You can dismiss the support request pop up for 4 weeks (28 days) if you want to be reminded again. Or you can dismiss until our next donations drive (typically at the beginning of October). Before you dismiss, please consider making a donation. Thanks!
One Time
$5/month (US)
$10/month (US)
Support II via AmazonSmile Internet Infidels Needs Your Support!
dismiss for   28 days   1 year   info
2017 Internet Infidels Fundraising Drive / $35,052.22 of $40,000.00
Support Us! By providing information which is nearly impossible to find elsewhere, the Secular Web has sought to level the playing field by offering arguments and evidence challenging supernatural beliefs. In an ocean of religious confusion, help us maintain a drop of sanity!
87.63%
 

Secular Web Kiosk and Bookstore

[ Recently Published Articles | Editor's Choice | Featured Books | Search | Categories ]

Pardon Me, Are You a True American?

Bruce Monson

Suppose you were walking down the street one sunny afternoon and were suddenly confronted by a radio DJ who tells you that he is doing a survey on a very important political issue and asks you if you would like to participate. You cautiously agree. The delighted DJ then tells you that the survey consists of only four questions which can be answered in any order, but he wants you to be as honest in your answers as possible. Then, after a short pause to make sure the little red blinking light that says "record" is, well, blinking, he asks you the following questions:

  • Question one: What does an American look like?
  • Question two: What does an American sound like?
  • Question three: What does an American act like?
  • Question four: What religion (if any) does an American profess?
What would be your response to these questions? For most, I suspect it would seem silly to even ask such a set of questions since the answers are so obvious. Indeed, we could make it even simpler by asking our contestant if s/he "could point out a non-American, an impostor if you will, on a busy street corner in Anywhere, USA?" Again, the answer would (or should) be obvious. And yet there is a portion of our society that would labor over these very questions, and go to great lengths in defining what an American is and more dangerously, what an American is not!

It is one such case that we will be addressing here, involving a Christian revisionist tract that is currently making the rounds in Christian news groups and email forwarding databases. I have received it twice already from different sources. It was written anonymously (which should be cause for concern in and of itself) and it seeks as its goal to attack the very foundations of our Constitution by way of a Christian-based revision of history, to include changing the very convictions of our founding fathers, in order to convince the targeted audience (i.e., already believing Christians) that the United States is a "Christian nation," founded by Christians, for Christians!

As we shall see, the author fails to provide any references whatsoever to back-up the polemical assertions he makes, but instead attempts to draw attention away from this problem by appealing to the post-September 11th emotional stigmas in the minds of his targeted audience.

It will be my position in my rebuttal to demonstrate the egregious errors the author makes in his relaying of the "facts" about our history as a nation and what it means to be an "American."

My commentary will appear along with the article in question, with the article text appearing in blue and my comments in black.

First, let me present the entire text of the article in question:

IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept.11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely comprised of descendants of immigrants. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Arabic,

Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language! "In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But, once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

The Rebuttal



IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture.


I find it interesting that the author associates "Americans" with being a "culture" in and of itself, as if the cultural background of a Muslim immigrant, for example, should be markedly different from a Muslim American simply on the basis of geographical location. America is a country that thrives in lieu of our differences, not in spite of them! In fact, as my good friend Dan Barker has noted (correctly), the term "United, We Stand" that we hear so often today is not really accurate. It would be better stated "Divided, We Stand" since that is what freedom is all about, being free to hold our differences without fear of retribution because of them, and yet find common ground on which to stand. As I will point out later, this is what makes a secular government so critical, and pinpoints the true genius behind our Constitution and the profound understanding of history that our founding fathers displayed in creating it.



Since the terrorist attacks on Sept.11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. (emphasis mine --bam)

Notice how the author makes it a point to apply the deeply emotive words "terrorist attacks" (translation: "THEM, the Evil") and "patriotism" (translation: "US, the Good"), and then ties-in The Good with "the majority of Americans." And, of course, you know who The Bad are, don't you? Yes, it's those among the "politically correct crowd" who are, allegedly, the minority, whose rights it seems are of little or no consequence. Worse, the author makes a dangerous allusion to what he will later confess outright; that by "the majority" he really means Christian as in "A Christian nation," and how one must be among that "majority" or else you are "un-patriotic" and consequently "un-American." More on this later.

