Kelly, D'Souza and the American founding.

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Kelly, D'Souza and the American founding.

I have a question about the American founding.  Kelly stated the following in her blog regarding D'Souza: 

 "Is he a champion of the provocation of hysteria, or does he realize that atheists don't want to remove Christianity from the history of the founding of the country--It was never there!"

Before I misinterpret her would someone explain to me exactly what she means by "...it was never there!".

 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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    No where in the

    No where in the constitution, no where in the founding of the United States does it specify that it is based on christianity, some of the founders where christian, but that does not mean that the USA is founded on christianity, it is actually founded on a secular ideology, that it states that no form of religious requirement is needed to hold office (which was the case for much of england, france, germany etc etc etc)


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    All national

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish [Muslim], appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself.

Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society.

When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.

He takes up the profession of a priest for the sake of gain, and in order to qualify himself for that trade he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive anything more destructive to morality than this?" (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason)

http://altreligion.about.com/library/weekly/aa070202a.htm

 ETC ....

religion of the founding fathers ??? .....

check it out fully .....  no BS .....


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So Kelly is saying that

So Kelly is saying that belief in the God of Christianity did not play a part in the founding of the United States in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence?

 Additionally, before I misinterpret you, are you saying that Thomas Paine did not believe in God?

 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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There's also article 11 of

There's also article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, 1796.

Quote:

Art. 11. 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 tranquillity, 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.


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  no / yes

  no / yes


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OwnTheFence wrote: So

OwnTheFence wrote:
So Kelly is saying that belief in the God of Christianity did not play a part in the founding of the United States in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence?

Officially, a deliberate no. Any dominant religion or cultural movement would have been influential on a person, and the founding fathers are no different; but they made a deliberate effort to avoid a state-sanctioned religion.

OwnTheFence wrote:
Additionally, before I misinterpret you, are you saying that Thomas Paine did not believe in God?

IIRC, he was a deist.


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latincanuck wrote:    

latincanuck wrote:
    No where in the constitution, no where in the founding of the United States does it specify that it is based on christianity, some of the founders where christian, but that does not mean that the USA is founded on christianity, it is actually founded on a secular ideology, that it states that no form of religious requirement is needed to hold office (which was the case for much of england, france, germany etc etc etc)

 

Nearly all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were churchgoing men.  

Is there the possibility that the concepts of God, providence and judgement were so firmly rooted in these men's minds that the overt mention of them in these works was, more or less, unnecessary? 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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    As stated it was not

    As stated it was not based on a strict christian foundation, but on a secular ideology, as no where is it mention that christianity is a requirement to hold office, any mention of christian values or beliefs. Yes they may have had christian influence (a possiblity of course) however it also does strictly mention about not needing any religious test to hold office which is the important one, meaning any one of any religious beliefs or lack of could hold office, unlike other countries (actually many of the founding fathers looked towards india and it's secular goverment)


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I AM GOD AS YOU

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish [Muslim], appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. He takes up the profession of a priest for the sake of gain, and in order to qualify himself for that trade he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive anything more destructive to morality than this?" (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason)

http://altreligion.about.com/library/weekly/aa070202a.htm

 ETC ....

religion of the founding fathers ??? .....

check it out fully .....  no BS .....

 

I think Paine was a deitist.  He believed in God and in eternal punishment or reward.  At the beginning of "The Age of Reason" he wrote:

 "I believe in one God, and no more, and I hope for happiness beyond this life.  I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy." 

He then lists a number of creeds that he does not agree with and then closes his thought by saying, "My own mind is my own church".

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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Yes paine was a deits and

Yes paine was a deits and not a christian, actually I would say he was against christianity itself per se. As per many of his own words would indicate.

 

    "One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests." 

    "That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not."

    "The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy."

    "The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.  "

    "There are matters in the Bible, said to be done by the express commandment of God, that are shocking to humanity and to every idea we have of moral justice.  "

    "Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man"

    "Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions and absurdities.  "

    "It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes"


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magilum wrote: There's

magilum wrote:

There's also article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, 1796.

Quote:

Art. 11. 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 tranquillity, 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.

 

Please don't take offense, magilum, but I fail to see how a foreign policy document, written to appease a certain muslim audience by serperating us from our European brethren to avoid the taint of the crusades, outweighs not only the impact of the Declaration of Independence, but many other documents as well.

The Declaration made it crystal clear that our "unalienable rights" come from a God. It refers to Him alternatively as "Nature's God," "the Creator," and the "Supreme Judge."

 Does the possibility exist that the Treaty of Tripoli was written in such a manner as to not offend the Muslims we were trying to deal with at the time?

