Feed on Posts or Comments 02 October 2014

Christianity Thomas on 01 Apr 2011 12:02 am

The dream of the religious right – indoctrination at gunpoint

Rather shocking, but not unexpected:

Mike Huckabee Says He Wants Americans To Be Indoctrinated At Gunpoint

Mike Huckabee states, “I almost wish that there would be, like, a simultaneous telecast, and all Americans would be forced–forced at gunpoint no less–to listen to every David Barton message, and I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.”

Who is David Barton?

In that video you will hear the idea that 29 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were seminary graduates. This is untrue:

Debunking “Beck U” — Faith 102 with “Professor” David Barton

“Barton cleverly uses the word ‘seminary’ to dupe his followers into thinking that 29 signers of the Declaration of Independence had theology degrees and were ministers, when in reality the word ‘seminary’ just means college, although its use today is almost always to refer to a theological seminary. The truth is that only four of the 56 signers of the Declaration went to college to study theology, and only two, John Witherspoon and Lyman Hall, stuck with it and became ministers, but Hall was booted out of his church for some moral indiscretion and decided to become a doctor instead of a minister. Of the other two, one became a lawyer and the other became a merchant.”

Much of what Barton says is untrue:

WallBuilders’ Shoddy Workmanship

Incredibly, Barton appears to have emerged undamaged even after admitting that many of his quotes are bogus, and he continues spreading incorrect information through the Religious Right’s media empire. During his most recent interview with Dobson May 2, Barton conceded that Thomas Jefferson’s famous 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists of Connecticut calls for a “wall of separation between church and state.” But Barton went on to claim that later in the letter Jefferson says separation “means the government will not run the church, but we will still use Christian principles with government.” In fact, Jefferson’s letter says no such thing. (For more information about this and other Barton errors, see “Sects, Lies and Videotape,” and “David Barton’s Bad History,” April 1993 Church & State magazine.)

111 Responses to “The dream of the religious right – indoctrination at gunpoint”

  1. on 01 Apr 2011 at 2:24 pm 1.Anti-Theist said …

    Its funny listening to these two grown men gleefully talking about their fairy tales; their like children gushing over Hairy Potter.

  2. on 01 Apr 2011 at 2:27 pm 2.DPK said …

    Wow, what happened to “Thou shalt not bear false witness?”
    Doesn’t say much for the point you are trying to make if you have to make up lies to convince folks, does it?

  3. on 01 Apr 2011 at 3:58 pm 3.DPK said …

    “Its funny listening to these two grown men gleefully talking about their fairy tales; their like children gushing over Hairy Potter.”

    What is not so funny is that at least one of these men stands a conceivable chance of being elected President of the United States one day.

  4. on 01 Apr 2011 at 4:02 pm 4.DPK said …

    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “

  5. on 03 Apr 2011 at 7:00 pm 5.Lightning Boy said …

    We can only hope Huck becomes president. Of course, I would take Bart Simpson in order to make the disaster in the White House at the moment jobless.

    But to Barton. Barton remains undamaged because everything he says is closer to the actual truth than what atheists attempt to sell. The only ones whining are atheist blogs but they whine over crosses on hills so this would be expected.

    When Huck gets all of you at gunpoint then you will be sorry :).

  6. on 03 Apr 2011 at 8:37 pm 6.TGHO said …

    @5 Lightning Boy,

    Ah yes, the true colours of a christian. “Kill those who don’t follow our religion, and enforce our beliefs upon everyone.” And yet you wonder why we atheists stand against you.

  7. on 03 Apr 2011 at 8:47 pm 7.Jynx said …

    “Barton remains undamaged because everything he says is closer to the actual truth than what atheists attempt to sell.”

    Such as?

  8. on 03 Apr 2011 at 11:54 pm 8.DPK said …

    Jynx.. lies are lies. Facts are facts. The fact it, he is not a stupid man. He knows full well that he is trying to deceive you into believing what he wants you to believe. What kind of Christian would deliberately try to mislead you? There is no such thing as “closer to the actual truth”. He tries to make you think that half of the signers were ministers, when in fact, only 2 were. He tries to make you believe that most of them studied theology by misrepresenting the word “seminary” when in fact only 4 actually studied theology.
    I can’t fathom that you think that is ok because he is “closer to the truth”. He is lying to you.

  9. on 04 Apr 2011 at 12:05 am 9.DPK said …

    Jynx,
    Sorry… I mistakenly attributed LighteningBoy’s ridiculous statement to you… sorry! My post above should have been directed at LB.

  10. on 04 Apr 2011 at 1:23 am 10.Louis said …

    Our blogmaster uses quotes from Chris Rodda to attempt to debunk the video. Well his problem is his source, Chris Rodda. She is a proven left-wing bigoted unqualified loon. Anybody who would listen to someone who was a guest of Olbermann must be nutty.

    http://ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com/2010/07/yes-chris-rodda-our-constitution-is.html

    Having read biographies on about 1/2 our founders, everything in the Huckabee video is for the most part accurate.

  11. on 04 Apr 2011 at 3:33 am 11.Observer said …

    It is astonishing that anyone tries to defend the cracker filth Barton. The buffoon never went to an accredited college. He is an anti-Semite nut job. The United States has really gone to hell. There is no intelligence.

    And who is this loser wank Louis? Did you mean you read half a biography about one of the founders of… “what was it?”

  12. on 04 Apr 2011 at 3:21 pm 12.Lou said …

    10.Louis said …

    “She [Chris Rodda] is a proven left-wing bigoted unqualified loon. Anybody who would listen to someone who was a guest of Olbermann must be nutty.”

    But anybody who would listen to someone who was a guest of Glenn Beck (or Beck himself for that matter) isn’t nutty?!

  13. on 04 Apr 2011 at 4:00 pm 13.DPK said …

    “Chris Rodda. She is a proven left-wing bigoted unqualified loon.”

    Typical tactic. If you can’t dispute the facts, attack the person.

    Exactly which of the signers were ministers Louis? Exactly which of them had theology degrees?
    (Not that it matters.)

    Epic Fail, Louis.

  14. on 04 Apr 2011 at 4:23 pm 14.A Romantic said …

    Yikes, I saw this Chris Rodda being interviewed. She never produces a fact but just goes on an anti-Christian rant. She never shares her qualifications either. She was perfect for Keith’s former show. I felt for both of his listeners.

    When you have an ideologue like Rodda, the truth is never in her corner. In reality the truth is somewhere in the middle and the fact is our roots, our laws and our freedom are very much found in Christianity, God and the Bible. That is without question regardless of Rodda and her rant.

    My proof is in any US History text published before 1950. Unlike Rodda, I bring facts.

  15. on 04 Apr 2011 at 4:46 pm 15.Anti-Theist said …

    #14

    Which biblical laws do we follow? What freedoms are granted us by the bible?

  16. on 04 Apr 2011 at 5:00 pm 16.Anonymous said …

    “[T]he fact is our roots, our laws and our freedom are very much found in Christianity, God and the Bible.

    Right, that’s why God is mentioned so many times in the U.S. Constitution and in the Declaration of Independence.

  17. on 04 Apr 2011 at 5:13 pm 17.Anti-Theist said …

    #14

    Again, which biblical laws do we follow? What freedoms are granted us by the bible?

  18. on 04 Apr 2011 at 5:26 pm 18.Joshua said …

    “Our blogmaster uses quotes from Chris Rodda to attempt to debunk the video. Well his problem is his source, Chris Rodda. She is a proven left-wing bigoted unqualified loon. Anybody who would listen to someone who was a guest of Olbermann must be nutty.”

    That is a picture perfect Ad Hominim argument. The only things you listed were qualities about the person, you said absolutely nothing about her arguments. It is lazy and cowardly to avoid the substance of a persons argument. Were you to actually address the arguments I would have more respect for you and consider your argument.

  19. on 04 Apr 2011 at 5:31 pm 19.DPK said …

    Barton’s premise that he is promoting seems to be that the Declaration and Constitution are founded and based on the book of Deuteronomy.
    Seriously, have you READ Deuteronomy? Where is says we should attack and kill every living thing in any nation that worships a different god?
    If that is truly our Nation’s founding principals, then no wonder the Muslim world hates us so.

  20. on 04 Apr 2011 at 5:37 pm 20.Joshua said …

    @ A Romantic 14

    “Yikes, I saw this Chris Rodda being interviewed. She never produces a fact but just goes on an anti-Christian rant. She never shares her qualifications either. She was perfect for Keith’s former show.”

    This is just an assertion. Without a link to the interview I have no way to determine if you are correct. If you want me to consider what you say I need you to provide the interview. Until then I do not believe you.

    “When you have an ideologue like Rodda, the truth is never in her corner. In reality the truth is somewhere in the middle and the fact is our roots, our laws and our freedom are very much found in Christianity, God and the Bible. That is without question regardless of Rodda and her rant.”

    The “truth” is whatever the facts support. I see no facts here so all you have is opinion. It does not matter if a person is an ideologue or not, what matters is if reality supports what they argue. I would listen and consider the argument of a right-wing ideologue because I am interested in determining reality. Since you came here with no facts I can safely assume that you don’t really care about reality, only with what feels good.

    If what you say is true and “our roots, our laws and our freedom” are from “Christianity, God and the Bible” surely you can demonstrate it to a poor ignorant person like me? Here is a Bible;
    http://www.biblegateway.com/

    Here is the Constitution;
    http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

    Put your money where your mouth is.

    “My proof is in any US History text published before 1950. Unlike Rodda, I bring facts.”

    You brought nothing.

  21. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:15 pm 21.DPK said …

    “the fact is our roots, our laws and our freedom are very much found in Christianity, God and the Bible.”

    Anytime some starts a statement with “The fact is…” without any evidence or proof, that’s a pretty good indication there is some serious B.S. to follow.

    “The fact is” you haven’t shown us any facts at all.

