HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Religion & Spirituality » Religion (Group) » One Nation Under God?

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 12:14 PM

One Nation Under God?

THIS week millions of “Chreasters” — Americans who attend church only on Christmas and Easter — will crowd into pews to sing carols and renew their vague relationship with the Christian God. This year, there may be fewer Chreasters than ever. A growing number of “nones” live in our midst: those who say they have no religious affiliation at all. An October Pew Research Center poll revealed that they now account for 20 percent of the population, up from 16 percent in 2008.

Avoiding church does not excuse Americans from marking the birth of Jesus, however. Most of us have no choice but to stay home from work or school — and if you complain about this glaring exception to the separation between church and state, you must be a scrooge with no heart for tradition. Christmas has been a federal holiday for 142 years.

Yet Christianity’s preferential place in our culture and civil law came under fire this year, and not simply because more Americans reject institutional religion. The Obama administration subtly worked to expand the scope of protected civil rights to include access to legal marriage and birth control. Catholic bishops and evangelical activists declared that Washington was running roughshod over religious liberty and abandoning the country’s founding values, while their opponents accused them of imposing one set of religious prejudices on an increasingly pluralistic population. The Christian consensus that long governed our public square is disintegrating. American secularism is at a crossroads.

The narrative on the right is this: Once upon a time, Americans honored the Lord, and he commissioned their nation to welcome all faiths while commanding them to uphold Christian values. But in recent decades, the Supreme Court ruled against prayer in public schools, and legalized abortion, while politicians declared “war on Christmas” and kowtowed to the “homosexual lobby.” Conservative activists insist that they protest these developments not to defend special privileges for Christianity, but to respect the founders’ desire for universal religious liberty — rooted, they say, in the Christian tradition.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/opinion/sunday/american-christianity-and-secularism-at-a-crossroads.html?hp

23 replies, 1527 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply One Nation Under God? (Original post)
SecularMotion Dec 2012 OP
skepticscott Dec 2012 #1
LARED Dec 2012 #2
skepticscott Dec 2012 #3
humblebum Dec 2012 #5
skepticscott Dec 2012 #7
humblebum Dec 2012 #9
cleanhippie Dec 2012 #11
humblebum Dec 2012 #12
cleanhippie Dec 2012 #13
humblebum Dec 2012 #14
cleanhippie Dec 2012 #15
humblebum Dec 2012 #16
cleanhippie Dec 2012 #19
EvilAL Dec 2012 #23
SarahM32 Dec 2012 #4
Left Turn Only Dec 2012 #17
SarahM32 Dec 2012 #18
cleanhippie Dec 2012 #20
Left Turn Only Dec 2012 #21
okasha Dec 2012 #22
Angry Dragon Dec 2012 #6
pinto Dec 2012 #8
cbayer Dec 2012 #10

Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 12:49 PM

1. "Universal Religious Liberty"

is not remotely part of the "Christian tradition" The history of Christianity is riddled with internal conflict over orthodoxy and heresy, as well as widespread attempts to suppress the practice and cultural influence of non-christian religions.

Just more asinine historical revisionism by right wing nut balls and their apologists.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to skepticscott (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:07 PM

2. The reference is about American Christian traditions since the

 

founding of America not about the history of Christianity.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LARED (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:55 PM

3. No, it's not...read again...

Conservative activists insist that they protest these developments not to defend special privileges for Christianity, but to respect the founders’ desire for universal religious liberty — rooted, they say, in the Christian tradition. (not the American Christian tradition).

The "founders' desire" could hardly be based on "American Christian traditions since the founding of America", since the founding of America was only happening just then.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to skepticscott (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 03:19 PM

5. Certainly no more revised than your take on atheist history. nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to humblebum (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 05:38 PM

7. Fact-free, argument-free

content-free pap

Flushed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to skepticscott (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:00 PM

9. Well it's good to see you admit you have no argument. nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to humblebum (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 08:16 PM

11. Again with the comprehension FAIL. Only you attempted an argument.

and what a lame attempt it was.




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cleanhippie (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:09 PM

12. No. Actually it was a simple reminder that we have had many discussions about this before,

 

but you choose to ignore a huge part of the history, as usual.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to humblebum (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:53 PM

13. What history. You post nonsense, someone refutes it, you say the opposite

Of what they actually said.

You do realize that everyone can see your posts, right?



You have a nice day.

Side note: I have a bet with another poster about what your response will be. Make me proud, HB. Make me proud!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cleanhippie (Reply #13)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:56 PM

14. So give me an example of such nonsense that has been refuted. nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to humblebum (Reply #14)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 10:02 PM

15. I win!

For once, the nonsense you post paid off!

Thanks, and have a nice day.


