Pharyngula

Are we a Christian nation?

I always considered the US a secular nation, but if certain factions in our government have their way, they will make us a Christian nation by fiat and by falsehood. It’s a sordid story of the religious right trying to pass a resolution that uses phony history to prop up right-wing claims of religious lunacy.

We could be a Christian nation. Another word for that is a Christian theocracy.

Comments

  1. #1 Lago
    January 4, 2008

    Gee, I wonder when people try and fight this whether or not Christians will try and make claim they are being attacked and that people against the idea are out to stop Christianity as a whole?

    The ol’ offense guised as defense. It never fails to amaze me that this still works in this day and age…but it does…

  2. #2 vertalio
    January 4, 2008

    Is that House 666?

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    January 4, 2008

    Well, now that’s something to be depressed about.

  4. #4 Lago
    January 4, 2008

    I wonder how long it is ’til them pesky atheists burn down the Reichstag?

  5. #5 Chemist
    January 4, 2008

    Iowa just renamed the GOP: “God’s Own Retheocrat Party.”

    But we knew that already…

    Pass it on…

  6. #6 Kristine
    January 4, 2008

    House Resolution 888, eh? Um… Are these people aware that “88” is shorthand in white supremacist circles for “Heil Hitler”?

    That’s the first thing that popped in my mind.

  7. #7 povertyrich
    January 4, 2008

    The only prominent Founder who can be accurately described as a Christian was John Adams, who, in 1797 signed the Treaty of Tripoli which states very plainly unequivocally in in Article 11 that The United States is not a Christian Nation:

    “As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen … it is declared … that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. … The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation.”

    That paragraph should be read from the floor of the Senate at the start every freakin’ session.

  8. #8 dcwp
    January 4, 2008

    Maybe we should start publicly asking which document politicians will support and defend – Bible or Constitution. Read literally and strictly, the two aren’t very compatible (worship no other god, don’t work on sunday, stone infidels and adulterers, don’t eat shrimp, etc).

    Scary part is that I’m not sure that would work in favor of the rationalists right now…

  9. #9 CalGeorge
    January 4, 2008

    Resolved:

    That Randy Forbes is a fucktard.

    That his Christian nation can go fuck itself.

    That morons like Forbes stop wasting taxpayer dollars forcing their idiot religious beliefs down other people’s throats.

  10. #10 RamblinDude
    January 4, 2008

    This article nails the Christian agenda to perfection. It is indeed very depressing and a cause for great concern.

    Regarding Christianity in America, this push to infiltrate government and make America a theocracy may be the most important issue of our time. It has repercussions in every government decision. These people are dangerous.

    This is the work of powerful forces who want to control people, and there is no better way to manipulate a population than make them preoccupied with worshipping and submissive to a religious dogma. The next step is to take over the world for “God”.

  11. #11 A Lurker
    January 4, 2008

    Define “Christian nation”.

    If the term is defined by what religion is dominant in American culture then we are very much a Christian nation but with a secular constitution.

  12. #12 jfatz
    January 4, 2008

    Why are you minorities always tyrannizing the majority and preventing us from setting up a theocracy, as is our God-given right?

  13. #13 Brian English
    January 4, 2008

    The next step is to take over the world for “God”.
    Bloody hell. Can’t religites keep their pretend friend in their pants. I’m sick of religious masturbation leading to world domination. Sigh.

  14. #14 Caucasian Jesus
    January 4, 2008

    What’s so bad about this? After all, they’re CHRISTIANS! They’re the moral fabric of this nation! Without them we wouldn’t have as much homosexually, meth-smoking, or faith-based charity. Geeze, people..

  15. #15 Colugo
    January 4, 2008

    De jure, the United States is a secular nation. (With some anomalies like swearing in ceremonies.) I was going to cite the Treaty of Tripoli but was beaten to it.

    De facto, the United States is a ritually theistic nation, but not officially theocratic, and lacking a state church. We have definitely never historically been under a French or Turkish-style laicite.

    FDR, radio address, D-Day Speech:

    “I ask you to join with me in prayer:
    Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. …
    (H)elp us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice. …
    And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade….
    With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. …
    Thy will be done, Almighty God.”

  16. #16 CG
    January 4, 2008

    I wasn’t going to email my rep until I found her name in the “yeas” column on HR 847 (“Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith”).

    Since there were only 9 “nay” votes, not many of us have reason not to be worried. Another 50 (10 “present”/40 “no vote”) couldn’t find their spines that day.

    Pitiful.

    (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll1143.xml)

  17. #17 RamblinDude
    January 4, 2008

    I just realized I sound like a conspiracy theorist; I’m not. It’s just that all people around me who believe in Jesus (and there are lots of them) think the same things: that this country is in a moral decline that can only be turned around by “returning” to Jesus, the rapture is coming soon, atheists are the work of the devil, etc. etc. you know the tune. I grew up with this crowd, I know how they think.

    Religion is very powerful in this country and Christians are slowly being worked into a righteous manic religious frenzy. (Fox News, anyone?) That is why it is so very important that we, the good guys, who love truth and facts, be absolutely honest and truthful in everything we do. (/preachy exhortation)

  18. #18 Kseniya
    January 4, 2008

    If the term is defined by what religion is dominant in American culture then we are very much a Christian nation but with a secular constitution. (#11)

    I refer the commenter to comment #7.

    With or without Article 11, that’s a pretty big “if”.

    The United States of America is a secular nation with a Christian majority. It is a secular nation. Those members of the “oppressed” majority who choose to whine about this need to accept it.

    Apparently they never learned, neither in kindergarten nor Sunday school, how to share. They want the whole pie. Well, they can’t have it, and they need to accept that, too.

  19. #19 Shaggy Maniac
    January 4, 2008

    If only those claiming that the US was founded as a “Christian nation” would read a bit of Thomas Jefferson’s views on Christianity…never mind, it probably wouldn’t make any difference.

  20. #20 Kseniya
    January 4, 2008

    Jefferson… and Monroe… and Adams… and Franklin… and Washington…

  21. #21 raven
    January 4, 2008

    It’s just that all people around me who believe in Jesus (and there are lots of them) think the same things: that this country is in a moral decline that can only be turned around by “returning” to Jesus, the rapture is coming soon, atheists are the work of the devil, etc.

    We don’t have all that many of those types on the WC. Usually you only hear about them when someone robs the cookie jar or gets caught with a 12 year old boy or girl.

    The so called red states with high percentages of wingnuts generally have higher rates of social problems such as, poverty, child poverty, teen age pregnancy, divorce, and lower rates of higher education than the national average. Texas is a typical example.

    It could be that the fundies are right about the moral decline. It could be that they are the cause of it. To get all biblical, it is a self fulfilling prophecy.

  22. #22 Kimpatsu
    January 4, 2008

    …But not James Madison, apparently. He said that the US was a Xian country. (And then the bigger intellectual heavyweight, Thomas Jefferson, pulverised him with the Virgina Statutes and the Treaty of Tripoli. Tell that to the theocrats.)

  23. #23 Patrick Quigley
    January 4, 2008

    It is just as legitimate to argue that the U.S. is a protestant nation as it is to argue that it is a Christian nation. I would love to see the Catholic majority on the Supreme Court weigh in on the constitutionality of that proposition.

  24. #24 CleveDan
    January 4, 2008

    we might be soon……..i just wonder if we will be a real Christian nation or a Mormon Christian nation……this is going to be fun!!!!

    It will be like native American genocide all over again. Hey Indians, you aren’t the original inhabitants of this land descended from Asia. You are bad Jews that god cursed with dark skin…..OH and by the way..don’t criticize my Mormon religion…….its not nice

  25. #25 Crudely Wrott
    January 4, 2008

    A good idea:

    Take note of the refutations of Forbes found in the cited Daily Kos article. Commit a few to memory. Drop them in casual conversation or employ them in reply to claims that “some others” might make. This could have a larger effect than may first seem obvious.

    After all, word-of-mouth advertising is highly prized, the latest craze or fad spreads mostly by example and imitation. Consider that the joke that you made up and told to your friends and that you heard months later in a different place has spread in the most common fashion: one on one connection. It’s been working longer than any other form of communication. It carries the cachet of personal conviction and appeal. It has an intimacy about it that authoritative pronouncements from over groomed news readers cannot achieve. Nor, for many, priests even.

    Learn your history and regale your friends with tales more fascinating and revelatory than revisionism can muster! Onward into the secular fog!

    E Pluribus Unum

  26. #26 Kimpatsu
    January 4, 2008

    After all, word-of-mouth advertising is highly prized, the latest craze or fad spreads mostly by example and imitation.
    That’s called a meme. Blame that godless scientist Richard Dawkins.

  27. #27 mayhempix
    January 4, 2008

    “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, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” James Madison “The Father of the Constitution”

    “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.” Thomas Jefferson

    “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!” John Adams

    “The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.” Thomas Paine

    “The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man.” Thomas Jefferson

  28. #28 ethan
    January 4, 2008

    Shaggy Maniac #19: If only those claiming that the US was founded as a “Christian nation” would read a bit of Thomas Jefferson’s views on Christianity…

    And I assume that all the people who claim that the Constitution is based in Christian Whatever have never heard of the Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy, which is essentially the same document, if a bit more foofily worded.

  29. #29 QrazyQat
    January 4, 2008

    Not just Christian, mind you, but only a certain brand of Christianity (from the 20,000 or so brands of that religion). Since we’ve already had the “should the US torture?” debate and decided the answer is “yes”, now it’s time for the one big debate within the Christianist/Dominionist sect that will rule all others in the USA: “Do we bring back slavery?”

    Really. That’s one of their internal divisions. Rumor has it that Ralph Reed is on the “yes” side; this is not minor no-clout nobodies.

    The real question here is: when, if ever, are “moderate” Christians going to start speaking up and being loud about it? Do they want to lose their religion in favor of a brand of Christianity that seriously debates whether or not to bring back slavery?

  30. #30 Sastra, OM
    January 4, 2008

    Resolved, That the United States House of Representatives—-
    (2) recognizes that the religious foundations of faith on which America was built are critical underpinnings of our Nation’s most valuable institutions and form the inseparable foundation for America’s representative processes, legal systems, and societal structures;

    That second resolution in the closing text is what is (probably) going to kill this. The rest of the crap on affirming America’s “diverse” spiritual history may sound vaguely like the language used for picking the National Fruit, but this one smells so strongly of theocracy it’s likely to wake the House up.

    Religion is the inseparable foundation of our legal system? Only if they manage to slide in the idea that they’re gathering in anything and everything that falls under ‘principles’ and ‘ethics’ and calling it ‘religion.’ Which the rest of the document makes clear they are not. When they say religion, they mean religion. Not ceremonial deism.

  31. #31 D
    January 4, 2008

    Sigh.

  32. #32 J.R. "Bob" Dobbs' hair gel
    January 4, 2008

    Call me stupid, but I’m not going to get my panties in a twist over a Representative’s resolution that found support among a whopping 7-ish percent of the rest of the House.

  33. #33 ema
    January 5, 2008

    The linked dKos article is very instructive. I wasn’t aware that religious politicians use the standard deceptive tactics they use for repro health bills when dealing with, of all things, history.

  34. #34 ekzept
    January 5, 2008

    Well, according to Jacoby’s FREETHINKERS, there was a proposed Constitutional amendment to write “God” and “Jesus Christ” in, made during Lincoln’s presidency. He promised to “study it”, and nothing was ever heard of it again.

    There is — and from my limited knowledge of American history — has always been an undercurrent of rampant, irrational religiosity in American tradition and culture, and a dangerous one at that. Wishing things were different — or thinking this is a new thing — does not make these so.

  35. #35 CleveDan
    January 5, 2008

    I hear ya JR but, it’s still disturbing that it would even be suggested……..and praise Bob

  36. #36 dkew
    January 5, 2008

    My Rep is James McGovern (D-Mass). He has a weak record on other Constitutional rights, too, and did not respond to a December email complaining about 888.

  37. #37 pablo
    January 5, 2008

    My rep(Kucinich)is on the sub-committee. I wrote asking him to actually bother showing up and voting against it, but fat chance of that. He always has more important things to do, like tilting at windmills.

  38. #38 Capn' Cosmo
    January 5, 2008

    When someone officially announces we’re a christian nation, my ass will be on its way to britain.

  39. #39 yogi-one
    January 5, 2008

    When do we get to start waterboarding the heathens?

  40. #40 phat
    January 5, 2008

    That Kucinich comment says a lot.

    We should be regaling the people who voted NO and even PRESENT on 847 with praise.

    They really do likely appreciate all the support for them that we can muster.

    This is likely a small vote in the grand scheme of things, but any props given to them, at the very least, tells them that they aren’t just a voice in the wilderness. It’s a difficult job, being in Congress and being liberal. Let them know that they aren’t alone.

    phat

  41. #41 Mena
    January 5, 2008

    The US was founded as a slave holding nation with women being property. Should we codify that too? At least these people would start being honest about their views in that case.

  42. #42 Expat Onlooker
    January 5, 2008

    America is becoming a godless, atheist country as there has been a concerted attempt for quite some time by certain secular Jewish groups to slander and degrade Christianity. I’m just glad that I’m Buddhist and don’t have to see my philosophy spit upon by that group of people, although it is highly likely that they, after having had their way with all things Christian, will eventually start taking stabs and swipes at Buddhism as well.

  43. #43 craig
    January 5, 2008

    “When someone officially announces we’re a christian nation, my ass will be on its way to britain.”

    Which is actually an officially Christian nation. (But they aren’t too obnoxious about it.)

  44. #44 Ragutis
    January 5, 2008

    “America is becoming a godless, atheist country as there has been a concerted attempt for quite some time by certain secular Jewish groups to slander and degrade Christianity. I’m just glad that I’m Buddhist and don’t have to see my philosophy spit upon by that group of people, although it is highly likely that they, after having had their way with all things Christian, will eventually start taking stabs and swipes at Buddhism as well.”

    An anti-semitic Buddhist… that’s a new one.

    Regarding the OP:

    Fuckity fucking fuck.

  45. #45 Ex Partiot
    January 5, 2008

    As a permanant resident of the country I live in, if the U.S. goes down the theocracy route which seems to be were it is headed I will seriously have to consider my citizenship options. The Democrats have win this coming election or the country is in deep shit all the way. This is their election to win or lose. Just for your information I do vote absentee.

  46. #46 jpf
    January 5, 2008

    House Resolution 888, eh? Um… Are these people aware that “88” is shorthand in white supremacist circles for “Heil Hitler”?

    That’s just specious.

    However. they are, no doubt, very much aware that 888 is the number of Jesus:

    888 is the number of new creation (i.e., ‘a new man’). It is Jesus’ number since the name Jesus adds up to 888 in Gematria in contrast to fallen man’s number of 666 (Rev. 13). Moreover, Jesus received His name when He was eight days old when He was circumcised! (Luke 2:21.) (Note, the ‘names on foreheads’ in Rev. 13:18 in contrast with the next verse, 14:1.)
    Eight times 111 = 888.

    Not only are they engaged in historical revisionism, they’re promoting bat-shit-insane numerology. Just another winking nod to their fellow travelers that by “spiritual and religious history” they actually mean “Jesus is Lord!”

  47. #47 AllanW
    January 5, 2008

    Re; comment #43 “Which is actually an officially Christian nation.”

    True; Church of England (Anglicanism). At the last official census the percentage of the population that attended ANY church on any regular basis was 6%. The third largest category of belief (larger than Catholics, Jews, Sikhs etc) was ‘Jedi’. I kid you not. I like to see this as a response of ‘Fuck you and your religion. I don’t have one. Now back off.’

    The point that’s interesting is that we are ‘officially’ a Christian country that in practice is very secular whereas the States is officially a secular country that in practice is highly religious (church attendance percentages anyone?).

    If things got bad here I’d head for Sweden or Denmark but I’m sure we’d welcome Craig and Cap’n Cosmo here like a shot as religious refugees.

  48. #48 Expat Onlooker
    January 5, 2008

    “America is becoming a godless, atheist country as there has been a concerted attempt for quite some time by certain secular Jewish groups to slander and degrade Christianity. I’m just glad that I’m Buddhist and don’t have to see my philosophy spit upon by that group of people, although it is highly likely that they, after having had their way with all things Christian, will eventually start taking stabs and swipes at Buddhism as well.”

    An anti-semitic Buddhist… that’s a new one.

    Regarding the OP:

    Fuckity fucking fuck.

    Posted by: Ragutis | January 5, 2008 4:14 AM

    Not anti-semitic but not pro-semitic either, so lay off the namecalling, little man. Try challenging my point…if you can.

  49. #49 Expat Onlooker
    January 5, 2008

    As a permanant resident of the country I live in, if the U.S. goes down the theocracy route which seems to be were it is headed I will seriously have to consider my citizenship options. The Democrats have win this coming election or the country is in deep shit all the way. This is their election to win or lose. Just for your information I do vote absentee.

    I too am a permanent resident here in Thailand, and am being processed for Thai citizenship. America is becoming fascist, and I refuse to have an affinity with such country. The America I knew and loved is dead and gone, and I see a new America emerging- one that is increasingly 3rd-world, less prosperous, less educating, and with only a small, insignificant voice in world affairs. From envy of the world to laughing-stock of the world in less than 40 years. It is truly amazing.

  50. #50 jpf
    January 5, 2008

    “First the Jews came for the Christians and I did not speak out because I was a Buddhist…”

    Also, as a non-Jewish Secularite who isn’t aligned with any group, I am offended that my contributions to the slandering, degradifying, and general spituponification of Christianity isn’t being acknowledged!

  51. #51 QrazyQat
    January 5, 2008

    America is becoming a godless, atheist country…

    Since we’re talking about a country where a solid majority of voters say they would never, under any circumstances, vote for an atheist no matter how well qualified, the above quoted statement is insanely ignorant (at best).

  52. #52 jpf
    January 5, 2008

    But, but, but, QrazyQat! Haven’t you read the Protocols of the Elder Secularists? Their devious plans for global domination are all right there:

    1) Replace “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays”.
    2) Write some books.
    3) Have said books made into movies.
    4) Impurify our precious bodily fluids with SOY!
    5) Lull the voters into complacency by making them think they’re consistently not voting for any atheists, then on December 21, 2012, have all politicians rip off their faces (actually masks made from cultured stem cells) to reveal their true Reptiloid Atheist forms.

    And finally…

    6) Round up all Christians and put them into Death Camps!

    The Buddhists will be safe, though. For now…

  53. #53 QrazyQat
    January 5, 2008

    BTW, I’m in Thailand right now, for the second year, and one thing you find here — which most expats hate, are evangelical Christians who attempt to convert Buddhists, and of course, are known for being outrageous liars.

    I did run into one couple though who were happy their friend was “spreading the word of Christ” here but who thought the Iraq war (and the Vietnam war) was an awful mistake/screwup/etc. so there is some hope for a few of these folks. Being perhaps too polite an atheist, I resisted the urge to ask why their friend was doing such a cruel thing to such nice people.

    Bottom line though; any expat, and esp. any Buddhist expat, in Thailand who thinks that atheists and Jews are their big problem, moreso than evangelical Christians, isn’t thinking straight.

  54. #54 Ex Partiot
    January 5, 2008

    Ex Pat Onlooker, I agree with you 100% the United States is becoming the laughing stock of the world and if things don’t change it will beome a country that no one will respect or trust any longer. I also feel that with the war that is being waged against science by the fundie nuts the States eventually start suffering a brain drain and lose any advantage they had in different fields of research and development.

  55. #55 Brandon P.
    January 5, 2008

    Bottom line though; any expat, and esp. any Buddhist expat, in Thailand who thinks that atheists and Jews are their big problem, moreso than evangelical Christians, isn’t thinking straight.

    If anything, you would think that the Buddhists would be our allies. Their philosophy doesn’t even seem to require a deity (unless Buddha himself is considered a deity), and for the most part they have not shown the same proclivity towards violence and forceful conversions as their Abrahamic counterparts.

  56. #56 craig
    January 5, 2008

    Allan, I’d take that offer in a heartbeat… except your country doesn’t seem to be too interested in having disabled (and therefore unable to earn an income, and also needing lots of health care) people emigrate. I looked into it.

    Please prove me wrong, I’d love to get the hell out of here. At least then I wouldn’t have to download “Time Team” to watch it.

  57. #57 AllanW
    January 5, 2008

    Re; comment #56

    Ah! I see the problem. You have been presuming to only look at the rules. I’m not aware of any state in the world who encourages migration in the circumstances you refer to.

    And I would not encourage anyone to deliberately circumvent the rules.

    On a totally different topic, has anyone else noticed just how much illegal immigration occurs and how ineffective the state seems to be in combating it? In the UK for example, the borders have been effectively open for all kinds of migration (both legal and illegal) for at least twenty years. In effect the only migrants who seem to be deported are the ones who fall into the criminal justice system for obvious offences.

    There has been a de facto amnesty on illegal immigration here for a very long time, it seems to me. What is the position in the Staes? I haven’t been exposed to the daily lives and problems of illegal immigrants through my work, you understand, but I have read of many immigrants who have been allowed to become citizens here without following the proscribed track.

  58. #58 bernarda
    January 5, 2008

    Well, maybe the jesus freaks with the Huckster might do something about world poverty, anyway something they haven’t done before.

    http://www.poverty.com/internationalaid.html

    Why are all those godless nordic countries and other godless Europeans so much more generous than good American Xians?

    The 0.7 percent figure was already decided on back in the 70’s, but most countries, especially the U.S. never lived up to it. Face it, American xians are greedy cheapskates.

  59. #59 Leigh
    January 5, 2008

    @Expat Onlooker #48: “”America is becoming a godless, atheist country as there has been a concerted attempt for quite some time by certain secular Jewish groups to slander and degrade Christianity. I’m just glad that I’m Buddhist and don’t have to see my philosophy spit upon by that group of people, although it is highly likely that they, after having had their way with all things Christian, will eventually start taking stabs and swipes at Buddhism as well. . . . Not anti-semitic but not pro-semitic either, so lay off the namecalling, little man. Try challenging my point…if you can.”

    America is 68% Christian. Polls show a vicious and deplorable bias AGAINST atheists. As for the rest of your “point”, it’s batshit insane. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so the burden rests on you to support your “point”, buddy boy.

    BTW, if you want to aim an ad-hom against me, I’m a woman. So, “little girl” would be your best bet.

  60. #60 A Lurker
    January 5, 2008
    If the term is defined by what religion is dominant in American culture then we are very much a Christian nation but with a secular constitution. (#11)

    I refer the commenter to comment #7.

    With or without Article 11, that’s a pretty big “if”.

    I refer you to what I actually wrote which you quoted and then replied as if I wrote something completely different.

    What is written in the Constitution is about the government which is not the end-all of this nation. Nor does it define culture. Culturally, the United States is overwhelmingly Christian. But that culturally Christian nation has a secular constitution which demands a secular government (which is unfortunately being ignored by the far right).

    The United States of America is a secular nation with a Christian majority. It is a secular nation. Those members of the “oppressed” majority who choose to whine about this need to accept it.

    That the “majority” needs to accept that the United States has a secular constitution demanding secular government and that we have laws demanding no religious discrimination by employers, etc. is something that I will not argue with. Though it might be pointed out that in this case, the “majority” is a minority. Far right Christians are simply not a majority. And even most of them would rebel at the notion of their pastor having legal authority to tell them what to do when outside of a church setting. Christians have been influenced by our secular constitution and institutions far more then they know or admit. Most of them are ignorant of the consequences of breaching the separation of church and state.

    Apparently they never learned, neither in kindergarten nor Sunday school, how to share. They want the whole pie. Well, they can’t have it, and they need to accept that, too.

    I am at a loss why you would think that I would disagree.

    Culture ? Constitution.

    The term “nation” means more than a mere “country” in that the term nation implies that there exists a dominant culture. Christians are not just a strong majority but they have shaped the culture in such a way that it would be impossible to recognize it without it. Indeed the cultural influence is even greater than their shear numbers.

    Finally I will state that I do hope that the culture of the nation does drift away from Christianity. But that, if it happens, will be the process of decades (and possibly more).
    But as someone who believes in secular government, I don’t think it is the governments job to do this.

  61. #61 gsb
    January 5, 2008

    America is becoming a godless, atheist country…

    Sigh. If only. If only. Please don’t get my hopes up.

  62. #62 Leigh
    January 5, 2008

    Also BTW, I’m a Christian, and nobody’s been spitting on me — other than some fundiegelical correligionists. And anybody who claims that certain “secular Jewish groups” have been slandering and degrading Christianity IS an anti-semite, in the absence of some pretty strong proof of such a conspiracy.