  22. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:37 pm 22.Anti-Theist said …

    #14

    Specifically , which biblical laws do we follow? What freedoms are granted us by the bible / god?

  23. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:41 pm 23.Anti-Theist said …

    I dont follow any of these;

    Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)

    Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)

    Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)

    Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)

    Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9) Have you ever done that?

    If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die. (Leviticus 20:10). I wonder if Dr. Laura would like that one to be enforced?

    If a man sleeps with his father’s wife… both him and his father’s wife is to be put to death. (Leviticus 20:11)

    If a man sleeps with his wife and her mother they are all to be burnt to death. (Leviticus 20:14)
    If a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and animal must be killed. (Leviticus 20:15-16). I guess you should kill the animal since they were willing participants. Are they crazy?

    If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be “cut off from their people” (Leviticus 20:18)

    Psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death. (Leviticus 20:27)

    If a priest’s daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake. (Leviticus 21:9)

    People who have flat noses, or is blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God (Leviticus 21:17-18)

    Anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community. (Leviticus 24:14-16)

    Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)

  24. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:42 pm 24.Boz said …

    Whoa, the atheist are out in full force today. After anlayzing the evidene we have Chris Rodda making accusations but providing no evidence.

    The accusations are that LB & Louis provided no evidence? I don’t see why they should. They already provided the same evidence as Rodda – none.

    In the 1892 Supreme Court ruling in Church of the Holy Trinity vs. U.S. (citing 87 precedents),

    “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of Mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”

  25. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:44 pm 25.Boz said …

    I did a search on Chris Rodda. It is obvious her qualifications are not impressive. They are not to be found.

  26. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:50 pm 26.Anti-Theist said …

    #24

    Who cares…?

    “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of Mankind.

    False

    It is impossible that it should be otherwise and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”

    False

    Only christians believe this silliness.

  27. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:56 pm 27.Anti-Theist said …

    #25

    So what? Atheists don’t need Chris Rodda to translate the constitution for us.

  28. on 04 Apr 2011 at 7:58 pm 28.Anti-Theist said …

    #14

    Why won’t you answer the question, which biblical laws do we follow? What freedoms are granted us by the bible / god?

  29. on 04 Apr 2011 at 8:23 pm 29.TGHO said …

    Hey, I did a search on “Boz” and couldn’t find his credentials either. Maybe that disqualifies him from commenting as well?

  30. on 04 Apr 2011 at 10:33 pm 30.Horatiio said …

    “In the 1892 Supreme Court ruling in Church of the Holy Trinity vs. U.S. (citing 87 precedents)”

    Boz, you win.

    Pay not attention to the great hairy oussie. He is a help desk jockey from down under.

    The revisionist are desperate but they can’t burn all the old history books, law books and school primers that all proclaim the US’s founding on God.

  31. on 05 Apr 2011 at 12:16 am 31.Joshua said …

    @ Boz 24

    “Whoa, the atheist are out in full force today. After anlayzing the evidene we have Chris Rodda making accusations but providing no evidence.

    The accusations are that LB & Louis provided no evidence? I don’t see why they should. They already provided the same evidence as Rodda – none.”

    I am not defending Chris Rodda, I am asking the visiting theists to back up their assertions. I am willing to entertain their arguments but they have to be willing to point out where they got their information so I can assess it for myself. This is why I put links to a bible and constitution earlier. If this country really was founded on religion as they say it should be trivial to show me why. Bringing up Chris Rodda is a distraction tactic.

    However, I am also willing to entertain the accusations against Chris Rodda. Point to a specific place where you say she provides no evidence and we can talk.

    “In the 1892 Supreme Court ruling in Church of the Holy Trinity vs. U.S. (citing 87 precedents)”

    First, let me thank you. This is what I have been asking the other commenter for. If anyone has an argument provide the evidence and then we can talk. Unfortunately this quote does not support your argument. First this quote is not from Holy Trinity vs. U.S. You can check for yourself;
    http://supreme.justia.com/us/143/457/case.html

    This actually from a case that came before the Illinois supreme court in 1883, Richmond v. Moore.
    I am having some trouble finding my own copy of the text of that decision, but the analysis that I have found indicates that the quote has been removed from the original context that shows that it means the exact opposite of what Barton is trying to claim.

    Source;
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/4/15/183044/837

    alternate discussion;
    http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=44;t=000802;p=0

    “Although it is no part of the functions of our system of government to propagate religion, and to enforce its tenets, when the great body of the people are Christians, in fact or sentiment, our laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. And in this sense, and to this extent, our civilization and institutions are emphatically Christian, but not for the purpose of compelling men to embrace particular doctrines or creeds of any church, or to support one or another denomination by public burthens, but simply to afford protection to all in the enjoyment of their belief or unbelief.”

    What the court is saying that that because the culture is overwhelming christian, the flavor of the laws tends to have a christian character through cultural contact. This character does not mean that the laws are based on christianity, but only that there will be cultural affects such as the dating convention of the time where “year of our lord” was used.

    In fact a bit earlier in the document in another quote (snopes link) the court even says, “Our government is unlike the British government, as that government combines the ecclesiastical and secular powers. Its constitution is based upon the union of church and State, and it claims and exercises the power to enforce the faith and doctrines of the established church, by statutes imposing penalties for failing to perform religious duties and requirements, and compelling all to contribute support to the State church; on the contrary, however, a total severance of church and State is one of the great controlling foundation principles of our system of government.”

    Like I said I am willing to consider the evidence of someone who could be described as a “right-wing ideologue” so if you want to dismiss this because it is from Chris Rodda you lose. Please don’t be a coward like other on this board, nothing replaces addressing arguments and main points.

    Any other examples you want to try?

  32. on 05 Apr 2011 at 12:25 am 32.Joshua said …

    @ Horatiio 30

    “The revisionist are desperate but they can’t burn all the old history books, law books and school primers that all proclaim the US’s founding on God.”

    Revisionists are those who alter the true context of history. I have a comment under moderation due to links that will demonstrate why Barton, and you through him, are the revisionists. If you can not point to the source material and specifically show why I am wrong, you lose.

    Just for now though perhaps you can explain why the treaty of Tripoli says what it does?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli

    “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 Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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”

    Unanimous ratification from the senate at the time too.

    Would you care to actually address points and arguments with actual arguments of your own for a change?

  33. on 05 Apr 2011 at 1:26 am 33.Horatiio said …

    Joshua

    You disappoint me. We were dealing with Islamic barbarians (Jefferson’s words) and this was an effort at appeasement. To best answer your question, read your own link! The GOVERNMENT is not founded on Christian religion (No state church). Relgion was a state issue. The nation is still founded on Christian principles.
    With that said, Article 11 is up for much debate. For more information look up”

    “Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers Vol 1″

    Maybe you could explain why The New England primer (the 2nd greatest seller behind the Bible in the day and the Blackstone law texts all uphold the Bible as ultimate authority?

    Maybe you could explain why you believe I agree with Barton on all his points? Much of what he declares is accurate (do you agree) but not all.

    Maybe you could explain Washington’s farewell address and the Supreme Court decision listed above? You just ignored that quote! Speaking of SCOTUS how about John Jay’s many quotes regarding our Christian founding?

    Maybe you could explain prayer in the Continental congress, holidays for Sunday school parades and the plethora of quotes from our founders regarding God and our heritage?

    You wasted you time with a bunch of links. I don’t chases rabbits but if you have any actual facts to share have at it. You have much explaining to do. I hope the exercise will give you some knowledge into out history.

  34. on 05 Apr 2011 at 1:31 am 34.Anti-Theist said …

    #14

    I thought not

  35. on 05 Apr 2011 at 3:03 am 35.Lou said …

    30.Horatiio said …

    “The revisionist are desperate but they can’t burn all the old history books, law books and school primers that all proclaim the US’s founding on God.”

    “The nation is still founded on Christian principles.”

    Please clarify your position. And how can a country be “founded on God?”

    The New England Primer – REALLY? That’s evidence that the US was founded on Christian principles? The DI and Constitution don’t support your claim, so now your desperation leads to this?!

    “[T]he 2nd greatest seller behind the Bible in the day.” Being a best seller legitimizes a book?

    SCOTUS and John Jay – please provide the SCOTUS rulings wherein Jay referred to the US being founded on Christianity. In one opinion he said “[T]he people are the sovereign of this country…” Note he didn’t say God or Christianity.

    “Maybe you could explain prayer in the Continental congress…”

    Maybe you can explain why prayer doesn’t work. Also, you all might want to to some reading about the The Franklin Prayer Myth and Barton.

    However, most of this is 100% irrelevant, because even if the US is founded on God or Christian principles, it is NOT a Christian country.

  36. on 05 Apr 2011 at 4:31 am 36.Joshua said …

    @ Horatiio 33

    Try reading comprehension.

    I said “I have a comment under moderation due to links that will demonstrate why Barton, and you through him, are the revisionists.”

    I ignored nothing.

    “The GOVERNMENT is not founded on Christian religion (No state church). Relgion was a state issue. The nation is still founded on Christian principles.”

    So you agree that Barton is full of crap. When he and others discuss the founding and talk about how the nation was founded on Christian principles they refer to the federal government, the constitution, and founding fathers constantly. To shift the goalposts and suddenly start talking state governments is to cede the point.

    You bring up an interesting issue that I am currently researching. What was the view of the founders concerning the states and religion? Once the fourteenth amendment passed the states clearly had to to follow the constitution, but prior to that how were they expected to behave? I am discussing the federal government here which is not founded on christian principals. A good site that I am using too research this at the moment is;
    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_liberty/overview.aspx?topic=rel_liberty

    If it was left to the states, that is no longer the case now that the 14th amendment requires the states to also be religiously neutral.

    Also the Wikipedia citation on the article 11 controversy cites David Barton! This is the guy under question at the moment so do you really expect me to accept this? Once the moderated comment goes through you will see what I mean. Thy guy is dishonest. The thing about wikipedia is that it is really useful as long as you know how to determine if the cited information is good.

