The Mistaken Identity of the U.S.

The April 28th, 2015 New York Times reads:  Gay Marriage Arguments Divide Supreme Court Justices. Our country’s highest court will reconvene in June to hopefully put an end to individual states banning same-sex marriage. Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak for the NY Times described the proceedings and debate “…illuminated [Justices opposing same-sex marriage] conflicting views on history, tradition, biology, constitutional interpretation, the democratic process and the role of the courts prodding social change.” Their decision next month will probably go down as another landmark decision in the Supreme Court’s 200+ year history.

James MadisonHowever, like President Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the Confederate rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free” did not mean freed slaves were suddenly treated fairly or not discriminated against for the following 122 years in housing, employment, or public programs as America’s Civil Rights history hideously documents. Despite the probable Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, there will be many states throughout the Midwest and South that will not protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. If abiding to the explicit or implicit letter-of-the-law put to the states by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 followed by the 13th Amendment in 1865 were any indications of comprehensive state obedience, based on those historical reactions, though today the LGBT community has won a battle, the 122-year war is far from over. It might even get repulsive in some regions.

The controversy centers over the institution of marriage and its nature over at least the last couple of millenia. Conservatives advocate it is a sacred union before God between a man and woman. This is of course based upon Judeo-Christian dogma and traditions. The conservative right further claims these longstanding Christian tenets are woven into the nation’s Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence by our Christian forefathers. By default, they claim, that makes the United States — including our Supreme Court frame-of-reference — a Christian nation.

Unfortunately for radical ultra Conservatives, this claim, that the U.S. and her founding fathers were always Christian, does not bear out in the historical records of those men.

This Is A Christian Nation?

The United States is historically and globally a very young adolescent nation. As such it has a few/many adolescent behaviors — depending on what segment of the near 320-million highly diverse population you hail from — that are good and bad on the human-decency human-rights meter. One such convoluted quagmire is our “religious history.”

Ignoring completely the already long-established Native American tribes in the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries — well before any Europeans or Asians set foot here — immigrants from the European continent arrived, ironically, to escape religious oppression and forced beliefs by state-affiliated churches in Rome (Catholicism) and London (Church of England). Therefore, when modern evangelical conservative groups and organizations here yell the United States of America is and was created as a Christian nation by Christian forefathers,  what exactly are they wailing? What is “Christian” or Christianity? It certainly doesn’t describe America’s very first settlers: the Native American tribes! Who then are they really describing?

The leaders and immigrants of our pre-American Revolutionary Era (1775) were primarily from the British Isles (63.1%) and in significantly fewer numbers from other European countries, mostly Spain (7%) and Germany/Prussia (6.9%). Twenty percent were slaves from the African continent. All of our nation’s forefather’s who created and debated our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, had British and French heritage. Clearly the most influential forefathers of our country’s most hallowed documents have their roots in England and French-Huguenot civil history. A tiny lens when you ask 1,000, or 10,000, or even 500,000 Americans What is Christian? Ask the same number of Christian-believers outside of the U.S. the same question, and you will get various answers. Why different?

Simple. There are over 32,000 different denominations (from 6 primary designations) of Christianity that have different interpretations of the Canonical New Testament stories of the nature of Jesus and the authority of teaching his nature. Without getting neck-deep into that 2,000 year old mess that keeps getting messier, let’s focus on the English/French but clearly American forefathers and what they stated and inferred supporting the Separation of State and Church.

T_Jefferson_by_Charles_Willson_Peale_1791Thomas Jefferson (1742-1826)

Thomas Jefferson was a genius writer and obviously the one voted by the Founding Fathers to write our Declaration of Independence and a major contributor to other federal documents. He also authored Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom in 1777 and became our third President in 1801. Following are some of his written views about religion and government.

Convinced that religious liberty must, most assuredly, be built into the structural frame of the new [state] government, Jefferson proposed this language [for the new Virginia constitution]: “All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution”: freedom for religion, but also freedom from religion. (Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 38. Jefferson proposed his language in 1776.)

Our[Virginia’s]act for freedom of religion is extremely applauded. The Ambassadors and ministers of the several nations of Europe resident at this court have asked me copies of it to send to their sovereigns, and it is inserted at full length in several books now in the press; among others, in the new Encyclopedie. I think it will produce considerable good even in those countries where ignorance, superstition, poverty and oppression of body and mind in every form, are so firmly settled on the mass of the people, that their redemption from them can never be hoped. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Wythe from Paris, August 13, 1786.)

The Virginia act for religious freedom has been received with infinite approbation in Europe, and propagated with enthusiasm. I do not mean by governments, but by the individuals who compose them. It has been translated into French and Italian; has been sent to most of the courts of Europe, and has been the best evidence of the falsehood of those reports which stated us to be in anarchy. It is inserted in the new “Encyclopédie,” and is appearing in most of the publications respecting America. In fact, it is comfortable to see the standard of reason at length erected, after so many ages, during which the human mind has been held in vassalage by kings, priests, and nobles; and it is honorable for us, to have produced the first legislature who had the courage to declare, that the reason of man may be trusted with the formation of his own opinions….(Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison from Paris, Dec. 16, 1786.)

Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desirable? No more than of face and stature. (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782)

Is uniformity attainable? 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 towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782)

No man complains of his neighbor for ill management of his affairs, for an error in sowing his land, or marrying his daughter, for consuming his substance in taverns … in all these he has liberty; but if he does not frequent the church, or then conform in ceremonies, there is an immediate uproar. (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782)

In the Notes[on the State of Virginia]Jefferson elaborated his views on government’s keeping its distance from all religious affairs and religious opinions. “The legitimate powers of government,” he wrote, “extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” (Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, pp. 42-43)

I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799.)

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression. (Thomas Jefferson, “First Inaugural Address,” March 4, 1801)

…And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. …error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. …I deem the essential principles of our government. ..[:]Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; …freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. (Thomas Jefferson, “First Inaugural Address,” March 4, 1801)

It behoves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.(Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, April 21, 1803)

Jefferson wrote voluminously to prove that Christianity was not part of the law of the land and that religion or irreligion was purely a private matter, not cognizable by the state. (Leonard W. Levy, Treason Against God: A History of the Offense of Blasphemy, New York: Schocken Books, 1981, p. 335)

There are some thirty-three to forty more quotes from Thomas Jefferson regarding his stance on religious liberties and keeping questions of faith utterly separate from government enforcement but necessary for protecting any faith or belief. Feel free to research him and reconfirm these bibliographical references.

John-Adams-YoungJohn Adams (1735-1826)

John Adams was our 2nd U.S. President from 1797 to 1801 and a prolific leader at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. These are some of his opinions on government and religion.

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)

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)

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 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)

We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions … shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power … we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society. (John Adams, letter to Dr. Price, as quoted by Albert Menendez and Edd Doerr, compilers, The Great Quotations on Religious Liberty, Long Beach, CA: Centerline Press, 1991, p. 1.)

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)

james-madison-portraitJames Madison (1751-1836)

James Madison was the fourth U.S. President from 1809 to 1817. He was the primary author of our Bill of Rights and Constitution. Following are his ideas of church and state separation.

At age eighty-one[therefore, in 1832?], both looking back at the American experience and looking forward with vision sharpened by practical experience, Madison summed up his views of church and state relations in a letter to a “Reverend Adams”: “I must admit moreover that it may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency of a usurpation on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference in any way whatever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against trespass on its legal rights by others.” (Robert L. Maddox, Separation of Church and State: Guarantor of Religious Freedom, New York: Crossroad, 1987, p. 39.)

This assertion[that Madison was committed to total and complete separation of church and state]would be challenged by the nonpreferentialists, who agree with Justice Rehnquist’s dissent in the Jaffree case. Contrasted with the analysis set forth above, Rehnquist insisted that Madison’s “original language ‘nor shall any national religion be established’ obviously does not conform to the ‘wall of separation’ between church and state which latter day commentators have ascribed to him.” Rehnquist believes Madison was seeking merely to restrict Congress from establishing a particular national church. There are three problems with this contention. First, nothing in Madison’s acts or words support such a proposition. Indeed, his opposition to the General Assessment Bill in Virginia, detailed in the “Memorial and Remonstrance,” contradicts Rehnquist directly. Secondly, all of Madison’s writings after 1789 support the Court’s twentieth-century understanding of the term “wall of separation.” Third, the reference to Madison’s use of “national” simply misses his definition of the word. Madison had an expansive intention when he used the term national. He believed that “religious proclamations by the Executive recommending thanksgiving and fasts… imply and certainly nourish the erroneous idea of a national religion.” He commented in a similar way about chaplains for the House and Senate. Historical evidence lends no support to the Rehnquist thesis. And clearly Jefferson, even though absent from the First Congress, seems a far more secure source of “original intent” than Justice Rehnquist. (Robert S. Alley, ed., The Supreme Court on Church and State, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988, p. 13)

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize [sic], every expanded prospect. (James Madison, in a letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774)

Congress, in voting a plan for the government of the Western territories, retained a clause setting aside one section in each township for the support of public schools, while striking out the provision reserving a section for the support of religion. Commented Madison: “How a regulation so unjust in itself, so foreign to the authority of Congress, and so hurtful to the sale of public land, and smelling so strongly of an antiquated bigotry, could have received the countenance of a committee is truly a matter of astonishment.” (Richard B. Morris, Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny: The Founding Fathers as Revolutionaries, Harper & Row, 1973, p. 206. The Congress here referred to was the Continental Congress; the Madison quote is from his letter to James Monroe, May 29, 1785)

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? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever? (James Madison, “A Memorial and Remonstrance,” addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1785; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: The Citadel Press, pp. 459-460. According to Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, pp. 39 ff., Madison’s “Remonstrance” was instrumental in blocking the multiple establishment of all denominations of Christianity in Virginia.)

Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents. (James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, October 17, 1788)

Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history. (See the cases in which negatives were put by J. M. on two bills passd by Congs and his signature withheld from another. See also attempt in Kentucky for example, where it was proposed to exempt Houses of Worship from taxes. (James Madison, “Monopolies. Perpetuities. Corporations. Ecclesiastical Endowments,” as reprinted in Elizabeth Fleet, “Madison’s Detatched Memoranda,” William & Mary Quarterly, Third series: Vol. III, No. 4 [October, 1946], p. 555. The parenthetical note at the end, which lacks a closed parenthesis in Fleet, was apparently a note Madison made to himself regarding examples of improper encroachment to use when the “Detatched Memoranda” were edited and published, and seems to imply clearly that Madison supported taxing churches.)

On Feb. 21, 1811, Madison vetoed a bill for incorporating the Episcopal Church in Alexandria and on Feb. 28, 1811, one reserving land in Mississippi territory for a Baptist Church. (James D. Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents [Washington, 1896-1899], I, 489-490, as cited in a footnote, Elizabeth Fleet, “Madison’s Detatched Memoranda,” William & Mary Quarterly, Third series: Vol. III, No. 4 [October, 1946], p. 555)

Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offense against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered. (James Madison, according to Leonard W. Levy, Treason Against God: A History of the Offense of Blasphemy, New York: Schocken Books, 1981, p. xii)

George-Washington-1797George Washington (1732-1799)

America’s first President after commanding the Continental Army against Great Britain, he is considered the Father of His Country and had these ideas about church and state.

Government being, among other purposes, instituted to protect the consciences of men from oppression, it is certainly the duty of Rulers, not only to abstain from it themselves, but according to their stations, to prevent it in others. (George Washington, letter to the Religious Society called the Quakers, September 28, 1789)

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it was by the indulgence of one class of the people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that those who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it, on all occasions, their effectual support. (George Washington, letter to the congregation of Touro Synagogue Jews, Newport, Rhode Island, August, 1790)

The following year[1784], when asking Tench Tilghman to secure a carpenter and a bricklayer for his Mount Vernon estate, he[Washington]remarked: “If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mohometans, Jews or Christians of any Sect, or they may be Atheists.” As he told a Mennonite minister who sought refuge in the United States after the Revolution: “I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable Asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong….” He was, as John Bell pointed out in 1779, “a total stranger to religious prejudices, which have so often excited Christians of one denomination to cut the throats of those of another.” (Paul F. Boller, George Washington & Religion, Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963, p. 118. According to Boller, Washington wrote his remarks to Tilghman in a letter dated March 24, 1784; his remarks to the Mennonite–Francis Adrian Van der Kemp–were in a letter dated May 28, 1788)

Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society. (George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792)

In the Enlightened Age and in this Land of equal Liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States. (George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793)

Unlike Thomas Jefferson — and Thomas Paine, for that matter — Washington never even got around to recording his belief that Christ was a great ethical teacher. His reticence on the subject was truly remarkable. Washington frequently alluded to Providence in his private correspondence. But the name of Christ, in any correspondence whatsoever, does not appear anywhere in his many letters to friends and associates throughout his life. (Paul F. Boller, George Washington & Religion, Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963, pp. 74-75)

Washington’s religious belief was that of the enlightenment: deism. He practically never used the word “God,” preferring the more impersonal word “Providence.” How little he visualized Providence in personal form is shown by the fact that he interchangeably applied to that force all three possible pronouns: he, she, and it. (James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell [1793-1799], Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972, p. 490)

As President, Washington regularly attended Christian services, and he was friendly in his attitude toward Christian values. However, he repeatedly declined the church’s sacraments. Never did he take communion, and when his wife, Martha, did, he waited for her outside the sanctuary…. Even on his deathbed, Washington asked for no ritual, uttered no prayer to Christ, and expressed no wish to be attended by His representative. George Washington’s practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian. In the enlightened tradition of his day, he was a devout Deist — just as many of the clergymen who knew him suspected. (Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol, New York: The Free Press, 1987, pp. 174-175)

benjamin-franklinBenjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Benjamin Franklin is one of America’s founding fathers, most well-known earliest scientist, outstanding statesman and foreign ambassador. Here are three of his known ideas about religion and government.

Though himself surely a freethinker, Franklin cautioned other freethinkers to be careful about dismissing institutional religion too lightly or too quickly. “Think how great a proportion of Mankind,” he warned in 1757, “consists of weak and ignorant Men and Women, and of inexperienc’d Youth of both Sexes, who have need of the Motives of Religion to restrain them from Vice, to support their Virtue, and retain them in the Practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great Point for its Security.” (Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 61)

[Benjamin]Franklin drank deep of the Protestant ethic and then, discomforted by church constraints, became a freethinker. All his life he kept Sundays free for reading, but would visit any church to hear a great speaker, no doubt recognizing a talent he himself did not possess. With typical honesty and humor he wrote out his creed in 1790, the year he died: “I believe in one God, Creator of the universe…. That the most acceptable service we can render Him is doing good to His other children…. As to Jesus … I have … some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble.” (Alice J. Hall, “Philosopher of Dissent: Benj. Franklin,” National Geographic, Vol. 148, No. 1, July, 1975, p. 94)

I am fully of your Opinion respecting religious Tests; but, tho’ the People of Massachusetts have not in their new Constitution kept quite clear of them, yet, if we consider what that People were 100 Years ago, we must allow they have gone great Lengths in Liberality of Sentiment on religious Subjects; and we may hope for greater Degrees of Perfection, when their Constitution, some years hence, shall be revised. If Christian Preachers had continued to teach as Christ and his Apostles did, without Salaries, and as the Quakers now do, I imagine Tests would never have existed; for I think they were invented, not so much to secure Religion itself, as the Emoluments of it. When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. (Benjamin Franklin, from a letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780)

Thomas_Paine_by_Matthew_Pratt,_1785-95Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Paine was one of only a handful of English-born American revolutionaries. He was a philosopher, political theorist and activist, and wrote several influential pamphlets during the revolution. These are his ideas about religion with government.

As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith. (Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776. As quoted by Leo Pfeffer, “The Establishment Clause: The Never-Ending Conflict,” in Ronald C. White and Albright G. Zimmerman, An Unsettled Arena: Religion and the Bill of Rights, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990, p. 72)

Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly-marked feature of all law-religions, or religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity. (Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791-1792. From Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, pp. 499-500)

Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance but the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms: the one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, the other of granting it. (Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, p. 58. As quoted by John M. Swomley, Religious Liberty and the Secular State: The Constitutional Context, Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1987, p. 7. Swomley added, “Toleration is a concession; religious liberty is a right.”)

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish[Muslim], appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. He takes up the profession of a priest for the sake of gain, and in order to qualify himself for that trade he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive anything more destructive to morality than this? (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-1795. From Paul Blanshard, ed., Classics of Free Thought, Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1977, pp. 134-135)

Take away from Genesis the belief that Moses was the author, on which only the strange belief that it is the word of God has stood, and there remains nothing of Genesis but an anonymous book of stories, fables, and traditionary or invented absurdities, or of downright lies. (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-1795. From Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 494)

The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonorable belief against the character of the Divinity, the most destructive to morality and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist. (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-1795. From Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 494)

The adulterous connection of church and state. (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-1795. From Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 500)

Past U.S. Supreme Court Positions

For the simple reason that there are too many perceptions and interpretations of the nature of divinity, some a little more “plausible” than others, a constitutional democracy has no choice but to have a justice court system to protect its highly diverse citizens against abuses and tyranny of the arrogant and self-righteous. Impeding or halting attempts for one singular religious standard in civil government is paramount for the purest forms of liberty and freedom. Following are some U.S. Supreme Court cases toward that fight.

Christianity is not established by law, and the genius of our institutions requires that the Church and the State should be kept separate…The state confesses its incompetency to judge spiritual matters between men or between man and his maker… spiritual matters are exclusively in the hands of teachers of religion. (U. S. Supreme Court, Melvin v. Easley, 1860)

The law knows no heresy, and is committed to the support of no dogma, the establishment of no sect. (U. S. Supreme Court, Watson v. Jones, 1872)

[Chief Justice Morrison Waite, in Reynolds vs. U.S., a Supreme Court decision in 1878]cited Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance of 1785, in which, said Waite, “he demonstrated ‘that religion, or the duty we owe the Creator,’ was not within the cognizance of civil government.” This was followed, said Waite, by passage of the Virginia statute “for establishing religious freedom,” written by Jefferson, which proclaimed complete liberty of opinion and allowed no interference by government until ill tendencies “break out into overt acts against peace and good order.” Finally, the Chief Justice cited Jefferson’s letter of 1802 to the Danbury Baptist association, describing the First Amendment as “building a wall of separation between church and state.” Coming as this does, said Waite, “from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured.” (Irving Brant, The Bill of Rights: Its Origin and Meaning, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., 1965, p. 407)

… the First Amendment of the Constitution… was intended to allow everyone under the jurisdiction of the United States to entertain such notions respecting his relations to his maker, and the duties they impose, as may be approved by his conscience, and to exhibit his sentiments in such form of worship as he may think proper, not injurious to the rights of others, and to prohibit legislation for the support of any religious tenets, or the modes of worship of any sect. (U. S. Supreme Court, 1890, Darwin v. Beason)

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us. (Justice Robert H. Jackson, U. S. Supreme Court, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 1943)

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government, can openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organization or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and State.” (Justice Hugo Black, U. S. Supreme Court, Everson v. Board of Education, 1947)

The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach. (Justice Hugo Black, U. S. Supreme Court, Everson v. Board of Education, 1947)

In efforts to force loyalty to whatever religious group happened to be on top and in league with the government of a particular time and place, men and women had been fined, cast in jail, cruelly tortured, and killed. Among the offenses for which these punishments had been inflicted were such things as speaking disrespectfully of the views of ministers of government-established churches, nonattendance at those churches, expressions of nonbelief in their doctrines, and failure to pay taxes and tithes to support them. (Justice Hugo Black, U. S. Supreme Court, Everson v. Board of Education, 1947)

