Opinion

Kentucky’s shrewd move to promote a Christian nationalist agenda

Jesus blesses the children. Illustration courtesy of Annie Vallotton, The Good News Bible

(RNS) Matt Bevin, the governor of Kentucky, recently signed House Bill 128 requiring the state Board of Education to establish an elective social studies course on the Old and New Testaments.

Kentucky lawmakers believe a course will “provide to students knowledge of biblical content, character, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy.”

Bible courses in public schools are perfectly constitutional. In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled in Abington v. Schempp that mandatory reading of the Bible in public schools as an act of religious practice or devotion was unconstitutional.

But what many fail to recognize is that Abington v. Schempp did not completely remove the Bible from schools. Consider Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark’s majority opinion:

“It might well be said that one’s education is not complete without the study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its religious and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistent with the First Amendment.”

If Kentucky has every constitutional right to hold “objective,” content-oriented Bible courses, why was it necessary to pass HB 128?

The passing of this law has little to do with the United States Constitution. It has everything to do with politics.

Parts of HB 128 should raise red flags. The wording suggests that the course should move beyond the study of the Bible in its ancient context. It requires educators to apply the Bible’s teaching to current events and assumes that the Bible informs virtually every area of American culture.

And it says the Bible is a “prerequisite” to “contemporary society and culture.”

Kentucky Rep. D.J. Johnson. Image from D.J. Johnson Facebook page

In a recent interview, state Rep. D.J. Johnson, the architect of the bill, gives us a better sense of what HB 128 means when he said: “(The Bible) really did set the foundation that our Founding Fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. … All those came from principles in the Bible.”

While the Bible has certainly played a role in the shaping of American history and culture, the degree to which it has informed the founding documents of the United States is a much-debated topic among historians.

In April, during the debate over HB 128 in the state House, Rep. Stan Lee of Lexington said, “This country — whether some people want to believe it or not — wasn’t founded as a Muslim nation, wasn’t founded as a Hindu nation, wasn’t founded as a Hare Krishna nation. It was founded as a Christian nation.”

He added: “It’s been said on the floor today that teaching the Bible ain’t going to get it done. Well, let me tell you what didn’t get it done: Kicking God out of school, kicking the Bible out of school, kicking prayer out of school.”

And then there is Dan Johnson. In addition to representing Kentucky’s House District 49 he is a bishop in the Heart of Fire Church in southeast Louisville. In his 2016 campaign he came under fire for defending Southern secession and “white pride.” He also posted a picture on Facebook of Barack Obama as an ape.

When confronted about the picture Johnson said, “It wasn’t meant to be racist. I can tell you that. My history’s good there. I can see how people would be offended in that.  I wasn’t trying to offend anybody, but I think Facebook’s entertaining.”

Kentucky. Map courtesy of Creative Commons

In the end, it appears HB 128 is a subtle and shrewd attempt by the Kentucky government to promote a Christian nationalist agenda without violating Abington v. Schempp.

If it couldn’t bring Christianity and the Bible back into the schools in an overt pre-1963 way, it could at least bring it into the curriculum under the guise of history and social studies.

Watchdog groups are keeping a close eye on how the bill will be implemented in Kentucky schools.

Kate Miller of the Kentucky ACLU put it best: “A Bible literacy bill that, on its face, may not appear to be unconstitutional, could in fact become unconstitutional in its implementation.”

Miller and other critics should make sure the Bible is not being used in this new class for advancing an exclusive Christian message. But they should also keep an eye on how the Bible is being used to teach civics and history in Kentucky schools.

It’s important to remember that the ultimate implementation of HB 128 rests with the educators who will be teaching this Bible course. (We are only talking about an elective course, so I imagine only a small group of students will take it.)

Kentucky teachers have the responsibility to think with their students about all the ways the Bible has influenced, and has not influenced, American society and culture.

(John Fea teaches history at Messiah College. He is the author of “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? A Historical Introduction,” and blogs daily at www.thewayofimprovement.com)

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John Fea

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  • An actual class on the actual facts involved with the various Bibles would be good, and it would include the fact that many new testament books are known to be forgeries (such as the pastorals, 2nd Pt, etc), that the known changes to the text of the Bible amount to more text than the whole book of 1st Peter (not counting the likely many unknown changes), that our earliest manuscripts of most of the NT date to decades and more often centuries after they were written, that we have exactly zero original texts of any of it, that the canon (the list of books included and excluded) is not settled today and never has been (so there are many different “Bibles”, each of which has adherents who see all the others as demonic), that there are more known changes than there are total words in the whole new testament, that the most recent changes to what’s in and what’s out of a major Bible happened in 1979, that nothing in a Bible is written by anyone who saw Jesus alive (so anything recorded from Jesus is second or third hand at best), and more facts like these. But of course, the intent isn’t to teach truth, but rather to sneak Christianity into schools, so those and other facts will likely be ignored in favor of indoctrination.

  • that the canon (the list of books included and excluded) is not settled today

    Well, that depends upon the church you’re talking about. The Catholic Church definitvely settled its canon in 1546 at the Council of Trent.

    I have a feeling that the Bible referred to in the Kentucky bill is not the one used in the Catholic Church.

  • It is my personal opinion that Kentucky passed this measure with a view to eventually slipping in teaching and proselytizing. I have no objection to objective courses on the bible considering its impact on literature, culture, philosophy and science.

  • We’ll be watching the implementation like hawks, trust me.
    It’s becoming more and more transparent that Bevin’s goal is to establish a Christian hegemony in Kentucky.

  • Quoted: Rep. D.J. Johnson, the architect of the bill, gives us a better sense of what HB 128 means when he said: “(The Bible) really did set the foundation that our Founding Fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. … All those came from principles in the Bible.” 

    That’s a damned lie. There is nothing in the Bible that has anything to do with those founding documents, nor is there anything in it that directed the Founding Fathers to establish the kind of representative republic that they ended up creating. If anything, that republic was inspired by the pre-Christian Greek city-states and the Roman republic. 

    Johnson’s rhetoric here reflects that of the professional liar David Barton. For years, Barton has held himself forth as a “historian” (even though he’s not one), and repeatedly intoned that the FFs were devout fundagelicals just like him who copied the founding texts verbatim from his Bible. He’s wrong about that, of course, but his assumption the FFs were just like him is also anachronistic; fundamentalist Christianity didn’t exist in their time, its origins lay in the Great Awakenings which began in the 19th century, and Protestant fundamentalism didn’t arrive in its current form until around the turn of the 20th century. 

  • Funny, for a document “founded” on the Bible, the constitution does not mention the Bible, god, the Ten Commandments, Jesus, Christianity, god, virgin births, miracles, magic, St. Paul, Israel, Jews, god, Canaan, or anything else to be found in the Bible.

    It does make two references to religion– both of them negatives.

    It’s almost as if these “Christians” are making it all up, and trying to use the public schools to enforce their religious beliefs on people who don’t share them.

  • the declaration was written by a deist who cut all supernatural and miracles out of his bible. he studied the bible, the quran, and the torah equally. It was him and Madison who passed separation of church and state in Virginia.
    The constitution was written mostly from the magna carta but also from other constitutions at the time. there is a list of books they used for reference and the bible is not on that list.