    AS for your other stuff when I have something I argue I post a citation or a link. If you are not willing to do the same I will continue to not take you seriously. You can start with Washington’s farewell address and the John Jay quotes.

  37. on 05 Apr 2011 at 6:03 am 37.TGHO said …

    @ Joshua,

    Some comments here take a very long time to be moderated – I’d suggest re-writing to be honest (I still have a couple from Jan which have not gone through).

  38. on 05 Apr 2011 at 6:12 am 38.TGHO said …

    Here’s a couple of quotes from Justice Brewer, who wrote the case notes for Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States:

    “But in what sense can [the United States] be called a Christian nation? Not in the sense that Christianity is the established religion or the people are compelled in any manner to support it.”

    “Justice Brewer’s decision was not, therefore, any attempt to argue that the laws in the United States should enforce Christianity or reflect solely Christian concerns and beliefs. He was simply making an observation which is consistent with the fact that people in this country tend to be Christian.”

  39. on 05 Apr 2011 at 11:38 am 39.Ben said …

    “In the 1892 Supreme Court ruling in Church of the Holy Trinity vs. U.S. (citing 87 precedents),”

    The huge fact to note here is the 87 precedents. Take a moment to gather that in to the context. 87 precedents makes the decision undeniable.

  40. on 05 Apr 2011 at 4:17 pm 40.Boz said …

    Horatio you know your facts. The historical revisionist must change history in an attempt to indoctrinate others into their ideology. The only way to really connect with the founders and their intent is to review their actions through biographies and texts.

    The best method to do this is to study the history as closely to the events as possible. The biographies and texts of old will portray the truth more accurately When you do, you will find out who the true revisionist are in this game.

    Just as a majority of our courts no longer hold up the constitution, a majority of modern historians no longer present history with an unbiased eye.

    Even our president ignores the courts and continues Obamacare in spite of court rulings. Why shouldn’t historians just twist history to fit their own ideology?

  41. on 05 Apr 2011 at 4:54 pm 41.Lou said …

    38.Ben said …

    “In the 1892 Supreme Court ruling in Church of the Holy Trinity vs. U.S. (citing 87 precedents),”

    “The huge fact to note here is the 87 precedents. Take a moment to gather that in to the context. 87 precedents makes the decision undeniable.”

    Face it, you guys lose the argument. The very fact that you ignore the DI and Constitution makes it clear. When you rely upon the aforementioned case that occurred more than 100 years later, you are relying upon the judgments of people who did exactly as you do – revise history to support their own superstitious beliefs.

    While there’s no doubt that Christians played a role in founding the U.S., the DI and Constitution affirm that the U.S. is not a “Christian nation.”

    And why do you even care? You are free to practice your religion (at the expense of the taxpayers) BECAUSE OF THE DI AND THE CONSTITUTION.

    In Engel v. Vitale, the Court did, in effect, deny what your call an “undeniable” decision.

  42. on 05 Apr 2011 at 5:13 pm 42.Severin said …

    32 Horatio
    “The nation is still founded on Christian principles.”

    Can you list a few such princples for us, please?
    Just a few examples!

  43. on 05 Apr 2011 at 5:59 pm 43.JohnnyP said …

    Hor, Boz, et al…

    In addition to Severin’s request (#41), how about citing which biblical laws are not being followed in modern society that you would like to see enforced on all? Just out of curiosity…

  44. on 05 Apr 2011 at 9:57 pm 44.A said …

    Jesus did not usher in a political kingdom. But Christianity has been the single largest influence on western society. America’s Founding Fathers had the benefit of thousands of years of history to draw on when establishing their government. They could see what had failed in the past. There had been times when the state had absolute authority and persecuted the church. At other times the church had effective control of the state. The founders saw that neither of these extremes were ideal. They developed a system that stood the test of time. Observers everywhere generally agree that American’s Founding Fathers achieved a solid balance between church and state, one consistent with biblical concepts.

    In a ten-year study undertaken at the Univesity of Houston, researchers examined 15,000 documents from America’s founders and determined that 34% of the quotations came from the Bible, the highest by far of any source.

    Another important aspect to America’s constitution is that it has as its basis the distinctly Christian idea that man is basically sinful. Every one of our founding fathers understood this truth. It has been said that the 16th century Protestant reformer John Calvin, who is the theologian most associated with the biblical doctrine of man’s “depravity,” was the single most influential person to our Constitution.

    The result was that the founders built into the Constitution an elaborate system of checks and balances. This is evident in the horizontal plane of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. It is also evident in the vertical plane of federalism—states’ powers versus federal powers.

  45. on 06 Apr 2011 at 10:11 am 45.TGHO said …

    @43 A,

    “one consistent with biblical concepts”

    – incorrect. The bible clearly supports theocratic governments.

    “America’s constitution is that it has as its basis the distinctly Christian idea that man is basically sinful”

    – incorrect. Innocent until proven guilty is a core component of the US legal system. The bible is the opposite to this.

  46. on 06 Apr 2011 at 10:25 am 46.TGHO said …

    @ Boz & Ben,

    You misunderstand the context of “precedents” in a legal case sense. A precedent is simply a reference. It’s another case or document used by the judges to assist their decision. Reading the case notes, the precedents are as wide as the declaration of independance, the constitution (both of the US and states), and several other documents.

  47. on 06 Apr 2011 at 1:24 pm 47.Joshua said …

    @ TGHO 37

    I think I will do that. People get busy so I’ll adapt.

  48. on 06 Apr 2011 at 1:26 pm 48.Joshua said …

    I am splitting this in half due to linkage comment moderation.

    @ Boz 24

    “Whoa, the atheist are out in full force today. After anlayzing the evidene we have Chris Rodda making accusations but providing no evidence.

    The accusations are that LB & Louis provided no evidence? I don’t see why they should. They already provided the same evidence as Rodda – none.”

    I am not defending Chris Rodda, I am asking the visiting theists to back up their assertions. I am willing to entertain their arguments but they have to be willing to point out where they got their information so I can assess it for myself. This is why I put links to a bible and constitution earlier. If this country really was founded on religion as they say it should be trivial to show me why. Bringing up Chris Rodda is a distraction tactic.

    However, I am also willing to entertain the accusations against Chris Rodda. Point to a specific place where you say she provides no evidence and we can talk.

    “In the 1892 Supreme Court ruling in Church of the Holy Trinity vs. U.S. (citing 87 precedents)”

    First, let me thank you. This is what I have been asking the other commenter for. If anyone has an argument provide the evidence and then we can talk. Unfortunately this quote does not support your argument. First this quote is not from Holy Trinity vs. U.S. You can check for yourself;
    http://supreme.justia.com/us/143/457/case.html

  49. on 06 Apr 2011 at 1:27 pm 49.Joshua said …

    @ Boz 24 Continued…

    This actually from a case that came before the Illinois supreme court in 1883, Richmond v. Moore.
    I am having some trouble finding my own copy of the text of that decision, but the analysis that I have found indicates that the quote has been removed from the original context that shows that it means the exact opposite of what Barton is trying to claim.

    Source;
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/4/15/183044/837

    alternate discussion;
    http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=44;t=000802;p=0

    “Although it is no part of the functions of our system of government to propagate religion, and to enforce its tenets, when the great body of the people are Christians, in fact or sentiment, our laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. And in this sense, and to this extent, our civilization and institutions are emphatically Christian, but not for the purpose of compelling men to embrace particular doctrines or creeds of any church, or to support one or another denomination by public burthens, but simply to afford protection to all in the enjoyment of their belief or unbelief.”

    What the court is saying that that because the culture is overwhelming christian, the flavor of the laws tends to have a christian character through cultural contact. This character does not mean that the laws are based on christianity, but only that there will be cultural affects such as the dating convention of the time where “year of our lord” was used.

    In fact a bit earlier in the document in another quote (snopes link) the court even says, “Our government is unlike the British government, as that government combines the ecclesiastical and secular powers. Its constitution is based upon the union of church and State, and it claims and exercises the power to enforce the faith and doctrines of the established church, by statutes imposing penalties for failing to perform religious duties and requirements, and compelling all to contribute support to the State church; on the contrary, however, a total severance of church and State is one of the great controlling foundation principles of our system of government.”

    Like I said I am willing to consider the evidence of someone who could be described as a “right-wing ideologue” so if you want to dismiss this because it is from Chris Rodda you lose. Please don’t be a coward like other on this board, nothing replaces addressing arguments and main points.

    Any other examples you want to try?

  50. on 06 Apr 2011 at 1:45 pm 50.Lou said …

    48.Joshua said …

    “Like I said I am willing to consider the evidence of someone who could be described as a “right-wing ideologue” so if you want to dismiss this because it is from Chris Rodda you lose.”

    They ALWAYS lose this argument (and all the rest, for that matter). Why? Because they are wrong. The two main documents that created the U.S. are the DI and the Constitution. Neither of the those support their idea of a Christian nation. If anything, those support the idea that the U.S. is NOT a Christian nation. That’s why they keep referring to documents other than those two, as well as questionable histories of the founding fathers.

    And it really doesn’t matter if ALL the f.f. were hardcore Christian ministers, because the DI and the Constitution don’t reflect that. So that aspect of their arguments are moot.

    Why can’t they simply stay in their churches to praise god, proclaim their holy hosannas, read scriptures, sing hymns, pray – and leave everybody else alone? The DI and the Constitution give them that right and protect the rest of us from them imposing their religion on us. And if that’s not good enough, then why don’t they move to a “Christian nation?”

  51. on 06 Apr 2011 at 2:39 pm 51.Joshua said …

    @ A 44

    You continue the pattern of the typical right-leaning poster. I encourage you to be a better person and post sources to your claims so we can see for ourselves. I find that the side most likely to be correct is the one ready to point to sources, demonstrate facts, and engage over these sources. There have been several claims that one side is the one with the facts (A Romantic 14, Boz 40, You…) however since none of these, including yours, direct us to a source, I can accurately say you have no facts.