As the momentum for popular education increased and in turn evoked strong claims for state support of religious education, contests not unlike that which in Virginia had produced Madison’s Remonstrance appeared in various forms in other states. New York and Massachusetts provide famous chapters in the history that established dissociation of religious teaching from state-maintained schools. In New York, the rise of the common schools led, despite fierce sectarian opposition, to the barring of tax funds to church schools, and later to any school in which sectarian doctrine was taught. In Massachusetts, largely through the efforts of Horace Mann, all sectarian teachings were barred from the common school to save it from being rent by denominational conflict. The upshot of these controversies, often long and fierce, is fairly summarized by saying that long before the Fourteenth Amendment subjected the states to new limitations, the prohibition of furtherance by the state of religious instruction became the guiding principle, in law and in feeling, of the American people…. (Justice Felix Frankfurter, U. S. Supreme Court, in McCollum v. Board of Education, the 1948 decision that forbid public schools in Illinois from commingling sectarian and secular instruction)

We find that the basic Constitutional principle of absolute separation was violated when the State of Illinois, speaking through its Supreme Court, sustained the school authorities of Champaign in sponsoring and effectively furthering religious beliefs by its educational arrangement. Separation means separation, not something less. Jefferson’s metaphor in describing the relation between church and state speaks of a “wall of separation,” not of a fine line easily overstepped. The public school is at once the symbol of our democracy and the most pervasive means for promoting our common destiny. In no activity of the state is it more vital to keep out divisive forces than in its schools, to avoid confusing, not to say fusing, what the Constitution sought to keep strictly apart. “The great American principle of eternal separation”–Elihu Root’s phrase bears repetition–is one of the vital reliances of our Constitutional system for assuring unities among our people stronger than our diversities. It is the Court’s duty to enforce this principle in its full integrity. We renew our conviction that “we have staked the very existence of our country on the faith that complete separation between the state and religion is best for the state and best for religion.” (Justice Felix Frankfurter, U. S. Supreme Court, in McCollum v. Board of Education, the 1948 decision that forbid public schools in Illinois from commingling sectarian and secular instruction)

The day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion, it will cease to be free for religion–except for the sect that can win political power. (Justice Robert H. Jackson, dissenting opinion, U. S. Supreme Court, Zorach v. Clausor, April 7, 1952)

We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a state nor the federal government can constitutionally force a person “to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.” Neither can constitutionally pass laws nor impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of a God as against those religions founded on different beliefs. (Justice Hugo Black, U. S. Supreme Court, in Torcaso v. Watkins, the 1961 decision that Torcaso could not be required by Maryland to declare a belief in God before being sworn in as a notary public)

The government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion. (John Paul Stevens, majority opinion, U. S. Supreme Court, Wallace v. Jaffree, June 4, 1985)

Protecting religious freedoms may be more important in the late twentieth century than it was when the Bill of Rights was ratified. We live in a pluralistic society, with people of widely divergent religious backgrounds or with none at all. Government cannot endorse beliefs of one group without sending a clear message to non-adherents that they are outsiders. (Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, in a speech to a Philadelphia conference on religion in public life, May 1991)

Religious beliefs and religious expression are too precious to be either proscribed or prescribed by the state. (Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, according to Mark S. Hoffman, editor, “Notable Quotes in 1992,” The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1993, New York: Pharos Books, 1992, p. 32)

These Supreme Court references to church and state separation are just a few of many more I omitted from listing here due to time and length constraints. Yet a close and thorough examination of the principle contributors of the U.S. Constitution clearly reveals the spirit of prohibiting the government to favor one religion over another or favoring religion over non-religion. Since 1971 state and lower federal courts have used with good success The Lemon Test to gauge whether a law or action violates the First Amendment.

But nothing in life is absolute, black or white, and immutable in all cases all the time. And try convincing a radical evangelical fundamentalist of impermanence and they will look at you like you have three eyes and two mouths.

The Purpose of Marriage

Ignoring and aside from the unreliability and contradictions of Christian theology, as well as the Holy Bible, many mainstream Christian institutions and organizations teach anywhere from 3 to 6 biblically based principles or reasons for marriage:

  1. To reflect God’s nature or the covenant between Christ and His Church
  2. To reproduce children
  3. To reign and protect each other in spiritual warfare
  4. To have companionship
  5. To enjoy intimacy
  6. To become complete

Again, without getting neck-deep into the validity or non-validity of the “Holy Scriptures” and its convoluted theology, a neutral bystander could easily ask “Out of these 6 reasons, what does gender have to do with ANY of them besides possibly #2!?” And #2 begs the question — in light of adoption — is conceiving children the primary reason for marriage? Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg addressed that non-issue:

“If the purpose of marriage is procreation, why are two 70-year-olds [or 80!] allowed to marry?”

marriage-by-the-numbersWe are back to the original problem…radical absolutism and those individuals or groups seeking to impose their life-beliefs onto others, even into private homes and bedrooms…exactly what European immigrants were fleeing in the 18th and 19th centuries when they arrived here. What I find ironic is that on a broader scale these same ultra Conservative American groups oppose — and are even willing to go to war over — the same type of radical absolutism in Islāmic nations like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, northern Caucasus of Russia, Syria, and parts of central Asia where extremists seek to impose Sharia laws. It’s a fascinating comparison to say the least! But for peculiar reasons they don’t recognize the similarities.

The purpose of marriage, or a commitment to a person or persons, is quite simple. It is to become a more wholesome human being with the assistance of another desiring the same. You further enhance each other’s qualities to the benefit of your partner and to the benefit of society. This can absolutely be accomplished despite genders. Yet, to protect this intuitive truth, we as a nation need a Supreme Court. A highest court to inhibit those who wish to destroy what our Founding Fathers desired and authored to protect.

Next month, let’s hope the court falls on the correct side of history.

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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73 thoughts on “The Mistaken Identity of the U.S.

  1. Blimey. How long did that take? (To write, not read).

    Couple of sporadic comments. While the vast majoity of early settlers may have been loveable Brits, surely the Lutheran influence from other Northern Europeans had some effect?

    The problem is, as you well know, it doesn’t matter how many sources you furnish to state the case that America is technically secular (moreso than the UK as I vaguely recall, we are actually borderline, no doubt due to dear HVIII) it makes not one ripple in the muggy waters of the mind of a rabid Protestant, who puts ‘God is/said/rules the world’ before anything else.

    I find it quite bizarre that your country makes so much fuss about it when others just pass it as a normal progression of societal and human rights issues.

    But as you said, thereby sadly stealing some of my fire, you are young and immature. The rest of us merely watch and wait for you to age …

    Liked by 3 people

    • LOL…you are such the bloody smart-arse! 😉

      …surely the Lutheran influence from other Northern Europeans had some effect?

      Yes, the Lutheran denomination is in the mix, however, in very small numbers during the Revolution. And yes, Roughseas, when nationwide polls are done, e.g. the census surveys every 10-years, Americans are primarily quite moderate becoming less and less religiously extreme within newer generations! YET, when it comes to political, economic, or social divides, those same moderates do not or are too reluctant to stand-up to extremists. 😦

      But as you said, thereby sadly stealing some of my fire, you are young and immature. The rest of us merely watch and wait for you to age …

      HAH! So true! Thank you for your comment Madame! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Professor — an excellent post. TBH — I don’t trust the Supreme Court to make sound decisions when it comes to religion. Look at what happened with Hobby Lobby, then the very next day, those 5 justices stated that religious businesses had the right to disallow all 12 contraceptives from being covered by insurance.

    I’m not sure if you are aware of this but Clarence Thomas believes states have the right to have a state-sponsored religion, and if that be the case, then they also have the right to discriminate based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2014/05/09/justice-clarence-thomas-and-the-church-of-virginia/

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Victoria.

      I don’t trust the Supreme Court to make sound decisions when it comes to religion. Look at what happened with Hobby Lobby, then the very next day, those 5 justices stated that religious businesses had the right to disallow all 12 contraceptives from being covered by insurance.

      A good valid point Ma’am. I want to look into the exact selection process of SC Justices by Presidents — surely it is not only one man’s decision & personal preference when a Justice’s seat is vacant? My next To Do List item. 😉

      I was not aware of Clarence Thomas’ position. Yikes! 😮

      Liked by 1 person

    • Victoria, I researched the SC Justice selection process — on http://www.supremecourt.gov/faq.aspx#faqgi1 — and they are first nominated by the President and then either confirmed or denied by the Senate. As most all of us know, those Justices could be in the SC for their lifetime unless impeached.

      As we’ve seen over the last 8-12 years (Presidential terms & administrations) and their political climates, the current 114th Congressional Senate is Republican, the 110th thru 113th were Democratic, but the 108th & 109th were Republican as well. And due to the timing of certain Justice vacancies, 7 of the 12 current Justices were nominated by Presidents Reagan and G.W. Bush. Would THIS possibly warrant your distrust? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • The sad thing about Clarence Thomas and a lot of the African American community is that they fail to recognize the similarity in the fight for equality between themselves and the LGBT community. Sure race and sexual orientation are different, but the fight for equality is the same, and for African Americans not to support that struggle, to me, is extremely hypocritical. I saw Ruby Bridges speak as the keynote speaker at a conference and young gay man got up and asked her a question about how she felt about the LGBT struggle for equality. She was less than sympathetic and that student actually walked out of the large conference room he was so upset at her answer. If anybody should have got it, it should have been someone like her. The biblical mindset is strong in the African-American community too and it sadly the one place for they seem to agree with what we consider as the extreme right wing conservatives here in this country.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Swarm, one thing I’ve noticed with a lot of minority groups is the inability to empathise with other groups and support them. I can’t think of a better word, so selfishness will have to do. And, people often prioritise one minority cause over another, race invariably trumping others eg feminism, or as in your example LGBT rights. Years ago, I went on a disability awareness course and the sheer sexism involved, while pointing out the rights of disabled people, left me stunned.

