The hope that that this writing will be seriously considered by those to whom it has critical reference may be unrealistically optimistic. However, we at plinyblog do not shy away from potential criticism of “preaching to the choir ” in the hope that some readers of differing opinion may be interested enough to re- examine their belief systems from a fresh point of view.
We have heard, all too often, speakers who sanctimoniously declare that, “We are a Christian nation.” On the assumption that such an ardent speaker has the capability, to notice that America has substantial populations of diverse religions, the only possible deduction is that the speaker believes that America was properly designed and established by its founders to define itself as Christian, and function in accordance with Christian dogma.
While, admittedly, one of our mottos reads, “One Nation Under God” the presumed intended emphasis was “One Nation” (E Pluribus Unum) and no specific Deity is mentioned, or indeed, believed intended. History relates that while some of our founding fathers were Deists, others, in fact, were agnostics or atheists. It is a rudimentary corollary that the freedom to believe in any religion (acquired by the random chance of birth) necessarily carries with that franchise, the right not to believe at all. Many prominent Americans were, in fact, atheists, like Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll. Those individuals who proclaim the principle that America is a Christian nation, appear to possess a religious ethnocentrism complementary to their ignorance.
It is to be observed that the Constitution of the United States does not make any mention of the word, God, whatsoever, consistent with the founders’ knowledge of the sordid history of Europe, where an established church was part of the governing mechanism. The long and sad history of war, conflict, persecution and atrocity, they understood, was the result of that unholy partnership. The replication of bloody centuries of European experience accordingly, was intentionally and studiously avoided. The founders in their wisdom, believed that to put the word “God” in the Constitution, was to eliminate (rule by) man and that the inclusion of any reference to a Deity would be seized upon by zealots and religious fanatics and used as a pretext for destroying the liberty of the citizen. Indeed, in too many places in the world, believers in any variant religion as well as non-believers have historically been stigmatized and prosecuted as heretics or infidels. Our nation was legally, wisely and morally created as a singular experiment in secular governance, for which thanks and reverence are forever due to our enlightened founders.
It is disappointing to observe, in the modern era, a significant number of citizens with a militant, as opposed to a reasonable and tolerant, religious belief who [ despite one’s acquisition of his beliefs by the random accident of birth,] see themselves on a militaristic mission to evangelize others to ascribe to their (“the “true”) faith. Many will see the purportedly “divinely inspired” bible as their field manual and lifetime guide even though it was written by men who believed that the sun orbited the earth, condones slavery, capital punishment, the subjection of women and xenophobia. The Scopes trial and the shameful U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Dredd Scott case, are but two, of a great many atavistic and shameful travesties that had their origin and justification in the “Good Book.” It may be noted that disparate religions also have their respective, revered “holy book”.
Contemporaneous with this writing, we are the recipients of news reports regarding the candidacy of an individual for the United States Senate,[ a child molester and sexual abuser] who was removed from the judicial bench in Alabama on two occasions for his contemptuous disobedience of Orders, issued by the Federal Court, to remove his prominently installed display of the Ten Commandments at a public courthouse. Sadly, he is the popular favorite to win. It is both fascinating and extremely frustrating to observe that many of his conservative supporters, ignorantly purport to be advocates of the theory of “original intention” of the founders.
We, albeit in the modern era, are experiencing the tragedy of many so-called educated and enlightened followers of religious tractates and teaching, who persist in castigating Darwin and deny evolution, believe that the planet and all its fauna and flora (including homo sapiens) was created in one week, that the Earth is only two thousand years old, and who deprecate priceless enlightenment ,obtained as the successful result of scientific research, including man’s role in climate change. It seems that among our popularly exercised freedoms, the right to remain ignorant, is a well exercised franchise, and one which is both harmful to the advancement of society, as well as manifestly unfair to its informed citizens.
The time may arrive when observation and empirical experience will be the exclusive rational source of knowledge and wisdom for man, as opposed to irrational predilection, as wisely envisioned by our rational founders. Until then, we can only remain hopeful and eternally grateful to those eminent founding fathers, for showing us the way.