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Author Topic:   Is America a Christian Nation?
Percy
Member
Posts: 15689
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 1 of 206 (546844)
02-14-2010 8:15 AM


Is America a Christian Nation founded by Christians and based upon Christian principles? The Texas Board of Education thinks so, and now the Texas board is moving "to bring Jesus into American history." That quote is from an article in today's New York Times Magazine: How Christian Were the Founders?

It should come as no surprise that the same Texas Board of Education that is rewriting biology books is also rewriting American history books, and Don McLeroy is again the driving force. No longer chairman after demotion by the State Senate out of concerns over his religious views, conservatives still wield the most power over board decisions, and McLeroy appears to exert as much control over Texas educational policies and curricula as ever.

This raises concerns nationwide, because as Texas goes, textbook-wise, so goes the nation. Texas approves textbooks on a statewide level, and so its large population means that textbook publishers are willing to tailor their textbooks to Texas' standards.

The article doesn't explore the merits of the case that America is a Christian nation, but if there's interest I thought we could do that here in this thread. Education and Creation/Evolution would probably be the right forum.

--Percy


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AdminPD
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Message 2 of 206 (546848)
02-14-2010 9:27 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Is America a Christian Nation? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9589
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 3 of 206 (546852)
02-14-2010 10:37 AM


Define Christian
Some would say that we are. Others would say that we are a secular nation and that this was what the founding fathers intended.
Replies to this message:
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DC85
Member (Idle past 5 days)
Posts: 855
From: Richmond, Virginia USA
Joined: 05-06-2003


Message 4 of 206 (546854)
02-14-2010 10:44 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Phat
02-14-2010 10:37 AM


Re: Define Christian
Some would say that we are. Others would say that we are a secular nation and that this was what the founding fathers intended.
considering a good amount of the founding fathers were deists it would not make any sense at all to call the United States a Christian Nation
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RAZD
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Posts: 18864
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 5 of 206 (546864)
02-14-2010 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
02-14-2010 8:15 AM


Hi Percy,

Some comments

That quote is from an article in today's New York Times Magazine: How Christian Were the Founders?

That article has a picture titled "Original Image: “‘Declaration of Independence,” by John Trumbull/The Bridgeman Art Library"

Curiously, this is from the actual museum website:

http://www.bridgemanart.com/...20-%20Defining%20Moments.aspx

quote:
Defining Moments
No matter the struggle, the United States has a long history of weathering the storm and coming back stronger than ever. Here is a look at some defining moments in our collective history.

XCF22523 Signing the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776 (oil on canvas) by John Trumbull (1756-1843), Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

And when I search their site for {Original Image: “Declaration of Independence,” by John Trumbull} I get "No results found, Sorry no results were found."

When I search the site for {Declaration of Independence John Trumbull} I get "Your search returned 8 images for Declaration of Independence John Trumbull"

http://www.bridgemanart.com/search.aspx?key=Declaration%2...

With four slightly different images, SSI 82121, XCF 22523 (seen above), XBP 344388 (which appears to be the basis for the "christ" version), and SSI 82119 (a lithograph based on SSI 82121), all showing the flags and drum.

When I search the site for {John Trumbull} I get "Your search returned 45 images for john trumbull"

http://www.bridgemanart.com/search.aspx?key=john%20trumbu...

None of them show a christ image behind the founding fathers.

And when I googled {Original Image: “‘Declaration of Independence,” by John Trumbull/The Bridgeman Art Library } the only reference I found to the first picture is their site and links to it.

Can someone say photoshop? Can someone say phaque? Can someone say HOAX?

It should come as no surprise that the same Texas Board of Education that is rewriting biology books is also rewriting American history books, ...

Some reading for those who are interested:

The Christian Nation Myth, by Farrell Till

quote:
... Many protesters decry these decisions on the grounds that they conflict with the wishes and intents of the "founding fathers."

Such a view of American history is completely contrary to known facts. The primary leaders of the so-called founding fathers of our nation were not Bible-believing Christians; they were deists. Deism was a philosophical belief that was widely accepted by the colonial intelligentsia at the time of the American Revolution. Its major tenets included belief in human reason as a reliable means of solving social and political problems and belief in a supreme deity who created the universe to operate solely by natural laws. ...
Fundamentalist Christians are currently working overtime to convince the American public that the founding fathers intended to establish this country on "biblical principles," but history simply does not support their view. The men mentioned above and others who were instrumental in the founding of our nation were in no sense Bible-believing Christians. ...


The American Enlightenment, by Richard Hooker

quote:
The Americans, despite their religious background and relative autonomy (growing less by each passing year), were still intimately tied to the English nation. Developments in England, such as the Glorious Revolution, the new scientific methods, and the rise of Parliamentary government, made their way to the colonies as well. The American Enlightenment, which is generally dated from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was, however, an uneven affair. In part, it involved the exporting of scientific, social, and political ideas from Britain, but also involved the exporting of radical and marginal ideas, such as the republicanism of the "commonwealthmen." In almost all cases, however, the American Enlightenment did not mean the abandonment of the radical Protestant ideas that originally inspired the settlement of America, but started a long process of secularizing these religious ideas. ...

