlad and KGB, respectively.  Is the war on terrorism morphing into a war on global yahooism?  It certainly looks like that could be a very grim alternative future for us.  

          •  centrist vs the center (0+ / 0-)

            the center is where you meet not where you stand.

          •  Centrist (0+ / 0-)

            No to those that trade truth for convenience. No centrist!

        •  A slight regression. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY, caul

          Are you going to totally ignore the civil rights movement and the women's rights movement and the BGLT movement? The GOP did not repeal their ideas (even if they did repeal some of their laws).

          And how exactly has the BGLT rights movement gone backwards since 1981?

          •  The GOP is trying to take away all that progress (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I do not consider that a slight regression. Stirring up hate against others to win points and it is working with a lot of people. That is, in a way, repealing ideas.

            There is certainly progress, though. Much of the time it seems to be one step forward and two steps back. Certainly that seems to be the case with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

          •  Say what (0+ / 0-)

            What hasn;'t gone backwards.   Get some glasses please

            •  Answer to: "What hasn;'t gone backwards." (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              BGLT rights for one. 33 years ago, people were scared to death of "gay plague." Now, the gays are getting married.

              I see just fine.

              •  One quibble you may find helpful ....... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I can understand if you are bi-sexual or have an irresistible craving for bacon, lettuce and tomato. But LGBT generally works better as an acronym since it avoids more pitfalls between the pre-frontal and the tongue and from the eyes and ears back.

                Gawd.... now I'M the damn hall monitor. ;}

                21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

                by geez53 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:02:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  dreamer( progress ) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Good luck with that . Asking a person to lead when the led do not know where they are going is folly. This is the US. motto. Nor do they in the USA. seem to be intelligent enough to want to learn. US citizens are anything but sophisticated or intelligent.
             Supporting liars and mentally ill. people to lead is not an example , it is an exercise in ignorance. This seems to be the rule in the USA.People who lie are mentally ill.
             Religion is not a practice the founding fathers promoted ,or encouraged, on the contrary they were wise enough to be scared of this kind of mentally ill. teaching.

        •  Progress (0+ / 0-)

          What do the people want ...I would like to know because they are too Chaotic to stand  up and work mutual agenda to fight for.

          I will agree of 1980's when my parents voted in Hollywood Cowboy thinking this represented USA.   Those who woke up,  did not know how to undo the damage the schmuck did.  My parents did not vote Bush   and I like them have not either.    When the American People Know  what they want eme

      •  why? (31+ / 0-)

        For the simple reason that the wingnuts are invoking the Founding Fathers as the definitive opinion on Church-State and, in fact, misrepresenting them. One starts with that.

        •  Go back and re-read. (0+ / 0-)

          I addressed that point.

        •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

          When "founders" are invoked, it's not usually because of their wisdom, but because of the perceived moral authority that invocation invites.

          Don't think I've ever written a sentence with three words beginning with I before.


          Thanks for joining the conversation here.

          Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:16:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You're both 'correct', IMO (0+ / 0-)

          DeanObama says let's use our brains, instead of appeal to popularity (quoting framers/founders)
          But you prioritize the  'pragmatic' need to handle the tea idiots who are  victimized  by the Koch Party's (mis)application of the framers' quotations (the same appeal to popularity).

          DeanObama wants to get the principles right.
          You want to beat the teas on their battleground.

          I think you're both correct.

          ♥ Repeal the Capital Gains, Carried Interest & Dividends Entitlements bequeathed to 'more special' taxpayers.

          by in on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 03:58:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  religous zealots (5+ / 0-)

        Because this is their favorite dead horse to beat.

      •  "...invoking the framers to undermine (6+ / 0-)

        the positions of Tea Partiers can be fun and tactically effective."

        It can also be frustrating in the extreme.  When people believe something that isn't true, and then are exposed to correction of the falsehood, it often STRENGTHENS their belief in the falsehood.

        •  When the lie becomes the 'truth' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sajiocity, caul

          This is human nature, I'm afraid.  The stronger one believes an incorrect interpretation of history and is corrected there is every likelihood that his wrong belief will only be strengthened.  This is true of the Tea Party but is generally true of a large proportion of the GOP.  And the more that they are corrected the more vociferous in promulgating their beliefs.  After a while, even if in their hearts they truly didn't believe what they were saying (for the sake of the party, you know) they will eventually believe their own lies.  I lie told often enough often becomes the truth.  How else can one explain the acceptance of Reagan as Saint Ronnie?  It is unfortunate that the Democrats don't challenge the GOP interpretation of history and challenge what I think of as their 1% platform.

        •  That explains creationists and FOX-BOTS (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WC, DeanObama, caul

          I like to think that as a liberal I am more open to seeing other points of view, however I do have my preconceptions about certain things. I am an idealist and probably not always practical. But that should not be an issue as long as both parties work together using compromise. That way we balance each other out. But we have lost that and that is why the US is going downhill. I do not have an answer for that. If the T-Pubs were not such an angry mob then we could work with them. But their paranoia insures that that will not happen. And they essentially believe that any facts presented to them are lies
          so why bother? The more you talk with them the more they think that we are part of some nefarious plot to take over the world. It is crazy-making!

          Some famous politician whose name excapes me said that he was afraid that our country will turn into an atheist, secular intuition run by Islamists. HUH??? Apparently he is unaware that it cannot be ALL OF THOSE. And fat chance that we will become atheistic since most people believe in God.

          Cognitive dissonance indeed.

        •  True enough, but so be it..... (0+ / 0-)

          I don't argue with this type of mind in private, it's pointless unless they see you as a god-level authority (definitely N/A in my case). I argue in the presence of those who should not have this willful stupidity infused in the first place.

          Watched a Darwin vs. ignorance documentary a few days ago, HBO i think, minister from mega-church quote (or really close paraphrase):

          "If the Bible tells me that 2 + 2 = 5, I will find a way to believe and make it true."
          This guy was making 100% eye contact with the interviewer, never blinked, never played-to-camera, facial expression completely calm and committed. He was speaking his truth (warped as it is), he will die with that conviction unless or until God or a second-in-command fundy dissuades him. IIRC his back-story was junky in the gutter to Jesus and the Light. Coupled with his sincere delivery, perfect qualifications for a 6 figure "reward" from the televangelical/mega church industrial complex.

          21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

          by geez53 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:36:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  OH REALLY?? (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sajiocity, brainbursr, Pixie5, dalef77, geez53, caul

        Witness our present situation, with the uber-Christianist right trying to make it legal to deny service to ANYONE (not just LGBTG people, as told by the media) based on religion. This bill was introduced in no less than 9 states, last I saw, there may be more now. Yes, it was shot down, but the bill was honestly considered by state congress critters. Also, witness the increasing influence of these same uber Christians on our laws/Congress and also in our military. Check out:
        Google: Military Religious Freedom Foundation website for some truly hair-raising stories about the Dominionists, who want to make the U.S. a far right Christian theocracy, which they have stated on numerous occasions.

        Seems to me that the Framers had it right and still have it right. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, the old one works pretty good IF WE USE IT and don't ignore it. It's a brilliant document written by some of the best minds that ever were on this earth.
        I ask you: do you think you could do better??

        •  Not asking to reinvent the wheel. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          However, would you put a new 1950 model year tire on your car instead of a modern tire? We have refined out understanding of liberty and good government over the years, and have a better model now.

          BTW Even Jefferson claimed that society should rewrite its Constitution every 30 years. Granted, he was in France when the Constitution was written, but ...

        •  whose fore-fathers? (0+ / 0-)

          Of course we can do better. just let everyone have freedom instead of how the "framers" lived you know 3/5 of a man and all. deeds are the truth words are just expressions often uttered by men that do not believe in what they just uttered.

          •  "3/5 of a man" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            A sad but common misinterpretation. A slave was no part of a "man." Rather, each slave, the personal property of his owner, counted as an additional 3/5 of a vote, making a slave more politically-valuable than a wife, who counted for nothing, with respect to increasing a man's political power.

      •  Good point, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, DeanObama, caul

        but you have to fight fire with fire.

        •  I rec'ed this. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          However, I don't want "cause the framers said so" to be our primary position.

          •  But it's not "cause the framers said so" ...... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It's: "the framers were right". Even if they didn't "make it so" in their era, they gave us the perfect target to aim for. It needs no haiku transposition nor being set to a hip hop beet (okay, maybe a couple PSAs to garner attention ;} ).

            21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

            by geez53 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:56:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quoting myself from above. (0+ / 0-)
              If the framers are the authors of American government, then those who came behind them are the revisers and editors of American government. Those people took the framers' ideas and made them better. I prefer Jefferson's ideas as amended by MLK to Jefferson's ideas alone. I prefer Hamilton ideas amended by FDR to Hamilton's ideas alone. Many of those who came behind the framers provided us with better ground when it comes to dealing societies issues.

              It is the nature of creating a more perfect union.

              People who lived since the framers' time have made substantive, positive revisions to the social contract. I'll make my stand on those revised positions. I agree that "All men are created equal" except that I also believe that all people are created equal.
      •  Well Actually (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alice in Florida, Whomever, dalef77, caul

        They started a country that has endured going into its third century based on rational, sound principles maintained by the blood sweat and tears of those who came after them who still believe its our original principles that preserve this experiment.

        You threw in an imaginary country from "The Hunger Games" to disagree with their view....

        You will have to do better than that.

        •  Hunger Games (0+ / 0-)

          If we lived in Panem or some other dystopian land, a wholesale adoption of the framers' original model would be an improvement. However, we have been building "a more perfect union" for the last 200 years. We are not the same nation that we were in 1776; we're better ... just like they hoped we would be.

          Remember, I didn't say "kick the framers to the curb." I just don't want to do something because that's the way the framers wanted it.

        •  Recognizing wisdom where we find it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is generally, always a fairly solid path, I find.

          Thanks for joining the conversation

          Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 06:00:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The Founding Fathers dealt with an abuse. (8+ / 0-)

        Any serious discussion of why the founders of our country opposed any establishment of religion should cover why establishment is a bad thing.

        The Founding Fathers were concerned that establishing one religious denomination led to the hypocrisy and corruption that flowed from that favored position. We do not owe them blind allegiance to everything they proposed. We do owe them the respect to understand what they wanted to reform and why the unreformed practice was so bad.

        The Religious Right does not respect their experience. They wish to come as close as possible to the established church without violating the letter of the law. Truth be told, they probably want the hypocrisy and corruption of the old established church.

        Freedom's just another word for not enough to eat. --Paul Krugman's characterization of conservative attitudes.

        by Judge Moonbox on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:57:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Comfort zone (0+ / 0-)

          I do not imagine these simple men, would have imagined the violence we have towards each other,  the violence we have toward animals.
          I do not believe they would have rushed into destroying the Earth with Pollution nor the Water after living thru horrendous droughts in Europe.
          I believe that many of these men had to bite back a lot about religion since not all were of one Faith.  Many learning other Faiths, Cultures,  I believe they wrote the best they could for the time they were in.
          I do not believe we were expected to live under their rule as they knew they were to die.   They put an outline together for their times.
          They were hoping the Superstitious hatred, the Persecution of people for any reason would stop.  I believe they would have given slaves their freedom.  
          I wonder what they think when the look at us now, as we all are part of this mess.  It lays not only on the Politicians after all we can change things,  We are the People...yet here we are on a blog.    Now FDA wants to have chickens sent to China than butchered and sent back   to Kill us?
          Fracking...pipeline    doing anything to save us from that Totalitarianism?    Who is to blame, who allowed these evil practioners to hold reigns, send our jobs away...You, that is who...not you personally but all here and every blog there is.   If we spent ten minutes fighting back....we could win...we should win.

        •  Blind allegiance (0+ / 0-)

          >>> We do not owe them blind allegiance to everything they proposed.

          EXACTLY! Nor should we blindly invoke their philosophy to justify current policy. Instead, we accept our intellectual inheritance from them, build upon it, refine it, and create a more perfect union. I agree that "All men are created equal" except that I also believe that all people are created equal.

          >>> The Religious Right does not respect their experience. They wish to come as close as possible to the established church without violating the letter of the law.

          They present a false history to achieve their political goals.

      •  I'm tired of using "the framers" (0+ / 0-)

        The framers were a lot smarter than the average American today, and certainly a lot of liberals... that's why they are still referenced today.  If we have made so much progress, then why is it that today we have generations of people dependent on the government instead of being capable of relying on themselves.  All that liberals want is to increase the amount of dependence on the government.  Why don't they ever demand that people take responsibility for their selves?

        •  Go to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You are on the wrong blog.

        •  I'm tired of using "the framers".... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          rockman13....seriously, this is a very dumb and uninformed statement you make referring to our history and how we've arrived. When start the 'liberals' talking point crap, you lose the audience you're speaking to, especially when you demonstrate such a minimal grasp of history.  
          You say "today we have generations of people dependent on the government instead of being capable of relying on themselves" and you blame the liberals?? While the liberals bare their own level of responsibility regarding social and economic dynamics, your friendly 'Repubs' have made themselves bedfellows with the 'wealthy' by far and away. The result is compromised markets, counterfeit legislation that legalizes theft as in not taxing transactions fees, sending jobs overseas for tax credits, out and out fraud in the mortgage and securities markets. All this, over a 30 year period has resulted in a hoarding of over $2T in cash with no incentive to invest; the 1% could care less about the middle class. And, in so doing, the real unemployment rate is somewhere near 15% and people have given up looking when there's nothing to apply for or face a multitude of applicants for very few positions. Don't be a manipulated fool, take your attention away from 'conservative media' and educate yourself. You've drank the koolaid that claims those on govt assistance are lazy and unmotivated, and that's plain BS. There are always a few who take advantage of the system as I pointed out with regard to 'corporate' America where oil companies alone are subsidized over $8B/year...that's corp welfare. Is that OK with you?? There are many capable people in the unemployed workforce, just not enough jobs...get a grip

      •  Hear, hear ... (0+ / 0-)

        Well said, and on point. I am a Christian (Catholic), but do not attend church services. My reasons are just that, but best explained in my not agreeing with how each person went about "preaching the gospel".

        As to politics - I have voted, locally and nationally, for candidates in both major parties. My current views, and hope for solutions, rest with candidates in the Democratic party.  Capitalism, unchecked, is the real problem. Add oligarchs and autocrats to the mix and you will see how we got to where we are.

        End corporate personhood - strike-down Citizens United v. FEC - stop the hidden and wholesale pimping of our political system.  It's not about too much regulation - but rather who it serves. My wish - regulations should serve the 98% ... not the 2%.

        And yes, I know that Mitt Romney would disagree. But then liars usually do.

      •  Greenberg's Law of Reverence (0+ / 0-)

        Principles are not great because a revered person spoke of them.  A person is revered because he or she spoke of great principles.

      •  why should I care? (0+ / 0-)

        You should care because the group of clowns in government today who espouse otherwise are leading you and the rest of us down the path to oblivion.  The framers may be dead, but the principles upon which this country was founded are alive.  That's more than can be said for people who don't care.

      •  You should care because these citations (0+ / 0-)

        directly refute the errant citations used by the right and the religionists.

        There is no better response to any argument than to directly contradict a point proposed by using the same source to show it is false.  

        We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by hokieduck13 on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 01:21:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Personally, I'm a believer (0+ / 0-)

        in using an opposing argument as the basis of attacking that argument.  When it works, it is most effective.  If they dare to cherrypick and paraphrase the FF's words to make their point, using their actual words against them is not only satisfying but renders any further attempts to do so appear irrelevant to any observers following the argument.

        And there's certainly no lack of material to work with.  Many 'questions' the Right has about our Constitution have long since been asked and answered.  Only those who imagine themselves superior to their forebears imagine they're the first one's to ask such things.

