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Happy Birthday George

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
 
The phrase separation of church and state is generally traced to the letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists, in which he referred to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as creating a "wall of separation" between church and state. The phrase was then quoted by the United States Supreme Court first in 1878, and then in a series of cases starting in 1948. This led to increased popular and political discussion of the concept.
 
Do today’s political leaders believe in such separation?   Although not specifically addressed by the following quotes, one could logically infer the authors’ beliefs.
 
John McCain when asked whether the President of the United States should be Christian: “Personally, I prefer someone who I know has a solid grounding in my faith [Christianity]. I feel that my faith is a better spiritual guide– better spiritual guidance.”
 
John Ashcroft at Bob Jones University: “Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. And we have understood that our source is eternal, America is different. We have no king but Jesus.”
 
Mike Huckabee: “I didn’t get into politics because I thought government had a better answer. I got into politics because I knew government didn’t have the real answers, that the real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives. […] I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ.”
 
How did we get here?   Why did we regress?   Everybody heard the woman addressing John McCain, stating that Barack Obama was a Muslim.  Even if it were true, should it have made a difference?  What would Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson have said?
 
 Thomas Paine in his pamphlet, Common Sense (1776):
"As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all government, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith…
 
The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written in 1779 by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed:
"[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."
 
Of course there are those extremists, who benefit from the freedom of the press, yet clearly don’t believe in Freedom of religion.
 
Ann Coulter: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.”
 
Rev. Pat Robertson: “When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. What do you mean? the media challenged me. ‘You’re not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?’ My simple answer is, Yes, they are.” The New World Order, (Word Publishing, Dallas, Texas) 1991, p. 218. 
 
Tom Delay House Majority Whip in a speech at a Texas, Baptist Church: “Christianity offers the only viable, reasonable, definitive answer to the questions of ‘Where did I come from?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Where am I going?’ ‘Does life have any meaningful purpose?’ - and “Only Christianity offers a comprehensive worldview that covers all areas of life and thought, every aspect of creation. Only Christianity offers a way to live in response to the realities that we find in this world—only Christianity.”
 
Pat Buchanan: “Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free.” Speech to the Christian Coalition, September 1993. (Source)
 
Thankfully, on this date before his birthday, we need only read the words of George Washington for a voice of reason.
 
“For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”  George Washington 

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
qilora
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
:-/

i think amrikans need better history teachers.

jellomarx
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
I think so. Have you ever been to Touro Synagogue in Newport?
qilora
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
no, but i just went and googled it-- OMG!!

road-trip! :)
jellomarx
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
It's a special place. Every fall they read Washington's letter.
lux_angelis
Feb. 22nd, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
Nuh-uh. Americans know everything, doncha know? And if history disagrees, well, just rewrite it!
lux_angelis
Feb. 22nd, 2009 05:20 am (UTC)
Christianity went from a wonderful school of thought supporting kindness, charity, love, etc., to a rabid slavering mob demanding the blood of the infidels. If we had any less severe laws regarding murder I don't doubt people like those you listed would be there with guns in hand to kill the "nonbelievers". But that Pat Robertson accepts that Jews are decent people is a huge surprise.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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