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One nation under God

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Posted: Sunday, June 26, 2011 12:00 am

To the editor:

  The recent front page article discussing the current debate on the recognition of God within this nation prompts this letter. The facts in the matter regarding the perverse turn in America’s current moral death spiral elicit the following (albeit painfully brief) summary of the facts surrounding the founding of this nation, and the perspective of those who gratefully sought the hand of God as they brought forth the most blessed nation in modern history.  Editorial word-count limits prevent a more expansive review.

  The “First American State Paper,” the “Mayflower Compact,” reflects the religious foundation which motivated the Pilgim’s migration to America.

    The 1630-1640 Puritan migration was undertaken almost solely to assure their religious freedom.

    Numerous speeches given by the American Founding Fathers during the Revolutionary War era invoked God’s assistance on the effort to obtain liberty.

  The Declaration of Independence makes multiple mention of divinity.

  During the Revolutionary War there were occasions wherein the national legislature and the various state legislatures passed resolutions calling upon Americans to fast and pray, calling upon God’s intervention on behalf of the cause of liberty.

    The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (later re-passed by the national congress after the Constitution was ratified) noted the importance of religion, morality, and knowledge to preserve good government.

    During the Constitution Convention of 1787 Benjamin Franklin noted the necessity of God’s intervention during the deliberative process of the convention to assure the success of their efforts to write the new Constitution.

    On numerous occasions in their writings and speeches the American Founding Fathers publicly recognized God’s involvement in the founding of this nation.

    The Congress that authored and passed the First Amendment (which vouches safe religious liberty) directed President George Washington to issue a national proclamation declaring a national day of thanksgiving and prayer.  George Washington issued that Proclamation on 03 October 1789.

    In his monumental “Farewell Address” President George Washington spoke eloquently and powerfully regarding the necessity of religion and morality if the nation was to survive.

    Numerous examples may be cited to document the position of the American Founders and the importance of religion and morality in sustaining the United  States of America.  John Adams succinctly stated:  “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    Observers contemporary to the American Founders wrote much about the place religion played in the founding and growth of the United States.

    While the Founding Fathers of this nation never intended the establishment of an official “National Religion,” their words and acts confirm that the currently popular philosophy of “separation of church and state” which disallows government from any formal recognition of God would be repugnant to them. They envisioned a strong and unified nation, a nation which continually recognizes the hand of God in her affairs, a nation which lived within the moral law God had revealed to His children, a nation which lives in accordance with the privileges associated with God’s continual care — “One nation under God.”

Scott N. Bradley

North Logan

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  • Bluto posted at 12:54 am on Wed, Jul 6, 2011.

    Bluto Posts: 7627

    More than anything, I think the founding fathers envisioned a nation that would develop unpredictably but healthily. They weren't about teaching everyone how to live. They were about live and let live.

  • DL in DEN posted at 5:28 pm on Tue, Jul 5, 2011.

    DL in DEN Posts: 3092

    Somebody take away tomtom's shovel. Please.

  • tomtomson posted at 3:04 pm on Tue, Jul 5, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    Sorry that this subject is now pulled from the main boards. That is indeed a good letter of Jefferson's that you mention for several reasons, but I'll stick strictly to the subject at hand so far as the letter is concerned.

    It seems to be that Jefferson believed that Jesus was the Son of God but that he was not born of a virgin. Let me explain.

    Jefferson was so much a totally pure Christian that he was suspicious of anything allegedly Christian teaching that Jesus himself hadn't actually uttered. The "virgin birth" as it is called by orthodox "Christians" certainly seems odd to many people despite the prophesy of the Old Testament that "A virgin shall conceive..." etc. Jefferson was suspicious, additionally, of anything that seemed to him to be also against reason and the known laws of nature as well as anything that Jesus himself did not personally teach. He rejected every philsophy with which Jesus' teachings were combined by the orthodox churches of antiquity, such as the Nicene and Athanasian creeds and the philosophy of Plato etc. This is all very consistent; he believed in Christ not in them and Jesus never alluded to a virgin birth so far as I recall and I have read the New Testament several times carefully. It was Luke who attested to the virgin birth.

    However he still alluded without any evidence of cynicism to Jesus being the Son of God in yet another letter (to George Wythe, August 13th 1783):

    While discussing, in this letter, a task that seemed to him would take a great time to accomplish viz. to remove the superstition from various nations used to centuries of oppression etc, he alluded to Jesus being the Son of God to drive a point home. He said, of the idea that such a reformation could happen quickly:

    "If the Almighty had begotten a thousand sons instead of one they would not have sufficed for this task".

    Letter to George Wythe.
    August 13th 1786

    This concept of God having an "only begotten son" is reminscent of the words of Jesus in John 3:16 regarding God's "only begotten son".

    Jefferson had his own New Testament printed up, and carried it with him, a much abbreviated New Testament which contained Jesus' words as reported in the New Testament books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

    Since Jefferson believed exclusively the words attributed to Jesus, he must surely have believed that God had an "only begotten son" since Jesus spoke of God's "only begotten son". This part about Gods' "only begotten son" must have been a part of it as the phrase come from the words spoken by Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3:16.

    On the other hand Jesus never spoke, so far as I know, of a Virgin birth (It is recounted only by Luke) so I assume he didn't believe that part of the Gospel according to Luke. How he believed, or if he was even worried about, how the "only begotten son" was born I don't know, but his acceptance of Jesus' words would have meant he believed in Jesus being the Son of God as the letter to George Wythe also strongly suggests.

    I can only conclude from these two affirmations that Jefferson believes in
    God's "only begotten son" but did not believe he was born of a virgin.

  • By Demons Be Driven posted at 8:17 am on Tue, Jul 5, 2011.

    By Demons Be Driven Posts: 271

    Tomtompson said: "He also believed that Jesus was the Son of God. "

    Jefferson absolutely did not believe in Jesus being the son of god.

    Here is a quote from Jefferson;

    "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 Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors."

    -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

  • lavadude posted at 11:51 pm on Mon, Jul 4, 2011.

    lavadude Posts: 474

    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."

    -- Thomas Jefferson

  • tomtomson posted at 10:02 pm on Mon, Jul 4, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    Happy Fourth of July everybody!

    Jefferson believed that God existed, that Jesus' moral teachings were supreme, that we would live after death and be judged for the life we had lived in mortality. He also believed that Jesus was the Son of God.

    I have no hope in convincing some people but let others make up their own minds. I'm good with that.

  • DL in DEN posted at 11:04 am on Mon, Jul 4, 2011.

    DL in DEN Posts: 3092

    tomtom - you might want to stop digging now.

  • Mommy_Lisa posted at 8:41 am on Mon, Jul 4, 2011.

    Mommy_Lisa Posts: 173


    If you actually read the entire letter and the context of what he's saying, he says he is Christian as in he agrees with what Christ taught. HOWEVER he is not Christian as in he is part of the Christian religion. It's fairly clear that this is what he's saying even from the quote you posted.

    I'm agnostic but I agree with Christ's teachings, but I'm not Christian either.

    It's not denial, it's understanding what he said and the context he said it in. You fail to understand how words work which is why you don't get it.

  • tomtomson posted at 8:31 pm on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260


    Well Jefferson stated he was a Christian and I showed you where. Then you suggested in effect he didn't know what he was talking about, and that you knew what my defintion of a Christian was, which you didn't and I told you you were wrong.
    I guess you know better than Jefferson what he believed. I have read a ton of Jefferson. So your assertions are worthless.

    I will leave you and Mommy to your fantasy world of denial.

  • Mommy_Lisa posted at 7:55 pm on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    Mommy_Lisa Posts: 173

    Basically what DL in DEN said.

    Anyone who's read a lot of Jefferson's writings would see that he was definitely NOT Christian.

  • DL in DEN posted at 4:00 pm on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    DL in DEN Posts: 3092

    tomtom. Jefferson was not a Christian, no matter how you define the term. No amount of rhetorical acrobatics can make him one.

  • tomtomson posted at 3:00 pm on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260


    I can hardly print the whole letter but will add at least one more quote to elucidate further. I invite others to check Jefferson's writings for themselves and make up their own minds.

    Meanwhile I must say that I have made it abundantly clear in this thread that Jefferson was not an orthodox Christian and was very specific in saying what he did and didn't believe.

    Your accusations change nothing. You talk about Jefferson not being a Christian "in the sense you attribute to him". Do you think you have the power to read minds ? I am not aware of having stated any sense in which I wished to present Jefferson's Christianity.

    I am fully aware that many so-called Christians of the time regarded Jefferson as a heretic of sorts. That means nothing to me as a Latter-Day Saint since we ourselves are frequently so regarded among the orthodox. Jefferson rejected the Athanasian Creed as do I and he believed in an afterlife and in the doctrines and moral teachings of Jesus as he SAYS he does "in preference to all others". He believes, as do I, that it was later learned teachers of Christianity, so-called, who corrupted the original teachings o f Jesus. He is greatly against the merging of Christianity with Platonism which he calls "Platonic Christianity". One teaching of Jesus he emphasized is "the doctrines of a future state" which Jesus "taught emphatically".

    Jesus' doctrine, as you can read in this same letter of Jefferson to Dr Rush, "would be the most perfect and sublime that has ever been taught by man", if we had it in its fullness.

    I'm afraid that Jefferson is not the man YOU want him to be:

    In the same letter he states that his views of "the Christian religion" are " the result of a life of inquiry and reflection" and are "very different from THE ANTI-CHRISTAIN SYSTEM ATTRIBUTED TO ME BY THOSE WHO KNOW NOTHING OF MY OPINONS'.

    I have shown that I do know something of Jefferson's opinions on the subject. I invite you to do the same.

  • DL in DEN posted at 9:39 am on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    DL in DEN Posts: 3092

    tomtom - the letter to Rush clearly states that he is not a Christian in the sense you attribute to him. You are reading it in the way you *want* for him to have meant. Jefferson never limited himself to the teachings of Jesus, and most fundamental Christians - including the Christians of his time - considered Jefferson an unbeliever.

    Further, this passage is *also* in that letter you want to take out of context. Referring to the self-professed "Christians", he said this:

    "The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they [the clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me. . ."

    I could go on a long, long, time on Jefferson's many rejections of .the *religion* of Christianity. He regularly denied the veracity of the New Testament, and I think you might consider changing your claim when you read this one:

    "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 Minerve in the brain of Jupiter." - Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

  • tomtomson posted at 5:54 am on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    Momma Lisa:

    The statement of Jefferson that he was a Christian is found in a letter to Benjamin Rush dated April 21 1803. In this letter he stated:

    To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished any one to be, sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others, ascribing to himself every human excellence; and believing he never claimed any other.

    From Jefferson: Writings, 1984, Literary Classic of the United States

  • tomtomson posted at 5:40 am on Sun, Jul 3, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    Momma Lisa:

    1. The statement of Jefferson (that he was a Christian) I found in Jefferson's Writings in a letter he wrote to Dr Benjamin Rush on April 21 1803. The relevant portion is as follows:

    Please present your sources so I can investigate them.

  • Mommy_Lisa posted at 6:22 pm on Sat, Jul 2, 2011.

    Mommy_Lisa Posts: 173

    The ancient Babylonians existed before any of the books of your bible or the idea that the Christian God even existed. Those are the facts and that is what there is evidence to support. Anything else is merely your opinion that is not supported by any factual information.

  • Mommy_Lisa posted at 6:20 pm on Sat, Jul 2, 2011.

    Mommy_Lisa Posts: 173


    This is what Jefferson stated regarding his own personal beliefs:

    "I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."

    He NEVER claimed he was a Christian. He was a very strong deist who believed a supreme being existed but had no dealings with the world in general.

  • tomtomson posted at 5:59 pm on Sat, Jul 2, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    To "Demons":

    Jefferson's criticism of "orthodox Christianity", if you are familiar with his writings, are more a criticism of the orthodox doctrines espoused by the existing sects than of the teachings of Christ himself.

    Jefferson stated that he was a Christian in that he put the teachings of Jesus above that of any other and regarded his moral law as superior to all others. He carried with him his own scriptures made up entirely of the words of Jesus excised from the four Gospels and distrusted anything else. He was very much opposed to the accretions and additions to Christianity he believed occurred after Jesus' death, and despised the Athanasian concept of God, a concept not taught by Jesus.

    He regarded all moral systems as agreeing in opposing murder, theft, plunder, false witness etc, that is in many of the essentials, and he believed certainly that what he saw as the pure teachings of Jesus had been corrupted by those who came after, even a few years after. He opposed the fostering of any particular form of Christianity by the government and even wished to include other moral religions in the tolerance extended by government towards religions.

    To Mommy Lisa:

    I have heard this before from others. I personally believe that Moses used earlier writings of the Old Testament patriarchs when composing Genesis. The Bible is a compilation of books and not a single book written all at once, of course, and, as you seem to imply, Moses must have received some of his accounts from earlier records.

    Just because we do not have original scripures from the earliest millenia doesn't prove that earlier writings did not exist. As to their being Babylonian I think that the Babylonians received some of their precepts from earlier documents too, and that both owed some of their laws and traditions, culture etc indirectly to that God who predates all of us. For example, the tradition of a universal flood, I believe, exists in most parts of the world, suggesting either a common source or that there was actually a universal flood. It all depends on how you look at it.

  • Mommy_Lisa posted at 11:57 am on Sat, Jul 2, 2011.

    Mommy_Lisa Posts: 173

    I'd like to quickly point out that the "moral law God had revealed to His children" existed before Scott's God was ever written about. I suggest he research ancient Babylonian civilizations and how they lived their lives. They those laws before the bible was written, your God did not technically reveal anything. At least not from a historical standpoint.

  • By Demons Be Driven posted at 4:04 pm on Fri, Jul 1, 2011.

    By Demons Be Driven Posts: 271

    For someone that is a self proclaimed Constitutional scholar Scott's lack of understanding of the founding fathers ideology is quite disturbing.

    Many of the founding fathers were devote deists.

    Here are some other quotes from some of them;

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

    "Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus." Thomas Jefferson

    "History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." Thomas Jefferson

    "Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history" James Madison

    There are many more such quotes

  • religion posted at 11:10 am on Fri, Jul 1, 2011.

    religion Posts: 1554

    Scott says, "the Founding Fathers of this nation never intended the establishment of an official 'National Religion'"

    and follows with: "They envisioned a strong and unified nation, ... a nation which lived within the moral law God had revealed to His children"

    I say - which moral law? Without an official religion, how do you propose this be determined? Are we talking about your god or mine? Your morals or mine?

    Your argument doesn't hold weight because it's kicking itself in the teeth.

  • religion posted at 11:10 am on Fri, Jul 1, 2011.

    religion Posts: 1554

    Scott says, "the Founding Fathers of this nation never intended the establishment of an official 'National Religion'"

    and follows with: "They envisioned a strong and unified nation, ... a nation which lived within the moral law God had revealed to His children"

    I say - which moral law? Without an official religion, how do you propose this be determined? Are we talking about your god or mine? Your morals or mine?

    Your argument doesn't hold weight because it's kicking itself in the teeth.

  • religion posted at 10:45 am on Fri, Jul 1, 2011.

    religion Posts: 1554

    "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion"

    - Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, Senate approved June 7, 1797

  • pwb posted at 7:18 pm on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    Saying "God Bless America" is asking God to bless 2.5% of His children above the other 97.5%. But it is asking Him to bless the 2.5% who control 25% of the world's economy and possess more than 50% of the word's military might.

  • Bluto posted at 7:18 pm on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    Bluto Posts: 7627


    I'm sort of still chuckling at our conversation.

    How can you make the claim that because some Christian concept of rule existed before there was an American therefore America does not evolve, it's just always had things wrong, as an argument against putting 'God' in the pledge?

    Slavery was around long before the Bible and long after. The Bible even refers to it. Doesn't the one Commandment reference 'man-servants' as something not to Covet?

