THE FOUNDERS OF THE UNITED STATES WERE WRONG

There is an on-going debate between self-styled conservative-Republican Christians and those who call themselves secular humanists, and Deists, and reasoning, rational American patriots, and the like. The debate concerns whether or not the United States was founded upon Christianity or is, or ever was, a Christian nation. The material in block quotes below lays out the argument against the typical self-styled conservative-Republican Christian position that the United States was founded upon Christianity. After that quoted material, we'll layout Real Liberal Christian positions on the subject.

Romney's Founders [ACSblog.org]

by Geoffrey R. Stone, professor of law at the University of Chicago

Mitt Romney's recent reflections on the role of religion in American politics implicitly called to mind a disturbingly distorted version of history that has become part of the conventional wisdom of American politics in recent years.

That version of history suggests that the Founders intended to create a "Christian Nation," and that we have unfortunately drifted away from that vision of the United States. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Those who promote this fiction confuse the Puritans, who intended to create a theocratic state, with the Founders, who lived 150 years later. The Founders were not Puritans, but men of the Enlightenment. They lived not in an Age of Faith, but in an Age of Reason. They viewed issues of religion through a prism of rational thought.

To be sure, there were traditional Christians among the Founders, including such men as John Jay, Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams. Most of the Founders, however, were not traditional Christians, but deists who were quite skeptical of traditional Christianity. They believed that a benevolent Supreme Being had created the universe and the laws of nature and had given man the power of reason with which to discover the meaning of those laws. They viewed religious passion as irrational and dangerously divisive, and they challenged, both publicly and privately, the dogmas of traditional Christianity.

Benjamin Franklin, for example, dismissed most of Christian doctrine as "unintelligible." He believed in a deity who "delights" in man's "pursuit of happiness." He regarded Jesus as a wise moral philosopher, but not necessarily as a divine or divinely inspired figure. He viewed all religions as more or less interchangeable in their most fundamental tenets, which he believed required men to treat each other with kindness and respect.

Thomas Jefferson was a thoroughgoing skeptic who valued reason above faith. He subjected every religious tradition, including his own, to careful scrutiny. He had no patience for talk of miracles, revelation, and resurrection. Like Franklin, Jefferson admired Jesus as a moral philosopher, but insisted that Jesus' teachings had been distorted beyond all recognition by a succession of "corruptors," such as Paul, Augustine, and Calvin. He regarded such doctrines as predestination, trinitarianism, and original sin as "nonsense," "abracadabra" and "a deliria of crazy imaginations." He referred to Christianity as "our peculiar superstition" and maintained that "ridicule" was the only rational response to the "unintelligible propositions" of traditional Christianity.

John Adams, who identified most closely with the early Unitarians, also believed that the original teachings of Jesus had been sound, but that Christianity had subsequently gone awry. He wrote to Jefferson that the essence of his religious beliefs was captured in the phrase, "Be just and good." As President, Adams signed a treaty, unanimously approved by the Senate in 1797, stating unambiguously that "the Government of the United States . . . is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."

George Washington was respectful of traditional Christianity, but he did not have much use for it. His personal papers offer no evidence that he believed in biblical revelation, eternal life, or Jesus' divinity. Clergymen who knew Washington well bemoaned his skeptical approach to Christianity. Bishop William White, for example, admitted that no "degree of recollection will bring to my mind any fact which would prove General Washington to have been a believer in Christian revelation."

Tom Paine, the author of Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and The Age of Reason, insisted that "the religion of Deism is superior to the Christian religion," because it "is free from those invented and torturing articles that shock our reason." Paine explained that deism's creed "is pure and sublimely simple. It believes in God, and there it rests. It honours Reason as the choicest gift of God to man" and "it avoids all presumptuous beliefs and rejects, as the fabulous inventions of men, all books pretending to revelation." Paine dismissed Christianity as "a fable, which, for absurdity and extravagance, is not exceeded by anything that is to be found in the mythology of the ancients." In Paine's view, traditional Christianity had "served to corrupt and brutalize mankind."

These words no doubt sound shockingly blunt and "politically incorrect" to modern ears, but they were in fact the views of many of our most revered Founders. The fable that the United States was founded as a Christian Nation is just that – a fable.

It is worth noting that the Declaration of Independence does not invoke Jesus, or Christ, or Our Father, or the Almighty, but the "Laws of Nature," "Nature's God," the "Supreme Judge," and "Divine Providence," all phrases that belong to the tradition of deism. The Declaration of Independence is not a Puritan or Calvinist or Methodist or Baptist or Protestant or Catholic or Christian document, but a document of the Enlightenment. It is a statement that deeply and intentionally invokes the language of American deism. It is a document of its own time, and it speaks eloquently about what Americans of that time believed.

The Constitution goes even further. It does not invoke the deity at all. Unlike the Puritan documents of the early seventeenth century, it makes no reference whatever to God. It cites as its ultimate source of authority not "the command of God," but "We the People," the stated purpose of the Constitution is not to create a government "according to the will of God" but to "secure the Blessings of Liberty." Significantly, the only reference to religion in the 1789 Constitution expressly prohibits the use of any religious test for public office.

