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To: nicmarlo
Quote wars! Quote wars! :) Separation and religious view quotes follow:

"As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion..." -- Lawful treaty negotiated under Washington, confirmed by Senate, signed by Adams

"All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution" -- Proposed language by Jefferson for Virginia constitution.

"I may grow rich by an art I am compelled to follow; I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment; but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve and abhor. " -- Jefferson

Actually, the letters between Jefferson and Madison take on a decidedly anti-Christian (but not anti-God) tone.

"I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his [George Washington's] secrets & believed himself to be so, has often told me that Genl. Washington believed no more of that system [Christianity] than he himself did." -- Jefferson

"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer [Jesus] of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State." -- Jefferson

And they go on like that. Let's switch authors:

"Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history. (See the cases in which negatives were put by J. M. on two bills passd by Congs and his signature withheld from another. See also attempt in Kentucky for example, where it was proposed to exempt Houses of Worship from taxes. " -- Madison

""Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them, and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does this not involve the principle of a national establishment ... " -- Madison

Washington was widely regarded as a professor of Christianity because it was as required in politics as it is now. He was called, by religious people, a Deist and a Unitarian. Many men of influence, including Jefferson, held church positions of authority while believing contrary to the teachings of the church. Also, "Washington frequently alluded to Providence in his private correspondence. But the name of Christ, in any correspondence whatsoever, does not appear anywhere in his many letters to friends and associates throughout his life."

"George Washington's practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian. In the enlightened tradition of his day, he was a devout Deist--just as many of the clergymen who knew him suspected."

And Franklin chimes in:

"I believe in one God, Creator of the universe.... That the most acceptable service we can render Him is doing good to His other children.... As to Jesus ... I have ... some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble."

Thomas Paine: "Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly-marked feature of all law-religions, or religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity."

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish [Muslim], appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."

"Take away from Genesis the belief that Moses was the author, on which only the strange belief that it is the word of God has stood, and there remains nothing of Genesis but an anonymous book of stories, fables, and traditionary or invented absurdities, or of downright lies."

The list of quotes supporting the original idea of separation of church and state is extremely long.

222 posted on 11/21/2001 12:31:31 AM PST by Quila
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To: Quila

I think you got him. It is quite clear from "the historical documents"(sorry had to get in that Galaxy Quest reference) that the Founders of greatest stature were Deists/nominal Christian/skeptics(The great ones being Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and Madison, oh Adams too.) Because Phineas McDougall was a devout Christian that wanted to put the death penalty in the constitution for those professing a faith that wasn't Christian, doesn't mean the opinions of the leaders of that movement are made invalid.

In a sense that's beside the point. Simply examine history in the last three hundred years. It is quite obvious that it was the secularization of Western civilization that led to the next step of advancement of great moral ideas AND the implementation of those ideas. The Renaissance and Enlightenment were partly the result of a re-examination of Christianity, which led to the more benign forms we have today, but they were also due to the focus on Greco-Roman philosophy.

Heck many Christian concepts are actually Neo-Platonic(in the case of Paul) and Stoic(depending on the sect, I suppose)

223 posted on 11/21/2001 2:52:02 AM PST by Skywalk
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To: Quila
It is not written in the Consitution that there shall be a "separation of church and state." It is written that there shall not be a "religion established" within or from the government and in the same breath and same sentence it is said that neither shall government "infringe upon the free exercise" of religion. Had that been our Founding Fathers' intent, they were surely intelligent enough to have put it in there to begin with and make the a clear statement (especially, if, as you claim, that was their clear intentions from the "long list of supporting documents.") They did not, however.

And I still maintain that our Founding Fathers were mostly Christians (of all sects: Episcopal, Calvinist, Catholic, Evangelical, etc.). There were only 3 known Deists. That is hardly most. You quote Paine (I believe an atheist) and Franklin (a Deist). I have not said that all of the Founding Fathers believed in God or that all were Christians. I am well-acquainted with Paine. I can respect him without respecting what he believed. The same goes for Franklin. But these are two men out of hundreds (mostly Christians) who were responsible for putting our country together.

Letter, John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, June 28, 1813: "The general Principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young gentlement could united, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity in which all those Sects were united. . . . Now I will avow, that I then believed, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God . . ."