    I took the time to do your homework for you (I teach so I am used to calling out lazy students).

    Your first paragraph is a mix of reasonable statements and BS. I am not saying you are claiming this, but anyone who would say that christianity has not had an impact on the west would be crazy. However for you to claim that it had the biggest claim needs support. Personally I would find it more convincing that the Greeks and Romans had a bigger impact. The story of the last several hundred years is one of religion having less and less influence as human rights have improved. The enlightenment was a response to religion and while it certainly had some religious individuals involved the general story is one of removing religious authority from public life. The trend continues today as the countries with the best numbers when it comes to health and happiness are the among the least religious.

    This link discusses the issue and has citations on where the data comes from
    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=pzuckerman_26_5

    The constitution is on balance a document that is hostile to religion since it did the unheard of action of telling religion to keep it’s influence off of government actions. It has three religious references; The first amendment (one hostile and one beneficial), banning religious tests (hostile), and the dating convention (neutral). The success es of our system stem from the increasingly diminished role of religion in government that my link in #36 discusses.

    “Observers everywhere generally agree that American’s Founding Fathers achieved a solid balance between church and state, one consistent with biblical concepts.”

    I also offer you the same challenge that I did to A Romantic at #14. In my response to him in #20 gives him a constitution and a bible, demonstrate your claim. Until you attach a “why” to your “what” all you have is mere opinion, especially since you don’t even mention any of these observers and explain why I should accept their opinion.
    I can offer a counter example that shows why you are probably wrong. At least 8 of the 10 commandments are clearly unconstitutional. That is anything but “consistent with biblical concepts”.

    I find that the reason the challengers in this board never offer sources or arguments is because when I take the time to follow up on the little they give me they are full of crap.

  52. on 06 Apr 2011 at 4:08 pm 52.Lou said …

    43.A said …

    “America’s Founding Fathers had the benefit of thousands of years of history to draw on when establishing their government.”

    EXACTLY! That’s why they kept religion out of government and specifically expressed that it should excluded.

    “Observers everywhere generally agree that American’s Founding Fathers achieved a solid balance between church and state, one consistent with biblical concepts.”

    Except that they didn’t. The Constitution clearly allows for what that bible calls false gods.

    “In a ten-year study undertaken at the Univesity of Houston, researchers examined 15,000 documents from America’s founders and determined that 34% of the quotations came from the Bible, the highest by far of any source.”

    Your point being?

    “Another important aspect to America’s constitution is that it has as its basis the distinctly Christian idea that man is basically sinful.”

    Specify.

  53. on 06 Apr 2011 at 6:16 pm 53.Joshua said …

    @ A 44 Continued…

    “In a ten-year study undertaken at the University of Houston, researchers examined 15,000 documents from America’s founders and determined that 34% of the quotations came from the Bible, the highest by far of any source. ”

    Like I said earlier you provide no source. Here is a page where this is discussed. It is a study by a Donald Lutz that was published in 1984.
    http://uncommonliberty.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-much-did-founders-quote-bible.html

    Long story short, whoever you got this information from was dishonest in representing the study.

    The longer explanation is that “the actual topic of the article is not biblical influence on the Founders, but, as the title says with admirable clarity, ‘The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late Eighteenth-Century American Political Thought.’”

    When you look at authors use of those documents, only 916 of the documents had citations counted. Of those 916 less than half of those contained a biblical citation. When you look at the substance of those citations the author was not claiming that the founders were using the citations to support anything, only that they were there. In fact James Hanley points out in the link that during the time that the constitution was being written and debated the founders never cited the bible once! Biblical citations even went down in general during this period!

    I am not saying that you should take Mr. Hanley’s word for it. By all means look into this for yourself. In fact if you find a response to this analysis I would love to see it. But what is in the link above is far more useful than I have ever seen from the right, Mr. Barton included.

    Given how monumentally bad this was I will not even consider your following paragraphs without a source from you.

  54. on 06 Apr 2011 at 6:40 pm 54.Joshua said …

    @ Lou 48

    “Why can’t they simply stay in their churches to praise god, proclaim their holy hosannas, read scriptures, sing hymns, pray – and leave everybody else alone? The DI and the Constitution give them that right and protect the rest of us from them imposing their religion on us. And if that’s not good enough, then why don’t they move to a “Christian nation?””

    The have to do it because their bible commands them to try to convert us and minimize our affect on their lives due to magic “fallen/sin rays” or demons or spiritual stuff that they never demonstrate. I just always expect a fight and try to be ready for it. They have to do this so I try to be ready to discuss if they are willing, or fight back as in as brutal a rhetorical a fashion as I have to. They keep at it because they are mostly tribalistic authoritarians who are encouraged to “just believe” and treat politics, history, and science like they treat religion.

    Also there is no “Christian nation” in the sense that they think of it so they have to try to make one. It is only acknowledging reality to fact the fact that non-christians and especially non-believers have to be ready for a fight. We can only hope that it remains verbal and political.

    99% of the time when I finally get one of them to give me a source it turns out like the above comment I made. If one of them manages to demonstrate similarly that I am wrong I will change my views. One example of this is the reading I am trying to do concerning the states and religion prior to the fourteenth amendment. If the evidence indicates that the states had the power to make little theocracies until the fourteenth amendment I will accept it. Fortunately we do have that amendment now so even if we did have a “Christian founding” from a state perspective, the reality now is that government has to keep religion out of decision making and be even handed in how the treat religion and non-religion.

  55. on 06 Apr 2011 at 7:57 pm 55.Lou said …

    53.Joshua said …

    “The have to do it because their bible commands them to try to convert us and minimize our affect on their lives due to magic “fallen/sin rays” or demons or spiritual stuff that they never demonstrate.”

    My question was a rhetorical one, but I appreciate your response. However, I think for most of them the real reason is that they can’t comprehend and/or accept that there is no god, so they must attack what they perceive as an attack on their security blanket. Furthermore, they don’t follow the majority of scripture, so why this aspect of it?

  56. on 06 Apr 2011 at 8:02 pm 56.Lou said …

    52.Joshua said …

    “Long story short, whoever you got this information from was dishonest in representing the study.”

    “Given how monumentally bad this was I will not even consider your following paragraphs without a source from you.”

    Maybe 43.A is Barton! Same M.O.

    LOL!

  57. on 06 Apr 2011 at 8:38 pm 57.Boz said …

    LOL, Joshua claims to quote sources but he picks and chooses his sources to fit his preconceptions. I mean links to blogs and secular humanist sites are going to provide their own spin. Hey, I will just provide a link to Barton!! Then I will throw in some links to Christian heritage websites. LOL!

    Give me a break. You are so silly.

    Joshua, do you want to be taken seriously? Go and do some real reading and study. They are called books they come in the form of biographies and texts. You obviously have a lot of time on your hands considering all of your posts. Be productive. We who do not provide links to websites realize that any perspective on our founding can be backed by a link.

  58. on 06 Apr 2011 at 8:50 pm 58.Lou said …

    “56.Boz said

    “LOL, Joshua claims to quote sources but he picks and chooses his sources to fit his preconceptions. I mean links to blogs and secular humanist sites are going to provide their own spin. Hey, I will just provide a link to Barton!! Then I will throw in some links to Christian heritage websites. LOL!”

    OK, then please provide evidence of 43.A’s claim:

    “In a ten-year study undertaken at the Univesity of Houston, researchers examined 15,000 documents from America’s founders and determined that 34% of the quotations came from the Bible, the highest by far of any source.”

    Is true and correct, rather than as disputed at http://uncommonliberty.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-much-did-founders-quote-bible.html

  59. on 06 Apr 2011 at 8:59 pm 59.Lou said …

    56.Boz said …

    “LOL, Joshua claims to quote sources but he picks and chooses his sources to fit his preconceptions.”

    Exactly, Josh! Why don’t you quote some real text from a real book, for example, the Bible?!

    LOL! indeed.

  60. on 07 Apr 2011 at 12:45 am 60.Joshua said …

    @ Boz 57

    “LOL, Joshua claims to quote sources but he picks and chooses his sources to fit his preconceptions. I mean links to blogs and secular humanist sites are going to provide their own spin. Hey, I will just provide a link to Barton!! Then I will throw in some links to Christian heritage websites. LOL!”

    Funny.

    I pick my sources because they actually discuss the issue and cite the original sources. Mr. Hanly in the link discussing the 15,000 documents actually cited the work under discussion. The humanist site cited the links to the reports comparing religious and more secular societies. The difference between you and me is I want to talk about the data and the evidence to figure out what the world is really like.

    You make excuses.

    For example you point to spin. Welcome to reality. Everyone has an agenda and everyone spins. The way to handle it is to admit your biases so that your opponent/readers can take it into account and look for intentional and unintentional spin. The honest person wants his opponent to know his bias so they can take it into account and thanks the other person when they demonstrate where they were unconsciously unfair or dishonest so that they get better at discussing issues and trying to make the world a better place. The dishonest person pretends to be “fair and balanced” and points to spin and bias as an excuse because they are lazy and don’t really want to figure out what reality is really like. They just want to believe what they want to feel better about the world.

    Like I said above I am willing to listen to someone on the political right, but they have to be willing to give me evidence to consider. If you want to give me a like to Barton or a christian heritage website to discuss a specific issue I would be more than willing to consider it. Because I am honest about learning about the world, unlike you.

    “Joshua, do you want to be taken seriously?”

    Says the person making excuses (you @ 57), avoiding the points of folks willing to respond to them with substance (me and you @ #48), unwilling to admit reality when it is clearly not what they want it to be (me showing you that your quote was not in the case your source cited and was dishonestly spun), and that is just this blog post. Hell man, I even thanked you for being one of the very few to actually try to discuss evidence. You are pathetic, but this is what I have come to expect from guys like you. I’ll let the reader decide who the serious one is.

