Beliefs Culture Ethics Institutions Jonathan Merritt: On Faith and Culture Opinion

‘Christian America’: Corporate invention or founding fathers’ vision …

A Princeton historian says the idea that America is a "Christian nation" is a modern invention fueled by corporations, clergy, and politicians. - (Image: "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States" by Howard Christy; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons - http://bit.ly/1I8pq63)
A Princeton historian says the idea that America is a "Christian nation" is a modern invention fueled by corporations, clergy, and politicians. - (Image: "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States" by Howard Christy; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons - http://bit.ly/1I8pq63)

A Princeton historian says the idea that America is a “Christian nation” is a modern invention fueled by corporations, clergy, and politicians. – (Image: “Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States” by Howard Christy; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – http://bit.ly/1I8pq63)

Recent surveys have indicated that many, if not most, Americans believe the founding fathers wanted this nation to be officially Christian. But a new book by Princeton historian Kevin Kruse slices and dices this notion with razor-sharp facts and anecdotes. In “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America,” he shows how corporations such as General Motors and Hilton Hotels partnered with clergymen and politicians to conflate patriotism and pietism. Here he tells how our nation’s Ten Commandments monuments were originally movie marketing props and how evangelist Billy Graham participated in America’s shifting mindset.

RNS: You argue that “corporate America invented Christian America”? Explain.

KK: By “Christian America,” I don’t mean the idea that this is a country in which Christians and Christianity have played a fundamentally important role. I’m talking about the belief that the state itself, politically speaking, is officially and formally a “Christian nation.” Most of the markers that Americans invoke when they argue that we are one – the words “under God” in the pledge, the national motto of “In God We Trust,” the National Prayer Breakfast, the National Day of Prayer, etc. – are creations of the modern era and, more specifically, creations of corporate America.

Courtesy of Basic Books

Courtesy of Basic Books

RNS: Creations of corporate America?

KK: Starting in the 1930s, major corporations and business lobbies marketed a new language of “freedom under God” to discredit what they denounced as the “slavery of the welfare state.” As their campaign swept the nation in the 1940s and 1950s, many Americans came to think of their country as officially “one nation under God.”

RNS: You said “America as a Christian nation” is a modern invention, but others counter that it traces back to our founding fathers. What say you?

KK: The founding fathers were religiously diverse, but on this issue they were nearly unanimous in insisting that the United States of America was not a Christian nation. The Declaration invokes the Creator, of course, but the Constitution – the basis of our government – pointedly does not. Other than dating the document “in the year of our Lord,” the only mentions of religion in the Constitution and Bill of Rights are ones that keep the state at arm’s length from the church. Even more directly, the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli – begun by Washington, signed by Adams, and passed unanimously by a Senate half-filled with signers of the Constitution – states quite clearly that “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

RNS: You say that some of this notion was a response to Roosevelt’s New Deal. How so?

KK: Roosevelt himself deserves some of the credit, as he regularly invoked religion in his speeches for the New Deal. His first inaugural address was so laden with Scripture that the National Bible Press put out a chart linking his text to the “Corresponding Biblical Quotations.” The business interests he denounced as “the moneychangers” decided to beat him at his own game, using religious rhetoric to repackage their worldly agenda in heavenly terms. As both sides of the debate blended religion and politics, ideas of piety and patriotism became closely intertwined for all.

RNS: How did Billy Graham partner with American corporates to propel this idea forward?

KK: Graham’s emergence on the national stage owed a great deal to corporate patrons. Sid Richardson, an oilman who was perhaps the richest man in America, connected him to powerful politicians in D.C. Publishers like Henry Luce and William Randolph Hearst promoted him in the press. In these early years especially, Graham was such a fervent defender of corporate America that a London columnist dismissed him as the “Big Business Evangelist.” An outspoken opponent of the “creeping socialism” of the regulatory state, Graham championed corporate interests and promoted stories of godly businessmen who had “God as a working partner.” At the same time, he denounced labor unions as inherently godless and described the Garden of Eden as a paradise with “no union dues, no labor leaders, no snakes, no disease.”

RNS: How is “One Nation Under God” a corporate construction and not just a political one?

KK: The phrase itself isn’t a corporate construction, but rather a popular appropriation of Abraham Lincoln’s prayer in the Gettysburg Address “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” The phrase was largely forgotten until the early 1950s. As the corporate campaign for what the Senate chaplain called “under-God consciousness” swept the country, private groups looked for ways to advance the cause. The Knights of Columbus proposed adding “under God” to the previously secular Pledge of Allegiance in 1951; three years later their campaign had won over Congress.

RNS: What about “In God We Trust”?

KK: The phrase originated in an often-forgotten stanza of the “Star Spangled Banner” and, once again, entered our political culture in the Civil War. A few ministers claimed that the war had come because of “our national shame in disowning God” – that is, the founders’ mistake in not making America an officially Christian nation from the start – and urged the government to correct the oversight. Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase liked the idea, and had “In God We Trust” added to coins. (Teddy Roosevelt believed it was blasphemous and tried to remove it, but failed.) After the corporate campaign of “under-God consciousness” swept the country in the 1950s, Congress added it to a stamp in 1954, to paper money in 1955, and made it our first official national motto in 1956.

RNS: The 10 Commandments have been a point of contention among some Americans. Where did these battles originate?

KK: Legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille was an outspoken ally of the corporate-backed Christian libertarian groups that promoted “freedom under God.” His blockbuster film The Ten Commandments, he noted repeatedly, focused on their central question: “Are men property of the state? Or are they free souls under God?” Starting in 1955, DeMille worked with the Fraternal Order of Eagles to construct granite monuments of the Ten Commandments, all in an effort to promote the forthcoming film. Together, they put up more than 4,000 monuments across the country – at city halls, courthouses, even on the US-Canada border – and had stars like Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner help dedicate them. Others soon followed suit on their own initiative. But, at its root, one of the key sources of conflict in church-state relations today originated in a marketing campaign for a 1950s movie.

RNS: Why is religion in the public square so divisive today, in your opinion? Who is at fault?

KK: President Eisenhower succeeded in etching the language of “one nation under God” into our national consciousness because he uncoupled it from its partisan political roots in Christian libertarianism and made it a broad enough for virtually all Americans to embrace. President Nixon, who had served as Ike’s vice president, tried to promote the same language during his time in office, but he did so to support polarizing issues like the Vietnam War and domestic programs of the Silent Majority. As conservatives coopted this language, liberals shied away. In the end, the combination of piety and patriotism that had once brought Americans together only drove them further apart.

RNS: How can we achieve harmony on these debates? 