        Liked by 2 people

        • You’re very right (except that my name is Swarn and not Swarm! 🙂 )! I have a couple of blogs where I explore the idea of equality and it seems to me that everybody has different definitions and they don’t necessarily extend across different realms, or race, sexual orientation, and gender. It still seems morally inconsistent to complain about inequality in one sphere and then think the inequality is completely valid elsewhere or turn a deaf ear to somebody else’s cries of inequality but then get upset when no one is listening to you. In talking to an African-American friend about this, he does say that one of the issues, beyond the religious aspect, as that people do want to think that their struggle is unique. I have found this to be true an individual level have been guilty of this myself. It is a self-involved attitude though that when you problems we can get lost in thinking about how unique and special our problems are than anybody else. I think we do this to rationalize our anger or depression and we think also it will make people pay attention to use more. If all of a sudden your problems are no longer unique, why should anybody take you seriously over anybody else. I’m not a psychologist as you can tell, but I think there is something common about this mentality. Of course what I have realized in life that actually realizing you are not alone in your fight actually builds bonds and gives you a higher chance of success in coming out of those negative moods, situations, whether at the individual level or a societal level.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Well, I did apologise post pub!

          Two issues come to mind to me.

          And this touches on the religious aspect.

          I see more alliance, say between feminists, LGBT, in that they (or we) are fighting religious-imposed partriarchal structure.

          Racial issues, while having been badly treated under the bible, have, in theory, and legislatively, moved further, than say feminism and LGBT rights.

          The difference between race and disability, compared with women’s rights and LGBT, is that the first two are broader and more generic. The second two groups are based on sex. That’s where patriarchy is still effective in putting down anyone who isn’t a macho Alpha. Yes, there is subtle (or not so subtle in the case of some police forces) discrimination against non-whites, but there is still blatant, and I mean BLATANT, discrimination against women.

          So yeah. I totally buy into the concept that my struggle is unique! (Joke). But I think the struggle for women’s equality is at least as bad as any other, and in many cases, falls behind in achievement. Regardless, that doesn’t stop me speaking out for other groups, just that I’m not as well-informed about the subject area.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Sorry…I missed the apology. Lol You are correct in what you say and I think, to be honest, I think the discrimination, particular against gay men is very much tied to gender inequality. If femininity is devalued then a man who displays “feminine” quality is also devalued. In fact it probably makes it worse in the “alpha male” world because while gender isn’t something you can change, you can choose not to be effeminate. At least in their way of thinking.

          Liked by 3 people

        • Exactly. Although you can change gender of course … but again, the trans woman would be regarded at the same level as a gay man, and a trans man would not be a ‘real’ man.

          But these are issues of sexual identity. Whereas skin colour, ethnicity, physical (dis) ability, are not. So the minority groups fighting for equal status regarding sex/sexuality/gender, are playing (and not winning) a different game.

          Plus, while heterosexual men may well support LGBT and women’s rights, they will never quite understand the discrimination that occurs. They may think they get it, but that’s a world apart from experiencing it.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Kate, your comment about the macho Alpha reminded me of a program on Public Television called Frontline. Forensic psychologist, Karen Franklin’s dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of anti-gay hate crimes. She states:

          “Heterosexism is not just a personal value system, it is a tool in the maintenance of gender dichotomy. In other words, through heterosexism, any male who refuses to accept the dominant culture’s assignment of appropriate masculine behavior is labeled early on as a “sissy” or “fag” and then subjected to bullying. Similarly, any woman who opposes male dominance and control can be labeled a lesbian and attacked.

          The potential of being ostracized as homosexual, regardless of actual sexual attractions and behaviors, puts pressure on all people to conform to a narrow standard of appropriate gender behavior, thereby maintaining and reinforcing our society’s hierarchical gender structure.

          The internalization of masculine subjectivities begins as early as preschool, when parents and teachers react more negatively to sex role deviations among boys than among girls, and continues throughout adulthood. The peer group initiations of adolescence are particularly central in boys’ incorporation of misogyny and heterosexism as essential components of masculine identity.”

          That hierarchical gender structure and misogyny is clearly evident in the Bible and in most Christian denominations including the 2 largest in the U.S., the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Well said, Swarn. It’s mind boggling that African-Americans would condemn equality for LGBT (because the Bible condemns it), yet that very Bible they hold in high esteem condones slavery. African-Americans are the most religious in America. What a paradox.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post! This one is a keeper.

    It’s always fun to ask a conservative Christian what, exactly, a Christian nation would look like. Turns out, most have never actually thought about it. Would clerics sit on the supreme court? Who’s interpretation of the bible would rule the day? What would a Christian nation’s education policy look like? What would a Christian nation’s science policy look like? What would a Christian nation’s social security policy look like? Would a Christian nation have a standing army, and if so, would it be expeditionary in nature and orientation?

    You should try this, it can be quite fun.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. To begin with, I am sorry for the late reading/review/response to your very insightful, educational, and spot on post. I learned a lot and was happy to see that my thoughts and sentiments on the subject of religion and religion in government are along the lines of our forefathers. (As an aside, I found another word, besides agnostic, to ascribe to my way of thinking…by I digress).

    If I may, I would like to voice by observations on a few of the quotes you have.

    Jefferson: 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 towards uniformity. Reading this makes me wonder how in the world our Justices are able to make law if they do not understand the reasoning behind the very beginning of our young government. If Jefferson could grasp this over 200 years ago, without the aid of CNN and Fox News… how in the world do our Justices not see the same thing? To favor new law that aligns itself to strictly Christian beliefs (some say values?) is to go against the very tenets of what Jefferson tried to convey.

    I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another. Another fine quote from the history of our nation. Those folks who sit on this court seem to have lost track of their purpose. If they do not work to put an end to individual states banning same-sex marriage, then would most likely make Jefferson roll over in his grave

    Adams: it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. We, as Americans, laud our government over others of the world. I would expect the justices to use reason and sense. Using the points you made about the “reasons to marry”, aside from it being biblical, if using reason and sense, it would behoove them to tell the states, “enough is enough”. LGBT individuals should have the right to be just as miserable as heterosexuals who choose to marry.  Misery loves company! 

    Madison: Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize [sic], every expanded prospect. This, right here… can I get an Amen! So very profound and ahead of the times. Why, oh why, can we not all adhere to this sentiment?

    In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents. This is the scary part. The “constituents”, the voters, get the say. The majority of those who vote, sad to say, are – at this point in time – religiously minded and vote that way. It scares the ever living crap out of me to see a Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee throwing their hats in the ring for President. What if one of these zealots win the Republican majority? I shudder to think of what would happen!

    Washington: a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws..
    Did our governmental leaders not study the same history in school as you present here? Do those who research and clerk for these justices not know history either? I know, taken out of context this would read for religious antics?-dogma, but the reverse is what I read. How can some states opposition to same-sex marriage be protected, when it is clearly a religious dogma? All this leads right into Paine’s words:

    The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonorable belief against the character of the Divinity, the most destructive to morality and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist. How more wicked and horrible is it for any state government to deny any person the right to happiness based on their gender or sexual preference? It is indeed a horrible cruelty.

    The law knows no heresy, and is committed to the support of no dogma, the establishment of no sect. (U. S. Supreme Court, Watson v. Jones, 1872)
    The government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion. (John Paul Stevens, majority opinion, U. S. Supreme Court, Wallace v. Jaffree, June 4, 1985)

    Lastly, the two above-referenced cases, on their own, should be enough to make the justices render the proper verdict. There should be separation of government from the bedroom, damn it!!! Tell the states to back off. Alas, though… I believe you are right. Recognition of the freedom for all LGBT in the various states may take as long to be recognized as it was for slavery to be completely abolished. Let’s just hope it won’t be as dirty and difficult to enforce as the latter.

    Again… GREAT post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well if this is a blog post, I’m not sure what your thesis looks like! This is something that some of those justices need to read. It’s well documented, and logically sound. I do think they are going to decide in favor of LGBT rights. Despite the fact that they are supposed to be consistent and objective it seems like they make decisions alternating between favoring liberals and conservatives. It’s the liberals turn I think! lol But really to be consistent with their ruling on DOMA, and all the other states they have told who can’t deny marriage equality to the LGBT community, I think they almost have to vote in favor of marriage equality here. That being said, this by no means means that the struggle for the LGBT is over.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Swarn, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and reading this lengthy intensive post. 😛

      You’re correct, “…the struggle for the LGBT” community will not be over. Hell, the U.S. still struggles with all sorts of various prejudices, bigotry, and hate crimes beyond sexual-orientations. After 122+ years of slavery, there are many pockets throughout the nation that explicitely treat certain races & ethnicities cruelly, and yes, even law-enforcement. 😦

      The change MUST START in the homes, teaching little children and adolescents not to hate or treat others as inferior, within common decency of course, but also within the laws. As a public school teacher, that is one of my/our occupational vows on campus. But as you may or may not know, treating my students (and other staff) and parents as merely valued human beings (I’m a Humanist Freethinker) doesn’t always run parallel with my state’s educational agenda. Teaching even the content of this post in my Social Studies classes rubs many parents wrong and some staff. :/

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello Professor Taboo,

    I commented to Nan’s blog about Trump’s popularity and you mention the Nordic Model which I do not think will work here. Most Nordic Country’s are the size of one of our smallest states.

    You try to make another argument, here, on the status of the USA not being a Christian Nation, or started out as a Christian Nation.

    I would ask you consider why this is not necessarily so.

    Take a look at our money. Every denomination, paper and coin, states, “In God We Trust.”

    Ask any one in the world who has our money, they know what God America Trusts.

