It is difficult to turn on any "news source" today and hear radicals screaming that our Founding Fathers intended that we be a Christian Nation and that we should follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In this posting, I am going to debunk the ideas that our Founding Fathers intended this land to be governed under a cross. These men were free thinkers and were above the brainwashing that is known as organized religion. The reason for the First Amendment stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." These men understood what brainwashed religious fanatics were capable of, Europe had endured hundreds of years of witch hunts ending the lives of countless innocent individuals. The Spanish Inquisition sought to rid the Spanish territory of any religions that were not Catholic. Both of these practices made their ways across the Atlantic Ocean, most famously depicted in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. We can go back even farther to the Crusades that were lead into the Holy Land. All of these deplorable actions done in the Name of God.
Thomas Jefferson is one of the most revered individuals in the history of these United States. He was the young politician from Virginia that the Continental Congress called upon to draft the Declaration of Independence. He was not a federalist and believed firmly in states' rights. He would fit right in with the GOP today; he had sexual affairs with his assistants (slaves), denounced "big government" supporting states' rights, but also denounced Christianity, that maybe a problem for today's politicians. Thomas Jefferson, our third president, the architect of the Declaration of Independence, the second face on Mount Rushmore and the one who is embossed on our nickle said "I do not find in orthodox Christianity on redeeming feature". This is not a very supporting fact for calling the United States a Christian Nation. Jefferson actually saw organized religion as a threat to society; he wrote the following in a letter to Horatio Spafford on March 17, 1814 "In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot...they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefor the safer engine for their purpose." Jefferson understood that religion was poison to a free society because of the fear that the based their practices on. If the United States was truly to be free, the government could not establish a national religion. "It has been fifty or sixty years since I read the Apocalypse, and then I considered it the ravings of a maniac." He understood that the Bible was written by man to induce fear among the followers of Christ so that they would not stray from the path. "I have recently been examining all the superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology". "We discover in the gospels a groundwork for vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstition, fanaticism and fabrication". These words do not provide evidence of this Nation intending to be a Christian Nation.
"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches". This rant came from one of two men found on American currency that were never elected president, Benjamin Franklin. The great thinker was against established religion as well. Not necessarily denouncing a supreme being, but saw many flaws in the establishment as it was. In an 1728 publication Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion, Franklin stated "I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it". Franklin also pointed out the lack of evidence of God's judgement "I looked around for God's judgment and saw no signs of them" for he thought that "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye to reason" and Franklin was not about to close of reason in any way, shape or form.
John Adams was a friend of Thomas Jefferson during the founding of our nation and later on as they both retired from politics. Adams was our second president succeeding George Washington after he stepped down after two terms. In a letter to Jefferson, Adams shares a feeling about Christianity with his dear friend; "I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!" Adams saw religion as a hindrance on advancing a society; "The question before the human race is, whether the God of Nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?" and "God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world." finally "The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."
These are the traits that I want in my elected leaders. I do not want my leaders to be blinded by faith as put by Mr. Franklin. I want leaders like Abraham Lincoln who Supreme Court Justice David Davis said "He had no faith, in the Christian sense of the term-- he had faith in laws, principles, causes and effects". I want a leader that can look objectively at everyday life and look for a real answer rather than saying "It's God's Will". Just because Christianity happens to be the majority religion on this continent does not mean that our Founding Fathers intended to have Christianity as a national religion. We separated ourselves from the British Crown which had an established state religion and saw the persecution endured by non-followers. The Pilgrims came to America in refuge of the Crown. Why would we go from one bad situation to another? I will leave you this evening with one final quote from Mr. Jefferson from a letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper in 1814. "Christianity neither is, nor ever was, part of the Common Law."