And do you like chocolate chip cookies as much as I like chocolate chip cookies?

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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latincanuck wrote: Yes

latincanuck wrote:

Yes paine was a deits and not a christian, actually I would say he was against christianity itself per se. As per many of his own words would indicate.

 

    "One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests." 

    "That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not."

    "The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy."

    "The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.  "

    "There are matters in the Bible, said to be done by the express commandment of God, that are shocking to humanity and to every idea we have of moral justice.  "

    "Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man"

    "Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions and absurdities.  "

    "It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes"

 

He said all of those things.  And without looking at them in the following context they could be construed to mean what they do not:

"...my endeavors have been directed to bring man to a right use of the reason that God has given him; to impress on him the great principles of divine morality, justice, and mercy, and a benevolent disposition to all men, and to all creatures; and to inspire in him a spirit of trust, confidence and consolation in his Creator, unshackled by the fables of books pretending to be the word of God."

Paine believed in all of these things (morality, justice and mercy, all emanating from a creator) DESPITE his feelings toward the worlds different religious texts.

I believe that if he were alive today he would fight against atheism, not for it.

 

 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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OwnTheFence wrote: Please

OwnTheFence wrote:
Please don't take offense, magilum, but I fail to see how a foreign policy document, written to appease a certain muslim audience by serperating us from our European brethren to avoid the taint of the crusades, outweighs not only the impact of the Declaration of Independence, but many other documents as well.

No offense taken. It was approved unanimously by the senate and printed publicly, not even raising an eyebrow. If it had been brought to the floor today, it would have been crushed in a torrent of pandering and clap-trap.

OwnTheFence wrote:
The Declaration made it crystal clear that our “unalienable rights“ come from a God. It refers to Him alternatively as “Nature's God,“ “the Creator,“ and the “Supreme Judge.“

What they mean by the word, versus what others do, is not a trivial matter. Theirs was a non-interventionalist deity. They could have founded the country as a theocracy, or declared a Christian nation explicitly (it wasn't for lack of words, power, or precedent -- look at Armenia -- but it doesn't seem to have been their intent); but they chose to respect freedom of, and from, religion: as echoed from Jefferson's autobiography regarding the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom:

Quote:
The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,“ so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.“ The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it's protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

OwnTheFence wrote:
Does the possibility exist that the Treaty of Tripoli was written in such a manner as to not offend the Muslims we were trying to deal with at the time?

It's not known what specifically inspired the insertion of the article, but the lack of controversy surrounding its introduction is telling.

OwnTheFence wrote:
And do you like chocolate chip cookies as much as I like chocolate chip cookies?


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OwnTheFence wrote: He said

OwnTheFence wrote:
He said all of those things.  And without looking at them in the following context they could be construed to mean what they do not:

“...my endeavors have been directed to bring man to a right use of the reason that God has given him; to impress on him the great principles of divine morality, justice, and mercy, and a benevolent disposition to all men, and to all creatures; and to inspire in him a spirit of trust, confidence and consolation in his Creator, unshackled by the fables of books pretending to be the word of God.“

Paine believed in all of these things (morality, justice and mercy, all emanating from a creator) DESPITE his feelings toward the worlds different religious texts.

Again, let's not conflate the word 'god,' for our own convenience, with whatever iteration suits us.

OwnTheFence wrote:
I believe that if he were alive today he would fight against atheism, not for it.

Thanks for the speculative remark about long-dead historical figure. To counter, I'd speculate he'd finally feel free to shed the last vestige of the traditional acknowledgment of a deity, and its superfluity to a discussion. He'd already disregarded the texts and infrastructure. Again, speculation.


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latincanuck wrote: Yes

latincanuck wrote:

Yes paine was a deits and not a christian, actually I would say he was against christianity itself per se. As per many of his own words would indicate.

 

    "One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests." 

    "That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not."

    "The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy."

    "The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.  "

    "There are matters in the Bible, said to be done by the express commandment of God, that are shocking to humanity and to every idea we have of moral justice.  "

    "Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man"

    "Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions and absurdities.  "

    "It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes"

Paine said all of these things.  But taken out of the following context they could be construed to mean something that he never intended:

"...my endeavors have been directed to bring man to a right use of the reason that God has given him; to impress on him the great principles of divine morality, justice, and mercy, and a benevolent disposition to all men, and to all creatures; and to inspire in him a spirit of trust, confidence and consolation in his Creator, unshackled by the fables of books pretending to be the word of God."

 Paine was no atheist.  To him, to deny the existence of God would be to take away the foundation of human rights.