    Most Americans are very patriotic. We have a pledge a lot of school children are/were taught. It’s called The Pledge Of Allegiance. In that statement are the words, “One nation under God.”

    In 1814 out National Anthem was written. In the Anthem are the words, “Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.” ”

    Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges a Creator as the source of the unalienable rights that governments are formed to secure. This acknowledgement was the very foundation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

    America’s written Constitution was to protect and secure God-given individual rights to life, liberty, and property. If we ever allow this foundation to be eroded and lose faith that these rights are a gift directly from God to each individual, then we lose the basis of the greatness of the miracle of America.

    Morality and the laws we write all have a direct correlation to the moral code given to us by God. Without an ultimate law-giver who then among us is the supreme authority? You? Me? Or the leader of Cuba or ISIS?

    We pray. When our law-makers in Congress and the Senate start a session they pray. When a fallen hero, who died protecting us is laid to rest we pray. Every branch of our military has men and women who are Chaplains.

    All of this points to one God. The God of the Jews and the Gentiles, the Christian God.

    Like

    • Leroy.x10,

      Thank you for coming over from Nan’s blog & post. Also, I appreciate the courtesy and language in your comment. Your tone is one that encourages civil dialogue on topics that are very sensitive to many Americans and I wanted to point that out and commend you. Thank you.

      Discussing some of these political, social, and economic subjects should never be oversimplified; many dynamics are simply too complex, too influenced by a number of various factors to be adequately covered… FROM BOTH SIDES of an arguement. Most of the time not even short 1,000 – 2,000 word blog-posts can adequately do justice to such complex topics, including my post here. I left out MUCH I also wanted to cover, but for the sake of time the average blog reader invests on any one webpage, it really isn’t as awarding, certainly not a matter of life and death! 😉 This will likely be the case with you and I in the Comments section here. That said and hopefully understood, I’ll jump right in to your comment.

      Take a look at our money. Every denomination, paper and coin, states, “In God We Trust.”

      This is misleading. The God-trust-motto wasn’t first initiated (via letter) to our U.S. Treasury until November 1861, 85-years LONG AFTER the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and other critical documents were drafted. The legislation for minting the motto onto pennies and two-cent coins wasn’t passed until 1864. It wasn’t until May 1908 that legislation went further to mandate other coins, but certain coins only, not all. It wasn’t until Eisenhower’s administration in July 1956 that the God-trust-motto was made the nation’s motto. It wasn’t until 1964 the motto began to appear on 1-dollar thru $20 bills. The motto was placed onto $50 and $100 notes in 1966. The point here is that the nation’s forefathers and document authors did NOT create a Christian nation based upon common continental or Anglo-religious consensus and certainly not American currency. During our first Constitutional Conventions in the 1770’s and 80’s there existed SERIOUS disagreements among ALL the Congressmen, much of which had roots in ‘freedoms’ of worship — including NON-theistic worship as is inferred or explicitely stated by all the dignitaries personal letters and quotes I’ve listed above.

      Ask any one in the world who has our money, they know what God America Trusts.

      Respectfully, the correct way to state that fairly & comprehensively would be to add “…they know what God [some Americans] Trust.” Americans beliefs today are very different than our first American ancestors. According to the Pew Research Center in 2014, non-Christians make up 30% of Americans and by comparison are the fastest growing sector in the nation. Of the other 70% of the population, many Americans do NOT want to be associated with other theistic denominations they consider heretical, e.g. Mormon (LDS), Jehovah’s Witness, historically African-American dancing churches, Jewish, Muslim, and a few more… which make up 15% of that “70%”. Therefore, only 55% of the American population today label themselves mainline Protestant or Catholic Christians and those numbers have been trending down since the start of the 20th century. It also deserves noting that even some Protestants and Catholics have serious sharp dissent with each other (even violence & wars) as history has adequately shown.

      The/Your next 2 paragraphs will require the same level of dissecting, if not more, than what I’ve just done above regarding your currency claim. Therefore, I will need to skip over them. Just know that those are your personal opinions and for the sake of time limits it is fine we agree to disagree. 😉

      Our Declaration of Independence acknowledges a Creator as the source of the unalienable rights that governments are formed to secure. This acknowledgement was the very foundation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

      Not entirely. Thomas Jefferson was asked by Congress to draft a declaration that best represented the 13 Anglo colonies as a general whole, pointing out their common political grounds AGAINST the British empire and crown. The Declaration IS NOT and was not intended to be a religious or theological manifesto. Quite the contrary, what you are implying Leroy.x10 is exactly what most Anglo-Americans immigrated away from: religious oppression! The Declaration does not specify HOW that Supreme Being is to be worshipped or if worship/acknowledgement must be enforced by law. As a secondary note, Jefferson’s and Congress’s final draft is a reflection of the late 18th century of Western civilizations. Many many political, social, and economic dynamics have changed, as well as scientific proofs. For example, SLAVERY… of which most all of America’s learned (Christian?) dignitaries owned, yet those humans WERE NOT treated equally. Current genetic science has PROVEN that all human beings on the planet have less than a 1% difference. In other words, according to modern science and backed up by Nature, those same national documents — and by default their authors — were/are quite hypocritical and so fallible today. My point? If the United States truly wants to remain “united”, then it would behoove Americans, their government, and its legislation to become much more Humanistic (Agnostic?) and not just be tolerant & collaborative, but empathetic toward ALL human beings… like the Nordic countries are and have been.

      America’s written Constitution was to protect and secure God-given individual rights to life, liberty, and property. If we ever allow this foundation to be eroded and lose faith that these rights are a gift directly from God to each individual, then we lose the basis of the greatness of the miracle of America.

      For the sake of time I’ll have to skip over my dissections & retorts, but I will say about this paragraph, that I can accept the majority of your words… except to note that “God-given” is not only presumptious, but is not proveable. And for you and I to get into that significant tangent, and it is indeed my cup-of-tea, regretably would go beyond the scope of these Comments. 😦

      Morality and the laws we write all have a direct correlation to the moral code given to us by God. Without an ultimate law-giver who then among us is the supreme authority? You? Me? Or the leader of Cuba or ISIS?

      Again, presuming that “God” is Christian only is a massive erroneous leap that truly is NOT representative of ALL our species — or if I may borrow the controversial concept… is NOT representative of God’s entire creation! And history as well as time are showing that the Christian faith has been on a steady decline for many reasons since the 18th century. But that is not a political issue, it is a theological, scientific, and philosophical debate. Your ISIS reference does point out that most of the civilized, educated, humane majority of the human race (including NON-Christians) all agree that extremism like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Branch Davidians & David Koresh, People’s Temple & Jim Jones, the Ku Klux Klan, et al, and their ideologies and behaviour are absolutely WRONG and against the greater good of humanity. Period. Another group which many around the world (including me) believe that should belong in that list are Jewish Zionist.

      We pray. When our law-makers in Congress and the Senate start a session they pray. When a fallen hero, who died protecting us is laid to rest we pray. Every branch of our military has men and women who are Chaplains.

      Does every single person pray? Do not some meditate or have a respectful moment of silence? These outward behaviours do not necessarily qualify as “Christian” and yet they are and should be allowed just like any other religious practice. Some/many heroes are not “Christian” yet they (like I would) will fight and die for those same religious freedoms. I hope Leroy.x10 you are not trying to make Christianity and its followers exclusive or elitist. I’ll assume you are not. 🙂

      All of this points to one God. The God of the Jews and the Gentiles, the Christian God.

      That was another massive leap. And your implication is a theological-philosophical one, not political. And the Christian religion only consist of approximately 2.2 billion humans, or about 30% of the world. The Jewish religion is just 14.2 million, not even close to 1%. And both those numbers are in decline. And let’s not forget the thousands upon thousands of various sects and denominations WITHIN those two Abrahamic religions! Therefore, if I’m understanding your last points, implying or suggesting unity of faiths, actually undermines the/your arguement.

      To close, I want to thank you again Leroy.x10 for your personal viewpoint and feedback. Having these types of discussions amongst people of different familial & cultural backgrounds and beliefs are certainly good steps toward a greater good, greater collaboration, and more importantly a realization of so much COMMON ground among ALL HUMAN BEINGS. For that, I am always an advocate!

      Best wishes to you Sir. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • With respect, Roy is fine. leroy.x10host.com is my blog. Anyone can get a free, full-blown cPanel website at x10hosting.com, upload a WordPress Theme and culminate.

        You were very thorough in your response and you are a lot smarter than me. I graduated high school with a strong c+ then joined the Army. I traveled many places and seen a lot and finally found a nice peaceful spot to live out my days. I’m just a simple man and like simple things, I like collecting stocks and I like bass fishing at the lake. I love my cars, my wife says more than her, but it isn’t true. I love my stocks more than her. Nah 🙂

        ***

        I suppose I first should have started from the beginning.

        Our Declaration of Independence states, “WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

        So here we have two references to God. The second being, Divine providence, which is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. The doctrine of divine providence asserts that God is in complete control of all things. He is sovereign over the universe as a whole (Psalm 103:19), the physical world (Matthew 5:45), the affairs of nations (Psalm 66:7), human destiny (Galatians 1:15), human successes and failures (Luke 1:52), and the protection of His people (Psalm 4:8).

        Our Constitution: The body of the Constitution makes no reference to God but it does honor the Christian Sabbath. The President was given 10 days to sign a bill into law. The counting of the 10 days does not include the Sabbath. This is found in Article 1, Section 7, and Clause 2 which in part follows:

        “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law,”

        When the Constitution was completed on September 17, 1787, it was signed by the delegates then to be ratified by the states. The delegates signed the Constitution in the “Year of our Lord.” This is a direct reference to Christianity. This is found in Article 7 which in part follows:

        “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names…”

        The Paris Peace Treaty of 1783:
        http://www.law.ou.edu/ushistory/paris.shtml

        The Paris Peace Treaty was the document which formally ended the Revolution and granted the United States independence from Great Britain. In a real sense, the United States formally became a nation on September 3, 1783.