KK: As an historian, my professional training is in hindsight. But I do think there are lessons in this story for all sides. Those who are opposed to this sort of religious rhetoric need to remember that there once was a period when almost all Americans believed this country was “one nation under God.” True, it was much more recent than many assert, but it existed all the same; it’s not a “myth” manufactured by the religious right. Those who support this political religious language, meanwhile, need to remember that much of the opposition to it in the 1960s and 1970s came not from atheists, but from prominent religious leaders opposed to school prayer amendments. They resented the state’s intrusion into religion and dismissed this public religion as a “one-size-fits-all” faith that lost any real meaning. Perhaps if both sides of the debate take a closer look at this story’s past, they can find a way to write the next chapter together.

About the author

Jonathan Merritt

Jonathan Merritt is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He has published more than 2500 articles in outlets like USA Today, The Week, Buzzfeed and National Journal. Jonathan is author of "Jesus is Better Than You Imagined" and "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars." He resides in Brooklyn, NY.

120 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • RNS: Why is religion in the public square so divisive today, in your opinion? Who is at fault?

    My guess would be that the fault lies with the dominionists who believe that their particular, peculiar theological beliefs entitle them to dominion over the lives of people who don’t share those beliefs.

    you can believe that homosexuality is the worst sin ever. But when you expect the state to enforce your purely theological beliefs on me as a gay man, to my disadvantagement, harm, and expense, you can also expect me to object.

  • Ben,

    what is a shame is that many militant Atheists, not gay, have used the gay man as a type of weapon to foist their cause in America, much the way many Christians have used God (or Scripture) for agenda. This has created a type of “character” representing you, which really isn’t you at all … and really isn’t God, as God shows no partiality. What happens is an untruth, a dishonest caricature—something without voice, compassion, sense, reason and even faith and belief. You become a type of puppet used for each in a way solicitous. Also, I see you struggling to remove yourself from being viewed as somehow a guilty part in the clergy sex abuse scandals, as some Catholics on these threads are blaming the gay priests for the rape and molestations going on in their institution. This, again, is a disservice to you—dishonest attempt to characterize you as something you are not. As a gnostic (not of Gnosticism) I understand some of your frustration: being misused, mislabeled.
    We are sorry you are put into this false portrait.

    Peace

  • If down the road it comes out that more of the molestations in the religious institution are from gays … it still does NOT speak for you, just as every person believing in Spirit, or God … or Christ … does not speak for me. You are your own voice.

    Peace

  • “One nation under God”

    The single most sneakily treasonous declaration in the history of the United States. It is an ongoing threat to freedom and and a subversion of the Declaration of Independence. Religion insidiously works overtime to force itself over everybody.

    People have a right to their religion. I support religious freedom.
    But the nature and quality of religion itself must constantly be challenged or it simply takes over everywhere. Most Americans pay no attention to how religion behaves when it gets strong.

  • A. M … we have seen your stripes … did you get into some trouble the other day? 😉

  • Atheist Max March 29, 2015 at 12:32 pm (in a comment to me).
    My love of children is superior to whatever nonsense you are selling.
    I must speak up in their defense.

    Religious genital mutilation – an entirely faith-based depravity – is a disgrace to humanity and an ongoing assault on their helpless little bodies! Girls and boys grow up entirely disfigured and emotionally injured by these depraved practices and you obviously don’t care about that at all.

    Shame on Christianity and Jesus in particular for these multiple depravities and this profound indifference to human suffering.

  • and just to let the readers know … I NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT CIRCUMCISION … or anything of this nature.

    Did Jesus?

  • “Recent surveys have indicated that many, if not most, Americans believe the founding fathers wanted this nation to be officially Christian.”

    This speaks badly of our civil education. Such ideas fly in the face of all we know about the formation of religious rights in this country. What it says is many, if not most Americans have no regard for the free exercise of religion besides their own faith/sect.. That they do not value protecting such free exercise by keeping government from being entangled with religion.

    It speaks very poorly for Christians. They do not value freedom but in turn seek merely license to disregard and attack the rights of those who believe differently from them.

    “The founding fathers were religiously diverse, but on this issue they were nearly unanimous in insisting that the United States of America was not a Christian nation.

    Now just tell David Barton acolytes. But its not like that crowd is interested in the truth.

  • We are not a Christian nation, but, we are a nation of Christians. Now, Christians, go, get busy, tis spring season after all, if you know what is meant 😉

  • With regard to the 1797 Treaty of Tripoli, Kevin Kruse incorrectly conflates Nation and Government when referencing Article 11. of the treaty. The document says “as the Government [note, capital G] of the United States of America is not…” Emphasizing government is a big deal in this context as it leaves the people of the nation out of it. The citizenry that made up the majority of the nation at the time of the founding were certainly Christians, all sorts of denominations. Secondly, since the Constitution is a Government document, it wouldn’t reference God or a creator but does refer to the Declaration of Independence as a statement of and by the people, who hold in their belief of nature and nature’s God as the supreme power. Power that was given to the people, power which is then delegated to three branches of government.

    It’s a great discussion to have. I also, do not doubt that most corporations and companies would jump at the chance to capitalize on the vast Christian demographic in this country. But be assured, that demographic exists on it’s own merits with or without corporate sponsorship.

  • The First Amendment tells us we are not a Christian nation. The Treaty of Tripoli is merely an expression of it. Just because the majority in this nation is Christian, it does not mean anything in terms of their rights and privileges under our laws.

    It does not give Christians any special rights to have their belief given color of law. It does not mean anyone has to pay homage to Christianity in any official sense in our government.

    When people say, “We are a Christian Nation” they are saying that they do not respect religious freedom and seek to dominate our government and laws with their version of religious belief. All at the expense of others. It is a pernicious, anti-democratic idea based largely on lying about history.

  • There is nothing in the Bible that even suggests females be circumcised. Christians are not the ones promoting that practice. Male circumcision isn’t Christian, either-it’s Judaism. Even then, it’s promoted well beyond that religion for other reasons, and many men even prefer it.

  • I understand that Larry. Thanks. But you can’t deny the fact the founding of the country was started by the those that fled England/Europe so that they may practice their sect of Christianity. Those that disagreed with the Puritans of Massachusetts, left to form other colonies. William Penn the Quaker among them. All these colonies were made up of different sects of Christianity all with different rules and beliefs. Some, relatively more stringent than others. There most assuredly were agnostics, atheists, jewish people and others among them in smaller numbers, and maybe they were ostracized, maybe some not. But for the next 100 years since the late 1600s, those colonies operated on Christian moral principles. All of that which led to the revolution and independence which was to guarantee the right to believe or not believe whatever you like. However, it’s the moral code found in the jewish and christian bibles that is the root of our law. To deny that is foolish. For even an atheist must accept that if Moses did not in fact receive the Ten Commandments directly from God, where ever he got them – they were pretty spot on to the laws of reason and nature.