    “Go and do some real reading and study. They are called books they come in the form of biographies and texts. You obviously have a lot of time on your hands considering all of your posts. Be productive. We who do not provide links to websites realize that any perspective on our founding can be backed by a link.”

    Says the person posting random dishonest and factually incorrect quotes. If we got hardcore enough to go and dig out book quotes that would be fine if you were someone I actually trusted to have an honest discussion at this point.

    You do know that there are a lot of books on this thing called the internet now right? And most journals, newspapers, and other organizations who like to talk about reality put data online? All the websites that I linked to actually provided sources to the original data that give as good information as a book. Studies analyzing religiosity by country and looking for patterns in health and happiness are right there on the web. Texts of court cases over one hundred years old right there on the web. If I need a book to get a piece of info for an argument I am more than happy to, when I need it.

    But then I only said the above to rub it in. I think that by now I really know why you want me to waste time on a book source when I don’t need to. It’s just another excuse to avoid the substance and be lazy, dishonest and interested in what feels right rather than what is real. You don’t want to look at the differences between the US and other more religious western nations vs. the more secular ones. You don’t want to know if your crappy court quote is real. You just want to assume it and make me waste my time on a book when it is unnecessary so you can avoid doing the real hard work to see if what you believe IS real.

    I do this for fun, to make myself better, and to make the world better so don’t make yet another excuse by implying that I am wasting my time. As if folks couldn’t just write a book on whatever they wanted just like they can make a website. It’s not the words that lets me figure out what is real, it’s the understanding and discourse among lots of honest humans using the words. Which is of course why you don’t matter among that group.

    But that can change, it’s up to you.

  61. on 07 Apr 2011 at 2:41 am 61.Scott said …

    Undeniable truth that America is a Christian nation. It is documented and since humanist links are legitimate, this document should be easily acceptable. I reject the obvious desire to revise history on this matter. It is as though our heritage is something that should be feared and reviled, and so it must be denied. An Orwellian trait to be sure.

    http://www.swiftcreekbaptistchurch.com/Sermons/Psalm033_12The%20Founding%20of%20a%20Christian%20Nation.pdf

    http://www.coralridge.org/equip/10TruthsSeries/10%20Truths%20About%20Americas%20Christian%20Heritage/truth-5.aspx

  62. on 07 Apr 2011 at 9:49 am 62.TGHO said …

    @60 Scott,

    Wow, bias much? Did you even read Joshua’s post at #59?

    Those links you post are to christian revisionist sites. They have no actual historical context.

  63. on 07 Apr 2011 at 2:05 pm 63.Lou said …

    60.Scott said …

    “Undeniable truth that America is a Christian nation.”

    But that truth is absent from the DI and Constitution. Go figure.

  64. on 07 Apr 2011 at 8:11 pm 64.Horatiio said …

    Scott,

    Good links with good sources. I enjoyed the read. You can expect the revisionist to call you revisionist. Some will even call the creator in the DI their parents. lol! The Christian/Biblical founding of the US is undeniable but so is a created universe.

    Ironically when I travel to Russia, Thailand and Costa Rica even they refer to us as a Christian nation.

  65. on 08 Apr 2011 at 12:53 pm 65.Joshua said …

    @ Scott 61

    Hi Scott!

    I will take a closer look at those and try to give a good response as soon as I can. Since you are the first person I have seen post something of serious substance it may take a bit longer.

    A few thoughts.

    One strike against you which I have to watch out for when I look at your sources is that you just post and run. When I post a source I say what it says in my own words. When I do this it shows that not only do I have a support for my views, but also that I understand what I have read, and more importantly I can explain it to others. Right now I have no reason to believe that you are doing more than taking two seconds to post whatever you feel like with no effort to make sure that you understand what you are linking to.

    Many other atheists/skeptics have a policy of refusing to engage with folks who just post some links and do not make even a token effort of saying why the link supports them. This is because it is unfair to expect the person you are trying to convince to do all the work. You should understand what you believe well enough to guide the person trying to assess your argument. I agree with this policy, but in this instance am willing to do something differently because so few have posted anything more than a crappy quote.

    In return I ask one thing. Your second link is riddled with numbers that seem to be citations, but does not show where the citations that they refer to are located. I would like you to show me where the citations are listed so that I do not have to waste my time hunting for them.

  66. on 08 Apr 2011 at 1:17 pm 66.Lou said …

    63.Horatiio said …

    “Some will even call the creator in the DI their parents. lol!”

    It is 100% irrelevant what they call it because the DI did not call it GOD.

    “The Christian/Biblical founding of the US is undeniable…”

    But somehow GOD and Christianity are undeniably absent from the DI and the Constitution.

    “…but so is a created universe.”

    Oh brother! Now Christians are taking responsibility for the creation of the universe.

    “Ironically when I travel to Russia, Thailand and Costa Rica even they refer to us as a Christian nation.”

    So what? The weakness of your position is even more obvious when you resort to anecdotal evidence like that to support it.

  67. on 08 Apr 2011 at 1:40 pm 67.Joshua said …

    “My question was a rhetorical one, but I appreciate your response.”

    I know. I just thought the discussion might go into an interesting direction ;).

    “I think for most of them the real reason is that they can’t comprehend and/or accept that there is no god, so they must attack what they perceive as an attack on their security blanket. Furthermore, they don’t follow the majority of scripture, so why this aspect of it?”

    My take on it is that there are a lot of factors that make this occur and I am generalizing so from one christian to another there will be differences.

    I think that most of them really believe there is a god and they really believe “what the bible says” (when they agree). The problem is that they have poor skills at figuring out what is real and bad mental habits that reinforce the problem.

    They first believed because their parents did which is not a bad thing (the geographical distribution of religion suggests this). Until they are old enough to be independent there is a good reason children should trust their parents. It is a good instinct that served our ancestors well when children had to stay safe. When they grow up the idea of god takes advantage of this same instinct because god nicely replaces parents. I think of this as the family “Just believe no matter what”.

    When the young christian is old enough they don’t have much experience at trying to find out for themselves what is real in any context, not just religion. They tend to be raised in families that do not encourage following rules and beliefs with out explanation or question and this gets internalized.

    This is compounded by the church community that is usually full of social and mental structures that have the effect of preventing any analysis of why they believe what they believe and if there is good evidence for it. Such structures include;
    *People that assume their beliefs prior to having enough evidence due to accepting from tradition.
    *Social isolation that prevents any exposure to competing views and arguments.
    *Authoritarianism in general such as encouragement to trust what the pastor or other elders say if they have doubts and “have faith” (translate: just believe anyway).
    *Use of “fill in the blank” magical thinking that just makes them feel better about it when they have bad reasons. For example trusting a visiting creationist just because they are “christian” and assuming that the unknown christian will not take advantage of them. This also occurs with priests that become molesters, and those prosperity gospel criminals.
    *Tribalism which acts similar to authoritarianism (supporting a convicted pedophile priest despite evidence of guilt because he is part of the group).
    *Use of enormous amounts of logical fallacies that like most logical fallacies have the affect of allowing the person to reject arguments and evidence outright with or without consideration.
    *Compartmentalization that allows them to act one way when choosing a plumber or surgeon, and another when dealing with scientific evidence or experts who describe the current views in fields.
    *Other things that I have forgot for now that have the effect of preventing accurate assessment of evidence, avoiding assessment of evidence, and preventing oneself from going where the evidence leads.

    Just for fun I might turn this into a comprehensive checklist of problems and descriptions of why they are problems that could make a good skeptical pamphlet.

    I was raised in this environment but had an intense love of science books from a young age. So I was fortunate enough to maintain a respect for evidence that eventually led me to where I am now.

  68. on 08 Apr 2011 at 1:50 pm 68.Joshua said …

    “But somehow GOD and Christianity are undeniably absent from the DI and the Constitution.”

    I second Lou.

    Re-posting my challenge.

    Here is a Bible;
    http://www.biblegateway.com/

    Here is the Constitution;
    http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html

    Put your money where your mouth is.

    While I am willing to look at arguments for a christian founding, the fact that no one is drawing links between the bible and the constitution is telling.

    It is also telling that the misunderstood study by Lutz above found that the federalists NEVER cited the bible and bible references in political documents declined during that period. It is also telling that a Barton citation turns out to be the opposite of what it is claimed and other quotes from the court decision have the same judge explicitly saying that the US is not founded on christianity.

    I am going to look at Scotts link, but given the above I am not expecting much. Especially since those links also cite Barton. The man is just dishonest and misleading.

  69. on 08 Apr 2011 at 2:17 pm 69.Anti-Theist said …

    Atheists…

    This is better than any theist here will give you; hope you have as much fun dismantling their lies as I did. That is of course, only if you genuinely wanted to be challenged.

    http://www.faithfacts.org/christ-and-the-culture/the-bible-and-government

  70. on 08 Apr 2011 at 2:51 pm 70.Anti-Theist said …

    #68

    If I may submit a contribution…

    The Mayflower Compact has nothing to do with American law. It was a governing document of the Plymouth Colony. The official date of the proclamation ending the existence of Plymouth Colony was October 17, 1691. The United States didn’t declare its independence until July 4, 1776.

  71. on 08 Apr 2011 at 6:10 pm 71.Ben said …

    Great link that proves the Christian Heritage of America. Be aware of your heritage so that the revisionist cannot rewrite it.

    http://www.jeremiahproject.com/culture/heritage.html

  72. on 08 Apr 2011 at 6:41 pm 72.Anti-Theist said …

    #70

    Great! Another site Atheists can pick apart as untrue, opinion based, or hypocritical.

    For example “the First Amendment, its implication is not there to protect Americans from religion, it is there to protect religious Americans from the government” is untrue. The first amendment protects all Americans beliefs from government intrusion.

