As we all go stand in lines before work, grumbling but happy, sipping our coffee as we anticipate watching the returns tonight, I cannot help but think just how revolutionary this notion of government for the people, of the people and by the people is. Specifically, I cannot think of a better way to thwart religion's...specifically christianity's...desire for control.
Our founders get credited with a lot that they were not. They were not all god fearing men. They did not found our nation under god. No, they very openly founded our nation out from under god. To understand this, one needs truly understand what was happening during the time of our founders.
And to understand their views of religion, you must also be familiar with the truth about the inquisition. Today, christians will try to tell you two things about the inquisition: 1) It took place hundreds of years ago during the dark ages, and 2) It was a catholic thing. Each of these statements is a half-truth. Yes, it did take place during the dark ages, and yes it was originally a catholic thing. But, to put that in perspective...the dark ages is only when it began...and what is now known as the catholic church was the only chrisitan church in existence at the time. But, there are other facts that also must be known.
The official end of the inquisition was with the last recorded official executions of the inquisition...not in some dark medevil dungeon, but in Mexico City in 1812, when 12 men were burned at the stake for speaking blasphemy. You will note that this is almost 40 years AFTER the founding of our nation.
It is also helpful to know that the protestant groups that seperated from the mother church all practiced various forms of the inquisition. England was considered stifling to people of faith, and it was just as easy to be arrested and convicted of the crime of blasphemy by the Lutherans in Germany and reformers in England as it was with the catholics. Martin Luther very specifically called for the extermination of the jews...it is a german thing, obviously. And don't forget the history surrounding america's religious intolerance. The Salem witches along with the New York vampire accusations were brought about by protestant groups...and were not above executing people in god's name alone.
When our nation came into existence, religion was the bad guy in the eyes of our founders and others who were forwarding the notion of personal freedom and equality. This is a fact that can be seen over and over in the quotes of these men, who came together to give us freedom. I know patriotic chrisitans want desperately for the founders to heap praises on their churches, but you will not find it. At best, these men promoted personal and private religious freedoms only, nothing at a national level. In most cases, they were adamant that religion be kept far seperate from the government. This was not just a case of people being anti-religion...it was a case of people being genuinely afraid of religion, for cause. Christianity had, for centuries, been the catalyst of torture, misery and death. The christian church, in power, was one of the most vile, corrupt and self serving entities ever. Our founders knew this was the case...and knew that the religious would try their best to gain control. So...religion was not even given a glimmer of an opportunity.
To top it all off, they put things in the hands of the people...the very thing the church would not want at that time. The church widely regarded people as unable to know how to govern themselves. Of course not, as they believed men to be the flawed and sinful creations of their bumbling diety (the fact his creations were flawed in turn makes him bumbling). So far be it from common people to be able to choose their own path. Nope...our form of government was, in it's inception, a big middle finger to the church.
Now...this is not to overlook something truly american...and that is the mobilization of good american christians who, from the pulpit, sounded the bell of freedom and spurred their congregations on to revolution. It must be pointed out that it was a time with little to no mass communication. Most small town rural pastors and ministers were much more in tune with the common people than any kind of 'head office' mandates from their church. They were simple men who had the same interests in freedom that anyone else did. So...religious people did play an important and worthy of praise role in our founding...but that despite their religion not because of it.
So, when you vote today...know that you are taking a step that was one of the biggest departures from religion in government ever attempted. Know that you also have an obligation to keep our nation as it was intended. In order for all to have freedoms, none can have special treatment. This is especially true with respect to religion. This is why we are not a christian nation...we are a no-religion nation...as we offer religious freedon to all. We cannot offer true freedom to all, if our nation was allegedly founded under the auspices of another. Of course, it was not. Christians just like to re-write history to make themselves feel better.