  • “It does not give Christians any special rights to have their belief given color of law. It does not mean anyone has to pay homage to Christianity in any official sense in our government.”

    Yes, when politicians seek council from the leaders of large religious institutions, also political, as a woman and one not of religion (adhering to doctrine as law), I am uneasy. Why these same men within these same laws? So many were upset about the incident in IN this week, and I was listening to politicians condemn those behind it, but I see the hypocrisy oozing out of their own cities and towns where religious institutions are permitted to discriminate against women. And are women even receiving the same salary as a man for the same work? Well? What is this Nation of Christians going to do about their Christ? Continue to crucify the LIFE? When are these “Christians” going to realize the SYMBOLISM of Holy Scripture in a way that allows them to move beyond this fascist negativism and sedentary armchair ethics?

  • I must get my hands on Kruse’s book, but the release date is still 11 days away and its killing me. Until I read Kruse’s recent piece in the NYT, I had no idea that Billy Graham was as passionate about libertarian economics as he was about saving souls (I think most of us are more familiar with the older, more cautious Graham). And while it’s profoundly disappointing, it seems to explain evangelicalism’s post-War arc and its tragic present, where it is fully aligned with the interests of Big Business and squarely united against the interests of the 99%.

  • “For even an atheist must accept that if Moses did not in fact receive the Ten Commandments directly from God, where ever he got them – they were pretty spot on to the laws of reason and nature.”

    No, not actually.

    The first one says that there are multiple gods, but as long as you make Yahweh the big cheese, no problem.

    No graven images? At least a half of the world sees no conflict with reason and nature. That includes catholics.

    not taking this god’s name in vain? We don’t even really know his name. And nothing to do with reason or nature.

    The Sabbath day? Which one? there are at least three. Having a Sabbath? Same thing.

    Honor thy parents? Are the honorable and worthy?

    The rest are not bad at all.

  • Actually I can deny it and I will. You are not correct.You are using nonsense intentionally misleading blanket phrases rather than more accurate descriptions.

    Only Massachusetts has that claim to fame. Most of the 13 Colonies, the southern states, were founded for commercial purposes. Georgia was a penal colony. Delaware, New York and New Jersey were conquests of prior European powers. Only 3 colonies had anything to do with religious freedom. (MA, PA, RI)

    Mass. was set up so its colonists could enact their own sanctioned form of theocracy away from Anglican pressure. They believed religious freedom only went as far as their sect. Very bad examples for you to use. They are the progenitors of today’s anti-democratic Dominionists.

    Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were set up as true refuges from religious persecution for ALL FAITHS AND ALL SECTS. Not just for Christians to practice. It is from the works of their founders William Penn and Roger Williams that we get our concepts of the first amendment religious freedoms. It was not inherent to Christianity. It was inherent to pretty much only these long persecuted Anabaptist sects. Those who believed government and religion do not belong together. Most Christian sects opposed such ideas. Many mainstream ones still do.

    “But for the next 100 years since the late 1600s, those colonies operated on Christian moral principles.”

    That is a nonsense phrase with a circular meaning. You could not tell me anything specific to the Christian religion that has anything to do with how those colonies operated. The best you will come up with anything specific in this respect are the 3 prohibitions in all cultures (no lying, stealing or murder). If you said our nation was based on Anabaptist ideals of secularism you would have merit. But to say Christian (with its modern implication of fundamentalist Christian) would be woefully incorrect.

    Btw the 10 commandments are not the basis of our laws. 4 of them are purely sectarian, 3 would be draconian attacks of personal liberties if given color of law and 3 are universal to all cultures.

    You are trying to give credit where it is not due, you simply want to declare everything as being Christian despite no real relationship to the tenets of the religion.

    Democracy is not a Christian ideal. Autocracy is. It is a kingdom of heaven and a lord not a congress of heaven and a president. The bible tells of deference to authority and absolute rule. Democracy is far different.

  • Whether or not the Founding Fathers called America a Christian nation, the obvious fact is that probably 100% of Americans were of some Christian denomination in 1776. The number of Jews, Muslims, etc. were minimal at best, so any reference to Creator or God would be most certainly noted through the lens of Christianity.

    The historian’s facts may be true as to the dates we started using God-related phrases in our national institutions, but from 1492, America was a nation of Christians.

  • No they didn’t. Show me where Jesus is mentioned in the Constitution. We have the only purely secular Constitution out there. No religion favored or endorsed.
    None given color of law. All permitted to worship peaceably. Including Muslims.

    From 1492 to 1776, there was no American nation.

    So Christians are the majority, SFW? They are mostly not your kind of Christian. Do you want cookie for that?

  • Larry, of course there were many facets that contributed to the settling of different colonies. But the point even you reiterate regarding the religious freedoms that were applied so narrowly in Mass, is a huge reason why Penn and the others established their societies elsewhere where freedoms extending further. The colonies, these states, were not united yet. They were relatively autonomous for 100 years until the British crown tyranny became too much.

    The claim that the 3 prohibitions (murder, lying, stealing) are around in ALL cultures is laughable. Consider widow burning in pre-colonization India or human sacrifice in the Aztec culture. Is that murder? Or do you foolishly believe in moral relativism? You wouldn’t agree with the Muslim nations of today who murder homosexuals for simply being homosexual would you? That is rhetorical. Of course you wouldn’t.

    I am not trying to give credit to Christianity, the institution, for founding this country and it’s constitution. I agree in the difference you laid out between Autocracy and Democracy. I never claimed democracy to be a Christian ideal. But I’ll even go further to remind you that our nation isn’t a democracy, it’s a republic. One that was founded on the fact that all power originates with nature and nature’s God, that it is located in the people and distributed to representatives where it is organized in three equal branches. This too isn’t a Christian concept, but it was installed by people who disagreed with other but looked mainly to the jewish and christian texts as their principle guide.

  • Ben – the reason the 1st commandment says “no other Gods” is because up until that time, there was no monotheistic religion, this was an establishment of Yahweh as “the big cheese” because most of the world practiced a polytheistic form of religion.

    “No graven images” is a reference to false gods, false idols and the worship of those in place of the one God. Not imagery meant to depict God.

    Taking God’s name in vain, doesn’t mean using God’s name (which at first you name as Yahweh but then say we don’t know what it is) in a sentence like “God damnit”, or simply crying out in anger at God. Taking God’s name in vain means doing sinful acts like lying, stealing, violence and murder and doing so in the name of God. The muslims of ISIS who do those things in the name of Allah are taking God’s name in vain.

