A Response to Rose

by the Reverend Mother
This is an answer to the comment left by Rose on my blogpost: Convention News, dated 2/27/10.

Dearest Rose,
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate that you took the time to respond. You seem to be coming from a presupposition that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it appears to be one that simply precludes accepting anything that is Christian in nature and makes your comments sound a bit random. Nonetheless, I will try to answer them in the order you made them.

–This country was not founded on Christianity – it is nice that you looked to historical information, which by the way is not factual, to prove your point. But please remember that there were indigenous peoples as well as other migrations long before the “Christians” as you would frame them “discovered” and “founded” this country.–

1. There absolutely were ‘indigenous’ people here – what was their country founded on? By the time America was founded Europeans had been here for 150 years. Not exactly a Johnny-come-lately group.

–In addition, those who founded this country were not necessarily Christian (for example, read a bit more about Thomas Jefferson and his deist beliefs)–

1. True, not all of the founders were confessing Christians. But they lived in a culture that governed itself by Christian principles. And so they were also constrained by those principles. Please see the Thomas Jefferson quote below.

— or further….recognize that Patrick Henry is not even proven (or even likely) to have said the two pieces of “evidence” you quoted.–

1. I only used one, not two, quotes and you’re absolutely correct, I did not track down the provenance of that quote until today and it looks like no one ever said it. There are so-called Christians who make-up, or do not investigte the veracity of the quotes they use. I apologize for doing the same, because I do not want to be counted among that number.

2. To make up for my blunder I humbly offer the following quotes:

“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.” John Adams

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” John Jay

“God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” Benjamin Franklin

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State.”  Woodrow Wilson quoting Harry S. Truman.

“The God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” Thomas Jefferson

“We recognize no Sovereign but God, and NO King but Jesus!” John Hancock

“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [the Fourth of July]?” “Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior?   “That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity”? John Quincy Adams

–Despite the quotes you recognized as your great evidence to support your prayers that may have excluded other beliefs you also fail to recognize the context-and potentially accurate language-in which they were actually discussed, and also failed to acknowledge that it would be very ironic that the the same Mr. Henry had actually spoken of a “nation” that afforded “peoples of other faiths” the “freedom of worship.” actually said these quotes in the first place. Please open your mind, love, and your world to others and their beliefs rather than judging…..it would be as Jesus would have wanted it.-

1. Again, I only used one quote, so I am unsure what you are saying here by ‘quotes’.

2. How did I exclude other beliefs? Did I not make it clear with my ersatz quote that I wanted to be inclusive?

3. I think you are saying that I took a quote that doesn’t exist out of context. I am unsure how to answer that, but if you want to discuss the above quotes and their contexts, I would be willing.

4. A nation that actually was Christian would be a safe place for people of other faiths to practice their beliefs. Because you know what Jesus would have wanted, by your own admission, I am persuaded that you understand that Christianity requires us to let our neighbors dwell peaceably beside us.

6 thoughts on “A Response to Rose

  1. Call me a fancy rat, but I don’t think Jesus was a pluralist and to invoke him in support of this position is peculiar. On the other hand, to use Jesus as an authority on loving one’s neighbor? Clearly that is kosher as all get out. And Christians in America, while not perfect by any means, have nevertheless built a country that is a historical marvel in terms of tolerance. Mightn’t misguided pluralism disturb this unparalleled record of relative tolerance?

  2. Your considered reply to Rose is outstanding. I have a Google Alert set for “John Quincy Adams” — without a doubt our most devout president. He read through the Bible every year of his adult life comparing the text in all the many languages he knew. (John Adams, was a founding father — I always consider JQA a founding son.)

    As an actor of solo history I perform a one-man play –John Quincy Adams: “A Spirit Unconquerable!”

    When named the first Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory — JQA would not take the “oath of religious conformity” required by Harvard College of all professors; and, when taking his oath as President — did so on a law book and not a Bible.

    Love your William James quote and may appropriate it for my my own use.

  3. To say that some of the founding fathers were Deists does not mean that they were uninformed, unfamiliar or unimpressed with the teachings of Christianity, or did not endorse these in their views of liberty and freedom for the country. In fact, the documented words of two of the most well-known deists, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, suggest the benefits of a country living by Christian standards.

    Thomas Jefferson rejected the divinity of Christ, yet was so impressed with Christ’s words that he created his own version of the Bible emphasizing this teaching (I’m not saying this was a good idea, but it demonstrates the respect he held for these principles). He wrote, “I am a real Christian – that is, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ,” and his other writings endorse their necessity in preserving the freedom of the country:

    “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.”
    –Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237. (I suspect that while Jefferson may not be as staunch as some on “the right” would prefer, he would also reject a great deal of the secularism “the left” holds sacred.)

    Benjamin Franklin:
    “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped.

    That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.

    As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see;

    But I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and more observed; especially as I do not perceive, that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure.”
    –Benjamin Franklin, letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University on March 9, 1790.

    I also had a documented source of a letter from Patrick Henry to his daughter where he confesses (in his later life) that he wished he had been more obvious about his belief in Christ in his public life. I’ve misplaced that citation for the moment, but I’ll keep looking.

  4. There’s also this from Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a ratifier of the Constitution (emphasis mine):

    “I know there is an objection among many people to teaching children doctrines of any kind, because they are liable to be controverted. But let us not be wiser than our Maker.

    If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary. The perfect morality of the Gospel rests upon the doctrine which, though often controverted has never been refuted: I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God.”
    –Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, published in 1798.

  5. I would love an opportunity to jump in on the line of communication started between the Reverend mother and Rose.

    To jump in I will quote from my blog post of April 11, 2008 http://naumannrev.tripod.com/Revnaumannblog/

    Our constitution starts out as follows.

    We the people of the United States,

    If we go just by our founding documents as they are called, you would have to say that the people are the government. We are for sure the ones that make up the nation, and by recent surveys I understand the majority of Americans still see themselves as professing Christians. So the form of our Government may not be Christian but our nation (society politic) certainly is, today and was back then in the 1600 to 1700’s.

    In fact I challange Rose to read the first document listed in the Minnesota legislative manual as one of our fundamental governing documents.

    This document is called the Magna Carta. It states in the preamble “Know ye that we, unto the honour of Almighty God, and for the salvation of the Souls of our progenitors and successors” ….. Who are these progenitors and successors?

    We the people of course.

    That group that was referred to during the infancy of this country as our founders endeavored many times to resolve concerns with their mother country in compliance with scripture (mathew 18) and even issued what was called “the 1689 bill of rights”. In this bill of rights they cited the document written 400 years prior. I beleive they did this because they had faith in their God, the God Almighty.

    In fact if you take a look at two other studies I have run across you will find that just about every civil law in this country is in some way based on the Holy scriptures.

    These would be A study titled “Influence of Biblical Commandments On Laws of The land” and titled “Laws of the Bible” These can be found at http://www.SEDM.org

    To God be The Glory,
    Old Ironsides

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