        When the United States became a nation, it was done in the “name of the most holy and undivided Trinity.” The preamble to this Treaty states it is based upon the “Holy and undivided Trinity.” The concept of the holy Trinity is unique to Christianity. This statement means the United States was founded on the Christian faith. The complete Preamble follows:

        “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity”

        The Treaty then ends just like the Constitution with a statement it is being signed in the “Year of our Lord.” The witnesses representing the United States were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and D. Hartley. The section in part follows:

        “In witness whereof we the undersigned, their ministers plenipotentiary, have in their name and in virtue of our full powers, signed with our hands the present definitive treaty and caused the seals of our arms to be affixed thereto.Done at Paris, this third day of September in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three”

        D. HARTLEY
        JOHN ADAMS
        B. FRANKLIN
        JOHN JAY

        When this concept is applied to the Declaration of Independence, it is clear the reference to “All men are created equal,” was about the holy Trinity. The people of the United States are endowed by their Creator, the holy Trinity, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

        The God of the Bible is whom the United States is based upon. The unalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness come from the Judeo/Christian God and no one else. He is the Rock of our Republic.

        Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

        ***

        So, the sections in these three documents referencing God can not just be explained away as anything other than exactly what they say. And with these documents it just goes in the like manner that we have “In God We Trust” placed on our money, “One nation under God” in our Pledge Of Allegiance, and “Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation”, in our Anthem.

        The United States has always been home to a multitude of faith traditions and, indeed, was imagined from the beginning to be a religious haven. The first of the Amendments to The U.S. Constitution, collectively known as the “Bill of Rights,” states clearly that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This not only guaranteed freedom of belief but also ensured that no single religion would be given privileges over others.

        It’s difficult to contend that any faith has exercised even close to the amount of influence that Christianity has. The first universities in the country, including most of what we now call the “Ivy League”, were established to train Christian clergy. An overwhelming number of welfare institutions from hospitals and orphanages to immigration and refugee services were established by churches. For many years, church attendance was considered a cultural value, and while that has waned in recent decades in some parts of the country, belief in God, and usually this means the Christian God, still runs high.

        ***

        Best wishes to you too Sir and thank you!

        Like

        • Thank you for taking the obvious extensive time to compose this 2nd reply Roy. Appreciated.

          Your exegesis of the Declaration, the Constitution, and Paris Peace Treaty are/were indeed the POPULAR, or rather most outspoken versions of the Anglo-American 18th and 19th centuries. However, those ‘Ivy League’ dignitaries — as disagreeable in their religious practices as they were in government’s protection of religious freedoms — did not represent the entire continent of peoples beyond the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, west to the Pacific Ocean, nor French Canada down to the newly formed nation of Mexico, which in all counts of a post-1830’s – 1860’s continent… was CLEARLY NOT unanimously Christian. In other words, the documents you and I are citing represent only Anglo-Huguenot immigrants.

          Nevertheless, my above citations of Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Washington, Franklin, and Paine, well over half of America’s forefathers, in addition to the Supreme Court positions I listed, if all are read carefully word-for-word, still stand as adequate proof of a strong conviction to make the United States an UNBIASED stay-out-of-religion nation BUT protect freedoms of all religions, INCLUDING non-Christian religions! The quotes and personal letters I provided here of the six men sufficiently support this thesis. Additionally, merely referencing “God” is vague and does not imply any one Christian denomination OR their varient Bibles.

          Completely aside from this fact though, is I think the REAL issue with modern-day Christian Fundamentalists: their passionate desire to make the 4th century CE Canonized Protestant Bible above and more important than the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Congress and Executive Office, and our Supreme Court… exactly what our forefathers DID NOT want to write into or be implied in our said documents. See the difference? Simply referencing “God” does not clear-up any one nature of God or a supposed revelation from Him, nor His “kingdom on Earth” manifested. Who God is is NOT universally agreed upon.

          Therefore, the REAL debate comes down to WHY one theistic group believes their version of God’s revelations & wishes for Earth or the U.S. are superior/better to another’s revelations or wishes. That’s the real issue that our Founding Fathers were clearly trying to NOT get trapped into.

          Your 2nd to last paragraph Roy is well considered, well written, and in my humble opinion true. Your very last paragraph, however, has highly debateable points which I think other readers here can weigh-out and decide for themselves ‘HOW Christian our primary Founding Fathers really were when it came to all present and future Americans.’

          To close, here is an excellent 10-minute video-excerpt on the subject of biblical inerrancy or to put it another way: man’s VERY HUMAN erroneous kaliedoscopes about the written nature of God. It raises the question IF we know a God, who is He really? Who can say they really know Him with verifiable proof? …

          Again, best wishes to you too Roy and your family. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Your apologies for the three documents I reference, in my opinion fail. Good thing what is written can not be changed.

    That being said, I wondered why each of the three historical documents reference “[the] Supreme Judge of the World”, “a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence”, the Sabbath, [signed in the] “Year of our Lord.”, and “In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity”.

    At https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founding_Fathers_of_the_United_States#Religion

    I read, “Franklin T. Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of the Founders. Of the 55 delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, 49 were Protestants, and two were Roman Catholics (D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons).[18] Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (or Episcopalian, after the American Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists.[18]

    A few prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical Christians such as Thomas Jefferson,[19][20][21] who constructed the Jefferson Bible, and Benjamin Franklin.[22]

    Historian Gregg L. Frazer argues that the leading Founders (Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Wilson, Morris, Madison, Hamilton, and Washington) were neither Christians nor Deists, but rather supporters of a hybrid “theistic rationalism”.[23]

    What I get from this is that 90+% of the founders of our nation believed in God, the God. And that is why the words I quote are in our most important documents, on our money, in our Pledge and Anthem. And I might add, for the first time, why a candidate for President will never, ever say, I do not believe in God.

    Time to prepare dinner and spend time with the family. I will watch the video and reply again later. I do hope to continue the conversation since it is so pleasurable to speak to a real gentleman. There is so much hate and name calling at other places, Vile, hateful, derogatory people consumed with unpleasantness abound.

    Like

    • So, I watched the video twice. I do not believe what it implies warrants throwing the whole of the Bible out the window. I find it strange, people like Nan and Jeff, all the others drowning, and possibly yourself, who firmly believe they were THERE, were exposed and dwelt in the presence, but somehow determines in their own mind, it is wholly false. Just because it does not speak to you, or dwells within you, does not mean it does not dwell within me, or the millions of other souls who get it.

      You then, disparately, look for proof to uphold your rejection. Your rejection is very real and makes you, you. My acceptance of Gods word is very real and makes me, me. I have a testimony to his saving grace, as millions of others have. We are two sides of a coin, one belongs to God, is bought and sealed by the shed blood of Christ, the other isn’t.

      Like

      • So, I watched the video twice. I do not believe what it implies warrants throwing the whole of the Bible out the window.

        Well, I can understand that dismissal. The “video-excerpt” is only 10-minutes of a 2-hour series… and a short-clip that only HIGHLIGHTS the primary discoveries and studies over the last 2-3 centuries of non-Canonical Scriptural records of Jesus’ teachings and life in the entire Smithsonian documentary. Despite that you personally are not ‘moved’ by the information/facts, does not make them any less valid for most of the world.

        I do not understand your meaning or implication of “drowning” and “believe they were THERE, were exposed and dwelt in the presence” to me, Nan, and Jeff. If you are familiar with modern forensics, modern methods of critical-thinking skills of compare-and-contrast all sides of all data… our positions might make more sense to you.

        Your final paragraph there is an adequate closure for both of us. As I’ve mentioned before, declining millions of proclaiming Christians does not make an ideology right or true. Millions of Germans in the 1930s and 40s proclaimed the salvation of Hitler and the Nazi Party “TRUTH”, but it took the rest of the world to show them otherwise. This same argument does apply to me and non-Christians too; I realize that. However, I will always argue — because of my 9-years as a former born-again evangelical Xian Fundamentalist (a Bible-idolator) and 3.5 years in reformed theological seminary — average Christians, clergy/ministers, or Apologists can NEVER sufficiently answer the questions of WHY did the Council of Nicaea NEED to canonize in 325 CE the hundreds (thousands?) of testaments of Jesus’ teachings?

        I imagine Roy, we will not see eye-to-eye on this and many other tenets of Christian Fundamentalism; which is fine. My only purpose with this post and many others within my blog is to hopefully cause those few believers — who didn’t really do ANY scrutinizing and close examination of their “faith” — to begin asking very significant questions and needed critical examinations and reexaminations.

        To close permanently, I wish you the very best Roy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Professor, thank you. I was hoping you would expound upon just why (outside of history) you are so knowledgeable of the biblical/religious teachings discussed. Thank you for being so well-rounded and sharing your knowledge!

          Liked by 1 person

        • My pleasure Lonestar. Please let me know when my humility is lacking when I share my knowledge, education, and life experiences. Coming across arrogant typically achieves the opposite effect intended. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Your apologies for the three documents I reference, in my opinion fail.

      Perhaps I need to rephrase. The post wasn’t about the three documents you repeatedly keep referencing, though relevant. The post is strictly about the personal letters and legislative correspondence between friends and political colleagues of Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Washington, Franklin, and Paine — over HALF of the Founding Fathers — AND the U.S. Supreme Court’s positions on the subject of favouring one religion: Christianity. Christianity “cannot be established as law” — as the post reads — and by inference cannot be implicitely favoured either.

      Regarding the possible minor topic of Christ=God or God=Christ, is not differentiated in the “three documents” (because it’s a theological debate!) and it is exactly what the Founding Fathers KNEW they had to avoid. I hope that makes more sense.

      Enjoy your family dinner Roy. If you still feel the urge to reply to this my 3rd reply, then I respectfully request you withhold your reply as “we’ll agree to disagree” and call it a day. 🙂

      Thanks Roy for your personal feedbacks. All the best Sir.