    But it IS entertaining and somehow neither of us believe 'Under God' belongs in a pledge of allegiance to a nation especially right between the lines 'One Nation' and 'Indivisible'.

    Their is probably nothing more divisive in this country than religion or a lack thereof.

  • Bluto posted at 6:17 pm on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    Bluto Posts: 7627


    To say that because the founding fathers were wrong about one thing doesn't have anything to do with whether they were wrong about another unless you want to say that one thing is evidence they were wrong about everything.

    You're doing the same thing the letter writer did.

    No point in going round and round with you on any of this. This nation was founded by people of the 18th century. There is no reason not to expect 18th century thinking would go into this foundation.

    To me, "Under God" is simply a way of claiming the US for a certain group of Americans. It goes against the very essence and foundation of our nation and EVEN THEN they knew this.

  • pwb posted at 5:37 pm on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    One more sweeping generalization. The societies that are least corrupt (inferring from Transparency's corruption index mentioned below) are also the most ordered, most ethical, and arguably the most boring culturally. As was pointed out, the majority are northern European Protestant heritage, but are the least religious countries in the world today (measured by church attendance and people's self-identification as atheists). It would seem to me that the Protestant ethic, fostered by protestant religion but having largely abandoned the religion part, is what makes for a clean, honest, and efficient (and moral) society in the late 20th and early 21st century.

    You can't say that the countries that supply the drugs for today's drug trade are not religious enough, but Mexico, Columbia, and Afghanistan would not be supplying those drugs if there were not substantial demand in the rich countries.

  • pwb posted at 5:25 pm on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    It's a great world we live in these days! Rather than muck around in libraries and used book stores (which is still fun) I can have a complete copy of Montesquieu's book on my e-reader in a matter of seconds for free. Who say's the world's going to he|| in a handbasket?

  • pwb posted at 5:14 pm on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    @tomtom: before this thread passes I wanted to thank you for pointing me to "L'Esprit des Lois". I had not read it and am reading it now. I don't fully agree with some of your interpretations you posted below (which is good: people who think just like I do are very boring to interact with) but I understand better now why you said the French were emulating northern Europe in their development of democracy. I am traveling and out of internet contact mostly right now, but will try to post a more thoughtful response when I can. But thanks again for the reading pointer and I look forward to seeing more of you around here.

  • LoganPeopleSuck posted at 4:49 pm on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    LoganPeopleSuck Posts: 164


    Like stated in my post, the golden rule was around when this country was founded so you can't logically say that "evolution is a process", claiming that treating someone the way you would like to be treated wasn't around. Also, like I stated in my previous post, forcing someone to be a slave is different than someone wanting/choosing to be a slave. Also, even if someone had it worse before, how is it right to force them to be a slave now?

    The whole point of using the slave example, in my original post, is that the person who wrote this letter seems to think that just because our founding fathers did something (or said somthing) back then, makes it right or the way it should still be now. For example..

    "The Congress that authored and passed the First Amendment (which vouches safe religious liberty) directed President George Washington to issue a national proclamation declaring a national day of thanksgiving and prayer. George Washington issued that Proclamation on 03 October 1789."

    "The Declaration of Independence makes multiple mention of divinity."

    "During the Revolutionary War there were occasions wherein the national legislature and the various state legislatures passed resolutions calling upon Americans to fast and pray, calling upon God’s intervention on behalf of the cause of liberty."

    If slavery is (and was) wrong, which I think it is (and was), the whole premise of the argument that "this is the way our founding fathers did it" doesn't exactly hold up.

  • Bluto posted at 3:39 pm on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    Bluto Posts: 7627


    I think this is probably over your head. Evolution is a process. Why waste anytime wondering why cavemen didn't invent the wheel sooner? Why waste time wondering why Christians embarked on Crusades?

    I wasn't necessarily agreeing with you, I said my point is in agreement with yours. I don't care if you agree with me or not.

    Try this on. Check out some African history and current events. See if you'd choose staying in Africa (in hind sight) and all the implications that go with that for your descendants, or coming to America as a slave.

    Many slaves were well fed and well taken care of by comparison to many non-land-owning Americans. It was good for business to keep slaves healthy. They had food and shelter pretty much guaranteed which is not something you can say about the average early American. AND YES it's barbaric to consider the ownership of another human, but so were barbarians barbaric ... thus the term.

    Besides, America took the lead in freeing the Slaves. Why is it so easy to focus on the small handful of rich white folks who owned slaves in the US than the majority of Americans who ultimately freed the slaves. The entire thing really has nothing to do with God in the pledge anyway since that didn't come along until the 1950's.

    Here's an interesting take on Slavery from Medved:

  • LoganPeopleSuck posted at 7:55 am on Thu, Jun 30, 2011.

    LoganPeopleSuck Posts: 164


    I know that you were trying to agree with me, but just because you are agreeing with me does not mean that I have to automatically agree with you. My argument is that it was not 'right' then. In response to your statement that my perspective would have been completely different.. The golden rule has been around since the beginning of time. 1600s as it is today and around 500 B.C. in various other forms. As a reminder, the golden rule is basically "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I wouldn't have wanted to be a slave so I wouldn't have made anyone be one. Lastly, your arguments that some slaves had it pretty good and that some weren't free in the first place don't hold up either.. Many slaves did not have it good and many wanted to be free. If a "slave" wanted to be a "slave", then I don't exactly call it slavery. It is someone who is willing to work, providing a benefit to someone else, in exchange for the benefits they receive (food, shelter, etc). If someone is beaten and forced to work, that is slavery. Also if America was truly "the land of the free", then everyone should have been free.


