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Richard D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:11 PM
Original message
Words of the "Founding Fathers" on Religion and Christianity

"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
-John Adams

"Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."
-James Madison

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."
-Thomas Jefferson

"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
-Thomas Jefferson

"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."
-Benjamin Franklin

"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."
-Thomas Paine

The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.
-John Adams, U.S. President

This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.
-John Adams, U.S. President

The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
-John Adams, U.S. President

Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.
-John Adams, U.S. President

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, U.S. President

Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1500 years.
-John Adams, U.S. President

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.
-John Adams, U.S. President

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

Lighthouses are more helpful then churches.
-Benjamin Franklin

Revelation indeed had no weight with me.
-Benjamin Franklin

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.
-Benjamin Franklin

When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.
-Benjamin Franklin

Question with boldness even the existance of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

Religions are all alike; founded upon fables and mythologies.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

The Christian God can be easily pictured as virtually the same as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, evil 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 the people who say they serve him. The are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

We discover in the gospels a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstition, fanaticism and fabrication.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being of His Father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.
-Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has 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, U.S. President

In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.
-James Madison, U.S. President

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.
-James Madison, U.S. President

Whenever we read the obscene stores, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half 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.
-Thomas Paine, American revolutionary

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, American revolutionary

The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system.
-Thomas Paine, American revolutionary

The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy.".
-George Washington, Revolutionary War General and U.S. President

Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause.
-George Washington, Revolutionary War General and U.S. President
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:13 PM
Response to Original message
1. Fundagelicals will have none of it. This is a "Christian" nation and
the founding fathers were all fundagelical too! (NOT unitarians and deists, as I so often like to point out to them. LOL)
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thank you!
:applause:

This needs to be shouted from rooftops. Far too many people just do not get it.
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Dracos Donating Member (318 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #2
39. If anyone
running for any office made any one of these statements today thy couldn't get elected dog catcher,and that is sad.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #39
43. I don't know.
I think a lot of the people who stay away from the process might get involved if a smidgen of honesty were injected back into the process.
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ellenfl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. thank you! lots of grist for the mill. eom
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
4. No doubt!
This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it. Right on!
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Jacobin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
5. This can never, ever, be repeated enough
Edited on Mon Feb-26-07 01:27 PM by Jacobin
The time period in which the great American experiment in democracy began was the Age of Enlightenment, part and parcel of which was throwing off the shackles of the priests and their demagoguery.

My very favorite Jefferson quote from above:

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being of His Father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
-Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President
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nebenaube Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. OH MAN THIS IS GREAT!
But we really need to identify the sources where you found the quotes...
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
7. It should be pointed out that the founders didn't really have much problem with Jesus
Edited on Mon Feb-26-07 01:51 PM by Quixote1818
Many of the above quotes are taken out of context and are in reference to when they were discussing the history of Christianity when combined with the state. They had a BIG problem with Church and State being together as the combination proved to be deadly. They saw that the Church had much too much power and became corrupt. They hated the politics and power of the church but actually Jefferson deeply admired Jesus and considered his teachings to the the greatest the world had ever seen when it came to morals. Jefferson didn't see Jesus as God but as a great teacher. Jefferson and most of the founders celebrated religious freedom and religious tolerance of ALL religious but I think deep down they hoped the US would slowly become more of a Unitarian thinking nation.
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BOSSHOG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
8. Yeah, but "conservatives" in this country always pull out that old James Madison
quote:

- The second amendment was written to ensure that all citizens have access to automatic and semiautomatic assault weapons to ease their efforts to settle domestic disputes. It is the nature of freedom that all men be free to kill each other and it is incumbent for the national government to make it happen.


Ole Jimmy gettin in touch with his "conservative" side.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
16. to be fair, let's remember that when he said that, he was swappin' lead with Dolly
Dolly "Little Sure-shot" Rodham Madison was a notorious aim with a musket, allegedly able to shoot a hole thru a tiny epinymous dessert cake at fifty yards. When James Madison called upon Congress to protect the right to bear arms, he was really trying to save himself from that psychotic nagging shrew he was married to.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
9. Geo. Washington, individualist, Christian and Freemason
http://www.christiananswers.net/q-wall/wal-g011.html

Many nutcase rightwingnuts say that Freemasons are in league with the devil; the first three degrees of masonry which Washington and his compatriots used back then comprised the essence of the Knights Templar from which Freemasonry decended. Their spiritual 'warfare' was against their arch enemy the Knights Hospitaler who took over most of the Templar 'treasure', lands etc. after 1307.

