Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are not real. Advertisements in the main stream media aren’t either: You know, “this product will make you prettier, healthier, sexier, slimmer, smarter, sleep better, richer, etc. That’s the low-hanging fruit.
But the real treasure trove is politics. This or that politician, party or law is protecting the best interests of the public. Government can solve all problems. Government is the cause of all problems. Government is too small. Government is too big. Government is too (fill in the blank).
This particular column is about the fantasy that, “America was founded as a Christian nation.” Please don’t mistake my meaning here. I’m not attacking Christianity. I’m specifically attacking the contemporary distortion being spread by the extreme religious and political right. Let’s take a closer look: (Excerpts in quotes below from AlterNet.org / by Rob Boston)
George Washington, “saw religion as necessary for good moral behavior but didn’t necessarily accept all Christian dogma. He seemed to have a special gripe against communion and would usually leave services before it was offered.” He wrote, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”
And then there was John Adams, who “rejected belief in the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, core concepts of Christian dogma. In his personal writings, Adams makes it clear that he considered some Christian dogma to be incomprehensible.”
Lest we forget Thomas Jefferson, who “did not believe in the Trinity, the virgin birth, the divinity of Jesus, the resurrection, original sin and other core Christian doctrines. He was hostile to many conservative Christian clerics, whom he believed had perverted the teachings of that faith. Jefferson once famously observed to Adams, “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
In one letter to John Adams, dated January 24, 1814, he wrote: “The whole of these books (the gospels) is so defective and doubtful that is seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain what parts of them are genuine. In the new testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts of it are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.
Jefferson said, of separating Jesus’ sayings from the human misinterpretations, in another letter to Adams: “There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.
And then there was James Madison, “who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, even opposed government-issued prayer proclamations. He issued a few during the War of 1812 at the insistence of Congress but later concluded that his actions had been unconstitutional.”
I find the political distortion of our country’s religious history offensive enough. But to pander to the uninformed by adding more disinformation cheapens religion and insults sincere Christians. This country was founded on the principle of religious freedom. We are free to worship or not however we want. No amount of revisionism is going to change that fact.
There’s an interesting video floating around the Internet by a young man named Jefferson Bethke. He says, “What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion? What if I told you getting you to vote Republican really wasn’t his mission?” From the mouth of babes!