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One Nation Under God
George Washington said:
"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."
Actually historians disagree.
This bit of misinformation has been floating around for years and is being quoted regularly. For verification, check the Mount Vernon Library. There you will find reference to a family bible with similar sentiments, but it cannot be directly attributed to G.W.
Should it be more like this?
"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation with God and the Bible."
"It is impossible to govern ourselves, if we do not a allow freedom of religion...which also means the freedom to reject religion."
The Purpose of Government:
The purpose of government, I argue, is to maintain basic liberties.
These are, basically, the rights to property, life and liberty.
One has the right to trade for property, not steal it by force or appropriate it, without the consent of the owner.
One has the right to live and not be summarily executed for a perceived slight against the State.
And one has the right to one's liberty, so long as his liberty does not violate anyone's right to his liberty, property or life.
In other words, we give government a power, the power to use force, but we must make certain that government only uses retaliatory force.
There is no freedom to impose your will -- religion or atheism -- upon another human being.
The Purpose of Religion:
This is a deeply personal issue.
Some will tell you it is the meaning of their lives and that they must 'save' as many 'souls' as possible.
The problem is there are so many religions, that to create a House of the Lord or Allah or Buddha, would be self defeating. No one would agree. Now you have a power struggle, a renewed Crusade, if you will.
In the US, the Christians might win out. The Muslims would surely fight it. The Buddhists might just take the long view. The Jewish might get with the Christians, as might the Mormons.
In the short run, it would be an ongoing feud.
Which flag should we fly?
Can we take a break for all of our prayer times?
Shall we create a Sharia-Christian-Jewish-law book?
Shall the laws be for all or for select groups of people?
What if I don't like your law? Will I be excommunicated?
Are Sharia laws worse than Christian Commands?
Is the Torah better or is the Talmud more exacting?
What if I'm Hindu?
The purpose of religion is self defined. These, often introspective and subjective views are not always compatible with the true purpose of government.
For example, if your religion dictated School Prayer, would you be prepared to force the atheists to pray or just to shut up? If they then objected?
Why would you even involve your religion in government in the first place? Because you feel it is the foundation of moral laws? Which foundation? Which Prayer Book? Which Bible?
Religion should not become the government, nor should the government become a religion.
The risks are too great. An underground would swell - the opposing religions and the non-religious would congregate. The in-power religion would seek to retain power, but at what 'righteous' cost?
By necessity, certain laws would need to be abandoned - in a religion based system. There would only be a right to practice, say Christianity.
All others might be outright banned. Atheists, scientists and doctors, might be jailed or muzzled or worse.
Nations with opposing religions would face Jihad.
There is no end to the scenario, except a repeat of the Dark Ages, but on a modern scale - with Nuclear Weapons to banish the 'heathen scum of the earth.'
The House of the Lord?
Religion as a part of government has life changing consequences.
Socrates was sentenced to death, for among other things, his disrespect of the gods.
Christianity became the State Church of the Roman Empire. Rome fell or disintegrated, depending upon your take of history.
During Medieval Europe, kings ruled by "divine right."
Finally, the early Congress of the United States banned the establishment of religion. The Age of Enlightenment was in full swing. Thomas Jefferson wrote of a wall of separation between Church and State.
For over 200 years, various groups, usually Churches, have attempted rewrite US History, implying that Jefferson really was a Christian. He was not. He wrote he was not -repeatedly.
Other countries also built walls of separation...or NOT:
Australia adopted similar rules separating the power of the Church, from the power of government.
Brazil and France, divorced it.
Not so in Germany.
India is a mess.
Japan? Shinto was in vogue before WWII.
Norway: no, it has a State Religion.
UK: State Religions (plural).
Turkey: it's a bit more complicated. Imams are paid by the State.
Sweden: just recently achieved church separation in the year 2000.
Spain: it's a bit of a cooperative.
Philippines: church is separated.
Singapore: as is their bent, they will fine or jail you for spouting religious dogma. (A little too far for my taste.)
The Age of Reason is DIM-ming
It can be argued that within the last 20 years, if not as far back as 1900, many religions have been experiencing major comebacks. Not in the sense that they ever went away, but in the sense that they are, once again, making inroads.
Christians, worldwide, are increasing in number, pushing over 30% now, according to a recent Anglican Journal article.
Muslims have almost doubled their numbers in the last one hundred years and are at approximately 22% of the world today.
Even China is experiencing a resurgence in religion.
Agnostics and atheists are dwindling or going underground, however. I wonder why? Persecution? Ridicule? Mysticism?
(I used Leonard Peikoff's acronym here: DIM.)
The point is, any time someone tells you religion is fading from the world stage, take them to task. It is actually expanding. There are a few voices in the wilderness warning us that this viral expansion can lead to serious problems...as history continues to document.
The Wall of Separation is Crumbling in the US
Thomas Jefferson accused of being an atheist and the Age of Reason ends
Reaffirms separation of Church and State
President Lincoln mentions "Nation under God"
The first volley against the Wall of Separation
Native American Children forced to attend Religious Schools
Shame on USA
Catholic Church lays foundation for workers rights
Socialist Ideologies espoused
John Scopes tried for teaching the Theory of Evolution
Wins on Technicality
Dwight Eisenhower says: "Our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don't care what it is."
Atheists and Agnostics are equated with Communists
The Pledge of Allegiance
"Under God" added
US now considered a Judeo-Christian Nation by some
Death of Albert Einstein
(He was an Agnostic)
New US Motto
"In God we Trust."
White House celebrates Ramadan
US House Session Opens
It begins with Hindu Prayers
George W. Bush takes office
Establishes Faith Based Initiatives
Continues support for faith based initiatives
??th Amendment adopted
Establishes the Official Church of the US
US Supreme Court
Changes name to Supreme Court, under God
US Religion Demographic
Early Religious Crusaders
Religious Totalitarianism is a political system where the dominate religion holds total authority over the people and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life.
If this were to occur in the US, it would probably be a battle between the various Christian Sects, Mormons, Jewish, Muslims, and the like.
If no one religion could dominate initially, it would then behoove the 'powers that be' to demonize the other religions and coddle the ones they might wish to deal with later - or perhaps offer some kind of a power sharing relationship to these minor groups.
This could be accomplished between the Mormons and the Christians first, then offer the Jewish Sects some benefit.
The final glue needed to cement the deal would be a crisis of some sort and then a new war. A Crusade.
The enemy? Who else? The Muslims.
The Wall of Separation
Is the US headed toward Religious Totalitarianism?
© 2014 Jack Shorebird