Friday, January 12, 2007

Church And State

An interesting battle in the debate about the place of Christianity in our society is going on. Nathen Bradfield, at Church and State has put up a couple of incredibly stupid and uninformed posts on why he thinks the US is a 'Christian Nation'. His post have been reviewed by Ed Brayton at Dispatches From The Culture Wars, and found to be lacking.

Reading these post is a good way to see just how detatched from reality and history those who promote the US as a Christian nation are.


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5 comments:

Nathan Bradfield said...

Apparently, you have demonstrated the same ability to spin truth as Mr. Brayton at Science Blogs.

I never claimed America is a Christian nation. In fact, I even wrote that in the opening paragraph. But to you liberals, it's perfectly normal to spin truth.

John said...

But you do Falsley claim that many of our founding fathers did not strongly embrace and encourage (heck, demand) that the state and chruch remain apart.

Our nations founding was a child of the age of enlightenmebnt, the age a reason. The great thinkers of the age embraced science and reason in addition to (or as opposed to) faith, and established our nation as one that while allowing all persons their own failh, demanded that our governments actions be based on science and reason.

Nathan Bradfield said...

But you do Falsley (sic) claim that many of our founding fathers did not strongly embrace and encourage (heck, demand) that the state and chruch remain apart.

Please show me, in context, where they demanded that they remain apart.

John said...

Lets start with Jefferson's 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association where the phrase "wall of separation between church and state" was first used to describe the effect of the 1st.

Now lets start with how many of our national leaders views Christianity, and state religions at the time (remember, the nation we just removed ourselfs from had a state religion).

Thomas Paine
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. My own mind is my own church. (Richard Emery Roberts, ed. "Excerpts from The Age of Reason". Selected Writings of Thomas Paine. New York: Everbody's Vacation Publishing Co., 1945, p. 362)

Regarding the New Testament, he wrote that:


I hold [it] to be fabulous and have shown [it] to be false...(Roberts, p. 375)


Franklin openly questined the divinity of Jesus

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.

what may be the best indicator of how our leaders the government and even the people of our nation felt on this issue may be 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. (Charles I. Bevans, ed. Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949. Vol. 11: Philippines-United Arab Republic. Washington D.C.: Department of State Publications, 1974, p. 1072).

This treaty was negotiated by 1 president (Washington), signed by another (Adams) approved by the congress and presnted to the American public by the nations papers.

This all occured without debate or anger over the line

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.

Clearly indicating an acceptance of this ideal.

John said...

By the way... Jefferson was rather firm about his intent with his wall statement. This is from a letter in 1808 to a Virginia Baptist group.

Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.