    If the course was about religious history, a secular course, that would be one thing. But once you nail it down to one or two religions over all others, that makes it unconstitutional, and different from the case law cited.

  • the course can’t be on ‘the bible’ it has to be on all religions or none. that have chosen one religion over all others and that’s unconstitutional.

  • classes will be started with a christian prayer, teacher will say that is an example of how christians pray, to make it less illegal. classes on RELIGIOUS HISTORY are constitutional, classes on Judaism and christianity not so much.

  • As long as the Kentucky classes do not violate the Abingdon decision, there is no cause for hand-wringing, panic, insomnia, or constipation.

    Way way back, our high school had a “Bible As Literature” class for elective English credits. No lawsuits, no ACLU, no media interest, no angry parents, no kid on any side received any pressure or proselytizings.

    Just a simple public school English class, exposing high schoolers to one of the great world classics. No need for angst or anger, either then or now.

  • The National Legal Foundation letter dated Sept.13,1994 to Ms.Elizabeth Ridenour ,President National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools “The real issue ,therefore, is not whether it is Constitutionally permissible to use the Bible for academic purposes .Rather the issue is whether
    in any given case the program crossed the line from the permissible use of the Bible –to the impermissible use of the Bible(ie. indoctrination in the truthfulness of theological perspectives). ” I note that the First law requiring use of the Bible in School was the “old Deluder Satan Law of Mass. and Conn. 1647″It being one chief project of that Old Deluder Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures ,as in former times by keeping them in an unknown tongue…..pp47-48 A History of Colonial Education ;1607–1776 Sheldon S.Cohen of Loyola U. John Wiley and Sons Inc. ,1974 . And I recall the US Senate Judiciary Committee Report of Jan.1853 ,by Mr.Badger –and corresponding US House of Representatives Report by Mr. Meacham ,27 March,1854 on Chaplains in the US Congress–and in the Army and Navy . These Congressional Reports cannot be reconciled to your commentary. But the House Report of 1854 does indeed reflect what Justice Joseph Story published in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 1833-1858 and Commemorative edition of his textbook A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States 1859 and Regnery Gateway edition 1997 compare Justice Joseph Story to the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Report of March 1854 and it is clear how much they are alike. Might do well to study A Defence of the Bible in Schools –By Dr.Benjamin Rush- a Tract taken from early collection of tracts published by the American Tract Society around 1830–and he published The only foundation for…a republic is to be laid in Religion,without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. -from Thoughts upon the Model of Education Proper in a Republic. ‘
    Now it seems to me that when the Colonists arrived at what would become Jamestown they erected a large wooden Cross and held a prayer service America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations p 625 notes 14-15 –and this act seems reflected in the founding of the Maryland Colony March 25,1634 founding of St.Mary’s City on St. Clements Island. Ibid p.420 n.44 . I accept that commissioned Art is just that. But in 1816 Emanuel Leutze was hired to produce a painting titled The founding of the Maryland Colony(Maryland Historical Society. –pp 70-71 Hope of the Nation,Our American Heritage Nelson Beecher Keyes and Edward Felix Gallagher ,Good Will Publishers, North Carolina,1952 Add to this body of evidence I cannot reconcile to your rant– The Congressional Reord of the 98th Congress First Session Wed. .,Feb.2,1983 YEAR of the Bible proclamation 1983 House of Representatives Hon.Philip M.Crane of ILL. in the US House of Representatives Wed.Feb.2,1983 side by side with the copy of the Ten Commandments–President Reagan –” I believe that it would serve an educational purpose for our citizens to become familiar with the important role which the Bible and the Ten Commandments have played in molding our American traditions and laws.”
    Add to this the historical fact that Charles Hodge published his Systematic Theology in 1871–in Vol 3 of that work pp.343-346 he publishes “the proposition that the United States of America are a Christian and Protestant Nation ,is not so much the assertion of a principle as the statement of a fact….No man is molested for his religion or for his want of religion.No man is required to profess any form of faith, or to join any religious association. More than this cannot reasonably be demanded.More However is demanded >The infidel demands that the government should be conducted on the principle that Christianity is false, the atheist demands that it should be conducted on the assumption that there is no God… the sufficient answer to all this is “It cannot possibly be done.” Now This has been published in the Congressional Record-House Oct.4,1999 –and is found in Lost Episode For Dec.27,(December 27,2011 Watchmen on the Wall. Compare that to the Unanimous US supreme Court decision Feb.29,1892 Church of the Holy Trinity V. the United States 143 US 457 (1892) And the book published by David Brewer in 1911 The United States :a Christian Nation The Holy Trinity unanimous decision was upheld by Judicial Review 1931 US v. Macintosh. In 1952 Justice William O Douglas cited from the Holy Trinity decision in Zorach v. Clauson when he said”We are a religious people, and our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being….’ P. 604 n.21 America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations. and in 1991 in the Stevens dissent Chapman v. the United States 500 US 453 (1991) The Holy Trinity decision was declared the “controlling legal precedent.” I have filled Composition notebooks on the legal summary for the Church of the Holy Trinity decision. And I cannot disagree with the unanimous Court in 1892. The First Book printed in English America ,1640 The Bay Psalm Book Station 45 Dr.Gene Scott Bible Collection. The Aitken Bible Station 47 First English Bible printed in America (even Congressionally approved and recommended for use in the schools. Station 30 The Jefferson Bible -more honestly titled–by Jefferson ,Himself The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” I have a copy of the English version of this “wee Little Book” I also have a copy of the New Testament that was given to the Troops deployed to fight in WW II –the New Testament that had a preface by President Franklin D.Roosevelt. Funny ain’t it but in WWI President Teddy Roosevelt signed similar preface for the New Testaments given our Troops deployed in that War . And Teddy Roosevelt seemed reflect something President George Washington has published in a Circular Letter to the States See Under God George Washington and the Question of Church and State Tara Ross, and Joseph C.Smith Jr. Spence Publishing ,2008 pp.52 to compare with Theodore Roosevelt preface to the New Testament as published in Faith of the American Soldier by Stephen Mansfeild pp.112-113 .And in closing I add the National Fast Day Proclamation by President Lincoln March 30 ,1863 pp383-384 America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations Note 81 Lincolns words are timeless in this and reflect the same trouble with America today– we have “forgotten God”

  • Your opinion is rather subjective in its perspective. While a few of the founding fathers were indifferent to the cause of religion, and a few more were flexible Deists, the greater majority of them were “Christian” within the scope and the conventions of the day. They may not have been “fundamentalists” as you define the term, but the greater share recognized the value of the moral precepts of the bible, and in many cases it played an active role not only in their personal, but political lives. Many would be astonished at the hatred, disdain, and hostility that many Americans today hold towards religion, and Christianity in particular.

  • Re: “Your opinion is rather subjective in its perspective.” 

    Nothing I said is wrong. It’s all factually correct. The Bible contains not even a fraction of a word about any form of republican (small “R”) government. David Barton is a liar whose claims are untrue. And the FFs were not Christian fundamentalists. They couldn’t have been. 

    Re: “While a few of the founding fathers were indifferent to the cause of religion, and a few more were flexible Deists, the greater majority of them were “Christian” within the scope and the conventions of the day.” 

    That may or may not be true, but even if it is, it has absolutely no relevance to what I said. 