Many of the founders operated on this same philosophy, both deist and christian alike.

I've got to go feed the baby in the picture now.  However, I may be back tomorrow.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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I know I'm not the first to

I know I'm not the first to say this, but the founding fathers had every opportunity to make this country an explicitly Christian nation (or for that matter, an atheist nation) yet they did not do so.

In fact, they went out of their way to make sure this couontry WASN'T founded on any particular religion. Religion is mentioned only twice in the Constitution: in Article Six:

...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

and the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof....

They made no mention of their own personal religious beliefs anywhere in the Constitution. What particular churches they went to, or even if they went to church, is completely irrelevant. It would be an Appeal to Authority fallacy to conclude that this nation was founded on Christianity simply because at least 51% of the founding fathers were Christians, much the same way it'd be fallicious to say God exists simply because Albert Einstein believed that God exists (and if this was true, then Christianity is the wrong religion as Einstein was never a Christian!)

Good night, funny man, and thanks for the laughter.


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OwnTheFence wrote: So

OwnTheFence wrote:

So Kelly is saying that belief in the God of Christianity did not play a part in the founding of the United States in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence?

Additionally, before I misinterpret you, are you saying that Thomas Paine did not believe in God?

 

 Some of the greatest and most eloquent slams against Christianity come from Thomas Paine's Age of Reason.  One of the greatest books in history.  Thomas Paine Foundation headed by Margaret Downey.

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OwnTheFence

OwnTheFence wrote:

latincanuck wrote:
No where in the constitution, no where in the founding of the United States does it specify that it is based on christianity, some of the founders where christian, but that does not mean that the USA is founded on christianity, it is actually founded on a secular ideology, that it states that no form of religious requirement is needed to hold office (which was the case for much of england, france, germany etc etc etc)

 

Nearly all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were churchgoing men.

Is there the possibility that the concepts of God, providence and judgement were so firmly rooted in these men's minds that the overt mention of them in these works was, more or less, unnecessary?

Even if I believed that. I might agree some, but not all.

In any case this is a lousy argument. No one here would argue that the founders were for freedom of religion. Christians like to take that is keeping an invisable "non-Christians need not apply" sign on the oval office door and on the Supreme Court seats.

If Christianity was so important to the founders to run government why no mention of Jesus or Christianity in the Constitution. Why no manditory swearing to Jesus or the Christian god?

Why, because freedom of religion did not mean freedom to create a monopoly by proxy of popular belief. The founders were a variety of beliefs. It was because of the interum debates between the Declaration and final ratification of the Constitution, because there was no fair way to represent a deity, anyone's deity, they decided to leave out any mention of god from the Copstitution and on top of that said that one could not be included or excluded on the basis of religion from public office "No religious test"

You would not ellect Jefferson today if he ran. He once equated the virgin birth and death of Jesus to Minerva being born out of the brain of Jupiter. He also said, "Question with boldness even the existance of god, for if there be one, surely he would pay more homage to reason than to that of blindfolded fear".

But that was his personal opinion. LAW however, backs this up, not just by him, but by the Barbary Treaty articall 11. A treaty is goverment LAW that applies overseas as well as at home.

ARTICALL 11:

"As the goverment of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion".

 I have a right, not only a right, but a duty to question monopolies. Christians have been played favorites to and maintained a monopoly of power. The founders were not out to end religion by any means, but they also understood how dangerous and opressive pulpit politics was, and they railled against religious monopolies of power.

My understanding of the founders is that YES some were more religious than others. Yes, they wanted you to believe what you wanted to believe and valued freedom of concious.

BUT, I dont think any of them would appreciate anyone today going around saying, "Jesus owns our goverment " Which most Christians on the left and right today believe.

If goverment is to be accessable to everyone, then that also includes the civic duty of considering someone for office even if they dont share the same religious label. The constitution challenges the citizen to find common ground and consensus. It has never demanded that every citizen believe in the same god.

Thomas Jefferson was the last President who did not hold the label "Christian". Why|? Not because non-Christians cant legally run, they can. But for the same reason Joe Leberman cant get ellected President and cant sit on the Supreme Court(if he was a judge),.

|This exclusion is because citizens are not taught "No religious test". They are taught monocromatic propaganda in the form of clechis "Under God" and "In God We Trust|"|.

In theory it should be possible for a Jewish President and an atheist VP. It should be possible for an atheist Supreme Court Justice. This doesnt happen, not because it is illegal, it doesnt happen because Christians never consider others outside their label. This is a puplic mentality, not a result of the Constitution.

