57 Percent of Republicans Want to Undo the American Revolution
America is a Christian nation. That’s an idea former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has harped on time and time again during his political career.
And while he didn’t explicitly talk about it today during his presidential announcement, it’s bound to pop up some time during his campaign.
That’s because most Republicans agree that America is a Christian nation. In fact, according to one recent survey, 57 percent of them actually want to establish Christianity as the official state religion of our Republic.
That’s right - 57 percent of Republicans want to turn our democracy into a theocracy! Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave.
The idea that America is some sort of “Christian nation” is so out of whack with the both the history of this country and the enlightenment values that inspired its founding that it just boggles the mind.
Despite what Mike Huckabee would have you believe, most of the most influential people who created this country -- Founding Fathers like Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin -- were not devout Christians, and many were actively hostile to religion having any role whatsoever in public life. But the Founders didn’t just believe that America should be a secular nation, they actively worked to make it one.
Thomas Jefferson, for example, was the main force behind Virginia’s famous 1786 “Statute for Religious Freedom,” which ended the Church of England’s role as Virginia’s official state religion and guaranteed other faiths an equal footing under the law.
Jefferson was so proud of this law that he made it, along with the founding of the University of Virginia and writing the Declaration of Independence, one of the three accomplishments listed on his tombstone. He designed and wrote his own tombstone, and considered the Virginia Statute to be more important than that he was president for two terms - something he omitted from his tombstone.
Jefferson’s friend James Madison, although a Christian, also worked to keep America secular. In 1811 he vetoed a bill that would have authorized government payments to a church in Washington, DC to help the poor, because as he put it, doing so “would be a precedent for giving to religious societies, as such, a legal agency in carrying into effect a public and civil duty."
The greatest Founding Father of them all, George Washington, was no friend to theocracy, either, and one of his landmark accomplishments as our nation’s first president was, in part, a rebuttal to the idea that America was a Christian nation.
The Treaty of Tripoli, worked out with the Muslim rulers of Libya under Washington's guidance and then signed into law by John Adams in 1797, reads:
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 tranquility of Musselmen,-- and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan 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.
But for Founders like Washington, Madison, and Jefferson, the fight against theocracy wasn’t just about what America was founded on, it was about what they wanted it to become.
As students of history who were just a few centuries removed from the great European religious wars, the Founders knew the threat theocracy posed to liberty. And as scholars of the Enlightenment, they saw organized religion as one of the many irrational tyrannies that were holding mankind back from a rational, democratic future.
Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense, even went so far as to write that, “Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny of religion is the worse.”
Only by remaining secular, the Founders believed, could America preserve its democracy. They were actually so serious about preserving this secular democracy that some of them didn’t want to let Massachusetts into the union because its political system was, for all intents and purposes, a Puritan theocracy.
Today, of course, Massachusetts is one of the most secular and, thus small-d democratic, states in the entire country. But that doesn’t mean threat of theocracy is gone. Far from it, actually.
The theocratic tyranny our Founders tried so hard to wipe out lives on in the modern day Republican Party, and in politicians like Mike Huckabee who repeat the lie that America was founded as, and thus always will be, a Christian nation.
In reality, America was founded as, and thus hopefully always will be, a secular nation. It's right there in the Constitution. "[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States" (Article VI), and, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." (First Amendment)
Let’s work to keep it that way, and reject the posturing and grandstanding of hucksters and hustlers like Huckabee. Both for our sake, our democracy’s sake, and our children's sake.
to the question of, "IF that's so, HOW did so many come to believe we ARE a Christian nation?" .... Kevin Kruse has a great well researched answer ... http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/opinion/sunday/a-christian-nation-since-when.html?_r=0
Thom, if Mike Huckabee becomes our next President of the United States, does that mean he will make me and others attend our local church every Sunday? I sure hope not, for Christ's sake...sorry, I had a traumatic childhood..... however, I did find CNN's documentary "Finding Jesus" rather interesting drama, though. Had the founding fathers been more "Christian", would there still have been slavery, and wasn't there slavery during Jesus' time as well?
If anyone is continuing to speculate about where Hillary stands on the issue of the Transpacific Partnership, the answers are just a click away.... so, where is that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who wants to “be your champion…” in regard to the Transpacific Partnership? She claims to be neutral on the Agreement but while serving as Secretary of State, she was in favor of the trade proposal but currently, claims neutrality: “Although Hillary Clinton went into great detail extolling the virtues of President Obama’s proposed trade agreements while serving as secretary of state, as a candidate for president Clinton has only offered vague statements about her current position on the deals. ” ...trade consultants close to Clinton remain optimistic about her support (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/24/tpp-proponents-close-hillary-clinton-remain-optimistic-will-support-controversial-trade-agreements/). [And by one more way of conversation, how does Hillary advocate and have respect for women’s rights, when her own husband violated her private and public space? The only way that Bill could make up for the national and personal embarrassment, was/is for his undying and unequivocal political support for her, as Hillary runs for POTUS, perhaps, the only thing that keeps those two committed to each other is the reason why she never publicly considered a separation/divorce from Bill Clinton.]