    Re: “They may not have been ‘fundamentalists’ as you define the term …” 

    I don’t coin the term, nor do I define it. Not sure why you think I did. 

    Re: “… but the greater share recognized the value of the moral precepts of the bible, and in many cases it played an active role not only in their personal, but political lives.” 

    That also may or may not be true, but as above, even if it is, it has no relevance to what I said. 

    Re: “Many would be astonished at the hatred, disdain, and hostility that many Americans today hold towards religion, and Christianity in particular.” 

    So what? Whatever the FFs may or may not feel, if they were aware of my insolent non-belief, has nothing to do with anything at all. 

    You people really need to freaking stop claiming the FFs as fundagelicals like yourselves. They were no such thing. They couldn’t have been. Fundamentalism didn’t exist in their time. For you to insist they thought and believed as you do, is a lie. 

    Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

  • You failed to substantially answer any of my arguments, and your reasoning is utterly specious and fallacious.

  • I’m not sure what this unhinged, overly-long response is trying to say. I know there are people who think the US is a “Christian nation,” all of whose people are required to be Christians, etc. I’m aware some of them were Supreme Court justices and other luminaries. 

    That said … none of it matters one iota. You can shotgun me all day long, and all night, and all the next day with thousands of your appeals to authority. But, no matter how many you cite, they are all fallacious and counter-factual. The US is, in no way, a “Christian nation” — and words to that effect were included in the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified in 1796, by the very same FFs that your type insist were militant Christianists like yourselves. 

  • Great…a linguistic and grammatical anarchist. It is such a lack of discipline that has led to the dumbing down of our society. Why should I take the argument of someone seriously if they lack the discipline to make their case within the proper framework of grammar? If their grammar is lazy, their ability to frame a sensible argument is suspect as well.

  • Re: “You failed to substantially answer any of my arguments, and your reasoning is utterly specious and fallacious.” 

    That’s funny, coming as it does from someone whose entire response to me was wholly irrelevant to what I said. 

    I dare you to answer my original question: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

    Have you the courage to answer that question? Or will you petulantly refuse to do so?

  • It was entirely relevant to what you said, since you were discussing the historical religious and political context of our nation’s founding. My remarks were also to that end.

  • No, it wasn’t relevant at all. Nothing you said had any bearing at all on what I said. 

    And you still haven’t the courage to answer my question, which I will repeat for you: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

  • A block quote with no attribution cut and pasted from a site of ill repute.

    Book citations in an online response is generally the sign of quote mining or relying on a source which is not verified as accurate. A source the poster does not want to reveal.

    No Bobby, I don’t believe you actually read those books and were reciting those references from memory. Only BS artists make such claims in online discussion.

    My guess is a David Barton posting.

  • The assumption that religion has something to do with a virtue, whether promulgated in the days of the founding fathers, or promulgated in our own, is demonstrably not true. If it were true, we wouldn’t have grifting televangelists, child molesting priests, evangelicals voting for Grabby when they claim to be values voters, and a host of others of the “fallen”.

    So, any conclusion you draw from that mistaken presumption is most likely going to be false.

  • Sure it will be “voluntary”. Like other public schools across the South, the kids who don’t go to the supposedly “voluntary” Bible class are punished by putting them in a room and making them sit there with nothing to do. They’re ostracized and shamed for not going. And the Bible classes are usually taught by outside ministers and other Evangelicals (who often use the classes for evangelism), not public school teachers. Kentucky is a very fundamentalist Christian state. Who do you think will be teaching the classes and from what perspective?

    Pubic schools have a ton of mandated education requirements and too few hours as it is. Most of them struggle just to get the basics taught. Now they have to take time out of the school day for religious classes. Why? Churches and other religious institutions have every weekend, and every evening during the week, plus holidays and school breaks, and all summer to give Bible classes. What happened to Sunday School?

    One more point: WHICH Bible is going to be taught? Catholic? Jewish (Torah only)? Protestant? Southern Baptist? Most denominations have an “official” Bible. Which one will Kentucky use? What about the parents who object to their Bible being excluded?

  • Actually the bovine species does not have “utters” they are “udders”. The bull being the male of the bovine species would employ an appendage of a different name. Also because you are talking about a past comment I would submit the comment be phrased in the past tense, therefore starting out like this.
    Udderless bull shat…

  • The people passed disestablishment in Virginia, not Jefferson and Madison. Jefferson drafted the Statute for Religious Freedom, in which he identified “Almighty God” as the source of religious freedom.

    And if you are actually interested in the background materials of the Constitution you need to read Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, easily accessible online through Yale Law School’s Avalon Project. Both Jefferson and Madison studied from this work, as did all lawyers of the time. Even a superficial perusal of them reveals exactly where the Constitution’s framers were coming from — particularly with regard to the Bill of Rights.

  • Having a class on the Bible as Literature or the Bible as a part of our cultural history would be beneficial to every American… as long as it was taught just like a class on the literature of Shakespeare or Shakespeare’s impact on our culture. As long as the teachers leading these classes don’t turn an educational experience into the unconstitutional act of proselytizing religious beliefs to a captive public school classroom, no one would mind a bill like HB 128. The problem is that the government officials behind this bill are clearly Christian Nationalists who fail to understand that we have a secular Constitutional Republic and not a country founded as a Christian Nation. The irony here is how they fail to comprehend that it was the Free Marketplace of Ideas where the government remained neutral in matters of faith-based beliefs that provided the fertile ground for the amazing diversity of Christian denominations represented on every street corner in cities, towns and communities across America. You know that a faith-based belief is fragile and easily destroyed when it needs government support to survive. The question should be does such a fragile faith deserve a government bailout because some of the adherents to this religious worldview fear their belief system is failing in the free market of ideas?

  • That class you had at your school sounds great. It also sounds incredibly different from what is proposed about. The representative’s statement as to why the bill was created is very revealing. If it is a Bible as Literature as literature class there would not be discussion of current events in terms of the Bible. We don’t do that with Ovid’s Metamorphoses or Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

  • You can already tell the course is problematic. The bill’s author/proponent has already shown the course’s bias and misdirection:

    “(The Bible) really did set the foundation that our Founding Fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. … All those came from principles in the Bible.”

    Actually, no, the framers of the constitution were most influenced by Enlightenment philosophers. Probably the most influential book was Montesquieu’s L’Esprit des lois. Vattel’s Laws of Nations. We can’t forget Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

  • My hometown has a homeless shelter, because religionists chose to spend their own money (no taxpayer money) to build one from the ground up.

    These days, everybody of all belief systems regularly donate to the homeless shelter, for it’s the cool civic-minded thing to do.

    But the shelter is there in the first place, because of the religionists — NOT the atheists. No joke.

    Religion, therefore, “has something to do with a virtue.”

  • But you do it with Shakespeare’s literature, yes?

    In fact, this month alone, there was some heavy-duty fellow offering a perfectly timed quote from Shakespeare’s “Henry V” on the current TV show “Madam Secretary.”

    And what would the original “Star Trek” series be without both Shakespeare (as channeled by Kirk) and Milton (as channeled by Khan)?

    So yes, we already discuss current events in light of the great classics. We’ve been doing it for decades. So it’s okay to do it in a “Bible As Literature” class as well.

