Sunday, January 17, 2010

Talk To Action | What is Christian nationalism?


"Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ -- to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.
    But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.
    It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.
    It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.
    It is dominion we are after.
    World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish."

In the Christian nationalist vision of America, non-believers would be free to worship as they choose, as long as they know their place. When Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala became the first Hindu priest to offer an invocation before Congress, the Family Research Council issued a furious statement that reveals much about the America they'd like to create:

"While it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage...Our founders expected that Christianity -- and no other religion -- would receive support from the government as long as that support did not violate peoples' consciences and their right to worship. They would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference."

Talk To Action | What is Christian nationalism?

This quote is one of the scariest statements I have ever read in by an American about how this country is to be run in the future.  Christian Nationalism appears to be against the freedoms we have earned with our efforts and blood over the last two hundred and thirty years.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Washington and Deism

You are quite correct in your definition of a deist, but upper class people like Jefferson and Washington were part of the Enlightenment and its way of thinking. I did a search on Washington and Deist where I found over 600,000 hits. This is a question with many sides to it. It's not one that can be easily settled. 

History is difficult to do. I did a search on "Washington Inaugural Prayer" which found this site

Washington's Inaugural Prayer

which reports that this was Washington's inaugural prayer.
"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

You can see that it is quite different. 

This source  

Washington 1752 Quote

had this quote under a Christian Nation

"George Washington, our first President, wrote in 1752, “Let me live according to those holy rules which Thou this day prescribed in Thy holy word….Direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ the way, the truth, and the life. Bless, O Lord, all the people of this land.” 

That's 1752 though and not almost forty years later at the inauguration. I need some help for a source for the prayer in your note. I believe its Washington's from an earlier period.  

As for Jefferson, anyone can start by reading the Jefferson Bible  

Jefferson's Bible

where the author edited the New Testament to include what he felt was essential and removed what he felt was not in keeping with essential truths. Anyone who edits and publishes a re-do of the New Testament is not a typical Christian. 

Results were about 407,000 for 'Jefferson deist'. so that is not an easily settled question either.  

For me this is an historical question that is right or wrong on that basis. I am interested in truth always and in driving out error in my thinking and in society's ' It has nothing to do with the truth or error of Deism and those believing in it. A good study of this question would include: 

  1. A list of those who professed Deism
  2. Examples of what Deists prayed and/or believed. 
  3. Accusations of Christian Ministers at the time (1750-1800) 
  4. A thorough examination of Deism 
  5. A review of information about Washington and Jefferson's beliefs starting with a survey of those million sites.

Religious quotes that never were

History is filled with inaccuracies. Incorrect quotes are one example. If they fit a certain program, they will spread like wild fire and be more difficult to stamp out than a holocaust. The internet has made finding inconsistany easier but resolving it quite difficult. Both points of view are documented so you must sort it out to the best of your ability.

The quote that brought me to this question is
It is impossible to govern without God and
the bible..George Washington

A famous "quotation: by George Washington:
According to about 580 web
sites, George Washington stated:
"It is impossible to rightly govern the
world without God and the Bible." 7
According to Wikipedia:
"Washington is
known to have made some official statements of public piety, but this is not one
of them. Though this assertion is very widely reported to have been said in Washington's
Farewell Address
(17 September 1796), this is not actually the case, as any
search of the documents would reveal. It has also been presented as having been part of his Proclamation on
1795-JAN-01 of 1795-FEB-19 as a day of national Thanksgiving in this
"It is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout
reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great
obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the
blessings we experienced. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without
God and the Bible. It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe,
without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe
without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving
at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason, as reason is to
religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose
his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he
not a Supreme Being to refer to."

In the above paragraph the
italicized portion appears to be entirely bogus, and there is no actual record
of such a statement ever having been made by Washington. The first sentence is
an almost accurate rendition of one from Washington's
official proclamation
, being a portion of this segment:
"In such a state
of things it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout
reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great
obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the
blessings we experience.
 Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George
Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious
societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United
States to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next as a day
of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render
their sincere and hearty thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the manifold
and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation..."

is to be noted that there is genuine piety expressed in this statement, but it
is not of any sectarian kind, Christian or otherwise. The last portion of the
bogus statement which uses it is a truncation of what might also be another
genuine statement. In A Life of Washington (1836) by James K. Paulding,
Washington is quoted as having stated:
It is impossible to reason
without arriving at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason as
reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being
would lose his reason in attempting to account for the great phenomena of
nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to; and well has it been said, that
if there had been no God, mankind would have been obliged to imagine one.