Washington's French hugenot ancestors were persecuted in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Investigate that at

""The French Protestants were called Huguenots: President George Washington had a Huguenot ancestor, as did at least 5 other Presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, James Garfield, and Theodore Roosevelt. A Huguenot refugee named Apollos de Revoire settled in Boston, and had a son who signed his name Paul Revere! Remember his famous midnight ride? Three members of the Continental Congress - Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and Elias Boudinot were Huguenots. Other great names include Francis Marrion, General George Patton, Clair Chennault, Admiral Dewey, Du Ponts, Henry Thoreau, Longfellow etc., etc. A Huguenot colony was founded in Florida in 1562 (years before the English landed), but was later destroyed by Spanish raiders.""

http://www.reformation.org/bart.html

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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 12:01 AM
Response to Reply #9
32. From the "christiananswers.net" site
Edited on Tue Feb-27-07 12:02 AM by ProudDad
Abortion: Certainly a woman has a right to control her own body, but the unborn entity, though for a time living inside her body, is not part of her body.

Hence, abortion is not justified, since no one's right to personal autonomy is so strong that it permits the arbitrary execution of others. In this respect this argument also begs the question, because it assumes that the unborn are not fully human.


War:
"WAS JESUS REALLY A PACIFIST? A comprehensive study proves that He was not."
"Ever since Adam, the world has been in a war between good and evil. For this reason, the pacifist position is unrealistic. When taken to its logical conclusion, it would virtually do away with courts and police departments. It would ultimately lead to anarchy due to the nature of human hearts.

Pacifism is also unbiblical, because it does not take the whole counsel of Scripture. It does not separate a Christians private duties from his public duties, and the role of the State versus the role of the individual."


On turning the U.S. into a theocracy: "For example, a pastor speaking on the radio recently described the Christian Coalition as "dangerous" because they were trying to accomplish something similar to what Constantine tried to accomplish with miserable results. (As Roman Emperor, Constantine established Christianity as the state religion back in the fourth century.) Essentially, this pastor was saying that the Christian Coalition is trying to formally establish Christianity as the religion of America. The agenda of this particular political group does not support the pastor's contention.

Why the confusion? This pastor has accepted the idea that morality and religion are synonymous. He appears to believe that, for example, halting the spread of pornography establishes religion. Or that protecting the life of the unborn is a doctrinal statement. He seems to think that standing against the teaching of deviant sexual behavior in public education is a religious issue. Or that allowing prayers at graduation ceremonies violates another's rights of conscience. Indeed, the pastor has accepted the rhetoric of the mass media and the social secularists.

Political action on these issues -- abortion, school prayer, the traditional family, etc. -- is not an establishment of religion. American is fully capable of taking political positions on moral matters without establishing a religion. America is fully capable of instituting public policies that reflect the thinking and attitudes of most Christians, indeed most Americans, without establishing Christianity. America is fully capable of being a Christian nation without violating the rights of conscience or the free exercise of religion. Anything less is "crossing the line."


Should Christians seek political power or should we only focus on evangelism?

In the often shady world of politics, it is usually the last place a Christian wants to be. But should Christians really be focused on seeking political office? Here are some thought-provoking reasons why Christs ambassadors should not shy away from being the publics ambassadors in government.


On (shudder) Secular Humanism: "But Humanism remains de facto the established religion of our land, and the public schools are the main vehicle for the promotion of its worldview. As one great Humanist triumphantly declared: Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?"


See, anybody can cherry pick.

My point (and that of Jefferson, Adams, etc.) is that there should be a HIGH, IMPENETRABLE wall of separation between the myths of religion and the processes of the state. Anything less is a Theocracy...
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #32
44. I picked the site for it's quotes by Geo Washington, nothing else
My point is that G Washington's Freemasonic background and respect for other religious beliegs (note his famous letter to the RI chuch, read annually to the synagogue) should make you aware of the man's decency.

If Jesus really was the prophesied Messiah, nothing I say or Washington said, will change that.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #9
42. Evidence suggests Washington was a Deist.
Edited on Tue Feb-27-07 11:16 AM by sybylla
http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/summer97/secular.htm...



Much of the myth of Washington's alleged Christianity came from Mason Weems influential book, "Life of Washington." The story of the cherry tree comes from this book and it has no historical basis. Weems, a Christian minister portrayed Washington as a devout Christian, yet Washington's own diaries show that he rarely attended Church.

Washington revealed almost nothing to indicate his spiritual frame of mind, hardly a mark of a devout Christian. In his thousands of letters, the name of Jesus Christ never appears. He rarely spoke about his religion, but his Freemasonry experience points to a belief in deism. Washington's initiation occurred at the Fredericksburg Lodge on 4 November 1752, later becoming a Master mason in 1799, and remained a freemason until he died.

To the United Baptist Churches in Virginia in May, 1789, Washington said that every man "ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience."

After Washington's death, Dr. Abercrombie, a friend of his, replied to a Dr. Wilson, who had interrogated him about Washington's religion replied, "Sir, Washington was a Deist."



Sources available at the website
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hvn_nbr_2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
10. Sources would help
I'm always suspicious of quotes from famous people without some supporting documentation, even when I like them.

Without source info for such quotes, I'm left unwilling to quote them to fundies. Without source info, they're not really much different than some of the fantasy quotes that fundies copy from another fundie fantasy website to show that all the signers of the Declaration of Independence were dues-paying members of the Moral Majority and gave high praise to Jerry Falwell, right there in the Federalist Papers, two centuries before he crawled out from under his rock.

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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. google is your friend (or any search engine)
Many list the documentation from where the quotes came from.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #13
21. The burden of proof is upon the person making the claim...
as it should be.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 04:43 AM
Response to Reply #21
34. ......
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ORDagnabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 02:16 PM
Response to Original message
11. I love history
I love history. So much there, hard to re-write and all you have to do is want to dig for the truth.

The significance of this article that is often overlooked or ignored is that it stated categorically that the United States of America is not founded upon the Christian religion, and that this treaty, with that statement intact, was read before and passed unanimously by the United States Senate, and was signed by the President of the United States without a hint of controversey or discord, and remains a definitive statement from the "Founding Fathers" on the secular nature of American government

Preliminary treaty began with a signing on 4 November, 1796 and ratified by the Senate with John Adams signature on 10 June, 1797


Treaty of Tripoli. In Article 11, it states:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

4 good sites on it.
The first one is the actual minutes taken from The Journal of the Senate including the Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate, John Adams Administration 1791-1801



http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tripoli1.htm
http://earlyamerica.com/review/summer97/secular.html
http://www.nobeliefs.com/Tripoli.htm
http://www.sunnetworks.net/~ggarman/tripoli.html

Just found an awesome article on it.

talks about the senators..


It was only the third time that a vote was recorded when the vote was unanimous! (The next time was to honor George Washington.)There is no record of any debate or dissension on the treaty.

the vote they cast was ordinary, routine, normal. It was, in other words, quite well accepted, only a few years after first the Constitution and then the First Amendment were ratified, that "the Government of the United States of America was not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." After a bloody and costly civil war and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment determined that citizens of the United States cannot have their rights abridged by state or local governments either, religious liberty for all was established. Governmental neutrality in matters of religion remains the enduring basis for that liberty.

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/buckner_tripoli.htm...
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 02:20 PM
Response to Original message
12. My beliefs land me very close to Deism.
I agree with previous Deists such as Jefferson and Paine with respect to making the state religious neutral.

If it's not, then which religion should the state endorse? Christianity? Which sect of Christianity should it endorse? Episcopalian? Lutheran? Catholic? Baptist?
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Mad_Dem_X Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #12
29. I consider myself a Deist, also
Edited on Mon Feb-26-07 04:30 PM by Mad_Dem_X
If one must put a label on my beliefs, that's the one that comes closest.
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pepperbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
14. this is my fave.....
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

- Thomas Jefferson
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Quixote1818 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Jefferson was pretty agnostic
From what I have read he had many doubts about the existence of a God, so it makes sense that he would say this.
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justiceischeap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
17. Can someone answer me this?
I always hear the fundies saying that the forefathers founded this nation on religion/christianity. However, and I know high school was a long time ago, but I thought the whole reason for the founding of the United States is that the founding fathers were trying to get away from religious persecution. Meaning that only one religion was allowed and they felt the need to worship freely. I also recall they felt pretty strongly about the separation of church and state 'cause getting the church intertwined in politics was bad, bad, bad as proven by the countries our ancestors were running from.

Am I wrong???
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. It's a load of hogwash.
The Puritans came over in the early 17th century to "get away from religious persecution." In fact, the Puritans and been doing quite a bit of persecuting themselves, and weren't particularly nice folks.