The sad fact is that he has conveniently ignored one of the most important principles in the U.S. Constitution, a principle that our founding fathers labored over in order to secure it in no uncertain terms: that while the majority may rule the minority has right! And in case there are some that don't understand what is meant by "minority right," it means specifically that the majority, whatever it may be at any given time, cannot (CANNOT) impose it's will on the Constitutional rights of the minority, whatever may be in the minority at any given time. Perhaps those that would scoff at this simple yet brilliant ideology would do well to heed Thomas Jefferson's warning:

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
Every citizen of the United States, whether through birth or through naturalization, has the exact same rights under the U.S. Constitution! We are all Americans in every sense of the term! To deny that is to deny the unprecedented nature of our secular Constitution and reduce it to just one more in an endless line of totalitarian and theocratic regimes.


I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely comprised of descendants of immigrants.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot! Amazingly, the author seems to be unaware of, or unmoved by, the fact that prior to the influx of European immigrants onto this section of North America we now call the United States, it was already inhabited by aboriginal natives, millions of them, and they had existed here in some form for more than 10,000 years! They had their own gods, their own customs, their own languages, and their own heritage. But the tragic consequences of Colonialism and Manifest Destiny would soon make itself felt through the complete and utter devastation of these native populations!


However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. (my emphasis --bam)

Notice how the author's real feelings begin to reveal themselves! His use of emotive words begins to increase, and he does so because he is building-up to something that he has a lot of emotional investment in. Look again at these phrases:
"This idea of ... multicultural[ism]"
"dilute our sovereignty"
"our national identity"


It's difficult for me to believe that he means what he claims here! If America is not "multicultural" then what is it? Multiculturalism is precisely what makes America America! Does he really wish to imply that only those of European descent (i.e., Caucasian) qualify as "Americans" today? One must first of all remember that all of the land we now claim as "American soil" was literally stolen from the indigenous cultures that inhabited it before us (and those would be "sovereign" cultures, incidentally; a point the author conveniently ignores)! Are all native Americans, then, just aliens in their own lands; lands that their ancestors inhabited for thousands of years?

And what of the tens-of-thousands of Africans that were brought here through the "God approved" slave trade? They did not want to come here, but were captured and brought here by force; and as such they did what they had to in order to survive, what anyone would do, they had children and laid roots here that are nearly as deep as any among Caucasian ancestry today. Later, they would be recognized as "free men," and as "Americans," although the deep prejudices persisted (particularly in the case of women), as they do even today. So are all blacks and their descendants living among us today to be excluded as part of American cultural simply because there is no signature of a black man on the Constitution? And if they happen to find more identity with their own cultural heritage in Africa and seek to cultivate and carry-on that identity here in America, as tax-paying citizens, does that make them any less American than you or I?

Just looking at the author's points of contention up to this stage, one would have to wonder just what he would classify as legitimate Americans; a type of person, let's say, that he would feel comfortable presenting as the poster-child for our "national identity"? Indeed, to this point he has not stated what America is, but rather what it is not! In other words he is defining us through exclusion and, as we shall see, his terms for what is not excluded is rapidly narrowing toward a very ancient and very destructive ideology. . .



As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

Sought freedom? Freedom for whom and from what? The term freedom is very subjective and it's meaning changes dramatically based on the perspective of those applying it. The Aztecs and Incas sought freedom from the conquistadors who ruthlessly murdered their men, pillaged their wealth, stole their land, raped their women, and insulted their Gods, all of which was supposedly "God-approved" on the part of the conquistadors through Papal Bull (i.e., the Pope ordered it). The African slaves sought freedom from the white man who shackled him and sought to destroy his heritage, his religion, his identity, indeed his freedom itself--for profit. The native Americans sought freedom to inhabit their own lands and live their lives unmolested by the pillaging, disease, and cultural devastation brought-on by these pale-faced barbarians. The Hawaiians sought freedom (and continue to seek freedom even today!) from the American government that had set it's gaze upon it's shores, as well as the Christian missionaries that soon followed; the former, because it saw Hawaii as a critical military outpost in the South Pacific, and the latter because it sought to bring "God's love and grace" to a "primitive," "savage," "immoral," and "religiously misguided" culture. The list goes on.