Side note: the person I bet has doubled-down. Don't let me down, HB.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cleanhippie (Reply #15)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 10:34 PM

16. No. I won.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to humblebum (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:30 PM

19. Oh yeah, you won alright!

Last edited Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:46 AM - Edit history (2)




Too bad they don't hand out trophies for it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cleanhippie (Reply #19)

Sat Dec 29, 2012, 08:24 AM

23. lol

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 03:12 PM

4. The Founders' desire regarding religion is very clear.

(The following is the introduction to an article titled Quotes From the Founding Fathers Regarding Religion.)

If we consider the words written by the Founding Fathers regarding religion, we find that most of them were men of faith in the Deity, in the "Creator," in "Nature's God," and in "Divine Providence." For even though many of them were or had been Protestant Christians, most of them identified with the principles of Deism, which is belief in the Deity or God but without superstition or dogma associated with any particular religion.

That is why in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution they used generic religious terms like Creator and Nature's God and purposely did not use words specific to one religion --- because they understood that a nation cannot have freedom of religion unless government is neutral regarding religion and shows no favoritism.

That is why Thomas Jefferson wrote the following:

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it would read ‘A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion," the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Muslim, the Hindu and Infidel of every denomination.” -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to his Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

Mind you, Jefferson wrote that even though he also wrote: "Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus."

In fact, as you will see in more quotes below, while most of the Founding Fathers greatly admired and honored the actual message of Jesus of Nazareth and preceding prophets, they were highly critical of certain Christian doctrines as presented in the official Christian Canon (Bible), because they were educated men and familiar with the bloody history of imperial, theocratic Christianity.

The Founding Fathers were men of “The Enlightenment,” and they rejected Theocracy and were highly critical of the Theocrats who, in the name of Christianity, had caused the Dark Ages, the Crusades, the Inquisition, and all the "religious" military industrial imperialism that had plagued the world for centuries. And they were just as critical of the Theocrats in their day — such as those in England and in New England (in America) who used the same man-made doctrine of preeminence and superiority to justify themselves in their quest for theocratic political power.

That, in fact, is why the Founding Fathers wrote Article 6 and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which stipulate that there shall be no religious test or requirement for office, and that "there shall be no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," which, as Thomas Jefferson wrote, was intended "to build a wall of separation between church and state."

In fact, most of the Founding Fathers clearly advocated religious pluralism, equality and freedom, and they clearly despised and wanted to guard against the distortion and abuse of religion by Theocrats who sought political rulership in the name of religion.

In other words, the Founding Fathers not only wanted to establish freedom from the monarchial religious military industrial empire of the theocratic King of England (the Head of the Church of England). They also wanted to establish freedom from the theocratic political ideology of the Calvinists and and Puritans and other theocratic clergy in America.

That is why on the Supreme Court building, the South Wall Frieze includes figures of lawgivers from the ancient world and includes Menes, Hammurabi, Moses, Solomon, Lycurgus, Solon, Draco, Confucius, and Augustus. The North Wall Frieze shows lawgivers from the Middle Ages on and includes representations of Justinian, Muhammad, Charlemagne, John of England, Louis IX of France, Hugo Grotius, Sir William Blackstone, John Marshall, and Napoleon. And Muhammad was included in the court's pantheon of 18 prominent lawgivers of history to recognize him, among many other lawgivers, as an important figure in the history of law.

Despite the facts, and despite the truth, "fundamentalist Christians" on the "religious right" in America distort the intent of the Founding Fathers, and simply ignore the full context of what the Founding Fathers actually said, wrote, and intended.

If we consider the actual words of the Founding Fathers, it becomes very clear that the political agenda of the "Fundamentalist Christian Religious Right" in America today is not at all compatible with the fundamental ideals of the Founding Fathers, nor is it compatible with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or with the obligations of truly democratic government or true servants of God.

Furthermore, the theocratic “religious right” also violates an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code regarding tax-exempt churches, because even though it allows them to indulge in a wide range of political activity, including speaking out on social issues and organizing congregants to vote, the code prevents churches and ministers and pastors from endorsing a candidate or engaging in partisan political advocacy in behalf of a candidate -- and that would also violate the spirit of Article 6 of the Constitution and the actual intent of the Founders. But, unfortunately, the IRS does not enforce the code, so the churches and ministers on the “religious right” violate not only the Constitution but also the IRS code, with impunity.

(Continued at Quotes From the Founding Fathers Regarding Religion, which quotes their own words regarding the role and place of religion with respect to government.)
.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SarahM32 (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 11:51 AM

17. Very comprehensive post, but

I would also like to add, that while we may be a country under some god's domain, we, particularly, do not as a country follow the teachings of the Christian god. Since the beginnings of our country we have almost eliminated the natural inhabitants by rationalizing that they did not have souls, enslaved a race of people, built an economic system that is greased by greed and the deleterious effects of consumption and environmental damage, made war when we felt that there was only a possibility that the "enemy" might harm us, and created a culture that feeds on violence and hedonistic pursuits.

