Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Wall: Both Brick and Political...

It's like... It's like trying to dig through a brick wall with a straw... One of the cheap plastic ones that break at McD's when all you did was peel off the stupid paper it came wrapped in...

Let's state it for the record: The United States was Never Founded to be a Christian Nation. Of course, being that they live according to a 2,000 year old book and love to rewrite and revise that, the "holiest" thing sky god ever decided to let them keep (cause let's face it--they hung his kid by nails from a wooden beam--I'm surprised he entrusted them with paper, let alone paper with words) it shouldn't be surprising that they'd love to rewrite and revise the 200+ year history of our country. It's a habit they just can't seem to get control on. And if they can't be expected to accurately reflect and learn some basic about the bible, why should our country be any different, right?

And should be added, just for the sake of clarification as some people just don't seem to get the difference, this is about fundamentalist, so-called conservative Christians, not your average run-of-the-mill live-and-let-live Christians. (HINT: In case you don't get the distinction, the difference being those that live their faith and don't try to make laws for everyone else to live by [normal Christians] and those that think we are actually a nation "Of the Sky God, for the Sky God [conservative fundamentalists])

As if the preamble of the Constitution didn't make it clear enough ("We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union....") by NOT appealing to sky god, his kid, or holy Casper (let alone their collective mother), the document by which we run our entire "land of the free" goes on to state in no uncertain terms "Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." In case some of you have no idea what that means, translated into layman's terms it states "You will not make any laws for, against, or in promotion of, or in deference to, any religion." The premise of a "wall" between religion and politics is reiterated later in the Constitution when speaking of political office: "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." If this were a "Christian" nation, they would have written something along the lines of "to support this Constitution; and a profession in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior shall be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." But they didn't, did they?

And just in case that isn't clear enough here is a list of some of the more prominent founding fathers and their thoughts on "The Wall":
  1. Thomas Jefferson (the author of whom some were shocked to learn owned a Quran) expanded upon what the phrase meant in a letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association in 1801, in which he stated it was a "wall of separation between church and State." And while yes, you will never find that exact phrase in the constitution, neither will you find the phrase "freedom of religion."
  2. Madison had also written that "Strongly guarded... is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States."
  3. Washington? He stated "Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshiping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience," also in a letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia in May of 1789. In fact, a few years earlier (1784), when George Washington needed some masons to build on his estate, he stated "If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mohometans, Jews or Christians of any Sect, or they may be Atheists." And he told a Mennonite minister who sought refuge in the United States after the Revolution: "I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable Asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong...." He was, as John Bell pointed out in 1779, "a total stranger to religious prejudices, which have so often excited Christians of one denomination to cut the throats of those of another." It's a wonder none of them wrote "We, the worshippers of God, in order to form a more perfect union..."
  4. Thomas Paine wrote "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. John Adams (the second U.S. President) rejected the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and became a Unitarian. It was during Adams' presidency that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Tripoli, which states in Article XI that: "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 tranquility of Musselmen, - and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arrising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. My own mind is my own church."
  5. And then there's old Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the most-oft mis-quoted "Christian" of the founding fathers. About March 1, 1790, he wrote the following in a letter to Ezra Stiles (the president of Yale), who had asked Benjamin his views on religion. Franklin's answer indicated quite strongly that he remained a Deist, not a Christian, to the end: "As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble...."
Need I go on? Supposedly these are the "Christians" that founded our nation... And while anyone could find a quote that mentions "God," it in no way speaks to their belief in the views of fundie conservatives trying to usurp the nation for their imagined deity... It actually speaks more to the desperate need to believe in something that doesn't exist! (much like their sky god!)

But be all this as it may, what started all this? you ask. Well, in a discussion here, where I (perhaps not-so) kindly pointed out that just because Westboro doesn't act "Christ-like" in someones sense of the word doesn't make them not Christian! Well, all this to say it quickly delved into a bunch of generalizations and such, which I try to stay away from but sometimes can't be helped, I suppose, being human and all...

What a lot of the discussion boils down to is the failure of true-blooded conservatives failing to see how, while the actions of Westboro they may deplore, the ideology of Westboro and many of the radical conservatives of the United States are very much in sync! And while they may not like that tidy little fact (as Westboro is very fanatical in both action AND ideology), actions alone to do not a non-Christian make. It is the basic tenants of the faith that tie Christians together, across denomination and continent (i.e., Jesus came from God, we supposedly killed him, he rose again on the third day, he sent the Holy Spirit, we all must repent and be baptized, and one day he's coming back... supposedly) And most (if not all) Christians would agree that believing these things is what makes you a Christian! (Of course, most of the founding fathers DIDN'T believe these things, but that's been covered.) What some Christians believe (the more moderate ones) is that they have no business telling anyone how to live or what their particular imaginary god may or may not think about someone else's lifestyle. What the other, more conservative and fundamental Christians, believe is that they have the divine obligation to not only tell others how to live and what their imaginary deity thinks about lifestyles, but to usurp the government to their deity's agenda in an effort to force everyone to live according to their beliefs! And in this instance (concerning wishing everyone lived like a fundie), traditional conservatives and Westboro inhabit the same bed, they just use the bed differently... (Oy! That sounded a bit dirty, didn't it? :D) Conservatives refuse to admit that while they deplore the actions of Westboro, Westboro's ideology (anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-[insert vice here]) is the same stance they take on such social issues... Westboro just is willing to say it without all the politically correct phraseology (i.e., "love the sin, hate the sinner"; "God still loves you" crap). The more liberal Christians certainly don't feel "attacked" when Westboro is used against fundamentalists because they know they DO have nothing in common with their ideology; most normal to liberal Christians have no issue with letting people live their lives as they choose as they are afforded the same freedoms to do so. But traditional fundamentalists feel that they are "victimized" when one points out that Westboro IS the embodiment of their ideals and beliefs in the most extreme form; and one knows one must follow an idea to the most extremes to find out if it is a tenable idea or belief, mustn't one? That is the only true test of the feasibility of an belief--that, even in the most extreme form of said idea, if the idea is truly a good idea or belief. And when one looks at the most extreme conservatives and fundies of Christianity, of Islam, of any type of religious dogma--it is in the "literal" believers, the "not a doubt in my mind" believers which pose the greatest threat to the freedoms that we as United States citizens hold so dear! The very freedoms that the conservatives claim to hold so dear are the ones they wish to strip from everyone else!

Perhaps it is me, and I'm the one missing something here... Thoughts?

1 comment:

FCSuper said...

Wow, didn't even notice you covered. I need to get out in the blogsphere more often. :)