    I agree with you for the most part, but I will leave it there because it would take too much time to dicuss any further.

  • tomtomson posted at 9:26 pm on Wed, Jun 29, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    " I would hope that most people would agree that it is wrong to take someones freedom away and force them to do something that they otherwise wouldn't do."

    I have to agree with that: having to buy health insurance, having to pay taxes for causes one doesn't espouse and absolutely disagrees with and supports not the general welfare but specific special interests, having to go to school, having to have your life micromanaged by scoundrels and fools ....not the America the best of the Founders envisaged as I see it.

  • Bluto posted at 5:46 pm on Wed, Jun 29, 2011.

    Bluto Posts: 7627

    What's laughable is that you don't see that my point is in agreement with yours. What was 'right' then isn't necessarily 'right' now.

  • Bluto posted at 5:44 pm on Wed, Jun 29, 2011.

    Bluto Posts: 7627


    It's easy for you in 2011 to say that. Had you been alive in 1776, your perspective would be completely different.

    On that note, some slaves had it pretty good. In fact I'd say MOST of them didn't come from places of freedom in the first place. In many ways, the slaves were freed by becoming slaves in America. I know it's a tough pill to swallow and I certainly do not endorse the ownership of human beings.

  • LoganPeopleSuck posted at 5:26 pm on Wed, Jun 29, 2011.

    LoganPeopleSuck Posts: 164


    It is laughable that you would say that slavery was right (even for lack of a better terminilogy) in any way, shape, or form. Forcing someone to do something against their will is not right, even if it is the belief of the majority. I know that different people may think that something is right when others feel that it is wrong (that is sort of what this whole issue is about), but I would hope that most people would agree that it is wrong to take someones freedom away and force them to do something that they otherwise wouldn't do.

  • Bluto posted at 3:57 pm on Wed, Jun 29, 2011.

    Bluto Posts: 7627


    It's pretty tough to say they 'had it wrong'. At the time, slavery was 'right' for lack of better terminology. Some things we see as 'right' today ... yes even you ... will probably be considered wrong in another time.

  • LoganPeopleSuck posted at 8:32 am on Wed, Jun 29, 2011.

    LoganPeopleSuck Posts: 164

    Did George Washington (and other founding fathers) own slaves? Yes. What does this mean? They were wrong about that and were wrong about many of the other things they did when founding this country. You can't expect them to have gotten everything right when founding an entire country lol. Religion should not be brought into our public schools or other government-funded institutions (don't get me wrong... private institutions should obviously be able to do whatever they want in regards to religion). Just because you believe something does not mean you can force it on anyone else. If "christian" religious practices are allowed in school, or other publicly-funded venues, then the same amount of time should be devoted to jewish, muslim, and athiest practices.

  • lavadude posted at 4:50 pm on Tue, Jun 28, 2011.

    lavadude Posts: 474

    Props to Dorothy. Some of us get what she's saying.

  • DL in DEN posted at 3:53 pm on Tue, Jun 28, 2011.

    DL in DEN Posts: 3092

    Dorothy - "the way it was" is not the way it was. Do some research and discover the words in the original pledge of allegiance.

  • tomtomson posted at 3:26 pm on Tue, Jun 28, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    Hi pwb:

    I have a minute now and I must add that the Italian unification you mentioned only occurred, or was completed, when Rome was occupied in 1870 and the Pope became restricted to the Vatican, while the considerable Papal lands (The Papal States) were removed from his control. These had been ruled by the pope as a virtual police state. It is interesting to note that in the old Papal States the American flag was strictly prohibited.

    The Italian democratic system is today that same prime minister and bicameral legislature employed by both England and France, with a President replacing the sovereign.

    No system pretending to be democratic today would indulge in mass genocide and a Reign of Terror and abolition of Christianity as a foundation as Robespierre et al attempted to do. Read "L'Esprit des Lois" by Montequieu or Voltaire's Letters Concerning the English Nation" to get a sound idea of the spirit of emulation that motivated so many of the French reformers and philosophers of the Old Regime.

  • lavadude posted at 2:31 pm on Tue, Jun 28, 2011.

    lavadude Posts: 474

    How quickly we as a Nation, forget that God is what made this Country 'good'...even 'great'.

    Amazing how this next generation of non-believers think that they have the answer to everything, and that they themselves are 'all knowing' and 'all powerful'.

    Quickly, values and morals get swept under the rug, just to be accepted in the eyes of the immoral majority. Materialistic items are valued more now than ever. Respect and Prayer are considered 'old fashioned'.

    These days, it's all about the individual, and how much they can gain from others.


  • tomtomson posted at 1:26 pm on Tue, Jun 28, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    Response to pwb.

    You told me nothing I did not already know but your conclusions are not sound imo. The French Revolution ended in despotism , the Reign of Terror followed soon thereafter soon followed by Napoleon's Empire.

    The British King was actually NOT a monarch then nor at the end of the 19th Century. The British system was based on a balance between monarchy (an actual monarchy is, of course, not balanced by anything), aristocracy, and democracy. That is why there was a King (or Queen in her own right), a House of Lords and a House of Commons.

    French Anglophiles had long advocated the British system of government, men such as Voltaire and Montesquieu admiring it greatly, and many sought to imitate the British system after the initial overthrow of the Ancien Regime. As I assume you already know, the extremists took over before long and began executing aristocrats, with the goal of killing every last one of them, and replaced Christianity by The " Worship of Reason".