      •  But TeaBaggers Are Always ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... trying to shove the idea that this country was founded on their own particular 'religion' by invoking the 'Founding Fathers'.

        Clearly, the Founding Fathers were NOT in favor of entangling any religion with the politics or laws of the new country.

        But try telling that to a TeaBagger and you'll get accused of all kinds of abominations.

        * Those who have ears to hear, let them hear. *

        by Ocelot Aardvark on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 01:56:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  framers (0+ / 0-)

        "the same understanding of economics, sociology, psychology, and political science"

        I suggest that they had a better understanding of these things than we have.

      •  We can do better... (0+ / 0-)

        but mostly haven't.  The founders seem to have been the last group who were both deep thinkers about the proper role of government and were political practitioners.  Ever since that time, the practitioners have been too busy pleasing supporters so as to get elected and re-elected to do any thinking, assuming they were ever so inclined.  

      •  You should care. From those men this great nati... (0+ / 0-)

        You should care. From those men this great nation, and we, by extension, have emerged. Without them there would be no liberal philosophy in this country. They may have recently been co-opted by the Christian right, but conservatives they were not!

      •  You should care because (0+ / 0-)

        It isn't true that this was meant to be a Christian country with Christian laws and culture.  You should care because when you hear someone say that you will know that the person has a religious agenda and you had better watch your freedoms.  Of course there is Christian influence, just as there is influence from many other groups.  But it is not a Christian country.

        I agree that we need to forge what we want this country to be moving forward, but having information available to understand when someone lies or ignorantly states that you had better do what s/he says because it's a Christian country founded to further Christianity is important.  If people aren't aware of this truth they can be lulled or bullied into losing their freedoms, and that was exactly what the founding fathers knew and commented on many times.  

        Caring about history keeps us aware of where a slippery slope can lead us, and knowing that this country is a melting pot or many religions, cultures, and belief systems keeps us focused on not allowing one group to obviously or subtly make the laws reflect their personal beliefs to the exclusion of other groups' rights.  

      •  maybe (0+ / 0-)

        Jefferson was considered far left in his day, now he's considered far right, something to think on.

        Fanaticism, radicalism and ignoring inconvenient facts is going full differently abled, never go full differently abled.

        by ty2010 on Sat Jan 31, 2015 at 06:53:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Dead white guys are sometimes useful (0+ / 0-)

        For impressing upon living white guys that they have their heads wedged in strange anatomical locations  .

        To ignore our History may be worse than repeating it, we may repeat it using nukes.

        As for the advances in political and social thought , I would like to know what if any those really are..  It seems like the Middle ages to me, still.  
        Agents of the king kill unarmed citizens they dont like; the king still taxes the little people to death to pay the rich people for their big houses and fancy cars; the little people still work in dangerous conditions , still get ripped off by employers , still get shafted when it comes to the product of their own labour; and wars of religion overseas are still waged to line the coffers of the arms dealers; physicians are still killed for practising medicine that the Church opposes; and womyn are still legally 2nd class citizens in the US.   Wheres the progress, pray tell ?

      •  HELLO (0+ / 0-)

        Don't you recognize just how highly (self) educated these guys ALL are?

        Amazing writing too.

        Extremely rare on both accounts in our exceptional Merca

        We didn't stand up and it may be too late

        by pnchad on Sat Apr 04, 2015 at 03:46:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe because... (0+ / 0-)

        "I'm tired of using "the framers" to justify why society should do this or that. The framers are dead, and we've have 200 years of intellectual and philosophical progress since the Constitution was written."

        Maybe because...

        The Xtians keep force feeding us crap and want to implement what was written by the Iron Age "framers" of the Bible, who are dead thousands of years, not 200.

        And unlike the Bible, our Constitution's framers provided a means of amending our document. We just have to win the war with the Xtian Taliban and ignorance.

      •  Referring to quotes from the framers... (0+ / 0-)

        (who were pretty smart guys)
        is a reasoned attempt to knock the foundation out from under those who push specific agendas based on inaccurate quotes or interpretations of the founding fathers.
        This is about exposing those who are trying to direct our future based on based on lies and revisionist history.  Like any other foundation, the rest of the building depends on the foundation being built correctly, and the founding fathers did a great job of it.  While we can do what makes sense to change our future, we have to defend against someone trying to move the foundation, thus risking collapse of the entire building...

    •  On Gay Couples protecting their pot: Stand your (4+ / 0-)


    •  Most of our founding fathers were... (6+ / 0-)

      Wait for it...


      "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

      by doingbusinessas on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:18:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since the "Framers" were mostly Deists, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I prefer to use this one (it really ticks off the Religious Right wing- nuts).

      "Gentlemen, we are not, nor have we ever been a Christian Nation ... The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or Mohammedan nation."

      -- John Adams, second President of the USA

    •  "Reigion Poisons Everything" Hitchens (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Many of whom came to the continent now called North America, particularly the part now known as the Unite States,
      were in search of some place to have freedom religion.

      Instead, we have the religious right wing, forcing us to listen to their archaic interpretations of their fundamentalist babbling. Trying to control our lives based on their dogma.

      Just look at the Westboro Baptist Church and their hate mongering. That is just the tip of this ice-burg.  

  •  Good idea ... (25+ / 0-)

    giving the sources for those quotes.

    The Overly Religious and the Conscienceless Conservatives have no problem using made-up quotes by Washington, Madison, Franklin, etc.

    It's a very good idea to make sure that the source of your quotes is easy to find.

    Patriotism is the FIRST refuge of the scoundrel.

    by Tony Seybert on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:51:49 PM PDT

  •  I could be wrong, but... (5+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure "bigot" just meant "religious zealot", albeit with a negative connotation, in the 1700s. It didn't start to mean bigot until the late 1800s or so?

    When the scribbling devil is got into a man's head, he falls to writing and publishing, which gets him as much fame as money, and as much money as fame. ~ Cervantes

    by scribblingTiresias on Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:53:01 PM PDT

  •  Paine was not an atheist (35+ / 0-)

    Great quotes from the Founders! One quibble, though: Thomas Paine was not an atheist, or 'atheistic'. He did write a scathing attack on all organized religion, called 'The Age of Reason', which made him public enemy # 1 to most of the 'God-fearing' folks of his time - who called him an atheist. It's also why he was largely written out of the history books for 2 Centuries. But he was never an atheist. His writing is filled with mentions of God. He explicitly stated from the start of 'The Age of Reason' that he believed in a Creator, or God. He also explicitly states that his purpose in writing wasn't to denigrate religion, but to save what he called 'natural religion' from the corruption of religious dogma and the French Revolution's turn toward atheism , which he saw as ultimately nihilistic.

    Guns Don't Kill People - oh, wait, actually that is what they do.

    by Illuminaughty on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:03:42 AM PDT

    •  I'd say Deist is a better word for Paine (42+ / 0-)

      Deists believed in a creator that set up the natural laws that run the universe.

      A Deist believed (generalizing here) that God built the universe and then sat back to watch it run rather than micro-managing every detail of it running.

      Many of the founders were likely Deists. That's why the Declaration of Independence uses the very Deistic term "Nature and Nature's God" rather than something explicitly Christian like "Our Lord Jesus Christ".

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:47:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where was he called an atheist? (6+ / 0-)

      Looks to me the title and the diary claims he wasn't Christian.

      And you apparently agree.

    •  The God of philosophers (3+ / 0-)

      or "natural theologians" is entirely different than the God of religion.  For starters, it has nothing to do with revelation through sacred texts and tends to dismiss stories from works like Scripture as mere myth.  It's closer to Spinoza than Catholicism, Anglicanism, Evangelicism, etc.

    •  I do like the other quote, where he says whenever (6+ / 0-)

      government becomes involved in religion persecution follows, but when government is separated the religion reverts to its more benevolent form (just paraphrasing).  That message is entirely lost on the Republican party, which is bound and determined to impose religion (they have various versions of religion they wish to impose, but they'd get around to figuring out which one once someone managed to impose one).

    •  Paine and Jefferson (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You are correct. Paine was not an atheist.  He wrote: "I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life."

      Paine was, however, dissatisfied with organized religion and thought that his writings in "The Age of Reason" would prevent people from rejecting belief in God. Of course, many Christians didn't interpret it that way. Despite Paine's professed belief in God and many references to God, they took his writings as a rejection of God. I think it was Teddy Roosevelt who famously referred to Paine as "that dirty little atheist."

      Paine, like many founding fathers was a Deist. He believed in God, but rejected much of the teachings of organized religion. He found so much violence and so many inconsistencies in the Bible that he was unable to accept much of it.

      Paine wrote:
      "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."
      "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."

      Later, Thomas Jefferson cut up the New Testament, effectively eliminating any suggestions that Jesus is God and leaving out the miracles (the virgin birth, raising of the dead, the loaves and fishes, walking on water, the resurrection, etc.) His result was an account of Jesus's teachings and some of his deeds without the parts that defy the laws of nature.  

      That is essentially what the deists believed. They thought that God created the world, but didn't have much to do with it thereafter. They regarded Jesus as a wise philosopher and great moral teacher. Many Deists also considered themselves to be Christians because they believed in Jesus's philosophy even though they didn't believe in his divinity.

      Jefferson was brought up Anglican but didn't follow dogma blindly. He said, "I am a sect by myself." He rejected the stories of miracles, but thought that the wonders of nature proved that God existed.

      Jefferson called the book he created in 1804 "The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth."  That first book was lost.  The next time Jefferson cut up the Bible, 1819 or 1820, he called it "The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth" ---which is commonly referred to as the "Jefferson Bible" and is now in the Smithsonian.

      When Jefferson ran against John Adams, he was maligned as an enemy of God. Yale President Timothy Dwight said that if Jefferson were elected, the populous would see "the Bible cast into the bonfire...and our children united in chanting mockeries against God."

      Jefferson won anyway. None of the dire predictions about how the country was doomed with his election came true. However, due to the nastiness during the campaign, as president Jefferson said little about religion publicly, although he wrote about it to trusted friends. Some of his writings are ambiguous or even contradictory, so that believers and non-believers can use his words to strengthen their own causes.

      I'm sure if Jefferson were running for political office today, despite the Constitution's saying that there should be no religious test for political office, he could never be elected.  The opposition would air a TV ad (over and over) showing hands & scissors cutting up the Bible and trashing the rejected parts. (Actually, Jefferson glued the parts he believed onto blank pages that later were bound into a book and saved his cut-up Bibles. They are also in the Smithsonian.)

      Although Jefferson did an actual cut and paste of the Bible, most Christians effectively do the same today. Few read the entire Bible. They read the parts they like or that give them comfort and skip over the rest.

      The Smithsonian purchased Jefferson's revised Bible for $400 in 1895. In 1902, an Iowa Republican John F. Lacey proposed that Congress approve funds to print 9000 copies of Jefferson's edited Bible, 3000 for the Senate, 6000 for the House.  The bill passed.  Members of Congress handed out many to the public, but kept enough to give one to each incoming new Congressman for the next 50 years.  

      I'm sure that couldn't happen today.

  •  Great quotes, but a correction.... (33+ / 0-)

    Not all of the founding fathers were Christian. Some were deists, though some people disagree over how many were deists. This article from Britannica might be an accurate, unbiased source.


    In recent decades Christian advocacy groups, prompted by motives that have been questioned by some, have felt a powerful urge to enlist the Founding Fathers in their respective congregations. But recovering the spiritual convictions of the Founders, in all their messy integrity, is not an easy task. Once again, diversity is the dominant pattern. Franklin and Jefferson were deists, Washington harbored a pantheistic sense of providential destiny, John Adams began a Congregationalist and ended a Unitarian, Hamilton was a lukewarm Anglican for most of his life but embraced a more actively Christian posture after his son died in a duel.
  •  CHRISTIAN, n. (29+ / 0-)
    One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

        I dreamed I stood upon a hill, and, lo!
        The godly multitudes walked to and fro
        Beneath, in Sabbath garments fitly clad,
        With pious mien, appropriately sad,
        While all the church bells made a solemn din --
        A fire-alarm to those who lived in sin.
        Then saw I gazing thoughtfully below,
        With tranquil face, upon that holy show
        A tall, spare figure in a robe of white,
        Whose eyes diffused a melancholy light.
        "God keep you, strange," I exclaimed.  "You are
        No doubt (your habit shows it) from afar;
        And yet I entertain the hope that you,
        Like these good people, are a Christian too."
        He raised his eyes and with a look so stern
        It made me with a thousand blushes burn
        Replied -- his manner with disdain was spiced:
        "What!  I a Christian?  No, indeed!  I'm Christ."
    - The Devil's Dictionary

    Few of the founding fathers were Christians.  The first two presidents proclaimed themselves atheists in a safe manner as Deists.  It was not safe to call oneself an atheist back then but being a Deist allowed oneself to do away with the ludicrous notion of a personal god.

    Deists said there was a creator but he takes care of himself and men could take care of themselves.

    Thomas Jefferson was a Unitarian.  Unitarians allow you to believe whatever you want to believe, including atheism.

    I am personally a Cargo Cultist, the only religion proven to be true.  I get up every morning looking for the usual planeloads of spam delivered to my doorstep.

    Best, Terry

    •  You worship Clutch Cargo? ;-) nt (4+ / 0-)
    •  Wait what? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ignacio Magaloni, MichaelNY

      "Few of the founding fathers were Christians"

      Um a majority were Episcopalians.  7 were Congregationalists - the people who wanted MORE church and were so uptight they had to leave England.  Sunday services for them were Sunday.  All day.  They made NFL devotees look like pikers.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:12:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To say that few of the founders were Christian (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      seems to me to express assumptions or preferences rather than evidence.

      As has been noted, most identified themselves as Episcopalian or COngregationalist.  It seems unwarranted to rewrite their self-descriptions wholesale.

      I see no evidence that the first two presidents proclaimed themselves "atheist in a safe manner as Deists."  The second president, Adams, started as a Congregationalist and ended up as a Unitarian.  A relatively young tradition at the time, Unitarianism was considered a Christian sect, and was not yet a community which included many self-professed atheists.  They were unitarian as opposed to trinitarian, ie they believed in the unitary nature of God, rather than the three-fold nature of Father, SOn, and Holy Spirit.  THey held that Jesus was in some (metaphorical) sense the Son of GOd, but not a "person" of a "trinity."  Being Unitarian was rather radical but not a cover for being  atheist.

      Washington seemed quite uninterested in the Episcopalian church of which he was allegedly a member, and was criticized by the clergy for his rare attendance.  But he spoke as a man who believed in God, and I've seen no evidence that he was secretly atheist under cover of Deism, though I would be interested in any such evidence.

      Jefferson expressed many religious opinions at different times, some of them contradictory, which is hardly surprising in a man who thought about religious belief quite a bit over a long life.  He privately expressed agreement with the Unitarians as far as what he called "the genuine doctrine of one God," though he never joined a Unitarian congregation.  He certainly passionately believed in freedom of conscience, including for atheists.  He wrote that into the Virginia law on religious liberty, and as I recall convinced James Madison to go along with him on that.  But I'm not sure he escaped what you consider "the ludicrous notion of a personal god."  His did not seem to associate God with the detached, impersonal, creator often attributed to Deism.  Consider his words on slavery:  "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice can not sleep forever."

      Declaring that the founders as a group were Deist who had no embarrassing, ludicrous beliefs in a personal God,  if not atheists merely keeping up appearances and avoiding messy disagreements, seems like an excessive amount of tidying up the beliefs of 17th century people produced by a strongly religious, monotheistic, primarily Christian culture.

      I think it's fair to say that many of them didn't hold beliefs that would satisfy the Tea Party.  ANd their leading thinkers held political beliefs about religion that are anathema to the Tea Party.  That, to me, is the important thing.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:23:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  At least you didn't claim Washington was a (0+ / 0-)


        Deists claimed both Washington and Adams.  Maybe Adams was trying to be like Washington, a very tall man who it was claimed was known to absent mindedly leave his cup of tea on Adams' head.

