Posts Tagged ‘Christian nation’

A Clear Separation

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 by JEL

With What He Said, we redesigned the Four Gospels to make them easier to read and explore. We saw the low readership numbers of the Bible then looked the Bible itself and saw a clear usability problem. All that tiny text burying Jesus’ message is really hard to read.

I realize I’m off on a tangent to my original purpose which is to talk about the separation of church and state that our founding fathers did such a nice job to establish. Believe what you want, but there’s a wall there. Government stays out of religion, and religion stays out of government. Perhaps you’d think that the designers of a religious book would want that message force-fed to the masses. Not so. Why? Well, Dan Brimrose does a nice job of explaining:

Unfortunately for [the religious right] the very first Amendment of the Constitution is nothing but clear that there should be a separation of Church and State. “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.”

They shout that it does not say separation of Church and State. Who cares? The intent is obvious and the result is the same.

The Supreme Court has often used the words of our third President Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, to help them interpret and enable others to understand the intent of the very first Amendment. Contained in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association from Jefferson were the following words, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Less than ten years after the ratification of the Constitution in the treaty of Tripoli which was initiated by President George Washington, signed by President Adams and unanimously ratified by the Senate were the words,”As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion …”

Faith is a personal matter. We’d love you to buy our book, but the last thing we’d want is any government body making you.

The National Religion

Friday, August 26th, 2011 by JEL

Debate has been going on for years, and will continue to do so, about whether the U.S. is a “Christian Nation.” Reading the constitution, one gets the clear impression that our founding fathers bent over backwards to ensure religious freedom for all, to keep government out of religion, and religion out of government. Others obviously have their own interpretation.

To David Sirota, the whole argument is moot. Our national religion is not Christianity, says he, it is Denialism:

Some branches of this religion deny the science documenting humans’ role in climate change. Others deny tax cuts’ connection to deficits and deregulation’s role in the recession. But regardless of the issue, Denialists all share a basic hostility to facts.

As this know-nothing theology expands, none of its denominations claims a bigger membership than the one obsessed with race. Today, many reject the fact that black people typically face bigger obstacles to economic and political success than whites. Instead, they insist that whites are oppressed.

His entire piece is an interesting read.

The American Paradox

Monday, January 10th, 2011 by JEL

We’ve written many times in this blog about the competing forces of Christianity and capitalism, particularly in this country. I stumbled across this piece by Cahir O’Doherty and I couldn’t agree more. He talks about our war on a national healthcare system and our inherent disgust with helping poor people who get sick:

“Screw that, says America, toss ‘em out on the street instead. Don’t give us any of your bleeding heart liberal compassion about our fellow citizens. It’s sink or swim here, and it always was, and it always will be, and just why should it be any other way? No one helped me, I’m helping no one.”

That’s really the crux of the matter, isn’t it? We Yanks believe in pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, and if you don’t have any bootstraps to begin with, well, tough luck. Problem is, so many in our midst call our country a Christian Nation, founded on Christian principles. Hence the paradox.

The solution? Look no further than Stephen Colbert:

“If this is gonna be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition – and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”

Is America a Christian Nation?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 by JEL

Two posts in a row featuring an ABC video—you’d think I was living on the ABC News site. Not so, but with my floors being refinished, my universe has been limited a bit as of late.

I digress. This video raises an interesting question: Is the US a Christian nation? Sarah Palin says it’s “mind-boggling” to suggest otherwise. The GOP in Florida certainly thinks so as they’re pushing for more religious influence in their sunny schools. And if you go by the pure number of people who call themselves Christian, they are clearly the majority.

But did our founding fathers set up a Christian country? Did they want the country governed by the rules of Christianity? Did they envision a place in America for those who believe in other religions or no religion at all? Faith and reason battle in the debate: