On Sunday, July 7, 1776, our Founding Fathers gathered together in a small church just outside of Philadelphia to sign a document declaring that these United States and its people were servants to the Lord Jesus Christ. Afterwards, the majority of them being clergy, there was a small prayer unto God thanking Him for overlooking this newly formed Christian nation.
Of course, everything I just typed is complete malarkey (People don’t use the word ‘malarkey’ enough. I am bringing it back!), but you would be amazed at the number of biblical ass-clowns who continue to try to mold the history of this country into something that it isn’t.
I freely admit, I am a bit of a Founding Father nerd. I know most people gravitate towards the Civil War in terms of American history because of that brother against brother situation, but I have always had a perpetual hard-on for all things Revolutionary. There is something fascinating about a bunch of ivy league educated guys who didn’t like how the parent company was being run and decided to go out on their own and hope for the IPO. In business terms, America was the first continental ‘start-up’. And even though fireworks don’t really do it for me, I do enjoy it when Independence Day rolls around.
So with congressional dick in hand, my annual “Fourth of July” celebration comes in three distinct parts: 1., A new book dealing with American Independence (This year it happens to be “Founding Brothers” by Joseph J. Ellis). 2., Seeing how much of that “American Revolution” documentary they always play on the Fourth I can get through before the musical “1776” ultimately shows up. And 3., Waiting around for the inevitable onslaught of shows/blogs/articles from conservative nutjobs stating, FOR A FACT, that this country was founded as a Christian nation and every year we as a people slide further away from what the Founding Fathers intended. (I lied. Part of my ritual also involves: 4., A nice bottle of scotch. And 5., Keeping a running tally of how many nutjob Christians who claim this country was founded as a Christian nation I can piss off by pointing their stupidity out to them.)
Really Quick Answer To Nutjob Christians: NO IT WASN’T, SO SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!
There has been this ongoing crusade from Christian revisionists (Christians on a crusade…nice) who, year after year, attempt to portray the Founding Fathers as these die-hard religious fanatics so as to rewrite history through the prism of Christianity. The end-game to this is some kind of crazy thought process of “This country was founded on Christian principles, therefore we all need to be Christians because Christianity is the shit!!”. (I added that last part on my own. Most Christians think “shit” is a small vegetable that grows in the Middle East and used for medicinal purposes.)
These revisionists “prove” their argument the same way they prove everything else about their behavior by cherry-picking through quotes that seem to give validity to their actions. Only instead of quotes from the bible justifying intolerance and moral superiority, it is quotes from the Founding Fathers that mention SOMETHING about religion and then using it as the holy grail of proof of how religious they were. LOOK, Thomas Jefferson said THIS about religion so he was a Christian which means when he wrote the Declaration of Independence he was talking about Christians only! Other religions take a back seat, so building mosques in this country should be illegal! (My sarcastic side aside, that last part about why mosques should be illegal was an actual argument being used by a Christian blogger.)
The expression “Separation of Church and State” gets thrown around a lot whenever you hear about someone suing a government building to remove a statue of Moses shaving his balls off the front steps, and religionists will quickly point out that is not what the Founding Fathers meant. (These assholes not only know what GOD specifically meant, but also the Founding Fathers.) Then they volley with “The Separation of Church and State” isn’t even in the Constitution”. And they are right. The phrase “Separation of Church and State” comes from one of Thomas Jefferson’s letters written to a group of Baptists. But the words “divinity”, “bible” and “Jesus” aren’t mentioned in the Constitution either, so eat a dick.
I always laugh when religious folk try to recruit Jefferson as part of their tribe. (Because Jefferson was the primary author of the D.o.I., he is a Big Get.) Anyone who says Thomas Jefferson was a Christian is an idiot who knows jack shit about Thomas Jefferson. At the Jefferson Memorial, the following inscription is etched into the wall: “I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”. This quote has been used by many different people to prove Jefferson was both religious and his frame of mind for breaking away from a tyrannical government. Wrong and wrong.
During the election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson was portrayed as a hard core atheist and piece of shit infidel who, if elected, would bring god’s wrath down on this country because of how non-religious he was. The quote mentioned above was him spelling out just how much he hated the clergy. The “tyranny over the mind of man” he is talking about is organized religion and how it is used to hold mankind back. He then went on to say the mother fuckers talking shit about him were absolutely right and, if elected, he was hell bent on leading this country AWAY from organized religion. To use the vernacular, Jefferson was saying “If these biblical fuck toys want to dance, I will Hunt The Squirrel so far up their ass they will taste the shit off my brocaded silk uppers!” (Side note: I never thought I would have the need to research the names of dances in the 18th century, but “Hunt The Squirrel”….FANTASTIC!!!!)
Jefferson, like Franklin, was a deist. They both believed in the concept of a god, but that is really as far as it went, and it isn’t uncommon to see references that refer to god as an “architect”. God, to them, was the ultimate scientist who put the universe together and set it in motion. However, neither of them believed in the Trinity or that Jesus was divine, and they both loathed organized religion. Jefferson even joked once that one day people will laugh at the idea of the virgin birth the same way people laugh at Roman mythology. (I am still waiting for that to happen.)
Part of me secretly wishes someone digs up a book tomorrow showing every single member of Continental Congress at the time was such a hard core Catholic they tore through three or four young boys a night with pencil etchings provided for visual instruction. If we could somehow prove everyone was super religious it would make them NOT sticking it into any document that much more powerful. And therein lies the crux of all of this shit.
“This is a Christian nation!” That is all it would have taken to put the argument to rest and the fact it isn’t there shows how everyone knew better. The concept of “all men created equal” and “no religious test being required for office” were extremely radical ideas at the time, and it was spelled out like that because they were trying to distant themselves from the Church of England where the King held his position because of some form of divinity. To say we are a Christian nation is almost an insult because it goes against everything they were trying to accomplish. Both Jefferson and Franklin would be horrified at the idea of religious homeschooling where parents go out of their way to keep their children ignorant of the natural world. These men were SCIENTISTS, first and foremost, and that is how they wanted other people to approach every aspect of their lives. Critical thinking, not superstition, was what they cherished most in this world.
Regardless of that, and I hate to admit this, but the religious side IS winning for now. I know no religious test is required for the presidency, but do you honestly think if someone at the end of the State of the Union Address said “Odin bless you! And Odin bless the Unites States of America!” people wouldn’t go apeshit? Back in college I asked the question what everyone thinks this country would see first: A black president or a woman president? Well that ship has sailed. So now I ask people the following question: What do you think this country will see first: a homosexual president or an atheist president? You start thinking about some of the bible thumping pieces of shit who live in this country and that question becomes pretty difficult to answer.
Were the Founding Fathers religious? Of course. Most people were at the time. But they also saw the dangers first hand of what religion does when the government makes decisions based off of personal beliefs instead of logic and reasoning. And besides, if you were to put the religions of ‘back then’ up against those of today for comparison, you would be really surprised at how different they are. Jefferson would be unelectable today as president from either party. His religious views just wouldn’t be compatible with what this country has morphed into. Maybe in a decade or two, but not right now. That is how crazy things have become here. And the next time some Christian idiot says the people of this country need to act more like what the Founding Fathers “intended”, tell them that the Founding Fathers used to keep a pot next to their bed in case they had to take a piss in the middle of the night, so start stocking up on the bleach.