  • Why do you make fallacious claims?

    The Treaty of Tripoli did not state that the US is not a “Christian nation.” In fact, near the end it lumps the US in with “the other Christian nations.” What it DID say is that the US government is in no way founded upon the Christian religion — which is true, as we have never had a national religion although many of the individual states did have state religions at the time. IOW, the US was not a real Christian theocracy that Muslim concepts of holy war should justify attacking as they attacked the Christian monarchies of Europe.

    In any case why cite a defunct treaty at all? The Treaty of Tripoli was renegotiated eight years later with the passage in question completely removed. Don’t you have anything else?

  • Oh it will be great if the Bible is used as literature. As long as the sentiments expressed by the bills owner don’t get out into effect (e.g, it should not be taught that the Bible informs current events anymore than Haney the fifth. If the Bible is referenced because a movie or story borrows from it, well duh, we’ve been doing that in cultural and literature studies for ages!!

  • Except this is just a standard tactic of online BS. I know you have done the same, as have two of our newer Alt-Right Holocaust denier posters.

    I guess I disappoint you with my lack of knowledge of all the Dominionist wingnut sites pumping out this garbage.

  • “In any case why cite a defunct treaty at all?”

    For the explicit words stated by our government, that the US “is not a Christian Nation”. To refute dishonest Dominionists who seek to put a Christian nationalist tramp stamp on our history. To refute Bobby’s cut and paste which declares the US is entangled and beholden to [presumably his own form of] Christianity (thus opposing the 1st Amendment).

  • As already demonstrated, the now-defunct treaty does not state that we are not a Christian nation. It states that the federal government is not founded on the Christian religion, as indeed it is not. Nation and government are not equivalent concepts — particularly not the federal government, which is confined to a small set of expressly enumerated powers.

  • You disappoint in your lack of simple historical knowledge.

    I have no idea of what “wingnut” sites you are talking about. I never even heard of David Barton before I read your rants about him and gathered that he was some sort of leftist boogeyman. My favorite source for early American documents and political theory is, as already mentioned, the Avalon Project of Yale Law School. It’s all there for anyone who cares to discover actual history.– which I’m sure does not include you or most of your compadres here.

  • Note well that their Bible nowhere mentions anything to do with any “Constitution”. In fact, the New Testament is eerily silent as to what Christians were to do if they ever seized worldly political power. It was as if that was the last thing on any Christian’s mind.

  • If our Constitutional system was deemed by your God to be soooo important, why wasn’t it established as soon as Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire?Theodosius II was responsible for that change. When it happened he should have gathered his ministers together and told them: “Now that we’re as Christian Empire we need a Constitution. And don’t forget a Bill of Rights.”

  • When the idea is. Teach the Bible in public schools because after all it’s a book for Americans by Americans, that’s a bad idea.
    Teach the Bible in public schools because after all, the Bible is not a book for Americans by Americans, is not a bad idea.

  • Well! If you are going to go around with facts and crap like that…
    there is simply no arguing with you!

  • America doesn’t do slavery anymore, because the Bible As Literature informed many people — the Grimke sisters, Frederick Douglass (Loretta Lynch was sworn in as America’s AG using Fred’s own Bible), etc, that American slavery specifically violated the Bible texts. So why not educate the school-kids about which texts informed America’s conscience?

    Hisotry classes teach MLK’s famous “I have a Dream” speech and how it boosted social justice, so why not inform the kids exactly where the Bible As Literature informed his speech?
    https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2011/08/bible-references-in-the-i-have-a-dream-speech/

    And on today’s nation-wide issues, how can school-kids understand the hot-button abortion debate without understanding what the Bible As Literature at least says or doesn’t say? How about the hot-button gay-marriage debate? Inform them.

  • I think you are arguing something for the sake are arguing. I never said you can’t talk about how the Bible influenced things. I said we should. And we do. (I taught French history and literature for 20 years, and always taught the biblical references found in them). This law goes further of course.

  • Previously, you appeared to be specifically opposed to “discussion of current events in terms of the Bible.”

    For example, you said that “It should not be taught that the Bible informs current events any more than Henry the Fifth.”

    My most recent post looked closer at this one issue. I have no desire to argue endlessly, but it’s important that readers consider the truth about things.

  • The KY people think the US was founded on the Bible. That is false. They think trump is divinely appointed. They will use the Bible to show it is predicted. So what I meant was that we cannot have schools teaching that the Bible is someone the basis for what is going on. (Even your slavery example is too simplistic).

  • If they did it out of the goodness of their hearts, that’s great. If they did it with the need to build karma points toward an eternal reward or threat of missing it, then it’s not out of virtue.

  • The Constitutional system of our government was not deemed by God to be so important, it was rather that many of our founding fathers who devised the system found God to be important.

  • Without reference to you and your foul unreasoning response, I’m disappointed that Spuddie, with whom I often disagree, but generally have cordial exchanges has chosen to upvote you with respect to your immature and completely discourteous response. Additionally, in light of your response to Jim Johnson, my responses and adversarial challenges to critics of Christianity are not framed by language from the pit. The arguments you find so compelling by Dennis Lurvey are not compelling at all. And given that he has posted an icon of himself at what appears to be a radio microphone, I would have expected a better command of language from him.

  • So they purloined the ideas from pagan Greeks and Romans. I’m sure your God was pleased with that.

  • You are completely incompetent in your understanding of scripture, I have tried to delineate the proper methodologies for analyzing it and you simply can’t grasp what are very simple concepts of literary form and interpretation. I’m done.

  • The founding fathers searched for sound ideas from the past by which they could form the best example of representative government, as they clearly found the monarchial system wanting. The fact that they learned something useful from both the Greeks and Romans does not militate against their commitment to the values and precepts of Christianity. Purloined is hardly the proper word. As to God, He is concerned with the activities of all humanity and does not discriminate against that which is useful.

  • The point is they didn’t find any ideas from your Holy Babble for how to set up a worldly government. Why is that?

  • Re: “You are completely incompetent in your understanding of scripture …” 

    My comprehension of your religion’s scripture is unassailable. I can, for example, read your own New Testament in its original language (i.e. κοινη or koiné Greek) and can even recite some of it in that language. Can you say the same? If not, on what rational basis can you even begin to criticize my knowledge of your scripture? 

    Re: “… I have tried to delineate the proper methodologies for analyzing it …” 

    Oh. So, you’re saying I can read it, but I’m not reading it in the right way. I’m only permitted to read it in precisely the way you, personally, approve of. Is that it? 

    If you think so, then I invite you to track me down and force me to read your religion’s scripture in the way you demand I read it. If you can’t or won’t do that, then you’re just going to have to live with the fact that I’m entitled to read it any way I please. Which I can, of course, because it’s a free country, last I knew. Yeah, I know you Christofascists don’t like “freedom,” but too bad — until you take that freedom from me by force, I have it. 

    By the way, I note you still haven’t shown the courage to answer my question, which I will repeat for you, in bold this time: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

    Just answer the question already. 

  • Re: “Why do you make fallacious claims?” 

    I haven’t relied on fallacy or falsehood … unlike Christianists, whose thinking is always fallacious and who are forced to lie at every turn. 

    Re: “The Treaty of Tripoli did not state that the US is not a ‘Christian nation.'” 