In the 1980's when the Soviets were still being peddled by our government propaganda spinners, in typical Orwellian fashion, as the "ultimate evil" (the "Red Menace") and "unstable threat" to American freedom, the American government (i.e., "the good") poured literally billions of dollars into arming and training these same factions of Muslim extremists that we are fighting today in Afghanistan! Why? So that they could fight for us against our archenemy, the "evil" Soviets! We knew, even then, about the destructive terrorist activities these militant factions were involved with elsewhere in the world, but because we saw an opportunity to use them for our purposes we were willing to look the other way and support them with American dollars, American weapons, and direct training by American military specialists.

But what is most interesting about this debacle is that our government and mainstream media never once referred to these factions as "terrorists" as we do today (and they are terrorists, make no mistake); rather, we called them "freedom fighters"! These are the same factions, mind you, that flew passenger jets into the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11th; the same factions that are now using the very weapons and training we gave them, against us! Interestingly enough, they still refer to themselves as "freedom fighters" (a term we claim for ourselves) while we now refer to them as "terrorists," even though their ideology and actions have not changed at all, only their targets.

So let me ask you again: when this gentleman talks of "the victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom", to whom and from what perspective does he presume to speak? I would encourage you to think about this carefully before jumping to judgment about what I have said.



We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

Hmmm. Is he correct? Let's break this down. Prior to the colonization of the eastern shores of North America by Caucasian, English-speaking settlers (these were not "Americans," incidentally, they were a British colony, not unlike Hawaii was a colony to the U.S. prior to it's becoming a state in 1959.), there existed many different languages spoken by hundreds of aboriginal tribes that inhabited these lands, and "English" was not one of them! The African men, women and children brought to these lands as slaves also did not speak English! Even the so-called "discoverer of America," Christopher Columbus (a dubious accolade to be sure), and the conquistadors that followed him were not English-speaking, but SPANISH, or Portuguese!

And what of that little U.S. land acquisition deal Thomas Jefferson negotiated in 1803 called the Louisiana Purchase? That vast expanse of land, extending from the Mississippi river to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to British North America (essentially the Canadian border today), was purchased from FRANCE! Indeed, there is today a rich history of French-Spanish-African ancestry in Louisiana in general and the port city of New Orleans in particular. We even have a name for it--Creole.

And another thing these "English only" pundits should consider is that virtually all of the Founding Brothers of the United States itself, the "revolutionaries," were highly educated and most were fluent in three or more languages! Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin had even been ambassadors to France! In his autobiography, Ben Franklin had this to say about his pursuit of language acquisition:

I had begun in 1733 to study languages. I soon made myself so much a Master of the French as to be able to read the Books with Ease. I then undertook Italian . . . I afterwards with a little Painstaking acquir'd as much of the Spanish as to read their Books also.


And he goes on to relate how his mastering of the above mentioned languages (French & Italian) made it easier for him to re-apply himself toward mastering the Latin language! That makes a total of five languages that Franklin would speak and even read! He even offers advice to "the Consideration of those who superintend the Educating of our Youth" that they should begin with French followed by Italian and only afterward proceed to the Latin, because, and I quote:

(They would have) acquire'd another Tongue or two that being in modern Use might be serviceable to them in common life. (my emphasis)


Far from advocating an "English only" attitude as this gentleman and others of his ilk are demanding, we should be encouraging, indeed requiring, that our children learn at least one additional language! In virtually every other industrialized nation on the planet, it is a basic requirement for students to become fluent in at least one additional language, and it is not at all uncommon for them to speak three or four by the time they graduate high school! By comparison, much of our youth, indeed much of our adult population, cannot even speak proper English let alone be fluent in another language! This is not something to be proud of. Indeed, we should be embarrassed by this "dumbing down" of America; and not only in the areas of language acquisition and science (where we are most lacking), but in every other basic subject.



"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented.

