10 April 2009

It Wasn't Supposed To Be This Way

Our founding fathers understood something...power corrupts everyone. To protect both the government and the church, they intentionally made sure to eliminate religious entanglements from our country's founding documents. So much of that wisdom seems lost now.

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."

- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Alexander von Humboldt, 12/6/1813

Compared with:

"I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards."

- Mike Huckabee, January 2008

What Mr. Huckabee and others like him do not seem to understand, is that our government was INTENTIONALLY created devoid of religion. Not just devoid of Christianity - but ALL religion. Aside from the date line, there is no mention of "God" in the document.

I have a feeling that Mr. Madison and Mr. Jefferson have been spinning in their respective graves, since at the very least the 1950s. Our money, our oaths of offices, our Pledge of Allegiance, offices of "faith based initiatives" - it wasn't supposed to be this way.

"Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U.S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and tese are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation."

- James Madison, "Detached Memoranda"

Madison was concerned about Chaplains - and look where we are now.

During the Presidential elections of my lifetime, I cannot recall one where the candidate didn't feel the need to affirm his/her Christianity. Ask someone if they would vote for an Atheist for President - 53% of the time you'll get a "NO". So while we do not have a law that violates Article VI of the Constitution, we have a national attitude that does.

Article VI clearly states (emphasis added):

"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."

So what are we doing?

How is it that the same people who believe that the Constitution should be interpreted in the strictest manner are the same ones who focus only on the "freedom of religion" but ignore the "no law respecting the establishment of religion"? The people that believe in "intelligent design" can't see the intelligent design in our Constitution. The wall of separation between church and state is for the protection of ALL of us.

Our founding fathers understood this and they took measures to prevent religious arguments from damaging our Republic. We should be infinitely thankful for that.

Check out other Blog Against Theocracy blogswarm posts!

Awesome Art Courtesy of TheKarmicHammer



  1. Seems to be a blur factor, or some razzle dazzle to keep many from seeing what's really going on around them.

    It seems to work on the masses.

    I still can't see why when it's so obvious it's a ruse ; (

    Cheers and Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I've heard it said that prayer in schools should be banned because children don't have the ability to decide what they believe -- and, if they opt out, the other kids will pick on them.

    but, prayers in Congress are OK because the people involved are adults. they ostensibly know what they believe and, if they opt out, they won't be bullied.
    even if this flawed logic had been applicable at one time, I think we have only to look at today's politics to know this simply ain't so.

    if we want to get religion out of our government, we need to start with Congress and go on from there.

  3. Ironically, many of the founders' concern was not so much that religion would corrupt government, but vicey-versey (as it tended to be in Caesar's time, no?). Who would have thunk.

  4. This is a great post, well thought out and well said. I agree with you completely. I have recently read Our Godless Constitution (Kramnick & Moore), God in the White House (Balmer), and even Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates ---all informative works on state/church separation issues.

    In a survey of religious and non-religious people (as reported in Atheists, A Groundbreaking Study of America's Nonbelievers (Bruce Hunsberger and Bob Altemeyer, 2006) most Christians would be in favor of laws mandating religion classes in public schools with the goal to make everyone a Christian. Yet when asked if they found themselves in a foreign country with a different majority religion than Christianity, they would be opposed to classes teaching Islam or Buddhism, for example, with the same goal. In other words, they favored majority rule as long as they were the majority. When atheists were asked the same question, if they favored teaching atheism in schools with the goal of deconverting the religious, atheists almost unanimously were against such classes, preferring to leave religious questions to the home.

  5. Nicki - terriffic post!

    I really think the first amendment is the one that gets everyone on the right tied up in knots the most.



  6. I love the graphic. It reminds me of the similarity many have noted between Ratzinger and Emperor Palpatine.