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Moonobserver

Church and State

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A while back I suggested some discussion on the Wall of Separation, so I'm putting my money where my keypad is and starting it.

 

Christian fundamentalists routinely deny the historicity of church-state separation in the US. Would any of them care to try holding that position after reading James Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments"?

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No, they would not even read it because he didn't really say that, and if he did he was joking. Facts elude them.

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3 minutes ago, florduh said:

No, they would not even read it because he didn't really say that, and if he did he was joking. Facts elude them.

You'd better explain all this to the people who run the National Archives to show how much smarter than them you are.....

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2 hours ago, Moonobserver said:

A while back I suggested some discussion on the Wall of Separation, so I'm putting my money where my keypad is and starting it.

 

Christian fundamentalists routinely deny the historicity of church-state separation in the US. Would any of them care to try holding that position after reading James Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments"?

 

Hah! You've appealed to a rather obscure text, for which you have my utmost respect. Most Christians are loathed to acknowledge that the more popular Age of Reason by Thomas Paine even exists. At a fundamental level it is clear that while the founders were steeped in a Christian society and spoke the language of Christianity (e.g. Paine referred to the Jewish faith as a "church" despite that Jews would reject that label), they were rather evolved for their time and rejected, to some extent or another, the teachings of the Christian faith. Note that George Washington abstained from communion at the church he attended with Martha, since he did not fully adhere to the church's teachings. Note also that Thomas Jefferson famously excised portions of the Gospels referring to any supernatural acts on the part of Jesus. As for Benjamin Franklin...well, some claim that he was a Satanist.

 

To be sure, among the framers was a fair share of Bible-believing Christians. But keep in mind that this was a time when modern archeology had not yet elucidated the Bible as a fraud, and when scientific disciplines such as cosmology and evolutionary biology were not yet available so as to provide evidence-based answers to questions about the origins of life. That even a handful of the framers dared to question the Biblical narrative is remarkable. Christians would have us believe that we owe America our allegiance due to the higher authority of Jesus, as well as to Paul's dictum that we submit ourselves to the powers that be. On the contrary, I would consider America to be the greatest nation on earth - worthy of allegiance -  partially because it was founded by men who had the wisdom to see beyond the myopic Christian orthodoxy of their day. Thomas Jefferson believed that our rights were derived from God, but theh God to which he appealed was "Nature and Nature's God," not specifically Jesus. That one would make this claim in a context where literally everyone professes Christianity is astounding, and opens the door for anyone who believes in the principles of America to pledge allegiance to this nation without suffering the ridicule of baptism in Jesus' name. Ironically, when I was a Bible-believing evangelical Christian, I had great moral difficulty adhering to a nation that was supposedly founded on the backs of slaves and on stolen Native American lands (note that I believed this despite attending fundamentalist, Reformed Baptist churches). It was only after discarding Jesus that I could recognize the genius of America.

 

I would contend that at a philosophical level, one cannot be a patriotic American while being an evangelical Christian. The problem of dual loyalty to the Constitution and to Jesus will always exist, until one makes a definitive choice between the two.

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