I do not belong to any organized religion, and when I hear the good Christians touting our country as somehow linked with a Christian god, I have to let out a good, sardonic laugh. There is very little in our American culture that has to do with Christianity. Let's get our divorces and re-marry, kill people in our endless wars (how many years at a stretch has this country gone without being in a war?), deny people health care because of money, and do all the myriad other things that the New Testament says is wrong and go to church and sing songs. All I ask of people is if you're going to be spouting Christian ideas, at least read the New Testament to make sure you really are a Christian. Merry Christmas.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Left Turn Only (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 09:55 PM

18. The author of the article would agree with you.

The author of the article I cited, Quotes of the Founding Fathers Regarding Religion, has written a very thorough, comprehensive message, including nearly a hundred articles.

In those articles he has completely exposed and rebuked the "religious right," the Reaganites, the Libertarians, the Tea Party, the sold-out Democrats, etc.

His purpose is not to promote any particular religion, but to show how and why they are similar to the extent that they teach universal truths, and also to show how and why certain religions (like Judaism, Christianity and Islam) have been influenced and even coopted by theocratic hypocrites.

In other words, neither I nor he are "spouting Christian ideas." The idea is to show how and why Christianity will be reformed, as Jesus of Nazareth said it would be at the end of the age. And when that happens, all religions will be as family.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SarahM32 (Reply #18)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 10:34 PM

20. "And when that happens, all religions will be as family. "

Are you saying that it is Christianity, once it is reformed (whatever that really means), will be the glue that ties all other religions together in some kind of cosmic harmony?

How do you think the adherents of other religions that believe their religion to be "the one" will feel about that? What about those who do no believe in a religion or the supernatural?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SarahM32 (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 03:49 PM

21. Sorry, I'm just a touchy agnostic

Sarah, I never meant to imply that you or the author were personally promulgating Christian beliefs. It's just as one reads early world history, seeing how all the religions were borrowing ideas from one another (including Asian philosophies), and seeing how the ideas of the times are reflected in the writings, it's impossible for people like me to lend credence to any of the major religions. Remember, it was men that wrote all the ancient writings that ended up in the sacred books, not a god, which accounts for the fact that women are mostly relegated to obeying the commands of men in these writings.

As far as Christianity is concerned, almost everything we know about Jesus being the son of God comes from the first four Gospels of the New Testament, which again was written by men, not God. Despite all the miracles he performed in the Bible, no one else wrote about him as anything divine, and even the Jewish people never saw his as a deity. Not all four of the gospel writers even mentioned the virgin birth, which is something that one would consider relevant when writing about a person. Because of these things and many others, it's hard for people like me to take any of the religions seriously, and we get tired of our leaders even bringing this stuff up. Soon as the human animal was able to contemplate its own mortality, religion became an easy way to maintain sanity (and being a priest turned into a good gig). Christianity is important for many Westerners simply because it was the answer given to us to explain the unexplainable.

But as it's been said before, "Whatever gets you through the night is all right." And that's all that counts.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SarahM32 (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:39 PM

22. Mostly a very good article.

Theocrats did not, however, cause the Dark Ages in Western Europe. The invasions by barbarian tribes pushing each other west from the Eurasian steppe caused the collapse of Roman culture, accompanied by the loss of accumulated philosophy, science, engineering know-how, etc. that we refer to as the Dark Ages. The Eastern Roman Empire, centered on Constantinople, produced a fine crop of theocrats of its own, but never experienced a Dark Age because they managed to fight off the invading tribes. Theocrats have been guilty of plenty of inhumane and inhuman offences, but they haven't been responsible for every disaster since the Big Bang.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 05:22 PM

6. I get to choose the god

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 06:24 PM

8. The narrative on the right is simply BS. Rewritten history, a political / social agenda, etc.

All cobbled together under the guise of old Cold War anti-communist hysteria. Then fed by mega bucks and fear based PR talking points.

Most of my nieces and nephews could be counted in the "nones" demographic. They all state some form of humanist and spiritual outlook, unaligned with any established religion. Have ethical and moral standards they find important and uphold. And hold no grudge with religion per se. They seem to feel there's room for a range of outlook. Save for the extremists. Their take runs the gamut from besides the point, laughing derision and serious threat. All take the separation of church and state as a standard to be held.

Most interestingly for me, they also seem to clearly see themselves as the future. That these conflicts are of my generation and will in due course fade into history. (They are obviously the future, duh, the fade into history thing remains open, imo.)

Interesting article. Thanks for the post.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:57 PM

10. Interesting article. We are living in interesting times, indeed, though they are by no

means unique.

From the article:

"The temple of “my personal opinion” may be the real “established church” in modern America."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread