A bit of light

May 14, 2010 at 6:39 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Re: The Founding Fathers and their religions because I can’t stand people who rewrite history for their own ends.

Here’s a quote from a treaty signed by George Washington:

A 1796 treaty he signed says “the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

But go read the whole article.

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2 Comments

  1. bridgett said,

    And for good measure, let’s throw in the findings of Jon Butler, professor of religious history at Yale and all-around good guy who points out that at most, only about 15% of colonists on the eve of the American Revolution were church-goers (even once in a while). That’s why the First Amendment talks more broadly about “religion” (as a private matter of liberty of belief construed by Madison and others as an inalienable human right) as opposed to “church.” As one of the lesser-known Congressmen (Samuel Livermore of New Hampshire) said “I mean that Congress has no right to infringe upon the rights of conscience.” They explicitly as a group rejected the concept that the Congress or any political body should restrict “civil rights…on account of religious belief or worship” (the language is actually Monroe’s) or pronounce upon dogma, establish state-sponsored religious events, or protect/promote any one faith in preference to any other. Madison repeatedly rejected Christianity’s claim to sovereign status in American society and explicitly wrote against the confusion of Christian piety with civil order.

    The VA Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (authored by Jefferson in 1786) further rejects the idea that Jesus was the authority for or source of their religious liberty; they were religiously free because they were citizens of a free nation. Coercion in religion was both “sinful” and “tyrannical”. As it says, “the truth is great and will prevail if left to herself.”

    This whole argument drives me berserk. Even if some prominent figures were personally devout — and some were — collectively these guys just could not have been clearer about their thoughts on the relation between religion and the state. It’s all over their letters, their papers, their speeches, and their public documents.

    • imfunny2 said,

      Hey, thanks for the additional insights via Jon Butler, etc.

      I knew the basics.

      The thought of religion as a litmus test for anything (public office, public employment) disturbs me profoundly

      The thought of a state religion here in America scares me so much that if it came to pass…I dunno what I’d do…If I was able bodied it’d be one thing.

      And separating Church and State doesn’t hurt organized religion at all! In fact I’d say that it forces the religious layperson to really understand that the exercise of one’s faith is a time/space/place completely apart. IMO that sort of thinking encourages deeper study of one’s particular belief system.

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