Religion

Thank GOD you folks were not around when this country was established.

(name withheld)


 

Dear (name withheld),
I believe we would have fit right in but it appears that God didn’t even show up.
 
The history of Christianity trying to force its beliefs in America fills volumes of books and is too long to get into here. Suffice it to say that it was an abysmal failure in making the Colonies a Theocracy. One sect of Christianity was murdering another sect. The Salem Witch Trials, caused by mass hysteria and lies, was the death knell of any attempt to force Christianity on the nation.
 
“More than once it has been said, too, that the Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered.” George Lincoln Burr (January 30, 1857 – 1938) Professor of History and Librarian at Cornell University 
 
Our Constitution was written explicitly to base America on secular rule free from religious tyranny.
 
The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, ratified June 21, 1788 and went into effect on March 4, 1789.
 
As for the separation of Church and State not existing in the Constitution, the words may not exist (neither does Jesus, Christ or God), but the idea is there and those words were used by some of the founding fathers.
The Treaty of Tripoli was signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796.It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797; a mere 8 years since our Constitution went into effect. If what was written was wrong in anyway, there would have been uproar. But, it passed unanimously and confirmed that America was not founded on Christianity.
 

Treaty of Tripoli:

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 tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] 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.

If what was written here was wrong in anyway, there would have been uproar. But, it passed unanimously and confirmed that America was not founded on Christianity.
 
Religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity; the less they are mixed together. – James Madison Letter to Edward Livingston (1822-07-10)
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.”  James Madison
“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808) ME 16:320
This wording of the original was several times upheld by the Supreme Court as an accurate description of the Establishment Clause.
“Jefferson’s concept of “separation of church and state” first became a part of Establishment Clause jurisprudence in Reynolds v. U.S., 98 U.S. 145 (1878). In that case, the court examined the history of religious liberty in the US, determining that while the constitution guarantees religious freedom, “The word ‘religion’ is not defined in the Constitution. We must go elsewhere, therefore, to ascertain its meaning and nowhere more appropriately, we think, than to the history of the times in the midst of which the provision was adopted.” The court found that the leaders in advocating and formulating the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty were James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Quoting the “separation” paragraph from Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, the court concluded that, “coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured.”
 
A few Christian fundamentalists attempt to convince us to return to the Christianity of early America, yet according to the historian, Robert T. Handy, “No more than 10 percent– probably less– of Americans in 1800 were members of congregations.” 
“The Founding Fathers, also, rarely practiced Christian orthodoxy. Although they supported the free exercise of any religion, they understood the dangers of religion. Most of them believed in deism and attended Freemasonry lodges. According to John J. Robinson, “Freemasonry had been a powerful force for religious freedom.” Freemasons took seriously the principle that men should worship according to their own conscience. Masonry welcomed anyone from any religion or non-religion, as long as they believed in a Supreme Being. Washington, Franklin, Hancock, Hamilton, Lafayette, and many others accepted Freemasonry.
The Constitution reflects our founder’s views of a secular government, protecting the freedom of any belief or unbelief. The historian, Robert Middlekauff, observed, “the idea that the Constitution expressed a moral view seems absurd. There were no genuine evangelicals in the Convention, and there were no heated declarations of Christian piety.” 
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
~John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”
~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813
“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
~Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814,

“The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
~Founding Father James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion” 

“And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
~Founding Father James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822
 
“Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance.”
~Founding Father James Madison, letter, 1822
 
“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”
~Founding Father James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical
Endowments
 
“God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”
~Founding Father Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” 

“What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.” 
James Madison 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments
 
“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”
As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
 
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Wow! You can’t even get the first name right, let alone the message I was sending. Should I believe you or believe there is a God. I believe the latter.  The entire diatribe you go through and there is lots of it, may also be true. My point is that as Americans we are given the right to choose our religion as well as the right of FREE SPEECH. Let me recall. The speech was at a National Prayer Breakfast, not an agnostic or atheist free lunch.
Like you, this gentleman has THE RIGHT to say what he wants. Unlike you I will stand up to defend his right to do so. All of your other words, and there are lots of them, are meaningless. Let it be known that, unlike you, I will stand up for YOUR right to Free Speech.
How do you know if God was not there when the Constitution was being signed? Were you?
I do not know if God exists, but I, like you, have the right to believe what I want to believe in America.
If you do not believe in this right you should consider moving to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.
I am a little dumbfounded when you, Pastor Joan, can believe and say what you want, but others who believe differently than you do, cannot.
(name withheld)

Dear (name withheld),
I apologize for misspelling your name.
We are for the religious rights of all soldiers but he broke military law.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force is not the National Day of Prayer signed into law by President Truman in 1952.
The National Day of Prayer is celebrated by Americans of many religions, including Christians of many denominations, including Protestants and Catholics, as well as SikhsMuslimsHindus, and Jews, reflecting the demographics of the United States. On the National Day of Prayer, many Americans assemble in prayer in front of courthouses, as well as in houses of worship, such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. Luncheons, picnics, and music performances revolving around praying for the nation are also popular observances. Traditionally, the President of the United States issues an official National Day of Prayer proclamation each year as well.
The National Day of Prayer Task Force is strictly a conservative evangelical Christian organization called the “National Prayer Committee” that was formed to coordinate and implement a fixed annual day of prayer (the same day as the original National Day of Prayer to give it legitimacy) for the purpose of organizing evangelical Christian prayer events with local, state, and federal government entities.
The National Day of Prayer is sanctioned by the government where the National Day of Prayer Task Force is not.
If he had showed up in civilian clothes there wouldn’t have been a problem.
Parker v. Levy: 
 
“This Court has long recognized that the military is, by necessity, a specialized society separate from civilian society… While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. … The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it… Speech [to include religious speech] that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command.  If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected. (Emphasis added) Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 1974
 
Our military consists of those of other beliefs and by giving his speech on Christianity in uniform – which gives the impression to the world that we have a Christian military – demeans the morale of those of other faiths. His speech is constitutionally unprotected.
 
Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12:
 
2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment ClauseLeaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of
religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their
words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief. (emphasis added)
 
Major General Olson knows these laws and chose to disobey them. The violation of this – by speaking in uniform at a private event – is a potential felony under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
 
Also, military personnel cannot show up at a political rally.
As a Christian, I appreciate his testimony and he is free to give it anywhere he wants as long as he does not put on his uniform.
Pastor Joan
MRFF Advisory Board Member

Share this page:

Commenter Account Access

  • Register for a commenter account
    (Not required to post comments, but will save you time if you're a regular commenter)
  • Log in using your existing account
  • Click here to edit your profile and change your password
  • All comments are subject to our Terms of Use

1 Comment

  1. sable

    I was serving at Lemoore Naval Air Station in 1969. My CO asked me why I wasn’t attending base chapel on Sunday. Raised LDS (Mormon), I was conflicted about my religion and considering leaving the church. When I explained, the CO ended the conversation with, “I expect to see you at church this Sunday.” Those in the military will understand that I considered that statement an order from my superior officer and the tone in which it was stated. Needless to say, I was in church that Sunday and resentfully every Sunday thereafter when not on duty. I consider the separation of church and state to be one of the most important fundamentals in the country. It is of prime importance in the military where religion like politics and race can be divisive, disruptive and even dangerous. There are over 200 denominations in the USA. Arguments over doctrine or religious affiliation readily become charged in a closed social system. Those arguments can become deadly when the bullets are flying. I applaud your efforts to ensure the freedom to worship as they choose for all military personnel. More importantly, I applaud your efforts to uphold the regulations set in place to ensure cohesiveness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*