This type of Xenaphobia prevented a Catholic untill JFK from becoming president. This same xenophobia causes people to exclude blacks and women from consideration from office.

The bottem line is that freedom of religion is garunteed, but the Constitution is written to prevent monopolies of power and demands that no religion be played favorites to. Christianity however, has been ignoring this neutrality. We are simply trying to set the guage back to neutral where it should be.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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This has some

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Quote: Paine believed in

Quote:
Paine believed in all of these things (morality, justice and mercy, all emanating from a creator) DESPITE his feelings toward the worlds different religious texts.

I believe that if he were alive today he would fight against atheism, not for it.

Your first mistake here is in equating a world view of the 18th Century with the 21st.  The 18th century had no modern astrophysics showing how the universe and the planet could form without intervention of a creative force.  Nor did they have modern geology, to show how the planet could form, or evolutinary biology, to show how life could evolve into higher forms.

This leads into your second mistake, equating a 21st century Christian "God" with the 18th century Enlightenment "God."  The "God" espoused by men like Paine and Jefferson was not a physical, anthropomorphic entity, like the God of Christianity, but rather a philosophical and literary framework.  

This distinction is vitally important in any discussion of religion, and is a finer point often ignored by some religious (e.g., Christian) theists when they bring up quotes from non-religious theists (for lack of a better word) like Paine and Jefferson in defense of their views.

 And, to be fair, it's also a finer point often ignored by some atheists when arguing against theism, failing to make the distinction between non-religious, philosophical theism (e.g., pantheism, deism) and religious theism (e.g., Abrahamic religions).  The differences between the varieties of definitions of God are very nuanced and result in wildly different arguments for and against each.

To put it simply, the discussion on the existence of God, and the discussion on the validity of religion, are two very different discussions, and any attempt to conflate the two will never result in a coherent dialogue.   Also, any Christian or other religious theist who attempts to use Enlightenment deistic arguments, especially from men like Paine and Jefferson, to justify their own beliefs in a personal God show a profound ignorance of the source material.

Now...back to your original point on the founding of the nation.   There's really two things at work here.  One is what I like to call "recruiting dead people," basically trying to co-opt historical figures into your "camp."  Fun rhetoric, with important "PR" ramifications, but, I won't dive into that any further here.

The other, far more pernicuious point, is the theocratic Christian right attempting to essentially re-write history to overplay the importance of Christian ideals in the founding of the nation.  Were they important?  Of course.  The ideals of the Enlightenment, which are the ideals this country was founded upon, were influenced greatly by Christianity, just like any other element of Western culture.  Denying that would, quite frankly, be stupid.  

This re-writing is done in order to justify a far greater influence of religion in government.  If the United States is a "Christian nation," then it follows that it should be guided by Christianity.  This kind of idea our founding fathers would most assuredly find abhorrent, regardless of their religious affiliations.

I think  Kennedy's speech on the matter is rather poignant.

Oh, and other other point:

Quote:
Please don't take offense, magilum, but I fail to see how a foreign policy document, written to appease a certain muslim audience by serperating us from our European brethren to avoid the taint of the crusades, outweighs not only the impact of the Declaration of Independence, but many other documents as well.
The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document of the United States.  It was written and signed by many of the same men who founded the United States, but it was passed by the Second Continental Congress, a body consisting of representatives of the legislatures of thirteen British North American colonies.

The "United States of America" did not exist until November 15, 1777, with the passing of the Articles of Confederation, although technically that "United States of America" only lasted about ten years, until September 17, 1787, with the adoption of the US Constitution which replaced the entire legal framework of the Articles of Confederation.

The Treaty of Tripoli, on the other hand, is a legal document of the United States, written by an appointed US Ambassador, ratified by the Senate, and signed into law by the President.  The fact that there was not so much as the slightest debate in the Senate over Article 11, nor any public outcry when the text of the treaty was published in newspapers, is very telling.

However, note the distinction between the two documents.  The Declaration of Independence refers to rights coming from a creator (which, if you buy into Paine's idea of natural law, is true only insofar as rights come from reason, and reason comes from the creator), whereas the Treaty of Tripoli says that the United States was not founded on Christianity.  Those two statements are not in conflict with each other.


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The founding of the US is

The founding of the US is actually deeply rooted in Epicurianism. 


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OwnTheFence

OwnTheFence wrote:
latincanuck wrote:

Yes paine was a deits and not a christian, actually I would say he was against christianity itself per se. As per many of his own words would indicate.

 

"One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests."

"That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not."

"The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy."

