"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington
Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, America!!
By Nicholas Meyeres
One of the most common statements from the Religious Right in America is that they want this country to "return to the Christian principles on which it was founded". However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a bald-faced lie at best. The men responsible for building the foundation of this United States had little use for Christianity, and many were even strongly opposed to it. They were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were mostly Deists who did not believe in the divinity of Christ or the word of the bible as being the one, true word.
Thus, there is no freedom of religion if there is also no freedom FROM religion. There are some who claim that the United States of America was founded and based on Christian faith and principles, and they would do (and have already done) everything in their power to change the actual history of this great Nation. While it is true that some of the Founding Fathers considered themselves Protestant most were likely Deist or even Unitarian, this did not mean that they forced their beliefs onto anyone like we attempt to do today. In fact, quite the opposite.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
No reference to God. No reference to Jesus. No reference to Christianity. The words "Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God" are never mentioned in the Constitution-- not once. This is simply NOT a Christian nation no matter how hard some people try to explain otherwise.
Indeed, according to Article 11 of the Treaty between Tripoli and the United States, written in 1796, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” And, according to Phillip Schaff in his 1888 book Church and State in the United States, “Separation secures religious thought, speech, and action. Religion is voluntary and cannot be forced. The United States furnishes the first example in the history of a government deliberately depriving itself of all legislative control of religion.”
A few Christian fundamentalists today attempt to convince us to return to the "Christianity" of early America, yet according to the historian, Robert T. Handy, "No more than 10 percent-- probably less-- of Americans in 1800 were members of congregations." The Founding Fathers, as well, rarely practiced Christian orthodoxy. Although, while they supported the free exercise of any religion, they understood the dangers of religion in government.
Just as Congress removed Thomas Jefferson's words that condemned the practice of slavery in the colonies, they also altered his wording regarding equal rights. His original wording is: "All men are created equal and independent. From that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable." Congress changed that phrase, increasing its religious overtones: "All men are created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights." But we are not governed by the Declaration of Independence-- it is an historical document, not a constitutional one. And as I have already said, "The words 'Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God' are never mentioned in the Constitution."
So, let's stop censoring or ignoring the portion of the populace (by some estimates, 20% of the population) that doesn't believe in a higher being- and who apparently know American history better than anyone else on the right. Furthermore, it shouldn't be impossible for an atheist to hold public office, but in some areas of the country it is still illegal for one to even run. Let's agree that separation of church and state does not seek to take away our religious liberties, and in fact does a great deal of good FOR religious and non-religious people alike. After all, in 1872 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that, “The structure of our government has, for the preservation of civil liberty, rescued the temporal institutions from religious interference. On the other hand, it has secured religious liberty from the invasion of the civil authority."
When this country was founded, it's founding fathers were mostly slave owners. Women weren't allowed to hold public office nor could they even vote. Women were even forced to wear several layers of clothing, dared not even expose so much as an ankle lest she be thought of in a lesser light, and even kept their heads covered in public.
The point is, since the founding of this country, mankind has grown exponentially ethically and morally, and religion has played virtually no part in that growth. If you base your religion on the Christian Bible then it would be fair to say that you would prefer that we still had slavery today since in Leviticus God gives instruction on how slaves are property to be inherited. It is also clear that in the Bible women are absolutely less valuable than men and are not to be given equal treatment.
Examples of this are vast and numerous, including when Lot, in order to spare the angels of God from having to be sodomized by the towns men, offered instead his two virgin daughters for them to "do as ye will". So if you really want to get back to the "Christian Nation" that you believe the founding fathers meant it to be, then it would stand to reason, as a "Christian Nation" we should bring back slavery, burn "witches", repeal woman's rights, and in order to save higher beings from the degradation of public sodomy, sacrifice our very children to their boss or pay the price forever?... Or have we EVOLVED past the backward thinking that this is indeed a "Christian Nation"?
Most people don't even realize that the phrase one Nation "Under God" was not in the Pledge of Allegiance or the majority of our currency until AFTER June 14, 1954, right in the midst of the McCarthy hysteria. The reasons are obvious and glaring as to why this would occur at this time. A time that we were morally, if not literally at "war" with communism. After all, by making sure that the "godless" communists knew that we were diametrically opposite them in every way- including by convincing ourselves that our founding was that of a god-fearing "Christian" nation- we would show superiority over them and win in the day's end the world's adoration and respect.
I am not now, nor have I ever advocated the abolition of Christianity or even religion in our country. I respect any person's faith, just as I would hope you would respect my lack of it. All I ask is that people realize the truth of our founding as a nation, stop trying to fundamentally change the very fabric of our Constitution and Bill of Rights to suit their purposes and ideological bent, and leave government out of our personal everyday lives. Worship in the way you choose to, but ask not the government to join you in this exercise, or its people that choose not to, as well.
That's all I ask. That's all our framers ever asked. That's all our Constitution asks of you. After all, this is not a "Christian Nation", it is a CONSTITUTIONAL one!