No, America is not founded on Judeo-Christian values

As a secular humanist who was raised Jewish, I have learned to ignore the Christmas excesses and platitudes that inundate us for two months of every year. 

But one idea, especially on display at Yuletide, I have never accepted: America is founded on “Judeo-Christian values.”   This claim has no basis in reality.  “Judeo-Christian values” are either moral precepts so obvious (love thy neighbor) as to be ubiquitous among the world’s major religions, or they are rooted in the primitive ethos of the Bible, which prescribes death for homosexuality, practicing another religion, working on the Sabbath, disrespecting your parents, and much else.

America is founded on humanistic values that sprung from the 18th-century Enlightenment: equality before the law, government (by the consent of the governed) charged with protecting life, liberty, and numerous individual and group rights (e.g., to assemble peacefully, to petition the government for redress, to have a speedy and fair trial by jury).  Underlying all of this is the notion that after centuries of autocrats, we would finally have a country where individual freedom (with responsibility) is paramount.   None of that is in the Bible, and I daresay that few of the “Judeo-Christian nation” people would prefer to live under real Judeo-Christian values. 

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Comment by Joan Denoo on December 22, 2015 at 5:40pm

I agree!

Comment by Alan Perlman on December 22, 2015 at 3:41pm

Call me a "firebrand atheist" too.  Religion enslaves people to dangerous fantasies and is the cause of untold suffering in the world.  Why should one not be pissed off about it?  Atheists don't behead people or burn them at the stake.

Religion's commitment to violence and its obsession with apocalypse, especially among Muslims, are an ever-present danger to our well-being and survival.  WHEN will there be a world leader with the courage to call the enemy by its right name?   And how dare these people tell us we can't make drawings of their precious "prophet"?  

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 20, 2015 at 1:32pm

There are those who think atheists should avoid the word "atheist" and be gentle with christians. To the contrary, I agree with David Silverman - "In Defense of Firebrand Atheism" (FULL)

Comment by Alan Perlman on December 20, 2015 at 10:52am

Rob...Thanks for contributing.  Here is the actual verbiage: 

ARTICLE 11.

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

Comment by Rob on December 19, 2015 at 6:40pm
In the Treaty of Tripoli the founding fathers literally declare this in writing.
Comment by Alan Perlman on December 13, 2015 at 7:30pm

Michael, here, if anywhere, you can air your disdain for religion -- and marvel at how the sheep follow it, century after century.  As deceptive language goes, clerics and holy texts are first-rate, creating fantasy worlds and deity-driven morality out of whole cloth.  Nothing in the Torah happened - NO-THING - but Jews and others regard it as unquestionable truth.

Christianity was the result of innovative marketing. Judaism was evolving, getting more Messiah-centered, away from priests, and these new Jews had a role for women and didn't require circumcision (Luke was the first apostle not to be snipped).  These followers of Christ, Jews for Jesus, re-branded themselves "Christians."

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 13, 2015 at 4:36pm

We have one enormous vulnerability, WATER! We have a well with an electric pump. It will have to go on the generator. Another option is to install a hand pump. The water table is falling in this aquifer; I don't know what options will answer that situation.

Alan, this project is a beautiful one. We live deep in the forest on 17 acres logged in the late 1800s. Scrub trees have grown up to replace the giant cedars. We thin out the scrub, leaving as many varieties standing that we can find and then protect them. There are four cedars of which we know, lots of red and white fir, some ponderosa, western larch, and very few deciduous trees. We follow the deciduous trees for aquifer water.

We live downstream on a massive dune left over from the last Ice Age Floods - Lake Missoula

Our soil is virtually all sand made of rock dust rich in minerals. We create huge swales and hugelkulturs in an attempt to sequester water to replenish the aquifer.

Comment by Michael Penn on December 13, 2015 at 4:29pm

As atheists we don't have "fire and brimstone" meetings that we go to and listen to some man talk things up. When asking questions of the religious world and their beliefs we need to keep certain things in mind. Yes, there are books about things like our "Christian nation" but the most important thing is the 3 times weekly services where the believer hears his preacher lie about it. After a short time of this they all believe it. Certainly the minister wouldn't tell them anything wrong. He just pounds it into their heads.

Along that same way we hear of how Thomas Jefferson was such a good Christian. Believers apparently think we just made up bad quotes about him. Remember, 3 days a week they hear these lies and Jefferson gets new quotes. They pull these out of thin air.

Another thing to remember is that until the establishment of the RCC all of the early believers were Jewish, or welcomed into that religion according to the teachings of our dear apostate Paul. Modern believers think that the word "Christian" automatically takes on the meaning we give it today. Wrong. That all slowly came into being after the founding of the RCC.

Bible prophesy is another good one. This is actually a system where people frantically try to put pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. There were many contenders of religious events and you have a match only if you can make the pieces fit. Often this involves stretching the truth a little. Maybe a whole lot. Something circulating on the Internet now claims "Bible says Obama will not finish his 2nd term." People believe this nonsense and we all know the Bible says nothing about Obama, or any other modern person for that matter. Things like this have me remembering my teen years when different Bible thumpers had the "bad nations" all figured out according to the "Bible plan." Those poor nations. They didn't have a chance right from the beginning and I didn't understand that because they also had free will.

Maybe I'm just being cruel and spiteful here.   :)

Comment by Alan Perlman on December 13, 2015 at 3:06pm

Loren, I am absolutely going to read that book.  The "Christian nation" people insist it was that way from the beginning, but they're wrong.

Joan, How do I get invited to your solstice party (JK)?  You are truly an example of "let it begin with me."

Comment by Joan Denoo on December 13, 2015 at 3:00pm

Loren, yes, we should know how our nation became a christian one through corporate propaganda. I, too, recommend: 

One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian Amer...

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