  63. #63 Ric
    January 5, 2008

    Expat Onlooker said: Try challenging my point…if you can.

    Uh, what point? You lay out some broad conspiratorial claims without any specifics and then ask someone to “challenge your point”? You don’t make any point.

    Okay, I’ll challenge you: no, they’re not.

    How’s that work for ya?

  64. #64 craig
    January 5, 2008

    How exactly do you slander Christianity anyway?

  65. #65 N.Wells
    January 5, 2008

    As ema and Crudely Wrott noted, u’ll find it worthwhile to link through to the article that details the refutations, at
    http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/1/4/24725/53989

    Evidently, the proselytizers treat history the same way they treat science: when you are in the wrong, simply make up crap, because your audience is unlikely to have on hand the details they need to refute you. Lying for Jesus is obviously okay with these people.

  66. #66 Rich Stage
    January 5, 2008

    I’m just glad that I’m Buddhist and don’t have to see my philosophy spit upon by that group of people

    You might want to think again.

  67. #67 QrazyQat
    January 5, 2008

    If anything, you would think that the Buddhists would be our allies. Their philosophy doesn’t even seem to require a deity

    One thing you tend to find — certainly with Buddhism — is that the core ideas contain some good sounding stuff, but as you get more elaborate and add more layers of authority you get worse and worse. For instance, there’s the Dalai Lama’s homophobia, or the power- and money-grubbing of many Buddhist temple leaders and priests. This seems to be the case with most religions, probably all. They tend to build elaborate power structures (and of course need money to build those plus big physical structures) and attract people who seek power over others. I’d say that pretty well messes up any religion even without considering the business of thinking that believing without evidence is better than wanting evidence before believing.

  68. #68 raven
    January 5, 2008

    “”America is becoming a godless, atheist country as there has been a concerted attempt for quite some time by certain secular Jewish groups to slander and degrade Christianity.

    The statistics and facts don’t support this prejudice.
    90% of Americans self identify with a religion, 82% of that is Xian. The Death Cultists own president Bush, controlled the US congress up until 2006, and own the republican party and Texas. Hardly the position a downtrodden minority of only 82% of the population, would have.

    Name those secular Jewish groups that slander and degrade Xianity. I live in the USA, born here, and can’t think of a single one. Right now the fundie Xians and the Jews are great friends for some reason. I think it is because the Jews own Israel and the fundies need Israel so Armageddon can take place. That is when god kills almost everyone and ends the world. [These people must have very miserable lives if there fondest hope is to watch 6.7 billion people get murdered.]

    And BTW, who really hates the USA and have degraded it and will degrade it to a banana republic if they can are fundie Death Cult Xians. They seek to overthrow the USA government, set up a theocracy, and head on back to the Dark Ages. They say so constantly and have made some progress. For the not really antisemite, read the original post again. That resolution declaring the US a Xian nation passed almost unanimously.

  69. #69 me
    January 5, 2008

    wtf?! could that kostard make that post any longer and more obtuse? could that kostard have been more ineffective? I don’t think so

    no wonder the republithugs keep winning

  70. #70 Eamon Knight
    January 5, 2008

    Yo, “me” @#69: Wassamatta? Did he use too many words of more than one syllable for ya? Poor baby!

  71. #71 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    January 5, 2008

    To anyone that thinks it is okay for religion to continue to have power and authority, I would direct you to read Hector Avalos’s Fighting Words. He argues that religion creates an unverifiable scarcity of “truth” no matter what its claim to authority. In other words, all religions by their vary nature add an unnecessary complication to the problem of humanity struggling with the real scarcities.

    And they cause real harm in trying to enforce their solutions on the remainder of society. It may seem like a blanket claim, but he certainly makes a strong case by examining religion in economic terms.

  72. #72 jpf
    January 5, 2008

    wtf?! could that kostard make that post any longer and more obtuse? could that kostard have been more ineffective? I don’t think so

    no wonder the republithugs keep winning

    Well, the author could have thrown in a few “republithugs” or “*tards” to make it even more ineffective.

    Although I do agree with you that that article typified the disorganized, unreadable ramblings that I see half the time when someone links to something on Daily Kos. Which is, I guess, why I never go there unless prompted to by more readable sources.

  73. #73 Manduca
    January 5, 2008

    I just sent the following to my representative. I urge other pharyngulites to do the same. Be polite, use your own words, and pick a specific example or two from the Daily Kos article. No need to indicate your atheism if you think it will counter the weight of your argument.

    Dear Representative:
    I am writing today to urge you to vote against House Resolution 888, “Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our [Nation]”.

    I worry that there are people in the U.S. and even in Congress who wish to turn this country into a Christian theocracy. Resolution 888 seems to be part of an attempt on such people to establish one official American religion. I find this contrary to principles of freedom set forth in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers.

    I am concerned that the passage of this resolution not only contradicts the principles encoded in the Bill of Rights, but also establishes erroneous ideas about our history as “fact”. Such inaccuracies about the Founding Fathers are typical of the pseudo-history found on Christian nationalist websites, and do not belong in the official Congressional record. One example out of many is the quote-mining of Adams’s declaration of Independence Day, which selectively reports that he wrote: “[Independence Day] ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty”, while conveniently omitting that he also wrote: “[it] ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations” (John Adams to Abigail Adams Philadelphia July 3, 1776, Paul H. Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates to Congress, vol. 4, (Washington D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976), 376).

    I note with disappointment that you voted for House Resolution 847, “Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.” I find it inappropriate for any representative of the government to express approval of a particular religion, no matter what proportion of the citizens belong to it. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg” (Notes on Virginia, 1782).

    I frequently find myself in complete agreement with you, and in general, I am proud to have you as my Representative in Congress. I hope that you will not continue voting in support of un-Constitutional bills such as Resolutions 847.

  74. #74 Don
    January 5, 2008

    Agree with raven, if you assert that ‘certain’ jewish groups are spitting on christianity then anti-semitism is a reasonable conclusion.

    Love the way some people use the word ‘certain’ to mean, ‘I know who they are, but this knowledge is only for those already in the know.’ Actually, I don’t love it. I find it creepy and annoying. If you have information put it on the table, if you don’t then stop insinuating that you do.

    For some reason it reminds me of the Tory election slogan. ‘Are you thinking what we’re thinking?’ To which the only reply is ‘Fuck, I hope not.’

  75. #75 noncarborundum
    January 5, 2008

    . . . a concerted attempt for quite some time by certain secular Jewish groups to slander and degrade Christianity

    Why do I get the feeling that lurking behind that reference to “certain secular Jewish groups” is the dread tetragrammaton, ACLU?

    At least Expat is honest and/or guileless enough to reveal the fact that his gripe is with Jews. You just know that this kind of sentiment underlies a lot of the rightist caterwauling against the ACLU, PFAW, etc., but they rarely come right out and say so.

  76. #76 Alverant
    January 5, 2008

    How do you slander Xity on this board? Slander means “defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.” Since this is writing, shouldn’t it be called libel? But wait, libel is “defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures” which hasn’t been done here. It’s not libel or slander if the statement is true.

  77. #77 Bruce Wilson
    January 5, 2008

    Re: Is H.Res 888 a problem ?

    Here’s a quick thought to consider –

    Last December, the soft Christian Nationalist “Christmas Resolution” passed in the House on a vote of 327-9

    House Resolution 888 is what I’d call a “hard Christian nationalist” ( or theocratic ) resolution. Does it have a chance ?

    Do you care to take that risk ?

  78. #78 FrumiousBandersnark
    January 5, 2008

    Expat Onlooker (#42): in order for anyone to counter your points, you first need to make one, and support it with some kind of evidence. Accusatory broadsides such as “America is becoming a godless…” etc. blah blah blah, “secular Jewish conspiracy” blah blah blah, aren’t really arguable. Those are conclusions asserted without proof.

    I will say this: I see nothing wrong with a godless, atheist America. I certainly have no problem with a secular government that does not give preference to any religion in particular, or religion at all. Apparently, neither did the framers of the Constitution, as neither the word “God” nor “Bible” are used as an authority for establishing our legal framework.

    In more succinct terms: piss off, moron.