I will be writing a check for $100 to the senator from Vermont, who declared his presidential run last week… I am not contributing nor would be supporting Senator Bernie Sanders for president as a reason to get Hillary to move more to the political “left” but instead, supporting his candidacy for being on the correct side on the majority of the issues (at least for now), and he would probably be more than likely vindicated by history when we look back in 2020, to see that his kind of presidency was indeed right, after all.
Reply to #1: Right on, Stecoop! That Lafayette city councilwoman would have had me fuming, too. And I know just what you mean about how arrogant and hateful so many of the religious have become. Were I still in high school, or the parent of a high school student, I would have been a holy terror to those fucking creationists ramming their delusional fairy tale bull crap through high school biology courses! Hell, I would’ve done my utmost to sic the ACLU on those sanctimonious bastards. That shit belongs at HOME and in CHURCH; not in schools, courthouses or whatever have you. I don't even like "In God we trust" printed on our coins.
Liz, much as I share your serious doubts about Hillary Clinton as presidential material, I need to say one thing in defense of that gal. It is in response to that part of your post where you question Hillary's respect for women’s rights “when her own husband violated her private and public space”. Liz, that reflects on him, not on her! Bill is the person responsible for his own wrongdoing, not his wife. That is the one situation where my heart went out to Hillary, because it had to have been as hurtful to her personally as it was publicly humiliating. Nobody deserves that, Liz. I think she was smart not to unleash whatever emotions she had from that in the public arena. This bloodthirsty corporate media would have exploited every last drop of that drama. She was very smart to keep it under wraps, not throwing those vultures the smallest morsel of red meat. I think more of her for that, not less; and I certainly wouldn’t question her respect for women’s rights because of it. Her husband is the one who should be scrutinized or criticized over that… except for the obvious fact that Bill Clinton is no longer in office, making it a moot point at best. But it's still a point I needed to make, Liz. Hope you don't mind.
Huckabee's obsession with religion could very well be a sign of mental illness, seriously! Huckabee is every bit as marginal as Michele Bachmann who thinks the world is ending and Pope Francis is the antichrist. In fact religious extremists like Huckabee and Bachmann want to bring about the end times in Israel, so Christ will return and rapture them up to heaven.....not sure if they have to wait for a comet to catch a ride on or something...who the hell knows what they're really thinking????
In the end, the distracted by religion/57%, who obviously know nothing about world history, are still a potent Republican voting weapon....they're citizens who get played like a fiddle to vote against not only Christ's teachings, but the best interests of almost the entire population.
That the press gives unflinching attention to unstable candidates like Huckabee, and totally ignores Senator Sanders, the finest statesman this country has seen in a long long while, is further proof big money is in firm control.
"It does me no inquiry for my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods, or no God." Thomas Jefferson 1782
Quote stecoop01:20 years later, I'm still fuming about a Lafayette city councilwoman who, during a dispute about a natavity scene on city property, said: "If you don't like living in a Christian country, MOVE OUT!"
American Christians have become so arrogant and hateful in the last few decades, it's mind boggling how they can claim to be Christians. Have their lives gotten so shallow, all they have is their hatred and arrogance?
stecoop01 ~ Although I agree about separation of church and state as well as the hateful arrogance of the councilwoman in question, I disagree about the inappropriateness of the nativity scene during Christmas; and, this is why. Regardless of it being based on a "superstitious fairy tale" it is still the reason we celebrate the holiday. Thanksgiving is about turkeys and pilgrims, Halloween is about spooks and pumpkins, the 4th of July is about flags and fireworks, and Christmas is about Jesus and the Nativity. (Henceforth the name "Christ" + "Mass")
Would you prefer a corporate sponsored stranger dressed in white beard and a fat red suit with elves and flying reindeer who caters to commercial materialistic wants and lets your kid sit on his lap and tell him his secrets; or, a story with some kind of non-sponsored, moralistic meaning? For that matter, bring in all the religious 'excuses' for the holiday and make room for everyone. People have drawn from religion and history, for eons, excuses to take time off and party and I personally support every one of those excuses. If you outlaw the excuse, you have to either cancel the holiday or make up some other excuse.
These holiday celebrations are healthy not harmful. No one complains about Halloween. I don't' see a bunch of children growing up wanting to be ghosts, monsters, and fairytale princesses. At that age, everything the kids do is just a game for fun.