      Like

      • So is that it then? Are you going to ban me like Nan did, Twice?

        Your second attempt to justify falsehood stands boldly in shambles.Your post is entitled “The Mistaken Identity of the US”. The “identity” of the US is defined in the three said documents.

        You then subjugate the “founding fathers” as only SIX. Yet there are actually Fifty-Five. You go to great extent to profile the beliefs of the six and leave out the other Forty-nine. Disingenuous and dangerous to the uninformed, shame.

        The Supreme Court are just men we elect to interpret what was already stated. I never stated we, as Americans, favor one religion over another. ME, a Christian, fight for EVERYONE. Our nation, a Christian Nation, came about in a quest to be free, free to worship, and they knew this freedom has to be for EVERYONE, not just Christians.

        Like

        • So is that it then? Are you going to ban me like Nan did, Twice?

          (chuckling) No, there is currently no need to ban you. However, I would assume that both yours and my times are valuable so no need to waste it on another if it is ‘beating a dead horse’, right? 😉

          The “identity” of the US is defined in the three said documents.

          I firmly disagree and will refer again to the PERSONAL viewpoints of the majority of key Founding Fathers. I believe there is sufficient evidence amongst the primary Founding Fathers (as I provided in the post) to demonstrate that the important documents of the 18th century United States, as formulated & conveyed by their personal convictions (again provided in my post), represents a much more NEUTRAL or moderate form of socio-religious governing ideals. It is BECAUSE OF the six Founding Fathers I list that 18th century America DID NOT become a full-on theocratic Christian nation… if for no other fact than the 13 original colonies were NOT made up of strictly British Anglo French Huguenot Protestant Puritans. There were Catholics, there were Dutch, German, and free Africans as well as civilized Native Americans to name several.

          You then subjugate the “founding fathers” as only SIX. Yet there are actually Fifty-Five.

          Fifty-five? 😮 Wow. Do you have a source or sources for that info?

          Disingenuous and dangerous to the uninformed, shame.

          (chuckling) Careful Roy. That type of language leans toward antagonism rather than civil dignified Q&A. 😉

          The Supreme Court are just men we elect to interpret what was already stated.

          Correction. U.S. Supreme Court Justices are not elected by us/we. They are nominated by the President, face hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which then decide whether to send the nominee to the full Senate. If the Senate confirms the nomination, THEN they become Justices. The American people have nothing to do with their appointment.

          I never stated we, as Americans, favor one religion over another.

          Hmmm, maybe not always explicitely stated, but so far reasonably implied I think based upon the frequent Christian lens applied on a global god never exclusive to Protestant Anglo-Huguenot or Catholic interpolations. 😉

          Nevertheless, I must turn-in for the night. Best wishes Roy.

          Liked by 1 person

        • That is where you are wrong, the “PERSONAL viewpoints of the majority of key Founding Fathers” has absolutely no meaning on the discussion. Again, the identity of the US is defined in it’s founding documents. It is the documents they signed. The personal viewpoints of 6 of 55 take second place to the documents they signed.

          Here’s the link, again.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founding_Fathers_of_the_United_States#Religion

          The Fifty-five Founding Fathers are listed. Keep denying it but your precious six is a false.

          I would imagine you would all to well like to “close permanently” the discussion, for I too would wish the same, in your shoes. There must be a tinkling of doubt perhaps in the back of your mind, or perhaps I am not like the other believers your accustomed to. Will you forever cling to the hope there is no hope, cling in faith there is no God.

          I came here looking for a little more and got a lot less. So, as intelligent as you think you are, as many words you can write masking the pain, you to seem to me lower than the
          Nan, for at least she doesn’t aspire to be brilliant. She tries but fails after the first sentence, with you it takes 3,000 words.

          Like

        • As a common courtesy Roy I began my response to this, but then in reading your entire comment for an overall spirit, noticing increased aggitation and lessening mutual respect, I disappointingly read this…

          I came here looking for a little more and got a lot less. So, as intelligent as you think you are, as many words you can write masking the pain, you to seem to me lower than the Nan, for at least she doesn’t aspire to be brilliant. She tries but fails after the first sentence, with you it takes 3,000 words.

          This was completely uncalled for Roy and so I am giving this one and only warning to change your language and tone, or you will indeed warrant banning. I hope you’ll reconsider these words & language. Thank you Sir.

          * * * * *

          P.S. Wikipedia is not only consider by many scholars as Fly-By-Night quasi-reliable information (which has its lighter-side value or direction), but it is also NOT the only source of information. For example,

          http://www.biography.com/people/groups/founding-fathers

          which lists only SEVEN Founding Fathers, but along with other key figures of the time. ConstitutionFacts.com lists only SIX and defines the men as “individuals who had a significant impact on the Constitution either directly or indirectly” which means outside of popular federal documents. Here’s that link,

          https://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-founding-fathers/

          The Federalists Papers Project list only EIGHT Founding Fathers, mentioning just two more as minor. Here’s that link,

          http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/the-founding-fathers-of-the-united-states-of-america-founding-era

          And a last one for now, would be a HIGHLY REPUTABLE source Encyclopaedia Britannica, which lists only TEN Founding Fathers…

          http://www.britannica.com/topic/Founding-Fathers

          For further clarity Roy, for a blog such as mine that is not a collegiate or world scholastic source, noting or listing every single source, bibliography, as well as intellectual domain used… doing so would indeed go well beyond 3, 5, or 10,000 words per post or page. But just because I do not list them all or give citation or have 300-word comments DOESN’T MEAN I didn’t do the homework. Readers should do THEIR own verifying research and homeork too. While I appeal to this condition for myself, I also give it to other bloggers. It shows kindness and patience in a Hurry-up-Give-it-to-Me-Now sometimes rude society we live in. I try to give the benefit of the doubt when appropriate.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I am not agitated, not in the least respect. You totally misunderstand, or perhaps infer meaning to my words not intended by me as an escape. I would hope your sensibilities are so not easily shaken by a mere believer as such that I am.

    I am wholly sincere when I say I expected more. I laid a firm argument, using the USA’s founding documents, indicting the Union was indeed founded on Christian precepts, with words and phrases solely used by the Christian faith. These words and references can not ever be erased or explained away as trivial.

    The real truth is there are more than the Founding Fathers you listed, an overwhelming more, all of which where Christian.

    Again, the “PERSONAL viewpoints of the key Founding Fathers” has absolutely no meaning on the discussion. Again, the identity of the US is defined in it’s founding documents. It is the documents they signed. The personal viewpoints of 6 of 55 take second place to the documents they signed.”

    Sometimes truth is a tough pill to swallow. Man-up and help me understand where I’m wrong or ban me, delete your error, or quit responding. Delete all this and the only one’s who will ever know are you and I and a few others who have read it. But remember my friend, you can delete, but never forget.

    Truly, and respectfully yours,
    Roy

    Like

    • http://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-constitution-amendments/james-madison/

      In May, 1787 the 55 Delegates to the United States Constitutional Convention set off to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania…..

      http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_founding_fathers.html

      In all, 55 delegates attended the Constitutional Convention sessions, but only 39 actually signed the Constitution. The delegates ranged in age from Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, to Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, who was so infirm that he had to be carried to sessions in a sedan chair.

      http://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-constitution-amendments/about-the-signers/

      “Fifty-five men attended most of the meetings, there were never more than forty-six present at any one time, and ultimately only thirty-nine delegates actually signed the Constitution. ”

      http://www.answers.com/Q/Who_signed_the_US_Constitution

      “The U.S. Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787 by 39 delegates. The delegates to the Constitutional (Federal) Convention are often called our “Framers.” They were influential people in their home states, where they were selected to attend the convention. Most of the delegates were well educated in the ideas of political philosophy. ”

      http://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/founding-fathers/

      FOUNDING FATHERS: Delegates hailing from all the original states except Rhode Island gathered in the Pennsylvania State House in 1787 to participate in the Constitutional Convention. Many of the delegates had fought in the American Revolution and about three-fourths had served in Congress. The average age was 42.

      The delegates named George Washington presiding officer and spent four months, from May to September, behind closed doors, hammering out the framework of a new, more powerful national government. Of the 55 original delegates, only 41 were present on September 17, 1787, to sign the proposed Constitution. Three of those present (George Mason and Edmund Randolph of Virginia and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts) refused to sign what they considered a flawed document. An ailing John Dickinson of Delaware was unable to attend the Convention’s final session but had fellow delegate George Read sign his name in absence, for a total of 39 signers.

      Like

      • Roy,

        First, I want to reclarify to you that this post distinguishes the fact that the ‘most impactful’ U.S. Founding Fathers — coupled with later support by Surpreme Court decisions I listed — did NOT set out to form a strictly “Christian” nation. Why? Because even in their lifetimes, Christianity could not be unanimously defined by all 13 states; hence, the liberal use of “God” in our Declaration and Constitution. Even the ‘most impactful’ Founding Fathers knew the ‘nature of god’ (or Creator) was a private individual non-governmental theological debate. As it was among their 13 states and those parts of the continent north, west, and south BEYOND the 13 states and certainly back across the Atlantic Ocean, trying to define unanimously the ‘nature of god’ was way too divisive. What their generally neutral positon also infers/implies is shown by the fact that BOTH the D.O.I. and Constitution were not about God or Christ, but almost ENTIRELY about taxation, representation, civil and individual rights & liberties, and governing powers & restrictions for both state governments and a federal government.

        “Christianity” (or a theocracy) was NOT the purpose of these documents. In fact, the words Christianity, Jesus, Bible, or Church, are never used anywhere in both documents.

        Secondly, I see now where you are misunderstanding how Founding Fathers can be defined. The majority (if not all) of American historians specifically define as our most impactful Founding Fathers, which is as I stated before… as the “individuals who had a significant impact on the Constitution either directly or indirectly” in private letters/meetings. They are not referring to every single government official from all 13 states: or the 55 (or 39) you keep harping on.

