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One Nation Under...Several Deists and Freemasons MAG
We've all heard that incredibly overused argument that our nation was founded on Christianity. I've heard it so many times – and backed up with the most inaccurate information – that I am ready to scream.
Before I continue, let me state for the record that I have absolutely nothing against Christianity. I was a Catholic for most of my life, and left it simply because it wasn't for me. My best friend, my step-mother, and many of my relatives are Christians. I have nothing against religion. No, my beef is with those who use inaccurate statements like “Our country was founded on Christianity” and “All of the founding fathers were Christians.”
Let me address some of these arguments. The first always seems to be that phrases like “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” on our currency have existed since the start of our nation. This is simply untrue. These phrases were not put on paper currency or added to our Pledge until the Cold War in the 1950s. During the Red Scare of Communism, people saw a need to separate the American identity from the concepts of communism. The original Pledge of Allegiance simply stated “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” In the original pledge, instead of “Under God,” Francis Ballamy, the author, mentioned unity, liberty, and justice. Get with the times, people; the Red Scare is over.
Some claim that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution mention God, when in fact, the Declaration of Independence only states “they are endowed by their Creator.” In addition, even that was not in Jefferson's original draft. He simply stated that equal creation was a reason for equal rights. He made no mention of a “Creator”; that was added later. As for the Constitution, religion is only mentioned when the document is stating that church and state will be separate. Funny, it never mentions God, but it says the church and state should stay out of each other's business. Clearly, this document was written by those familiar with Christian theocracy.
Many people in our country believe that our founding fathers were all Christians. While many of the founding fathers attended church, their personal beliefs were quite different from those taught by the churches they attended. For example, Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Far from being a Christian, he was believed to be a Deist and repeatedly made arguments against Christianity.
John Adams, our second president and another founding father, was a Unitarian. The Unitarian theology of that time, while Christian in nature, denied many basic principles of orthodox Christianity. It rejected the idea of the Holy Trinity, for example. The Unitarian theology of the colonial period was based on tolerance and reasoning and was much closer to Deism than the standard orthodox branches of Christianity popular in colonial times.
Benjamin Franklin, my personal favorite of the founding fathers, was an inventor, educator, diplomat, scientist, and public servant. He was also a Deist. He rejected the Resurrection, Divinity of Jesus, and the Trinity, according to EarlyAmericanHistory.net. Franklin stated his skepticism of Christianity on several occasions and became a Freemason in 1730.
George Washington attended church regularly, but was never confirmed or took communion, not even on his deathbed. He would wait outside the sanctuary while his wife took communion. His beliefs on the Trinity are questionable, and he is believed to have been a Deist. He was also a Freemason.
Thomas Paine, author of the revolutionary pamphlet “Common Sense,” has been called a “firebrand of the American Revolution.” He was also a Deist. He believed religion to be a tyranny and denied the Trinity, Resurrection, and even miracles. Paine is known for denouncing slavery in the colonies and pushing thousands of “fence-sitters” onto the side of revolution before the war, and he did all this without any basic religion.
All these founding fathers have made statements that clearly disprove any orthodox Christianity on their part and prove their tolerance toward non-Christians. Here are some of their thoughts in their own words:
“Question with boldness even
the existence of God.” – Thomas Jefferson
“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.” – Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
“Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world.” – John Adams
“Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years?” – John Adams
“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by the difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be depreciated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.” – George Washington
“Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.” – Thomas Paine