God, home and country

TTers weigh in this week on Christianity, the Founding Fathers, a place called home.



Salon Staff
September 30, 2005 9:16PM (UTC)

White House

Disasters: Natural and Otherwise

Blue Bunny - 01:05 p.m. Pacific Time - Sept. 26, 2005 - #5831 of 6123

How are you going to feel? Like killing yourself. Even if you have a conceivable way to get back home.

Home is not an address, or what so many like to call "a new start." People, in order to thrive, have to feel connected. If you lived in a close community for a long time, it's difficult to integrate in a new community and build those relationships that make the really difficult times in life bearable.

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The bright lights of the big city can be harsh, and those people who don't know you really don't care if your car isn't running, your cat is ill, or that you have a Dr.'s appointment to get test results back.

To the people you moved in next to recently, you are the new person on the block, to be examined and approached only in a tentative manner. To your new boss, you are on probation, and just don't take too long of a lunch.

To the person at the 7-Eleven where you now buy your morning coffee and lottery tickets, you are just another customer. They won't ask you about your luck, your daughter in Baton Rouge, or how your momma is doing, like Jake back home used to. You are just another customer. Correct change please.

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And if you do attend a new church, you won't be able to talk to the pastor who knows you so well and has something in common with you. After all, back home, that person was the same one who likely married you to your wife, buried your relatives, and baptized your babies. You are now a "new member" and did you remember to tithe this month?

And the most awful pain of realizing just how displaced you are will come when you miss a family milestone because you are so far away. Perhaps, even almost forgotten by people who would have called you immediately if you were still in town. You simply instead get a note from a friend telling you that Aunt Eula passed last week, and the funeral was last Thursday. You call and scream, why didn't you tell me? And the response is, well, we knew you were busy and that there was really nothing you could do.

It's sort of like your life, but without the intimacy that defines what being home really means to people.

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It's hell. It's one kind of hell if you inflict it on yourself, via deliberate circumstance like moving for a new job or relationship, but an entirely different matter when a government does it to you and tells you that you'll be better off because you were poor, there, anyway.

Money does not replace human bonds. Ever.

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Mind and Spirit

Help! There's a Fundie in My Family!

Joeman - 12:53 p.m. Pacific Time - Sept. 26, 2005 - #826 of 874

I'll agree that Christians are way uncool, but not because they are fulfilling a deep commitment to their God and their beliefs. On the contrary, I think they could actually become cool were they to do a few things:

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First, stop trying to categorize people who are different than you as "of the world" and "evil" and "sinners" (it's to each his/her own to make that designation about themselves only -- anything else indicates a self-righteous and judgmental attitude, lacking in Christ-like humility).

Second, stop being so paranoid -- sure it looks like the end of the world, sure it seems like everybody is too busy sinning to ever want to join your church (and thereby prop your ego [see point 3 below]), sure, it seems like liberals and other secular humanists are out to squash your religious beliefs and martyr you on TV, but ain't none of that shit true! Give it up. These fantasies of yours, however sexy and exciting, are just disturbing and sick -- cut it out. Please. Just grow up.

Third, stop creating conflict. You invented the culture war, you invented the abortion dilemma, you invented the whole creation vs. evolution debate. We didn't, and yet it's the rest of us left-behinders who will have to suffer in the wake of your reckless decisions and attitudes and voting practices. Actually, when you realize 20 years from now -- that surprise! -- no Rapture -- you'll still be suffering with the rest of us, you'll be wishing you heeded my words.

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Yeah, we've ascertained your ego needs stroking, but you've got to remember that you've chosen to follow a spiritual path, and therefore you aren't going to get much ego stroking -- so suck it up, prayer-boy! The rest of us spiritually inclined people are waiting for you to sit back down humbly and join us in giving thanks to the Creator for one more beautiful day.

White House

W's Theocracy II: The Handbasket Stops Here

Caprice - 08:26 a.m. Pacific Time - Sept. 28, 2005 - #6770 of 6783

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I recently got one of those "did you know" e-mails citing all the religious things in D.C. as a case of support for the fact that "this country was founded on Christianity." Hah.

I composed my own "did you know" showing the historical views. Feel free to use it and add to it if y'all get the same propaganda e-mail:

Did you know:

The Declaration of Independence gives us important insight into the opinions of the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea of divine authority.

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Did you know:

The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was "in no sense founded on the Christian religion." This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.

Did you know:

Most of the Founders were deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. Most of them were stoutly opposed to the Bible, and the teachings of Christianity in particular.

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Did you know:

Jesus is not mentioned even once in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence.

Did you know:

The Founders were students of the European Enlightenment. Half a century after the establishment of the United States, clergymen complained that no president up to that date had been a Christian. In a sermon that was reported in newspapers, Episcopal minister Bird Wilson of Albany, New York, protested in October 1831: "Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism."

QUOTES FROM OUR FOUNDING FATHERS:

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." Thomas Jefferson -- "Notes on Virginia"

"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 political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." Thomas Jefferson, to Baron von Humboldt, 1813

"It is not to be understood that I am with him (Jesus Christ) in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism, he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it." Thomas Jefferson, to Carey, 1816

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law." Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1814

"I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity." Benjamin Franklin -- Works, Vol. VII, p. 75

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity." John Quincy Adams

"The question before the human race is, whether the God of Nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?" John Quincy Adams

Posts of the week is an ongoing feature of Table Talk, Salon's vibrant community forum. Older posts of the week may be found here in TT. Want to join the discussion? Sign up here.


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