We bull shit kids for entertainment and educational value traditionally for centuries. We tell them about three little pigs who built their own houses; an old lady who lived in a shoe; a little girl who inadvertently burglarized a house owned by bears; a story about a puppet that came to life; superheros who can fly; talking dinosaurs; invisible fairies that magically turn baby teeth into money while you sleep; etc, etc, etc... Now, were going to get our panties all ruffled over a nativity scene on school property during Christmas. Seriously???
This is a free country. If you don't want your kid to celebrate Christmas just don't buy a tree or give them any presents. If you are going to take advantage of the opportunity you might as well acknowledge the legend that it is based on, whether or not you like it, approve of it, or believe it. If you really believe it's just a fairytale, well guess what, it's just one of many. Nobody is holding a gun to your kids head to pray to anything. It's just a prop for a holiday story. To them it's just a fun game with little meaning beyond what they are going to get under the tree. No harm done!
The real problem with these religious fanatics--where real harm really is done--is when they try to blatantly violate the Constitution by influencing lawmakers to pass laws that favor their beliefs instead of the public good. Let's stick with attacking that and leave the benign traditions for the children's enjoyment intact. Hell, at that age, that is all they have to look forward to.
Now that's just silly. Can you imagine how profoundly it would change America if the government based policies on Christ's teachings? My gosh, just think of what Christ said about our duties to legitimately aid the poor and to turn away from war! Jesus said that it would be easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. That's downright unAmerican. We revere our rich, and despise our poor. How about "welcoming the stranger," forsaking arrogance/elitism, etc., etc.? No, there is no room for Christianity in a corporate state.
I'm having a hard enough time trying to figure out the American "left," which so strongly believes in the corporate state that they think everyone can work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief.
How are these christian yo-yos any different from Isis or the taliban or any other "be like us or die" group? Were these people asleep in civics, social studies, history classes? America is a DEMOCRACY, not a theocracy, but is a hair's breadth from plutocracy.
DHBranski: You cannot understand the left, of which I proudly identify, which is NOT a fan of the corporate state nor an enemy of poverty relief (that's the conservatives--the people from the right who are NOT right/correct)--you must get your info from the shadow corporate blow-hards of your own kind who are paid MILLIONS (Rush and his ilk) to MISLEAD you about what the left is about. It's propaganda and you fall for it hook-line-and-stinker. They divide US so THEY can conquer. Wake the hell up! We ALL basically want the SAME things: to have a job that pays living wages, to have a safe place to live, to have access to safe food....
Excellent piece Thom ! As you mentioned, those who initially immigrated here from Britain, and Europe in general, had historical knowledge and quite possibly deceased family members who paid the ultimate price for many of the religious based crusades that left millions dead in Europe. Certainly those from Britain were quite familiar with the oppressive actions of the Church of England that strictly enforced church doctrine including mandatory church attendance. Unfortunately, the best that Jefferson and other secular members attending the convention to write the Constitution could do was to include a provision that no state sponsored religion shall exist. This was done to break through an impasse set up by the theists and sign the Constitution into existence, something that many felt had been intentionally delayed by Anglo factions for far too long ! Yet future efforts to slowly chip away at this provision have gone forward with all Religious groups being granted tax free status and, in the 1950s, a collection of subtle changes like mandatory prayer in public school, inclusion of the word GOD in the pledge of allegiance, and religious doctrine permanently etched on government buildings and printed on our currency ! All this was accomplished in an era of manufactured Cold War paranoia where various systems of economy such as Socialism and Communism were demonized as they sought to challenge the ongoing failures of Capitalism to equitably distribute the wealth of this country among the working population.
@ DHBranski; The American Left sold out to the Capitalist thirty years ago and progressive Democrats have became a permanent minority !
I always say, if you think your kids aren't getting enough religion, complain about their church, not their school (or government). It's not the school's or government's job.
excellent piece Thom.
well said 4,6,10,11
The "left"? You mean the right. They're the ones that want an Aligarcy.
You said today that the mainstream press was pretty much ignoring the Republican budget and Senator Sanders. The following stories appeared on pages 4 and 6, respectively, of the front section of our local paper (San Jose Mercury News) today:
(The stories don't seem to be on the Merc's web page but the same Bloomberg and AP articles can be found in many other places. They're not perfect presentations but they do put the issues in front of the public.)
Quote DAnneMarc:Although I agree about separation of church and state as well as the hateful arrogance of the councilwoman in question, I disagree about the inappropriateness of the nativity scene during Christmas;
I too do not have a problem with a nativity scene per se; the issue is that it was ON CITY PROPERTY, and they would not allow icons/scenes for other religions to be displayed along with the nativity scene. Clearly the objective was to show support for ONE religion, implying that the CITY government supported only ONE religion.
