Good and Bad News for the Bible in 2012

I find it ironic that the author cites a Bible passage suggesting the separation of church and state, then uses that as evidence for why there should be no separation of church and state. Not sure how that's supposed to work.

Still, it got me thinking....Christians love to point out the various places where Biblical language made its way into the correspondence of our Founding Fathers, or onto items like the Liberty Bell or (later) the Washington Monument - and let's face it - there is a rather large catalog of examples at their disposal. Most of us here (myself included) agree that the Founders' intention was to create a secular government (though I'm willing to concede that they looked to Christianity as a philosophical teaching).

So my question is this: What are the most effective arguments you employ when faced with a Christian who believes those religious language/inscriptions indicate a nation "founded on Christianity?" 

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Tell them the truth: that words attributed to their prophet appeared centuries earlier in the sayings attributed to both Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha and Confucius.  It is interesting to note, and you can use this as an example, that Confucius put the so called Golden Rule in the negative, that is, "Do not do to others as you would not have them do to you."  Remind them that there is a blank in all the canonicals leaving a space of many years from Jesus's youth to his reappearance in Judea.  Many scholars believe he traveled to the East and that he synthesized much that he learned there.  Ask them why they worship a person who merely condensed much of the then-world's moral and ethical teachings.  Why worship Jesus when you could be worshiping the Buddha. Or, for that matter, Zeus.

Sometimes I point them to Supreme Court rulings about prayer in public schools where "they" have lost and tell them that I wouldn't think school led prayer would be a problem in a so called Christian nation. This is usually after they have already said something stupid. 

The first clause of Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli.  However, before I cite it, I like to play a game (OK, it's screwing with their mind, but...)

Ask them if they believe in the US Constitution.  They'll ALWAYS say yes.  Then ask them to recite the 2nd clause of Article VI of the original Constitution (still in full force and effect).  They'll usually be a bit dumbfounded.  You can point out that it says, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. Make sure to point out the "treaties" part.

Then ask if they believe the founding fathers, like George Washington (chairman of the Constitutional Convention)and John Adams (2nd President and helped Jefferson draft the Declaration of Independence), knew what the original intent of the Constitution and founding principles were. By now, they can smell something, but they're probably going to agree.  It's part of their mantra.

Then ask why it is that the Treaty of Tripoli,  written during Washington's administration, unanimously passed by the Senate (comprised of veterans and those who lived through the revolution), and signed into law by John Adams, would contain the language of Article 11, if that were not the original intent of those that founded the United States?

Guaranteed to piss them off every time.

Yes, I also point out the Treaty of Tripoli. And it was only the third time in history that the senate voted unanimously on a treaty ratification. Only three times in the last 200+ yrs. Wow. Article 11 says:

     As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has itself no character of enmity against the laws, religions, or tranquility of Mussulmen (Muslims), and as the said states never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Muslim) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Quite clear, to me. This treaty is still the law of the land, ratified by the senate, and signed by the president. Ah, history. Quite illuminating. So inconvenient sometimes. Put another way, ain't that a bitch!




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