In the spurious version of the Thanksgiving proclamation which
uses a portion of this, Washington's allusions to Voltaire's famous statement
that "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" has been
omitted. In the cases of these "quotations" it seems that if statements suitable
to their sectarian interests do not exist, some people feel it necessary to
invent them. 8
References used:
James Hutson. "The Founders on Religion:
A book of quotations," Princeton University Press, (2005). Read
reviews or order this book safely from online book store

This long quote is from

This is a serious problem in historical research where there are rigorous steps taken to avoid error by the best practionners. My hope is that when faced with a religious quote all of us would check it for accuracy and be prepared to support or debunk it. James Hutson's book would be a good place to start.

Religious quotes that never were: "Concerning the accuracy of religious quotes:
There has been an enormous proliferation of false quotations of a religious nature attributed to American political and religious leaders. In particular, many authors and webmasters attribute sayings to the American Founding Fathers that appear to have been made up out of thin air. I suppose that this extends to sayings by the Founding Mothers on religion as well, except we don't recall having ever seen any of the latter."

James Hutson, Chief of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress has written a book titled "The Founders on Religion: A book of Quotations." The cover states:
"Partisans of various stripes have long invoked quotations from the founding fathers to lend credence to their own views on religion and politics. This book by contrast, is the first of its genre to be grounded in the careful examination of original documents by a professional historian." 1
Hutson cites only quotations known to be valid. We hope that he has a second book in mind: one which documents the common forgeries attributed to the founders. That would be a fascinating study.

Thursday, July 23, 2009 "Ian Buruma"

This video gives a clear structure of how to analyze a changing culture. In this case, it is europe that is under the microscope. Ian Buruma is new to me but seems worthy of further attention. The video deals with both elements of faith and culture. It ties basic human development in as well speaking about the need to belong and its affects on the young.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bishop Spong and Interpretation of the Christmas Pageant

Why is it that people think that something has to be historically accurate in order to be portrayed dramatically? No, of course it is not history that a star announced Jesus' birth. Stars were used to announce a number of historic births in the Jewish tradition, Isaac and Moses among them. It is not history that a star can wander across the sky so slowly that wise men can keep up with it or that this star can actually stop over wherever the wise men are supposed to dismount. It is not history that Middle Eastern magi will follow a star to the birthplace of a new king of the Jews, who in fact is said to be the son of a carpenter. Neither do angels sing to hillside shepherds in the middle of the night to tell them about the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. Shepherds do not then go to find this child in a crowded village with no clues other than that the babe is wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

That, however, is not what these narratives are about. The gospel writers knew that they were not writing history, they knew they were creating an interpretive portrait. That is also what you are doing when you present their portrait in a pageant. Why not then open the pageant with the words, "Once upon a time." Would that not signal that this is not history but like all great myths is still profoundly true and significantly important?

Perhaps you might also present a commentary to accompany the pageant. That commentary could then explain the sources on which the gospel writers were drawing for their details and thereby explain the meaning of these symbols. For example scholars know today that Matthew's story of the wise men and the gifts of gold and frankincense come out of Isaiah 60, where kings come to the brightness of God's rising, they come on camels and they bring gold and frankincense. The star in the East is lifted out of the Balaam and Balak story in Numbers 22-24. The manger/crib is a reference to Isaiah 1. The swaddling clothes come out of the Wisdom of Solomon and on and on we could go. A friend of mine who is a priest in the Church of England tried to write a contemporary version of the Christmas story but found it had little appeal to his audience. I do not think people respond to attempts to take the mystery out of an ancient tale. That does not mean, however, that they think the ancient tale is literally true or actually believable.

I made a note of the Bible references in this piece for future study.  They develop the theme that the Christmas story is about demonstrating fulfillment of prophecy.  Not in the sense that Fundamentalists use, the sense of actual events being foretold and thus confirmed by the Bible, but in the sense of bending or creating story elements to use the Bible prophecy to confirm the identity of Christ as the Messiah.  The actual truth of the events in the stable make a proof of the existence of Jesus as someone special.  They make Him the physical and actual son of God. 

Turning the Christmas Story into a fairy tale eliminates that proof. The story relates desires of men but does not tell of actual, miraculous events that fill those desires.  Bishop Spong is assuming that we really know that Jesus isn't the Miraculous Being we portray in the story, but, only a human baby with a real father that died and was completely disowned by the supporters of his son.  I think that is a bigger leap than Bishop Spong implies in his piece.  I think it is a step toward truth but a real bombshell.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dubai is the center of Architecture in the World Today

"Dubai is Nuts" Gallery
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON OVER THERE? Dubai is said to currently have 15-25% of all the world's cranes.

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