At last, the cat is out of the bag! The theological message he intends to sell you is that America is a "Christian nation," and that if one presumes to be a True American (TM) then one must believe in God, and by "God" he does not mean Allah, or Vishnu, or Mithra, or Horus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any number of indigenous North American tribal gods, he means the "Christian" God!

The fact is, however, his perception of history is severely distorted, and it's quite possible that he knew this in advance since he makes it a point to state that the "Christian" views he is espousing are "clearly documented," as if to say to the already believing Christian audience he hopes to appeal to:

"If you really want to check my facts, my brothers and sisters in Christ, you may, but as I am a 'God-fearing' Christian who would never lie to you, you should just trust me at my word that I am telling you the truth when I say that the information I am relaying would be the same information you would find were you to actually study the documentation for yourselves. But since I have already studied these issues, and found them to be self-evident truths, there is no need for you to be troubled with repeating the process; as such, I humbly request that you do not delay in sending this message on to other good people such as yourselves. In His name, --signed, Anonymous"

But I say this: Don't take him at his word! Do check it out for yourselves! Moreover, I also suggest that you do not take anything I say at my word either, but check it out! I will stand by the evidence that I present, and I will put my name to it! Indeed, I find it shameful that the rhetoric being peddled here comes with the comfort of anonymity for it's author, because I would take great delight in debating this person on his disingenuous soap box rhetoric!

So, let's just test a few of his "clearly documented" facts, shall we?

Is "In God We Trust" the national motto our nation's founders decided upon?

Well, if our Nation had been established during the anti-communist McCarthyism hysteria of the 1950's, then our friend might have a case here, since it was in 1956 that this "motto" came into being. The Cold War was building and political propaganda spinners sought to draw a clear line of delineation between the U.S. ("The Good") and the Soviets ("The Evil"), and they did so by making communism and atheism virtually synonymous terms (which is silly), with each to be despised and aggressively opposed as a "threat" to "American values" and the "American way of life"--a stigma that remains alive and well even today.

But "In God We Trust" is not our original motto! The original national motto, which (thankfully) still appears on The Great Seal of the United States today, is E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one), as agreed upon by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams after the First Continental Congress (July 4th, 1776) assigned them the task of producing an appropriate seal to represent our country.

The actual design of our Great Seal was one of great concern to our founders and the process ultimately encompassed six years and three separate committees between 1776-1782 (each with different committee members) before it was complete. As in any decision-making process there are going to be good ideas and bad ideas produced in brainstorming sessions and such was the case here. Ultimately some ideas from each committee were incorporated into the final design, while others were rejected for one reason or another. The motto E Pluribus Unum was one of the keepers! Other ideas, such as depictions of Moses defying the Egyptian army at the Red Sea, the Judgment of Hercules, a white-clad "virtus" (virtuous) maiden, and other complex designs, did not make the cut for obvious reasons. No where on the final version, in fact, do the words "God" or "Jesus" or "Christian Nation" or "One Nation Under God" appear, and it was not by mistake that such things were excluded! They were excluded for the same reasons such terms were excluded from the Constitution; because this is not a nation governed by gods or kings or masters, but by the People--"We, the People"!

The changing of our national motto from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust was a knee-jerk reaction by Congress; as was the dubious addition of "under God" to our Pledge of Allegiance in 1954. Prior to that the Pledge read as follows:

I Pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

But in 1952 the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization, began a vocal campaign to have the Pledge changed to read "one nation under God"; and, riding the wave of anti-Soviet sentiments of the day, they (and the American Legion) petitioned a sympathetic Congress to have the wording changed. And just like that everything our founding fathers had fought and labored to secure for 'We the People' was trampled underfoot of a self-serving religious ideology.

Were the founders of our nation "Christian men"?


Many of them were Christians, and yet many of them were not! Indeed, some of the names that inhabit the "non-Christian" list are striking considering the key roles they played in our history; people such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison and Thomas Paine, among others. And some were not only not Christian, but were openly critical of Christianity, the Bible, and the clergy.