"The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum. "

"There are matters in the Bible, said to be done by the express commandment of God, that are shocking to humanity and to every idea we have of moral justice. "

"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man"

"Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions and absurdities. "

"It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes"

Paine said all of these things. But taken out of the following context they could be construed to mean something that he never intended:

"...my endeavors have been directed to bring man to a right use of the reason that God has given him; to impress on him the great principles of divine morality, justice, and mercy, and a benevolent disposition to all men, and to all creatures; and to inspire in him a spirit of trust, confidence and consolation in his Creator, unshackled by the fables of books pretending to be the word of God."

Paine was no atheist. To him, to deny the existence of God would be to take away the foundation of human rights.

Many of the founders operated on this same philosophy, both deist and christian alike.

I've got to go feed the baby in the picture now. However, I may be back tomorrow.

    Wait one minute, where in my post did I say Paine did not believe in god? I said he was against christianity, which I may remind you does not have the only claim to god, Paine was a deist not a christian, there is a HUGE difference. As for your later post that Paine would be against atheists if he where here in the 21st century? Umm if he retained all the knowledge of the 18th century only, sure, and he wouldn't be that enlightened either considering what we know now compared to what he knew then, however I would assume he would have more of an einsteinian view of god and not so much a deists, but thats my opinion, if anything from his remarks I would say if he grew up now, he would have been an atheist, but what can either of us know.

    However I never said Paine was not a believer in god, only that he was against christianity. His god was not the christian god. 


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I'd also like to point out

I'd also like to point out that back in their day being an atheist was a big no-no, so some of the founding fathers might have mentioned God just to appease people.

 

Some of the so called Christian founding fathers may not have been truely Christian. We don't truly know, but from what I understand of the US Consitution and writings related to it, the US was definately not founded on Christianity and was never intended to be a Christian nation either.

 

It is just wishful thinking on the behalf of Christians to believe it is a Christian nation. Just one more thing to justify their belief, because hey, if the majority is right, then I must be right mentality.

 

It is ok not to be a Christian and it is ok to have a lack of belief in Gods.

 

 

: Freedom - The opportunity to have responsibility.

: Liberty is about protecting the right of others to disagree with you.

 


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What I don't understand is

What I don't understand is the relavence of this. Even if the founded fathers declared it a Christian nation, doesn't mean we should follow it.

 

If they did, they were wrong.

 

 


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I'm back.

I'm back.


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Everything keeps

Everything keeps double-posting, but I think I finally figured it out.


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Thanks for all of the good

Thanks for all of the good responses so far! 

I'm afraid that I may have side-tracked a bit and gotten away from my original question.  I don't know if you folks have ever had your wisdom teeth out before, but I'm thinking maybe I can blame my lack of focus on the hydrocodone...or maybe it's just old age.

Kelly seems to feel that christianity played no part in the founding of the country.   She claims that it was "never there".

I'm having a difficult time reconciling her statement with a great number of things that the founders did and said over the course of their lives.  

For example, when I look at Thomas Jefferson I find the following:   He did not believe in the divinity of christ, the trinity or the miracles of the bible.  Yet he did believe that there was a creator.  He believed in providence.  He believed in a judge to whom all would have to answer to after death.

Now, I think we could all agree that of those that signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that Jefferson was the most detached from the idea of an organized christian religion.  But, while he was president, the largest church service in the U.S. was held every Sunday in the Capitol Building and was supported with government funds.

He makes mention on several occasions, along with a number of the other founders, of the necessity for the virtues of religion in a republican society:

"...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 the gift of God?  That they are not violated but with his wrath?"

I guess my question would be this:

When even the guy who was labeled an atheist by his contemporaties strongly espouses the idea of the necessity for a foundation of religion in a society, how can Kelly say that it did not play a part in the founding of the nation we live in? 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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Did you plan on addressing

Did you plan on addressing some of the replies?


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Sure.  If you would

Sure.  If you would like.  When I read them they seemed, along with my post on Thomas Paine, to veer off from the original question that I had.

 Just out of curiousity, I'm on a pretty fast internet connection, but whenever I post it is REALLY slow.  I've double and triple posted a couple of things because of it.

Is it this slow for everyone?

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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magilum wrote:  No

magilum wrote:

 No offense taken. It was approved unanimously by the senate and printed publicly, not even raising an eyebrow. If it had been brought to the floor today, it would have been crushed in a torrent of pandering and clap-trap.

Perhaps that was because nearly the entire populous WAS christian and recognized it for what it was - an attempt at diplomacy.  In other words, they were familiar enough with the issue to recognize that it would be a bad idea to claim that we were a christian nation to a nation of muslims still harboring the sting of the crusades.  In other words, it didn't raise an eyebrow because everyone KNEW what we were, and understood the diplomacy required to succeed.