  79. #79 Krystalline Apostate
    January 5, 2008

    The only prominent Founder who can be accurately described as a Christian was John Adams

    Ummm…no, incorrect. Benjamin Rush, for 1. He wrote a letter to TJ arguing against the religious clause. John Jay, 1st SC justice.
    In fact, most of them were varying degrees of xtian. A large part of those were rather ambivalent in their public lives.
    Only 3 of them were actual Deists.
    This actually has little relevance in the 21st CE, I might add.

  80. #80 steve james
    January 5, 2008

    I was planning to send a strong letter to my representative.

    But then I remembered that she’s dead.

    So, until the special election, you guys are on your own.

  81. #81 Red Mann
    January 5, 2008

    I sent this to Thelma Drake who is a fellow Virginian rep of Forbestard. She votes in lock step with him on every issue. BTW, Forbes won’t listen to anyone outside his district.

    Honorable Rep Drake;

    I call your attention to HR 888. This resolution seems harmless enough on its face, just a feel good endorsement of religion in America. In reality it is riddled with many misinterpretations of our history. Many of the statements in this resolution have been debunked many times by many historians. I will not address each of the issues of this misguided resolution, I will point each of you, or your staff, to a web site that provides detailed information: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/1/4/24725/53989. This may serve as a starting point for actual research.

    Since I can’t email Mr. Forbes, perhaps you could suggest to him that, as the main sponsor of this resolution, I would recommend that he undertake serious historical research of the many erroneous statements found therein. For many years members of conservative religious groups, generally known as the “Religious Right”, have been distorting history to advance their cause of inserting their view of what religion should be into various government entities.

    America’s greatest strength, indeed it greatest contribution to the world, is the notion of a completely secular state. By placing a firm wall of separation between government and religion, both are protected in a way never before seen in the world. Contrary to musings of the “Religious Right”, the Founders very carefully and deliberately created a completely secular state. There is no support for the notion that America was, or is, a “Christian Nation”. The fact that a majority of Americans are, indeed, Christians, in no way supports this notion of a “Christian Nation”.

    I would beg of you to reconsider this ill-advised action. It demeans both the Congress of the United States and America as a whole.

  82. #82 Kagehi
    January 5, 2008

    “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”- Buddha

    Or if you really are as fracking dense as you seem to be, you can easily extend that to say: Do not believe in gods, the usefulness of prayers, the effectiveness of astrology, the existence of an afterlife or ***anything*** else that are professed by other people, unless your own common sense and **reason** lead you to conclude that they might actually be true. I would have left out common sense, since there is no such thing, but it is rather predicated *entirely* on having sufficient knowledge about the world to use reason to *reach* such a conclusion. Huge numbers of reasoned people have either rejected Christianity outright, or have opted to abandon belief in the literalist, YEC, dominionist, theocratic version of Christianity, in favor of one that at least accepts that lots of really smart people have figured some shit out, and those realities, and the reasoning that led to recognition of those realities, are *not* compatible with the lunatic positions of certain extreme forms of religion. And that is among people that only possess maybe 20% of the knowledge necessary to understand why atheists reject all of it. Buddhists are proto-atheists. There basic philosophy is, “If you can’t provide evidence for it, at least to yourself, never mind anyone else, it is bullshit.” We might quibble with them over some of the silly stuff they think they have evidence for, and point out where their own assumptions lead them astray (i.e., where they refuse to use reason to reach a conclusion, but ironically do exactly what Buddha told them not to, and simply believe him without question), but we chew into the hides of people that call themselves atheists and insist on babbling about the value/truth of some nonsense they haven’t look at closely enough too. The only difference between us and a Buddhist is that some morons in their religion have opted to ignore Buddha’s own teachings and elevate him to a position as a god/prophet, who can’t be wrong. And yes, we **do** have a problem with those sorts of people, just as we would have a problem with some clown starting a religion based on Dawkins after he dies, and insisting that *his* views can’t be questioned, in contradiction of anything he has said on the subject.

    As other people have asked, given that you get the whole, “The US is becoming atheist”, bit wrong from sentence one, and you obviously fail to recognize why we would *possibly* have a bigger problem with people that don’t question anything they believe, ever, and think their prophets are infallible, than someone whose “prophet” told them to fracking think, and question everything, including himself, what the hell was your point exactly Expat?

    That atheists have a real problem with people that don’t know their own religion, lie about others, and spread misinformation and hate? That would “seem” to be your position, since you are defending the people that do this, and you seem to fail in grasping a key factor in Buddhism. In which case, it doesn’t surprise me that you would be worried, you fit quite nicely into the same set of blind beliefs and ignorance we have a problem with.

    In any case, you know the resolution I want to see. One something to the effect, “As it is necessary to understand history, so as to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, any attempt by groups to intentionally distort that history, or deny new evidence of the true events of that history, for their own political gains and goals are behaving in a way that is detrimental to the nation and the well being of the world. We must stand by the truth of events, however inconvenient they may be to our policies and politics, lest we allow those with dangerous agendas to so distort the truth of such events, as to undermine the very fabric of our nation.”

    Not sure if you could also make it some sort of clear legal document, such that you could them start suing that asses off of all the people that *are* doing precisely this. A few court cases where some clown starts babbling about the founders wanting the nation to be Christian, in which they can provide *no* documentation at all, or all documentation they do try to provide turns out to be quote mined distortions of the original statements and intent, and maybe these clowns would be burned enough to either back off, or try something truly stupid, like passing provably fake documents (in which case they would *really* be in trouble).

  83. #83 Togusa
    January 5, 2008

    I would write my Representative regarding my concerns over HR 888. Unfortunately, my Representative was Julia Carson, who passed away last month from terminal lung cancer. Even worse, her district will be without voting representation in the House until March 11th, when a special election will be held to choose Ms. Carson’s successor, which I fear will likely take place well after any vote on HR 888. :(

    I’m left wondering if writing any of the other representatives in Indiana’s delegation would have much of an effect….

  84. #84 Expat Onlooker
    January 6, 2008

    “Since we’re talking about a country where a solid majority of voters say they would never, under any circumstances, vote for an atheist no matter how well qualified, the above quoted statement is insanely ignorant (at best).”

    But many, as is apparent (Read: Barack Obama), will vote for a former drug user with a moslem background who is a self-proclaimed Christian. Are you SURE the day won’t come when Americans will vote in an atheist as their leader? I’m not.

  85. #85 Expat Onlooker
    January 6, 2008

    BTW, I’m in Thailand right now, for the second year, and one thing you find here — which most expats hate, are evangelical Christians who attempt to convert Buddhists, and of course, are known for being outrageous liars.

    I did run into one couple though who were happy their friend was “spreading the word of Christ” here but who thought the Iraq war (and the Vietnam war) was an awful mistake/screwup/etc. so there is some hope for a few of these folks. Being perhaps too polite an atheist, I resisted the urge to ask why their friend was doing such a cruel thing to such nice people.

    Bottom line though; any expat, and esp. any Buddhist expat, in Thailand who thinks that atheists and Jews are their big problem, moreso than evangelical Christians, isn’t thinking straight.

    It is true that evangelical Christians (as well as Mormons) do come here in small numbers in a silly attempt to find converts in Thailand. Have no fear, though, because no one takes them seriously. Of the Christians in this country, almost all of them are Roman Catholic, and are ethnic Chinese. Buddhism is safe… for now.

    P.S. Here on vacation? Pattaya? Phuket?

  86. #86 Expat Onlooker
    January 6, 2008

    “Ex Pat Onlooker, I agree with you 100% the United States is becoming the laughing stock of the world and if things don’t change it will beome a country that no one will respect or trust any longer. I also feel that with the war that is being waged against science by the fundie nuts the States eventually start suffering a brain drain and lose any advantage they had in different fields of research and development.”

    I agree. American government, as well as much of corporate America, is more intent upon issuing H1-B visas and importing hundreds of thousands of Indians and Chinese to fill in tech positions that Americans mysteriously will not or cannot do anymore. And let’s not mention the dumbing down of our educational system. Perhaps I should stop now lest I be accused of fomenting an alarmist attitude…

  87. #87 Expat Onlooker
    January 6, 2008

    Bottom line though; any expat, and esp. any Buddhist expat, in Thailand who thinks that atheists and Jews are their big problem, moreso than evangelical Christians, isn’t thinking straight.

    “If anything, you would think that the Buddhists would be our allies. Their philosophy doesn’t even seem to require a deity (unless Buddha himself is considered a deity), and for the most part they have not shown the same proclivity towards violence and forceful conversions as their Abrahamic counterparts.”