        Undoubtedly all knew enough not to claim to be irreligious.  After all they were politicians.  Hard to top the Deists, about whom many are rewriting history.  They denied a personal god, as most anyone of basic intelligence would seem to IMHO.

        We all need mythology.  Reality is very difficult.

        One of the many attacks on our country from the Religious Right is the claim that our country is a Christian Nation...not just that the majority of people are Christians, but that the country itself was founded by Christians, for Christians. However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. Those people who spread this lie are known as Christian Revisionists. They are attempting to rewrite history, in much the same way as holocaust deniers are. The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true. They were Freethinkers who relied on their reason, not their faith.

        Best,  Terry

        •  I agree that those who say our country is a (0+ / 0-)

          Christian Nation are revisionists and their claims are false. That's a very important point and important to defend.

          However, this is oversimplified opinion, not history, and treats those men as if they all thought the same way, which is simply unfounded:

          The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true. They were Freethinkers who relied on their reason, not their faith.
          All lived in a period influenced by the Enlightenment.  But also by Christianaity.   Some were Christian.  Some were Deist.  Some were Unitarian, which was a religious persuasion.  Some were Freemasons.  Some were "Freethinkers who relied on their reason, not their faith."  Others relied on both reason and faith.

          Revising the founders to be uniform, and in keeping with some current standard or preference, isn't as bad as arguing that this is a Christian Nation.  Far from it.  But it's false and ahistorical.  ANd there's no need to revise the variety of thought and belief that existed at the time, as it exists to an even greater degree today.

          --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

          by Fiona West on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 06:21:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  When was that? (0+ / 0-)
            Some were Unitarian, which was a religious persuasion.
            A close friend at the time was married in the Unitarian church.  His new mother-in-law was a Unitarian and what Maude  (what I called her in whispered conversation) decided was the way it was to be.  Her husband sat in a chair and kept quiet.  Once in a while he walked around the house and came back and sat in the chair.

            When Maude died the fortunes of the happy young couple died with her.  The man found new life, got a mistress or two, used the racetrack for his seating, etc.

            Maude was the ultimate Unitarian.

            I have to admit the Unitarian minister had colorful clothes and some soporific speech but I can see why Jews got tired of their unification or outreach or whatever they called the special day when they nearly always got a Unitarian minister to preach a sermon.  

            I have to admit I was delighted once when I got some rightwing fundies on hate radio damning the Mormons.  I imagine they voted for Romney anyway.

            An internet friend spent a great deal of time ranting about the Whore of Babylon.  I only then realized the common reference in religious pamphlets was to the Catholic church.

            When I was a Catholic they were all Protestants and only we had perfect knowledge of the way it was.

            Pray tell what do you mean by Christian?  Surely you don't mean the homeless hippie vagrant who was crucified for his crimes of preaching love for fellow man and woman.

            Best,  Terry

  •  How about (6+ / 0-)

    we get these printed on some t-shirts and hit the next teabag rally?...

    6% of scientists are republican. Scientists have no explanation why that number is so high.

    by fugwb on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:17:55 AM PDT

  •  Don't forget the Treaty of Tripoli; from Wikipedia (32+ / 0-)
    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
    The Treaty of Tripoli (Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary) was the first treaty concluded between the United States of America and Tripolitania, signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796, and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797. It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.
    The treaty was a routine diplomatic agreement but has attracted later attention because the English version included a clause about religion in the United States.
    •  passed UNANIMOUSLY by the senate (16+ / 0-)

      Written by Washington's administration, passed by the Senate with unanimous recorded vote, and signed by Adams.

      After it was signed, Adams took the unusual step of making this public proclamation:

      Now be it known, That I John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said Treaty do, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, accept, ratify, and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof. And to the End that the said Treaty may be observed, and performed with good Faith on the part of the United States, I have ordered the premises to be made public; And I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office civil or military within the United States, and all other citizens or inhabitants thereof, faithfully to observe and fulfill the said Treaty and every clause and article thereof.
      This is hard to source, but it was printed in several contemporary newspapers, and according to The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School :
      it is printed in the Session Laws of the first session of the Ninth Congress, published in 1806, and in The Laws of the United States, Folwell ea., VIII, 167-77, published in 1807
    •  Enshrined in the first verse of the Marines' Hymn! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, ChemBob, MichaelNY

      From the Halls of Montezuma
      To the shores of Tripoli

      "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

      by terremoto on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:25:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It cannot be.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, davidincleveland

    not from this group of "angry old white men"....

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 03:36:05 AM PDT

  •  Nice collection (22+ / 0-)

    but no John Adams? He often gets overlooked. But Adams, a christian, believed strongly in separation of church and state. And he wasn't a slave owner like Jefferson and Washington. Highly principled and moral man - for a christian :)  

    •  I'm atheist, but agree on fairness and accuracy. (5+ / 0-)

      The founding fathers did have various belief systems, although they seemed to overwhelmingly agree on the need for separation of church and state.

      Here are some of Adam's quotes on the matter:

      “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
      (Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)”
      ― John Adams, Thoughts On Government Applicable To The Present State Of The American Colonies.: Philadelphia, Printed By John Dunlap, M,Dcc,Lxxxvi
      In his youth John Adams (1735-1826) thought to become a minister, but soon realized that his independent opinions would create much difficulty. At the age of twenty-one, therefore, he resolved to become a lawyer, noting that in following law rather than divinity, "I shall have liberty to think for myself without molesting others or being molested myself." (Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 88. The Adams quote is from his letter to Richard Cranch, August 29, 1756.)
      The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.... (John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788]; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 258.)
      Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind. (John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788]; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 258.)
      Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and Dogmatism cannot confine it. (John Adams, letter to John Quincy Adams, November 13, 1816. From Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 88.)
      We think ourselves possessed, or, at least, we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects, and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact! There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny or doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not better; even in our own Massachusetts, which I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemers upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any argument for investigating into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Dupuis? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws. It is true, few persons appear desirous to put such laws in execution, and it is also true that some few persons are hardy enough to venture to depart from them. But as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed. The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated. Adieu. (John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, January 23, 1825. Adams was 90, Jefferson 81 at the time; both died on July 4th of the following year, on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. From Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 234.)
      Here is the source used; another great reference for such quotes.
    •  Adams started out as a Methodist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I believe, but ended up a Unitarian. And Washington was a lukewarm Episcopalian at best, one of the "social church" kind. It is interesting in all Washington's writings he never uses the words Jesus Christ, rarely if ever uses "God," but usually talks about Providence, or Divine Providence.

      "No one has the right to spend their life without being offended." Philip Pullman

      by zaynabou on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:25:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Adams started out as a Methodist (0+ / 0-)

           Adams started out as a Congregationalist and, like most members of his church in Braintree/ Quincy came to call himself a unitarian: they rejected the idea of the Trinity in favor of a unified God.(God the father and Godtheson, Jesus, as one.)

    •  He began a Protestant, but ended up a Unitarian. (0+ / 0-)

      Unitarians, at least traditionally, and before the merger with the Universalists, rejected the trinity, and the divinity of Jesus, that is the Unitarians originally denied that Jesus was the Christ.  Hard to be a Christian with that belief.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:51:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They followed His teachings... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...and many churches are still vaguely Christian in that sense.  They study the Bible, celebrate the holy days, and such.  Some Unitarian churches are dually affiliated with mainline bodies such as the UCC (which really stands for United Church of Christ, but according to a running joke stands for Unitarians Considering Christ).  Both have their origins in Congregationalism.

  •  eh, some still owned people as property... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, FogCityJohn

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. uid 52583 lol

    by terrypinder on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:30:02 AM PDT

    •  true (8+ / 0-)

      and the same could be said for almost every nation of any size or fair state of organization around the world at the time.  Slave trade and ownership was legal in much of Europe, most of Asia (with Korea's population being about one-third slaves and China's being much less).  Native peoples among some of the tribes of North and Central America practised slavery, etc.

      What made US slavery different was its racial nature, being almost exclusively African in origin with some native peoples.  It also lasted longer than in most of Europe.

      Humans have improved in many ways over time.  One of them is that a far greater percentage of people today believe slavery is absolutely wrong.    We still have a long way to go.

      The men who tried to shape a government different than what had been done in the past weren't saints, they were products of their time,  they were after all, only men, not women, etc. and largely white.  

      Women were and still are considered chattel in many places,  have fared worse than slaves in some ways in attaining equal rights and equal treatment.  The whole world has a long way to go.

      But as bad as the society that brought forth the founding fathers was, the ideals that they managed to espouse and set down in writing to a larger extent than had been done in the past, have served to help spur many causes towards more equal rights for everybody.  Every journey starts with a single step.  The journey isn't over yet.

      •  Slavery in the United States... (5+ / 0-)

        ....was arguably worse than slavery in, say, Africa or the Roman Empire precisely because of the developing doctrine of human rights. For the Romans, "slave" was a status. Any black person with money and Roman citizenship (and there were quite a few of these; we don't notice them because Romans attached little importance to skin color) could have gone down to the slave market and bought him/herself as many red-headed pale-skinned Gauls as he or she could afford. The Romans didn't believe all persons were equal; you were who you were, for better or for worse.

        However, when ideas about human rights became popular, how were you going to keep that sugar plantation running? Simple. Go outside, notice your slaves are all more or less one color, and decide that this means they aren't human and so don't have any rights. And you don't have to pay them wages, and so on.

        "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

        by sagesource on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:42:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  notice I didn't (4+ / 0-)

          have to refer to the Roman Empire in my post, I mentioned contemporaneously around the world, slavery was a common practise.   I also acknowledged the racial element was different.   Though slavery always had a component of 'other', enemies, other tribes, those that are not us, in many places, just maybe not the distinctions that applied in slavery in the colonies/US.

          The ideas about human rights became more popular in part because of what the colonists said and wrote in the lead up to the revolution, the ideas of written constitutions and rights all persons could know by reading themselves, gained popularity in part because of what colonists/founding fathers did.  It was a growing economic tension, but also a philosophical difference that saw slavery become outlawed in the north, northwest territories, etc.   At the time of the Revolution, slavery was legal everywhere in the colonies even if little practiced in the north compared to the south.   The Spanish had made slavery legal in their territories, the Spanish and French had made slavery legal in New Orleans/Loiusianna areas, so as the expansion was made to add Florida/and the southwestern territories, slavery was continued there.  

          It is one thing to condemn slavery,  certainly it is important to recognize the problems of racism that pervade society to this day.  But you can't celebrate the spread of human rights across the world and dismiss the part the colonists/early US played in making that happen.  And judging the past by today's standards and not understanding and accepting the world was different doesn't do much to foster learning.  And one important lesson is that people can change and for the better, and that it is a process not a destination.

          I am sure someone (if we do't perish first from climate change), will be commenting on how primitive and backwards our standards were in a couple hundred years on all sorts of topics.  It won't mean that people today weren't doing better than their forefathers and pushing to do more than had been done before to make the world a better place.

          •  Ideas of human rights can be progressive... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...while still producing some unfortunate results in the short term. My point was that if you are in an environment where it is increasingly popular to say "All human beings are created equal," then if you still want to own slaves (for economic reasons, say), you will have to claim that the slaves are somehow not human.

            You could with justification go on to say that the sheer absurdity of such a claim is a strong force against slavery that can be credited to the idea of human rights. The force that makes slavery worse under these conditions does not come from any idea of human rights, but from the clash between human rights and economic selfishness (slaves being free and easily controlled labor).

            "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

            by sagesource on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:39:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  human systems (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sagesource, StrayCat

              tend to start from an assumption that somehow most people are less than a certain group of others.   Race just makes it easier and more difficult to eradicate over time.  We fight that battle today without officially having any slaves on several fronts, prison labor, unequal employment opportunity, inadequate wages to meet routine living expenses, etc.

              The western religious ideas, attaching the notion of heathens to native peoples, especially persons of color as colonization progressed around the world who lived in tropical, semi-tropical conditions with lesser material needs/wants who could be considered primitives,  made the nature of racially based slavery worse.  To this day we have heard people say slavery helped these 'primitives'.   So, yes, always lesser.   But mostly it really wasn't that they weren't human, but that God decreed them as evil, marked as inferior.  White people weren't idiots, they knew the black slaves bled red blood, had the same organs, procreated with any race, etc.  The really radical and pernicious defenses of slavery grew in the later years as the tensions between north and south grew and the fights over new territories to the west grew.  The very worst of the claims really grew after Darwin was twisted with religion, when pseudo-science became justifications for Jim Crow, such as the work in phrenology.

      •  That's an excuse used (0+ / 0-)

        to cover over and excuse the fact that many of them - not all -were not only slave owners but sold slaves.  

        They aren't my founding fathers.

        I'd rather applaud the Quakers and other abolitionists - some religious, others not.

        "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

        by Denise Oliver Velez on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:06:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not an excuse (0+ / 0-)

          but an explanation of why describing historical events by virtue of what we know now isn't exactly an accurate way of judging motives or sincerity of belief or justify condemning the entirety of a society or what was being done based on having 200 years of moral and ethical growth on the subject of human rights stand between us and them.

          Yes, the Quakers and abolitionists had the better view of it, but were a tiny minority of the population in the mid to late 18th century.    

          And it is easy to say they aren't your founding fathers or any other name you care to use for the early politicians that shaped our governing documents.  I say George W. Bush wasn't MY president, but he sure as hell was.

  •  I'm sure there are lots of others: (19+ / 0-)

    I've taken to reading biographies of our founding fathers, and all have been fascinating.  For the most part, they were not exactly like what we imagine.  Ron Chernow's book on Washington mentions that Washington 'Was so devoid of spiritual bias that his tolerance even embraced atheism."  One quote he gives of ole GW:
    "We have abundant reason to rejoice that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition." Of course, quite a bit can be read into that little quote.

    "In 20 years, the GOP will be small enough to drown in a bathtub." - me

    by estamm on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:44:38 AM PDT

  •  I have always wondered.... (14+ / 0-)

    about the lack of mention of God or a Creator in the Constitution. I have nothing to back my reasoning at all but it has always seemed interesting to me that there is an explicit lack of mention of God or any mention of religion except in the negative in the Constitution, however there is mention of a Creator, God, etc. in many other contemporary documents including the Declaration of Independence.

    It almost seems as though it was left out deliberately, with intention and careful thought. Mention of divine providence, the Creator or other language was common in writings of the period, but conspicuously absent from the Constitution.

    The fundy religious zeolots I spar with have no come back for that and are usually befuddled....

    •  Details... (21+ / 0-)

      Not to be too picky, but references to God are not very common in English legal documents around the 1760-80 period. Sometimes there's a "year of our Lord" and sometimes not, but it's not really part of legal writing for constructing what they were doing. (The most common complaint for the English legal system had been that everyone spoke of "the constitution," but there was no constitution written down. The men of the Congress who had been trained as English lawyers would be well acquainted with Shenstone and the rest. They'd have set out to come to a written constitution to make sure that our country was better than the one we left, and better than the one we'd made in the Articles.)

      That said, they were careful not to speak of God in the constitution, as the Establishment Clause makes very, very, very clear. They did not want the laws of the state to be dependent upon any religious authority. By having them "under God" or guaranteed "by God," the framers would be putting in a legal principle for a religious authority to say, "Your law is beneath God, and we speak for God." The Madisonians know about that, though.