I can't reconcile the Treaty of Tripoli as a singular expression of a nation's faith or the lack thereof outside of the context of other treaties that DO include the express mention of the christian god.

 

Quote:
It's not known what specifically inspired the insertion of the article, but the lack of controversy surrounding its introduction is telling.

It could easily be compared to why we don't use the word "crusade" today when we reference muslims.  It's a known soft spot.  So we try not to use it.

   After all, as a matter a government entity seperate from it's people, they weren't really lying.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: What

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

What I don't understand is the relavence of this. Even if the founded fathers declared it a Christian nation, doesn't mean we should follow it.

 

If they did, they were wrong.

 

 

It is relevant as far as my original question is concerned.  It isn't really a question of right or wrong.  It is a question of historical accuracy on Kelly's part. 

 That's why I'm trying to figure out specifically what she means.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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  OwnTheFence

 

OwnTheFence wrote:
magilum wrote:

 No offense taken. It was approved unanimously by the senate and printed publicly, not even raising an eyebrow. If it had been brought to the floor today, it would have been crushed in a torrent of pandering and clap-trap.

Perhaps that was because nearly the entire populous WAS christian and recognized it for what it was - an attempt at diplomacy.

The sects comprising Christianity still dominate the US to the tune of ~80%, so I wonder what's changed. Also, your argument is wholly speculative.

OwnTheFence wrote:
In other words, they were familiar enough with the issue to recognize that it would be a bad idea to claim that we were a christian nation to a nation of muslims still harboring the sting of the crusades.  In other words, it didn't raise an eyebrow because everyone KNEW what we were, and understood the diplomacy required to succeed.

I can't reconcile the Treaty of Tripoli as a singular expression of a nation's faith or the lack thereof outside of the context of other treaties that DO include the express mention of the christian god.

 

Quote:
It's not known what specifically inspired the insertion of the article, but the lack of controversy surrounding its introduction is telling.

It could easily be compared to why we don't use the word “crusade“ today when we reference muslims.  It's a known soft spot.  So we try not to use it.

   After all, as a matter a government entity seperate from it's people, they weren't really lying.

Speculation, again.

 


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magilum

magilum wrote:

OwnTheFence wrote:
He said all of those things.  And without looking at them in the following context they could be construed to mean what they do not:

“...my endeavors have been directed to bring man to a right use of the reason that God has given him; to impress on him the great principles of divine morality, justice, and mercy, and a benevolent disposition to all men, and to all creatures; and to inspire in him a spirit of trust, confidence and consolation in his Creator, unshackled by the fables of books pretending to be the word of God.“

Paine believed in all of these things (morality, justice and mercy, all emanating from a creator) DESPITE his feelings toward the worlds different religious texts.

Again, let's not conflate the word 'god,' for our own convenience, with whatever iteration suits us.

OwnTheFence wrote:
I believe that if he were alive today he would fight against atheism, not for it.

Thanks for the speculative remark about long-dead historical figure. To counter, I'd speculate he'd finally feel free to shed the last vestige of the traditional acknowledgment of a deity, and its superfluity to a discussion. He'd already disregarded the texts and infrastructure. Again, speculation.

 Yes.  But it isn't speculation that Paine went to France after 1789, and even went to prison, in his quarrel against the Jacobins.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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Wow.  Why is the forum so

Wow.  Why is the forum so slow?  Does anyone know?


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Quote: I can't reconcile

Quote:
I can't reconcile the Treaty of Tripoli as a singular expression of a nation's faith or the lack thereof outside of the context of other treaties that DO include the express mention of the christian god.

 This isn't speculation.  It's taking a look at all the available data and not just the pieces of it that support our ideology.


 

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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OwnTheFence

OwnTheFence wrote:

Quote:
I can't reconcile the Treaty of Tripoli as a singular expression of a nation's faith or the lack thereof outside of the context of other treaties that DO include the express mention of the christian god.

 This isn't speculation.  It's taking a look at all the available data and not just the pieces of it that support our ideology.

LOL. You're the one trying to paint deists who founded a secular government into a Christian revisionist story.


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Okay.  So does anyone

Okay.  So does anyone really know what Kelly meant?

As I mentioned a couple of posts back, it seems historically inaccurate unless I misunderstood what she meant to say to begin with.

 Thanks, Guys.  I'm going to go watch T.V. now.

BTW, if you like Ken Burns of PBS fame (The Civil War) he has a new documentary on DVD called 'The War' about WWII.  It's really well done.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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magilum wrote: LOL. You're

magilum wrote:

LOL. You're the one trying to paint deists who founded a secular government into a Christian revisionist story.

