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To You Atheist Who Infringe On Our rights – “Bah Humbug!”

To You Atheist Who Infringe On Our rights – “Bah Humbug!”

We at this season have just finished the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, and Christians are celebrating next week Christmas, a miracle when they say we were touched by the divine walking among us. If you are Christian or Jew, the one common theme we both share is that we are celebrating a miracle, we also are facing the same opposition coming from  people whom are atheist that are offended that we dare to believe such things. They feel they have a right to stop us by whatever legal means they can, to that I say, “Bah Humbug!”

We have heard that our founding fathers wanted a separation of church and state, or of synagogue and state, but did they really desire this? And if they demanded such a separation, then why did they speak of our rights under G-d, name Him as the Creator? If they intended a total separation, they didn’t do so well when writing the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution, the  documents that make our nation what it is today.  

I have heard of the desire from groups like American Atheist, Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), and other groups that throw a tantrum anytime they see a religious display put out. What is more, they will go out of their way to attack anything that they feel offends them, does not matter if the whole city has done something and supported it, they will demand it is either gone or face a challenge in court.

But was this our founding father’s intent? I think not, but they did want separation, they wanted it not to keep the church out of the state, in many writings they openly spoke of the need for this. Rather they pushed for this because they wanted to keep the all corrupting influence that the power of government brings with it. There was also a group, Jefferson was in this group that did not want any one faith to have precedence over the others, the same way that England had the Anglican Church as their national faith and the other Europeans had the Catholic Church.

Now there are some that argue all our founding fathers were not religious, I beg to differ, there were different faiths, for example, this is how the faiths of our founders played out:

Religious Affiliation of Founding Fathers
Episcopalian/Anglican 88 54.7%
Presbyterian 30 18.6%
Congregationalist 27 16.8%
Quaker 7 4.3%
Dutch Reformed/German Reformed 6 3.7%
Lutheran 5 3.1%
Catholic 3 1.9%
Huguenot 3 1.9%
Unitarian 3 1.9%
Methodist 2 1.2%
Calvinist 1 0.6%
TOTAL 204 [1]

We have heard that Thomas Jefferson did not want any influence of religion on the government, his statements actually refute this claim.

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?

That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever…”
Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237.

“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”
The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385.

It was not Jefferson alone that held this belief, we see this with other presidents and founding fathers as well.

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”
The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343.

“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9

“The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite, 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 these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty…

“Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System.”
–Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, excerpt from a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”
–Adams wrote this in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776.

We need to remember that although the founding fathers had all a strong faith, they were equally realistic, knew that criticism was not uncalled for, and they saw some of the problems when the fallibility of men were introduced into faith:

Every man “ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.” George Washington (Letter to the United Baptist Churches in Virginia in May, 1789)

“Question with boldness even the existence of a god.” Thomas Jefferson (letter to Peter Carr, 10 August 1787)

“When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.” Benjamin Franklin (from a letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780;)

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of… Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.”- Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason, 1794-1795.)

We saw the duality of the belief in faith and personal freedom, but the founding fathers were equally open to the corrupting influence that power brought to faith and everything else. But did they intend to have a total separation? I would think not.

In a ten-year study undertaken at the University of Houston, researchers examined 15,000 documents from America’s founders and determined that 34% of their quotations came from the Bible, the highest by far of any source.

Founding Father and educator Noah Webster (1758-1843) had this to say: “The moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

John Adams said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

While our founders were all Christian of one sect or another, it does not mean that they intended to only have this as a Christian nation, rather a nation where freedom of faith, not freedom from faith was intended. Other faiths were known, there was the second largest faith behind Christianity, Judaism, Jews have been part of the fabric of this nation not long after the first people came over here from Europe. Like the Christians many fled prosecution from European lands, the Inquisitions were still fresh on many minds, and there was still hatred and animosity towards the Jews back then, but they were at least protected from the mob mentality that caused whole cities in Europe to attack their Jews, burn down their synagogues and run the people out of town in fear for their lives. 