    It absolutely did! Its Article 11 begins with, “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.” Why do you lie and claim it doesn’t say that? 

    Re: “What it DID say is that the US government is in no way founded upon the Christian religion …” 

    Yes, hence, it is not a “Christian” nation. Get it? 

    Re: “In any case why cite a defunct treaty at all?” 

    It’s evidence of the thinking of the FFs, who — if the professional liar David Barton and all his fanbois are to be believed — were all dour Christian fundamentalists like themselves who wanted a Christocracy. The language they used — in the Treaty and elsewhere — disproves that contention absolutely. 

    Re: “Don’t you have anything else?” 

    Don’t you have anything other than your lies? I’ll ask you the same question I’ve asked of Edward Borges-Silva, who fiercely refuses to answer it for some reason: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

  • Re: “As already demonstrated, the now-defunct treaty does not state that we are not a Christian nation.” 

    Yes it does. That is what its words mean. Why are you lying about it? 

  • well stated.
    i believe it was GENIUS of the founders to acknowledge God, without micro-managing as to various ways to worship, or not worship!
    they were not intent on creating a state religion, as Catholics had done, but, a place for citizens to worship as they saw fit.

    “freedom of religion” was directed specifically to Christian denominations.
    in those times, divisions between Catholics, Protestants, Anabaptists, were distinct! .. even well into the 20th Century, divisions between Protestant churches were rigidly distinct.

    only those who know nothing about Christianity believe Christians are one organized group! we are attacked as tho we are, but, no. that is not the case.

    in those years, the acute pain of wars and persecution of Protestants separating from Catholicism, and, the onset of many new Protestant groups, like Puritans and Quakers, was all fresh .. having Bibles published and available for the masses, in spoken languages, this was all fresh and of tremendous value.

    to attempt to suggest Christianity was “nothing” in U.S. history is not acceptable. it’s patently false.

    i’m interested in this new move in Kentucky.
    i do not appreciate words like, “shrewed,” etc., used to suggest there is anything underhanded in simply addressing a need in schools that is allowed by existing law.

    children need to know balanced facts, that cannot be done in the U.S. without covering the Bible and its importance in world history, European history, and, U.S. history. the book has been translated into nearly every language in the world, and some are working on more translations today! there are missionaries working on translations in remote areas of the world at this moment!

    to ignore or deny all this to U.S. children is, indeed, doing a massive disservice to their education.

    btw.
    i believe many people are fully aware that the Bible can be discussed in public schools, but cannot be preached as a religion.

    i would not have written this report exactly as it is presented, which seems to be unnecessarily suspicious and critical of Kentucky’s governor.

  • Nobody is lying here except you. Why did you purport to change the words of the treaty of Tripoli? If it was done out of simple ignorance, why did you not apologize for your error? And if it was deliberate, why did you lie?

  • America is a Christian nation in some sense that we say English is our country’s language. Now you know that the USA has no official language but English is spoken predominantly here. So we have no official religion but Christianity has played a huge role in our nation’s history. (completely rewritten)

  • Exactly so, DH. One can not read much of the founders’ writings without seeing quite clearly that even though the federal government was created to be religiously neutral, the founders very much hoped for the people to be both educated and devout, because they knew that liberty depends upon public virtue and they believed, whether rightly or wrongly, that the average citizen could not be truly virtuous without religion.

    Tell you what would be even better than a Bible as literature course — a thorough course in constitution including extensive portions of the Federalist Papers and Blackstone. Our resident atheist fanatics here sorely need it.

  • Jesus did say: “Set up Christian Nations, so you can then lord over and dominate all others!”.

  • Maybe they should be teaching elective classes on the U.S. constitution in public schools instead of the bible.

  • Jesus was speaking of His followers (Christians) Matt. 5:13 – You are the salt of the earth…
    Matt. 5:15 – You are the light of the world…
    Matt. 13:33 – The kingdom of heaven is like leaven…

  • How the Bible influenced the Founding Fathers

    Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers

    BY DANIEL L. DREISBACH NOVEMBER 23RD 2016
    In the midst of political campaigns, including the last election season, one often hears appeals to the American founding principles and the political visions of the founding fathers.

    Which political traditions and thinkers shaped the ideas and aspirations of the American founding? Late eighteenth-century Americans were influenced by diverse perspectives, including British constitutionalism, classical and civic republicanism, and Enlightenment liberalism. Among the works frequently said to have influenced the founders are John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws, and William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England.

    Another, often overlooked or discounted source of influence is the Bible. Its expansive influence on the political culture of the age should not surprise us because the population was overwhelming Protestant, and it informed significant aspects of public culture, including language, letters, education, and law. No book at the time was more accessible or familiar than the English Bible, specifically the King James Bible. And the people were biblically literate.

    The discourse of the era amply documents the founders’ many quotations from and allusions to both familiar and obscure biblical texts, confirming that they knew the Bible from cover to cover. Biblical language and themes liberally seasoned their rhetoric. The phrases and cadences of the King James Bible influenced their written and spoken words. Its ideas shaped their habits of mind and informed their political experiment in republican self-government.

    The Bible left its mark on their political culture. Following an extensive survey of American political literature from 1760 to 1805, political scientist Donald S. Lutz reported that the Bible was cited more frequently than any European writer or even any European school of thought, such as Enlightenment liberalism or republicanism. The Bible, he reported, accounted for approximately one-third of the citations in the literature he surveyed. The book of Deuteronomy alone is the most frequently cited work, followed by Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws. In fact, Deuteronomy is referenced nearly twice as often as Locke’s writings, and the Apostle Paul is mentioned about as frequently as Montesquieu.

    Many in the founding generation–98% or more of whom were affiliated with Protestant Christianity–regarded the Bible as indispensable to their political experiment in self-government. They valued the Bible not only for its rich literary qualities but also for its insights into human nature, civic virtue, social order, political authority and other concepts essential to the establishment of a political society. The Bible, many believed, provided instruction on the characteristics of a righteous civil magistrate, conceptions of liberty, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens, including the right of resistance to tyrannical rule. There was broad agreement that the Bible was essential for nurturing the civic virtues that give citizens the capacity for self-government. Many founders also saw in the Bible political and legal models–such as republicanism, separation of powers, federalism, and due process of law–they believed enjoyed divine favor and were worthy of emulation in their polities.

    Declaration of Independence by John Trumball. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
    The political discourse of the founding, for one example, is replete with appeals to the Hebrew “republic” as a model for their own political experiment. In an influential 1775 Massachusetts election sermon, Samuel Langdon, the president of Harvard College and later a delegate to New Hampshire’s constitution ratifying convention, opined: “The Jewish government, according to the original constitution which was divinely established, … was a perfect Republic … The civil Polity of Israel is doubtless an excellent general model …; at least some principal laws and orders of it may be copied, to great advantage, in more modern establishments.” Most of what the founders knew about the Hebraic republic they learned from the Bible. These Americans were well aware that ideas like republicanism found expression in traditions apart from the Hebrew model, and, indeed, they studied these traditions both ancient and modern. The republican model found in the Hebrew Scriptures, however, reassured pious Americans that republicanism was a political system favored by God.