Some of the Founding Fathers were descendants of the Puritans, a few generations removed. In fact, I'd wager it's because of the Puritans that we have Seperation of Church and State, and the above quotes.
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justiceischeap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. So it can be argued that what I learned in school was correct?
And that they are making up history as they go along?

BTW, I just watched Jesus Camp and what a scary, scary documentary.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #23
26. What you probably learned in school...
was that the puritans were the victims of religious persecution, and that's why they fled to the New World, and that's why the Founding Fathers created the seperation clause.

I'd say that's mostly baloney.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. Yeah, those folks from Salem know the reason we need separation of church and state.
We don't have to rely upon the founding fathers to divine our wisdom, we should be able to reason through the matters of this nation ourselves.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. The Founding Fathers...
were slaving owning bastards who were more worried about tax breaks than freedom.

At least for the most part.

But this is a good list to bring up every time some numbskull talkins about the country being founded upon Christianity.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #17
48. They are liars. Also, they confuse the Founding Fathers with the Puritans.
Edited on Tue Feb-27-07 02:17 PM by mondo joe
The Puritans would be aghast at the US Constitution.
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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
18. Excellent, excellent, excellent!
I could even wear down my aunt Francille with this much ammunition. K&R! :kick:
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
20. Of course, I'd like to know if you have any proof for this.
I am the constant skeptic, even for things said by my side.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
22. K&R..great post...nt
Sid
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
24. Those quotes are awesome!
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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
27. 1st quote
"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
-John Adams

the whole quote:

Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out,
'this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!' But in this exclamation,
I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion,
this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company-I mean hell.

when viewed in context the meaning is far different from the one that is suggested.

this 1st one calls into doubt the validity of the rest of your quotes.
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Vinnie From Indy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #27
36. Bingo!
While there is a point to be made, using selectively edited PORTIONS of quotes is highly deceptive, counter-productive and not neccesary.
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Perky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
30. There can be no doubt that the fathers wanted a state that
Edited on Mon Feb-26-07 04:41 PM by Perky
did not favor one religion or sect over any others. They did no want a state religion. Yet having said that, that is a far cry from pushing values that are informed by one's faith in the Almighty from the public square. After all is it not the appeal of the Decalartion itself and appeal to ...well read it yourself

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

...
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. This Declaration of Independence was an excuse to rebel
Edited on Tue Feb-27-07 12:06 AM by ProudDad
and therefore is more propaganda than a declaration of a belief in "god" whoever the hell that is...
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Prophet 451 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-26-07 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
31. They don't care
The RW is NOT, it must be repeated, NOT Xian. They have created a new religion which is a weird mix of extremist Xianity with far-right politics. There's an essay in my blog about it.
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PurpleChez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 07:00 AM
Response to Original message
35. These compliations are always fun, but
the thumpers have just as many quotes -- from the same people -- that support "their side." It's all just sound bites.
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cyborg_jim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #35
37. As someone once said on a forum far, far away
Fuck the Founding Fathers.

Hell, they even said themselves that America should just go ahead and ignore them if it turned out they were mad and there was a better way of doing things. The one thing they did not do is pretend that they had all the answers - and yet that is exactly what people pretend when they insist that America falls in line with what a bunch of dead guys who don't know what the world is today are doing.
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PurpleChez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #37
47. or..."If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."
Despite generally high respect for the founders, I loved your comment. I've always cringed at the idea of strict constructionists, that the Constitution means exactly and only what Madison and the others intended it to mean in 1787. My thoughts were much like yours...What if Madison were nuts. I mean...despite numerous other achievements and stellar abilities, Thomas Jefferson was a raging hypocrite on racial matters ("Uh...slavery is...uh...bad and junk...but I can't free MINE...."), and I would hardly want to be bound today by his thoughts on the subject from 200 years ago.
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Turn CO Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
38. K, R & B
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
40. Weren't they slave owners? Even Lincoln? At least they weren't hypocrites.
Edited on Tue Feb-27-07 11:01 AM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
Just bad dudes, whose murderous thraldom over fellow human beings beggared belief. And they knew it.

Didn't those old, courtly, Southern gentry amputate the limbs of slaves who tried to escape. If they didn't murder them. Well, ah do declare!

Not that I'd seek to defend the institutional Catholic Church of that day, since early times, right up to Vatican II. It would have been too far from the Gospels for me to be able to stomach.

But you atheists like to paint with a broad brush, don't you? How many atheists are there all across the globe, in the poorest and most oppressed countries of the world at present, trying to improve the lot of the people? Often at the risk of torture and death by the Beasts of the Earth? Not tooooooo many, I suspect.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #40
45. um.....okay
What do atheists have to do with separation of church and state or with refuting the claims that the United States was founded as a christian nation? I am a dues paying member of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, an organization founded by and led by, to this day, people of religious distinction.

As for the founding fathers, I doubt you'd find many here who believe they were perfect beings. On the other hand, fundamentalists often hold them up as god-like false idols when they can conveniently support their power/money grab.

Though I'm still trying to figure out how the number of atheists helping those in need around the world has anything to do with the original post, your conclusion makes unfounded assumptions bordering on bigotry. To assume that "not tooooooo many" atheists were involved in helping in Tsunami relief, Katrina relief, the Peace Corp, the International Red Cross, Doctors Wtihout Borders, Habitat for Humanity and so many more local, regional, national and global efforts whether with money or with their physical presence merely because they don't wear their beliefs on their sleeve like a badge or run around bragging about their good deeds in the local papers suggests an incomprehensible level of ignorance of human motivations and a dogmatic desire to avoid the truth. Research is your friend and evidence your gift to reasoned, fact-based discussion. Ad hominem attacks are only a waste of time and get in the way of finding real solutions to real problems.

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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. "um...okay. What do atheists have to do with separation of Church and State?"
Edited on Tue Feb-27-07 12:36 PM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
You've excelled yourself with that one! You're among the most vocal and bitter whingers in relation to any want thereof on here. What's happened to that searing intelligence of yours?

Any of your colleagues been fighting for the Indians in Guatemala lately?

"I doubt you'd find many here who believe they were perfect beings." Another good one! Oops, accidentally amputated that chap's leg with an axe! Gee, I'd hate to meet you when you're in a BAD mood, not just a less than perfect one!

The leaders of the anti-slavery movement in the US, I believe, were non-denominational churches. No connection with the state, but decidedly Christian. Sorry about that.
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mondo joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #46
49. Lincoln, first of all, was not a Founding Father.
And what does abolition have to do with separation of church and state?
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. Lincoln was cited by the thread originator, as one of the "great and the good",
Edited on Tue Feb-27-07 03:46 PM by KCabotDullesMarxIII
whose quotes he posted for our perusal.

The matter of slavery and its abolition, I adduced as being indicative that at least some of the most well-known Founders and Presidents were not exactly the shining luminaries the US needs, particularly at this present time, as ikons of wisdom.

In fact, were not the Supremes able to get away by the skin of their teeth with their squalid partisan interference in the 2000 federal election, because your Founding Fathers were not actually that keen on the US being a democracy.

But truth to tell, my purpose in slating the gentlemen qoted in the thread header was really in response to the broad brush attacks I see so much of on here against the Christian Church and its members, from the time of Christ to today. In fact, I have read many quotations of those same American leaders I have just criticised to suggest that, chldren of their day and their culture though they were, many were indeed very wise and astute in many matters, and deservedly the object of veneration by the American people of today and the future. Some doubtless more than others. I'm only familiar with the more famous ones and their precepts, and that not extensively.

This side of the Parousia, democracy will always be fraught with difficulties, since mankind is largely polarised between the worldy-wise who tend to rule, and the unworldy, but spiritually and thus truly wise. Unfortunately, this has occurred largely because the former, (and no whit less in the institutional Church) have not found Christ's precept that we were to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves, an unattractive proposition to teach to the less worldy. They have preferred to leave the respective specialisations in as pristine a form as possible. A people who understand the wiles of politicians are not at all what any national leaders - at least outside of Cuba, Venezuela and perhaps one or two other South American nations - desire. All credit to Fidel and Hugo!

But, such leaders, particularly in peace-time contexts not fraught with adversity, are few and far between, and will eventually be succeeded by the usual chancers. So that, until, people are taught in primary and infants school about the nature of politics and politicians, good and bad, every effort to draw closer and closer to democracy needs to be made.

At present, it's a pig trough in the UK in both parliaments. And the European one of course. They have the power to give themselves however much money by way of remuneration and costly perks as they desire; and they sure don't hold back.

There will of course, to an appreciable degree, always be those respective, polarised specialisations, but when the worldly-wise recognise that their salvation lies in using their talents for the common weal, rather than their own status and career aggrandisement - and some of course do so now - and they achieve a critical mass, then the potential dangers in democracy, i.e. the people being misled by populist villains (which often occur), will recede.
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PurpleChez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #45
50. Now, now...let's not fight.
Great evils have been perpetrated in the name of religion.