Jefferson was an avid student of religion, including Christianity, and while he thought good of some parts of the Bible, he despised most of it, and he made an interesting analogy of this by calling those good points "diamonds in a dunghill." And while he was very careful about expressing his own views about the Bible in public (wisely, it seems), he was more forthcoming in his private correspondences with family and colleagues. In one letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, he makes a statement that, were it made today (or even in his time), would make him unelectable as President of the United States:

The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites. -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to his nephew, Peter Carr


And what do you suppose would have been the fate of George W. Bush in our latest Presidential election were he to have expressed such words as these made by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to a colleague of his, Dr. Woods?:

I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies. The Christian God is a being of terrific character -- cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust. -- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Woods (undated), referring to "our particular superstition" Christianity


Jefferson made multiple more comments of like nature to these, but that doesn't seem to stop people like our anonymous friend here from claiming that our founding fathers were all "Christian men" intending to make a "Christian nation."

Thomas Paine is another case all together. He is truly one of the most critical figures in American history because of his uncanny ability to invoke action through the written word. It was his best selling Common Sense pamphlets, in fact, that re-invigorated the people with a will to fight at a time when morale was at its lowest and defeat seemed a foregone conclusion. It was Paine who went to France and convinced Louis XIV to donate six million livres toward the war effort! It was Paine who gave us the name, "United States of America." It was Paine who said such famous quotes as "what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly" and "These are the times that try men's souls" and "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it."

But Paine was also a vocal enemy to Christianity and the Bible and any organized religion that sacrifice reason for superstition and dogma, and he made those views clear when he published The Age of Reason, which was also a best seller but one which resulted in his becoming reviled as a pariah and doer of the "devil's work." Here are just a few quotes:

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on nothing; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing and admits of no conclusion. -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

The Bible: a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalise mankind. -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason


And what of others among our founders? Here are but a few among multiple dozens available.

I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies. -- Benjamin Franklin

He [the Rev. Mr. Whitefield] used, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard. -- Benjamin Franklin

As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed? -- John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816

I do not like the reappearance of the Jesuits.... Shall we not have regular swarms of them here, in as many disguises as only a king of the gipsies can assume, dressed as printers, publishers, writers and schoolmasters? If ever there was a body of men who merited damnation on earth and in Hell, it is this society of Loyola's. Nevertheless, we are compelled by our system of religious toleration to offer them an asylum. -- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 5, 1816

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! -- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson

We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition ... In this 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

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. -- George Washington, letter to Tench Tilghman asking him to secure a carpenter and a bricklayer for his Mount Vernon estate, March 24, 1784

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. -- George Washington, letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, a Mennonite minister, May 28, 1788

I have diligently perused every line that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one expression in which he pledges, himself as a believer in Christianity. I think anyone who will candidly do as I have done, will come to the conclusion that he was a Deist and nothing more. -- The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York

The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries. -- James Madison, letter objecting to the use of government land for churches, 1803

Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. -- James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, June 20, 1785

Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them, and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does this not involve the principle of a national establishment...? -- James Madison, "Essay on Monopolies"


This is not to say that any of these men openly expressed atheism (as is the case today, to even suggest such a thing would have been tantamount to political suicide), but rather they posited deistic views about God and nature; meaning that they acknowledged an impersonal "(g)od of nature" but did not believe in the personal "(G)od of the Bible."

Is the United States a "Christian Nation"?

Well, if it is then someone forgot to tell that to the delegates that came together to debate and form our Constitution. They certainly had ample opportunity to do so, and yet nowhere in that document do we ever see the words God, Jesus, Christianity, Gospels, the Bible, or any other term associated with Judeo-Christian theology! Do you suppose it just slipped their minds? Nope.

At the Constitutional convention in fact, Luther Martin, a Maryland representative, opined that some kind of recognition of Christianity should be included in the Constitution on the grounds that "it would be at least decent to hold out some distinction between the professors of Christianity and downright infidelity or paganism." But this proposal was rejected by the delegates (many of whom were Christians) and the Constitution was drafted as a secular document. Indeed, the only time religion ever mentioned in the Constitution at all is in exclusionary form: Article VI, Section 3, which states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." A short time later it would be mentioned a second time in the establishment clause of the First Amendment, but again it was exclusionary of religion and not an endorsement! Does that sound like the actions of a group of "Christian men" intent on making this a "Christian nation"?

