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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

20 August 2008

One Nation Under...God?

RE: The First Amendment

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

While watching the McCain/Obama “debate” last Saturday night, I had to ask myself how much of a role religion should play in our decision as to who is going to be President?

Pastor Rick Warren, who hosted the two interviews, told us that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. But while that may be a widely-held assumption, it is not true.

It might surprise you to know that nowhere in our Constitution, or even the Declaration of Independence do the words “God,” “Jesus Christ,” “Bible” or “Christianity” exist. Our Founding Fathers were all deists, in that they believed in a divine Creator, but they very clearly were not basing their actions and the construction of our new government on the Bible, or even these so-called “Judeo-Christian principles.”

What?

Well, remember that during that time it was assumed that a King’s power was given to him by God. The Bible seems to back this up! If we want to pick and choose, let’s use two examples:

First, take this: "Because of the Lord, be obedient to every human institution, whether to the emperor as sovereign or to the governors he commissions for the punishment of criminals and the recognition of the upright. Such obedience is the will of God." (1 Peter 2:13-15)

Dang!

Next, see what Paul wrote: "Let everyone obey the authorities that are over him, for there is no authority except from God, and all authority that exists is established by God." (Romans 13:1)

Um, holy crap! So that’s where President Bush gets his power!

Reading those two verses you might wonder how, if the Founding Fathers’ were “good Christians” there could have been an American Revolution at all! Indeed, what they were doing was radical…heresy!

So let’s dispel the notion that America is a Christian nation, formed by men who were Southern Baptists or Catholics, with a government based on the Bible or “Christian” principles. It is not.

Ironically, despite allowing any the practice of any religion (or no religion at all if you prefer), America has become one of the most strongly religious and religiously diverse countries in the world. Of our population only a tiny percentage classifies themselves as “atheist.”

Over time, “God” has crept into government. Nearly 100 years after the Revolution, Abraham Lincoln was invoking God’s name in blessing and supporting the Union. Our money bears the inscription, “In God We Trust.” And in the 1950’s, the words, “under God” were inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance. Thomas Jefferson is probably rolling over in his grave.

It seems that Americans want some God, but not too much! Remember how upset people became when the Reverend Mike Huckabee was running for President…to say nothing of Mormon Mitt Romney!

And so both John McCain and Barack Obama went out of their way Saturday night to pander to the religious extremists and proclaim their faith in God and Jesus Christ. I thought it was as silly as it was unnecessary.

There is a large number…hell, there may indeed be a majority of people in this country who espouse “Christian” beliefs. They may feel that because of their majority, it entitles them to a government which is sympathetic to their beliefs. That very idea frightens me. I’d rather that our lawmakers not be influenced by the Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Mennonites, Men-In-Tights, “Christian fundamentlists” or any other group. Not even the Amish.

I do not want to live in a military dictatorship, nor do I want to live in a country in which there is a government-sponsored religion. No, I prefer America…that is, the America our Founding Fathers dreamed up…the one where the Church and State were separate entities, and kept that way for a reason. Thus, whether John McCain worships Jesus Christ or Charlie Manson, it has absolutely no influence on me not voting for him.


11 comments:

Redlefty said...

Big AMENS here!!

You jumped my gun by about a week, but I'm going to post my response to another viral email going around that talks about our "Christian nation".

Hal Johnson said...

I'm with ya, Brother Bob.

Anonymous said...

It's now all about ratings.


kman

Guanaja Sharon said...

Thanks for the comments! I recently received an e-mail which claimed that you should not vote for so-and-so because the candidate actually supported other religious freedoms other than Christianity! I got upset and wrote back stating that our Founding Fathers did not claim that this country was to be only Christian and that we were founded on the premise that we had the freedom to worship as we wanted! Where these people get their warped ideas, I don't know. Maybe just something to justify their slamming of a candidate!
You told it right.

Guanaja Sharon said...

Thanks for the comments! I recently received an e-mail which claimed that you should not vote for so-and-so because the candidate actually supported other religious freedoms other than Christianity! I got upset and wrote back stating that our Founding Fathers did not claim that this country was to be only Christian and that we were founded on the premise that we had the freedom to worship as we wanted! Where these people get their warped ideas, I don't know. Maybe just something to justify their slamming of a candidate!
You told it right.

Bob Barbanes said...

Thank you all for your comments. It is clear that great minds obviously think (and blog!) alike.

Rodolfo said...

Well written and I agree wholeheartedly.

Bob said...

Count me in on most of what you said. I attend a church of the evangelical ilk but I have become convinced (and, happily, there is an increasing number that agrees with me) that we need to spend much more time concerning ourselves which Jesus's comments about serving the poor and "the least of these" than whether or not "In God We Trust" remains on our currency.

Granted, I am all for acknowledging God and invoking His blessing. But He will take care of the details.

I might disagree slightly about Rick Warren and the Saddleback Forum. I wouldn't begin to judge Obama or McCain on his faith. I am sure they played a bit to their audience at Saddleback. Both avoided and skirted questions.

But God knows I'm as big a hypocrit as each of them might be or anyone else is. So I won't criticize the speck in their eyes before I examine the log in mine.

What I appreciated about the forum, however, was that Warren -- an evangelical, but not cut in the mold of Dobson, Falwell or Robertson (thank God) -- took the initiative and conducted an exchange that was, in fact, CIVIL. That was refreshing and it shows that religion and politics CAN mix when done appropriately, while still respecting separation of church and state. I think we might learn more about the candidates if someone like Warren conducted the upcoming debates.

Thanks for your thoughful words.

Bob Barbanes said...

Oh Bob, please don't think I was being critical of Rick Warren. He is a wonderful man and I like him a lot. I wish more people would adopt his philosophy of, "It's not about you." Once you realize that simple truth, it makes dealing with life a whole lot easier.

And yes, I agree with you that Pastor Warren's intentions were noble in trying to bring civility back to politics. It seems to me that the last eight years have been terribly divisive for the country...needlessly so. The animosity between the parties has been most dispiriting. (I think it's the fault of talk radio, personally.)

I believe in our system of government (no matter which party is in power), and I don't think the country will end up in hell in a handbasket anytime soon.

Bob said...

Thanks . . . I didn't think you were criticizing Warren. I just wanted to point out what a breath of fresh air he is after so many years of the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and the things that they have said that do not speak for many people of faith.

Politics is now so much about perception. Even now the Dems are preparing for their big show which will be just that -- a big show, all staged for the media. Likewise for the Republicans next week. I can hardly take it anymore.

I found your blog via my other blogger friend, Hal. Who would have thought two pilots could dispense such wisdom and wit? I really enjoy your writing.

Hope Pensacola dodges most of Fay's bullet but hope the rain makes it up to Middle Tennessee. We need it!

Redlefty said...

Okie dokie, so I've begun my own little series of blog posts about this topic. Should be fun!