The antidote to Islam and to the cultural disintegration spawned by the ideas of modern liberalism is NOT Christianity. If the Republicans and those who make up the dogmatic section of the Right want political power again, they had better get the message.
Right wing radio talk hosts as well as presidential candidates and scads of those on the right in Congress and their influencers push untruths in the guise of truths. Foremost is the notion that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and that this is a Christian nation. Even a new book by a famous author on the right over endows Christianity with founding reason, science, and all that is good in the West. Were their da'wa correct, they would have no need to push so hard.
No credit ever goes to Aristotle, the Renaissance and rebirth of Reason, and the Enlightenment, which finally put religion in its place at the back of the bus. Then come all the machinations of their revisionist history.
Today, the New York Times published a useful op-ed. I do not agree with all of it, but I found it refreshing overall.
October 7, 2007
A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation
By JON MEACHAM
The only acknowledgment of religion in the original Constitution is a utilitarian one: the document is dated "in the year of our Lord 1787." Even the religion clause of the First Amendment is framed dryly and without reference to any particular faith. The Connecticut ratifying convention debated rewriting the preamble to take note of God's authority, but the effort failed.
A pseudonymous opponent of the Connecticut proposal had some fun with the notion of a deity who would, in a sense, be checking the index for his name: "A low mind may imagine that God, like a foolish old man, will think himself slighted and dishonored if he is not complimented with a seat or a prologue of recognition in the Constitution." Instead, the framers, the opponent wrote in The American Mercury, "come to us in the plain language of common sense and propose to our understanding a system of government as the invention of mere human wisdom; no deity comes down to dictate it, not a God appears in a dream to propose any part of it."
While many states maintained established churches and religious tests for office — Massachusetts was the last to disestablish, in 1833 — the federal framers, in their refusal to link civil rights to religious observance or adherence, helped create a culture of religious liberty that ultimately carried the day.
Thomas Jefferson said that his bill for religious liberty in Virginia was "meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mahometan, the Hindu, and infidel of every denomination." When George Washington was inaugurated in New York in April 1789, Gershom Seixas, the hazan of Shearith Israel, was listed among the city's clergymen (there were 14 in New York at the time) — a sign of acceptance and respect. The next year, Washington wrote the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., saying, "happily the government of the United States ... gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance. ... Everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid."
Andrew Jackson resisted bids in the 1820s to form a "Christian party in politics." Abraham Lincoln buried a proposed "Christian amendment" to the Constitution to declare the nation's fealty to Jesus. Theodore Roosevelt defended William Howard Taft, a Unitarian, from religious attacks by supporters of William Jennings Bryan.
The founders were not anti-religion. Many of them were faithful in their personal lives, and in their public language they evoked God. They grounded the founding principle of the nation — that all men are created equal — in the divine. But they wanted faith to be one thread in the country's tapestry, not the whole tapestry.
Jon Meacham, the editor of Newsweek, is the author of "American Gospel" and "Franklin and Winston."
Message to the Christians and Jews trying to jam their religion down everyone's throat: Be a thread in the country's tapestry and stop trying to convert us à la Muslims. For God's sake, so to speak, leave us the hell alone, or you will stay on the outside looking in while the Democrats finish killing America.