    Another example would be your hypocritical use of Patrick Henry to defend your views on the constitution when he opposed its fabrication.

  73. on 08 Apr 2011 at 6:43 pm 73.DPK said …

    I don’t get the point of this. So what?
    If our nation was founded by volcano worshiping pagans, that doesn’t mean we are bound to that as a nation.
    The fact that other countries think of us as a “christian nation” means zero. They also call us the Great Satan. Doesn’t make it so.
    Let me say again, our founding fathers were all white, male, land owners. Some of them were slave owners. What are we to conclude from that?
    The principal of keeping church and state at arms length from each other is one that is well founded and supported in law, is smart, and has served us well. Which of the current nations that are theocracies would you hold up as an example of how a government should be run? Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen?
    What would be your point of having the US declared a “Christian Nation”? To have the hundreds or thousands of different christian sects and denominations then fight over which “kind” of Christianity we are? Please.

  74. on 08 Apr 2011 at 7:47 pm 74.Lou said …

    70.Ben said …

    “Great link that proves the Christian Heritage of America. Be aware of your heritage so that the revisionist cannot rewrite it.”

    OMG, funny stuff! For example:

    “many liberals today want to alter America’s Christian heritage and replace it with the 10 Planks of Communism.”

    So what if some liberals want to do that? The Muslims here want to replace it with Sharia Law. Isn’t going to happen.

    “One reason we have lost so many of our religious freedoms…”

    Utterly ridiculous. What religious freedoms have been lost!

    “Words like duty and honor and country have fallen out of vogue…”

    Absolute nonsense.

    “[N]o knowledgeable historian of early American history can deny the fact that the concept of a Creator God who endowed His creation with “unalienable rights” was an essential underpinning of the American experiment.”

    One needn’t be a “knowledgeable historian” to read the DI and discover that it DOES NOT include “Creator God.”

    “We have allowed organizations like the ACLU to strip away every vestige of our Christian heritage for long enough.”

    The ACLU can’t strip away anything that’s a law. What the ACLU can do is assist in the prevention and removal of laws that force any religion, including Christianity, upon the citizens of the U.S. That’s a good thing, something the F.F. wanted by providing a Constitution that allows it to happen.

  75. on 08 Apr 2011 at 7:52 pm 75.Anti-Theist said …

    #72

    Potentially the most proficient premise possible pertaining to the protagonist’s postulation.

    Sorry…

  76. on 08 Apr 2011 at 7:55 pm 76.Horatiio said …

    Ben

    A good point on the ACLU and the 1st amendment. Groups like these who protect liberties THEY determine are liberties are dangerous groups.

    I feel on coming on, LOL! Can you imagine how many lawsuits they would have brought against the government, schools and universities in 1800? That tells you all you need to know about the ACLU.

  77. on 08 Apr 2011 at 7:57 pm 77.Anti-Theist said …

    “In the Constitution of the Soviet Union, however, the doctrine of the separation of Church and State is found: “In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the State, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of antireligious propaganda is recognized for all citizens” (Article 124). Article Twelve of the 1918 Soviet Constitution decrees that no church or religious organization “shall enjoy the rights of judicial person.” Instruction of children under age 18 in religious matters, whether in public or private, is against the law.”

    Yes please!!!

  78. on 08 Apr 2011 at 9:05 pm 78.Lou said …

    75.Horatiio said …

    “Ben

    A good point on the ACLU and the 1st amendment.”

    What point did Ben make about the ACLU and the First Amendment?

    “Groups like these who protect liberties THEY determine are liberties are dangerous groups.”

    Except that they don’t – the ACLU doesn’t determine anything that you described.

    “I feel on coming on, LOL! Can you imagine how many lawsuits they would have brought against the government, schools and universities in 1800? That tells you all you need to know about the ACLU.”

    The only definite thing it indicates is that the ACLU wasn’t in existence in 1800. Do you have any relevant point in this regard?

  79. on 08 Apr 2011 at 9:28 pm 79.Xenon said …

    Hor

    I could see the ACLU in the first week walking into President Washington’s’ office and informing him that he and the congress were violating the constitution by praying and Bible reading. Then they would move right down to the school house down the street and begin litigation against the school for religious based curriculum, prayer and Bible in the classroom.

    Nope, would not be any surprise.

  80. on 08 Apr 2011 at 10:53 pm 80.TGHO said …

    @78 Xenon,

    Actually sounds pretty reasonable to me.

  81. on 08 Apr 2011 at 11:01 pm 81.DPK said …

    “I could see the ACLU in the first week walking into President Washington’s’ office and informing him that he and the congress were violating the constitution by praying and Bible reading.”

    Sounds like the AMA arriving at Harvard Medical School in 1783 and denouncing bloodletting as an approved treatment. Imagine the horror!
    Sounds like progress to me… need to build me a time machine.

  82. on 08 Apr 2011 at 11:16 pm 82.TGHO said …

    @80 DKP,

    Think of how far much futher advanced the US (and the world) would be if all that religious nonsense had been left by the wayside in the 1700′s.

  83. on 10 Apr 2011 at 3:24 pm 83.Joshua said …

    I’m going to post an analysis of scotts’ first link tomorrow. It’s basically misrepresentation, a couple of false quotes, a bunch of real quotes used in ways that do not support the authors point, reading things into random events… you get the point. They also use the “15,000 quotes” garbage that I trashed above. A fun exercise and more examples to go into my data files.

  84. on 10 Apr 2011 at 6:35 pm 84.Rostam said …

    “walking into President Washington’s’ office and informing him that he and the congress were violating the constitution by praying and Bible reading.”

    That is a good one. I think the attitude would be more of “the constitution is irrelevant we know better”. I am only guessing but since that is the attitude today I can only reason that would be the attitude then as well.

    Lenin declared they would take us without firing a shot. He now looks like a prophet.

  85. on 10 Apr 2011 at 8:38 pm 85.TGHO said …

    @83 Rostam,

    Again, as has been pointed out to you several times, communism and atheism are not the same things.

  86. on 10 Apr 2011 at 8:45 pm 86.DPK said …

    Yeah, lemme try to follow your reasoning.
    Lenin was a communist.
    Lenin was an atheist.
    Therefore, all atheists are communists?

    hmmm.

    Mitt Romney is a Republican.
    Mitt Romney is a Mormon.
    Therefore, all Republicans are Mormons.

    Don’t see anything wrong with that conclusion, Rostam?

  87. on 10 Apr 2011 at 8:47 pm 87.DPK said …

    Sorry, third line should have read,
    “All Mormons are Republicans”. Uh, maybe they are???

  88. on 10 Apr 2011 at 9:07 pm 88.Thomas said …

    Communism is simply a subversive political and economic organization which utilizes atheism as the state religion.

  89. on 11 Apr 2011 at 2:12 am 89.Burebista said …

    How in the wide world of sports do they get

    “communism and atheism are not the same things.”

    out of post #83? Neither subject was mentioned by Rostam.

    TGHO and DPK are a complete mess.

    Thomas,

    You definition is perfect. Marx would deify you.

  90. on 11 Apr 2011 at 8:48 am 90.TGHO said …

    @87 Thomas,

    Incorrect. Communism is a (now failed) economic theory which proposes that the humans within must be 100% focused upon the success of the State. It replaces religion with state worship, basically the “Church” is replaced with the “State”.

  91. on 11 Apr 2011 at 8:52 am 91.TGHO said …

    @88 Burebista,

    “How in the wide world of sports do they get
    “communism and atheism are not the same things.”
    out of post #83?”

    – easily. Rostam conflagrated the stopping of bible readings and prayer with Lenin. It’s a straight forward logical conclusion from his argument.

    You’re going the same way with your claim of “Marx would deify you”.

  92. on 11 Apr 2011 at 11:53 am 92.A said …

    Atheism is a (now failed)belief system which proposes that the humans within must be 100% focused upon the success of humans. It replaces religion with self worship, basically the “Church” is replaced with the “Self”.

    That was s simple exercise in manipulation.

    Since when did communist ask the proletariat to worship them? Is the state a deity? No it is not. Therefore it an atheistic derived system.

  93. on 11 Apr 2011 at 2:49 pm 93.Severin said …

    91 A
    “Atheism is a (now failed)belief system which proposes that the humans within must be 100% focused upon the success of humans. It replaces religion with self worship, basically the “Church” is replaced with the “Self”.”

    Atheism is lack of belief. Atheists DO NOT believe in god(s). It applies to all imaginable gods.
    How can disbelieving replace religion?

    I am an taheist, and:
    - I do not believe in god
    - I am not a communist
    - I do not worship myself (far of it!), but I also do not worship anyone/anything

    How did you come to your glorious “conclusions”?
    Could you somehow support them, or you will just keep spreading empty claims?

    I DO agree that atheists are (mostly) focused to humans, and don’t see anything bad in it.
    They don’t lose their resources on thought up bullshits.

  94. on 11 Apr 2011 at 3:20 pm 94.Severin said …

    88 Burebista
    “How in the wide world of sports do they get

    “communism and atheism are not the same things.””

    How did you get they are?

    I would like to see your arguments!

  95. on 11 Apr 2011 at 3:25 pm 95.Severin said …

    87 Thomas

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communism
    1
    a : a theory advocating elimination of private property b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed
    2
    capitalized a : a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics b : a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production c : a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism
    Communism is a sociopolitical movement that aims for a classless and stateless society structured upon common ownership of the means of production, free access to articles of consumption, and the end of wage labour and private property in the means of production and real estate.[1]

    WHERE did you see connection between communism and atheism?

    I do not deny that most communist regimes suppressed religions, but that was thier TOOL to achieve their BASIC ideas, it was not THE basic idea.

    See USSR Constitution!

    See also “Christian Cimmunism”!

