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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Religion and the Current Political Landscape

The republican party has been hijacked by the "Christian Right", this we all know.  I would like to add my voice to some of the "diatribes" in which "it is God's will to prohibit abortion, that the US is a Christian Nation, that women have no need of equal rights, equal pay or equal anything.
that the ten commandments needs to be posted in all courthouses, that full health care for all Americans in a violation and that we NEED to reduce taxes, reduce unions, reduce government spending and require that the poor have babies and then end food stamps, health care, free and reduced lunches, etc. and just let them fend for themselves."

So let's begin with a couple of quotes from Thomas Jefferson to show his opinion of religion and politics.

"Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination. "

-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

I have intentionally belabored this point because there are so many right-wingers that believe the nation was founded under Christian beliefs and principles that one needs to "hammer" this point.  The fact is the man who wrote much of the nation's cornerstone documents has much to say about the issue of this nation and what principles were used.  And for you scholarly types, much of Jefferson's work comes right out of John Locke and some can be found in On Liberty.

Here is my corollary.  The bedrock of Christian principles can be found in two places.
The Beatitudes
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

(Matthew 25:31-40 ESV)


If you, the Christian Right (or for that matter any Christian) are interested in "bringing Christ into this world let's start with these two statements.  Use these two sayings to live your life by and the rest will be taken care of -- trust me.

1 comment:

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