    I cannot argue this. Buddhism, in essence, isn’t really a religion at all- it is a philosophy. I am, unfortunately, still in the process of shedding what little bit of Christianity that is still left in me, and seeing the decline of Christianity as a collective whole in the West can be painful to watch. Please be patient.

  88. #88 Expat Onlooker
    January 6, 2008

    Re; comment #56

    Ah! I see the problem. You have been presuming to only look at the rules. I’m not aware of any state in the world who encourages migration in the circumstances you refer to.

    And I would not encourage anyone to deliberately circumvent the rules.

    On a totally different topic, has anyone else noticed just how much illegal immigration occurs and how ineffective the state seems to be in combating it? In the UK for example, the borders have been effectively open for all kinds of migration (both legal and illegal) for at least twenty years. In effect the only migrants who seem to be deported are the ones who fall into the criminal justice system for obvious offences.

    There has been a de facto amnesty on illegal immigration here for a very long time, it seems to me. What is the position in the Staes? I haven’t been exposed to the daily lives and problems of illegal immigrants through my work, you understand, but I have read of many immigrants who have been allowed to become citizens here without following the proscribed track.

    And why has mass, unchecked immigration been such a one-sided event? People, mostly 3rd-world and non-white, immigrating to western countries, that is. Can anyone explain this to me? And being that the West is, for all intents and purposes, Christian, what will be the long-term results for Christianity be if such demographic trends are allowed to continue?

  89. #89 Expat Overlord
    January 6, 2008

    Well, maybe the jesus freaks with the Huckster might do something about world poverty, anyway something they haven’t done before.

    http://www.poverty.com/internationalaid.html

    Why are all those godless nordic countries and other godless Europeans so much more generous than good American Xians?

    The 0.7 percent figure was already decided on back in the 70’s, but most countries, especially the U.S. never lived up to it. Face it, American xians are greedy cheapskates.

    I disagree. Americans are just as gullible and stupid as the Europeans are. Look back to when the tsunami hit here in Asia. Thousands died in Thailand alone, and then the donations came pouring in to the NGOs here. 3 years later and there are STILL people at Phi Phi Island that haven’t gotten their homes rebuilt. The altruism (and stupidity) of the Europeans and Americans can be amazing- although not all of them are so easily duped.

  90. #90 Kseniya
    January 6, 2008

    A Lurker:

    I am at a loss why you would think that I would disagree.

    Hint: It’s not all about you.

    Apparently we both had communication problems yesterday. It appears we’re in 99.9% agreement on the topic. :-)

  91. #91 Expat Onlooker
    January 6, 2008

    @Expat Onlooker #48: “”America is becoming a godless, atheist country as there has been a concerted attempt for quite some time by certain secular Jewish groups to slander and degrade Christianity. I’m just glad that I’m Buddhist and don’t have to see my philosophy spit upon by that group of people, although it is highly likely that they, after having had their way with all things Christian, will eventually start taking stabs and swipes at Buddhism as well. . . . Not anti-semitic but not pro-semitic either, so lay off the namecalling, little man. Try challenging my point…if you can.”

    America is 68% Christian. Polls show a vicious and deplorable bias AGAINST atheists. As for the rest of your “point”, it’s batshit insane. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so the burden rests on you to support your “point”, buddy boy.

    BTW, if you want to aim an ad-hom against me, I’m a woman. So, “little girl” would be your best bet.

    As far as your urging me to back my claims, I must admit that it is a hard thing to actually pinpoint. It’s just that I see a lot of negativity regarding all things Christian via the MSM and even in our Hollywood movies. “Season’s Greetings” seems to also be slowly and deliberately replacing “Merry Christmas”. What do you think? And also, little girl, I don’t ever recall witnessing an atheist being openly attacked just because he or she was an atheist. I personally like the word “agnostic”. It has a nice ring to it.

  92. #92 Michael Geissler
    January 6, 2008

    Expat Onlooker @91: “It’s just that I see a lot of negativity regarding all things Christian via the MSM and even in our Hollywood movies.”

    Would that be like in “The Golden Compass” where all the anti-religious sentiment was taken out? Or “I am Legend” where a whole heap of pro-religious sentiment was put in?

  93. #93 Expat Onlooker
    January 6, 2008

    I’m just glad that I’m Buddhist and don’t have to see my philosophy spit upon by that group of people

    You might want to think again.

    Posted by: Rich Stage | January 5, 2008 9:41 AM

    Hilarious.

  94. #94 bernarda
    January 6, 2008

    James Madison was not a Xian. He spoke about his rejection of the dogma. As to the Constitution, he worried about religious influence in government.

    “The most notable attempt was that in Virga to establish a Gen assessment for the support of ail Xn sects. This was proposed in the year (1784) by P. H. [Patrick Henry] and supported by all his eloquence, aided by the remaining prejudices of the Sect which before the Revolution had been established by law. The progress of the measure was arrested by urging that the respect due to the people required in so extraordinary a case an appeal to their deliberate will. The bill was accordingly printed & published with that view. At the instance of Col: George Nicholas, Col: George Mason & others, the memorial & remonstrance agst it was drawn up, and printed Copies of it circulated thro’ the State, to be signed by the people at large. It met with the approbation of the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Quakers, and the few Roman Catholics, universally; of the Methodists in part; and even of not a few of the Sect formerly established by law. When the Legislature assembled, the number of Copies & signatures prescribed displayed such an overwhelming opposition of the people, that the proposed plan of a genl assessmt was crushed under it: and advantage taken of the crisis to carry thro’ the Legisl: the Bill above referred to, establishing religious liberty.

    In the course of the opposition to the bill in the House of Delegates, which was warm & strenuous from some of the minority, an experiment was made on the reverence entertained for the name & sanctity of the Saviour, by proposing to insert the words “Jesus Christ” after the words “our lord” in the preamble, the object of which would have been, to imply a restriction of the liberty defined in the Bill, to those professing his religion only. The amendment was discussed, and rejected by a vote of agst (See letter of J. M. to Mr. Jefferson dated )1 The opponents of the amendment having turned the feeling as well as judgment of the House agst it, by successfully contending that the better proof of reverence for that holy name wd be not to profane it by making it a topic of legisl. discussion, & particularly by making his religion the means of abridging the natural and equal rights of all men, in defiance of his own declaration that his Kingdom was not of this world. This view of the subject was much enforced by the circumstance that it was espoused by some members who were particularly distinguished by their reputed piety and Christian zeal.”

    – Madison also had these comments,

    “But besides the danger of a direct mixture of Religion & civil Government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded agst in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations. The power of all corporations, ought to be limited in this respect. The growing wealth acquired by them never fails to be a source of abuses. A warning on this subject is emphatically given in the example of the various Charitable establishments in G. B. [Great Britain] the management of which has been lately scrutinized. The excessive wealth of ecclesiastical Corporations and the misuse of it in many Countries of Europe has Long been a topic of complaint. In some of them the Church has amassed half perhaps the property of the nation. When the reformation took place, an event promoted if not caused, by chat disordered state of things, how enormous were the treasures of religious societies, and how gross the corruptions engendered by them; so enormous & so gross as to produce in the Cabinets & Councils of the Protestant states a disregard, of all the pleas of the interested party drawn from the sanctions of the law, and the sacredness of property held in religious trust. The history of England during the period of the reformation offers a sufficient illustration for the present purpose.”

    http://members.tripod.com/~candst/detach.htm

  95. #95 QrazyQat
    January 6, 2008

    But many, as is apparent (Read: Barack Obama), will vote for a former drug user with a moslem background who is a self-proclaimed Christian.

    You’re giving expats a bad name with your swallowing and regurgitating of urban legands (“Obama the Muslim”, along with your anti-Semetic conspiracy theories. We know that Americans will vote in large numbers for a long-time drug user (which doesn’t describe Obama but does describe our current president).

    That someday Americans might be ready to elect an atheist? Sure, assuming we last I don’t see why not, just as we are now ready to consider a non-white person or a woman. But the numbers show that well over half of our voters would not vote for an atheist no matter how well qualified. These people will die off, some may eventually change their minds. Fifty, a hundred years, who knows. But you were talking about now. You were saying America is becoming an atheist nation now. You were talking nonsense.

    P.S. Here on vacation? Pattaya? Phuket?

    No.

