Tuesday, January 25, 2011

GI: Just a Piece of Paper

I don't know how many times y'all have heard this, but it's become a tired and rather feeble argument--if it ever had any vigor at all; that America was founded as a Christian nation:

“This country was founded by men and women who left England so that they could have the freedom to practice CHRISTIANITY apart from the Church of England. It was NOT founded so that everyone could have the freedom to worship the ‘god’ they choose.”

Um, well – no. The Puritans left the old country to escape religious persecution and establish a home where they could practice as they saw fit, yes (and were a pretty uptight bunch, to say the least). But the country itself was not founded on Christianity; most of the founding fathers (all male, by the way) were born in the Colonies, and were actually intellectuals advocating the Enlightenment.  In fact, Thomas Paine (“Common Sense”) was an atheist, Benjamin Franklin was an agnostic, and even Thomas Jefferson said, “Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone...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." Jefferson didn’t care who you worshiped; he just didn’t want it forced on him.

And besides that, each of the men involved in the drafting and ratification of a certain document put aside whatever religious beliefs they may or may not have held, definitively and firmly drawing a line between--you guessed it--Church and State. As far as they were concerned, the two should never commingle.

Ye Olde Constitution states:  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

American History.  Good stuff.  

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