John R. Houk
© February 1, 2012
I blog at more place than my primary blog here at SlantRight.com. I was checking for comment at my Word Press blog known as the NeoConservative Christian Right (NCCR). Below is the comment to the post “Stand Up to Militant Atheists in Public Society” (SlantRight.com version). You can read the comment which is followed by my response.
January 31, 2012 at 10:10 AM
This doesn’t make atheists angry, it makes us laugh. It makes us laugh because, frankly, you are misrepresenting atheism. How silly would I be if I claimed that your particular brand of Christianity is all about a wicked ritual which includes cannibalism and drinking blood of other men? That’s how silly your post sounds.
Oh, and the Constitution forbids using government funds (taxpayers’ money, that is) to promote or discriminate on the basis of any belief system. It does not forbid religion to influence the government, nor should it. What I mean by that is the following: the government doesn’t have the right to forbid abortion because it says so in the New Testament (hint: it doesn’t.). That would be discriminatory against every other religion and some Christians too. It has the right to forbid abortion because it considers embryos entitled to protection. In this case, religions can solicit the cause. It isn’t based on their beliefs, but it suits them nevertheless.
You are right when saying that the Founding Fathers considered Christianity when creating the first amendment. That is because they didn’t want to have a war like those in Europe over whose interpretation of the Bible is correct.
I’m curious if you could substantiate: “[The founding fathers] considered Christian culture and Biblical values as the foundation for the rule of law in America.” I’ve read much about them, yet I recall nothing that would support that. Must be faulty memory.
Wilheru says, “How silly would I be if I claimed that your particular brand of Christianity is all about a wicked ritual which includes cannibalism and drinking blood of other men? That’s how silly your post sounds.”
That is the same ploy ignorant polytheistic Romans propagandized against Christianity until Jesus won the hearts and minds of Roman leadership. The bread as the body of Christ and the wine as the blood of Christ is a spiritual transformation of the inner man aka the human spirit from darkness to a new creation in Christ Jesus. The only argument within Christianity is if this spiritual transformation in the Communion/Eucharist is an actual outer manifestation or if it is an outer symbolic manifestation of a spiritual reality. But atheists cannot comprehend the spiritual because their spiritual eyes have been dulled and blinded to spiritual realities. Go figure.
Wilheru says, “Oh, and the Constitution forbids using government funds (taxpayers’ money, that is) to promote or discriminate on the basis of any belief system.”
WHERE does the Constitution FORBID the use of government funds - e.g. taxpayers’ money – to promote or discriminate on the basis of any belief system? Perhaps you are thinking of the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I read absolutely NOTHING that forbids the use of government funds in promoting a religious belief system. Also keep in mind the word “religion” is a reference to Christianity in particular to the Founding Fathers. The big irony here is that the astute Leftist and atheist apology to the Founding Fathers were Christians is they were in fact Deists.
The apologists fail to tell the uninformed Deism greatly differed in America than the Deism in Europe. So what is a common definition for Deism?
1. belief in the existence of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation (distinguished from theism).
2. belief in a God who created the world but has since remained indifferent to it. (Dictionary.com)
Deism does NOT deny the existence of God! Below is one of the best explanations I have read on the differences between American Deism and European Deism:
1. The Age of Reason was an English affair and should be severed from The Enlightenment, which was a later French affair, occurring at a different time with very differing results. The Age of Reason sought to reform religion, the secular Enlightenment sought to destroy it in total. That is what clearly differentiated the American Revolution from the blood-letting and violent French Revolution.
2. That preferred "deism" as defined today was that of the atheistic French Revolution, which set the stage for Humanism, Marxisn (sic), and endless 'isms.' The American was based on a Calvinist' Protestant culture/ethics tempered and moderated by the philosophy of John Locke, a Unitarian. It was based on Freemasonry, which operated as an enlightened form of general monotheism uniting the many diverse religious sects of the American Colonies.
3. The idea was never to strip religion from the public sphere, but to preserve individual liberty. See On Separation of Religion and State. To further quote Jefferson to put this in context, I consider religion a supplement of law in the government of man. Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, Foley 1900 (#7242).
4. That the Founders of America were not "deists" as defined Voltaire, Rousseau, and the French Revolution and the French Enlightenment. The Deism of the French Revolution would be the 'Watchmaker" god of Voltaire that went away after creation and had no further interaction with the world. This was part of the French humanist/atheist effort to de-Christianize French society and substitute Eastern mysticism and Greek/pagan philosophy. See the Cult of Reason and Robespierre.