  96. on 11 Apr 2011 at 3:50 pm 96.Severin said …

    87 Thomas
    Christianity suppressed all other religions.
    Islam suppressed all other religions.
    All religions, ever, suppressed all other religions.
    No religion, ever, allowed their congregation to have other gods but gods THEY proclamed to be gods.

    If you wanted to LIVE (not to be killed) in S. America in 15th century, you HAD to believe in Quezalcoatl (or pretend to believe), and to obey Quezalcoatl’s representatives on earth.
    If you wanted to LIVE (not to be killed!) in Europe in 15th century, you HAD to believe in Christian god and obey god’s representatives on earth.

    Communism suppressed all other religions too!
    BUT, it was NOT atheism!
    Like all other religions, communists offered their own gods!
    If you wanted to LIVE (not to be killed) in a communist regime, you had to believe in communist doctrine and to obey communist leaders.

    Communism = Christianity = Islam = Quetzalcoatl-ism = RELIGION

    Claiming that comunist were atheists is as claiming that Muslims were atheists.

    Atheists:
    - do not believe in gods
    - do not follow any doctrines/do not believe in unargumented ideas, including communism
    - have no rituals/iconography
    - do not worship anyone/anything

    Conclusions:
    communism = religion
    atheism non= communism

  97. on 12 Apr 2011 at 9:23 am 97.TGHO said …

    @91 A,

    Your lack of education is obvious. You need to spend some time studing economic philosophy or Russian history.

  98. on 12 Apr 2011 at 1:27 pm 98.Joshua said …

    I’m a day late. Things got confusing with school. Here are the first bits and I will post the main analysis in a bit.

    First let me say that most atheists that I have met have no problem with the idea of a culturally Christian nation. In fact I would say it was obvious that America is a culturally Christian nation. The issue here is did the founders intend to make a constitutionally Christian nation? From what I have found the answer is a decisive no. The people who got together at the constitutional convention were mostly folks who had experienced bad treatment at the hands of another nation, and were, or were descended from people fleeing religious persecution. When you look at the document that they produced it is hard to imagine them making a system that intended to privilege any religion, let alone anyone’s pet version of Christianity. Indeed the most important founders were nothing like most Christians today and would savagely criticize many of the things that today’s Christians care about such as; biblical literalism, eternal punishment, Jesus’s sacrifice for sin, the trinity, and more. Most Christians today would not consider Unitarians “real Christians” and many of the most influential founders were Unitarians. I only mention these things because I would think that they would matter to many of those who would consider this country a Christian nation in a legal sense.

    Nothing beats going straight to the source and looking at the documents that were written precisely to leave future generations with information on what thinking went into the constitution. The best place for that are the “Federalist Papers” and “Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787″, by James Madison. Both of those are available here;
    http://www.constitution.org/cs_found.htm

    That site also has a huge amount of other very important historical documents.

    Anyone wishing to convince me that this is a Christian nation in a legal sense would need to do show me two things; quotes from founders specifically stating that they intended to put Christian ideas into the document with examples, and they would have to take a bible and a constitution and a bible and show me the connection.

    That being said, why am I doing this? Like I said earlier there was not much substance in what was being posted and when something did show up I decided to make a project out of it. I usually get some valuable sources of information at the end of such a project that are worth saving. This was no exception. Any of you interested in being able to do similar arguments may want to save some of this for yourself.

    I discovered an evangelical Christian who is honest, honorable, and dedicated to knowing the reality around the founding as accurately as possible, Dr. Gregg Frazer. I intend to read his dissertation as soon as I can “The Political Theology of the American Founding”. This document is supposed to take an honest look at the religion of the founders and describes their beliefs as “Theistic Rationalism”. Here is a discussion about his work;
    http://jonrowe.blogspot.com/2006/06/theistic-rationalist-thesis-gregg.html

    I discovered some wonderful sources of information with full text of many of the documents under discussion AND the documents those were based on (above).

    I rediscovered a weblog devoted to discussions concerning the nature of the relationship between religion and the founding of this country that is full of great discussions by experts, and contains lots of satisfying slap-downs, and sometimes rude awakenings.
    americancreation.blogspot.com

    Just to make it clear Scott’s first link was so bad I will not be touching the second. Any Christian wishing to convince me of anything concerning the founding better have his sources at hand, and be able to discuss what it means in their own words. I will not be doing anyone else’s work for them. Drive by postings will be ignored or mocked.

    I will post what I found later today.

  99. on 12 Apr 2011 at 1:57 pm 99.Joshua said …

    Also for any of you interested in the relationship between religion and the states under the federal government prior to the fourteenth amendment, here is a discussion between experts on that very subject.

    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2009/12/dr-kalivas-responds.html

  100. on 15 Apr 2011 at 1:57 pm 100.Joshua said …

    I feel like and idiot. I thought everything posted on Monday. If anyone is interested I will post anyway.

    “The Founding of a Christian Nation” Sermon posted by Scott @ 61
    The first page is an attempt to demonstrate that the nation is Christian, and there was supernatural aid to the revolution.
    *I already addressed the “Church of the Holy Trinity” case above. The quote cited is in another case and takes the Judge’s words out of context. Additionally when you say “They meant” after a quote you need another quote that demonstrates what you say. Otherwise all you have is a baseless assertion.
    *Of course revival movements exist. The existence of a revival movement however does not mean that these movements informed the founders’ intentions. You need specific quotes from the founders for that.
    *Appealing to good outcomes in war or natural disasters as acts of god that demonstrate the support of god is not convincing. Every religious group does this all the time and there is no reason to think there is a deity involved in a specific war or earthquake or whatever. If that is the case you have to assume god was no on our side during Vietnam, but they never do.
    The second and third pages try to demonstrate that the nation had a Christian founding.
    *Just because someone is Christian does not mean that they intend to insert their religion into law. No matter how many religiously themes quotes you have from Founders or how many went to church you still have to demonstrate that they put their religion into the law.
    *Related to the above is the point I have made three times now that these Christians were not the kind of Christians that most of today’s Christians would respect. Unitarians and such are considered similar to Mormons by many (most?) of today’s Catholics, Baptists, and Protestants. Is the nation a Unitarian nation? John Adams was a Unitarian, Jefferson cut all the supernatural out of the bible and left only philosophy, etc…
    http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/livingrev/religion/text3/adamsjeffersoncor.pdf

    * Politicians address religion in speeches all the time, this does not mean that they insert it into the law. Back then the states may have had more religious freedom prior to the fourteenth amendment so this does not matter today outside of the legal question of whether politicians should do anything that is biased towards religion when acting in office.
    *The Patrick Henry quote is fake. It’s by the author of a piece on Patrick Henry and was misattributed to Patrick Henry by (drumrollllllllllllllll) DAAAAAAAAAVID BARRRRRRRRRRTOOOOONNNNN!!!! (rimshot).

    The fourth, fifth, and sixth pages try to show that the founders intended a Christian nation by pointing to misrepresented and fake historical research. They also try to again tie themes to bible verses with no outside support. This is nothing but pure assertions.
    *I already addressed the 34% of 15,000 quotes above. It is a completely dishonest piece of misrepresentation.

  101. on 15 Apr 2011 at 1:58 pm 101.Joshua said …

    contd…

    *The rest of this page is full of quotes and parts of documents that are matched to bible verses by theme only. Theme is not good enough. I could probably do this with the Koran or Moby Dick. What is needed, once again, is specific quotes demonstrating that a founder got the idea from the bible, and that he intended to put it into law. Go here http://www.constitution.org/cs_found.htm and check “The Federalist Papers” and “Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787”, by James Madison.” You will find no bible here.
    A note posted by Dr. Gregg Frazer on the American Creation blog is worth posting in full.
    http://americancreation.blogspot.com/2008/08/biblical-truths-in-declaration-of.html
    “The fact that some parts of the Declaration and/or Constitution are not in conflict with verses in the Bible does not mean that the Bible was the source. This is especially important when — as in the case of the Declaration and the Constitution — the authors claim other sources, but do not claim the Bible as a source!

    In a May 8, 1825 letter to Henry Lee, Jefferson identifies his sources for the Declaration’s principles. He names as sources: Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and (Algernon) Sidney — he does not mention the Bible. Then again, the terminology in the Declaration is not specifically Christian — or even biblical, with the exception of “Creator.” The term “providence” is never used of God in the Bible, nor are “nature’s God” or “Supreme Judge of the world” ever used in the Bible.

    In the hundreds of pages comprising Madison’s notes on the constitutional convention (and those of the others who kept notes), there is no mention of biblical passages/verses in the debates/discussions on the various parts and principles of the Constitution. They mention Rome, Sparta, German confederacies, Montesquieu, and a number of other sources — but no Scripture verses.

    In The Federalist Papers, there is no mention of biblical sources for any of the Constitution’s principles, either — one would think they could squeeze them in among the 85 essays if they were, indeed, the sources; especially since the audience was common men who were familiar with, and had respect for, the Bible. The word “God” is used twice — and one of those is a reference to the pagan gods of ancient Greece. “Almighty” is used twice and “providence” three times — but neither is ever used in connection with any constitutional principle or influence. The Bible is not mentioned.

    As for freedom and liberty in the Bible, it is always SPIRITUAL freedom/liberty — as a look at the verses you’ve listed IN CONTEXT shows. That is NOT to say that political liberty is an anti-biblical concept — it’s just not a biblical one. Arguing that it is a “Calvinist” concept does not make it a biblical one, either. The “disciples” of Calvin did not write inspired revelation.

    The key Founders (J. Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Wilson, & G. Morris) — those most responsible for the founding documents — were religious, but not Christians. They believed that religion was essential to produce the morality that a free society required, but that any religion would suffice. Their religious belief was a mixture of Protestantism, natural religion, and rationalism — with rationalism as the trump card and decisive factor. They retained elements of Christianity, but rejected the elements of Christianity (and of natural religion) that they considered irrational. However: of the ten CORE beliefs of Christianity (those shared by all of the major Protestant denominations of the day (and by the Catholics), they held to only one (or two, in some cases). Their belief system was, as I have termed it, theistic rationalism.

