By all means feel invited to rip the following to shreds, provided you link to actual evidence that refutes what I’m about to say. I’m no historian. I have a layman’s understanding of the following. I’m sure there are people much wiser than me, with more resources than I have, who can run circles around this. Feel free to do so. These are rough drafts. Maybe someday I’ll get it right. I keep finding myself retracing my steps. This is all familiar territory that you may have seen me cover in previous installments of this blog. I’m trying to find the right combination of words to make this argument air tight and irrefutable.
Believers keep retracing their steps too, and they keep going back to the same old tired refrain of being persecuted for their beliefs. Jews and Christians and Muslims cumulatively control the vast majority of governments, corporations, educational institutions, and most other realms of power and control among humanity. There are billions of them. Abrahamics is the single most successful unproved belief system in the history of mankind. Yet if you challenge their beliefs with oh gee i dunno EVIDENCE AND RATIONAL ARGUMENT they claim to be persecuted. Believers get on the defensive at the drop of a hat. When one tries to show them the folly of their unproved belief system, they take it as a personal offense. As if you are cutting off one of their limbs. Perhaps that’s cuz it’s what it feels like. If you have identified yourself as a Believer for your whole life, being shown that it’s just a phantom limb which was never there in the first place, that can be hard to swallow.
[ Heh. “Believe” me. I know. Firsthand. ]
This is not intended as an attack. However, this is how it will be taken, and there’s really not much I can do about that. Cuz the end result of this rational line of thought as I’ll transcribe below, is nothing short of downright unAmerican.
If you claim the United States of America is a Christian nation (or any other religion for that matter), I hate to break it to you but history disagrees. Before European settlers arrived, Native Americans had their own unique (and rather beautiful if you bother to explore it) tribal pagan belief system. Though there is a lot of ephemeral Not Of This World mumbo jumbo to it, a very telling element of American Indian beliefs is that it’s wrapped up in their reality at the time. They worshiped what they could see and touch, and then marveled at what the power behind it must be like on some transcendent plane of reality apart from the here and now. It’s really pretty stuff. Animal spirits. Worshiping mountains. The sun and the moon. Communing with elders who have moved beyond this life. Depending on which tribe you’re talking about there’s also use of peyote and other drugs to become more open to these transcendent planes of reality. It’s all just as bonkers and crazy and unproved as the religions that sought to replace it, but in some ways I think the Native Americans had it much better than we pale faces.
Many who came to these shores from Europe and other parts of the world (who then stole land from native Americans and coerced many of them into abandoning their own beliefs) were Christian. Granted. However, there were also jews, muslims, hindus, buddhists, doubters, and others. There were more Christians perhaps, but they diluted themselves by breaking themselves down even further. Catholics and Protestants are two general classifications and each of these have their own denominations and sects and even cults. Some Christian groups were still Christian in name only, and had diverged so far from established orthodoxy as to fail to meet the criteria of others. Many people fled to the New World to escape religious persecution in the Old World, only to instill the same upon their own communities. Rather than create a society that was founded on religious tolerance, many protestants fled catholic communities in Europe to build a city that was only for protestants. If you didn’t believe as they did, you were shunned, exiled, and sometimes tortured or killed. People were put in stocks and displayed at the Town Square, as a warning to others who might seek to challenge the laws of god as dictated by the village elders. They really didn’t see the irony in this. Whether you are a king or a monk, power corrupts all.
Many religiously segregated communities had existed in the east coast of what’s now the USA for decades if not centuries before our country’s Founding Fathers were charged to draft the Constitution of the United States. They had witnessed first hand how any state-enforced religious faith was unjust and led to bitterness and hostility. The initial articles of the Constitution do not directly address which religion the citizens of America were expected to believe. No decision was made on this issue in the main part of the document. You will not find the word “church” in the original articles. You will not find the word “belief.” The word “faith” shows up three times, and not in a religious sense by any stretch of the imagination. The president is required to swear he will “faithfully execute” the Constitution and laws of this country. Stuff like that. Religion was put on the back burner to get the bulk of the work done.
In article five of the Constitution, the congress is given the power to amend the document in the future, because our founding fathers knew they were not seers and prophets. So this document is not meant to be kept written in stone. It’s still a living breathing thing that can be amended in the future, provided the strong majority of representatives feel it should be amended. In fact, almost before the ink dried on the US Constitution, the congress immediately set about amending it.
The word “religion” shows up in The First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..” and since the executive and judicial branches can only enforce and interpret law, that means the federal government is not supposed to condone or impede ANY religion of ANY kind. Wanna worship hub caps? Be our guest. In a perfect world, that is. There’s also nothing saying one must believe in something. It’s generally considered a given that freedom of religion inherently includes the freedom to not have any religion. The point is, no single perception of a god or gods is given credence anywhere in the Constitution of the United States of America.
This can be changed. We can amend this. It would take an act of congress, but it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility. However, to do so would take more than a two thirds majority of both houses. You’d also need an overwhelming majority of Americans to sign off on this, and I doubt anyone is gonna wanna touch the first amendment. To do so would also go against the grain of both the letter and the intent of the law as dictated not only by our Founding Fathers but pretty much everyone to come along since. The freedom of religion, speech, assembly, the press, these things are in the DNA of what makes this country great. To do away with them would be to dismiss everything we’ve worked towards thus far.
The phrase “in god we trust” was added to US currency in 1956, almost two centuries after the US Constitution was ratified. It’s a relatively recent development. The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States was not written until 1892 by a man named Francis Bellamy, then accepted by congress officially around the time America entered World War Two. The pledge has also undergone some cosmetic changes over the years. The phrase “under god” was added to it in 1954. The 1950s were a time of communist fear in our democratic republic. These decisions to infuse The Church into aspects of The State were no doubt to further distinctively separate ourselves from our perceived enemy. McCarthyism was a time of fear and hate, when many people believed many things about each other, but had little or no proof to back them up. They just put each other’s names on lists, and pretended that was enough.
My point is, the idea of the US being solely a monotheistic institution, where the State acknowledges a singular deity to which it answers, is a relatively recent phenomenon, and not one that was instilled in our country’s framework at the time of the Founding Fathers. In fact, doing so is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Yet it was done.
Believers insist our legal system is based on the Mosaic Ten Commandments of Judeo-Christian lore. However, only two of those ten commands are actually illegal: theft and murder. None of the other commandments are considered evil. In fact, some are encouraged. Coveting actually helps fuel the economy. Kids have rebelled against their parents for going on fifteen generations now, since the inception of the thirteen colonies. So the judicial branch of the American government has rejected the Ten Commandments, even though a vast majority of those who have presided over the Supreme Court fancy themselves Believers.
“Bring us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free..” but only if they believe in the Abrahamic God. That last part is not at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty.
I could go on and on. The evidence is there, even though it’s largely ignored by anyone who believes in something. It is one thing to wish your personal beliefs trumped all other citizens of the United States, but if you actively commit actions to make your personal beliefs more acceptable than anyone else’s, then you are to put it bluntly, a traitor to Lady Liberty, the United States of America, the Constitution, and everything she stands for.
A real omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent god would have one interpretation. There would be no argument cuz there’d be only one certainty. The fact there is a different One True God for each Believer is in and of itself proof that none exists. Since no single Believer can prove their god exists, politicians find themselves in a quandary over which god to make state-approved. You’re bound to piss off somebody, so our Founding Fathers decided to leave that out of the government entirely.
If you can’t prove your god but insist upon injecting him into politics anyway, I can see only one reason to demand that: Control. Power. Manipulation. A boot on another man’s face. There is a separation of Church and State for a reason, and when George W Bush encouraged “faith-based initiatives” and gave them money, but would not support similar non-faith-based charity organizations? guess what. Act of treason. It goes against the blueprint we used to build this country. Don’t worry though. He wasn’t gonna get impeached over that. You have to let an intern go down on you to get impeached nowadays. Besides, he’s in good company. When you use your religious beliefs to help you decide who to vote for, you are committing an act of treason against your own country. So we have a lot of traitors, who could even go so far as band together and rewrite the Constitution to support their god. I’m surprised the Teabaggers haven’t already done this.
So if you use your beliefs to decide how to vote, you’re a traitor to your own country. Thank you for contributing to the downfall of western civilization, and bringing about a return to feudal times when non belief in the socially accepted religious institutions meant pain and torture and sometimes death. They called it The Dark Ages for a sound reason too: cuz oftentimes back then, The Church WAS The State.
Church as an institution is not the underdog and it hasn’t been for some time. A separation of Church and State is necessary cuz you can’t enforce belief systems on people and you can’t police people’s thoughts and dreams. Okay. You CAN technically, but it never ends well. Each individual has to willingly reject false unproved beliefs on their own, and some people just never will. Religion is not being persecuted today. It’s what’s been pushing all of us down. The “undergod” has made underdogs of us all.