Monday, November 29, 2004

Blues Letter Diaries

One of the things I can't stand is reading really stupid people's letters to the editor in the Trib. And the thing most argued in these letters is that we are a Christian nation, so we should act like it. The majority of the citizens are Christians, they argue, so there is nothing wrong with putting up statues and monuments that reflect that. More than one has even argued that there is no seperation of church and state clause in the Constitution. It's not too surprising, really. After all, I live in Waco, Texas, which is sometimes called "The City of 100 Churches." It's probably because there are at least 100 churches for a city with less than 150,000 people. And they are all Baptist or Methodist or some variation of Revivalist protestantism. Which is why I'm glad I found this Hullabaloo post. These people are dingbats, pure and simple, especially since many of the Founding Fathers were not Christians in the Revival sense that people think of Christianity now. Our founders were children of the Enlightenment. They thought of God more as an architect, which is why so many of them, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, were Freemasons. The really incredible thing is, the same people who argue for creationism to be taught in schools are the same ones who are too stupid to know these basic facts of American history. Digby gives us a list of really good quotes from several of the founders:

". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist." Franklin "... I am not afraid of priests. They have tried upon me all their various batteries of pious whining, hypocritical canting, lying and slandering. I have contemplated their order from the Magi of the East to the Saints of the West and I have found no difference of character, but of more or less caution, in proportion to their information or ignorance on whom their interested duperies were to be played off. Their sway in New England is indeed formidable. No mind beyond mediocrity dares there to develop itself." Jefferson What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish 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." Madison . . . 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." Adams The 1796 treaty with Tripoli, negotiations begun under Washington and signed by Adams states: [As] the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion
I really like that last one, and I've cited it numerous times myself. It's a good catch-all quote for people who have to deal with Bible-thumpers who would rather have a theocracy than a democracy, which is a plank in the platform of the Republican Party of Texas. No friends, we are not a Christian nation. And what's more, our system of government was set up to protect us from the tyranny of a majority. This is a government of the people, by the people, for the people; not just for most of the people. We are supposed to govern in the best interest of all our citizens. Besides, by far the majority of the people in this country are Roman Catholic, like myself. I doubt that Jerry Falwell would agree to making this a Catholic country. No, these people don't really care about Christ, they really care about their own power and their own brand of religiousness. Worshipping money and themselves, Mullah Dobson and his ilk preach about their own values and their own very limited version of God. That is not in the best interest of everyone. Many brave men, many of them Jewish, Muslim, atheist, Buddhist, pagan, Hindu and Native American have died for the freedom of the people of this country. The died so that our children and their children could be free, not so James Dobson could tell them they are going to hell and force them to sing Christian hymns in school and stare at crucifixes everytime they renew their driver's license. That is a perversion of everything it means to be an American.


At 8:49 PM, Blogger poetgirl said...

Well put! Loved the quotes from the Deist founding fathers.

While not an American myself, it's comforting to know that real thinking Americans exist down there . . . some of us have been a bit nervous the past four years. Glad to have chanced upon your fascinating blog!

At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true, I had some relatives yapping about how this nation was founded on christianity. I decided not to bother to open up that can of worms and let them believe this fable.

As you stated so well, our founding fathers were guided by reason rather than faith. It's no surprise how great this country is when it was founded by such brilliant men. It's a shame that people so misunderstand who these people were.

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

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