December 26, 2005
The myth of a Christian nation
Posted by buridan under Politics
The Religious Right's prevailing myth that our country was founded as a Christian nation has always been just that a myth, a lie, a fable, a story in the same company as George Washington's cutting down the cherry tree. So I thought I would share some great quotes from our "founding fathers" that ought to dispell such sillyness. There are many more like the following but these make the point well enough I think.
"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." - Thomas Jefferson
"I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth." - Thomas Jefferson
"Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together" - James Madison
"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
"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy." - James Madison
"I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book [the Bible]." - Thomas Paine
"It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible." - Thomas Paine
"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity." - John Adams
"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." - John Adams and George Washington
Note: I've added a few more quotes from Paine and Madison and expanded the second quote from Jefferson. Also, the last "quote" by Adams and Washington was actually written into the 1797 Treaty with Tripoli (Article 11) during George Washington's presidency and then later signed by President Adams with the following proviso:
"Now, be it known, that I, John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said treaty, do, by and within the consent of the Senate, accept, ratify and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof."