Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 15 June 1813
Four years ago, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted new standards, known as TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), for social studies textbooks in the state’s schools. The process ignited an international media storm. When it was done, even the explicitly conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave TEKS a D, on the grounds that it amounted to political and cultural indoctrination, a dash of mindless inclusivity, and brute memorization.
|George Washington at a Masonic Lodge
I stuttered in amazement at the audacity of this statement, and the depth of its error. The statement is so utterly untrue, insulting and ... well.. un-American.
I really do not believe that they understand the depth of error they have stumbled into. The Constitution was not unique, really, in that it gave all men their freedom of choice regarding religion. It could be argued that several other governments allowed this before the Founding Fathers crafted those words. What was unique in this regard was that the Freedom of Religion they crafted also protected a citizen's right of "No Religion." The right not to chose was globally unique. No citizen was restricted by his unbelief from any office or any profession. And this is expressed not only as "permission" but as a protected right. If there is cause for the Exceptionalist to crow American values, this is definitely one of the most uniquely American descriptors.
I would also like to point out, that every time this line has been challenged and a molecule of favor to any one religion or another has been gained by hook and crook -- between the time of victory and the moment that victory was smashed by constitutional protection, there has always been shown by these radical and un-American Christians a devastating example of why we don't go there.
It is seriously doubtful that all of the Founding Fathers were Christian. Jefferson wasn't. There is tons of documentation supporting this fact, from his own letters and journals to the preachers of that time who campaigned against him because he was an atheist.
Ben Franklin the first American was not Christian either, again, plenty of documentation for that.
George Washington was private about his worship, but it is fairly clear that he was a Deistic, and a Freemason. There is tons of evidence for this, including the writings of preachers he befriended, and other good friends.
I'm not a historian, but I do know how to follow and look up references. This is a page I found, which did quite a bit of work: Founding Fathers were Christian at all.
"... wish to return this country to its beginnings, so be it... because it was a climate of Freethought. The Founders were students of the European Enlightenment. Half a century after the establishment of the United States, clergymen complained that no president up to that date had been a Christian. In a sermon that was reported in newspapers, Episcopal minister Bird Wilson of Albany, New York, protested in October 1831: "Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism."There is a small problem with that quote. It is highly possible that Bird Wilson wasn't actually the one who wrote and performed that sermon, but it was actually delivered by James Renwick Willson, a Reformed Presbyterian or Covenanter. This error of attribute is everywhere, even as far back as Paul Boller's book on Washington's religion,
It is a little telling -- regarding the vehemence of the Covenanters -- that the British during WWII named one of their most fierce tanks the same name. Perhaps also telling was that the design was prone to overheating, and was soon discontinuedWillson's sermon was still largely accurate, but it lacks the authority of being by James Wilson's son. The story of all of this is here, and though it changes nothing, I include it for accuracy. I would like to add something from that page however, just in case you decide not to follow the link, about James Renwick Wilson:
Finally, note that Rev. Willson was an early prominent member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Covenanted and they were notable dissidents on the US Constitution. They believed its lack of supplication to God, absence of a religious test, and absence of explicit covenant with the Triune God of the Bible made it a document, at the very least, inconsistent with their view of covenant theology and civil government. (At the worst it is an anti-Christian, infidel document). This is the very group to whom Gary North dedicates his ebook. And though North doesn't cite Rev. Willson, many of Willson's same arguments against the US Constitution are fleshed out in detail in North's book.This is a far cry from Moses being on everyone's mind as they hid the word of God inside the text of the Constitution of the United States.
Rev. Willson was a true "dominionist," and he should remind the Reconstructionists that a dominionist theology is inconsistent with the US Constitution.
Further on, in that same sermon :
When the war was over and the victory over our enemies won, and the blessings and happiness of liberty and peace were secured, the Constitution was framed and God was neglected. He was not merely forgotten. He was absolutely voted out of the Constitution. The proceedings, as published by Thompson, the secretary, and the history of the day, show that the question was gravely debated whether God should be in the Constitution or not, and after a solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it.... There is not only in the theory of our government no recognition of God's laws and sovereignty, but its practical operation, its administration, has been conformable to its theory. Those who have been called to administer the government have not been men making any public profession of Christianity.... Washington was a man of valor and wisdom. He was esteemed by the whole world as a great and good man; but he was not a professing Christian (quoted by Remsberg, pp. 120-121,).
In research you find quickly, that on any topic of significance there are always two or more sides. I find the topics with three sides to be the most interesting myself. As research is being done, points of interest and events are located. When a point is suspected of being of major significance to the topic, supporting documentation is then searched out to validate the point. Each of these discovered documents are then judge for validity and then appraised as "weight" This appraisal includes matters such as "who wrote it?" like I pointed out that this particular sermon would have more value if it was written by Bird, instead of James, because of the connections and position Bird had. Other factors include where was it found? Is it supported by other documentation? Was it published or private? And so on.
A prime factor, and one I always give a great deal of weight to, is when I discover that one of the contesting sides has ancestor witnesses who decry present day belief. We have that here.
The Christians of that time, and nearly every outspoken Minister of every sect, of every state in the union, is reported by sermon, membership diary, newspaper article or non-fiction account of the day in book form to have denounced the lack of Christianity incorporated in their Government. Going so far as to condemn the government. The accusation is incessant in fact. The accounts of heathenism, barbarism, heresy and even public protests are all over the place.
This suggests to me, a strong indication that the Founding Fathers were not publically believed to be religious. A few of them, in private letters and journals suggested more than a nodding dedication to Christianity, but also these same express a strong need not to publicly demonstrate their beliefs, as it could be used by others to give them a foothold into government preference of Christianity over other religions. Indeed, the protestations of modern Christians demonstrate their fears to be all too true.
From this point however... I'l let the great men of our nation speak for themselves.
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