Imagining No Religion

August 25, 2008 by  

State-sponsored religion has its bloody history, of course – the 30 years war, the counter-reformation and the Spanish Inquisition all yielded formidable lessons for future Democratic Republican governments like ours not to repeat. But if folks really claim religion as the major source of man’s inhumanity to man, check out the atrocities racked up by atheistic governments: 20,000,000 dead under Stalin, 50,000,000 dead under Mao not to mention the on-going repression and deaths of millions in North Korea – all of these within the last 100 years!

A group called Freedom From Religion Foundation, one of whose stated goals on their website is removing all references to God from any public forum, is posting several “Imagine No Religion” billboards in the Valley this week.

When asked about the billboards by News Channel 15 today, I suggested perhaps people really should try to imagine their communties without the influence of religion. Organizations like the Salvation Army, Food for the Hungry, World Vision, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Teen Challenge and countless hospitals all motivated by their faith, are daily meeting the needs and curing the addictions of the most needy here in the Valley, some even across the world.

Although the rest of the short interview didn’t make the 5:00 news, I made the point that although the FFRF certainly has the right to do so, they completely ignore our founders’ histories – the very men responsible for setting up a government protecting that right.

Patrick Henry summarized what was well known then: “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

And as President of the Washington, DC School Board, Thomas Jefferson said, “I believe the Bible and the Watts Hymnal should be the primary source of literature in our schools as this will make better citizens.” In fact, the first textbook for school children was first published in Boston in 1690 by Benjamin Harris and was used for about 150 years. It contains the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Comandments.

From their writings, they truly feared that if citizens lost their moral compass, the future of the nation would be imperiled. Consider the words of the fourth President of the United States:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion…Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

The Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist bearing the words, “Separation of Church and State”, was to tell them the Federal government would not have a state sanctioned church. These, of course, are the well-worn words most people recall in any discussion involving politics and religion but they do not appear in any of our founding documents.

Unfortunately, it may not be too difficult for some to ‘imagine no religion’ since we’ve already expelled so much of our religious history from our collective memories. All that’s left is to scrape it from our buildings.

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