    Focusing on the Bible’s impact on the political culture of the founding is not intended to discount, much less dismiss, other sources of influence that informed the American political experiment. Rather, I contend that casting a light on the often ignored place of the Bible in late eighteenth-century political thought enriches one’s understanding of the ideas that contributed to the founding project.

    Does it matter whether the Bible is studied alongside other intellectual influences on the founding? Yes, because biblical language, themes, and principles pervaded eighteenth-century political thought and action. Accordingly, an awareness of the Bible’s contributions to the founding project increases knowledge of the founders’ political experiment and their systems of civil government and law. A study of how the founding generation read and used the Bible helps Americans…

    Apparently not everyone agrees with your enlightened view.

  • Good people do good things, bad people do bad things – irrespective of beliefs religious, political, moral etc.. There are many good people inside religion, there are also many wicked people therein, and the same goes for those who are not religious.

    However, if you wish to get good people to do bad things religion is one of the ways to do so.

  • Actually, in two hours I’ll be leaving for church, (a small church with a small budget), where “Multi-$Trillion Pure Crystallized Methane” way down in the South China Sea will likely be a far lower priority than the spiritual, physical, and family needs of local folks.

    Went to a friend’s funeral yesterday. Good funeral, but it was Difficult for his family, for he was a *big* spiritual and emotional support for them.

    They’re not worried about “institutionalized Wahhabi headchoppers”, nor about who’s holding what stocks in “pollution prone corporations.” If they show up in church today, it will be for other priorities.

  • I didn’t lie. The words mean what they mean. The US was not founded on Christianity, which in turn means it’s not a Christian nation. The latter follows logically from the former. 

    I will ask you again: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

    Answer the question, or admit your cowardice. 

  • I didn’t lie. The words mean what they mean. The US was not founded on Christianity, which in turn means it’s not a Christian nation. The latter follows logically from the former.

    I will ask you again: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship?

    Answer the question, or admit your cowardice.

  • Thanks for the long quotation of someone else’s work. And thanks for making crystal-clear to anyone with eyes that you, personally, have nothing to say about the subject … at all … because you’re forced to give long, boring, droning quotations of other people’s work

    Oh, and the whole quotation is an exercise in fallacious appeals to authority. So there’s that. Two strikes — and in this case, that means you’re out. 

  • If you misquoted the document out of ignorance, why didn’t you apologize for your error? If it was deliberate, why did you lie?

  • In the pre-Christian world entire cultures did bad things and considered them very very good. Virtue, in fact, was one of the Romans’ favorite things to write about.

    The key to it all is who or what informs our notions of “good” and “bad.” Like it or not, without Christianity you would have very different notions of both.

  • LOL! How dare you cite a work by an American history and constitutional studies professor! Why didn’t you cut and paste a misquote of a defunct treaty from an atheist propaganda site instead?

    You’re acting like, I dunno, a teacher or something.

    But don’t feel bad…I once saw Spuddie here call the collected writings of John Adams (compiled in the 1850s by his grandson) a book of “questionable provenance.” ? We’re really not talking to people here who are interested in facts, only agendas.

  • Perhaps not, but they combined a biblical understanding of the nature of humanity and its negative proclivities, while including biblical concepts of justice and mercy with practical and well tested precepts of governmental ordering. It is called political synthesis, where the best ideas from one paradigm are combined with the best elements from another to create an organic whole.

  • So do our resident religious fanatics. But there is still never a mirror when you need one.

  • No one says the influence of Christianity is not important. The disagreement is over whether we are a Christian nation, or whether the Bible is the basis for ur republic.

  • Sure it does. That’s why people never, ever kill each other over who is worshipping the proper god, and in the proper way. That,s why you would NEVER EVER lie and distort whatever information you find about gay people to a condemnation of all gay people in order to attack us for being different than you.

    Your example is ridiculous. Atheists have a few organizations, not one of which claims to be anything other than an organization promoting a separation of church and state. Very few have budgets even remotely approaching your average megachurch or anything.

    I’m not religious, but a good 20% of our charitable donations go towards organizations to feed people. One of them is Food for the Poor, quite a Christian little charity. We told them not to send us more appeals for money. In the month since we sent the donation, we have received four more appeals. Not the sort of thing that gets us donating.

    It’s almost as if money is more important.

  • I didn’t lie. The words mean what they mean. The US was not founded on Christianity, which in turn means it’s not a Christian nation. The latter follows logically from the former. 

    As for you, I will ask again: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

    Answer the question, or admit your cowardice. 

  • You put quotation marks around a phrase which is not in the treaty. If you did this in ignorance please acknowledge and apologize for your error. If it was deliberate, why did you lie?

  • thank you. i enjoy trying to understand history IN CONTEXT of the times. it’s not easy! it may be impossible. but, it is so much more satisfying than simply cherry-picking words/phrases, then judging them through contemporary eyes. so empty! but, this is what makes up the lion’s share of what is found on the internet, in news, etc.

    we have the means to do better. why not make an effort?

  • God uses all for His purposes; He chooses the imperfect to do His Will. He sent His Son for sinners. If we were all saints, there would have been no need. We see in part, He sees in full.

  • I’m on my 14th book about the founders, religion in early america, the writing of the constitution and especially the first amendment written in NY. We can both read the same thing and come away with different conclusions. Have to be careful not to read anything with an agenda.

    Jefferson believed in ‘almighty god’ but he was not christian. Washington called god ‘providence’. They also believed religion made people better. But none of the first 7 presidents took Jesus as their savior, ever claimed to be ‘saved’ or believed in the deity of jesus. They talked about religion in general terms to not step on anyone’s toes or for political reasons.

    now reading Religious Freedom, Jefferson’s Legacy, America’s creed, by John Ragosta.

  • Somewhere in their it tells christians to go after people, not govts. But christians have always gone after countries, regime change, by force if necessary. The movie SILENCE is a true story about them trying to take over Japan after taking over the Philippines.

    They voted for Trump because he was promising them they could break laws if needed to practice their faith, make them the favored religion here. Every one he’s appointed are biblical literalists.

  • He’s only appointed one, and you have no idea whether he’s a biblical literalist or not. I would assume not since he’s an Episcopalian.

  • Sessions said secularists are not up to par with christians in his hearing, devos has advocated for christianity in public schools most of her life and now won’t say schools shouldn’t discriminate against gays, health secretary said if everyone was christian we wouldn’t need health care because god would heal all of us, EPA said god would take care of climate change, and gorsuch said he believed in ‘complicity’ where decisions he makes from the bench would send him personally to hell.

    call them literalists or dominionists or theocrats, they are dangerous people in a free society.

  • and together they passed a godless constitution that forbid religious tests and established religion. hmmmm. the deliverable is all that matters, it reflects their intent.

  • Yup. They have a bad case of “Don’t confuse me with the facts; I’ve made up my mind.”

  • I did not “misquote” the Treaty. Here is what I originally said:

    “The US is, in no way, a ‘Christian nation’ — and words to that effect were included in the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified in 1796, by the very same FFs that your type insist were militant Christianists like yourselves. 

    I never — repeat, never — said that the words “Christian nation” were in the Treaty. Nope. Not at all! Didn’t do it, and your fierce, irrational insistence to the contrary cannot, and will never, magically make it true. 