5. That the American Founders never called themselves "Deists" and Jefferson and Adams considered themselves Unitarians and said so. They are better defined as Unitarians because they believed God was active in the world, divine punishment for evil, and an afterlife. See Existence of Deity/God by Thomas Jefferson (Exploring Deism Its Origins and History; by Lewis Loflin; Sullivan-County.com)
In context of these thoughts American Deists considered themselves Christians and European Deists were anti-Christian believers of limited religion as defined by a secularist and humanist thought. I would argue that more of our Founding Fathers were more Christian than Deist because of the expectation of a supernatural act of God in their prayers in winning the Revolutionary War; however that is not really the point. The point is the Founding Fathers had a Christian world view which included the practice of Christian Morality and Christian Values. The Founding Fathers’ writings in private and public demonstrate that Christianity and Reason are the foundation of their thoughts on the rule of law, i.e. the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
Ergo it does not take a rocket scientist to comprehend that Christianity is the thought behind the First Amendment’s usage of the word “religion”. Since Christianity is meant by the word “religion” it should shed some light of the actual Founding Father meaning of the First Amendment religious clause:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
Congress cannot make a law to establish a Christian Church Denomination as the State Church AND Congress cannot interfere with the free exercise of Christianity. Government had NO PROBLEM with this until some Leftist found an ally in the Supreme Court to interpret the religious clause in the First Amendment differently than originally intended. The result was a 20th/21st century reevaluation of the term Separation of Church and State which is NO WHERE found in the U.S. Constitution. Hence the Judicial Branch embarked on lawmaking that Congress was expressly prohibited to exercise. AND the Judicial Branch usurped the Constitutional purpose of Congress to enact law by creating law extra-constitutionally.
In saying all this I thereby refute you Wilheru that the Constitution prohibits the use of taxpayer money in the promotion of religion; however I agree the First Amendment says the government cannot use taxpayer money to discriminate against religion and Christianity in particular.
Wilheru says, “What I mean by that is the following: the government doesn’t have the right to forbid abortion because it says so in the New Testament (hint: it doesn’t.). That would be discriminatory against every other religion and some Christians too. It has the right to forbid abortion because it considers embryos entitled to protection. In this case, religions can solicit the cause. It isn’t based on their beliefs, but it suits them nevertheless.”
I half-way agree with you on this Wilheru. Government does not have the right to forbid abortion based on the New Testament (Hint: the Old and New Testament both forbid infanticide and some Christian Books considered pseudepigrapha [Barnabas 19:5; Apocalypse of Peter 25] now but as part of the New Testament by the Early Church Fathers also wrote against baby killing which is what happens when one murders an unborn baby). However, since the Founding Fathers visualized Christian Morality and Christian values as important to the rule of law (yes along with the Greek and Roman classics), I believe it is a good guess they felt a human life was a Christian life. That human life would be entitled legal protection.
Wilheru says, “You are right when saying that the Founding Fathers considered Christianity when creating the first amendment. That is because they didn’t want to have a war like those in Europe over whose interpretation of the Bible is correct.”
Actually the Founding Fathers’ consideration of Christian religion had more to do with religious freedom among the traditions of Christian Denominations. Enforced religious freedom did mean taking religious violence off the table; however European wars of religion had more to do with suzerainty of Princes than religious freedom. Protestant Princes that supported Lutheranism and/or Zwingli were Princes that opened themselves up to be invaded with the sanction of the Catholic Church by Catholic Princes to acquire territory. Europeans that fled Europe for religious freedom to the American colonies did so to escape persecution from nation State Churches and not because of foreign invasion.
Wilheru says, “I’m curious if you could substantiate: “[The founding fathers] considered Christian culture and Biblical values as the foundation for the rule of law in America.” I’ve read much about them, yet I recall nothing that would support that. Must be faulty memory.” (Bold Emphasis Mine)
"I now make it my earnest prayer the God would have you and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the field; and, finally, that he would be most graciously pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation." June 8, 1783 in a letter to the governors of the states on disbanding the army.
"God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." 1781, Query XVIII of his Notes on that State of Virginia.
"My views...are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others..." April 21, 1803 in a letter to Dr. Benjamin.
“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to all the happiness of man.”
“Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern which have come under my observation, none appears to me so pure as that of Jesus....I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."
James Madison (Known as the Father of the Constitution)
"Religion is the basis and Foundation of Government." June 20, 1785
"It is not the talking but the walking and working person that is the true Christian." In a manuscript on the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, Madison makes this statement.
"We have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and guidance of that Almighty Being, whose power regulates the destiny of nations." March 4, 1809 Inaugural Address
“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” [1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia]
Yes Wilheru, it must be a faulty memory!