Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Religion and Politics Do Not Mix

You may have been taught in school that America was founded upon Christianity, but proof of such is not reflected in the writings of our founding fathers. In fact, the first six American presidents were actually opposed to the doctrine and dogma of Christianity.

Would you refer to prejudice and premeditated murder as Christian traits? One of our forefathers was so prejudiced against the American Natives that he once described them as "having nothing human except the shape" and as "a beast of prey." Known as the "Father of our Country", President George Washington was known as "The Town Destroyer," and "The Killer of Women and Children" among the Onadaga Indian People whom he and his militia killed in cold blood. Did good ol' George (who couldn't tell a lie) believe this country was founded upon Christian fundamentals? Washington is quoted as saying, "The United States is in no sense founded upon Christian Doctrine."

John Adams, the second President of the United States, had little use for religion when he said, "The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence "found not one redeeming feature in orthodox Christianity" and added:

Christianity------the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ------Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and imposters led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus. 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 classified with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and the 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.

Jefferson also called for limitation on the power of the Government, and was an advocate for the separation of Church and State.

James Madison, fourth president of the United States, thought no better of religion when he said: During almost fifteen centuries the legal establishment known as Christianity has been on trial, and what have been the fruits, more or less, in all places? These are the fruits: pride, indolence, ignorance, and arrogance in the clergy. Ignorance, arrogance, and servility in the laity, and in both clergy and laity, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, was no doubt a religious man who is remembered as a Christian President; however, some say Lincoln was a skeptic of Christianity. He is quoted as saying, "The Bible is not my Book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma." His views did not change during his political career. He was later noted to say, "My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."

After Lincoln's assassination an American author and the editor of Scribner's Monthly named Dr. Josiah G. Holland wrote about Lincoln's religious views:

"------He believed in God, and ------believed himself to be under his control and guidance. ------This unwavering faith in a Divine Providence began at his mother's knee, and ran like a thread of gold through all the experiences of his life. His constant sense of human duty was one of the forms by which his faith manifested itself. ------He recognized an immediate relation between God and himself, in all the actions and passions of his life. He was not professedly a Christian—that is, he subscribed to no creed—joined no organization of Christian disciples. He spoke little------of his religious belief and experiences; but that he had a deep religious life, sometimes imbued with superstition------."

Perhaps Lincoln recognized the difference in spirituality which is our connection and relationship to our Creator, and religion which is the very thing that attempts to separate us from one another and our Creator.

Aside from presidents, other founding fathers of notoriety agree that Christianity has little merit when it comes to governing a nation of people. When Benjamin Franklin was asked about his religion, he said:

As to Jesus of Nazareth, I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with the most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts to his divinity. ------ I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure.

Deism is a seventeenth- and eighteenth-century religious philosophy and movement prominent in England and the United States. Deists normally reject supernatural events and divine revelation common to organized religion. Disregarding holy books and religions that affirm the existence of such things, deists support religious beliefs must be founded on human reason observation of the natural world which reveal the existence of a supreme being. Deist Thomas Paine had a strong opinion about religion:

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. ------Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is part of the Bill of Rights which prevents legislature that establishes a national religion by Congress or that prefers or supports one religion over another. The First Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This part of the First Amendment is sometimes referred to as "the separation of church and state" which means that the state or national government should be kept separate from religious institutions.

I doubt the Ten Commandments were posted in courthouses during the early days of U.S. history. Our founding fathers proposed the First Amendment and rejected Christianity as a ruling factor in government and political issues. After being ruled by a government which tried to synchronize the beliefs of the entire population, they were fed up with being told what to do and what to believe. They wanted religious freedom. Today, we as citizens still want religious freedom, but there can be no religious freedom when one religion controls the masses through government. Yet, this is exactly what has occurred in our nation. Religious groups attempt to control the government by imposing laws that decide what a marriage is, what can be grown in our backyard and what medical research can be federally funded.

Every time a law is passed that gives jurisdiction over what happens in a person's home, marriage, healthcare or religion, we lose another personal right that was assured in the laws used to found our country. It's time to stand up and vote against bills and amendments that take away the one thing our founding fathers did have in common—freedom from religion.

Works Cited:

The Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1968, p. 420
http://www.theramp.net/kohr4/HEROES.html
http://afgen.com/church2a.html
http://www.biosfear.com/archives/000165.html
http://www.discord.org/~lippard/state-press-19860429.html
http://thewaronfaith.com/ff_franklin.htm
http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/ralph/workbook/ralprs24b.htm

Yvonne Perry is a metaphysical freelance writer, author and keynote speaker who enjoys assisting people on a spiritual path. Her open style of writing is lovingly controversial and challenges people’s belief systems in order to help them grow spiritually. Get a complimentary copy of Yvonne’s E-book More Than Meets the Eye: True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife when you subscribe to her newsletter at http://www.yvonneperry.net/books.htm

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