    What I actually said — as opposed to what you keep saying I said — was, very clearly, that “words to that effect were included in the Treaty.” That’s “words to that effect,” not a verbatim quote. 

    Given that you just lied about me — and obviously so, since it was trivial for me to dig up my own statement that so enraged poor little Christianist you — I will ask, again: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

    Answer the question, or admit your cowardice. 

  • I did not “put quotation marks around a phrase which is not in the treaty.” That’s another of your damned lies. Here is what I originally said:

    “The US is, in no way, a ‘Christian nation’ — and words to that effect were included in the Treaty of Tripoli, ratified in 1796, by the very same FFs that your type insist were militant Christianists like yourselves. 

    I never — repeat, never — said that the words “Christian nation” were in the Treaty. Nope. Not at all! Didn’t do it, and your fierce, irrational insistence to the contrary cannot, and will never, magically make it true. 

    What I actually said — as opposed to what you keep saying I said — was, very clearly, that “words to that effect were included in the Treaty.” That’s “words to that effect,” not a verbatim quote. 

    Given that you just lied about me — and obviously so, since it was trivial for me to dig up my own statement that so enraged poor little Christianist you — I will ask, again: Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

    Answer the question, or admit your cowardice. 

  • Case closed? There is no case, because you were never able to make one, yourself. Like a craven sniveler who can’t think for himself, you had to barrage me with a long quotation by someone else. 

  • Words to that effect were in fact NOT in the treaty. If you misquoted it out of ignorance, why do you not acknowledge your error and apologize for it? If it was deliberate, then why did you lie?

  • Re: “Words to that effect were in fact NOT in the treaty.” 

    Yes, they were. Stop lying about it. 

    Re: “If you misquoted it out of ignorance …” 

    I didn’t “misquote” it. Stop lying about me. 

    Re: “… why do you not acknowledge your error and apologize for it?” 

    I’ve done nothing I need to apologize for. You, on the other hand, have. You lied about me … and then doubled down on that lie after I demonstrated it was a lie. 

    Does your Jesus need you to lie for him? If not, why are you doing so, in his name? If he does need you to lie for him, what makes him worthy of your worship? 

    Answer the question, or admit your cowardice. 

  • Upon reflection, it has come to me that for my part I have failed to engage you in a way that reflects the spirit of Grace that is commanded of me by the Lord. Therefore, apart from the merits of either of our arguments, I extend a personal and sincere apology for that lack of grace, and the sin and error I committed towards you in failing to meet the measure of God’s Will in my communications with you. I also seek and hope that you will extend forgiveness to me upon my confession and repentence.

  • Apologies, I thought you were referring to Supreme Court justices in particular. But in any case, I seriously doubt that Gorsuch would be both a biblical literalist and a member of a liberal Episcopalian church (which St. John’s Episcopal Church is). And what he wrote about “complicity” had to do with the Hobby Lobby case and religious freedom, and was not about himself specifically but about everybody, regardless of faith, who do not wish to be compelled by law into what they see as complicity in wrongdoing.

    Funny how no one considered Gorsuch to be “dangerous to society” when he was unanimously confirmed to the 10th Circuit, without a single Democrat objection, in 2006.

  • There is nothing terrible in admitting to a mistake in quotation. It is sort of terrible, though, to continue to lie about it. Why do you do that?

  • I’ve noticed that. Remarkable that someone will expose their ignorance and irrational behavior to that degree especially in the face of overwhelming evidence.

  • You can’t even put forth a coherent and decent argument. Lol. Go do some research and come back with evidence for your position. You not only lost this argument you’ve lost your mind. Lol.

  • You clearly do not know the difference between providing evidence from an authority to prove a claim and fallacious appeals to authority. Stop before everybody starts laughing at you. Lol.

  • The movie is coming out soon. “Gorsuch: Menace to Society” in movie theaters soon. Lol.

  • Many believe Christianity is evil and must be destroyed.
    Our U.S. has never had a state religion, is that in question? Not to my understanding.
    The founders were either Christian or highly influenced by Christianity, in the very least, they were Bible-literate, they did not reject the Bible.
    The U.S. “as a Christian nation,” has been so, not because of government mandate, but by the prevailing religion, AND, by Christian principles running throughout government structure, social structure, language, et al.

    Christianity permeates our U.S., for the good of all, without having government mandate to worship in any single manner.

    Separation of church from state, in our U.S., was never intended to mean, “rule by atheists,” or by any non-Christian belief system.

    Today, many who have been tolerated and enjoy freedom in our U.S., based on Christian principles of tolerance, instead of being banned, cast out, or beheaded, have “run past the margins,” these folks are attempting to rewrite history to support some fantasy that never was, hopefully, that never will be.

    And, then, some are simply bent on destruction, jealousy, greed.
    They want to appropriate that which does not belong to them.
    The same tired old sins that have happened in all of the history of mankind.

    “Those who do not know history are bound to repeat it.”

  • There is a lot of garbage in the margins of your analysis. “Dogwhistle” positions lmplied to make your point.

    “”freedom of religion” was directed specifically to Christian denominations.in those times”

    But it was never meant to be exclusive to such groups. It was meant to be for all religions. Not just Christian denominations. You imply that freedom of religion was intended (and still only intended) for Christians only.

    to attempt to suggest Christianity was “nothing” in U.S. history is not acceptable. it’s patently false.

    Actually your examples showed that Christian faith when entangled with the state made sectarian discrimination an inevitability. It is really backhandedly crediting Christianity for creating environments so toxic to freedom that it had to be excluded from the apparatus of state.

    “children need to know balanced facts, that cannot be done in the U.S. without covering the Bible and its importance in world history, European history, and, U.S. history”

    Except that is not the purpose of the class. It is to teach the Bible for the purposes of indoctrinating and reinforcing a narrow set of Christian belief. Something that is not only unnecessary, but violates all notions of 1st Amendment religious freedom.

    i believe many people are fully aware that the Bible can be discussed in public schools, but cannot be preached as a religion.

    But that is not going to happen in this instance nor was the intention of the KY lawmakers here.

    The state has enough problems teaching basic skills to its population. There is no room to shoehorn in a sectarian discriminatory elective which will be used for no legitimate purpose under the laws of the nation.

  • That wasn’t the intention of the class, nor will that happen if implemented. It was meant to indoctrinate students into a narrow band of Christian belief.

  • Most are willing to accept simply Christianity. as with ANY religion, has no place being entangled with the apparatus of our government. As in accordance with the wishes of our founding fathers and every legally accepted interpretation of the 1st Amendment religious clauses.

    Christians of a certain stripe want to put a “tramp stamp” on government and history. Expecting some kind of special privileges and favors under the color of law on the basis of holding such beliefs.

    “Today, many who have been tolerated and enjoy freedom in our U.S., based on Christian principles of tolerance, instead of being banned, cast out, or beheaded, ”

    So you will take all the credit on behalf of the Anabaptists (the only Christian sect group which explicitly believes in religious freedom and tolerance) for that, but not the rest of their beliefs. Which include a wall of separation between church and the apparatus of state. Something you clearly have little to no respect for.

    You are a being dishonest if you can ascribe freedom and democratic belief to all of Christian belief. But dishonesty in service of one’s belief and demanding that one’s belief be made law of the land are fairly common to many religions sects.