For example...Sarah Palin recently said that we should keep 'under god' in our pledge as our founders intended it. Well...there is so much wrong with that statement, that it really can encapsulate why she is not qualified for the job. Our founders did not believe our nation was founded under the hand of any god. They purposely wanted no such connection...and stated it regularly. And then...to prove their point...omitted god from the entire constitution. So...if Palin thinks they wanted us to be a christian nation...I would ask why they then proceeded to NOT make it a christian nation. The pledge was written in the late 1800s...some 75 years after the end of the period of christian murders we call the inquisition. Most importantly...it did not contain the words under god. The baptist minister who wrote it never even conceived of that idea. If you wish to see proof of this...it is engraved on his headstone in it's original form. Every once in a while, someone spray paints 'under god' on his headstonein a comic and desperate attempt by the religious to make something true that is not. The term 'under god' was added in the 1950s, as a commentary against communism, by congress. The change was proposed and championed by the knights of columbus...a catholic organization.
And yet today, as you vote in the state of California, you can see a clear example of why our founders wanted religion out of the process. In California, it is currently legal for homosexuals to marry. The religious tried to thwart this previously, only to have any attempt to stop it be ruled unconstitutional based on our state constitution. So, this year they have forwarded an ammendment to the state constitution to revoke the rights of their fellow americans. They actually wish to have voters vote...in america...to remove the rights of fellow citizens. This shows the religious are not at all about what makes america great...they are for chrisitanity first and our nation second. Here is a case where the grand and noble experiment of equality...which has been rocky to say the least, just ask any african american...is being directly challenged by christians. Christians are openly stating their willingness to be unamerican. Take away someone elses rights? Sure...if it is what my preacher is telling me to do. Shameful.
Our nation was founded not as a christian nation...but as a system that would hopefully prevent tyranny. At the time of our founders, tyranny was synonymous with religious power and control. The church was either directly behind or backing almost all tyrannical aspects of life for centuries. Misery, intolerance and hate was common, and christianity was right there as the author or co-author of it. The church did not care about individual rights or different viewpoints. It was about lock step, or fear some brutal punishment. Propostion 8 in California is a perfect example of the unamerican slant of the religious. Any american voting to remove rights of their fellow citizens today, merely because those citizens have a different sexual preference than you, well...shame on you. You mock everything this nation is about. I will, however,gladly defend your right to those views. This is america and your unamerican views are just as welcome as any. Too bad you disagree and think others should be treated inequal in the eyes of the law. I encourage all who can to stand and call the foul lies of the christians on this issue for what they are. I will call on all americans to begin follwing the codes and ethics of modern america and a modern world rather than following a book of mythology that is from an ancient nomadic middle-eastern tribe. It is painfully apparent, since the bible still maintains a flat earth stance and embraces slavery and second class citizenry for women, that the book does not fit our times or modern views of how the world works. You can read and love your bible...just remember, not all of your fellow citizens believe it or care to believe it. Rather than get angry and want everyone to think like you, why not follow the teachings of your savior and be tolerant and loving and judge not. If you cannot follow him (since he is on record as being contradictory and is highly unlikely to ever have existed in the first place), then follow the spirit of america to provide equality for all...even if they are different from you. You see...if you cannot act 'christian' by being tolerant and non-judgemental...act American by allowing all of your fellow citizens to enjoy equality under the law.
If christianity really asks its followers to vote in a persecutory manner...then vote as americans. Protect the notion of freedom and equality for all, not the christian viewpoint which only supports those who think and view the world exactly as you. I can see no better proof that we are not a christian nation than this single issue. America is fully willing to bestow equality on anyone. Christians wish to supress and remove rights from their fellow americans. It is that simple. Of course, when someone attempts to stifle religion, they wrap themselves in whatever of the bill of rights they can, the very same ones they are trampling in this case. Hypocritical. Of course, most christians never even think it through to this level. They are gullible sheep, doing as their masters say. I guess that is the final irony...people who lock step with the religious leaders rather than thinking for themselves, while somehow also trying to be american. The two notions are quite far apart.