The most important political theories in the American Enlightenment were derived from John Locke's Two Treatises on Government and the work of English radical political theorists, particularly a radical republican group called the "commonwealthmen." ... However, the political theories of the colonists during the eighteenth century had far more in common with English radicals. Like the radicals, the Americans believed in representation, contractual government, and natural rights. The English radicals, only a minority voice in England, naturally viewed the American colonists as intellectual kin. As a result, English radical thought was distributed in America and American political thought was enthusiastically distributed throughout Britain by the radicals.

Foremost among the English radical thinkers that influenced American political thought were the "commonwealthmen." This group believed that the monarchy should be abolished in favor of a republic governed by a representative government. ...


Also see
http://mises.org/story/1355

quote:
Cato's Letters on Liberty and Property

On November 5, 1720, the first letter from Cato (pseudonym for John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, honoring Cato the Younger, whose dedication to principles of liberty led him to oppose Julius Caesar) appeared in the London Journal. Many more followed, reflecting the ideas of John Locke, soon making it England's most influential newspaper, and leading to collections of Cato's Letters that were, according to Clinton Rossiter "the most popular, quotable, esteemed source of political ideas in the colonial period."

It is worth revisiting Cato's Letters' devotion to liberty, its central theme, which so powerfully influenced our founding as a nation. Consider some of its memorable insights (in the order of their appearance):

...liberty is the unalienable right of all mankind. All governments, under whatsoever form they are administered, ought to be administered for the good of the society; when they are otherwise administered, they cease to be government, and become usurpations.

True and impartial liberty is therefore the right of every man to pursue the natural, reasonable, and religious dictates of his own mind; to think what he will, to act as he thinks, provided he acts not to the prejudice of another; to spend his own money himself, and lay out the produce of his labor his own way; and to labor for his own pleasure and profits, and not for others who are idle, and would live...by pillaging and oppressing him, and those that are like him...

...civil governments were instituted by men, and for the sake of men...men have a right to expect from them protection and liberty, and to oppose rapine and tyranny wherever they are exercised...


Those are just a few of the quotes in the article, however I picked those as they reflected the wording of the Declaration of Independence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cato%27s_Letters

quote:
The Letters were collected and printed as Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious.[1] A measure of their influence is attested by six editions printed by 1755. A generation later their arguments immensely influenced the ideals of the American Revolution; it is estimated that half the private libraries in the American colonies held bound volumes of Cato's Letters on their shelves.

Nuff said?

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Son
Member (Idle past 1328 days)
Posts: 346
From: France,Paris
Joined: 03-11-2009


Message 6 of 206 (546865)
02-14-2010 3:03 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
02-14-2010 2:30 PM


While you did a nice research you still have to remember that fondamentalists count on their target being willfully ignorant. You see creationnists being fairly good at it and no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise. I wouldn't be surprised if they shrugged off your research as an "atheist conspiracy" of some sort (without caring for the fact you are a deist).
I think those things should be taught in history though, to avoid the mass brain-washing of children .
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ZenMonkey
Member (Idle past 2009 days)
Posts: 428
From: Portland, OR USA
Joined: 09-25-2009


Message 7 of 206 (546866)
02-14-2010 3:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
02-14-2010 8:15 AM


Evidence.
Find the word "Jesus" or the Ten Commandments in the Constitution and then you can start to make a case.


I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die.
-John Lydon
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18864
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 8 of 206 (546868)
02-14-2010 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Son
02-14-2010 3:03 PM


NY Times was HOAXED
Hi Son,

We'll see if my reply is posted

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/...14/magazine/14texbooks-t.html#postComment

quote:
Thank you for your submission. Submissions are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Moi? abusive? Or are we protecting the gullibles from the truth?

There's another faux picture from the "moral" christians:

Can they really think this fools anyone with half a brain? For the real version see:

http://www.bridgemanart.com/...9c2991dd549dcb98403e32aeda6c2

I think those things should be taught in history though, to avoid the mass brain-washing of children .

As in the real american history? Complete with the influence of the indians on democracy?

http://www.ratical.com/many_worlds/6Nations/FF.html

enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3428
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


(1)
Message 9 of 206 (546869)
02-14-2010 3:42 PM


Is America a Christian nation? Like much of everything else it depends on one's point of view; from the perspective of governance or that of the society in general.

Everson v Ewing BOE is one of the first SCOTUS cases firmly stating that governance, at all levels in this nation, are and must be secular. This is the law of the land and will remain so unless the Constitution itself is scrapped. In this regard this nation is most certainly not a christian nation.

As for the greater society the data show that the majority of the population in this society subscribe to some christian denomination. By this perspective this nation can be perceived as a christian nation. Note, however, that these christian beliefs appear, for a large part, to be tepid at best within the majority and are due mainly to acculturation, ascribed to more for social comfort than due to any strong personal religious belief.

And with the accelerating increase in “unaffiliated” identifications we can expect that within this next century Christians, indeed all religionists, will find themselves in the minority in this soon to be secular society.

