My Dad is visiting and inspiring all kinds of posts for this blog. Today we were at Cincinnati’s Museum Center for the Bodies Exhibit and to take the kids to the Children’s Museum. My Dad, a PR guy for public schools, wandered a little too close to a playgroup of creationist Moms who were badmouthing public education. Among the things discussed were whether “Jesus” could be spoken by public school students and whether the Earth was 6000 years old or 6 billion years old. He started debating with them, and I was completely embarassed- for no good reason- and kept my silence until… one of the Bible Moms said, “Our country was founded on religious principles.”
I replied that God is not mentioned in the constitution once and instead you find this- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
What then are the beliefs of our founding fathers?
In 1797, the Treaty of Tripoli was ratified by the senate unanimously. It said, “The government of the United States is in no way founded on the Christian religion.”
In God We Trust was not added to US currency until 1957 during McCarthyism. The original Pledge of Allegiance (written in 1897) did not mention god; it said this, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. “God” was not added to the pledge until 1954 when the Knights of Columbus referenced Lincoln’s Gettysburgh Address as a reason to add it.
George Washington was baptized as a child and went to church some, but he refused communion after the war. When hiring workmen for Mount Vernon, he wrote to his agent, “If they be good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa, or Europe; they may be Mohammedans, Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists.”
John Adams was a unitarian who had some nice things to say about christianity, but he also said this- “Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, ‘This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there was no religion in it.’ ”
Thomas Jefferson, a unitarian, had this to say about christianity “The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained.” ETA… He completely disagreed with the miracles attributed to Jesus in the gospels. He actually re-wrote the New Testament- removing anything of a supernatural nature. If he were alive today, he would’ve taken Jar Jar Binks out of the Phantom Menace
James Madison had a lot to say about religion. “Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” and also “During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstitioin, bigotry, and persecution.”
Maybe creationist Moms should not be meeting at a science museum and exposing their children to the devil’s playground. Instead, they can plan all their fun at The Creation Museum where their fantasies about our founding fathers can come true. I really don’t want to impose my beliefs on them any more than I want them to do such a thing to me, but I won’t let them spread lies about our secular government. The heathen founders of the U.S. are one reason I’m proud to be an American.