        Historians mean the specific 7-11 individuals (listed below and in my post above) who met privately, semi-privately, wrote personal letters to each other, discussed amongst each other in person, argued with each other, revised their verbal ideals & positions between each other, AND SO…

        …in June 1776 the 2nd Continental Congress appointed a “Committe of Five” to draw up & write the first draft of the D.O.I. Those five were Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman. Jefferson then penned what the committee composed. THEN these 5 men took that draft to the Congress.

        …in May 1787 Congress had Jefferson, Madison, Paine, and Adams (Washington presided over the group) author the basics of the Constitution, with Alexander Hamilton & John Jay offering ideals from their own earlier Federalist Papers.

        …in September 1789 Congress had James Madison draft the Bill of Rights, who was influenced by George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights. The first 10 Amendments were ratified in December 1791.

        There is another excellent inferred point here regarding Amendments. Why were they allowed then and are still allowed today? Because over time things change, people change, nations change, and belief systems most definitely change, socially and/or individually.

        * * * * *

        From these three above constructions/framings, we have SEVEN men who were HIGHLY IMPACTFUL out of a total of eleven impactful men… who drafted or framed our D.O.I., Constitution, and later Bill of Rights. Then these documents were later taken to the Congress of 55, or 41, or 39, or those available… who merely analyzed the documents and either signed or didn’t sign, or gave a yah or nay vote. But those 55-39 or whatever number of Congressional members/delegates DID NOT do all the legwork, all the drafting/framing, all the articulating of philosophical, economic, and political concepts onto paper. They (the whole Congress) merely voted/signed or didn’t. Do you see the big difference now?

        (more resource links here)
        https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/declara/declara3.html
        https://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-declaration-of-independence/drafting-the-declaration/
        http://constitution.laws.com/who-wrote-the-constitution
        http://www.britannica.com/topic/Constitution-of-the-United-States-of-America
        http://www.britannica.com/topic/Constitution-of-the-United-States-of-America/Provisions
        http://www.britannica.com/topic/Constitution-of-the-United-States-of-America/Civil-liberties-and-the-Bill-of-Rights
        https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Constitution.html
        http://constitutioncenter.org/media/files/BOR-faqs.pdf

        * * * * *

        Now, there is still the major problem of your unstated remorseful unconditional apology regarding your “hate speech” to women and Nan specifically… either right here or on my “Dear Faith-Religious Believer” page. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am not agitated, not in the least respect.

      I’m not so sure Roy and so I disagree. Read below your past comments, specific words/sentences I will highlight starting from mildly uneasy — due to your words chosen — to obviously aggitated becoming offensive in the last two…

      #1 —
      > “I find it strange, people like Nan and Jeff, all the others drowning, and possibly yourself, who firmly believe they were THERE, were exposed and dwelt in the presence, but somehow determines in their own mind, it is wholly false.
      —- Those highlighted words/phrases are projective and charged. They do little (if anything at all) to encourage further discussion. Questions, open-ended questions are one good way to politely continue sensitive discussion/debate… IMHO.

      > “You then, disparately, look for proof to uphold your rejection.
      —- Again, projective and charged; not condusive to continued discussion/debate… IMHO.

      > “We are two sides of a coin, one belongs to God, is bought and sealed by the shed blood of Christ, the other isn’t.
      —- This is highly projective and charged, even judgmental. You really know nothing about me Roy. But I recognize this Fundamentalist accusation language because of my 10-years in that life/churches and 3.5 years in seminary. Though your statement has no names or pronouns indicating WHO you are speaking about, they clearly can be implied… and therefore show your discomfort or aggitation.

      My overall take on #1…
      Though this comment was still within minimal proper etiquette, it reads a little more antagonistic; searching for “buttons” to push. However, no foul, no harm at this point.

      #2 —
      > “So is that it then? Are you going to ban me like Nan did, Twice?
      —- This entire sentence is clearly frustrated or aggitated. I, and I imagine anyone else other than you, could not possibly read it any other way.

      > “Your second attempt to justify falsehood stands boldly in shambles.
      —- Boldly in shambles? Again, at the least: projective highly charged. At status-quo: very antagonistic indicating increased aggitation.

      > “Disingenuous and dangerous to the uninformed, shame.
      —- There is no other interpretation for this sentence: definitely projective and HIGHLY CHARGED indicating clear & increased aggitation. Period. I’m guessing other bystanding readers would read it the same.

      #3 —
      > “That is where you are wrong, the “PERSONAL viewpoints of the majority of key Founding Fathers” has absolutely no meaning on the discussion.
      —- Laying down words which imply (emotional) ultimatums do not encourage further discussion/debate. Again, highly charged and antagonistic indicating increased aggitation. Open-ended questions which encourage inspection, as well as introspection and understanding would be more inducive of productive dialogue.

      > “Keep denying it but your precious six is a false.
      —- Highly charged and antagonistic indicating increased frustration or aggitation.

      > “I would imagine you would all to well like to “close permanently” the discussion, for I too would wish the same, in your shoes.
      —- In my shoes? Though I understand the concept behind the phrase, typically and in this case, the phrase is self-projected and charged, antagonistic. And obviously I have NOT permanently closed the discussion. However, my patience is much thinner with these words, intentions, self-projections and increased aggitation.

      > “There must be a tinkling of doubt perhaps in the back of your mind, or perhaps I am not like the other believers your accustomed to.
      —- Very self-projecting. Regarding “other believers”… to be honest, not at all. I find an astonishing trend/pattern with approximately 80% – 90% of American Fundies. That percentage is noticeably less on three other continents I’ve visited, lived, and done missionary work. I find it is most likely a cultural phenomena exhibiting less arrogance in those countries versus here in America. Here I am quite accustomed to it. Though it IS very exhausting sometimes. HAH! 😉

      > “Will you forever cling to the hope there is no hope, cling in faith there is no God.
      —- This one made me laugh so loud I scared the cat out of the room! 😛 Roy, how can you possibly know my “hopes” in life in a few several hours over just 2 days? OR… have you read over half, or two-thirds of my entire blog? Have you read any of my extremely personal and vulnerable blog-posts? That was such an off-the-cuff statement or claim to make that I SHOULD ignore it! But it warrants the odds you were playing with… along the lines of winning the national lottery with only one or two sets of numbers. Now I must borrow your below statement: “I expected more wisdom from you.” 😦

      And then the blantantly offensive here…

      > “I came here looking for a little more and got a lot less. So, as intelligent as you think you are, as many words you can write masking the pain, you to seem to me lower than the Nan, for at least she doesn’t aspire to be brilliant. She tries but fails after the first sentence, with you it takes 3,000 words.
      —- I will save myself valuable time, not even address your highly aggitated maligned and now offensive language, and simply let the general public and my blog-Followers assess that comment. For most open-forum blogs, this comment right here warrants banning from the blog-Owner. However, I am TRYING HARD to give you a bit more decreasing slack.

      #4 — (This one I had to delete)
      (Now REPOSTED due to your hate-speech comment on JZ’s blog)

      > “I would hope your sensibilities are so not easily shaken by a mere believer as such that I am.
      —- Roy, if you knew more about me and my personal-occupational background and what I’ve done, been through, and now have become… you’d see how inaccurate this statement truly is. I’ll let this one sentence slide.

      > “I would blame it on the female sensibility. Sometimes when you tell a female to shut-up and listen they do not take it too well, so, the broken ones don’t anyway. So she banned me. There always has to be hierarchy and it starts with Christ, then man, then women. It’s a circle, complete and perfect perfectness.
      —- In defense of ALL WOMEN (merely for laws of equality at the least!), this statement Roy is way past the decency lines! This and your following statements/comments below absolutely demand unconditional apologies from you, not for me… but for Nan and ALL WOMEN who in your world-view are God’s creations. Myself and any & all women here will be waiting for your unconditional apology.

      > “And guess what? The Nan banned me and erased some of my posts. Not all of them, but some of them. Dumb.
      —- No, not dumb Roy. You’ve shown right here WHY you’ve been banned from several blogs. To go on reading your offensive language would be where the insanity lay. I now see their wisdom.

      > “I don’t really give a shit about you two dumb-asses either but I thought I should give an explanation, kind of bros-before-hoes kind of thing. I mean, for me, I would trust my life to you two guys if under fire, before any shit-for-brains female like Nan.
      —- You just went way past the line (into orbit?) again here! I repeat… This 2nd statement Roy is way past the decency lines again! This and your previous statements/comments above absolutely demand unconditional apologies from you, not for me… but for Nan and ALL WOMEN who in your world-view are God’s creations. Myself and any & all women here will be waiting for your unconditional apology.

      #5 — (This I also had to delete)
      (Now REPOSTED due to your hate-speech comment on JZ’s blog)

      > “The Professor, a Learned Scholar, writes a post entitled, “Dear Faith-Religious Believer” and when a Dear Faith-Religious Believer responds, their reply gets deleted and a warning is issued. Wow.
      —- Let me appeal to your sensibilities now Roy. Would you want to listen/read a bashing cymbal for an hour or more, day-in and day-out or week-in and week-out non-stop over and over and over? I think any sane normal human being would quickly realize ‘this offensive negativity’ is unhealthy. Unhealthy for everyone but CERTAINLY unhealthy for the blog-Owner. I’m quite sure, in your own methods, you’d do the same thing.

      Now, I remind you of your required unconditional apology to us and all women who read these near-cesspool remarks.

      * * * * *

      P.S. and Review — I have quickly dwindling patience at this point Roy to continue reading, responding, and putting so much effort into keeping emotions OUT OF our discussions/debates when you write these sorts of above antagonistic and insidious comments/words.

      If your next comment is anything LESS THAN remorseful and highly apologetic, then fair warning… you will be banned. That said, remember why I’m giving you this very last chance. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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