The Founders were not anti-religion. They understood that religion could help nurture the public morality necessary to a self-governing society. But they also understood that religion was fundamentally a private and personal matter that had no place in the political life of a nation dedicated to the separation of church and state. They would have been appalled at the idea of the federal government sponsoring "faith-based" initiatives. They would have been quite happy to tolerate Mitt Romney's Mormonism – as long as he keeps it out of our government.

The article is absolutely correct that the United States was not founded in letter as a Christian nation or to be, or become, necessarily a Christian nation. This though requires that terms be defined. The state here is the supreme sovereign. The easiest way to demonstrate that the United States is not a Christian state is by pointing out that the state does not do what the Church says. It does not defer to the Church. It is not the Church. Were the United States a Christian state, it would be one and the same as the Church. Under the United States government, the Church and the state are separate. The state is secular, meaning worldly rather than under the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ whom the Church acknowledges as the supreme sovereign rather than the state of the United States.

Geoffrey Stone wrote, "The Founders were not Puritans, but men of the Enlightenment. They lived not in an Age of Faith, but in an Age of Reason. They viewed issues of religion through a prism of rational thought." These terms also must be defined and placed within context for the sake of greater understanding of the true nature of the debate. Understand here that the real Christians don't consider this truly debatable. In fact, neither do the secularists. The dialogue is for purposes of swaying souls.

For real Christianity, "The Enlightenment" is a misnomer. It is an incorrect name given to an era that was in reaction to unenlightenment but that did not bring enlightenment. Simply put, there was Jesus and his first followers. Then followed apostasy (falling away from the spirit of Jesus and God). The climax of the takeover by apostates was the Council of Nicaea convened by Constantine I (Caesar) in A.D. 325. The worldly Roman Empire took over the church, corrupting it to worldly, militant, covetous, depraved, imperial ends. "The Enlightenment" era was in direct reaction to the traditions and dogma that had built up under the Roman Catholic religion, its pseudo-Protestant offshoot called the Church of England, and also built up under actual Protestant strains.

In reaction to the terrible theology that developed out of the usurpation of the faith by antichrist militants, etc., many people went way beyond correcting the errors of that usurpation to establishing yet another usurpation of righteousness' rightful rule. In overthrowing the tyranny (coercion) of the apostate church-state, the founders of the United States over steered. They had wrongly concluded that the very basis of Christianity was responsible for the horrendous acts done by apostates. This is why they misdefined enlightenment, reason, rational thought, and much more.

Jesus was not unreasoned. He was not irrational. He was not unenlightened. Heavens, he was and is the most reasoned, rational, and enlightened person ever to walk the face of the Earth.

Now, the important thing for real Christians to understand is that miracles are closed off from all testing. Where there is the spirit of testing God's ability, there will be nothing showing out of the ordinary. Make no mistake about it, science and technology are and always will be ordinary in this sense.

God did create "the universe and the laws of nature and had [and has] given man the power of reason with which to discover the meaning of those laws." However, those are not the sum total of the law. Confining oneself solely to the realm suggested by "nature" as the term is intended by the Deists and secular humanists is to completely miss out on all that unfolds when one follows Jesus.

Religious passion certainly can be "irrational and dangerously divisive." False religion is exactly that. Deism is a false religion and has led to the current situation and not, contrary to the case with Christianity, by virtue of deviation from its central premise. Christianity is founded upon the New Commandment, which is the summation of the Greatest Commandments and the Golden Rule. The usurpers deviated. They rebelled. Moving away from the teachings and exemplary life of Jesus and over steering in reaction to that (which over steering constitutes more moving away) results in despotism and regardless of infinite checks and balances anyone may conjure up.

When one sees that the righteousness of Jesus has a better outcome, one is being unreasoned and irrational in not following Jesus's teachings and example. Foolishly and dimwittedly, one is letting oneself in for all the negative consequences Jesus explained will and do befall the naysayers, the unfaithful, the undisciplined, the un-churched, etc. When one does not see that service for righteousness' sake (God's sake; the sake of all and not self alone and apart from God), one is far from enlightened. That very service is the light. Here you see where the definitions have been distorted and lost by, and to, the founders of the United States.

The United States was born in violence and selfishness. It was definitely not born out of the spirit of Jesus Christ. Had it been, we would be living in Heaven rather than Hell on Earth.

Benjamin Franklin was a notorious womanizer. Of course he wouldn't accept Jesus as his Lord.

Thomas Jefferson was a thorough hypocrite, owning his own children as his disinherited chattel slaves. Of course, he too would not profess Christ. The reason Jefferson couldn't see his way to not over steering was because he was blinded by his own hardheartedness. Who in his right mind is going to follow someone who doesn't practice what he preaches? Jefferson admired Jesus? The Hell he did. He hated Jesus. He didn't know the first thing about Jesus. What he knew about Jesus wouldn't fill a thimble.