Do you remember the incident a year or two back when a congress woman from Alabama or Louisiana (one of those southern states) had a virtual melt down when she learned that school vouchers were being used for Muslim and Jewish schools? Again, an attempt at government support for only one religion - Christianity.
As a person who builds, among other items, (living room sized) nativity créche stalls, I have a stronger word than "arrogant."
They're just ignorant.
And while naturally, I'd be upset if my work could not be displayed for some technical reason(s), the idea of behaving any way near like that woefully spiritually, as well as civically misinformed . . . would be as far removed as Bethlehem from New England or Louisiana. From everything I've learned from Sunday School to college theology courses, Jesus would've never behaved in such fashion, save for the money changers in the Temple and the contempt given to Mary Magdalen when she used perfume to bath his feet. He turned the tables both times; but literally just once.
Just because it's a rare word, and therefore the mistake could snowball, I want to point out that it's "crèche", not "créche".
I send kudos to Marc and Elioflight for your excellent posts (#6 & #10), and tip my hat to you both. But stecoop, I still appreciate where you are coming from. In my realm of reality, nothing is more sacred that the separateion of church & state.
Huckabee and Bachmann apparently don't do their homework by studying information about their beliefs. They have to know about the following. This is what they believe in or do they? The revised King James version of the bible that was re-written by Cyrus Scofield for the Oxford Press and published in 1908 - 1920. Scofield supposedly was a minister whose character sounds to me like one of a "snake oil salesman". This guy was a criminal who had been jailed. He had two wives who divorced him for cruelty. He was hired by the Rothschilds who paid him to re-write this bible and include in it that Jews were the "chosen people" and that the "Armageddon" would occur in Israel where the "rapture" would happen and all followers would be ascended into heaven for an eternity magnificence. It is the first time ever that the word "Jew" ever appeared in any bible. The list of Scofield inclusions is endless but some of it include many things about women's behavior and hence the attack on women's rights spearheaded by Republicans at the behest of their Evangelical constituents. It is my understanding that this book was distributed to all Evangelical heads of church in 1920 who then distributed it to their followers and used and referred to it as Gospel without ever questioning any re-written part of it. The Government knows all about this I'm surprised they have allowed this fable - myth to continue for all the years that they have.
I Let's not forget that Huckabee's denomination and his religious beliefs are based strictly upon the Bible. There's no sense of Tradition, a teaching authority or "deposit of Faith" or a set of long-developed and well-honed documents which happen to be based on Scripture and, of course, some of the earliest documents forumlated by the "Founding Fathers" of Christianity, the original Patriarchs, the bishops and prominent other doctors. This gives Huckabee some cover to say just about anything he wants, wrap himself in Old Glory and take it from there. It's a flimsy cover, however. Because while he clings to the Bible, and supposedly the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, as his "authority" to make these sweeping religious pronouncements -- he overlooks the history behind them and the fact that while the original Founders were appealing to God, they were not doing so as an organized body, but as individuals seeking His guidance in their efforts to come together and form a logical defense of their arguments against the Crown. The governor is too much alike far too many of today's self-described "constituitonal originalist" conservatives who keep forgetting that we 're not living in the time of tri-cornered hats, frock coats and documents written on goat or some other animal-skin like documents. Time to move on and recognize we in a new century. And I'm writing this from the perspective a Catholic and as everybody knows, this is a Protestant nation founded to keep Catholicism in its place; or so as our past forefathers of the 17th and 18th centuries would liked to have made it permanently so. Anybody want to go back that far? In case our "originalist" friends get a little too heady, kindly remind them that slavery was protected by their heroes beliefs. Time for the governor to reassess how far back he wants to go to make his point ... without forgetting what John Adams, a very devout Congregationalist, wrote in his statement to the Barbary Pirates. Question is, whould Huckabee be willing to risk losing hostages to ISIS based on his long-stated hostility towards Islam and favoritism towards Judaism and Christianity?
Why do Christians want their religious beliefs turned into legislation? Because one gives up one's questioning mind, at least a large part of it, in order to accept the beliefs of religion, whichever one it happens to be, and the beliefs have to be proved true however the believers can, to take away the chance the beliefs could be questioned, that the believers could be wrong. It's just one of the effects of unrestrained and unexamined hubris.
Thom is correct. More should be made of the effects upon western civilization of the Thirty Years War, and the Enlightenment, which preceded the democratic revolutions against aristocracy.
20 years later, I'm still fuming about a Lafayette city councilwoman who, during a dispute about a natavity scene on city property, said: "If you don't like living in a Christian country, MOVE OUT!"
American Christians have become so arrogant and hateful in the last few decades, it's mind boggling how they can claim to be Christians. Have their lives gotten so shallow, all they have is their hatred and arrogance?