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Did the founders intend this to be a Christian nation?

Kenneth T. Cornelius

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Here are a couple of paragraphs from the Federalist Paper #2 written by John Jay. The main thrust of the paper is that a union should be formed. These give reasons why such a union would have a lot going for it.

It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, widespreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities.

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people--a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.
In regard to the characteristics of the people, notice that what is stressed here is the lack of reasons for disagreement rather than the virtue of being English and speaking English and so forth. Jay would doubtless have written much the same had the country's inhabitants been Turks, except that the proposed form of the new government would certainly have been different. The key words here are same and similar. Therefore when Jay writes of the people professing the same religion he is not expressing any value judgement on religion, its necessity or irrelevance. He is merely eliminating it as a source of contention. There is nothing here to indicate that he thinks America should be governed by Christian principles.
:drink
 
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The Founding Fathers wanted to create a country based on reason and free thinking, not religious dogma.
 

Pacridge

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Kenneth T. Cornelius said:
Here are a couple of paragraphs from the Federalist Paper #2 written by John Jay. The main thrust of the paper is that a union should be formed. These give reasons why such a union would have a lot going for it.



In regard to the characteristics of the people, notice that what is stressed here is the lack of reasons for disagreement rather than the virtue of being English and speaking English and so forth. Jay would doubtless have written much the same had the country's inhabitants been Turks, except that the proposed form of the new government would certainly have been different. The key words here are same and similar. Therefore when Jay writes of the people professing the same religion he is not expressing any value judgement on religion, its necessity or irrelevance. He is merely eliminating it as a source of contention. There is nothing here to indicate that he thinks America should be governed by Christian principles.
:drink
I kind of like the Christian principles- too bad so many Christians don't follow them.
 

Repubteen

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In a sense this country is based on christian morals. All our laws are based on right and wrong, which is outlined in the christian religion. the country did not based on Islam where is you blow yourself up and kill people while doing it you'll be rewarded with 72 virgins.
 

Naughty Nurse

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Repubteen said:
In a sense this country is based on christian morals. All our laws are based on right and wrong, which is outlined in the christian religion.
So Christians invented the concepts of right and wrong? In all of the thousands of years of history before Christianity nobody had ever thought of those?

Really?

Christians do not have a monopoly on right, and non-Christians do not have a monopoly on wrong.
 

Squawker

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The key words here are same and similar. Therefore when Jay writes of the people professing the same religion he is not expressing any value judgement on religion, its necessity or irrelevance. He is merely eliminating it as a source of contention. There is nothing here to indicate that he thinks America should be governed by Christian principles.
This is one man. One man didn't decide what the constitution should or should not contain. Just as we have many opinions here, mine has no more weight than yours should we decide to make a charter of rules. The majority opinion ruled, and often by a slim margin.
 

ShamMol

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Naughty Nurse said:
So Christians invented the concepts of right and wrong? In all of the thousands of years of history before Christianity nobody had ever thought of those?

Really?

Christians do not have a monopoly on right, and non-Christians do not have a monopoly on wrong.
Bingo, you hit the nail on the button by saying that, but there is a universal sense of right and wrong. what I think that may have meant was that RELIGION, cause it sure as hell ain't only Christianity, teaches us now what is right and wrong. But that is wrong as well. Who we learn right from wrong from is our parents or our mentors. We learn through them, but they have influences on what taught them, sometimes it is religion, and other times, it is not.

Squawker said:
This is one man. One man didn't decide what the constitution should or should not contain. Just as we have many opinions here, mine has no more weight than yours should we decide to make a charter of rules. The majority opinion ruled, and often by a slim margin.
But now, instead of the simple majority rule, it is, in the US, we have rule of the majority but not at the expense fo the minority.