    Eventually, after the execution of Robespierre France was ruled by a Directory, then a Consulate, then came Napoleon's coup and he of course became Emperor. Then there was a Bourbon restoration, and on an on.... France ultimately reverted to what we would call today a European Democracy, with a bicameral legislature and a prime minister, both in imitation of England but with a President replacing the constitutional sovereign..

    The execution of a King was not something original to France, but originated in the execution of Charles I in England one hundred and fifty years before that. Though the Stuarts were restored after an eleven year English Republic under Oliver Cromwell, their power was ever after strictly limited.

    Keep talking; I have a whole lot more to say on this but time constraints are upon me.

  • Dorothy posted at 12:46 pm on Tue, Jun 28, 2011.

    Dorothy Posts: 6

    Remember the way it was--
    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

    Shouldn't we go back to those days and start the day off in our schools and other places of business with this. (If you don't believe in God, well be silent during that part).

  • Joseph Jones posted at 11:34 am on Tue, Jun 28, 2011.

    Joseph Jones Posts: 2

    Posting Rule #4 directly above: "No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person."

    Few things come to mind more racist than the belief that the USA (or any other country) is more blessed (or loved) by God than other races of peoples. And all those races cursed by God are so often of darker skin colors, aren't they?

    Mr. Bradley writes: "...perspective of those who gratefully sought the hand of God as they brought forth the most blessed nation in modern history..." What is more racist than: God loves this race of people more than he loves other races of people? Mr. Bradley very wrongly equates material physical wealth with Godliness, denying the vs. that declare that it easier for a camel to fit through the eye of needle that to enter the Kingdom of heaven. The "eye of a needle" is the 1st C. phrase for the small hole in a wall just large enough for a man to fit through. No camel could possibly fit through such a hole, so by inference it is impossible for a rich man to enter heaven. Also, the Scriptures warn believers that it is the rich who steal from us, not the poor. Woe to Bradley and others who wrongly equate wealth with blessings from God. God provides rain for the rich and the poor both. So the entire basis for this letter is based on a denial of Scripture.

    An acquaintance, Richard Wurmbrandt, was imprisoned and tortured for his Christian faith. He suffered immensely. He and his friends in prison would clank their chains together signing praises to God. His friend's face was disfigured in prison. The prison guard held a mirror to the disfigured man's face and asked him why his God did not save him? He praised God for making his face look like Jesus, whose face was disfigured. Some of the guards were converted by the great suffering and Christ-like meekness of those tortured. They actually converted some guards who murdered their family members!

    I suppose, per Bradley, these prisoners were cursed by God because God did not "bless" them. People like Bradley wrongly confuse spiritual salvation with mammon. Man can not serve two masters, he will love the one (mammon) and hate the other (God). The love of mammon is the root of all evil. This describes many like Bradley, who love wealth (mammon, democracy, freedom) more than they would submit to God. His god is a god of death and murder, as long as it makes him and his ilk more wealthy, he loves it and justifies it by declaring that his god has blessed him.

    Why did God in the form of Christ submit to the cross if wealth was the goal?

    Regarding Bradley's mention of Washington's Farewell Address: In this Address GW flatly prohibits relationships such as our current one with Israel (the most racist government on earth, BTW, declaring they are God's "chosenites" (coined by Michael Hoffman). I would bet $50 Scott disagrees with that portion of the Address.

    The form of civil government rule is not addressed in the NT because it is irrelevant to one's spiritual salvation. Slaves are commanded to be obedient to their masters, and masters are commanded to be merciful. We are commanded to treat others as we would desire to be treated.

  • pwb posted at 5:42 pm on Mon, Jun 27, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    tomtom, you've got at least one part of your narrative back to front. The French were not emulating the northern European protestants for democracy, it was the other way around. Britain had representative parliament, but the King still held ultimate power at the end of the 19th century. It was the French who led the way in overthrowing their royal families. There was considerable French support for the American revolution, and it is very likely the American revolutionaries would not have succeeded without French military and economic support. The French helped out because they were interested in anything that would weaken Britain, who was their greatest enemy at the time. The American revolutionaries were using ideas formulated in France during the enlightenment, and when the American colonies were independent Jefferson, Franklin, and several other founding fathers went to France for a number of years to help with the revolution there.

    Without the example of the French revolution, and the ability of the French Republic to be a credible military and economic power, it is questionable whether the English, Dutch, or Scandinavian royal families would have ever allowed themselves to be relegated to figureheads with no real power any more. It was France who pushed democracy into northern Europe, not the other way around. You are correct that Napoleon hijacked the French Republic for a time, but he was deposed and France eventually became democratic again (and again...).

    And other Catholic nations were becoming democratic at roughly the same time (Italy unified as a republic). The Protestant movement played a role, but it was not the only force going on.

  • Lothar posted at 2:01 pm on Mon, Jun 27, 2011.

    Lothar Posts: 80

    To paraphrase Einstein (it might even be a correct quote but I don't have the reference): When someone asks "Do you believe in God," what they are really asking is: "Do you believe in MY God."

  • tomtomson posted at 11:23 am on Mon, Jun 27, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    In saying that some Asian nations have "adopted" Communism I refer to its imposition by well-armed and well-organized tyrants and their supporters. These include Communist China and North Korea, Vietnam etc. These nations are economically poor and profess atheism - even now in the 21st Century.