I believe you mean a christian majority with a few deists thrown into the mix who founded a government that was neither secular nor religious - A government that preserved the exercise of both.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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OwnTheFence

OwnTheFence wrote:
magilum wrote:

LOL. You're the one trying to paint deists who founded a secular government into a Christian revisionist story.

I believe you mean a christian majority with a few deists thrown into the mix who founded a government that was neither secular nor religious - A government that preserved the exercise of both.

As is your general affliction, you believe wrongly. The alternative to a secular government would have been a theocracy or one with a state-sanctioned religion.


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Also, magilum, I don't care

Also, magilum, I don't care about revision.  My beliefs fall more along the lines of Jefferson and Paine.  I only care about the accuracy of our history and what we can prove to be true. 

So, again, what does Kelly mean when she says "...it was never there"?

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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Quote: As is your general

Quote:
As is your general affliction, you believe wrongly. The alternative to a secular government would have been a theocracy or one with a state-sanctioned religion.

 We are getting sidetracked again.  Those are not the only alternatives.  We are living in the other alternative, that being the alternative that preserves both..."no law respecting an establishment of religion OR prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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OwnTheFence wrote: Also,

OwnTheFence wrote:

Also, magilum, I don't care about revision.  My beliefs fall more along the lines of Jefferson and Paine.  I only care about the accuracy of our history and what we can prove to be true. 

So, again, what does Kelly mean when she says “...it was never there“?

I'm guessing it means that this is neither a theocracy nor a Christian nation, with the implication that the Christian Right movement, for instance, has been an enormous step away from the founding principles of the country, not an affirmation of them.


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OwnTheFence

OwnTheFence wrote:

Quote:
As is your general affliction, you believe wrongly. The alternative to a secular government would have been a theocracy or one with a state-sanctioned religion.

 We are getting sidetracked again.  Those are not the only alternatives.  We are living in the other alternative, that being the alternative that preserves both...“no law respecting an establishment of religion OR prohibiting the free exercise thereof“

A secular government doesn't prohibit the exercise of religion, it preserves it by not sanctioning one, and not making it the basis of political decisions, or a criteria for public office.


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magilum wrote: I'm

magilum wrote:

I'm guessing it means that this is neither a theocracy nor a Christian nation, with the implication that the Christian Right movement, for instance, has been an enormous step away from the founding principles of the country, not an affirmation of them.

I'm going to go relax.  I'll be back tomorrow.  I'll leave you with a general question related to your above comment:

 At the time the Constitution was written, were we a christian nation?

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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OwnTheFence

OwnTheFence wrote:
magilum wrote:

I'm guessing it means that this is neither a theocracy nor a Christian nation, with the implication that the Christian Right movement, for instance, has been an enormous step away from the founding principles of the country, not an affirmation of them.

I'm going to go relax.  I'll be back tomorrow.  I'll leave you with a general question related to your above comment:

 At the time the Constitution was written, were we a christian nation?

We've already been over this.


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magilum

magilum wrote:

OwnTheFence wrote:
magilum wrote:

I'm guessing it means that this is neither a theocracy nor a Christian nation, with the implication that the Christian Right movement, for instance, has been an enormous step away from the founding principles of the country, not an affirmation of them.

I'm going to go relax. I'll be back tomorrow. I'll leave you with a general question related to your above comment:

At the time the Constitution was written, were we a christian nation?

We've already been over this.

At the time the Constitution was being written the founders debated and faught over how a deity should be IF AT ALL, mentioned. Considering the diversity of beliefs they did the right thing and left out any mention of any sect of religion, religion or specific deity.

They did defend freedom of religion but as the First Amendment clearly states that must be done by NOT PLAYING FAVORITES. There was no intent on their part to have goverment make statements of deity belief on behalf of all the citizens.

The First Amendment is an anti-trust law disigned to prevent monopolies of power over politics, religion and speech. The goverment was not allowed to stop you from these things, but they were not supposed to aid you either.

Christians falsely believe that freedom of religion started with the Mayflower. Freedom of religion did not become law untill the ratification of the Constitution.

In the colonies pre-Revolution, law was very secterian and each colonie based its laws on it's particular sect. Anyone outside that sect had to be submissive or silent. It was because of people like Jefferson, even before the Constitution, who convinced the intire state of Virginia BEFORE THE CONSTITUTION, to give up on religious based laws because of the differences between individuals.