      "man, proud man,/ Drest in a little brief authority,. . . Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven/ As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,/ Would all themselves laugh mortal." -- Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II ii, 117-23

      by The Geogre on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:09:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Instrument of Government (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raincrow, The Geogre

        The constitution, which the Army Council drew up for Oliver Cromwell in 17th century England, was presumably one of the possible sources the US constitutional convention could have drawn on.

        it does include some provisions which finely blend religious tolerance and bigotry (the articles set out below). However the Instrument does not claim divine inspiration for the Commonwealth government itself. The first part of the document deals with the machinery of government. The articles about religion are surprisingly late in the document.

        XXXV. That the Christian religion, as contained in the Scriptures, be held forth and recommended as the public profession of these nations; and that, as soon as may be, a provision, less subject to scruple and contention, and more certain than the present, be made for the encouragement and maintenance of able and painful teachers, for the instructing the people, and for discovery and confutation of error, hereby, and whatever is contrary to sound doctrine; and until such provision be made, the present maintenance shall not be taken away or impeached.

        XXXVI. That to the public profession held forth none shall be compelled by penalties or otherwise; but that endeavours be used to win them by sound doctrine and the example of a good conversation.

        XXXVII. That such as profess faith in God by Jesus Christ (though differing in judgment from the doctrine, worship or discipline publicly held forth) shall not be restrained from, but shall be protected in, the profession of the faith and exercise of their religion; so as they abuse not this liberty to the civil injury of others and to the actual disturbance of the public peace on their parts: provided this liberty be not extended to Popery or Prelacy, nor to such as, under the profession of Christ, hold forth and practise licentiousness.

        I imagine modern right wing American "christians" would think the Instrument of Government shockingly liberal.

        There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

        by Gary J on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:09:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The price of victory! (0+ / 0-)

          The American founders, like all good "Englishmen" of their day, looked at the Interregnum with horror.  It was simply a founding assumption of everyone's historical education, but not for the same reasons. What they all seem to agree upon is that "military rule" was unforgivable. After that, it's either that democracy was mob rule or that the theocracy subverted the democracy. Either way, the English Civil Wars provided America with people and provided the founders with the last big thing to react against.

          The Army won. Imagine all of us on the left losing. Imagine an official revolution whereby the Religious Right in the U.S. won and then outlawed everyone else. Imagine their winning and doing so through an aggressive Oath Keepers sort of thing, so it was a partial military coup.

          What would happen next? What happens when those hundreds upon hundreds of competing theocrats have to stop talking about us and actually offer up a rule? What happens when they have to worry about taking away "religious liberty" from each other? I think the Instrument of Government is an example. The Army was filled with Levellers and a fair number of Anabaptists, while the government was Puritain. It was easy to hate Charles I.

          "man, proud man,/ Drest in a little brief authority,. . . Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven/ As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,/ Would all themselves laugh mortal." -- Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II ii, 117-23

          by The Geogre on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:09:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Creation, Natural Rights and the Constitution (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      A lot of confusion stems from the fact Jefferson capitalized many nouns throughout the Declaration. The phrase "all men...are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights," is not there to establish the authority of any remotely Abrahamic God, but to assert the doctrine of Natural Rights. It could be paraphrased as, "however we got here, certain rights are a self-evident part of the deal." This is a fundamental principle of Enlightenment thought: rights are something you have just by virtue of existing, not something given to you by church or state; authority can only take rights away. This doctrine permeates the Constitution, and especially the Bill of Rights: "government shall make no law..." etc.

      Deism is an explicitly anti-religion spirituality. Jefferson was a sort of "soft" Deist compared to Paine, but note the vagueness of "their creator" vs. "the Creator". Jefferson wasn't referencing any religion at all there.

      The problem with the Natural Rights doctrine as presented in the Constitution was it's historical short-sightedness. Having known only the Church and Monarachy as forms of authority, the founders figured separation of church-and-state, and defining the state within the constraints of Natural Rights doctrine, would leave citizens with functional liberty. Perhaps if they had paid more mind to slavery, they would have seen what was coming (but I doubt it). With only the power of church and state restrained, that left an opening for other social forces to emerge and control the lives of the citizenry: the Lowell Mills opened only 31 years after the Bill of Rights was ratified, ushering in the age of Industrial Capitalism as the dominant power center of American life, and the greatest source of restriction on individual liberty.

  •  Most of those people were good friends of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    p gorden lippy, geez53

    Sam Adams (himself quoted) and were probably quite drunk when they said all that.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    •  Washington had a distillery too. That's it ....... (0+ / 0-)

      This was the 1700s prequel to the Hangover movies. I should have known that whole Enlightenment meme was too good to be true. ;}

      21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

      by geez53 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:44:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Or the quote from Franklin upon completion of (26+ / 0-)

    construction of a non-denominational hall in Philadelphia, really built with an itinerant but very popular, non-affiliated preacher in mind, Geroge Whitefield. Franklin, typically, had led the fundraising and construction, again, typically, successfully. As he said in his autobiography:

    ". . . the Design in building not being to accommodate any particular Sect, but the Inhabitants in general, so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a Missionary to preach Mahometanism to us, he would find a Pulpit at his Service.”
    But hey, let's cause a panic among the ignorant, who have checked their reason at the collection plate, and yell about Sharia law.

    Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

    by p gorden lippy on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:32:37 AM PDT

    •  There's a story.... (4+ / 0-)

      ...that Franklin, who was of course a printer, sorted out some mess for one of the prominent evangelists of his day, so that the fellow could get his tracts printed.

      The evangelist called on Franklin later, and thanked him "for God's sake."

      Franklin replied, "I did it not for God's sake, but for your sake."

      "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

      by sagesource on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:47:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  More context clipping (7+ / 0-)

    The context in the 18th century is the context of the 18th century, and it is as untrue to take a line from the Constitution or Declaration and wave it around in service of theocracy as it is to take one from a letter to combat that.

    The context for these particular men was to assure the Baptists, for example, that they would not be the victims of persecution. (Times have changed.) They were indicting the European states that had had Roman Catholic and Lutheran state churches with canon courts, on the one hand, and the zealots of the Puritans (notice how none of these letters are to the Mass. Presbyterians) on the other. In their context, the choice was between an endlessly corrupt state church that siphoned money and did the equivalent of today's Vatican Bank scandal and wild-eyed zealots who stopped their ears and ran around with flaming pine knots (like today's "religious right"). That side had been effectively suppressed by arms and ridicule, but not by law. (By the way, "the first Thanksgiving" was during the Civil War.)

    Their "reason" was somewhat the now exhausted trope of "science versus superstition" -- especially in Thomas Paine -- but most of them saw "reason" as an aide to religion. They were latitudinarian in force and fact, if not Deists, so they saw reason as a religious function, but only Paine saw it as the enemy or opposite of religion. Certainly none of the statesmen would have said that encouraging sciences was a way to fight religion.

    By the Victorian era, the "science/religion" dichotomy takes its now familiar form. Americans hated it. It's not until Sputnik, nearly, that Americans go all-in on the "history is the story of Noble Science and primitive Superstition" stuff. It's just another metaphor. It's just another narrative. It's an imposition on the data.

    If people wish to have free minds, they must free their minds of the narratives their own ages traffic in.

    "man, proud man,/ Drest in a little brief authority,. . . Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven/ As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,/ Would all themselves laugh mortal." -- Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II ii, 117-23

    by The Geogre on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:01:23 AM PDT

    •  Diarist doesn't make an argument about (12+ / 0-)

      "science v religion".
      He's just pointing out statements that indicate the founding fathers knew enough about European history to realize they had to insist on "the separation of church and state" in order for our diverse states to hang together.

      Science v religion began with Darwin, really, then the media and the "revivalists" stirred up the hysteria with the "Scopes trial", then the Bircher anticommunist  and anti-desegregation demagogues evolved into the anti-abortion movement and the televangelist/"Christian industry" wing of the gop and they revived "science v religion".
      Anybody who's bought into "abortion is murder" is fundamentally on a "science v religion" track because they have to buy into the "Bible as the unerring and complete Word of God)" which brings them into conflict with science literacy.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:28:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Point taken (6+ / 0-)

        The inclusion of quotes about "establishing the sciences" was bizarre unless the diarist was living within the narrative. However, I take your point.

        Your version of the battle is true enough along one line. The funny thing is that Darwin, as we all know, did not fire a shot. He was immoderately careful to not fire a shot. The book Darwinism more or less did the assault.

        The Darwin/anti-Darwin freakout is probably the historical line to follow for the "religion" side of the contemporary narrative. I.e. today's religious right probably trace their ideology and historical tale from that. Curiously, I think the movie "Inherit the Wind" plays a part. I don't think anyone took James Ussher's Chronology seriously until that movie had its Clarence Darrow use it as a "gotcha" for its William Jennings Bryant figure. Suddenly, fundamentalists in the 1990's began -- of all things -- citing it! They appear to have a counter-history, and I think you're right about where theirs develops.

        Look, though, at Carlyle, Matthew Arnold, Rossetti, and the rest. They are all debating the "age of steam" and the new age of reason that would be an age without religion and coming to several conclusions about it. Some, like Matthew Arnold, speak as if there is already a well established narrative of Reason = machinery vs. Superstition = metaphysics, while others are still enlightenment or Romantic in their conception of what "Reason" is.

        "man, proud man,/ Drest in a little brief authority,. . . Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven/ As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,/ Would all themselves laugh mortal." -- Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II ii, 117-23

        by The Geogre on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:41:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I like your improved timeline over mine. (3+ / 0-)

          I'd forgotten about Ussher but had the feeling that some fundamentalists actually "regressed" in reaction to modern life.
          My parents, esp. my mother, were very devout Christians, but never took the Bible as literal truth, accepted modern science including evolution and the age of the earth. I had relatives that were fundamentalists and pentecostals and Mom thought they were nuts/ignorant hillbillies.

          The regression of authoritarian evangelical Christianity underlies the regression of the gop, in my opinion.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:18:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  "hang together?" that is the "why that diarist is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        searching for!  they didn't want to die for beliefs!

        I am tired of laughing at the irony of their stupidity.

        by stagemom on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:53:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Science v. Religion began in Greece in the 300's (4+ / 0-)

        BCE, and continued in an unbroken line through Rome to burden Bruno, Galleleo, Copernicus, Erasmus, and thousands of other people who used their minds instead of their knees to think.

        Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

        by StrayCat on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:03:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Greeks, the science folk (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          invented Democracy. At least that's the story.

          A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

          by onionjim on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:37:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've recently seen information on Bruno that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          reasonably questions Bruno's place in the pantheon you listed--I could not find the site I read: Basically, Bruno was not a proto-scientist until recent history.

          But I did find a generally good corrective to the science/religion dichotomy in history can be found here--I hope you like it, StrayCat!

          I like keeping things complicated. . .as I know you do as well.
          ; p

          The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

          by Ignacio Magaloni on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:31:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks, I read the review, and pending reading the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ignacio Magaloni

            book I will speculate that the church during the later period was more concerned with the breadth do the spread of certain ways of thinking related to the increase in public ally available commerce, the printing press and fundamental disconnect between revealed as contrasted with acquired knowledge, and all that that entails.   Today we see here in the US a rejection of certain ways of thinking, socially enforced, because of the direction such thought is seen to lead.  Unfortunately, the lack of both historical and scientific education permits such a condition, and I despair of any amelioration in the short run.

            Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

            by StrayCat on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:29:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes--definitely what is happening before us: (0+ / 0-)

              forces that want power and control are successfully curtailing/restructuring/privatizing  public institutions that led to the current generation of mildly liberal young: but as a friend of mine reminded me, in recent history (5th century B.C.E. on), our side, though a minority, continues to find ways to upset the candied violence cart, and expand free thinking.

              The bigger question, in a way, is if the world's ecology will be patient enough for our evolving societies to adapt without a great--or even permanent--loss of civil-ization: but all we can do is push hard.

              One experience I am dealing with that reflects what you observed: We are regionally losing, bit by bit, the little access to humanities exposure college students get (except in the most elite colleges, so far).  Imagine interchangeable credit for basic Spanish or a literature course as a core requirement: guess what students are choosing (this is a reality where I live).

               I am seriously contemplating adapting the old Alexandria/Academy model to set the stage for participatory humanities courses and theater events in the open air, for free, at colleges, and magnify these with social media--so that those who will hear, can do so even as the Internet civil space is turned into electronic strip malls, and academics are turned into an all-temporaries work force, easily replaceable, and manageable.

              The young must be allowed to ask the questions they find relevant in their own way so that we can connect and pass the torch on.  We'll find a way.  

              I know this is a bit off the diary's topic, but it is safely past the Recommended list's expiration date by now.

              The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

              by Ignacio Magaloni on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 10:09:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  This wasn't just about (3+ / 0-)

      different kinds of Christians, though.

      Washington and others, when writing about freedom of religion, explicitly mentioned Jews, Muslims ("Mahometans" was the term they used iirc), Hindus, and people of no religion at all.

  •  And to these, I would humbly assert my sig (11+ / 0-)

    from one of the U.S.A.'s greatest civil rights figures.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

    by pajoly on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:10:31 AM PDT

  •  Website link: (10+ / 0-)

    One stop shopping for "separation of church and state" ammo.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:29:23 AM PDT

  •  And yet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    we use the quasi-religious term Founding Fathers to refer to them.  

    When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

    by Sun dog on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:33:00 AM PDT

    •  Not sure I follow. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat, happymisanthropy

      I myself don't get a religious vibe, rather an old-timey paternalistic one, but it's decent shorthand for "the people who wrote the Constitution." (I myself prefer "the founders").

      Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

      by raincrow on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:42:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How is that quasi-religious? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MaryAskew, happymisanthropy
      •  I kind of get the "patriarchal =quasi-religious" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sun dog

        vibe from the phrase too. A little implied hagiography.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:58:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's often used that way (0+ / 0-)

        "This isn't what the Founding Fathers wanted for us."  It's the benevolent all-knowing being.  We have to take some quote from a Father as the Word.  But, of course, it was really an oddball collection of men who saw many things  very differently from each other and, for the most part, were primarily interested in protecting their own bottom line.  The whole thing often works in the same way people cite selective quotes from the Bible to 'prove' some belief they hold.  The Father tells us.  The Founding Fathers tell us.  It rarely has much to do with a solid understanding of law or  history.  

        Actually, it seems so obvious, I didn't expect I'd have to explain the religious overtones of the phrase.  

        When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

        by Sun dog on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:21:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh. I guess. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sun dog

          Though I think that may be a conflation of "father-as-originator" with "father-as-temporal-and/or-spiritual-authority."

          I mean, yes, that's a conflation that a lot of people in this country make on a regular basis, which is why you get people talking about the Founding Fathers the same way they might talk about the Church Fathers, but I'm more inclined to see the term as much closer to what people mean when they say that Picasso was the "father of cubism" or similar.

          •  I used to use the term (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Batya the Toon

            But I think the way you use it is actually not the way most people hear it.  I consciously decided to stop using the term in order to avoid reinforcing the weight it carries and now it really jumps out at me when I hear it.  

            When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

            by Sun dog on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:57:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Typo in your first Jefferson quote. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo, StrayCat, happymisanthropy

    TJ would NEVER have used "then" instead of "than."

    I Googled that and Google corrected me, and listed your diary as the first mistaken result. You should change that.

    Sorry if that sounds mean, but it is a pet peeve and very jarring in this instance.

    Americans don't use their own language very well.

    It's almost as annoying as people thinking this is a Christian nation.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:15:29 AM PDT

  •  Jefferson failed the basic test of Christianity (4+ / 0-)

    He did not believe that Jesus was the son of God.  When he compiled his New Testament, comparing the English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew New Testaments. he left out all of the miracles attributed to Jesus.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:29:13 AM PDT

    •  An aside: there is no "test" for Christianity. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are plenty of us hardcore, all-in followers of Jesus and his Great Commandment who don't believe him to be divine, don't believe in his sperm-free conception, his resurrection and ascension, and place no stock in most of his miracles (although shamanic cures of mental illness are well documented in multiple cultures [the cure rate for psychosis in non-industrialized societies being far ahead of that in industrialized societies], and I myself have no a priori problem with such claims). No Satan, no hell, no idea whatsoever of what may or may not come of the Self after meat-death.