I am not in the majority and I sure as hell don't want people telling me that I get my values from CHRISTIANITY. YOU DON'T HAVE A MONOPOLY ON MORALITY IF YOU ARE ****ING RELIGIOUS, GET THAT THROUGH YOUR HEAD (that was directed to everyone who does, not the person i quoted).
 

anomaly

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Repubteen said:
In a sense this country is based on christian morals. All our laws are based on right and wrong, which is outlined in the christian religion. the country did not based on Islam where is you blow yourself up and kill people while doing it you'll be rewarded with 72 virgins.
Just wanted to say that that is the most ignorant thing I've read on this site so far concerning Muslims. And Sham (right above me ^) is exactly right. If you people want to practice your religion, Ok great do it. But do not pass laws reflecting it, thus forcing the rest of us to follow some of your 'morals'. Example: Don't take evolution out of schools, don't ban abortion, don't ban gay marriage. All of these are just silly issues that somehow Christians steam over. Basically, to sum it all up, just listen to Naughty's quote.
 

ShamMol

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Repubteen said:
In a sense this country is based on christian morals. All our laws are based on right and wrong, which is outlined in the christian religion. the country did not based on Islam where is you blow yourself up and kill people while doing it you'll be rewarded with 72 virgins.
you are an idiot. that is a radical interpretation of the quran.

Islam is based on five pillars. And a key element to Islam is peace above all else...so to say that they glorify that is a falsehood, and people like you should stop turning this war on terror into the crusades.
 

Kenneth T. Cornelius

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Squawker said:
This is one man. One man didn't decide what the constitution should or should not contain. Just as we have many opinions here, mine has no more weight than yours should we decide to make a charter of rules. The majority opinion ruled, and often by a slim margin.
Geez! It is seldom my comments trigger this kind of response. I am flattered.

You are absolutely right, this was indeed just one man. One man writing to express what must have been pretty much a consensus opinion, who almost had to have had the concurrence of Madison and Hamilton. When he wrote what he did, he most likely didn't think much about it. The main idea was homogeneity and religion was just something that fitted in there. Even so, our writings have a tendency to reveal fundamental attitudes.

I made a mistake when I used the word Christian, though. It should have said religious principles. :doh
 

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ShamMol said:
you are an idiot. that is a radical interpretation of the quran.

Islam is based on five pillars. And a key element to Islam is peace above all else...so to say that they glorify that is a falsehood, and people like you should stop turning this war on terror into the crusades.
Is it really necessary to resort to common name calling? You points would carry much more weight with me sans the insults.

As for your assessment of Islam- I agree. And I think most Americans have no idea what the religion is about or what it's origins are.
 

Fantasea

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Perhaps someone will cite a few of the US laws that are not based upon the tenets of one of the ten commandments.
 

anomaly

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Fantasea said:
Perhaps someone will cite a few of the US laws that are not based upon the tenets of one of the ten commandments.
There is no law based on the assumption that there is one God.
 

ShamMol

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Pacridge said:
Is it really necessary to resort to common name calling? You points would carry much more weight with me sans the insults.

As for your assessment of Islam- I agree. And I think most Americans have no idea what the religion is about or what it's origins are.
when someone posts that, yes it is. he basically equitted all muslims to terrorists and that they were all evil, and if he really believes that, then he is the definition of an idiot
 

Fantasea

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anomaly said:
Originally Posted by Fantasea
Perhaps someone will cite a few of the US laws that are not based upon the tenets of one of the ten commandments.
There is no law based on the assumption that there is one God.
What you say is true. However, that does not answer the question I asked.

I asked that a law be cited. That means a piece of legislation that has been enacted.

May I ask that you re-read the question and try again?
 

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Fantasea said:
Perhaps someone will cite a few of the US laws that are not based upon the tenets of one of the ten commandments.
Not being a lawyer or Constitutional scholar, I will give it a superficial try:

I will ignore the Articles of the Constitution because I'm not sure they qualify under your definition of "legislation", but I'll skip to the Amendments.

I - The right to freedom of speech, assembly, petition of the government and expression of religion. WHich Commandment represents the genesis for this?