  96. #96 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 6, 2008

    And I assume that all the people who claim that the Constitution is based in Christian Whatever have never heard of the Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy, which is essentially the same document, if a bit more foofily worded.

    Voilą.

    The term “nation” means more than a mere “country” in that the term nation implies that there exists a dominant culture.

    Not the way I use it. The way I use it, a country is an officially recognized piece of soil, and a nation is the totality of the people who have the citizenship of a country. That’s why I’m an Austrian: because I have an Austrian passport.

    And why has mass, unchecked immigration been such a one-sided event? People, mostly 3rd-world and non-white, immigrating to western countries, that is. Can anyone explain this to me?

    People go wherever they hope to find well-paying jobs. Please don’t tell me you really didn’t manage to think of this obvious fact on your own.

    And being that the West is, for all intents and purposes, Christian, what will be the long-term results for Christianity be if such demographic trends are allowed to continue?

    Why do you care? :-)

  97. #97 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 6, 2008

    And I assume that all the people who claim that the Constitution is based in Christian Whatever have never heard of the Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy, which is essentially the same document, if a bit more foofily worded.

    Voilą.

    The term “nation” means more than a mere “country” in that the term nation implies that there exists a dominant culture.

    Not the way I use it. The way I use it, a country is an officially recognized piece of soil, and a nation is the totality of the people who have the citizenship of a country. That’s why I’m an Austrian: because I have an Austrian passport.

    And why has mass, unchecked immigration been such a one-sided event? People, mostly 3rd-world and non-white, immigrating to western countries, that is. Can anyone explain this to me?

    People go wherever they hope to find well-paying jobs. Please don’t tell me you really didn’t manage to think of this obvious fact on your own.

    And being that the West is, for all intents and purposes, Christian, what will be the long-term results for Christianity be if such demographic trends are allowed to continue?

    Why do you care? :-)

  98. #98 Matt Penfold
    January 6, 2008

    “Not the way I use it. The way I use it, a country is an officially recognized piece of soil, and a nation is the totality of the people who have the citizenship of a country. That’s why I’m an Austrian: because I have an Austrian passport.”

    This definition breaks down when dealing with an entity such as the UK. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are nations as t(he word is normally used They have their own football teams for example), but there is no such thing as a “English”, “Scottish”, “Welsh” or “Northern Irish” citizen.

  99. #99 Expat Onlooker
    January 6, 2008

    We know that Americans will vote in large numbers for a long-time drug user (which doesn’t describe Obama but does describe our current president).

    That someday Americans might be ready to elect an atheist? Sure, assuming we last I don’t see why not, just as we are now ready to consider a non-white person or a woman. But the numbers show that well over half of our voters would not vote for an atheist no matter how well qualified. These people will die off, some may eventually change their minds. Fifty, a hundred years, who knows. But you were talking about now. You were saying America is becoming an atheist nation now. You were talking nonsense.

    “You’re giving expats a bad name with your swallowing and regurgitating of urban legands (“Obama the Muslim”, along with your anti-Semetic conspiracy theories.”

    Only urban “legands” (spelling?). I wouldn’t be so sure. This man’s past is murky, and after all, his name is ‘William Smith’. That alone should tell you something. And sorry to ruffle you with my “anti-semetic” (spelling?) rhetoric, but at least I’ve researched the subject, and believe that there is a conspiracy of sorts in operation at the present. That having been said, I can’t help but get the impression that you are not a learned man, and are essentially barfing out a good amount of Political Correctness that you deem as still fashionable. That is the extent of your argument.

    P.S. Here on vacation? Pattaya? Phuket?

    “No.”

    Not here doing anything constructive, I would imagine.

  100. #100 Expat Roadkill Killer
    January 6, 2008

    And I assume that all the people who claim that the Constitution is based in Christian Whatever have never heard of the Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy, which is essentially the same document, if a bit more foofily worded.
    Voilą.

    Posted by: David Marjanovi?, OM | January 6, 2008 12:03 PM

    The term “nation” means more than a mere “country” in that the term nation implies that there exists a dominant culture.
    “Not the way I use it. The way I use it, a country is an officially recognized piece of soil, and a nation is the totality of the people who have the citizenship of a country. That’s why I’m an Austrian: because I have an Austrian passport.”

    The gentleman you were addressing is absolutely correct. A “nation” comprises a dominant culture- almost always one particular ethnic group (along with much smaller, less dominant ethnic groups), that live in a particular geographical area. And you are Austrian just because you have an Austrian passport? How superficial of you! That is the extent of it? Would issuing Austrian passports to 3 million Congonese and Australian Aborigines make them as Austrian as you? I assume the assimilation of these 2 peoples into Austrian society would be a smooth one because, after all, they now have Austrian passports.

    And why has mass, unchecked immigration been such a one-sided event? People, mostly 3rd-world and non-white, immigrating to western countries, that is. Can anyone explain this to me?
    “People go wherever they hope to find well-paying jobs. Please don’t tell me you really didn’t manage to think of this obvious fact on your own.”

    So I see sovereign nations mean nothing to you. Just erase all national borders worldwide and let people go where they may because, after all, they are just looking for work as to improve their quality of life? The very thought scares me.

    And being that the West is, for all intents and purposes, Christian, what will be the long-term results for Christianity be if such demographic trends are allowed to continue?
    Why do you care? :-)

    Because I believe Christianity is worth preserving, that’s why, and I wouldn’t feel nearly as comfortable as you in a Marxist, Godless world.

  101. #101 Dahan
    January 6, 2008

    “I wouldn’t feel nearly as comfortable as you in a Marxist, Godless world.”

    We ARE in a godless world. Doesn’t matter if you’re comfortable or not.

  102. #102 Krystalline Apostate
    January 7, 2008

    Because I believe Christianity is worth preserving, that’s why, and I wouldn’t feel nearly as comfortable as you in a Marxist, Godless world.

    Christianity is an anachronistic behavior pattern full of delusions, & how on earth does Marxism come into it?
    It doesn’t. Atheism = communism? What, are you still living in the 1950’s?

  103. #103 Expat Onlooker
    January 7, 2008

    “I wouldn’t feel nearly as comfortable as you in a Marxist, Godless world.”

    We ARE in a godless world. Doesn’t matter if you’re comfortable or not.

    Posted by: Dahan | January 6, 2008 9:02 PM

    Which somehow brings me to this: Do you believe, in your heart of hearts, that those atheists or agnostics that dismiss the notion of God will, while resting on their deathbed, not have at least one moment of doubt concerning their position regarding a supreme being? I wonder how many of them make that last jump to a more traditional theological belief system(?).

  104. #104 True Bob
    January 7, 2008

    Expat 102, are you serious? My guess would be that the “second-guessing” atheists are far outnumbered by the religious blatherers who know it’s hokum when they die.

  105. #105 John Marley
    January 7, 2008

    Which somehow brings me to this: Do you believe, in your heart of hearts, that those atheists or agnostics that dismiss the notion of God will, while resting on their deathbed, not have at least one moment of doubt concerning their position regarding a supreme being? I wonder how many of them make that last jump to a more traditional theological belief system(?).

    So what if they do “have at least one moment of doubt concerning their position regarding a supreme being?”

    Fear makes people act irrationally. That doesn’t change reality. Nor does it mean that they really believe.

    Try this:

    Which somehow brings me to this: Do you believe, in your heart of hearts, that those Xians or theists that accept the notion of God will, while resting on their deathbed, not have at least one moment of doubt concerning their position regarding a supreme being? I wonder how many of them make that last jump to a more rational belief system(?).

    Does that make you question your faith? No? Then don’t delude yourself: your argument is nonsense.

  106. #106 Expat Onlooker
    January 7, 2008

    “Expat 102, are you serious? My guess would be that the “second-guessing” atheists are far outnumbered by the religious blatherers who know it’s hokum when they die.

    Posted by: True Bob | January 7, 2008 9:40 AM ”

    I just can’t bring myself to believe that religious person, upon facing their inevitable demise, would suddenly denounce any belief in God or an afterlife. Fear of death or “moving on” would insure that the very idea would never reach fruition.

  107. #107 Expat Onlooker
    January 7, 2008

    Which somehow brings me to this: Do you believe, in your heart of hearts, that those atheists or agnostics that dismiss the notion of God will, while resting on their deathbed, not have at least one moment of doubt concerning their position regarding a supreme being? I wonder how many of them make that last jump to a more traditional theological belief system(?).
    So what if they do “have at least one moment of doubt concerning their position regarding a supreme being?”

    Fear makes people act irrationally. That doesn’t change reality. Nor does it mean that they really believe.

    Then would it be possible that religion itself was invented by man as a way to alleviate or counter the fear and uncertainty that man has when facing the inevitability of death?

  108. #108 Expat Overseer
    January 7, 2008

    Try this:

    Which somehow brings me to this: Do you believe, in your heart of hearts, that those Xians or theists that accept the notion of God will, while resting on their deathbed, not have at least one moment of doubt concerning their position regarding a supreme being? I wonder how many of them make that last jump to a more rational belief system(?).
    Posted by: John Marley | January 7, 2008 11:03 AM

    “Does that make you question your faith? No? Then don’t delude yourself: your argument is nonsense.”

    I never question my faith, as the only faith I have is in knowing that we will ALL die. I just feel that almost every person, when facing death, NEEDS to feel that they are “going on”. To not have this feeling would leave them with little incentive to progress in any way as an individual. Could I be on to something?

  109. #109 QrazyQat
    January 7, 2008

    Not here doing anything constructive, I would imagine.

    We already know what your imagination runs to: Jewish conspiracies and wingnut fantasies. If I were doing nothing but sunning myself on the beach at Pattaya, it would still be more constructive than spreading anti-Semetic nonsense and lies about a “scary” black Democrat. And if I were in Pattaya, how would that make these nutcase fantasies of your true? Would they become true if I were in Hua Hin? Is there a magical place I could be, and some magical thing I could be doing, that would make your wingnut fantasies true?

    All others note poor expat’s comments, and remember that wingnuts always engage in projection: you, the atheists, are full of doubt about your philosophical positions, while he, the religious guy, has no doubts whatever. No projection there, we can (and no doubt will) be assured.

  110. #110 Kagehi
    January 8, 2008

    To not have this feeling would leave them with little incentive to progress in any way as an individual.

    Wrong. If there was any clear concept of what *progress* meant, then you might be right. However, other than either the pointless BS of Karma, which assigns good and bad according to what makes people feel they *have* progressed, or the version used by every other religion (which doesn’t have reincarnation), which basically assigns “good” as being what ever the priesthood says it is, there isn’t any such specific, non-arbitrary, standard. People inclined to opt for actions that most others would describe as evil “progress” towards those goals, all the while convinced that they are making progress towards self betterment and salvation. They may be hurting themselves, others, causing misery, despair, etc., and they may spend their entire lives in misery and despair of their own, believing that they will be *rewarded* in the after life, or then next incarnation. They may spend every waking moment hating other people, the world, themselves, etc., and trying their hardest to “improve” all three by denying themselves pleasures, denying themselves success, denying themselves imagination, denying themselves knowledge, all they while sewing nothing but destruction among those around them. On their death beds, they will be bitter, hate filled, convinced of their righteousness, and *certain* that they will be rewarded to fighting to make the world *better* by their insane definitions.

    In the case of Karma, it is just as bad, if not worse, since it justifies the acts of such madmen, claims that the victims deserved it, since they wouldn’t be so tested, had they not been evil in the prior life, etc. Improvement to people that believe in it is to welcome the lashes, accept the beatings, allow themselves to starve, and encourage everything done to them, supposedly because by doing such things they will be rewarded by learning something that makes the next life better. And those that commit such acts? They are doing them because its their task in life to dole out the punishments, that the sinners will learn from them. Its the whole, “God is testing me, that is why I am poor, diseased and outcast!”, BS you see among Christians and others. It doesn’t led anyone to *improvement*, it denies improvement, paralysis the believer, by convincing them that change will not happen if *they* attempt it, but only if some outside force does so.

    It cripples the mind, and drives people to accept, allow, encourage, or commit acts that no rational person would, on the basis that *they*, on one side of the spectrum, have no power to change event, or, on the other end of the spectrum, that its *their* duty to some phantasmal force or power to right the wrongs in the world, by acting like raving animals and causing pain and suffering.

    Its not a surprise that only a tiny fraction of the people that believe in religions are the sort that fall into these traps. You have to be completely delusional to deny your own ability to change your life, to embrace either pain and suffering, or the belief that its your task to *CAUSE* it, so as to somehow save others.

    No, incentive to make progress as individuals means trying to be the best you can be, to the limits of what you can learn and understand in your life time. It is **not** progress to refuse to learn, arbitrarily limit your understanding, refuse to see your own mistakes, or mischances, or blame those events on, “Not understanding God’s grand plan.”, “Not remembering what sin you committed in the previous life to deserve this.”, or any other delusional BS, which only strangle your vision, tie your hands, and drive you to act as you think some “other” demands of you, rather than seeking to be the best you can be.

    The feeling that you need to improve yourself, for some mysterious possible after life, is meaningless and invariably leads to seeking goals that deny the very thing you think you are reaching for. Improve yourself because doing nothing when you have a limited time to exist is stupid, and life *demands* you are least try to do more than that, if for no other reason than its damn hard to get laid if all you do from birth is sit on a couch and refuse to do anything, for fear of what you might do wrong in life.

  111. #111 Expat Onlooker
    January 9, 2008

    Not here doing anything constructive, I would imagine.

    “We already know what your imagination runs to: Jewish conspiracies and wingnut fantasies. If I were doing nothing but sunning myself on the beach at Pattaya, it would still be more constructive than spreading anti-Semetic nonsense and lies about a “scary” black Democrat. And if I were in Pattaya, how would that make these nutcase fantasies of your true? Would they become true if I were in Hua Hin? Is there a magical place I could be, and some magical thing I could be doing, that would make your wingnut fantasies true?

    All others note poor expat’s comments, and remember that wingnuts always engage in projection: you, the atheists, are full of doubt about your philosophical positions, while he, the religious guy, has no doubts whatever. No projection there, we can (and no doubt will) be assured.”

    Posted by: QrazyQat | January 7, 2008 11:29 PM

    The Profile of “QrazyQat” is as follows:

    1) He is a bald, overweight, aging liberal loser.
    2) He cannot find satisfactory employment in the United States.
    3) He has no money, and lives as a beach bum in some sleazy guesthouse here in Thailand.
    4) He has a “girlfriend” who is an aging, 35+ former hooker who sometimes has to perform her old trade at his request in order to find money to live on.
    5) He sometimes teaches English in the evening, so that he can fuel his drinking habit.
    6)He is a heavy alcoholic, and after binge drinking, often suffers blackouts, and has on more than one occasion awakened on the side of the road along the beach, beaten and bloody, because those around him could no longer tolerate his obnoxious, drunken behaviour.

    Yes people, this is the kind of person we are dealing with here, and I know because I’ve lived here for 16 years and have seen his type. Please refrain from encouraging this total loser to post again, because whether we be liberal or conservative, religious or not, we all recognize a low-life when we see one, and a low-life he is.

  112. #112 Ichthyic
    January 9, 2008

    Would they become true if I were in Hua Hin? Is there a magical place I could be, and some magical thing I could be doing, that would make your wingnut fantasies true?

    actually, based oh his(?) last post, what expat is projecting is not fantasy so much as delusion, and as such, it does indeed not matter where you live or what you do, it will all be rationalized to fit the delusion.

    post hoc ergo proptor hoc

    MO used to rationalize every delusional thought espoused by self-proclaimed “conservatives”.

    nothing new.

  113. #113 QrazyQat
    January 11, 2008

    Sad to check in a week later and see that expat has — foolishly — posted in response. :) I leave it to PZ to determine how accurate expat’s profiling is (or is it not profiling but that staple of the wingnut: projection?).

    It reminds me of the old newsgroup days, when one particular poster suggested my “problems” understanding his rather bizarre notions of human evolution could have been fixed if I had found “a paleo-anthropologist who’s a feminist, if such a person exists”. (It’s not funny because they miss, but because they miss so much they shoot themselves in the foot.)

  114. #114 Expat Onlooker
    January 12, 2008

    Okay then, loser, tell us what you do here in Thailand. I and my wife own a family business here close to Chinatown in Bangkok. We import gear boxes to sell from India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, and Japan (as well as Canada). You can fool some of the idiots on this thread but you can’t fool me. It would be amusing to hear you concoct a story in an attempt to raise yourself up from the scumbag that you really are.

  115. #115 pattaya guesthouse
    September 1, 2008

    faith futile

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