      Christianity is a way of relationship with God, self, other humans, and all of the rest of creation. A human institution, it is always evolving, has as many faces as it has proponents, and IMNSHO finds its fullest expression in a civil, secular society where nobody gets to decide the litmus test for any faith discipline (or lack thereof).

      Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

      by raincrow on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:37:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An aside: there is no "test" for Christianity (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's a statement of your faith, raincrow, but it is not a description of the Christian faith as understood by the three major branches of the Christian church. They do have creeds.

           All Christian churches/denominations
        define their core beliefs.  The Nicene Creed is shared among the three major branches of Christianity- Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics and Protestants and can be called the most basic creed. The divinity of Christ is essential and shared among these 3 branches of Christianity.

         You may be a good person and a devoted follower of Christ's commandments but that is not the same thing as being a Christian.  


        •  Oh ye of little faith but many checkboxes? (0+ / 0-)

          Seems there were several hundred years of Christians before the Nicene Creed was penned (but perhaps they don't count because of terribly poor timing?).

          And then came this thing called the Protestant Reformation about ... lemmesee ... 497 years ago ...

          In this secular society, in this era free of scourge and pyre and thumbscrews and dunking chair, I and those who believe as I do get to be the Christians we are, not the Christians required by people armed with pencil and 100% Certified, Genuine, True Christian checklist.

          There is no test, at least none administered by humans.

          Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

          by raincrow on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:50:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Bookmarked for Treasure Trove of Quotes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo, David54

    Don't tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value. ~ Joe Biden

    by dmhlt 66 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:30:58 AM PDT

  •  One good answer tot he title question (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, JosephK74, offgrid, JVolvo, David54

    My own take, as a practicing Christian, of the role God expected an incarnate son to play in establishing a "new covenant," was to divorce faith from nationalism. By all accounts, jesus was born to a couple of Essene Jews in the Essene hotbed of Galilee. Controversial for two things: Declaring that all of the jealousy enforced Levitacan rules were less than relevant than the content (and positive actions) of one's heart, and that God's word be taken to Gentiles.

    If you believe that God guided the events leading to Jesus's Nativity, the epiphany of star readers from multiple non-Judaic cultures, and the protection of the Holy Family by the Ishtar (Easter)-worshipping rebirth cult within Egypt, it at least suggests that God sought through making a son of Mary and Joseph his own son to cross tribal, familial, governmental and I think I can extrapolate to add societal class lines in creating a community of worship.

    Add to that that Jesus's message brought some of these ideas to light directly and implied others in such things as declaring that God is separate from the face on a coin, that the most important commandment was to love God and the best way to do this was to love one's neighbor, that he greeted his "followers" as friends and not servants - I could go on...

    Add to all of that the various turmoil in the Europe they had left that had been caused by the linking of Christianity to nationalism - either through Catholicism or the various national "reformed" churches.

    Add to that the differences among different Christian sects that had already manifested themselves in the colonies. I am not just talking about burning witches. There are some vivid settler narratives that involve Congregationalist zelots suspecting women traveling by themselves of being Quakers and therefore punishing them, of travelers shunning public inns because they were feared to be welcoming to strangers in order to lead them into the pit of hell.

    With all that baggage, If I was a Christian choosing to establish a republic in the aftermath of independence, I think I would speak and act exactly as is quoted above. Establish a Republic and then go about being a Christian through worship rather than governance.

    Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

    by textus on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:38:45 AM PDT

    •  Well said. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

      by raincrow on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:18:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's astounding to me the lack of wisdom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, textus

      among Christians who are not able to understand that it was our secular government that allowed Christianity to flourish in a multitude of forms, and that Christianity has done very well under our system that they are intent on destroying.
      They should be politically wise enough to know that the function of assuming temporal political power becomes it's own end, and dispenses with the spiritual as a "simulacrum" of spiritual truth. Apparently they haven't read their Machiavelli, either. As you allude, "Render unto Caesar...", etc.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:50:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And then there's the Treaty of Tripoli (7+ / 0-)

    It was signed in 1796, and ratified by the Senate in 1797. Article 11 provided as follows:

    As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    David Humphreys, who negotiated the treaty, had been a Colonel and aide-de-camp to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Many members of the Senate who ratified the treaty had served in the Revolution, or had been involved in drafting the Constitution. I think they knew.

    I'm always amused by the arguments of fundamentalists that this doesn't prove anything, since the relevant language doesn't appear in the Arabic (or maybe the Turkish) version of the treaty. But the point is that it appeared in the ENGLISH version that was ratified by our Senate, who apparently saw nothing wrong with what it said.

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:44:00 AM PDT

  •  In the east (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, JVolvo, David54, StrayCat

    those who have been recognized as attaining great spiritual enlightenment have gone out of their way to ensure no organization is built by their disciples around the teachings given.  The relationship between the teacher and the student is private.  Organizations get in the way.

    Babaji and Lahiri Mahasay both warned not to develop organizations and an organized way of teaching Kriya.  Such activities take away "the focus of practicing Kriya."

    The residents of hermitages or members of organizations are easily tempted to start fighting over power, position, and control, and they more often than not end up in a court of law like any other ordinary person.  Their masks were apt to fall off and their true face are revealed.

    - Babaji The Divine Himalayan Yogi and His Legacy by Swami Satyeswarananda Giri Babaji Maharaj

  •  our founding fathers were NOT all christians (0+ / 0-)

    but that is not common knowledge, so quotes like these need to be spread more widely

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:54:42 AM PDT

  •  like jesus and the dinosaurs...sheesh! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    first the 1600-1770's is more than 150 yrs.  
    the religious right stupidly conflates the pilgrims with the writers of the constitution in a mind-bogglingly manner...
    how many generations came and went from the pilgrims' landing to jefferson?  at least 7 generations of 20yrs ea. i'm pretty sure.
    the act of unity in 1559, the abolishment of the monarchy, the restoration in 1660, etc are all points of important context to understand their writings.

    the founding fathers were running away from the corrupt monarchies of europe and the divine rights of kings as much as anything...and so saying "all men are created equal" is as much about the common ppl's equality under the law as it is that there will be NO monarchy annointed by ANY god of ANY religion to put one person (a king/queen) over any other.

    the founding fathers HAD to cover their bases and give no weight to any sect over any other sect in order for equality of all, no one divine man over another, in the eyes of their god.  
    they'd had enough of the silliness of the royals, the church of england and the silliness of the roman catholic church for over 1,000 years!  that was quite enough.  

    I am tired of laughing at the irony of their stupidity.

    by stagemom on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:56:52 AM PDT

  •  Great quotes! Thanks! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:57:51 AM PDT

  •  Unfortunately, it was taught in our public schools (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, happymisanthropy

    even to otherwise relatively well-educated and sensible older Democrats, at least in my corner of the South. And they, of course, perpetuate that misunderstanding even if only implicitly.  

    It's going to take a lot of unlearning in some parts of the country.

    Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

    by raincrow on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:14:41 AM PDT

  •  I don't think that Americans at the time (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    offgrid, raincrow, David54, MaryAskew

    the ratification of the Constitution were upset about the absence of any mention of God. Most of the objections to the Constitution that I have read about did not concern God. And when the first ten amendments were written and ratified I don't think there was any great demand to include references to God.

    So, the Framers did not mention God and the People were not upset by it.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:16:22 AM PDT

  •  Great quotes. (9+ / 0-)

    I'm a Christian, and I believe everything here.

    Also, notice all those letters to Baptist churches?

    Baptists used to be the strongest force in our country fighting for the separation of church and state.

    They refused as a block to vote for William Jennings Bryan, whom they agreed with, because they didn't want a preacher in the white house.

    This virulent strain of fundamentalist Christianity is a creation of wealthy interests attacking American churches.

    And by the way, the reason the Baptists are considered to be so terrible today? They were the first ones attacked. Rich Assholes realized that there was a lot of voting power in churches and so the moral majority was created by rich people to whip up certain christians on social issues, so that they'd vote against their own economic self interests.

    It's called steeplejacking.

    It's funded by dirty money, and it's been going on for a long, long time.

    Thanks for these quotes. They're very helpful.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

    by OllieGarkey on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:23:25 AM PDT

  •  Sam Adams (7+ / 0-)

    Sam Adams an interesting guy.  He was a Puritan himself and had a reputation for piety.  He shunned ornate clothing and finery and was a failure at his previous occupation of tax collector because he could not bring himself to seize the assets of his poorer neighbors when they got behind on their taxes.  Of course his Loyalist opponents would have questioned the piety of a guy who schmoozed with roughnecks in the taverns and who railed against the government, but among his peers he was considered a godly man.  

    Some of the early political rallies he organized were done as part of the festivities for "Pope's Day", (Guy Fawkes Day), one of those rare holidays the Puritans approved of because it was all about Catholic-bashing.  Sam used the festivities to draw a parallel between how Englishmen rejected the Tyranny of the Pope with how Americans ought to reject Other Tyranny.

    Not everything Sam did was good or admirable; he was a complex guy.  But he was widely regarded by his fellows in the American cause as a religious and pious man.

    When the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, one of the delegates moved that each session open with prayer.  This was immediately met with opposition and could well have fragmented the Congress before it even got started.

    Keep in mind that the 13 Colonies were by no means uniform in their religion.  Although the colonists were predominantly English in their background, there were also other nationalities; and even among the English there were Puritans like Sam, Congregationalists like his cousin John, Deists like Thomas Jefferson, Anglicans, Anabaptists, Quakers, Catholics, and many others.  This religious diversity, as well as the memory of religious persecutions in Europe, was why our Founders did not want to establish any one Faith as superior to all the others.

    So with this plethora of faiths gathered in that first Congress, was it desirable, or even possible to open each session with prayer without offending or alienating some one else?

    Sam Adams may have been pious, but he was also pragmatic.  He announced that he was no bigot and that he could hear a prayer from any virtuous gentleman so long as he was also a friend to his country.

    Perhaps this set a bad precedent; to this day Congress opens its sessions with prayer, a piece of ceremony with only slightly more religious value than printing religious platitudes on our money.

    But with this compromise, Sam was stating that when he stood up to speak in Congress, he regarded America as "His Side", not his own personal sectarian beliefs.

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at

    by quarkstomper on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:31:11 AM PDT

  •  "The Godless Constitution" (6+ / 0-)

    19th Century religious conservatives frequently called it that.

    They also considered the Civil War to be divine punishment for not having declared a "Christian Nation" at the inception.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 08:39:25 AM PDT

  •  Separation of Church and State (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, JamaGenie, MaryAskew

    A radical idea that is still not true in England.  The Church of England controlled life in early Virginia.  Money payments were required.  Church attendance was required.  Persecution of anyone not a member of the church.  GOP radicals have never read history and say whatever works for them including getting the Tea Party wrong and that America was founded as a Christian nation.  The Founders knew that religion had caused wars for hundreds of years in Europe mostly between Protestants and Catholics and their respective political systems.  No point in trying to educate nor argue with a Republican.

  •  LOVE this diary!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, David54, JamaGenie

    Gonna email this one....

    * * * DONATE/VOLUNTEER: Marianne Williamson for CA-33 * * * #CampaignFinanceReform is the lynchpin of our democracy. #AIKIDOPROVERBMoveSoonerNotFaster ~

    by ArthurPoet on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 09:15:18 AM PDT

  •  Thing is (8+ / 0-)

    I recognize many (if not most) of these quotes and would have recognized them in high school.

    Nowhere has the right wing done more malicious job than in civic education.

  •  DAMMIT! Madison's letter to Edward Livingston (6+ / 0-)

    Always forgotten, and probably the most important item with regard to separation of church and state, since Madison is considered the "father of the Constitution".

    "Religion and government will BOTH exist in greater purity the LESS they are mixed together", is just one quote from the letter.

  •  Jefferson's letter on separation of church & state (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, David54, JamaGenie, JBL55, sfbob

    From Jefferson's letter to the Danbury bishops:

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

    Nice collection!

  •  A Secular Nation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, JamaGenie, Winston Sm1th

    Thanks so much for a very informative article!

    Here are some additions:  “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the Common Law.” - President Jefferson

    1. 5. “The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
    ~1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by John Adams

    "A New Religious America: How a 'Christian Country' Has Become the World's Most Religiously Diverse Nation." (by Diana Eck, 1997)

    “Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right” by Claire Conner

    “The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution” by David O. Stewart.

    “Conservatives Without Conscience” by John W. Dean

    •  I was gonna add this (0+ / 0-)
      Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
      Treaty of Tripoli
    •  A secular government (0+ / 0-)

      the government is not the nation.

  •  I proudly add my name to the rec list ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamaGenie, paz3, Caneel, MaryAskew

    of this diary. Our Founding Fathers were nothing like the re-invention that the Religious Right has made of them.

    I travel back in time to get a running start on the future.

    by glb3 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:19:48 AM PDT

  •  Vast improvement over your first diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I commend you on sharing your thoughts here and arguing your point well. Welcome to DKos!

  •  Some were religious... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamaGenie, MaryAskew

    Some were religious and some were not.  Most of them self-identified as Christian, but some (like Jefferson) did NOT mean what most people mean by the word. Many were nominal.  Some were devout.  Some were Unitarian, which meant they didn't believe in the Trinity.  They were all over the map.  There is no monolithic "Founding Fathers."

    And they disestablished the church.  THAT they seem have been in almost universal agreement about.  

    Conservatives like to repeat those Founding Father quotes that sound particularly devout.  But that's actually not relevant.  The ones who WERE devout Christians still believed in disestablishing the church.  Which might be an even stronger statement from those who were personally devout.

  •  Here's a modern quote from the opposite view (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamaGenie, MaryAskew

    This argument enjoys widespread support from devout religious liberals as well. A great liberal idealist of intense religious faith, Governor of Iowa (and later U.S. Senator) Harold "Pack" Hughes, said this in his memoirs:  

    I knew that the only way we could continue to win others to our [American] way of life would be how we lived it — by demonstrating that racism dies here, that there is equal opportunity and justice for all, that compassion and care for the unfortunate is a national characteristic.  Only then, I knew, would God continue to be our defender and advocate.  (emphasis mine)
    Ironically, Hughes also believed passionately in the separation of church and state. For him (as for many of the Founders), religion was a motivator for good, but not a requirement for good so long as its principles of compassion were honored;  his was a faith of good works, and an inclusive ideal of what modern America could be.

    In a way, I suppose this view seems to be opposed to the premise of your diary, but in reality I think it actually supports your premise.  Adams, Jefferson and Madison's religious views probably did not accord — but their vision of a pluralistic society seems to have done so.

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:35:53 AM PDT

  •  In answer to your question,... (0+ / 0-)

    ..."If Our Founding Fathers Were All Christians, Why Did They Say This?"  I have no doubt that some of the founding fathers might well have been Christian, but certainly not all of them and certainly not in any form the religion that would remotely resemble today's vocal minority of obnoxious so-called "Christians."  One could be Christian and love/revere our new government and still not want the two intermingled -- just as one can love both chocolate and peanut but detest Reese's peanut butter cups.  Wanting religion separate from government is a rational, thinking-person's choice to preserve what's good about religion and what's good about government.  Peanut butters cups is a purely subjective preference that proves you no nothing of good chocolate or good peanut butter -- just like when you want your religion mixed with your government.

    I'm too [insert adjective of choice, e.g., sane] to vote Republican.

    by Linus Too on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:02:08 AM PDT

  •  Christian Founders (0+ / 0-)

    So, today's silly exercise in - what - Republican bashing, is to lift single sentences out of the massively extensive writings of our founders in an effort to make that case that that some conservatives draw more deeply on biblical teachings than others?  Really?  This is how you spend your day?