  • you have lots of odd thoughts, speculations, presumptions, i won’t attempt to respond, other than to point out this quote from the text:

    “But what many fail to recognize is that Abington v. Schempp did not completely remove the Bible from schools. Consider Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark’s majority opinion:

    “It might well be said that one’s education is not complete without the study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its religious and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistent with the First Amendment.”

  • Re: “You clearly do not know the difference between providing evidence from an authority to prove a claim and fallacious appeals to authority.” 

    Says the guy who’s unaware he used fallacious appeals to authority. You are your own argument against everything you say. Well done! 

  • the first conversation right as gorsuch was sitting down was about complicity. possible before he was sworn in.
    the 10 th circuit is not as earch changing as the supremes, and while on that court gorsuch not once voted against putting crosses in parks etc. those kinds of cases. playground case was decided correctly because rubber does not proselytise, but giving tax money to schools to proselytise and teach religion would clearly violate.

    It’s dangerous to america to go backwards on separation of church and state/religious freedom now that we are more diverse and more secular than ever. white christians are no longer the majority but they believe in a ‘one way wall’ where congress cannot establish a religion but they can. ridiculous.

  • Except I haven’t lied about what I said. You, however, have continuously and repeatedly lied. You’ve done it many times, and you’re still lying about me, even after I’ve demonstrated you lied and called you out for doubling down on your lie. 

    Thank you for living down to all my expectations of fundamentalist Christians! I can only conclude, from the way you’ve behaved, that Christians claim both an entitlement and a compulsion to lie for him. As for how and why a supposedly omnipotent and omniscient deity would require his/her/its worshippers to lie for him/her/it, I have no idea … so I must conclude either that such a being does not exist at all, or is an amoral creature who actively promotes disingenuousness for its own sake. 

    You’ve just confirmed everything I’ve always seen as wrong with Christianity and Christians. 

  • every jesus wannabe that has come to prominence, Jones, Koresh, Baker, didn’t end well.

  • Well, there is a lot I disagree with here, but I simply don’t have the energy to argue to points with you.

    But I will go this far. first, I have to agree with spuddie. What I don’t want is purely theological concerns entwined with the civil law that governs all of us. And THAT is what really is in dispute here. And that is what separation of church and state really means– not rule by atheists, not rule by non-Christians, but keeping your faith in your life and out of mine.

    As a gay man who has been in the struggle against the tyranny of religion over my life for the past 45 years, the only reason I have been “tolerated” and “enjoy freedom” is not because of Christianity, but DESPITE Christianity: because I, and because millions of people like me, have demanded that freedom, demanded that equality, and have spent a lot of time, energy, money, to get it. We have lost lives to get it. We have been enduring unremitting, bigoted attacks from God’s Own People literally for centuries, as they lie, slander, revile, and do everything in their power to make our lives as difficult, expensive, unpleasant, and dangerous as possible…

    All in the name of Christianity, and Christian love.

    We used to be people you could beat up with impunity, take out children from without a thought, thrown into jail, kicked out of the army, labeled as diseased pariahs and sexual perverts wth no social value.. We are stilled vilified, threatened, blamed for every possible social ill we could not have had a thing to do with. Our lives, loves, families, and faith are still attacked daily By people who claim to represent Christianity.

  • A one-way wall WAS the founders’ intent. The 1st Amendment is by its very wording a limitation on Congress. It never restricted private citizens and did not even restrict the states — whose churches were disestablished by their own individual constitutions.

  • So, IF it was not your intention to lie, then we must necessarily take this as an admission of ignorance of the documents in question. That is easy to remedy — consult the Avalon Project of Yale Law School. You’d be amazed at the wealth of early American political writings to be found there in their entirety. Good luck.

    But you really SHOULD apologize.

  • To repeat: I never lied about anything. Your repeated caterwauling and kvetching over it, is really laughable.

    Just grow up already and stop lying for your Jesus.

  • Too bad you can’t be honest about your intentions nor address issues in a straightforward manner.

    Although non sectarian, non indoctronary study of comparative religion is useful. That is not the purpose of the course or your support for it. If the purpose was comparative religions study, then one needs to study more than one religious text. From other religions. Your focus entirely on the Bible shows you are not interested in study of other faiths but your own.

    The purpose of the course and your support of it is to illegally use public resources, to push a sectarian and discriminatory agenda, propounded by people with no regard for the first amendment.

  • Re: “It was as if that was the last thing on any Christian’s mind.” 

    That’s very true. The very-earliest Christians (i.e. those to whom Jesus preached directly during his putative sojourn on earth) believed what he was telling them, that “the End” was imminent, and that it would come in their own lifetimes (e.g. Mt 16:28, etc.). At no point would any of them have dreamed they’d ever possess political power in their own right. At they saw it, things would remain as they had been — i.e. with themselves as downtrodden — and only divine intervention would set the world straight. But at that point, their deity himself would end up ruling the world. 

  • Now I and other citizens of KY will be forced to pay private attorneys to defend this unconstitutional bill. The AG is gunning for Bevin and will not support the bill’s defense. Once again thanks to the knuckle draggers in Eastern KY who voted for Bevin, the same ones who supported 45 and are now horrified they’ll be loosing their medical insurance. Duh!

  • Don’t make such an assumption. We have Episcopalians in name only who are really Baptists in disguise. BTW, I’m Episcopalian.

  • The assumption was Dennis’, that Gorsuch was a biblical literalist. There is no way of knowing that.

  • Yup. Projection. (You do know what that is, don’t you? Don’t want you to get it confused with fallacious appeal to authority lol)

  • Yes, I know what projection is. You’re doing it very well, right now. Please, by all means, continue caterwauling and griping like a hurt little Chrisshun. You’ve been living down to all my expectations of fundies … don’t stop now! You have an ancient and proud tradition of religionistic immaturity to uphold. 

  • Understanding what the Bible says or doesn’t say about abortion or gay marriage would go way beyond reading it as literature. It is a religious question at that point. That’s why these classes are so dicey.

  • So why are you doing so? I haven’t been abused, and haven’t taken anything out on anyone else. You, however, have been sniveling and whining for days. Wah waaaaah waah, little baby. Waah wah. 

  • You know you have lost when are reduced to name calling. Lol. You’ve been schooled.

  • Gripe and whine, baby. Gripe and whine. You refused to formulate your own argument at all, thus making clear to the world what an ignorant, infantile little sniveler you really are. You have no grounds whatsoever to comment on anything I’ve ever said … because you, yourself, clearly and obviously have nothing to say of your own. 

    Please, by all means, keep demonstrating the intellectual bankruptcy which is your own militant Christianism. You prove me right, with your every reply. It’s really quite fun, how you end up being an argument against your own religionism. 

  • I’m your baby now? Well, that calls for a golden oldie:
    Every time I see you lookin’ my way
    Baby baby can’t you hear my heart beat?
    In a car or walkin’ down the highway
    Baby baby can’t you hear my heart beat?
    ….

  • Not all of us are knuckle dragging hairy cretins and those of us who know better will still have our taxes used to defend this unconstitutional law. I’d like to see Bevin & his knuckleheads have to personally reimburse KY after they loose in the SCOTUS.

  • I do know that. I don’t even think most of you are knuckle dragging cretins. ? I absolutely understand with and sympathize with your disgust.

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