And great evils have been perpetrated with no recourse to religion whatsoever.

Some people of faith have done dreadful things in the name of God. Others have performed near-miracles.

Some atheists have done dreadful things in accordance with their belief structure. Others have performed near-miracles. (Although they might prefer a different word.)

Religion can inspire people to good or evil. And sometimes it is retrojected to either vilify or dignify past actions.

It is all so, so much more complex than "Christians are all narrow-minded bigots" or any other broad, stereotyped accusation.
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Joe Chi Minh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. Wise words.
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CornField Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-27-07 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
41. Not quotes, but more info (with attribs)
So, you think the US is a christian nation?

* The primary leaders of the so-called founding fathers of our nation were not bible-believing christians; they were deists.

* Thomas Jefferson was suspicious of the traditional belief that the bible is "the inspired word of god." He rewrote the story of Jesus as told in the New Testament and compiled his own gospel version known as The Jefferson Bible, which eliminated all miracles attributed to Jesus and ended with his burial.

* Jefferson said, "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter" (April 11, 1823).

* In Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson said of this religion, "There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites" (quoted by newspaper columnist William Edelen, "Politics and Religious Illiteracy," Truth Seeker, Vol. 121, No. 3, p. 33).

* In 1785, when the Commonwealth of Virginia was considering passage of a bill "establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion," James Madison wrote his famous "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" in which he presented fifteen reasons why government should not be come involved in the support of any religion.

* The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, preached a sermon in October 1831 in which he stated that "among all our presidents from George Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism" (Paul F. Boller, George Washington & Religion, pp. 14-15). He went on to describe Washington as a "great and good man" but "not a professor of religion." Wilson said that he was "really a typical eighteenth century Deist, not a Christian, in his religious outlook" (Ibid).

* The Reverend Bird Wilson, who was just a few years removed from being a contemporary of the so-called founding fathers, said further in the above-mentioned sermon that "the founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected _not a one had professed a belief in Christianity_" (Remsberg, p. 120, emphasis added).

* The last and least skeptical of these rationalists loaded his First Inaugural Address with appeals to the "Great Author," "Almighty Being," "invisible hand," and "benign parent of the human race," but apparently could not bring himself to speak the word "God" ("The United States in 1787," 1787 The Grand Convention, New York W, W, Norton & Co., 1987, p. 36).

* Whatever else it might turn out to be, the Convention would not be a `Barebone's Parliament.' Although it had its share of strenuous Christians like Strong and Bassett, ex-preachers like Baldwin and Williamson, and theologians like Johnson and Ellsworth, the gathering at Philadelphia was largely made up of men in whom the old fires were under control or had even flickered out. Most were nominally members of one of the traditional churches in their part of the country--the New Englanders Congregationalists, and Presbyterians, the Southerners Episcopalians, and the men of the Middle States everything from backsliding Quakers to stubborn Catholics--and most were men who could take their religion or leave it along. Although no one in this sober gathering would have dreamed of invoking the Goddess of Reason, neither would anyone have dared to proclaim that his opinions had the support of the God of Abraham and Paul. The Convention of 1787 was highly rationalist and even secular in spirit" ("The Men of Philadelphia," 1787 The Grand Convention, New York W. W. Norton & Company, 1987, pp. 147-148, emphasis added).

* At the constitutional convention, Luther Martin a Maryland representative urged the inclusion of some kind of recognition of Christianity 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." How ever, the delegates to the convention rejected this proposal and, as the Reverend Bird Wilson stated in his sermon quoted above, drafted the constitution as a secular document. God was nowhere mentioned in it.

* As a matter of fact, the document that was finally approved at the constitutional convention mentioned religion only once, and that was in Article VI, Section 3, which stated that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

* Lynn R. Buzzard, executive director of the Christian Legal Society (a national organization of Christian lawyers) has admitted that there is little proof to support the claim that the colonial population was overwhelmingly Christian. "Not only were a good many of the revolutionary leaders more deist than Christian," Buzzard wrote, "but the actual number of church members was rather small. Perhaps as few as five percent of the populace were church members in 1776" (Schools They Haven't Got a Prayer, Elgin, Illinois David C. Cook Publishing, 1982, p. 81).

* Historian Richard Hofstadter says that "perhaps as many as ninety percent of the Americans were unchurched in 1790" (Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, p. 82) and goes on to say that "mid-eighteenth century America had a smaller proportion of church members than any other nation in Christendom," noting that "in 1800 about one of every fifteen Americans was a church member" (p. 89).
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