    It may be important to advise your less learned readers that those individuals whom you quote all supported a distinct separation between church and state.  And, an overwhelming majority of them were religious.  
    Paul Rankin

  •  Many of them, including George Washington, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onionjim, JamaGenie, sfbob

    but excluding some others like Jefferson, were Freemasons. This is not CT, this is fact, and I offer it up as a Master Mason myself.

    Ben Franklin was one, too.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:28:56 AM PDT

  •  Because (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    onionjim, happymisanthropy

    little, if any of this, is contrary to Christianity. The Bible states that God gives us all gifts, abilities, and we are meant to use them for (in a nutshell) the common good.  Using one's abilities includes using one's brain. Christ's teachings center on humility, the recognition that we can be wrong about any given issue, respect for others, etc. Of course, Christianity itself (not to be confused with "churchism") doesn't seem to be very popular in the US -- all that stuff about being peacemakers instead in warriors, about providing generously for the poor, about avoiding materialism...

    •  James Madison had it right. (3+ / 0-)
      "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."
      But I see your point. Trouble is, most religions seem to clash with each other historical sense. Secularism is the best way to keep it in check.

      A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

      by onionjim on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 12:46:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's a nice collection of quotes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've been recommending The Jefferson Bible (a version of the New Testament without miracles or resurrection), Ben Franklin's Autobiography, and Paine's The Age of Reason to anybody who will listen, for their proof of how the founding fathers thought about these things.

    The one and only guarantee of religious freedom is separation of church and state.

  •  Founding fathers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Our Founding fathers were not all Christian, did not all belong to organized churches, and most of our organized churches now did not exist at the time America was founded.  If you had paid attention in history class, you would know that countries had their own "state-approved" religion, and if you were any other religion, you were thrown in jail.  The Founding Fathers, some of who had been in prison for religion and some because they owed someone money, decided that should not exist in this country....If you can find history books that were used in the late 1940's, or the 1950's or the 1960's, you should also find this information.

  •  You know.. (0+ / 0-)

    You know, I love it when the Founding Fathers are quoted.. but not by people who pick and choose what they want to remember they said when they said so much more as well.

    For everything that you quote them as saying to support your argument, there are things out there that counter it,  Tolerant Libertarian.  

  •  A most excellent book ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on the relationship between church and state and the balance between the rights of the individual vs. the power of the state:

    "Roger Williams and The Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty"

    by John M. Barry

    A history book for our times.

    In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot." ~ Czeslaw Milosz

    by Caneel on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:14:10 PM PDT

    •  It was the founder ... (0+ / 0-)

      of the first Baptist church in America who laid the foundation of the separation of church and state.

      Born and bred in the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, where we were fed this history for breakfast.

      Peace and Love

      In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot." ~ Czeslaw Milosz

      by Caneel on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 02:01:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's not freedom of Religion… (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silina, slinkie

    It is freedom FROM religion.

    Simple really.

    I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

    by roninkai on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:17:36 PM PDT

  •  Don't know how many of the founding fathers were (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Christian, but most of those statements would be completely believable for a Christian to say, especially those with regard to the separation of church and state.  Many of the early settlers were Christian escapees from persecution for failure to abide by government-established religion.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:17:54 PM PDT

  •  Yes they were all Christians for the (0+ / 0-)

    most part.  They just knew that if church and state were not separated, you get The Spanish Inquisition, The 30 Years War, etc.........It is OK to believe in God- not OK for religions to have a power in gov't. I mean, look at Shia Law!

    This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

    by swtexas on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 01:27:13 PM PDT

    •  The "Founding Fathers" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Were not "Christian," they were "Deists" and they believed in a higher power, but ALL were not Christian. This is NOT a Christian Nation, no matter what the right wing would like us to think.

      •  you don't have to get all snippety and uppety (0+ / 0-)

        about it.  shit, i thought we were on the same side here. Whether they were or not, they still believed in separation.  That's a good thing.

        This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

        by swtexas on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:12:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  a good start (0+ / 0-)

    Supporting my petition on cutting military spending and re-investing in America's infrastructure would be a good start in revitalizing our economy and addressing what our Congress has neglected for decades. Our infrastructure is vital not only for our economic success and security, but our national security as well. By cutting military spending and re-directing that money to infrastructure repair and modernization, we will add nothing new to our national debt. Furthermore, these cuts would provide job opportunities for our returning veterans, who should receive employment preference.
    When enough signatures are collected, we will ask Congress to place specific language in any legislation crafted, that puts minimal strain on military families, but places these cuts in defense contract programs, and strategic force reductions as previously outlined by the Army leadership. Early retirement, officer reductions, consolidation of occupational specialties, etc.. Please support and share this campaign, thanks.
    Subject: Cut military spending and re-invest in America's Infrastructure


    Our elected officials have neglected our infrastructure far to long. Continuing to do nothing will lead to a catastrophic economic failure in the near future. We spend more on our military than the next five biggest military nations combined. We can maintain our military superiority and still cut spending, all we need is leaders to recognize that this "corporate welfare" needs to end.

    That's why I created a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:

    "America's infrastructure is vital to our economic growth and future. The current state of our infrastructure has been graded a "D" by engineering groups around the country.  Cut military spending and re-invest in our aging infrastructure, creating tens of thousands of jobs and preserving our future. "

    Will you sign this petition? Click here:


  •  Perspective.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prognosticator, a gilas girl

    Many of them were Masons first, and Christians second.

    Though I believe Thomas Paine (whom I'm rather fond of philosophically) was more of an agnostic pantheist (as am I) than Christian.

    A few of them also Illuminists. One of the chief goals of Illuminists at the time, prior to the Bavarian order being disbanded, was to spread secular knowledge and culture throughout Europe and Americas, and primarily: to overthrow the theocratic choke-hold on Western society, one revolution at time, beginning with the French revolution via the Grand Orient (Illuminist) lodges and revolutionary agents such as Robespierre (also an Illumanist), to replace the theocracy and oligarchs with an obfuscated plutocracy, under the guise of a democracy or republic.

  •  Don't misconstrue Washington (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    While he was liberal in theology and practice, and unusually accepting of non-Christians and their practices (his support for America's small Jewish community was unprecedented in a Christian ruler) he WAS a churchgoing Christian who was a member of the Vestry at his local parish for many years.

  •  Treaty of Tripoli (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, Amber6541, sfbob

    One dead give away is article 11 of the treaty of Tripoli which states,

    "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

    This treaty was ratified by 100% of Congress and signed by President John Adams in 1797.

  •  Some other important Founding Fathers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    were very devout. Alexander Hamilton and John Jay were religious Anglicans and it is interesting that they were two of the leading abolitionists in America.

  •  the founding mofos (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silina, lastamendment

    they were deists, not theists. big difference.  and they made a very big point -- like boulder BIG -- that church and state are waaaaaaay separate. and anyone who says implies or wants to legislate otherwise is living with a one way ticket to palookaville.

  •  liberty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic, sfbob

    The problem is not religious belief per se. The problem is that when power is concentrated it will be used, misused, and abused. The First Amendment attempts to keep religious and governmental power from joining up. "Liberty requires eternal vigilance" -Jefferson. "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man"- Jefferson again. But now the greatest threat of concentration of power does not come from religion. Religion is but a pawn. The threat we face comes from those who tell us that private property is a right. My farming father told me that we don't own the land. We are merely fortunate enough to be able to use it...and care for it. Property is not a right, it is a duty and a responsibility. Any ideology, religious or secular, that doesn't address all the responsibilities that go with any right is, to say the least, suspect.

  •  My favorite Jefferson Qoute... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prognosticator, sfbob

    "The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained."

    - Thomas Jefferson -

    Most of our founding fathers were deists and shunned organized religion and the narrow minded view that it typically presents.  They were truly enlightened men that recognized the danger that Church politics presents to a free state and would have none of it.

    Whenever I read the words of our founding fathers regarding religion, it makes me think we've gone backwards since then.

  •  U.S. Founded On Deism, Not Christiancraft (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Founding Revolutionaries and First Vets from all walks of life gave lives "to dissolve the Political Bands" with a tyrannical King George wed to evil Corporatecrafters and demonic Christiancrafters.  The bravehearts were dedicated "to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them...."  The quoted  words are from the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Document of the United States.  By definition and in letter and spirit the Declaration affirms Deism as true theology in rejection of man-contrived religioncraft as false theology.  Upon inception man-contrived religioncraft, especially Christiancraft, has been the embodiment of evil.  "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity.  What has been the effect of coercin?  To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.  To support roguery and error all over the earth....But every state, says an inquisitor, has established some establishments?  No two, say I, have established the same.  Is this a proof of the infallibility of establishments?"  Thomas Jefferson, Notes On The State of Virginia.  "Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries.  A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.  Such a government will be best supported by protecting every citizen in the enjoyment of his religion by neither invading the equal rights of any sect, nor suffering any sect to invade those of another....It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties....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?"  James Madison, who presided over the Constitutional Convention and wrote the U.S. Constitution.  

  •  Forrest Church (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Onomastic

    The late Forrest Church published a whole book, The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America's Founders. The book has quotations from almost all the founders. The only major figure who did not believe in the separation was Patrick Henry. Even John Adams, who supported the state church in Massachusetts, did not believe in tax support of the church.

  •  CHRISTIANITY (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Christians, like all other superstitious folk, are infected by one of the worst mind viruses.  What they believe becomes reality for them.

  •  If Our Founding Fathers Were All Christians (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silina, a gilas girl, sfbob

    All relevant and good quotes. But Thomas Paine was not an atheist, he was a deist. He believed in god but not religion.

  •  If the GOP is the Christian Party.... (0+ / 0-)

    Then the GOP/TEA has been taken over by Satan Only he could wish to take food out of the mouths of babes and the unfortunate. When will the so called good Christians of the Republican party take it back from the devil?

  •  GOP Civil War - libertarians winning (0+ / 0-)

    The libertarians seem to be winning at this point, as voices rise to ditch the social conservatives and attempt to grab more votes from the center.

    Ultimately, this could be challenging for progressives.  

    The libertarians are more formidable opponents.  They grab votes not only from independents, but even from the left.

    Their ideology is poisonous and false, I believe.  

    But take a look at how much being anti-US Government has become the style on DKOS and you will see the potential inroads to be made.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 05:22:49 PM PDT

  •  religion (0+ / 0-)

    Though Our Founders respected  the Creator , they feared established religion and its preachers . The Founders wisely wrote in ART. V1 of our Constitution " no religious test to hold office" and jn the 1ST. Amendment :  No establishment  of RELIGION!!!
    Freedom of and from religion is the foundation of America's  Constitution ; making it the Greatest set of laws , ever written by mankind .

  •  Our Founding Fathers (0+ / 0-)

    We need to rename the white house, "The Rainbow House"
    Israel's son Joseph's coat of many colors, reflects the many cultures in our society today. If republicans want the bible they need to accept all of it.

  •  Why did he leave this one out from Washington? (0+ / 0-)

    I believe i t explains his views on religion better than all of the quotes above,"God has not put one thin dime in my pocket,nor has he taken one from my pocket,so therefore I sincerely doubt his existence",I read it in a book called Salvation for Sale,by Ray Moody way back in the 80's when the Moral Majority began the hi-jacking of our democracy.

    "We can contend with the evil men do in the in the name of evil,but heaven protect us from the evil men do in the name of good"Herrodias.

    by slinkie on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:49:30 PM PDT

  •  Religon (0+ / 0-)

    Great story and so true.

  •  So typical... (0+ / 0-)

    "many conservatives will take this fact way out of context. They'll think that you have to be a Christian to be patriotic"

    And I suppose the Left says you have to support gay marriage, global warming, and assisted suicide to be patriotic"?

    Really, if you want to go after the conservatives, give an actual quote (not a hypothetical or invented one), then go on the attack.

    All you do is ruin your credibility by basing an argument on phony assumptions.

  •  I am just wondering how much impact (0+ / 0-)

    the Salem witch trials had on the mindset of the founding fathers and may have influenced their reasoning of separation of church & state. Even though it was almost a century later, I am sure the injustices of religious intolerance could be like we in the 21st century still know the lessons learned about the Scopes trial, Sacco & Vanzetti and other infamous events that we know today illustrated gross injustice and bigotry.

    Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others....Groucho Marx

    by tazz on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:51:13 PM PDT

  •  As a Secularist, I'm feeling awfully ... (0+ / 0-)

    persecuted by the Religious Right. They have cornered the market on persecuting others. They call it 'saving souls'. I call it 'trampling on my freedoms'.

    I travel back in time to get a running start on the future.

    by glb3 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 07:58:40 PM PDT

  •  Funny (0+ / 0-)

    We are still worrying about others Religions,  but why.  the founding fathers were part of their times, they made changes so we could live and make life in America.
    I believe if they could discuss today, the government, the religion...they would wonder who allowed either to get to be what it is as both are less than what was.

    We love killing, we love killing everything...animals, people, earth, water, air. laws  And whose fault is it..not theirs for all their quotes.   It is yours.

    Want to question anyone  I would start with Government and Religion ...if they do not answer, stop giving to them as you are feeding the beasts.  They are starving and killing you....and you do not care!

    If I had time you all have to blog, I would not get to live a bit.   I guess this is just some way to ease your conscience or look the other way....sorry   not working   you are all just killing the rest of us.

    We are all Heathens....Religion and Government are Dictators.   We pay for it like a Movie.   Quote that!

  •  This is important because the Theocrats are (0+ / 0-)

    always trying to justify themselves by declaring that this nation was founded on theocratic principles.  It is not true.

  •  An excellent set of quotes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thank you. I shall use these in future, um, conversations with my FB friends.

    I am currently in a discussion about our "Christian nation." Again. A friend of a friend, in discussing ObamaCare, states that as a nation we have gotten away from our Christian founding. (In replying to a post about the failure of ObamaCare, I had suggested that it was a shame that some people in a "Christian nation" were fighting so strongly against ObamaCare).

    I shot back with the premise that we never were a "Christian nation" to begin with, and invited him to first define what it means to him to say we are a Christian nation, and then declare at what point in our history we strayed, or started straying, from it. We have enough evidence from not only our founding documents, but from writings and quotes and letters and such from our founding fathers, that it is not at all difficult to conclude that if our founders had wanted a true Christian nation in terms of one religion to guide us, then they would have created this nation as such. And I believe they would have not been shy about their desires. Yet from what I have read and learned, there is no evidence that they wanted this.

    It is a shame that some people are too ignorant to understand this. Ignorant by choice, that is.  

  •  Great diary (0+ / 0-)

    I do wonder, though, why it isn't apparent to more U.S. citizens that a big part of the American Revolution involved a rejection of the divine right of kings.

    In due course, opposition to the divine right of kings came from a number of sources, including poet John Milton in his pamphlet The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates. Probably the two most famous declarations of a right to revolution against tyranny in the English language are John Locke's Essay concerning The True Original, Extent, and End of Civil-Government and Thomas Jefferson's formulation in the United States Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal".

    To claim that the U.S. is a Christian nation flies in the face of why the nation itself was founded, for what I think is an undeniable reason - anyone who seriously promotes the U.S. as a Christian nation has to keep pushing for a bigger and bigger public and even government role for religion (see faith-based initiatives of George W. Bush for example), that eventually butts right up against top leadership, bringing us back to... a leader divinely chosen by God.

    The current crop of would-be stealth theocrats (or not so stealth in some cases) deliberately ignore these fundamental stances at the beginning of our republic in favor of a return to the same tired push for a national religion.

  •  emigration (0+ / 0-)

    Christianity's biggest contribution to the founding of this country is the way it motivated so many thousands of Europeans to cross the ocean to get away from squabbling sects of Christians.