It is a very disturbing problem, I think, that so many people are being influenced by these right-wing Christian extremists (I'm sorry, but that is what they are) whom, finding our history as it stands to be unpalatable with how they think it should have happened, attempt to rewrite that history, and even the views of our founding fathers themselves, in order to contort them into something more in-line with their theocratic motivations. But these people are doing a great disservice to those minds (young or old) whom, thinking they are getting an honest and unbiased picture of history (warts and all), are not; and if they are not inclined to check-the-work of their would-be teachers then they may never learn otherwise, and that is a shame.



It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

To invoke "God" is to presume the supernatural, and that, by definition, carries religious implications. And that fact in and of itself makes our friend's assertion, that "it is appropriate to display it [In God We Trust] on the walls of our [public] schools" to be false! To the contrary, it is categorically inappropriate!

To demonstrate the point, consider what this man would say if we changed the word "God" to "Jesus"; would he find offense in that? No, he would not! Indeed, he would like nothing more than for the name of his own professed god to be prominently placed on the walls of very classroom in the country in order that the Hindu child and Muslim child and atheist child (all heathens in his mind) would have to look upon it and acknowledge it as some divine authority that is not open to challenge. But what would this man's reaction be if the word "God" were replaced with "Allah" or "Vishnu" or Isis? Imagine it, honestly: "In Allah We Trust" or "May Vishnu Bless America." Would he not be up in arms and demanding their removal at once?



If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from.


Yes, of course, let us rid this country of the leeches! Let us send the African Americans back to Africa; the Chinese Americans back to China; the Japanese Americans back to Japan; the Mexican Americans back to Mexico; the French Americans back to France; the Hawaiian Americans back to. . . a. . .; the Alaskan Americans back to . . . ahem; The British Americans back to . . . er . . . 'um . . . let's skip that one; the Native Americans back to . . . Oh, dear.



This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But, once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.


Were this sort of vitriolic rhetoric not so harmful it would be humorous. Our anonymous friend has made it clear that his ideas of "freedom" are represented in terms such as subservience, conformity, intolerance, subjugation, discrimination and segregation--terms that seem antithetical to the "freedom" our founding fathers fought a revolution to obtain, and afterwards wrote a Constitution to ensure!

On the other hand, there is nothing unique about our friend's views and I suspect that most of what he has said is just parroting of propaganda that has been fed to him from the pulpits, and not through any sincere efforts on his part to crack the history books, the historical archives, and the autobiographies in search of the truth!

The most alarming thing in all of this is that the distorted views our friend seems to be living with are not unlike those that have been openly expressed by President Bush and others in his administration, particularly Attorney General John Ashcroft, who is completely out of control. One wonders how far it will go. Perhaps we should take seriously the warning issued by James Madison:

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.


Visions of Bush, Ashcroft, and the Religious Right?

As a thought experiment, consider the following two quotes and see if you can guess who the person was that said each of them:

(Quote #1)
It is interesting, that termites don't build things, and the great builders of our nation almost to a man have been Christians, because Christians have the desire to build something. He is motivated by love of man and God, so he builds. The people who have come into (our) institutions (today) are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation.

a) Pat Robertson
b) Abraham Lincoln
c) Bill Clinton
d) Adolf Hitler
e) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(Quote #2)
"Today Christians ... I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press - in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past years."

a) Pat Robertson
b) Abraham Lincoln
c) Bill Clinton
d) Adolf Hitler
e) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


For answers click here.

Yours in Truth,

Bruce Monson
www.freethoughtfirefighters.org























































ANSWERS


(Quote #1)

It is interesting, that termites don't build things, and the great builders of our nation almost to a man have been Christians, because Christians have the desire to build something. He is motivated by love of man and God, so he builds. The people who have come into (our) institutions (today) are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation.

a) Pat Robertson

(Quote #2)

"Today Christians ... I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press - in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past years."

d) Adolf Hitler

Published:
  2002-03-31

Categories:
  Atheism, Christianity, History

Top
Support Us