  • tomtomson posted at 11:10 am on Mon, Jun 27, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    In response to some respondents:

    1. In more modern times democracy, once practised in Athens, revived in Protestant nations such as England and the Netherlands ( when freed from the yoke of its foreign Catholic masters). It was then transported to Anglo-America, New Zealand and Australia etc and emulated by France in various forms when not under the rule of the Bourbons, Napoleon etc. The United States improved on the British version of democracy (tempered by the vestiges of monarchy and aristocracy) by outlawing kings and aristocrats entirely.

    2. The more backward parts of Europe lost their kings and emperors but were soon brought under the Russian Communist tyranny and ruled with an iron hand for fifty years after WW2 ended. The official religion of the Soviet system - Communism. After "the wall came down" and Eastern Europe was liberated from Communism and Atheism it began to have opportunities for prosperity and some of these old Soviet satellites have done rather well even in these early stages of liberation.

    3. Asian nations that have adopted Communism becoming so-called "People's Republics" have likewise been required to embrace atheism. Only Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan have done well by having a free system of government and concomitant religious freedom . China has embraced a state-controlled Capitalism to produce more income and has temporarily extended the freedoms of Hong Kong's former economy. Communist China's peoples are likely to be moved around geographically to suit the various economic plans of their masters; it is hardly free capitalist enterprise. Western businesses, some of them, have moved their production to China becaue labor is still relatively cheap and there is no government fastidiousness about the environment etc.

    The United States and other Western nations have unfortunately come under the control of characters whose religion and love of freedom is in question, and with this comes ever-increasing government controls, Keynsianism etc. Religion itself will be curtailed by such inidividuals, if they can overcome the vigilance and intransigence of Christians, Jews and others. This must never happen. Religious and economic freedom go hand in hand.

  • Diogenes posted at 9:02 am on Mon, Jun 27, 2011.

    Diogenes Posts: 79

    Scott's been reading from the "Mark Hoffman Library of American History" again.

  • pwb posted at 2:00 am on Mon, Jun 27, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    The dichotomy between "Christian and free" or "atheist and communist" is just so 20th century, and didn't even hold a lot of water back then.

  • Flashe posted at 11:45 pm on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    Flashe Posts: 1

    The biblical principles of civil government are as follows:

    1. Separation of church and state;
    2. Civil and religious liberty - a) freedom of expression b) freedom of religion including freedom of conscience and the right to share truth as it is understood;
    3. Equality before the law ;
    4. Divine right to dissent - this means the right to disagree with other world views and freedom from force in matters of conscience;
    5. Representative government with constitutional protection of conscience and minorities;
    Civil and religious liberty do not long exist one without the other.
    Government legislates a civil morality never as a commandment of God. Therefore, we may come to the table with our moral compass but legislation should never be drafted as a thus saith the Lord - religious morality is subject to a standard that involves the heart and obedience to it can never be legislated. A truly Christian nation and government will ensure freedom in the above respects and never compromise corporate or individual freedom of choice in matters of conscience. Subjection in matters of conscience is worship and the government has no authority to legislate in this respect.
    Friends- a true Christian is a reflection of love which includes rescuing the oppressed. I hope you meet at least one person who really knows Jesus.

  • Bluto posted at 10:57 pm on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    Bluto Posts: 7627

    " ...and the perspective of those who gratefully sought the hand of God as they brought forth the most blessed nation in modern history."

    Sounds a lot like what zealot nations in the Middle East believe.

    Gawd help us all ... Do you Christians really believe you're special in the eyes of our Creator? That he favors you over others enough to grant you some Holy Land?

    pwb is all over it!

  • pwb posted at 9:26 pm on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    One more look at the list: my apologies to Denmark, which is consistently ranked the least corrupt country in the world across many years. Also Singapore, Switzerland, and the Netherlands are consistently in the top 10. But all those countries also have a lot of atheists, and some of the lowest church attendance among their professed Christians in the world.

  • pwb posted at 8:35 pm on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    Oops, I should have said: if you want to find the least corrupt countries on earth, you won't find a POSITIVE correlation with professed religious piety. A good correlation can mean a negative correlation as well, which is what Transparency's index seems to show.

  • pwb posted at 8:28 pm on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    Recognizing the hand of God in the forming of a government is not a very good precedent to go on. Hernan Cortez certainly recognized the hand of God in his bloody overthrow of the Mexican rulers, even as he slaughtered and enslaved hundreds of thousands of non-combatants. Saddam Hussein recognized the hand of God even in his secular state, going as far as writing the phrase "God is Great" between the three stars of the Iraqi flag. The confederate states openly recognized the hand of God in their bid to secede and be allowed to continue the practice of slavery (read their secession documents!).

    Recognition of a Supreme Creator is also no guarantee that personal freedoms or moral government is going to ensue. The Nigerian government openly recognizes the presence of a Supreme Creator and is one of the most corrupt places on Earth. The Philippines, Haiti, Liberia, Guatemala... any number of openly Christian governments are pretty thoroughly permeated with official corruption and repression.

    You want to find the least corrupt countries on earth, you won't find a good correlation with professed religios piety. According to Transparency International ( the least corrupt countries in the world are Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. Those countries also have some of the highest percentages of professed atheists of any countries in the world, as well as ranking highest on quality of life indicators. The most religious countries are also the most corrupt. There are a few outliers (Saudi Arabia is not at the bottom of the list, Italy is fairly far down even though a lot of modern Italians are atheists, but they also have the Vatican).

