We have always been a "Godless" Country. What does "Independent" Do you not understand?
Debate Rounds (3)
Historian Barry Schwartz writes: "George Washington's practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian... 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." [New York Press, 1987, pp. 174-175]
Paul F. Boller states in is anthology on Washington: "There is no mention of Jesus Christ anywhere in his extensive correspondence." [Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963, pp. 14-15]
"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. 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."
- letter to Edward Newenham, 1792
Thomas Paine was the "firebrand of the American Revolution." His writings brought courage in times of crisis. The first was in January 1776. At that time the colonies were still split on the question of declaring their independence from Great Britain. Some instructed their delegates in the Continental Congress to act against separation from the mother country. Thousands of colonists were undecided. On January 10 Paine published a pamphlet, 'Common Sense'. To rally the faltering he wrote: "Freedom has been hunted around the globe. Asia and Africa have expelled her . . . and England has given her warning to depart. O, receive the fugitive and prepare in time an asylum for mankind!" Colonists up and down the seaboard read this stirring call to action. George Washington himself said it turned doubt into decision--for independence.
As a young man he sailed to America from England, carrying letters of introduction from Benjamin Franklin, whom he had met in London. Franklin recommended him for the "genius in his eyes." Franklin's letters got him the post of assistant editor of the new Pennsylvania Magazine in Philadelphia. One of his essays denounced slavery in the colonies.
In England he published 'Rights of Man' in 1791, in support of the French Revolution. Today the book seems moderate, but it so stirred Britain that he was indicted for treason. He fled to France and was elected to the National Convention. There he opposed the execution of Louis XVI. His humanitarian stand won him the ill will of the Jacobins, and he escaped the guillotine only through the fall of Maximilien Robespierre. After ten months in prison he was released and aided by James Monroe, then United States ambassador to France and later U.S. president.
"The New Testament, they tell us, is founded upon the prophecies of the Old; if so, it must follow the fate of its foundation.'
"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half of the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.
"What is it the New Testament teaches us? To believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married; and the belief of this debauchery is called faith."
"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."
"We do not admit the authority of the church with respect to its pretended infallibility, its manufactured miracles, its setting itself up to forgive sins. It was by propagating that belief and supporting it with fire that she kept up her temporal power."
"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."
"The story of Jesus Christ appearing after he was dead is the story of an apparition, such as timid imaginations can always create in vision, and credulity believe. Stories of this kind had been told of the assassination of Julius Caesar."
"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."
"The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion."
"The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession."
-Spoken by Abraham Lincoln, quoted by Joseph Lewis
At times religious wording was written into Lincoln's speeches, but such public soothes were brought at the insistence of White House staff members. In 1843, after he lost a campaign for Congress, he wrote to his supporters: "It was everywhere contended that no Christian ought to vote for me because I belonged to no church, and was suspected of being a Deist."
When Lincoln was first considered for the presidential nomination, Logan Hay wrote to his nephew, the future Secretary of State John Hay: "Candor compels me to say that Mr. Lincoln could hardly be termed a devout believer in the authenticity of the Bible (but this is for your ears only)."
Interviewer Opie Read once asked Lincoln about his conception of God, to which he replied: "The same as my conception of nature." When he was asked what he meant by that, he said: "That it is impossible for either to be personal."
His former law partner, William Herndon, said of him after his assassination: "[Mr. Lincoln] never mentioned the name of Jesus, except to scorn and detest the idea of a miraculous conception. He did write a little work on infidelity in 1835-6, and never recanted. He was an out-and-out infidel, and about that there is no mistake." He also said that Lincoln "assimilated into his own being" the heretical book Age of Reason by Thomas Paine.
Lincoln's first law partner, John T. Stuart, said of him: "He was an avowed and open infidel, and sometimes bordered on atheism. He went further against Christian beliefs and doctrines and principles than any man I have ever heard."
Supreme Court Justice David Davis: "He [Lincoln] had no faith, in the Christian sense of the term-- he had faith in laws, principles, causes and effects."
History is Fun to Learn, especially when it's not full of lies, such as the "Bible"
Yet to start, it isn't really clear as to what we are specifically debating here. "Godless Country" isn't defined in your post. Nonetheless, I will respond to generalities the best I can according to what I perceive as your point.
You say we have "always been a Godless country". Taken literally this probably isn't true as one of the first documents in this country was the Mayflower Compact which essentially proclaimed that the pilgrims were here to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Splitting hairs aside I do not assert that our founding fathers left us with a working model as relates to Church and State as they practiced at the time.
Also, you interchangeably assume that religion and Christianity are the same thing. While some of these men may have been religious they may have not been Christian. Discrediting their belief in Christ doesn't translate to proving Separation of Church and State in the way we understand it today.
You cite many quotations of several men. You quote their opinions and statements to third parties. Yet if you were to look at these mens 'actions' within the walls of the governmental positions and the things that they said there at that time you will see the remainder of this mosaic.
Jefferson, and many others attended church inside the Capital building itself. They said prayers, used public funds for religious activities, gave public lands to Churches etc.
What is clear is that our founding fathers never intended or designed this country to be modeled after a religious pattern shouldn't be subject to the powers and corruptions that can come from such power. But they also int believe or practice our modern day extremist view as relates to religion, the populace and r government.
In my opinion, if founding fathers(in office) presided over a high school football game they would pray with a christian audience. If the audience were Muslim atheist etc. they wouldn't.
Concerning Lincoln and his religion;
"When I left Springfield I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. Yes, I do love Jesus."
Lastly, it is not my contention that we ARE a Christian country in the Constitutional or legal context. It IS my contention that we are, or were a Christian country in a practicing sense that commingled with the early days of our government.
It worked then and wasn't an issue. It may not work now and IS an issue sometimes. But that doesn't change actual history.
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