Source

As for McLeroy and his hoard of anti-American zealots, believe it or not, even in Texas, the organs of rational society will keep his dreams of theocracy unfulfilled. But don't let that fact be widely spread. McLeroy, et al, perform a vital service to the nation by keeping us ever fearful and vigilant against his poison.


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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5277
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 10 of 206 (546882)
02-14-2010 5:05 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by AZPaul3
02-14-2010 3:42 PM


even in Texas, the organs of rational society will keep his dreams of theocracy unfulfilled.

We hope. I'm getting loudly political for the first time in forty years over this, even to the point of voting in a Republican primary. The yahoo running against our district's Board of Education member is a creationist Bible-in-school fundy.....

But we're overrun with that type here.


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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 206 (546888)
02-14-2010 5:56 PM


The founders represented the majority of the nation's people who were likely at least 75-90 percent Protestand Christian at the time of the founding.

The founders did not establish a Christian nation perse. As substantiated by the inscriptions on the buildings and statue, etc in the government buildings and wording in the founding documents, Biblical principles were established but not Christianity perse.

What the founders were particularly interested in relative to Christianity is that no denominational sect or church system was to be established such as the RCC or Anglican Church or any such thing. What they established primarily was the freedom to practice religion anywhere, be it in school, government or private sector, uninhibited. This they did and this they practiced after the documents were established. Thus no fuss was raised about praying and Bible reading in schools or anything like that.

Whoever was in the majority in the school boards, in government, etc made the determination as to how much and what of anything, be it religious or whatever in the public sector.
Thus, in our time, the majority supposedly representing us has spoken. Thus in Texas the people's reps have tended towards more Christianity in some areas and in places like NY etc the majority have forbid what the founders allowed in their time.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.
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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3428
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006


Message 12 of 206 (546891)
02-14-2010 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Coragyps
02-14-2010 5:05 PM


Having lived in Texas for 20+ years I understand the problem. "They" are indeed everywhere.

But then there are also the ACLU - Texas, the North Texas Church of Free Thought, The First Amendment Institute of Dallas, Cato Institute Austin, The Flower Mound Rationals and a lot of people like you everywhere as well.

Keep vigilant, keep free.


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BMG
Member (Idle past 1662 days)
Posts: 356
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


(1)
Message 13 of 206 (546897)
02-14-2010 6:30 PM


U.S. Treaty with Tripoli, 1796-1797
Whenever I hear this question, the U.S. Treaty with Tripoli resurfaces again in my head.

Source

quote:
Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.

quote:
Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion*; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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.

*Italics mine.

Edited by BMG, : No reason given.


    
Hyroglyphx
Member
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


(1)
Message 14 of 206 (546899)
02-14-2010 6:35 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Buzsaw
02-14-2010 5:56 PM


Somewhat ambiguous is what exactly the term "Christian nation" means. Does it mean that the founding fathers intended on basing their government around Christianity? Does it mean that the majority of the citizens were/are Christian?

The founders represented the majority of the nation's people who were likely at least 75-90 percent Protestand Christian at the time of the founding.

The majority of the Founding Fathers were deists, not Protestants. There are numerous quotes to support this.

What the founders were particularly interested in relative to Christianity is that no denominational sect or church system was to be established such as the RCC or Anglican Church or any such thing. What they established primarily was the freedom to practice religion anywhere, be it in school, government or private sector, uninhibited. This they did and this they practiced after the documents were established. Thus no fuss was raised about praying and Bible reading in schools or anything like that.

In the 1950's the government placed on currency motto's like "In God We Trust." It was not always this way. And while in rural areas I have no doubt schools were teaching prayer, this was not the intention of the Founding Fathers. That much is undeniable given their own testimony and their expressed purpose of keeping civil government and religion separate.

A conflict of interest arises. Where there may be no expressed religion in schools, it is certainly implied if prayer to Jesus is compulsory like a "Pledge of Allegiance." In fact, I don't agree with the pledge of allegiance either. In today's time, never before have we seen such a melting pot of culture and mishmash of religious beliefs.

Therefore in the best interest of respecting each others view, isn't it advisable to simply remain neutral when it comes to religion which clearly was the intent of the Framers?

Doesn't prayer in school and teaching parables about Jesus negate or invalidate the reason for churches?

That doesn't mean that somebody cannot pray in school of their own accord, in my opinion. If you feel convicted to pray in school, that is your right as a citizen seems to me. What some atheists have done is manipulate or extend the intent of the Establishment Clause far beyond the Framer's intent.

The intention of the Framers was never to keep God out of public life, but to keep religion and the government totally separate and to remain neutral.


"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." -- Charlton Heston
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15948
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 15 of 206 (546904)
02-14-2010 7:51 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Buzsaw
02-14-2010 5:56 PM


What the founders were particularly interested in relative to Christianity is that no denominational sect or church system was to be established such as the RCC or Anglican Church or any such thing. What they established primarily was the freedom to practice religion anywhere, be it in school, government or private sector, uninhibited. This they did and this they practiced after the documents were established. Thus no fuss was raised about praying and Bible reading in schools or anything like that.

But, my dear Buzsaw, if a school board can tell you when to pray and who to pray to and what to pray for, then you do not have freedom of religion. Maybe they do, but you don't.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


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