    There is a nice map of transparency's index on wikipedia:

  • tomtomson posted at 5:59 pm on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    tomtomson Posts: 260

    The founding fathers clearly did recognize the hand of God in the forming of the United States. The Pilgrim Fathers saw the hand of God in their own establishment in North America long before that day. A belief in a Supreme Creator has indeed continued to be a prominent feature of the culture of this nation (just as atheism is so closely associated with Communist states). I think the detractors of such modest assertions, which seem to me to be among the very chief points of Mr Bradley's letter, have done a poor job of opposing them.

    That "religion" continued to guide and inspire the peoples of the United States is not saying anything unusual or hard to maintain either. I have always noted that a vast majority of people here do believe in God and most of these assert a belief in Jesus Christ specifically. Unfortunately religious parties have sometimes violated terribly the spirit of religious freedom expressed in the First Amendment, in the case of Latter-Day Saints in particular, but other faiths too. I hope that situation will not arise agagain in such a hideous manner.

    The Constitution, specifically its Bill of Rights, makes clear in the very first amendment that the free exercise of religion cannot legally be challenged in this nation, and that the practice of having one favored form of religion as the established faith should not be permitted here, as it was in Eurpean nations. Therefore the Catholic religin could not be especially favored here as it was in Spain, Austria etc nor the Lutheran as in Scandinavian nations. There could be no equivalent to the Church of England, Church of Scotland etc in the United States.

    I find it very significant that the first right insisted upon in the Bill of Rights is the right to worship freely. It cannot have escaped anyone's notice that the belief in God is confirmed in the United States government still today, I believe without intermission since the earliest days of the nation, with the daily practice of non-denominatinal prayers in Congress.

  • Joseph Jones posted at 5:19 pm on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    Joseph Jones Posts: 2

    The only "freedom" mentioned in the NT is freedom in God, spiritual freedom. God promises nothing in the way of physical well being. The death rate is and remains one per each person.

    Among the many schemes of rule over people, in descending sequence of quality/desirability for the governed, Plato locates your beloved "democracy" or "republican" form of government (alleged representative legislators) one place above fascism. So much for the value of democracy. So much for dying for democracy.

    For instance, Israel is a so-called "democracy", but only for Judaics, and not for Christians or Muslims or anyone of non-Rabbinical Talmud faith, in spite of its population being 80% self-proclaimed "secular".

    Re. the birth of the USA: the USA was born of sin and sin only. The NT commands believers to obey the King. The King can tax believers any amount he so chooses, and believers are stuck with only one thing, and that is to obey the King at all times (the only exception would be if the King commanded you to do something against God's commands, such as if the King commanded you to deny Jesus, you must disobey. But sadly, virtually no believers believe the command to give more to a thief than the thief requests, even when the King acts as a thief.

    Re. prayer, Mathew commands you to prey in your closet with the door closed. So believers: Please stop praying in public, and please stop demanding the King abide by your request. In this case the roles are reversed, and indeed you are commanding the King to allow you to do something you are forbidden to do.

    Re. war and killing: Feed your enemies. Love your enemies, even Bin Laden and all the rest. Love every single Muslim who demands to kill you and your family. Rev. states you will die by the same sword you live by. Even pagans love those who love them.

    Most of the blasphemies committed in God's name occur as a result of misunderstanding in the two Israel, physical and spiritual. As of 70AD the temple was forever destroyed, and God ushered in a new and better covenant. The Spirit of God is within those who believe, and ditto the temple. There is no more external temple.

    This belief in a physical temple leads to death, murder, mayhem and all of Satan's rich rewards. See John Ch 4: there is no more "worship" (Gk. proskuneo) in this mountain nor in the temple in Jerusalem. Nowhere in the NT is anything mentioned as absurd as a "worship service".

  • DL in DEN posted at 10:52 am on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    DL in DEN Posts: 3092

    I like the Ben Franklin reference.

    Seems to me that God *did* intervene, and he told them that He wanted to be left out of it.

    Mormons like to teach that the Constitution was divinely inspired. It was. That's why there's no "God" in the document.

    Why are all of you religionists trying to overturn the clear will of God?

    Seems pretty blasphemous to me.

  • FreedomWallace posted at 10:41 am on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    FreedomWallace Posts: 211

    I'm not going to argue this - though... I did just write a few paragraphs attempting - i decided to delete it. Scott- if this makes you a better person for believing this - then great! I'm so happy for you :) Live your life brother. Live your life so NO ONE will have to wonder what YOU believed in. Let your actions reflect it. Show me about your god with your actions...

    It's 2011 that's what i know for sure. I can't go back and talk to the founding fathers - but I can show that I am an American NOW who has the freedom to practice whatever I choose. Thanks for reminding me of this.

  • posted at 7:14 am on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.


    I get this message a lot around here. It's okay for you to practice other religions. But atheists are lower that pond scum.

  • pwb posted at 6:40 am on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    When the Daughters of the American Revolution asked that that line be added to the pledge of allegiance, they cited their source as Lincoln's Gettysburg address, which we all know was given four score and seven years after the founding fathers did their stuff.

  • pwb posted at 6:28 am on Sun, Jun 26, 2011.

    pwb Posts: 140

    That "one nation under God" line was added to the pledge of allegiance in the 1950s, and did not come from the founding fathers.


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