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A "Christian Nation?"
by Nathan Dubois
Are we? What really makes us such? What has EVER made us such? No one disputes that many of the Founding Fathers were Christians. Three of the most essential to our Declaration and Constitution being Ben Franklin, James Madison and John Adams! But if that is the case, why is our Constitution void of any references to Christ or at least the God of the Bible? Why does the Declaration of Independance reference a "Maker," but not Jehovah?Are we? What really makes us such? What has EVER made us such? No one disputes that many of the Founding Fathers were Christians. Three of the most essential to our Declaration and Constitution being Ben Franklin, James Madison and John Adams! But if that is the case, why is our Constitution void of any references to Christ or at least the God of the Bible? Why does the Declaration of Independance reference a "Maker," but not Jehovah?The fact is that Christians, and other religious men of that day, believed that God was not a God of coercion. That he made the mind free to make up it's own mind, and that the government had no place supporting the Christian religion even over Islam. Both were to be equally supported under the government of the United States and both parties were to be equally free of feeling supressed by the other.
Unfortunately the more zealous demons of our nature do not inherantly support the wisdom that came from our Founding Fathers. These were men learning from the mistakes of the days of the foundings of Virginia and New England. Both of which had very oppressive laws and very strict punishment for breaking the tenants of what they considered the Christian faith. Strict church attendance, proper dress, and no ability to debate the ruling clergy were many issues that faced the pilgrims. Jefferson and Madison knew these lessons very well, and refused to repeat them.
Even today we see the zealous demons reappearing in our culture. The over reaction of the ultra-secularist is leading to an over-reaction of the ultra-conservative. The 10 Commandments on the walls, prayer in schools, crosses on public property, etc. are all issues that can be better resolved with a more proper view of history.
America is a Free Nation, founded by religious men, mostly Christians, who believed that America was a nation that should represent the freedom to worship in all faiths, or none, and violently oppose the coercion to worship, or the push to uplift, any one particular faith over another. They believed in this because they were mostly Christians. They believed that in setting up a government free from oppression, the best way to honor God would be to respect the inherant freedom in man to choose for himself the God whom he would serve.
"WHEREAS Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend to only beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as it was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumptions of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greater part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagations of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his personal contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards ..."
"Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, 'that Religion or the duty which we oweto our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.' The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in it's nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator...
Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christianity, in exclusion of all other Sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?...
Because the establishment proposed by the bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion. To say that it is, is a contradiction to the Christian Religion itself, for every page of it disavows a dependance on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them; and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to it's own evidence, and the ordinary care of Providence: Nay, it is a contradiction in terms; for a Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy."
This is not the talk we hear from the D. James Kennedys, Pat Robertsons, or Jerry Falwells. rather, we hear an extreme Republican pundit version of history, in an effort to rewrite our Founding Fathers intentions for America.
First and foremost, America was a nation founded on allowing all men to worship freely. No matter who they worship. Insuring freedom for Christianity in America, meant separating the government from ANY religion, including Christianity!! It is not that good men shouldn't lead. It is not that government would not benefit from having moral, Christian men at it's leadership; but can society benefit from another wannabe theocracy where fallible men, with false ideals, force the laws of God (in their own mind and interpretation) on all persons under that government? Let it not be.
As Preterists we should see this and readily identify with the heart of Jefferson and Madison, when we see the failed policies and teachings of fallible men in charge of the "church" today. Yet in politics and government, many Preterists still rally hard behind, and fight in force with, those who would rewrite our Constitution, and name it a Christian nation. It was not the intention of our Founding Fathers to establish a "Chrsitian nation," but a nation where Christianity is as free as any other sect of any other religion under that government. Let us never forget that the majority of abuses of mankind over the last 2000 years was in the name of Christ, protected by governments who claimed Christianity at it's core.
I recommend this book!
How many people actually read this before saying "Yes we are!"?