  •  "theocratic principles" (0+ / 0-)

    That's gotta be the oxymoron of the week right there.

    Theocracy demands belief in the unprovable, and is therefore prohibitive -- or aspires to be prohibitive -- of Reason. It doesn't matter what is objectively true to Theocracy... you will profess belief or be marginalized.

    Principles are born of Reason and by an immersion in the world of ideas and facts, and are meant to illustrate provable truths.

    Now, I am down with F. Scott Fitzgerald's assessment that Genius is the ability to hold two, contradictory thoughts in one's mind at once, but this is going a little too far.

    "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

    by emperor nobody on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:50:08 PM PDT

  •  Nope, not really. (0+ / 0-)

    None of the quotes you cite confront the Christian Nation claim directly.  The issue of what the signers meant by "establishment of religion" has been interpreted to mean that government will not establish any particular version of religion.  It's language is not absolutely clear on the issue.  I think it best makes sense if it applies to protections granted with respect to religion in general, not to any particular set of religions, but not everybody agrees.  I can't produce an infallible argument that proves them wrong.
       Tom Paine appears to be an Atheist, fine.  But Paine was a radical for his time, and a marginal figure among the young nation's political leaders and thinkers.  Other founders took positions that were not so definitely anti-religious.  Again, I personally believe it's best if religious preference is left as a private matter.  Though once again, that begs a question:  From whence do we derive the foundational values that justify our way of life?  

    •  Paine was NOT an atheist (0+ / 0-)

      Paine, like many of our founding fathers was a Deist who believed in God, but was disillusioned with organized religion.  He wrote the "Age of Reason" because he thought that churches would eventually drive people from God.  He was trying to prevent people from becoming atheists.

      But, of course, any criticism of a religion and/or the Bible brings out those who proclaim the critic is an atheist ---just like the Conservatives insist that anyone who doesn't believe as they do is unpatriotic.

      (I wrote a lengthier response to someone else who commented on Paine's not being an atheist. If you search for my post "Paine and Jefferson" on these pages, you can read more about Paine's beliefs.)

    •  From whence??? (0+ / 0-)

      From our totally secular Constitution and Bill of Rights. The founders looked at all the historical forms of government to find what worked and what did not work. Most of these governments were from countries with pagan populations. They borrowed and cut and pasted (even found models in the NC Cherokee forms of representational government) and came up with our "foundational values".  Why is it usually assumed that "values" equals religion?  If you read the history of Christianity, you certainly see that, as an institution, it is a very poor model for morality, and that most of its players were corrupt.  Now, many people respond to those facts by claiming that the bad players were not representing "Jesus's" teachings, but when you really dig into those, you also find much immorality.

      There is nothing that "justifies" our "way of life". We have a founding framework and what is or isn't moral within that framework is always changing.

  •  founding fathers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, a gilas girl, sfbob

    Many of our Founding Fathers were Unitarians, and most were simply Deists -- not really Christian the way it is defined today, especially by fundamentalists.

  •  Thanks for these quotes! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thanks for this post. I hadn't read a few of these before.

    If anyone is interested, you can find a very long list of quotations on religion from American leaders, past and present, here:

  •  This pushed some buttons... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, sfbob

    Logic dictates that they would not be christian. They were critical thinkers in the Age of Enlightenment. They had revolted against a tyrannical government that imposed religion on society. To admit that they actually made pronouncements against organized religion is very hard for some to swallow, but these were men of reason not dogma.
    It is sad that some want to drag us back into the dark ages of superstition, fear and oppression based on a delusional idea that our founding fathers were of the same mindset and would approve.

  •  How about their Founding Fathers? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, sfbob

    Since they pretend to be Conservatives, let's hear from the Father of Conservatism, Edmund Burke.

    Toleration is good for all or it is good for none.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:47:14 AM PDT

  •  Not founded on Christianity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, sfbob

    To quote George Washington:

    "The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine."

    Article XI, Treaty of Tripoli, passed by Congress 1797

  •  Sign Above a Temple in Tibet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "A Thousand Monks; a Thousand Religions."

    For those of the GOP/TP persuasion, I translate:  we each hear and see the same things while worshipping together, but we each internalize these things in our own unique ways.

    Or, a different quote:  Many Paths, One Goal.

    We have always been suspicious of those who say their way is the only way.

    Sometimes, you need a sensa uma!

    by HashHoward on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 07:25:49 AM PDT

  •  They fled from religious tyranny ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Fact is, the Church of England and the established tyranny put upon the people by it, is what the Founding Father's Fled. While the precept of religion is somewhat consistent, its practice is absurdly diverse. And so it is in the ways in which people practice and promote its principles.

    Religious views are just that - views. Fact is, most "bible thumpers" are hypocrites - promoting their personal agenda in ways so as to assert them on all.

    Never has this been more so than with Pro Choice vs. No Choice. Preach it in your own flock, but stay out of mine.

  •  I am a Christian ... but (0+ / 0-)

    I am a Christian (Catholic), but do not attend church services. My reasons are just that, but best explained in my not agreeing with how each person went about "preaching the gospel".

    As to politics - I have voted, locally and nationally, for candidates in both major parties. My current views, and hope for solutions, rest with candidates in the Democratic party.  Capitalism, unchecked, is the real problem. Add oligarchs and autocrats to the mix and you will see how we got to where we are.

    End corporate personhood - strike-down Citizens United v. FEC - stop the hidden and wholesale pimping of our political system.  It's not about too much regulation - but rather who it serves. My wish - regulations should serve the 98% ... not the 2%.

    And yes, I know that Mitt Romney would disagree. But then liars usually do.



    The question posted here, "If our Founding Fathers were all Christians, why did they say this?," goes on to cite various quotes about religion made by certain of our more famous forefathers. Just because they said these things does NOT mean that they weren't Christians. They were merely stating their beliefs that it's bad business for the government to mandate religious principles and faiths. You know, the whole "Separation of Church and State" thingy. The premise that just because some of our Founding Fathers made remarks indicating it was wrong to mix politics and religion, then they couldn't believe in Christianity, is ludicrous. It's just a more pragmatic view of religious faith as it relates to the law.

    I'm getting frustrated, even a bit angry, at all the Christianity-bashing that's been floating around on Daily Kos lately. For the atheists and agnostics to criticize and belittle people who DO follow particular religious tenets is every bit as bad as those on the Christian Right who denounce the non-believers.

  •  Thomas Jefferson, himself non-Christian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I once held in my hands a facsimile of Jefferson's New Testament.  All references to Christ's divinity had been carefully deleted.

  •  Ahem... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Thanksgiving was observed by Christian pilgrims but it was based on the Jewish holiday of Succot (the Feast of Tabernacles).

    Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you...Elsie de Wolfe

    by Hilltop Mama on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:56:49 AM PDT

    •  Thhe "Pilgrims" were just as intolerant (0+ / 0-)

      towards others as the Church of England was to them.

      PLUS THEY were not the founders of our nation....They didn't have anything to do with the Constitution because they were all dead by 1776.

      Washington wasn't much of a church-goer, Adams was a Unitarian, Jefferson was against ALL organized religions.  Most of the Founders were Deists, pantheists....Masons.... Lincoln was outspokenly atheist till his advisers told him to STFU or he'd never get elected.

  •  Mystical Generation of Jesus (0+ / 0-)

    "And 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 Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors."

    -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

  •  Hear, hear (0+ / 0-)

    Well done, one of my favorites...
        “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”

    - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr (1787)

    Thanks for posting these great quotes.

  •  Context is key (0+ / 0-)

    I don't doubt that they were all Christian, but some historical context is key to that.

    Its fairly recent that liberals have become anti-Christian as a result of Evangelicals hijacking the churches to bring back a form of Christianity that was just exiting the world stage at the time of the founders.

    Much of  Colonial America was founded by people fleeing the Reformation in Europe and the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in England, as well as between different factions of Protestants.

    Many of them like the Puritans were not on the enlightened side, and brought their ideas of persecution with them - such that bloody conflict picked right back up again in the Colonies as it was ending in Europe.

    Jefferson wrote at length about freedom of religion because he was trying to put forth the idea that religious debate needed to be just that: debate. That you could not find truth from force, but only by the stronger rational argument winning the debate.

    - He was still seeing a world of one religion, but he figured we'd reach it in a generation or two of "rational white male gentry" arguing over it and telling everyone else the result.

    He did manage to persuade his fellows of this notion, because they were all somewhat high on the idea that through discourse rational white male gentry could make the world perfect for... white male gentry. And everyone else, by naturally knowing their place; would likewise approve.

    Christianity has had periods where its been enlightening, and periods where its been a tool of those in power or seeking power. The basic faith is an insurrectionist, reactionary, lower class protest movement. But since about 300 A.D. in Europe, its been in the hands of and an agent of power. But people crop up all over its history who have read the source material and return to the roots.

    - But that's not here nor there regarding the founders. They were enlightened in terms of seeing that religious war was no good means for things, but they still sought the same ends: a Christianity that was a tool of the "white male gentry."
    - This perception by that class is so ingrained that you have cases all through slave era of them thinking the perfect way to put slaves in their place would be to give them Bibles and Christianize them, only to have the literate among those slaves become more "reactionary" when they'd read the book and see the actual lessons left in it.

    Liberal Christians are out there, and always have been, and they've sometimes even held the public sway.

    But these founders were very much "Christian" as the church of then and the Evangelicals of now would see it. All you should really see in what they wrote there is that they had millions of dead in Europe in mind, and didn't want that to destroy their new nation.

    OMG, like, gag them with a multi-colored spoon. Like, ya know.

    by Jyotai on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 12:10:18 PM PDT

  •  If Founding Fathers.... (0+ / 0-)

    I think the world is nuts for religion.  The other night, Rachel Maddow used the word "miracle" and "miraculous" about 20 times when describing how airplanes fly, navigate, land. Uh, Rachel, these aren't freaking miracles, it is engineering, and science.  Did someone spike your latte with LSD?

    "This is our version of capitalism: a system of economic policies that benefit the extremely wealthy, and the rest survive as best they can."-- Chomsky

    by truthronin on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:24:25 PM PDT

  •  When the state (0+ / 0-)

    When the state becomes populated with religious zealots and legislates religious ideals the constitution becomes unintelligent and illegible. The far right have done just that because religion does not want to be free, religion is by its very nature anti-freedom.

    The far right have taken a corner stone of constitution, freedom form religious persecution to mean "freedom to persecute".Religion is no longer something done in private or in a church. Religion has become the engine that drives new laws that support the chains of intolerance and moral imperatives of the intolerant against all forms of freedom.

  •  They think, so what (0+ / 0-)

    The extreme right doesn't care what was actually said or done in history because it interferes with their plans to dominate the future as well as the past and the present.

  •  Spanish Catholic Inquisiton & Puritanism (0+ / 0-)

    History of Europe and the Early Colonies taught some the meaning of tolerance.  Roger Williams set the stage for religious tolerance in what became Rhode Island.  The Quakers in PA had embraced Native Americans as Brothers.  The Wisdom of those developments taught the early Founders of whom many were Masons and Dominionists with traditions and teachings that echoed in those two bases left many Colonials sick and tired of the Religious Tyranny in European Society.

  •  Reinhold Niebuhr (0+ / 0-)

    "The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism."

  •  This great debate continues in our nation (0+ / 0-)

    Glenn Archer said
    "The church must never become a government factory, carrying on a nationalized industry of religion with the people as the bolts and nuts; with God reduced to the role of cramped advocate of current national policy. Surely the pages of history are replete and the examples in many a foreign country convincing that this kind of church-state union — whatever the original motives, or however noble the original purposes — winds up with a state that is less than stable and a church that is less than sanctified, and with the poor still hungry."
    Mother Jones published a very good series of articles on this subject back in December 2005. Find it, and a host of similar articles at

  •  The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion... (0+ / 0-)

    The best discussion of the subject is a book by Frank Lambert, which most of you are probably aware of.

    The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America

    The early settlers did wrap the cloak of Christianity around their activities, but the founding recognized the dangers.

    From the book:

    Among the Founders who rejected the faith of their Puritan Fathers for the Enlightenment were Franklin, Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, all of whom, with the exception of Franklin and Pain, attended college during the period 1755 to 1775.

    Thus the Founding Fathers viewed issues of religion and politics  through a prism that was very critical of Christianity's abuses, especially those perpetrated when political and religious leaders forged alliancs in the joint names of Caesar and God to impose their will on the people.

  •  I think you missed the best one! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained."

    - Thomas Jefferson -

    You've heard of the "quote for the day".  I think the above is the "quote for the millennium"!

  •  These founders would weep to see how we've scre... (4+ / 0-)

    These founders would weep to see how we've screwed up their vision for an open and tolerant society.

  •  Some great reads... (0+ / 0-)

    *"Conservatives Without Conscience" by John W. Dean;
    *"What I Learned Growing Up in America's Radical Right,
    How I Escaped, and Why My Story Matters Today" by Claire Conner;
    *"Summer of 1787... The men who framed the Constitution" by David O. Stewart. No one knows what was actually said during the meetings that summer.

    Also, the film "1776."  The author used words in the film actually spoken by the Founders at some point in their lives.

  •  What difference does it make? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    So what if our forefathers were all Christians?  Things have changed and so should we as individuals and as a Country.  

  •  You Left out the TREATY of TRIPOLI, Article II (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion," the Article begins. And so, for those who advocate for the complete separation of church and state, the article is seen as an early vindication of the position, especially since the treaty was approved by a Senate that recently approved the Bill of Rights.

    1796, written while Geo. Washington was still Pres., and approved and signed under John Adams.  

  •  I see these statements from those on the religi... (0+ / 0-)

    I see these statements from those on the religious right who keep saying that "the US is a 'Christian nation'", or that the founding fathers were Christians. They are totally wrong on the first count, and more than half wrong on the second one. As we know, the US is actually a secular nation, but with a Christian majority. While there may be some Christian principles in our laws,in no way was that to be an establishment of Christianity--and as we know, the major world religions (including, but not exclusive to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), share most of the same basic beliefs. The founding fathers were a mix of Christian and other (or no) beliefs--they respected each other, and wanted a nation of freedom of belief. This is something that the religious right (and others of ignorance of the plurality of belief) either forget, or choose to believe that if we "put the Bible back into the schools" (it was never really taken out--it was just removed from an established position of authority where it never belonged), that all would be better in our society. But they forget about those of other beliefs (or none), who have a right to that. After all, otherwise, we would be like countries such as Iran, whom many Christians rail against.

  •  Jesus in not a right wing republican. (0+ / 0-)

    There are parts of America where a small "c" christian theocracy is in place.  A place where human control strategies attach themselves to heart felt beliefs.  They use the authority of a religion to suppress anyone that questions what corrupt business deal they are doing.  Just like Islamic terror groups, hide in a Mosques,right wing republicans hide in the churches.  Standing above criticism as they engineer the over throw of The Constitution.  That is not Biblical and it is not Christianity  They are anti Christ oppressors. As the founding fathers warned us.

    Just ask yourself this, Do you want to discredit Christianity or do you want to win elections?  I want Atheist votes, I want Christian votes, I want Muslim votes, Buddha, Hindu,. Volcano worshiper, votes.  I am a born again Christian and I respect the belief systems of everyone.  I don't put down everyone's God.  I want to break the mind control spell of Republican fascism.  All hands on deck, in solidarity.  

  •  Were Children of the Forefathers' ANCHOR BABIES? (0+ / 0-)

    Just a thought. I mean we did crash the Indians' party and cruelly disrupted their way of life - then took over and not only slaughtered generations of Indians, but, slandered them as savages and take the harness of their lands by disrupting their communities, tribes and traditions.