Washington in a now famous letter to a Newport, Rhode Island synagogue spoke of this:

wash-letterGentlemen:

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

As we can see, the intent of Washington and other founding fathers was never to take faith out of our government, in fact many felt that the only holding back of absolute corruption was the faith of the people within government. There intent was never to remover, rather it was not to allow the government to lift one faith above another, to give honor to our freedom to worship as we please, or in many cases today, to not worship at all.

They never intended the courts to be used as a battering ram of a small group of people to try to force their personal belief on others, as we see the various atheist groups doing to day, it was to give them the right to not to believe, not to have faith forced on them. The simple fact is, if they intended to have no mention or issue of faith, they would not have assigned a Office of Chaplin to the Congress and Senate? Naturally this has been challenged in courts, but the courts found this within the rights and realm of congress to do so. In Marsh v. Chambers  (463 U.S. 783, related to chaplains in the Nebraska Legislature) they stated:

…precedent and tradition. The Court cited the practice going back to the Continental Congress in 1774 and noted that the custom “is deeply embedded in the history and tradition of this country” from colonial times and the founding of the republic. Further, the Court held that the use of prayer “has become part of the fabric of our society,” coexisting with “the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.” This decision was cited in Murray v. Buchanan, which challenged the House chaplaincy, the next year. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed the complaint “for want of a substantial constitutional question.” Subsequently, on March 25, 2004, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, citing Marsh v. Chambers, dismissed a suit that challenged the congressional practice of paid chaplains as well as the practice of opening legislative sessions with prayer. [2]

I would love to say the assault on our faith will cease, but fear it will only get worse. We have seen in Europe now not only it made illegal to speak out what the faith states if you are Christian or Jew (they never seem to enforce this with Muslims), they have gone to the point of forcing practices within churches that are against the very foundation of the faiths. Many churches feel that homosexuality is a sin, to them they can’t support this, but the state feels they have the right in Europe to force churches to open their doors to gay weddings.

While I have no issue with the gay community, nor do I feel we have a right to force moral choices on them, but I have a huge problem with trying to force someone else to violate their faith to accommodate this. As strongly as I oppose “Gay Conversion Therapy as a infringement on a person’s personal freedom”, I equally oppose any move to try to force an person of faith to violate their faith to appease the gay community, both are equal in their infringement on personal freedom. I support your right to find your way of happiness, if this is what does it, then good for you, I stand for you happily and will defend to my last breath your right to this. 

So I say to the atheist community today trying to force their lack of faith on us all, “Bah Humbug!” I also point out their hypocrisy, if they are so against having a religious holiday then why aren’t they putting their belief to practice, refusing their double overtime pay if they are forced to work, tell their bosses they refuse their day off, they demand to come in and work? And not just on Christmas, on Easter as well. 

I personally am tired of this, I am tired of a few deciding they hold the right to try to force the rest of us to change because they are offended, I am equally offended at them trying to do this. If they wish to gang up and sue for us violating their liberties, maybe we need to put together a legal team and sue the different Atheist groups for doing the same thing to us. 

So to all my Jewish friends, I hope that you had such a happy Hanukkah that you will remember it for years to come, that you and your family were blessed as you came together to celebrate once more like all before you have for over 2,000 years the cleansing of the temple, the lighting of the lamp from the oil of the temple of old, and how it miraculously stayed lit for 8 days and night as the divine touched the oil to light his house. 

To my Christian friends, may your time of family, of giving, of celebration of what the Christians teach is the time when G-d became flesh and lived with us, may you equally enjoy the day, may you be blessed, my your time with loved ones be one to remember. 

And to the atheist that find this all offense, “Bah Humbug!”

  1. www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaplain_of_the_United_States_Senate#cite_note-crf-1

 

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About The Author

Timothy Benton

Author has studied Middle East History for the last 35 years, am a lifetime student of history. Has an interest in sports, tech, history and political events. Works as a Republican political commentator who looks at events from a conservative's perspective.

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