Christian Nation

February 16, 2012

All it took was a few presidential primary debates to get the gist of modern GOP head-space.

As if to double down on the party’s desperate looniness Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have recently accused president Obama of launching an attack on the Catholic church by insisting that the Church, like other employers should follow the law to provide preventative health coverage that includes contraception. Such law is already operative in 28 states but not a peep have we heard heard about that from either man-on-dog Santorum or serial adulterer Gingrich.

The religious right is notorious for pushing policy that is “bible-based” but such book-centered morality is a road to over-reach.  In fact I think vital religion has always suffered when orthodoxy is more regarded than virtue. The scriptures assure me that at the last day we shall not be examined on what we thought but what we did. (BF)

The trouble with book-based orthodoxies is that its as rigid as Grover Norquist‘s hallucination that free markets are the holy grail; meanwhile god’s universe is as mutable and pluralistic as god’s whims (taking the evidence of creation). Take a look at the middle east if you want to see what happens when government gets bogged down in religious orthodoxy. This is where the Republican party wants to take us. By many signs the right wants to run the US as a Christian theocracy in which law-making clergy dictate the very processes of the human body and oversee the affection between persons.

Think of it: the president is anti-religious because he wants to apply a law fairly. But despite Rick Santorum’s spontaneous ejaculations, we cannot procreate our way to goodness and light. In fact making contraceptives available to Americans so that responsible decisions may be made about our future seems fundamentally wise.

Biblical orthodoxy is no guarantee of righteousness, far from it. If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both there (England) and in New England. (BF)

Civil governments turned over to sects tend to become uncivil. The moralistic vituperation quotient shoots sky-high and eclipses reason when people like Santorum, Perry, Palin and Gingrich peddle their religions in the political marketplace.

The first article of religion, simple belief in god, is not the problem. But whenever we step aside from this article, by mixing it with articles of human invention, we wander into a labyrinth of uncertainty and fable, and become exposed to every kind of imposition by pretenders to revelation. When the divine gift of reason begins to expand itself in the mind and calls man to reflection, he then reads and contemplates God and His works, and not in the books pretending to be revelation. (TP)

Maybe if the religious right pulled their heads out of their holy book, looked around, and contemplated the divine flux of god’s universe they’d high-five the obvious and the changing practices of marriage over centuries evidenced even within the confines of their prime doctrinal source.

It just may be by forgetting God in His works, and running after the books of pretended revelation, that man has wandered from the straight path of duty and happiness, and become by turns the victim of doubt and the dupe of delusion. For God has not given us reason for the purpose of confounding us, but that we should use it for our own happiness and His glory. (TP)

The Republican party of 2012 has hung its identity upon a fable with which it wants to replace constitutional rationality. How has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed (JA) and which the right insists is the basis of the nation’s founding ideas?

Rick Santorum in a recent campaign speech said that the progressive’s “class war” (a war that’s been waged relentlessly by the nation’s plutocrats against the poor and middle class) might lead to a French-like revolution and its guillotine. How’s that for scary hyperbole?  But consider what havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels, condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are the forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France, by order of another pope, because suspected of heresy? Remember the inquisition, the stake, the axe, the halter and the guillotine. (JA)

Progressives would have solid religious precedence if we were to take that road.

But people such as Santorum hyperventilate, insisting their religion be the foundational guide of every person except corporate persons from sea to shining sea. Yet history knows that only a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer (Jesus), before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State. (TJ)

There is no reason for progressives not to stand proud and tall against sectarians attacking secular constitutional government because, as in the past, 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.”(JM)

Now before any readers get bent out of shape by preceding comments they may find unflattering to Christianity please note that most of them were not birthed from my own skull. Those in italics are the offspring of several of the founding fathers of the USA —the same men who’ve been put forth by religious fundamentalists as having intended to establish the United States of America as a Christian nation.  They did not.

BF= Ben Franklin
TP=Tom Paine
JA=John Adams
TJ=Thomas Jefferson
JM=James Madison
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by Jim Culleny
2/16/12

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2 Responses to “Christian Nation”

  1. David Says:

    Nice try Jim, to quote founding fathers quotes along side the unChristian likes of Thomas Paine and make them seem to be in agreement. Men like Washington, Jefferson, Adams etc were not men who were in Christian agreement with Un-Christian Paine’s theology. Politically there was much agreement from the tyranny of England to the representative form of government the founding fathers were trying to establish. But to yield Biblical quotes or using scriptural references of the founding fathers out of their context is not persuasive for today’s issues. Don’t get me wrong – the liberals and conservatives of today do the same thing. Obama just did recently as well – quoting Jesus to support his Obamacare. And you do too by the way. Actually I believe I do as well on some issues. So I guess we can’t point the finger too harshly can we? I think Saintorum is on the right track. (catch the humor with the sincere comment.)

  2. jimculleny Says:

    Those quotes from the founders say what they say and there are many more I could have used but ran our of editorial space. If they were along the lines of Payne’s comments makes my argument even more persuasive.

    Many of the founders were Deists, not Christians. Jefferson even re-wrote the Bible in an attempt to get it right.


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