"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.";
Abraham Lincoln would have a very hard time getting elected president today as a Republican. The champions of traditional American values would never accept Lincoln for having failed to join a church, thinking the Bible is fallible and questioning the divinity of Jesus. When they found about his wife holding seances in the White House, it would be tame compared to with what happened to Bill Clinton.
Brethren like Pat Robertson are not going to tolerate any deviation from traditional values exactly like the ones they espouse themselves. Further, they believe that only approved Christians are entitled to be American citizens. According to Robertson:
"The Constitution of the United States . . . is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that's what's been happening."
Regarding atheists, humanists and liberals, Reverend Jerry Falwell said:
"Modern U.S. Supreme Courts have raped the Constitution and raped the Christian faith and raped the churches by misinterpreting what the founders had in mind in the First Amendment of the Constitution."
"...in submission because they have talked about separation of church and state. There is no such thing in the Constitution. It's a lie of the Left, and we're not going to take it anymore."
In short, the confounding bothers like Falwell and Robertson preach that they must save America by returning to the original intents of the founding fathers. As a liberal I totally agree. Listen to what George Washington wrote to the Comte de Lafayette on the subjects of atheism and cultural pluralism in America. Washington wrote that he was "no bigot myself to any mode of worship" and that regarding the religion of immigrants that for Washington "If they are good workmen, . . . they may be Mohammedans, Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be atheists."
What's this? George Washington didn't care if an American citizen was an atheist, Jew or Moslem. My goodness, the founding fathers intended this to be a Christian nation! Surely, they didn't intend for a separation of church and state. After all, according to Pat Robertson, talk of separation of Caesar and God didn't appear in the American Constitution but "only appeared in the constitution of the communist Soviet Union."
My, my: if you talk of separation of church and state then you're a communist, according to Brother Pat. George Washington had better not say once again today that "The United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian doctrine."
Nor would John Adams be able to sign another treaty that said " . . . the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion . . . "
Brother Pat and the Christian Coalition crowd might not enjoy hearing James Madison, the framer of the Bill of Rights, repeating that " . . . the Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man." Such talk is blasphemy to the religious right who holds that the only choice you have about religion is whether to kowtow to their state and corporate supported one-size-fits-all-religion or suffer damnation that they are glad to go ahead and carry out until Jesus can arrive to carry it out himself.
Likewise, the modern hypocrites and their media scribes would viscously attack Madison as un-American and un-Christian if he once again said that
"Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?"
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