    If the view of Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin that any/all religions were valid paths to God and that any/all religions would suffice to produce the morality needed was a “minority opinion” among the Founders, why were they chosen to write the philosophical (you say religious) document (Declaration)?”
    I point out that Dr. Frazer is an evangelical Christian, and one I would listen to on issues of history since he provides arguments that I can follow for myself and are consistent with other facts such as the Unitarian views of Madison and Jefferson’s torn up bible.
    *This is also a massive example of cherry picking. He lists all the places where the bible MIGHT be consistent with these documents, but ignores any place where they may not be constituent. A challenge that I have already posted is how many of the ten commandments are constitutional? No one has replied. If this were a constitutionally Christian nation the whole government would be consistent with Christianity.

  102. on 15 Apr 2011 at 1:59 pm 102.Joshua said …

    *There is no source whatsoever for the claim that Madison referenced Isaiah 33:22 during the constitutional convention. Since there is no mention of his seeing this verse as a basis for the separation of powers and he mentions no such thing in his books or notes, I do not believe it. (above link to the federalist papers and his convention notes).
    What do the founders say the inspiration for the constitution was? If you don’t believe Dr. Frazer the national archives makes the same claim;
    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_q_and_a.html
    “Q. What is the source of the philosophy found in the Constitution?
    A. The book which had the greatest influence upon the members of the Constitutional Convention was Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws, which first appeared in 1748. The great French philosopher had, however, in turn borrowed much of his doctrine from the Englishman John Locke, with whose writings various members of the Convention were also familiar.

    Q. Are there original ideas of government in the Constitution?
    A. Yes; but its main origins lie in centuries of experience in government, the lessons of which were brought over from England and further developed through the practices of over a century and a half in the colonies and early State governments, and in the struggles of the Continental Congress. Its roots are deep in the past; and its endurance and the obedience and respect it has won are mainly the result of the slow growth of its principles from before the days of Magna Carta.

    Q. What state papers should be considered in connecting the Constitution of the United States with Magna Carta?
    A. The Great Charter was confirmed several times by later medieval monarchs, and there were various statutes, such as those of Westminster, which also helped to develop the germs of popular government. The Petition of Right, 1628, against the abuse of the royal prerogative, the Habeas Corpus Act, 1679, and the Bill of Rights, 1689, to establish the claims of the Petition, are the great English documents of more modern times on popular freedom. Meanwhile, the colonial charters became the foundation of the Americans’ claim to the “rights of Englishmen,” and were the predecessors of the State Constitutions, which owed their origin to the American Revolution. The Declaration of Independence established the principles which the Constitution made practical. Plans for colonial union were proposed from time to time, the most important of them being the Albany Plan of 1754, of which Benjamin Franklin was the author. The united efforts to establish independence gave birth to the Articles of Confederation, which though inadequate, were a real step toward the “more perfect Union” of the Constitution.”

    This was the source referenced by Wikipedia which explicitly lists;
    *“Republicanism in the United States” (system stressing liberty and inalienable rights, heavier cultural affects than the bible)
    *The experiences of the 13 states
    *British mixed government (missing different “pure” government types like monarchy, democracy, etc…)
    *Montesquieu (Checks and balances)
    *John Locke (also heavily influenced Montesquieu)
    *Common Law (Due Process)
    As the inspirations for the constitution. My favorite quote out of all of this was the following:
    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/James_Madison_letter_to_Thomas_Ritchie
    “As a guide in expounding and applying the provisions of the Constitution, the debates and incidental decisions of the Convention can have no authoritative character. However desirable it be that they should be preserved as a gratification to the laudable curiosity felt by every people to trace the origin and progress of their political Institutions, & as a source perhaps of some lights on the Science of Govt. the legitimate meaning of the Instrument must be derived from the text itself; or if a key is to be sought elsewhere, it must be not in the opinions or intentions of the Body which planned & proposed the Constitution, but in the sense attached to it by the people in their respective State Conventions where it recd. all the authority which it possesses.”—Letter to Thomas Ritchie, September 15, 1821

    The constitution was written by a great many educated, intelligent, “ivory-tower elites” of their day in order to prevent government, AND religion from harming the rights and freedoms of others. The ideas came from a huge variety of sources that when placed into this new context stripped the meaning from the old. Even if it can be shown that some part of this has a source as a biblical idea that was distilled through several generations of philosophers, it is pretty much meaningless now. This system must put religions, and non-religion on an equal footing in order for the intentions of the founders to be a success.

    Since the religious right tries so hard to twist this history into a corrupted mirror image of itself, I have to assume they want the mirror image of what the government was trying to prevent. They want freedom of speech, religion, press, only for themselves. They want freedom and liberty for none but them. I must consider the last pages of this sermon a threat and a warning.
    “Thomas Jefferson interpreted the First Amendment that way, but the First Amendment does not limit individuals, but it only limits what government can do. Preachers &other Christians have as much right as anyone to seek to influence our government to follow righteous principles. Even government workers & others at government functions should be able to express their religious faith & beliefs as long as it doesn’t reflect an established position of the government. Since God’s morality is ultimate and universal, society benefits by the Christian’s participation in the public square.”

    Since government is made up of individuals the first amendment by necessity MUST limit what individuals can do when they are working for the government. Outside of their positions I have no problem with government employees up to the president trying to influence the government, as well as Christians and preachers. But the dishonesty I see in the arguments leads me to distrust them, especially when the principals they want to push amount to forcing religion on the rest of us. I simply do not believe this man when he says he does not want the government worker’s faith and beliefs to be established as a position of the government since that is all this essay has tried to do.

  103. on 15 Apr 2011 at 2:58 pm 103.JohnnyP said …

    RE: #99-101

    Joshua—excellent research and intriguing observations. It was a long read but your obvious enthusiasm for the subject matter was engaging. Good work!

  104. on 17 Apr 2011 at 10:25 pm 104.Norman said …

    I don’t know, if the options are between evolution and creation, where and why did the initial concept of a spiritual side of man come from. If man crawled from ooze as a single cell and evolved into what we are today, how and why did the concept of a god originate. Since man had no knowledge of a deity would the idea of one be expected? Says in the bible that God breath the spirit into each of us at conception, thus giving man the knowledge that He existed. Again, if man crawled from the ooze there would be no concept of a god.

  105. on 18 Apr 2011 at 12:13 am 105.DPK said …

    There is no “option”. Evolution is as close to a “fact” as science can come. Meaning the evidence is overwhelming. Even most religions have now accepted evolution as fact, although they now, of course, give god credit for designing it.

    Man’s “spiritual” side is also pretty easy to explain. It comes from mans need to explain the natural world, and things that were beyond understanding at the time.. the sun, the moon and stars, the power of the oceans, winds, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, even the changing of the seasons were attributed to gods. There was also the fear of death, and the mourning of the loss of other tribe members who died. Even other primates exhibit this mourning or sadness at the loss of someone known. The invention of god gave ancient people a way to cope with death.

  106. on 18 Apr 2011 at 2:21 pm 106.Lou said …

    103.Norman said …

    “Again, if man crawled from the ooze there would be no concept of a god.”

    That has to one of the dumbest comments I’ve seem posted here. Using your logic, “if man crawled from the ooze,” then he wouldn’t have a concept of anything.

  107. on 18 Apr 2011 at 5:42 pm 107.Rostam said …

    “Again, if man crawled from the ooze there would be no concept of a god.”

    Excellent point Norman. If there is no evidence for God, then where did the notion come from? Why didn’t man just go with time and chance?

  108. on 18 Apr 2011 at 6:04 pm 108.Joshua said …

    @ Norman 104

    “Again, if man crawled from the ooze there would be no concept of a god.”

    This is not necessairly true. There is research on the origins of religion that you can look at if you want (go to pubmed.org > search “origin of religion” or other terms > sort by “reviews”). I am not familiar with a lot of the research but I heard of some of the hypotheses.

    One idea comes from the idea in psychology called “theory of mind” which is roughly our ability to realize that there are minds outside of ourselves. It is not a huge stretch to imagine minds where there are none. Connect that to the human need to find explanations for everything (even if currently impossible) and the observation that a lot of religion has a god that seems to take on the role of a parent for adults. In the end it looks like a lot of early humans desperate to know why a crappy world was crappy imagined a displeased “other” that was not protecting them.

  109. on 18 Apr 2011 at 6:23 pm 109.Lou said …

    106.Rostam said …

    “Excellent point Norman. If there is no evidence for God, then where did the notion come from?”

    From the same faulty thought process that led you to think that was an excellent point.

    “Why didn’t man just go with time and chance?”

    Because primitive men(and many modern men)didn’t understand it, that’s why. There was no evidence for crystalline spheres, so where did that idea come from?

    You guys can’t possibly be a ignorant as you appear.

  110. on 23 Apr 2011 at 11:05 pm 110.Samothec said …

    103.Norman said …

    “I don’t know, if the options are between evolution and creation, where and why did the initial concept of a spiritual side of man come from. If man crawled from ooze as a single cell and evolved into what we are today, how and why did the concept of a god originate. Since man had no knowledge of a deity would the idea of one be expected?”

    Our pattern recognition capabilities have proven extremely useful to our species. But they can get out of control. When something happens which we cannot otherwise explain, we still try for an answer. If there is no obvious natural answer then we think in more human terms.

    We retain memories of people after they have died. This, combined with seeking a human-like answer to unexplained events leads to the idea of spirits/ancestors doing things and needing to be appeased. God is the spirit/ancestor idea taken to an extreme.

    This is a severely simplified and abridged explanation I’ve derived from Pascal Boyer’s “Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought”

  111. on 16 Feb 2012 at 8:21 pm 111.SondraBecker35 said …

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