    Our forefathers of the United States did many great things and provided pathways from tyranny for many oppressed European - lower class individuals - but, they still did it all through aggression, arrogance, and a structured revolt to the British upper class.

    Slavery and brutality to the natives reveals a lot about the way we are slipping back into the ways of creating a society that reveres money, power and peer level structure that is built to and has reversed upon itself a way to indentured servitude.  

  •  Palin, Beck, Cruz, Bachman, etc = All Anti-America (0+ / 0-)

    Conservative Christians, and Christians in general that are "biblists", take what is stated in there very seriously. In the bible, it teaches that being persecuted is to be expected and desired even. Its always been a perfect conduit for Conservative Christians to try and turn America into a Theocracy. Once the Founding Fathers stepped in, the idea was that Puritans couldn't ban Quakers from certain jobs, legally, like they had been doing, nor could they legally make the Quakers fund their churches, nor lynch them. Any American who truly believes in what America stands for, any real Patriot, who doesn't just give lip service to freedom and independence from tyranny, any American who realizes people like Sarah Palin will, have and always will, destroy what America is. If I had the power, I'd zap all the religious wackos off the planet. Or, they can go create their own Theocracy on another continent, NOT North America.

  •  GREAT ARTICLES (0+ / 0-)

    How Conservative Christianity Can Warp the Mind

    Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That's Undermining Democracy

    It’s true. Religious liberty is under sustained attack in America—but not in the way the Christian Right would have us believe.

    If By “American” and “Religious” You Mean “Republican” and “Conservative Christian,” Then Yes…

    America's Conservative Road to Destruction - A Brief History


    The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy

    The Despoiling of America - How George W. Bush became the head of the new American Dominionist Church/State

    Ted Cruz, Dominionism and Jesus: “Dominionists believe they are engaged in an epic battle against the forces of Satan.

    The Theology of Government Shutdown: Christian Dominionism

    The Christian right's “dominionist” strategy

    The American Taliban

    Quotes from the American Taliban

    American Taliban – The marriage between religious fundamentalism and market conservatism is as strong as ever. Book review by Robert Kuttner 'Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party'
    By Max Blumenthal, Nation Books.

    A Nation Under God - Let others worry about the rapture: For the increasingly powerful Christian Reconstruction movement, the task is to establish the Kingdom of God right now from the courthouse to the White House. By John Sugg.

  •  GREAT MOVIES (0+ / 0-)

    The God That Wasn't There

    Constantine's Sword Can also be found all over YouTube

    Theologians Under Hitler [a book: and a DVD based on the book:
    Which can also be found all over YouTube


    To get a better understanding, here are some helpful websites and organizations, most will look familiar because they have been demonized by the loudest voices; FOX, Tea Party, Pat Robertson, you know the type I am referring too:

    Americans United

    Freedom From Religion Foundation

    Military Religious Freedom Foundation

  •  Conservative Christians ... Off With Their Heads! (0+ / 0-)

    Conservative Christians have been burning witches, lynching non-whites, killing non-Christians, and torturing intellectuals since the dawn of man. It's high time the conservative Christians get treated the way they have ALWAYS treated others!!!

    Conservatives believe that the majority of people, the "masses" or "common folk", question things too much and certainly need to be told what to do because they are too stupid to think on their own. Those who do question their authority are literally the "enemy", those to be silenced, usually deemed "hedonistic", "tree-huggers", "femi-nazis", "dirty hippies", etc. most widely labeled and currently called "Liberal".

    Conservatives will tell their followers that these "Liberals" are going to destroy everything that is important to them, that which is "normal", "traditional", and "sacred", the very way they live, and that because they question something, they must hate everything about the "American way of life" or whatever "way of life" that is the "norm" of those in power in whatever community, state, country, continent they reside, (or company, office, University, etc)

    To a conservative, to question them, this is a cancer. If the masses don't do what they are told, and start questioning those in power, they will realize, the ideology of conservatism is selfishness, greedy, power-hungry, with black and white rules, both in skin color and homogenous culture, along with a two-tier system, where the ruling class and those in power make sure that stays in place, instituted by laws for everything from taxes to media, like Internet access, to the justice system like having different punishment for cocaine and crack users.

    This two-tier system literally effects everything, education, public transportation, medical care, again, everything. Even though the less wealthy pay more of their income in taxes, allowing these things to happen, the ruling class live like kings and queens, putting on shows, theater, to keep everything in order, to keep people in their place.

    This is why conservative ideology has never been "good" for a society that supposedly was built on "We the People". Conservatives have always been against equality, always against helping people move-up, if you will.  Then when religion is tossed in, you have pure evil.

    In the USA, this has always been some version of Christianity. As we see now, again, conservative Christians have come to power. By allowing the "dumbing-down" of our country, which many "liberals" have allowed by letting conservatives to have too much power.

  •  I detest religions in all their forms. (0+ / 0-)

    The more they claim to be the teachings of a God, the more they want to enslave "us" and kill "them!"

    I renounced my Christianity because of the crazies in it.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

  •  Brilliant - too bad the RWCCs can't read. (0+ / 0-)

    Brilliant - too bad the RWCCs can't read.

  •  Left out the Treaty of Tripoli (0+ / 0-)

    It's a treaty between the US govt and Tripolitania (introduced by President John Adams) in which they went out of their way to add a pretty significant clause to Article 11:

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
  •  Yes! I wish all the idiots who claim our countr... (0+ / 0-)

    Yes! I wish all the idiots who claim our country was founded on Christian beliefs would read these truths. I don't know how many arguments I've had about this.

  •  It truly was the Age of Enlightenment. If (0+ / 0-)

    enlightenment served to win our independence then why did we stray from that path?  And what are we if we permit the extinguishing of Enlightenment?

  •  Today is Super Bowl Sunday... (0+ / 0-)

    you should all be praying, on your knees, in front of Tom Brady's deflated balls.  

  •  Find an even longer list (0+ / 0-)

    of quotations on religion by U.S leaders past & present, here:

  •  government by religion (0+ / 0-)

    For well over two hundred years we've had a level of religious influence in daily life that has greatly exceeded it's expected level of influence. It has been weakened in recent years and there is a strong movement to now breach a wall that despite religion's influence on daily life has stood since the Constitution.

    The inability of the religious leaders to exert the influence and political control they want has caused them to attempt all kinds of lies and nefarious tricks. Although all politicians lie, these religious politicians seem to believe blatant lying is now a significant part of their religious practices.

  •  article title (0+ / 0-)

    'cause the majority of right-wing X-tians are crazy...

  •  The Founding Fathers were Deists (0+ / 0-)

    Here is a list of the Founding Fathers of the United States. They were deists.  The nest list is influential citizens of the United States of America that were deists.  The third lists has famous people that influence our lives that are deists.  These people provided a ration, logic, and common sense as our examples.  Thank goodness not everyone is a Christian.  
    •    George Washington (1732–1799), one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the 1st President of the United States[32]
    •    James Madison (1751–1836), "Father of the United States Constitution", one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the 4th President of the United State
    •    Benjamin Franklin (1706–90), American polymath, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States[8]
    •    Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), author of the Jefferson Bible, an American Founding Father, the principal author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States.[75][76][77]
    •    Thomas Paine (1737–1809), English pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, inventor, and intellectual, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States

    •    Other Americans
    •    Ethan Allen (1738–89), early American revolutionary and guerrilla leader[19]
    •    Elihu Palmer (1764–1806), American author and advocate of deism
    •    Mark Twain (1835–1910), American author and humorist[58] Alfred M. Mayer (1836–1897), American physicist.[1]
    •    Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914), American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist, sometimes known as "the father of pragmatism". He was educated as a chemist and employed as a scientist for 30 years. Today he is appreciated largely for his contributions to logic, mathematics, philosophy, scientific methodology, and semiotics, and for his founding of pragmatism.[16]
    •    Neil Armstrong (1930–2012), American NASA astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon
    •    Harmony Korine (1973–), American film director, producer, screenwriter, and author

    Other Famous people
    •    Max Planck (1858–1947), German physicist, regarded as the founder of quantum theory. Victor Hugo (1802–85), French writer, artist, activist and statesman[58][79]
    •    Voltaire (1694–1778), French Enlightenment writer and philosopher[80]
    •    Alexander Pope (1688–1744), English poet during the eighteenth century
    •     Frederick the Great (1712–86), Prussian King from the Hohenzollern dynasty
    •    Jules Verne (1828–1905), French author who pioneered the science fiction genre in Europe. He is best known for his novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days.
    •    Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer
    •    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), French military and political leader
    •    Thomas Alva Edison (1847–1931), American inventor and businessman
    •    Wernher von Braun (1912–77), German-American rocket scientist, aerospace engineer, space architect, and one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology.

  •  separation of church and state (0+ / 0-)

    apparently does not apply to marriage.  If it did, judges could not perform marriage rites and our taxes would not differentiate between single and married; there would be on inheritance laws automatically giving property to spouses.  Spouses would not be considered 'one' in a court of law where now they can not be called to testify against each other.  Marriage (religion) is law, because the purpose of marriage is to legally control people, especially the women.  These slave holding framers talked about freedom, but they only meant the freedoms of white men who owned property.

  •  Our Founding Fathers Were Not Christians (0+ / 0-)

    I want to scream when the ignorant of the Republican Party always try to drag the Constitution and our "Founding Fathers" into their uneducated understanding of both.
    They were Deists and many were Atheists - notably Thomas Jefferson. They seem to forget English pilgrims came here to ESCAPE religious persecution...not to create another group of haters who claim their views are the only views.
    It is why freedom of religion (or even freedom from religion) is our right. It most definitely why there was a creation of "separation of church and state" because they came from a society where the church ruled over law and justice and destroyed freedom and individuality.
    NO religious group should be trying to force their "values" into our government. As we can see with these "Christian" Republicans they do not even follow the explicit instructions Jesus left us on caring for the poor, the sick, the homeless, the "least of us". They just want to wipe them from existence. So why would I want to be any part of their "Christianity"?? They have even called the most refreshing Pope who adheres to the teachings of Jesus each and every day - a "Communist". Really? Maybe the Republicans are descendants of those who murdered Jesus.

  •  Now are we curious to know what our ForeMOTHERS .. (0+ / 0-)

    had to say on the topic of religion and government separated by a wall ??

    I bet it was similar to their comments about toilet lids left up by thoughtless males .

  •  How needy do you have to be... (0+ / 0-)

    ...for the government to prop up your religion for you?

    Secularism is for grownups.

  •  In the old world many escaped to the new for this (0+ / 0-)

    Back in Europe jews, secs of christianity were at war for dominance.
    The founding fathers did not want these divisions here. Many came to this country to escape persecution. The Quakers  and many other pilgrims to practice their faith in peace. Then why are some still forcing their opinions and beliefs on others. This is why church and state are separate.

  •  And ... (0+ / 0-)

     “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
    ~John Adams, Treaty of Tripoli (1797)

      “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.”
    ~Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper (February 10, 1814)

      “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
    ~James Madison, Writings, 8:432 (1819)

  •  It's only a matter of time (0+ / 0-)

    until these words of wisdom are written out of history.  The Texas fundamentalist school board has tried (and often succeeded) to rewrite history or change it through omission.  With so many states using Texas textbooks to get in on the volume purchase discount, it's only a matter of time.  

    So sad to loathe the politics of my home state.  :(

  •  That's why they want to re-write history books (0+ / 0-)

    The pragmatic beliefs of the founding fathers are why the religious fundamentalist right-wing wants to remove the names of many of the founding fathers from high school history books and curriculum and re-write our nation's history. The truth, be it historical fact or science, renders fundamentalist beliefs as false.

  •  but...but....but (0+ / 0-)

    christian nation!

  •  Tom Paine was right. To argue with someone who ... (0+ / 0-)

    Tom Paine was right. To argue with someone who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to a dead man. That's what we're faced with.

  •  Deism (0+ / 0-)

    That is because many of the founders were Deists.  Thomas Paine is the founder of Deism.  Because Deism is based on nature, the laws of nature, and the creation, it is a natural religion as opposed to revealed or man-made artificial religion.
    Revelation, or revealed religion, is defined in Webster's New World Dictionary as: "God's disclosure to man of Himself." This should read, "God's alleged disclosure to man of himself." For unless God reveals to each of us individually that a particular religion is truly His disclosure to us of Himself, then, by believing that religion, we are not taking His word for it, but we are instead putting our belief in the person or institution telling us it is so. This is what we are doing when we believe in any revealed religion, and that's all Christianity is. It's a revealed religion like many others such as Islam and Judaism. Revealed religion gets dangerous however, when it crosses over the line into politics. This is the admitted goal of the Christian Coalition. God allegedly revealed to Pat Robertson and his Coalition, that He wants them to take over America and eventually the world with "His Word," so the laws of the nations will mirror the laws in the Bible, which, if you know what's in the Bible, is terrifying. This, too, is what the Ayatollah's goal was, only his "revealed word of God" was the Koran, an other revelation. Are we to believe Pat when he says the Bible is revelation of God's Word?
    Since we know we did not create the creation or ourselves, yet we and the creation do exist, it is logical to believe that God, or an Eternal Cause or Creator created us. This belief has absolutely nothing to do with revealed religion. In fact, all the absurdities of revealed religion are responsible for many sincere thinking people to reject and close their minds to natural religion/Deism. The priests, ministers, and rabbis need to suppress, or at least complicate, the pure and simple belief and realization of Deism for their own job security. And the power elites have no use for Deism because they can't use Deism to "inspire" mankind to wage war against itself for the elitists' own selfish purposes. In fact, Deism, by focusing on the first creed of all religions, belief in God, could frustrate the war/money machine permanently.
    Reason is our greatest Gift from the Creator.  
    To Read more, you must visit this site.

  •  First Thanksgiving? (0+ / 0-)

    The story of the First Thanksgiving is a myth.  It never happened.  It wasn't until 1863 that President Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgivng.

  •  More quotes on religion... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The United States is a Christian nation founded upon Christian principles and beliefs.
        George W Bush, 43rd President
    The Government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion.
        John Adams, 2nd US President (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797)

    "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
        George H. W. Bush

    "History 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 avail themselves for their own purposes."
        Thomas Jefferson, 1813

    "Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man [or woman] and his [or her] God, that he [or she] owes account to none other for his [or her] faith or his [or her] worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
        Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)

    I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.
        Thomas Jefferson

    Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear...
        Thomas Jefferson , letter to Peter Carr (1787)

    This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religions in it.
        John Adams

    My religion is to do good.
        Thomas Paine

    “The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun, and pay him the adoration originally payed to the sun.”
        Thomas Paine, 1737-1809

    What have been [Christianity’s] 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.
        James Madison

    “The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
        James Madison (Writings, 8:432, 1819)

  •  This Should Be Read in Every Church in America (0+ / 0-)

    If the bible-thumpers I know would just agree to have their pastor read this page to their flock, I would be happy to sit through a church service...once. But of course, this will never happen in a million years because a Christians' real security lies in their mutual ignorance with their neighbors and countrymen, not in their faith in some supernatural daddy figure.

  •  from George Washington's letter to the Jews (0+ / 0-)

    "May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our faiths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy." (1790)

  •  Not so fast (0+ / 0-)

    Your opening statements set off alarms for me. Why isn't the first thanksgiving fairytale more a native American event than a christian one? The people who imagined a new country here were against the status quo including the shackles of religion/christianity, that is why so many spoke against it and became deists instead ...... no, this country was made despite religion (many christians/conservatives fought for the status quo with the brit's) and it's delusions. Conservatives and state religions have fought against any progress we have seen in this country.

  •  Anyone wanting a deeper look into the (0+ / 0-)

    origins of religion might want to check this link. The piece is also available on Amazon and Kindle, one titled "Where Did God Come From?" I've heard nothing put positive accolades before and since my friend who wrote it passed away in old age.

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