In the past few weeks, there have been three or four new writers in our town contributing letters in support of separation of church and state. YAY!! Of course, they've all been incredibly intelligent and well-worded and they are all pushing back hard against the fundie revisionist idea (no offense, Pati, I love ya'! lol) that our nation is supposed to have a government rooted in Christian doctrine.
Here is the latest contribution by Mrs. Gouveia, my former English teacher. She's one of the smartest people I know (at one point, she was also pursuing a degree in law). Don't misread her comment in the last paragraph about "Googling" to mean she gleaned these details only from the internet. She's very well read and is simply making the point that one can also find information in support of our Founders being Deists by Googling.
Founding Fathers and Deism
by Julia K. Gouveia
If Mike McClure (The Star Press, May 15) Googled the Christian founding of America, then it must be true.
That the 17th century Massachusetts theocracies, however, hung on till the 1830s merely proves that bad practices die hard, rather than proving the nation's support for theocracies, as McClure infers. Article I of the Constitution, put in place to bar such theocracies, had its effect later just as the Constitution, banning discrimination, awaited Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 to put down "separate but equal" education for blacks.
According to Brian Bolton, eight of 10 founding fathers -- Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Franklin, Allen, Paine and Barlow -- were Deists, believing that God, according to immutable laws, created the world then stepped outside it to allow it to function according to those laws. Prayer to God for daily intervention in one's life would be to no avail.
Two founding fathers -- J. Adams and J.Q. Adams -- were Unitarians, rejecting Christian dogma and the divinity of Jesus, while respecting Jesus's ethics. "The modern equivalent of Deism, Unitarianism is a secular religion committed to freedom, reason, tolerance, science and democracy," Bolton says.
Article I of the Bill of Rights guarantees that government will stay out of religion and religion will stay out of government. Further, the Constitution is silent about God except for Article VI forbidding a religious test for holding office.
God, the Creator, in the Declaration of Independence is the Deistic creator and "government derives its powers from the consent of the governed -- not from God, Jesus or the Bible."
"Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and "In God We Trust" on currency resulted from Congress's embarrassment over the McCarthy hearings of the 50s. The original motto was E. pluribus Unum -- "of many, one."
All of this I Googled. Feel free to do likewise.