    Remember the Sabbath only commands that you work 6 days and rest on the seventh. Just as there are different calendars observed by different cultures, I see no conflict with people observing this commandment on which ever day they deem as the seventh.

    Honor thy parents – whether you choose to do so or not is obviously up to you. If you do, then society is better for it. It’s the first step in understanding moral authority and accountability. If your parents didn’t honor theirs then it’s understandable and unfortunate that you don’t honor yours. It’s the first line of defense in keeping totalitarianism at bay. For when we dishonor our parents we dismiss then, and then look to the state for allegiance and guidance.

    Glad you agree with the rest.

  • Kevin Kruse also leaves out one major facet about the 40s and 50s – the threat of the totalitarian communist Soviet Union. During a time of ethnic and religious cleansing the inclusion of these lines referencing God was a way to clearly differentiate the US from the USSR which was at its height in power at the time, and feverishly threatening to expand its power. That communist regime was specifically and proudly anti-God and religion. They openly promoted an Atheist society. There was to be no worship, the people were to “worship” the state because like a true Socialist government, the State took care of all the people’s needs, everything.

    You work for the State as a collective and the State took care of you from cradle to grave in every aspect. So religion no longer belonged or was allowed in the USSR, because religious teachings would conflict with the rules of the State and other religions – and there is to be no conflict in a utopian society.

    Countless wars and conflicts have started over religion, so the argument to rid the world of religion is – on it’s surface, a reasonable fix. With the Soviet Union’s iron curtain threatening and expanding, and vanquishing all religion with each step – the US drew, that one of many, lines in the sand and inserted that line into the Pledge and on its currency to announce, in part, that America was a place of religious freedom and a refuge for those seeking religious persecution and thus a nation that exists under God.

    In God We Trust being added to the currency (1957) was an announcement to the world and those who read our currency that the US was a place where religion exists and is not censored by the government. 50 million people were murdered under Stalin in the Soviet Union, through either forced famine, prolonged captivity and exile or execution and many due to their religious beliefs. So while the line in the Pledge may seem dated now and out of touch or even offensive to non-believers, the reason it came to be was in the context of the times and I think it should remain to not only honor the spirit of those millions over time who did find comfort and refuge in our country, but for the millions of persecuted believers of a faith that may not be inline with their oppressors of today.

    Kruse can drum it up to some corporate conspiracy, and while they may have benefitted financially, that is small potatoes compared the millions of lives those pronouncements have touched and saved.

  • You support religious freedom? The same way the Third Reich supported Jewish Synagogues perhaps?

    You do realize that almost all of us can see what you are right?

  • IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD ????????????????

    That wasn’t in reference to Lord Vader.

    If the founders were as foaming-at-the-mouth lunatic as are the current day so-called secularists display . . . that phrase would be verboten.

    Like it or not, the founders never hated Christians and Christianity, or Jesus Christ, as do they 20th and 21st century goose-stepping brown shirts of the intolerant secular Left.

  • ” . . . the threat of the totalitarian communist Soviet Union”

    Which is fascinating that the 21st Century atheistic movement is STILL just as totalitarian as it was under the good ol’ days of the atheistic USSR/CCCP.

    Some things never change except for the cheap whitewash applied to cover it. But just like the laughably ill-fitting sheep’s clothing worn by the religious left, the 21st atheism cannot hide its true nature.

  • “But the point even you reiterate regarding the religious freedoms that were applied so narrowly in Mass, is a huge reason why Penn and the others established their societies elsewhere where freedoms extending further.”

    Nice dodge there. But you are attributing the persecutors for the achievements of the persecuted. Roger Williams fled Mass fearing for his life to found Rhode Island. Penn essentially bought himself a refuge. The persecutions in Great Britain of Quakers being the impetus there. Again, you are putting the emphasis on the wrong people here.

    No culture prohibited murder, lying and stealing before the 10 commandments? That is laughable. Probably the dumbest apologetic nonsense being thrown around. EVERY culture has those provisions because they are the cornerstone of civilized existence. They are necessities to social control. Every culture also makes exceptions to those rules. Religion usually provides the “out” from such universal prohibitions. Christians as well. Moral relativism is a major part of “religious based morality”. Any act can be forgiven if done in God’s name. Even genocide and slavery (which followed Christians in all of their efforts at colonialism).

    You are speaking in such generalities that it becomes a falsehood. You are trying to distort and conflate the influence of religion in a way the facts do not permit.

    “One that was founded on the fact that all power originates with nature and nature’s God”

    You can call it “nature’s God” but there is no necessity for doing so,nor attributing ANY religious belief to “creator”, You may, but it is hardly a must.

    “This too isn’t a Christian concept, but it was installed by people who disagreed with other but looked mainly to the jewish and christian texts as their principle guide.”

    That is far too much of a stretch here. You are conflating and distorting in order to shoehorn religion’s importance here. Outside of a couple of out and out “firebreathers”, you would be hard pressed to be able to say they as a group looked to scripture as their source of guidance.

    One does not extol religious freedom by adhering to scripture. Quite the opposite. Jewish and Christian religious views were always used as a blueprint for sectarianism and intolerance. Unless you are willing to narrow your attribution a little more honestly, to the ideals of the beleaguered minority sects of the Baptists and Anabaptists, rather than Christianity as a whole.

  • The threat of Communism was also used to attack organized labor, civil rights, oversight of government, regulation of businesses environmental concerns, and was a shot in the arm for reactionary politics and religion. Kruse is not pulling stuff from thin air here. The 50’s were a period of unchecked corporate political entanglement of the likes unseen since the beginning of the century.

    The US was no saint in its opposition to the USSR either. We supported the worst aspects of European colonialism, engaged in defacto colonialism ourselves in Latin America, costing millions of lives on our side of the ledger. The US was not exactly the most free and open society in the 50’s. Better than a dictatorship, but not up to its potential. It was the apex of sectarian prejudices in American society. Antisemitism was still pretty damn common as was anti-catholic sentiment. Lets face it, we compromised our notions of freedom, especially religious freedom in our fears of the big bad commies.

  • No other Gods, No idolatry, no blaspheming, keep the Sabbath day, all of those do not in any way form the basis of American laws or its system of government. These are purely sectarian rules of no application in a free democratic society that values religious freedom. These are not laws of reason or nature. These 4 commandments are the reason Ten Commandment monuments on public land violate the Establishment Clause.

    Honor parents, no adultery, no coveting, no free society can make these rules enforceable under color of law.