George Washington, Address to the States, June 8, 1783: " . . . I now mkae it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in His holy protection, that He would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks [sic] of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation."

Upon George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789, Washington Irving observed: upon concluding the oath of office "Mr. Otis would have raised the Bible to [Washington's] lips but he bowed down reverently and kissed it." Washington also added "so help me God" to the official presidential oath of office, and every president since has followed his example. From the address:

". . . it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happines of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes. . .In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. . ."

John Adams, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1797: " . . . And may that Being who is supreme over all, the Patron of Order, the Fountain of Justice, and the Protector in all ages of the world of virtuous liberty, continue His blessing upon this nation and its Government and give it all possible success and duration consistent with the ends of His providence."

Letter, Alexander Hamiliton to his wife Elizabeth, July 10, 1804, (written immediately prior to his duel against Aaron Burr): ". . . I need not tell you of the pangs I feel from the idea of quitting you, and exposing you to the anguish I know you would feel. Nor could I dwell on the topic, lest it should unman me. The consolations of religion, my beloved, can alone support you; and these you have a right to enjoy. Fly to the bosom of your God, and be comforted. With my last idea I shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world. Adieu, best of wives--best of women."

His second letter: "This is my second letter. The scruples of a Christian have determined me to expose my own life to any extent, rather than subject myself to the guilty of taking the life of another. This much increases my hazards, and redoubles my pangs for you. But you had rather I should die innocent than live guility. Heaven can preserve me, and I humbly hope will; but, in the contrary event, I charge you to remember that you are a Christian. God's will be done! The will of a merciful God must be good."

224 posted on 11/21/2001 4:20:44 AM PST by nicmarlo
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To: Quila
To continue:

Letter, George Washington to Samuel Langdon, September 28, 1789: ". . . The man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universve whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf. And it is my earnest prayer that we may so conduct ourselves as to merit a continuance of those blessings with which we have hitherto been favored. I am etc."

James Wilson, "The Laws of Nature," 1790: "Havings thus stated the question--what is the efficient cause of moral obligation? I give it this answer--the will of God. This is the supreme law. His just and full right of imposing laws, and our duty in obeying them, are the sources of our moral obligations. If I am asked: why do you obey the will of God? I answer: because it is my duty to do so. If I am asked again: how do you know this to be your duty? I answer again: because I am told so by my moral sense or conscience. If I am asked a third time: how do you know that you ought to do that, of which your conscience enjoins the performance? I can only say, I feel that such is my duty. Here investigation must stop; reasoning can go no farther. . . ."

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to his friend's son Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825: "This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run; and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God, Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into whic h you have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell."

As for people saying or not saying things at different times, for different reasons, even Jesus, who knew His destiny from his youth (and before that, eternity), "fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. . . ." (Matt. 26:39). He was asking that He would not have to die upon the cross. Yet, just awhile before while at dinner He said: "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him. . . ." He had been referring to his death for several years, yet prayed in the garden shortly before it was to occur that if were possible, He asks God that it not have to be.

225 posted on 11/21/2001 4:22:12 AM PST by nicmarlo
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To: Quila
To understand what the Founding Fathers were truly afraid of, one needs to go back to where they came (for the most part): England, and what happened there. Its history. This was a new country. If anything could rip a new country apart, then surely emotional issues such as spiritual beliefs. They did not want a Church of England repeated. If those in office did not espouse themselves to the Church of England, they were not only subject to ridicule, but floggings or death.

They did not want the power of a Catholic Church repeated. They did not want people persecuted because they espoused the beliefs of Martin Luther, who when he nailed his thesis on the door in Heidelberg, created great turmoil and atrocities by simply stating that man has the right to read the Bible and come to his own understandings without a priest telling him what the Bible says.

These differences in opinions of theology create divisions, not unification. It is this that the Founding Fathers most feared and determined not to have occur. No particular religion would be set above another. No belief in any particular religion would be a requirement to hold public office. Rather, this would be a country where individuals could worship as their conscience and their God determined, seeing that God is so important in people's lives. Who were they to determine how the masses were to worship. It is this fear they wished to alleviate and by doing so, ensure stability for this new country.

226 posted on 11/21/2001 4:42:34 AM PST by nicmarlo
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