John Adams didn't know "the original teachings of Jesus." Had he known them and thought they were "sound," he would have been as Christlike as he could bring himself to be. He would never have engaged in the American Revolutionary War, no Christian engages in any such war ever. He would not have been coercive in obtaining his so-called rights to lord it over his self-titled private estate. If "the essence of his religious beliefs was captured in the phrase, 'Be just and good,'" why wasn't he good and just? Oh sure, he wasn't as bad as others were before him. He was not, however, either "good" or "just" in terms Jesus meant. Good is God. Just is God. They are perfect. They are not just "more perfect," as the preamble to the U.S. Constitution states as that to which the founders aspired. They knew full well that they were falling miserably short of really trying to create the best form of government they could. They knew damn well that they slaughtered people, both foreign and domestic, out of the basic spirit of greed, violence, and licentiousness at their cores.

George Washington was above all the others ready, willing, and able to kill as many as it might take to secure exactly that which the Devil offered to Jesus to tempt him but which Jesus summarily rejected. Washington was a slave owner and seller. Of course, he wasn't a Christian. None of them were Christians.

Tom Paine was the quintessential Deist, secular humanist. His writings are pure blasphemy. He couldn't rise to the implications of Jesus's real life, so he trash Jesus as much as possible while he, Paine, maintained his sheep's clothing just enough so as not to be put to the torch by false Christians.

False Christianity did serve "to corrupt and brutalize mankind." Jesus did not though either corrupt or brutalize mankind, quite the contrary. Jesus still serves and will always for as long as needed, the cause of freeing souls out from under the bondage of selfishness that all the founders of the United States so fervently promoted.

Geoffrey Stone's words are no where near as "shockingly blunt and 'politically incorrect' to modern ears," as are my words here, but they are the facts.

You will notice that Geoffrey calls them "many of our most revered Founders." You will notice that he capitalized founders. Oh, elevate them to replace Jesus and the Apostles, Geoffrey, and you'll be sure to be with those founders and not with Jesus after you leave this life.

It is worth noting that the Declaration of Independence does not invoke Jesus, or Christ, or Our Father, or the Almighty, but the "Laws of Nature," "Nature's God," the "Supreme Judge," and "Divine Providence," all phrases that belong to the tradition of deism. The Declaration of Independence is not a Puritan or Calvinist or Methodist or Baptist or Protestant or Catholic or Christian document, but a document of the Enlightenment. It is a statement that deeply and intentionally invokes the language of American deism.

True. The most important thing about it all is what we will next address.

Geoffrey and his ilk want you to believe that since the founders were Deists and not Christians for the most part and that the founding and governing documents of the state are decidedly Deist documents, then necessarily the government of the people of this area of the planet ought to be and remain non-Christian. He is promoting the dismissal of real Christianity, not the false Christianity of Mitt Romney, as the proper, best, and most perfect form of government. He is promoting the secular to maintain highly violent control over the lives of those who wish to live in the here and now with real Christianity being universally accepted and lived.

The Real Liberal Christian Church is not for the violent overthrow of the Constitution of the United States. It is for each person simply taking the teachings and life example of Jesus to heart and just not participating in the secular government any longer. We are for bringing forth the Christian Commons Project™. We believe that the U.S. Constitution states our right to do so and that all attempts to block us by mundanely legal means constitute unconstitutional acts.

We know that the Blessings of Liberty are to be found in following God's will that has been obviously obfuscated for nearly two thousand years.

As for the current cropping up of the use of the words "religious test for public office," there is nothing in the mundane law that precludes voters from refusing to vote for anyone on any grounds whatsoever. If voters want to say that Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee or Barack Obama best reflects their religious views and that that is why they will vote for them, there isn't anything constitutional to prevent them. Individual voters may apply all the religious tests they want. Also, if enough people convert to so-called conservative-Republican Christianity and vote accordingly, they can definitely amend the U.S. Constitution to create a theocracy under their vision of a supreme being. We don't advocate that, obviously, but it is the truth.

The Founders were not anti-religion. They understood that religion could help nurture the public morality necessary to a self-governing society. But they also understood that religion was fundamentally a private and personal matter that had no place in the political life of a nation dedicated to the separation of church and state. They would have been appalled at the idea of the federal government sponsoring "faith-based" initiatives. They would have been quite happy to tolerate Mitt Romney's Mormonism – as long as he keeps it out of our government.

Ah, how wrong can one be? Oh, he's not wrong that he's stating the "Founders" line. It's his religion. His religion is exactly what he's pushing here. It is this system in which he places his faith.

We too have written against the "faith-based" initiatives. They are based upon taxes. Taxes are coerced. We hold with volunteerism. Heaven is not obtained by force. That's why the "Founders" didn't obtain it or bequeath it to posterity.

The one and only right course of action is to correct the over steering. Jesus is on the one and only right path. All deviation is error. The founders of the United States were in severe deviation. That's why we still have a mess with which to contend.

The founders of the government known as the United States of America did not set a government by, of, or for righteousness' sake or the New Commandment. That's why this state is falling.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 – present, website developer and writer. 2015 – present, insurance broker.

    Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration.

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