    We are left with the 3 universal laws of all societies. No murder, no perjury, no theft. the 10 Commandments didn’t create these prohibitions. They are the bare necessities for social order in every culture. As soon as societies got bigger than a few families living together, they came up with these rules.

  • No, they never hated Christians, but many of them were not Christians they were Deists.

    Not everyone on the left is secular. Many people feel compelled by their version of God and religion to help the poor, the downtrodden and people who are hated for who they are. No one is asking you to celebrate homosexuality just not to discriminate against gay people. You can think what you want, but you are not entitled to discriminate against an entire class of people.

  • You’re on the losing side of that “repugnant” argument everywhere in the civilized world.

    If you want to believe what you say, I certainly can’t stop you.

  • That tradition is promoted well beyond Judaism because it was continued by Christianity, an offshoot of Judaism; as Christianity has spread, it has promoted many of the same social practices of its parent religion. Such is the power of tradition.

    As for the benefits, those are dubious, at best. If more people were aware of the risks associated with circumcision and the miniscule benefit it brings, this tradition would probably die more quickly than it already is.

    How would “many men prefer it” if a vast majority undergo the operation prior to even being able to make informed decisions, form reliable memories, or recognize that the body that is being mutilated is their own?

    Maybe Max should have been more specific in his accusation, but any small Google search will reveal that female circumcision is a practice amongst certain Muslim sects: another religious group. His issue, in that comment, is with any religious view that pushes a barbaric, risky tradition of questionable benefit, such as circumcision.

  • “[T]he obvious fact is that probably 100% of Americans were of some Christian denomination in 1776.”

    How obvious can it be when you offer no citation and use the word “probably?”

    And your accounting offers no mention of Deists, atheists, or the religiously indifferent; all three groups were represented at the signing of our nation’s important documents.

    Even if these other groups made up less than 0.5% of the population, playing fast and loose with the statistical inferences can lead to the marginalization of minorities, a sure sin in a pluralistic country.

    America was a nation of people which included Christians and many others.

  • OPhart,

    Only religion endorses genital mutilation of boys and girls.

    There is no ‘non-religious’ argument in favor of such barbarity.
    It is a despicable practice and a valid argument against all religion.

    Your defense of the mutilation of little children is a disgrace and it is proof that religion makes people do and say the most wicked, filthy things possible.

  • Ophart,

    “Did Jesus? (recommend circumcision)”

    Of course he did!

    “Do NOT think that I have come to abolish the law [Old Testament] or the prophets…” (Matthew 5:17)

    “Jesus said,..the [Old Testament] scripture cannot be broken.” – Jesus, (John 10:35)

    “Jesus said…Not the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law…” (Matthew 5:18)

    Religion is a disgrace.

  • “I hate all religion and all of it is garbage.
    Jesus is nonsense.
    If I thought otherwise I would endorse it with all my might.
    In no way is America a Christian nation.”

    – George Washington

    (artistic license added for emphasis)

  • You mean artistic LIES added for emphasis.

    Here are Washington’s actual words:

    “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism [looking at Max], who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.”

  • You’d do better to simply read the writings and speeches of the founders themselves. The complete works of John Adams, published by his grandson, are available right now online, as are the complete papers and correspondence of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Also the Federalist Papers, and many others. Yale Law School’s Avalon Project also provides the texts and backgrounds of many pivotal historical documents.

    All the “controversy” on this subject is directly owing to our populace’s generalized ignorance of these important works and unwillingness to explore them.

  • Tell your echo chamber buddies at positiveatheism.org that Paine had absolutely nothing to do with the Constitution or our democratic system. He spent those years in Europe, and by the time he returned to America in 1802 had alienated himself from all of the remaining founders.

  • Not sure why Kruse considers national days of prayer a modern invention.

    George Washington issued such a call in October of 1789:

    “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
    Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
    And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.”

    John Adams called for several of them, like this one in 1798:

    “As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed; and as this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty or of danger, when existing or threatening calamities, the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity, are a loud call to repentance and reformation; and as the United States of America are at present placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation by the unfriendly disposition, conduct, and demands of a foreign power, evinced by repeated refusals to receive our messengers of reconciliation and peace, by depredation on our commerce, and the infliction of injuries on very many of our fellow-citizens while engaged in their lawful business on the seas–under these considerations it has appeared to me that the duty of imploring the mercy and benediction of Heaven on our country demands at this time a special attention from its inhabitants.

    I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies …”

    And this one in 1799:

    “I do hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the 25th day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens on that day abstain as far as may be from their secular occupations, devote the time to the sacred duties of religion in public and in private; that they call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions in time to come…and that he would extend the blessings of knowledge, of true liberty, and of pure and undefiled religion throughout the world.”

    Not to mention the various calls for prayer days by the Continental Congress during the revolution.

    Not a “modern invention” at all.

  • I’m not sure if you’re new to this site or not Matt, but a reasonable tone, an arguably sound grasp of history, and any expression or reflection on a positive good from Christianity will cut no ice with Larry. His hatred of orthodox Christianity framed by a so called rational framing of the facts rather tends to represent a basic irrationality verging on hysteria, as many other posters’ here will attest. He is obviously well educated, intelligent, and articulate, but when challenged refers to his adversaries as ‘liars,’ asserts that their reasoning is either ‘crap’ or ‘BS” and generally assigns himself the role of sole arbiter of what is true and morally correct. He is clearly disturbed. That is a clinical assessment not an ad hominem attack.

  • Not sure what the Founding Fathers’ texts are going to tell me about the history of 20th century evangelicalism, but thanks for the suggestions!

  • Ophart? cute, Sire Stalin,

    When you learn how to READ like a grown up let us know.

    Peace

  • Barry,
    Thanks for your comment, but after a bit of research yesterday … I think you will find that there is a split in preference. Are there situations where injury is an issue—of course—but circumcision was never our discussion—ever. And I am not Muslim … so? Actually, I do not adhere to any doctrinal law, but Max wants to make it appear—through his lies, disparaging remarks—that I am “what he wants everyone reading these threads to believe” … Max loves to manipulate. He wants CONTROL in the worst way. Fear and and arrogance drive his intent. And so, he shall be seen for what he is: a militant.

    Peace

  • Militant,

    Regarding your comment here:

    Atheist Max Apr 3, 2015 at 10:10 pm
    OPhart,

    Only religion endorses genital mutilation of boys and girls.

    There is no ‘non-religious’ argument in favor of such barbarity.
    It is a despicable practice and a valid argument against all religion.

    Your defense of the mutilation of little children is a disgrace and it is proof that religion makes people do and say the most wicked, filthy things possible.

    **********
    Defense? Defense of what? Thanking Jennifer for bringing to light facts—esp according to her research and or experience? Why do you lie and twist things to fuel your agenda? And Jesus (Scripture) is not specific on what you think you know. You are an angry little militant loud mouth who needs to learn how to discuss topics in an intelligent manner.

  • So sayeth the animated dust people.

    A-M, your opinions have not shaken the reality of any Christian that knows what atheism truly peddles.

    Now shuffle off to the mental health centers and make sure your fellow anti-Christians are taking their psychotropic meds and controlled substances to get them through another secular day without harming themselves or others. How many millions are are drugs now?

    Nice fruit of a godless world A-M.

    Not!

  • The foaming at the mouth anti-Christians cannot be reasoned with.

    Better to put your efforts into other rocks and dirt that are not in the form of a human materialist. They have more potential to make the world a better place when rationality is employed.

  • You are so right Larry.

    Now we can justly lay the atrocities of this nation, since its founding, on the godless.

    No wonder the Gospel-based religious want to force these monsters to go away. It’ll never work though, the sociopathic ways of the unhinged repeat through history non-stop. And now that the godless fanatically believe that they have unalienable civil rights to their force their behaviors on all . . . it looks to be too late for America.

    Yes, truly and sadly, the USA is not a Christian nation and as the horrors of our history prove, it never has been.

  • Oh, Barry,…..as if I’m going to do research to back up the obvious fact that nearly all Americans in 1776 were Christian. Yes, there were specks of Jews, Atheists, and Voodoo princesses…..but they would have had no influence in the creating of our country. Please….

  • Payne was a shrinking terrified man arrested and held by and almost murdered by the atheists/materialists of the French revolution.

    If Payne had common sense, he too would know the unhinged nature imparted in the minds of human beings when their reasoning is sickened by materialism.

  • Barry, you say: How would “many men prefer it” if a vast majority undergo the operation prior to even being able to make informed decisions, form reliable memories, or recognize that the body that is being mutilated is their own?

    First of all, I took Jennifer’s comment on “many men prefer it” to be an adult preference. Do a little research and you get the meaning.

    Second, undergoing an operation while young is the choice of the parent(s) in most cases. Take the child born with a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, and the parents want to offer the child greater opportunities in a “hearing” world—religious or not. Is is wrong to choose a cochlear implant? Waiting until a child is of an age to choose has not been shown as the best way to go if desiring optimal auditory language acquisition.

  • Continued convo with Barry the Baptist …

    Militant Max accuses me of …
    an entirely faith-based depravity – is a disgrace to humanity and an ongoing assault on their helpless little bodies! Girls and boys grow up entirely disfigured and emotionally injured by these depraved practices and you obviously don’t care about that at all.

    Shame on Christianity and Jesus in particular for these multiple depravities and this profound indifference to human suffering.
    ************
    If you and Max want to petition Government to stop this “depravity” then go ahead; you won’t hear a word about it from me, as my understanding of circumcision in Scripture is symbolic.
    But I am sure many might ask you and Militant Max why aborting a growing child in the womb at 24 weeks isn’t also a deprivation.

    http://www.whattoexpect.com/wom/pregnancy/how-late-can-you-get-an-abortion-in-the-united-states.aspx

  • “the USA is not a Christian nation and as the horrors of our history prove, it never has been.”

    So you consider America and all it stands for as a horror. Good to know.

  • Diogenes, go away and let the adults carry on their conversation. Obviously you were not reading closely.I see you have taken it upon yourself to make personal attacks rather that address points made. Go fling you poo elsewhere.

  • Which years are you talking about? The Revolution, The ratification of the Constitution or his little foray into support for the French Revolution (which Jefferson wholeheartedly was for).

    Can you be more specific here when you smear one of our most famous publicists?

  • Or you could read his book instead of making a blockquotes without online attribution if you want to see what Krause’s point is and where he gets his info.

    Quotemining again, Really?

  • Said the person who supports segregation of a class of people from public life.

    B.B. why do you hate freedom so much?

  • What it they will tell you, should you decide to check them out, is that “corporate America” and 20th century evangelism did not invent “Christian America” as the author suggests. While the founders indeed did not intend for our federal government to have any religion, they very much wanted for us to have a religious populace, believing virtue to be necessary to freedom and republican govrenment and religion, in turn, to be (for most people) necessary for virtue.

  • I will agree with everything except Larry’s education. Her education is limited to what she can glean from atheist websites and blogs supplemented by frequent beer-runs to Wikipedia when she runs short on facts. Perhaps this is at least one source of her frustration and anger.

  • How did I smear him? Those are all facts. He left for Europe about the time the Constitutional Convention was getting underway and had nothing to do with it.

  • Larry, I”m familiar with the writings and the philosophies of the founders. I don’t need for someone to tell me what they “actually” said or what they “actually” meant. That is for the general population of which half can not come up with more than one of the basic freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

  • Opart,

    “might ask you and Militant Max why aborting a growing child in the womb at 24 weeks isn’t also a deprivation.”

    1. “Militant Max” is not actually militant. He simply rejects your empty claims and cannot fathom why you repeat them.

    2. There is nothing about Atheism which promotes abortion. Atheism only means ‘lack of belief in a god’.

    3. Atheism does not demand abortion. Where did you get that idea?

    4. You have no reason to think I would support Abortion – Abortion has nothing to do with Atheism.

    5. I don’t approve of women taking sleeping pills – it isn’t good for them! But it NOT MY RIGHT to forbid them the freedom of that choice!
    I do not approve of women having abortions necessarily. But it is NOT MY RIGHT – NOR SHOULD IT BE YOURS – to deny women that choice.

    Religious philosophies are not needed to make moral decisions.
    Religious philosophies are just as man made as any other philosophy – except worse because Religion claims that it is perfect and sets itself apart .

    Religion is not perfect nor any more insightful than any other man made philosophy

  • Shawnie:

    This is all you need to know about the founders:

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion..nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.”

    That is EXACTLY how I run my Atheist household.
    My children have the total right to have any religion they want – any gods they choose!
    But there is no established religion in my home. Everyone is free to have religion as long as nobody insists anyone else has to respect it, or follow its rules.

    Atheism in practice is exactly what the founders wanted for the USA.

    The only threat to freedom is Right Wing Christian nut bags who think this is a Christian nation – yet somehow they find no irony in the fact that they are forever trying to ENFORCE what they claim is already true!

    Look in the mirror Shawnie then read the news.
    The USA doesn’t want your religion.

  • Shawnie:

    “these great pillars of human happiness..”

    Nonsense – you miss the point every time.

    When the founders spoke in favor of religion THEY WERE AT THEIR WEAKEST in their arguments! They owned other human beings and set this country up for a vicious civil war in doing so.

    The founder’s genius and insight was not toward the merits of religion – parroting a few biblical bon mots here and there! They left religion to the CLERICS and YOU KNOW IT!

    Their genius was in their open disgust with religion, in carving out a way for people to have complete religious freedom while not letting any particular sect of christianity or other religion dominate.

    Only this spirit of full rejection of religious claims simultaneously initiated by the doubting founders – finally enabled the argument to continue. Eventually enough “blasphemers” rejected the Slavery claims of the Bible and called it immoral!

    You dismiss the greatest single virtue of the constitution by quoting Washington’s bon mots? Hilarious were it not coming from a slave owner!

  • BBrave,

    “your opinions have not shaken the reality of any Christian”

    My opinion?
    Reality?

    Christians do not read their Bibles. You have absolutely no clue what horrible, stupid nonsense is in that book.

    Meanwhile, you don’t know your Constitution
    and you would dispose of it in a heartbeat because you don’t know the genius therein!

    So you are not just wrong, you are dangerously wrong.

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    The most disgusting, dangerous words ever written in the history of the world.

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”
    – The Atheist US CONSTITUTION

    You owe every freedom you have in America to a brave group of blasphemers who won a crucial victory against religion in 1776!

    Christian nation? My eye!

  • Bbrave,

    Just to make sure you didn’t miss it:

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine and execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    The most disgusting, dangerous words ever written in the history of the world.

  • Max … please learn to READ …
    your points:

    1. You have 0 understanding of my Faith. You use lies and slander to disparage and demean. How can anyone take what you say seriously if your sole intent is to use dissonance to prove a point?

    2. I NEVER made any connection between abortion and Atheism. You need to learn to read more carefully.

    3. See above for response.

    4. See 3 for response.

    5. I never said anything about my views on abortion in the comment. You must be confusing me with someone else. YOU KNOW NOTHING OF MY VIEWS ON ABORTION. Again 0 knowledge of my Faith.

    Care to continue putting words in my mouth and the mouths of others? You are pretty much digging a grave for yourself on this thread.

    Max, you have a serious problem with comprehension, and a very serious problem with being honest. Is this what your hatred of religion has taught you? To lie? Twist words? Slander? Demean? And disparage the reputations of others?

    It won’t work, Max … you cannot paint a portrait of me in the manner that you are … and sell it the way you are desperately trying to do. You have shown yourself to be incapable of honest dialogue and incapable of fairness. Everyone can see your manipulation of the words and how you try to change things. Such a pity … you could have had a friend in me.

    Peace

  • “Eventually enough “blasphemers” rejected the Slavery claims of the Bible and called it immoral!”

    Blasphemers did not call it immoral. Evangelicals who felt themselves called by God to put an end to it (for the second time) called it immoral and were in turn blasted by their peers for their religious zeal which supposedly had no place in government.

    “Hilarious were it not coming from a slave owner!”

    Who was at that very time making careful provision for the freeing of his slaves, while Jefferson was running up debts on his Madeira stash and renovations to multiple houses which would require the use of his human chattel as collateral till the very end of his life and ultimately leave his one surviving daughter on the public dole. Funny how the more devout the founders were (Washington, Adams, Hamilton), the more uncomfortable they were with slavery, while the less devout they were (Jefferson) the more accepting they were–and rightly so, since the classical pagan philosophers they so admired viewed it as an obvious feature of nature’s law

  • “This is all you need to know about the founders:”

    I’m sure that’s all you would PREFER I know about the founders–New Atheists count heavily on the ignorance of their listeners– but fortunately you are not the gatekeeper of historical knowledge.

    “The USA doesn’t want your religion.”

    In the first place, immaterial. In the second place, what the USA doesn’t want, by every measure ever employed, is atheism. There is a reason why atheists are so widely distrusted and disliked and you, as usual, are exhibit A.

  • To Be Brave: Thank you so much.

    for those who are reading these pages, but not commenting:

    Read what this man has said. Read what he has said in the name of his faith, his freedom, and his god. Read what kind of man he is, that so can hate and despise his fellow human beings.

    If you know gay people, think about what he has said. And then ask yourself, does this represent me or my faith, my friend or my family member? and ask yourself whether you really want to be associated with THAT.

    And a BIG THANK YOU to all of the regular, so-very-Christian commenters on these pages, so concerned about the sins of coritnhians 6, except for the obvious ones that apply to you. Where are your voices again, as he reviles and slanders repeatedly?

    If I have ever wanted more proof of this particular brand os some people’s Christian hypocrisy, and 2) the complete evidence that this is not about sin, but about an ancient and VICIOUS (nods to dave and miles) prejudice…

    Well, you have given it to me. congratulations.

  • Said the man who hate american freedoms. At least you admitted this is not a Christian Nation. So you are not a liar. Just a miscreant.

  • Whatever Shawnie. You make crap up and engage in phony straw man arguments. We know that already. Paine’s efforts hold up despite your attempt to minimize and smear his efforts. I dont feel like following you down that rabbit hole of nonsense.

  • Read the guys book then. You obviously are curious as to how he makes his conclusions. Frankly block text quotes without online attribution are just an excuse to be ignored. Its just lazy. Not worth taking seriously.

    All you need to know is the founders did not intend to for Christianity any kind of exalted or privileged status within our system. We are not a Christian Nation. Its a pernicious phrase used to justify attacks on 1st amendment freedoms.

  • “Frankly block text quotes without online attribution are just an excuse to be ignored. Its just lazy. Not worth taking seriously.”

    Lol! This is too much fun!

    Before I provide the cites…let’s get straight what exactly your objections are. Are you asserting that Washington and Adams did NOT make these speeches?

  • Relating to matters of “the people” and the issue of church and state, here is a question for all:

    Who has to put up with and pay for Pope Fran’s visit to ‘select’ cities in the United States of America this September?

    To one like me, he represents a large RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION. He is part of the Magisterial Team containing what?

    How does he differ from Jonathan Merritt or David Gibson?

    We are a Nation permitted the voting process. Should citizens/residents be allowed to vote on these large scale events? Did the citizens have the right to vote on this, or doesn’t it matter?

    http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/04/02/will-boston-2024-olympics-bid-even-make-it-to-final-vote/

  • The imminent post-Christian America will laugh at the sheer stupidity and backwardness of you and your fellow cultists, and will not look back proudly at your bigotry, Shawnie.

  • Mere insults there, Shawnie, as usual from you, You represent your hateful Christian cult well.

  • Funny, Shawnie, that your “god” can never fix any problems himself, and needs mere mortals to do the dirty work.

    You should look at your crazy Christian superstitions more critically in future. That might help cure you of your delusions.

  • Provide the cites and explain the context, or make a retraction, Shawnie. You’ve been caught out. Stop dodging.

  • I’m dodging nothing. I’ll gladly post the cites…but first I want Larry to stick her neck out and assert that the quotes are fraudulent.

    Unless you want to do that instead…

  • Yawn. Christ-haters have been making similar prognostications since the 1st century AD. The church isn’t going anywhere.

  • When people paste from and cite atheist echo chambers and wikipedia, they advertise their own limitations. Is it really all that “insulting” to remark upon what has been honestly disclosed?

  • Those created in the image of God are charged with responsible stewardship of the creation entrusted to them. Of course we do our own “dirty work,” empowered by the Spirit–in the same way that we have our children do their own “dirty work” through which they learn and develop.

  • Bob, I’m flattered that you find me sufficiently threatening that you must needs follow me about sniping at my posts…but you’ve made this remark already.

  • The phrase “E Pluribus Unum” by far predates the current and might I add unconstitutional motto.
    The original motto was accepted as the official motto on the great seal in 1792, while many of our founding fathers were still in congress.
    You may trust in your god but there is a rising number of citizens that do not.
    It is time for us to take back the motto and restore it what our founding fathers intended it to be.
    E Pluribus Unum.
    Htttp://originalmotto.us

  • *note: the link on the Olympics was added to illustrate a process.

    Regarding Pope Fran from another RNS article:
    “It is nice to have a person in the world who speaks publicly on behalf of the needy.” Atheist Max

    http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/holy-see/francis/papal-visit-2015/index.cfm/index.htm

    *Does the Roman Pontiff even speak for the majority of Catholics on the topics addressed in the above? Or is he speaking for the American Bishops? the Office of Cardinals? the Vatican …

  • … but of course, Atheist Max changes the poster’s name from opheliart to opart for what purpose? to keep himself from being held liable for slander? [shaking head and rolling eyes] … how truly pathetic 🙂

  • Actually, Shawnie, churches (plural, since there are so many sects of your awful blood cult) are overall in steep decline, and that’s great news. The USA is finally moving away from your bigoted superstition.

  • Shawnie, your tone, re “beer-runs” was obviously insulting. You represent your hateful religion quite typically.

    Show some guts for a change and apologize for your insults and demeaning remarks about Larry.

  • Just more dodging on your part Shawnie, but thanks for acknowledging that your “omnipotent” (and entirely fictional) sky creature doesn’t do the job.

    Pretty poor “god” that you’ve made for yourself there.

  • Provide the cites and explain the context of them, or make a retraction, Shawnie. You’ve been caught out. Stop dodging.

  • History is cyclical, Bob, not linear. At the time of the revolution how many people do you think belonged to a church congregation in this country? About 17%. Then what happened? That’s right — the 2nd Great Awakening. By 1850 the percentage doubled to 34%. In 2005 it had reached 69%.

    What was that about the US “moving away from my superstition?”

  • LOL! What have you got against beer? 😀

    Show some guts and call out YOUR OWN for their insults if you’re worried about civility. :Larry is the most foul-mouthed and insulting poster on this entire site.

  • No, Shawnie, I won’t let you get away with that data pick and choose. What were the numbers for the past 30 years? And why did you skip a century plus?

    The internet is steadily killing your sicko blood cult, because at long last, your crazy Christian superstitions are being subject more openly to examination.

    Stating hackneyed falsehoods such as history being “cyclic” don’t make an argument. Time is not on your side as your superstitions fade. Great riddance.

  • Mr. Kruse was interviewed about his new book on NPR’s “Fresh Air” and he summarized Christian philosophy as: “So in Christianity, if you’re good you go to heaven, if you’re bad you go to hell.”

    I realize this is probably a common cultural misconception of Christian teaching, but I was surprised to hear it reinforced by someone in a profession where accuracy should be treated with greater care.

    True Christian philosophy is that we all (except One) deserve hell. None of us is good, but Jesus alone. “There is none righteous; no, not one” says Rom. 3:10.

    But because of Jesus’ willingness to go through hell on our behalf, we have the opportunity to be with God forever in heaven.

    That’s quite a different twist, don’t you think?

    R. C. Sproul said: “Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once, and He volunteered for it.”

  • No, Shawnie. Please summon some guts and apologize for your insults. As usual, you’ve been caught.

  • One would think a history “expert” would at least get the basic doctrines of Christianity right, given its massive influence on western civilization. Depressing.

  • Scared to make a call, huh? Well…so was Larry.

    If you change your mind and decide to openly attack the quotes, let me know. Of course, you’ve already displayed your ignorance by being not recognizing the texts in the first place.

    You guys are so much fun!

  • Nope, Bob. Larry’s an adult, presumably. He can ask for his own apologies — which he won’t because that’s too much irony even for him.

    He can also present his objections to the founders’ comments, if he has any — which he won’t because he knows I can back them up easily and he will merely look silly. And you bumbled along into the same hole — good job.

  • Why did I skip a century? Because there was nothing to tell except a steady increase in church affiliation and religiosity.

    1776 17%
    1850 34%
    1870 35%
    1890 45%
    1906 51%
    1916 53%
    1926 56%
    1952 59%
    1980 62%
    1990 64%
    2005 69%

    The figures come from The Churching of America 1776 – 1990: Winners and Losers in our Religious Economy, New Brunswick, Rutgers University Press, 1992, by Roger Finke and Rodney Starke. The volume is not available online but there is an article from Berkeley that covers much of the same stuff.

    http://ucdata.berkeley.edu/rsfcensus/papers/Fischer-Hout_Ch7_June05.pdf

    “The two general impressions emerge from the data: One, there has not been much change in the last half-century in either membership or attendance, at least relative to seasonal fluctuations. Americans reported membership rates in the low 70% range around 1950 and in the high 60% range in the late 1990s”

    As for this: “The internet is steadily killing your sicko blood cult, because at long last, your crazy Christian superstitions are being subject more openly to examination.” …another big fat yawn. Generalized ignorance has never run higher since the Internet increased our access to propaganda and garbage such as what Max & Co. disseminates. Only a historical illiterate would pronounce a major world religion “dead” because of a decade or so of what is relatively minor upheaval in the larger scheme of religious waxing and waning. Come back when you have something besides rhetoric and bile.

2019 NewsMatch Campaign: This Story Can't Wait! Donate.

ADVERTISEMENTs