II - The right to form a well regulated Militia? Did I miss, Thou Shalt have the right to organize a militia?

III- No soldier shall be quartered in a house without permission of the owner?

IV - Unreasonable search and seizure?

V - No one can be held for a capital crime without benefit of a Grand Jury indictment... nor shall they be subject to double jeopardy

I could go on and on, but again it is a waste of time. Instead I will just provide the words of the Founding Fathers and let them answer the forum thread and Fant for themselves:

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was part of the Common Law”- Thomas Jefferson

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded upon the Christian religion” – John Adams – The Treaty of Tripoli

"One of the embarrassing problems for the early nineteenth-century champions of the Christian faith was that not one of the first six Presidents of the United States was an orthodox Christian."--The Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1968, p. 420

"Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one." - Thomas Jefferson

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity." --John Adams

"Religion I found to be without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serves principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another."--Benjamin Franklin

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are serviley crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blind faith." -- Thomas Jefferson

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise.. affect their civil capacities."--Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779

"...our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry"--Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779

"I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another."--Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1799

"(When) the (Virginia) bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protections of opinion was meant to be universal. 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 mantel of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohametan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."--Thomas Jefferson, from his autobiography, 1821

"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology."--Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short

"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ." -- Thomas Jefferson

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize [hu]mankind." -- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

"And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."--James Madison in a letter to Edward Livingston in 1822

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, not by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church."--Thomas Paine, from The Age of Reason

"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it" John Adams

"Religions are all alike -- founded upon fables and mythologies" – Thomas Jefferson

Special thanks to our friend Mixed Media for her contribution of some of these fine historical quotes. This pretty much answers the question of the thread. THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED AS A SECULAR NATION...PERIOD!
 

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Contrarian said:
Originally Posted by Fantasea
Perhaps someone will cite a few of the US laws that are not based upon the tenets of one of the ten commandments.
Not being a lawyer or Constitutional scholar, I will give it a superficial try:
I appreciate all of the effort you put into your response; however, it does not respond to the challenge.

What I'm asking is whether someone is able to cite some laws which are NOT based upon the tenets of ONE of the ten commandments.
 

ShamMol

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Fantasea said:
I appreciate all of the effort you put into your response; however, it does not respond to the challenge.

What I'm asking is whether someone is able to cite some laws which are NOT based upon the tenets of ONE of the ten commandments.
Oregon Death with Dignity Act
Death Penalty
All Education bills
etc
etc
etc

There is a plethora
 

Kenneth T. Cornelius

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Fantasea said:
I appreciate all of the effort you put into your response; however, it does not respond to the challenge.

What I'm asking is whether someone is able to cite some laws which are NOT based upon the tenets of ONE of the ten commandments.
Let me refer you to the commandments of Exodus 34. Let's take number 8: "The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning." Or number 4: "All first-born are mine." The rest are sort of along the same line. Frankly, I can't think of a single law which is based on any of these. Associated with these are a collection of punishments for violating them. Exodus 22:20, for example: "He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed."
Of course, this set of commandments are somewhat different than CB deMille's version :drink
 

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Fantasea said:
I appreciate all of the effort you put into your response; however, it does not respond to the challenge.

What I'm asking is whether someone is able to cite some laws which are NOT based upon the tenets of ONE of the ten commandments.
I did respond with Constitutional laws which are not based upon the tenents of any of the Commandments - CB deMilles version or any other Fairy Tale. Shamol did as well, and if time weren't so prescious, I'm sure we could dig up a few thousand more.

I think it is unreasonable to think that Christian dogma can take full credit for ethics and moral standards in this country... sorry, but there are quite a few very moral heretics out here, as were many of the Founding Fathers.
 

Fantasea

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ShamMol said:
Originally Posted by Fantasea
I appreciate all of the effort you put into your response; however, it does not respond to the challenge.

What I'm asking is whether someone is able to cite some laws which are NOT based upon the tenets of ONE of the ten commandments.
Oregon Death with Dignity Act
Death Penalty
All Education bills
etc
etc
etc

There is a plethora
Perhaps I wasn’t sufficiently clear. Considering the possibly thousands of entities with the power to make laws, including judges who legislate from the bench, the challenge must be limited to the federal level.

Nevertheless, the state report regarding the 39 Oregonians who in 2003 opted to hasten their demise consists mainly of elderly persons whose stated reasons equate to depression or fear of being a burden to others. Only 9 cited inability to effectively manage pain. Counseling suicide to persons in a distressed state of mind, who are highly susceptible to suggestion, while horrid, appears to be effective, too. Clearly, this legislation is a stepping stone to euthanasia.

The death penalty does not contravene the Commandments. The fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not murder.” makes allowances for many instances in which a life may be justifiably taken; one of them being capital punishment. You may recall that Moses is the channel through which the Commandments were passed. A basic tenet of Hebrew law is, “An eye for an eye …”

One must understand that within the limited number of words in a single Commandment, lies a framework much the same as is found in a single amendment to the US Constitution.

In the matter of education, the fourth Commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother”, is familial in nature and encompasses, as well, the duty of parents to care for their children which includes educating, or preparing, them for adult life. As has been the case, for reasons of efficiency and broader scope, parents, through their elected representatives, have delegated this responsibility to others who are professional educators and collectively pay for these services through the tax system.
 

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Kenneth T. Cornelius said:
Let me refer you to the commandments of Exodus 34. Let's take number 8: "The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning." Or number 4: "All first-born are mine." The rest are sort of along the same line. Frankly, I can't think of a single law which is based on any of these. Associated with these are a collection of punishments for violating them. Exodus 22:20, for example: "He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed."
Of course, this set of commandments are somewhat different than CB deMille's version :drink
Again, the challenge is to cite laws not based upon the Ten Commandments. You know, the ones that Judge Roy Moore refused to remove from his court.
 

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Fantasea said:
What you say is true. However, that does not answer the question I asked.

I asked that a law be cited. That means a piece of legislation that has been enacted.

May I ask that you re-read the question and try again?
You asked "Perhaps someone will cite a few of the US laws that are not based upon the tenets of one of the ten commandments. ". I tried to refer to the first amendment, but apparently you didn't realize it. The first amendment gives us the freedom to worship many Gods, or none at all. That obviously goes againts the 'One God' commandment.
 

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Contrarian said:
I think it is unreasonable to think that Christian dogma can take full credit for ethics and moral standards in this country... sorry, but there are quite a few very moral heretics out here, as were many of the Founding Fathers.
The only point I make is that, while the Ten Commandments pre-date man-made laws, man-made laws are based, intentionally or unintentionally, upon the tenets found therein.

If there is heresy in that statement, I'd appreciate your explaining it.
 

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Fantasea said:
The only point I make is that, while the Ten Commandments pre-date man-made laws, man-made laws are based, intentionally or unintentionally, upon the tenets found therein.

If there is heresy in that statement, I'd appreciate your explaining it.
The irony of your arguement is that the Ten Commandments were fabricated by man! They don't pre-date man made laws, they ARE man made codes of conduct created by men seeking to elevate their personal position in their community by having communicated with "God". The same thing is happening today with Bush placing conference calls to heaven with Billy Graham (you know that nice man who got very rich and powerful selling salvation!).

Cultures and societies create codes of conduct and order (laws) to enhance the "tribes" probability for survival. Getting people to conform is the tough part, so if you have the absolute word of God himself on your side, and the threat of hells fires... you will get control of the ignorant masses pretty fast. It worked, and it still does. Hence the word "Heretic"... derived from the Greek word "Haireticus"... meaning "One who chooses". The bain of all religion> those who have the audacity to "Choose". One thing I would never refer to you as, is a heretic.
 
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