The 4th of July
"Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance. With solemn acts of devotion we ought to commemorate it, with pomp and parade ... with shows and games, sports and guns, bells and bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other ... from this time forward and forevermore."
So wrote John Adams about the 4th of July
On the 4th of July 1826, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of her Independence. John Adams, the second President of the United States, died on that day at the age of 90. His last words were "Thomas Jefferson still survives."
But on that same day, Jefferson, too, died.
There was something mystical about the relationship between Adams and Jefferson. It was these two giants who, with James Madison, set the direction and the philosophy of this great nation.
We are celebrating the Declaration of Independence. With only a very few word changes, that magnificent document was written by one man, Thomas Jefferson.
I have one bust in my study. It is of Jefferson. On the base are these words: "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." He uses the word "God" as a Deist, not as a Christian. A vast difference. He made this scathing statement aimed at the tyranny of the Christian church.
Both men "Thomas Jefferson and John Adams" had total contempt for the Christian church and Christianity in general. I have often wondered why no teacher has the guts to teach these facts in our public school.
President Adams put it in these words: "The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity." Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli, with its Article 11, which began, "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
Jefferson said it like this: "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our superstitions of Christianity, one redeeming feature. They are all founded on fables and mythology. Christianity has made one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites."
I am always overwhelmed with thanksgiving and gratitude that men of the stature and integrity of Jefferson, Adams and Madison never stooped to the low level of inviting a bible thumper for a "prayer breakfast" to placate bible belt America.
On this 4th of July weekend, may I suggest that we celebrate the brilliance of Adams, Jefferson and Madison. Will we ever again see men or women of their caliber in American politics?
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Copyright © 2000 by William Edelen. This electronic version is copyright © 2000 Internet Infidels, Inc.
Church and State