All the founders, as I said, had personal opinions and personal beliefs. But because of the opression of the king, not only tax wise, but religion wise, and because of the sectarian squabling of the colonies over this issue, it was quite clear to the founders that they wanted to make it clear that religion was an issue best left up to the mind of the individual and WAS NOT an issue that the goverment would take a postion on.

However, as I said before, almost from the start, even after the Constitution, pretty much only the legistlature and president understood this concept. Constitutiants were laymen, even back then, and did not have the education or background the founders did.

This missunderstanding of a secular government has always been around. But all one has to do to understand how vital a neutral goverment is, one can look at any given colony and it's laws and how those outside the sect were treated. We see this sectarian divide today in the middle east.

So "at the time" the founders were trying to avoid the same mistakes made throughout the colony's early history and that of the theocracies of europe.

Think about how wastefull goverment is today. We see this waste both on the left and right. The founders would, if alive today, NOT BE REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT, they would most likely lean toward Libertarian, give or take a few of them. They were for minimal goverment and privacy and freedom of the mind of the individual.

I doubt most of them would apreciate the divisive secterian politics based on something they would want to keep out of politics . All of them, as I said, valued freedom of religion, but railed against pulpit politics and the proping up by goverment of any religion. Again, all one has to do to see why religion and goverment mixing is a bad idea, all one has to do is look to the middle east.

The absense of "Jesus" and "Christianity" from the Constitution is a blantent dileberate step to avoid a theocracy. Freedom of religion unfortunatly has been falsely taken by Christians as a intitlement via goverment to falsely state that Jesus wrote the Constitution, rather than humans who wanted YOU to think for yourself and make your own decisions without their interferance or favoritism. 

If a Christian in America cringes at the statement, "Islamic Nation" then they should be willing to understand that freedom of religion does not make us a "Christian nation". It merely makes you the individual, NOT THE GOVERMENT, responsible for what you believe. 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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I have reread all of the

I have reread all of the replys to my OP.  I appreciate the attention paid by some posters to the level of detail in their responses.  It is some good stuff.

 However, it still seems to me that by her statement "...it was never there" Kelly means to infer that christianity or recognition of a deity DID NOT play a part in the founding of the United States.   Even a cursory look at the lives of the men involved and of their actions surrounding the formation of the great documents of this nation fully abolishes this idea.

I am NOT saying that we have a christian governement.   I AM saying that the men who founded our nation sought an informed knowledge of the past along with wisdom granted to them by a deity in order to form the governmental structure of our nation.

Does anyone disagree?

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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OwnTheFence wrote:Nearly

OwnTheFence wrote:

Nearly all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were churchgoing men.  

Is there the possibility that the concepts of God, providence and judgement were so firmly rooted in these men's minds that the overt mention of them in these works was, more or less, unnecessary? 

There's a difference between Christianity playing a part in the founding of the United States, and the establishment of a state religion.

When someone like Dinesh D'Souza argues that America should be a Christian nation because the founding fathers were more or less Christian, he's actually endorsing the exact sort of action that the founding fathers wanted to avoid.

There are two things the founding fathers didn't want when they established the United States:

1) A monarchy;

and

2) The state religion that comes with a monarchy (i.e. Church of England).

If the Constitution (the Declaration of Independence is a subordinate document) had made no mention of religion whatsoever, then you could certainly argue that their faith was so pervasive that they simply neglected to mention it.

But instead they dealt not one but two defeats to religion in the Constitution, as previously mentioned.

You posit that the founding fathers used "wisdom granted by a deity" - but that's an entirely different question. Atheists would say God doesn't exist, therefore the founding fathers did not have deity-granted wisdom.

But did their faith/beliefs inform their work? Sure. But an atheist and a theist can both believe the same thing is right. The theist will say his belief comes from God, the atheist will say his belief comes from rational thought.

What does the faith/religion of the founding fathers matter anyway? The only time Christians bring it up is when they want more religion in government.

Nobody I know was brainwashed into being an atheist.

Why Believe?


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Then how do we explain

Then how do we explain things like George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation:

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D. 1789."

 I think that there is an explanation for this seeming constitutional contradiction:

  The founders recognized the existence of God APART from the confines of religion.  And therefore, Washington could issue this proclamation, which is obviously religious in nature, without subscribing it to, or endorsing any particular sect. 

 Opinions?

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson


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geirjWhat does the

geirj wrote:

What does the faith/religion of the founding fathers matter anyway? The only time Christians bring it up is when they want more religion in government.

It matters insofar as Kelly seems to be saying that from a historical standpoint it did not exist.

To say "...it was never there" stikes me as revisionist history, unless of course, I still misunderstand her meaning.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

The Eagle, by Tennyson