The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Blog Archive

Jun 10, 2009

Mr. Chadwell Part 4

There's a very fair-minded analysis of the Treaty of Tripoli here:

I guess you have to break the issue of resolving the apparent contradiction down into the possibilities. What are the possible explanations?

One possibility is that our government simply misrepresented itself for the purpose of getting the treaty passed so as to protect U.S. merchant ships from pirates. That's not a pleasant possibility… I'd like to think more highly of our founders than that. So I'm not saying I think that's what happened, but among the universe of possibilities, that's one.

Another possibility is that all of those other quotes are either misunderstood or are otherwise invalid. And of course, we'd have to show evidence to support that. That's another possibility, but it seems like even more of a stretch than the first.

The third possibility is that there's something in the historical context and language that would make sense out of the apparent contradiction. This seems most likely to me.

One thing we cannot do, however, is simply ignore the language of those founders who clearly viewed Christianity as the foundation of this nation. If we can simply ignore their language when it argues FOR a Christian foundation, why can't we just ignore language that argues against it? Understand, I'm not suggesting we do either… but the separatists are. They wish to simply ignore the language that argues against their understanding. This is not good form.

For example, it seems they might be ignoring the Treaty of Paris in 1783, fourteen years before the Treaty of Tripoli. This Treaty, negotiated by Ben Franklin and John Adams and others, begins with the words, "In the Name of the most holy and undivided Trinity..."

Now "Trinity" is exclusively a Christian doctrine… (or at least it was until Mormonism began using it to describe something else, but Mormonism wouldn't come along for another 60 years or so, and I suspect that their hi-jacking of that theological term came along some time after Joseph Smith wrote his books. Islam, for example, rejects the trinity and so does Judaism.

My point is that there must be something else going on here. It is certainly NOT the open and shut case that the Stephen Jay Gould article wants us to think it is. Having considered what I've offered thus far, don't you agree?

I think that there is an unfortunate tendency to overlook some middle ground in this "Is American a Christian Nation" controversy. Secularists seem to be under the impression that if we say that the nation is "founded on Christianity" that this necessarily removes their freedom to reject Christianity. They seem purely incapable of imagining a foundation built on Christianity which also ALLOWS them freedom to believe something else. When I say that America WAS founded on Christianity (and of course I do believe it was) I do NOT mean that our government set out to require citizens to believe in Christianity. For one thing, you could not possibly found a nation on Christianity (REAL Christianity, BIBLICAL Christianity) and require any such thing because you would understand, based on your belief in Christianity, that it's not possible to REQUIRE people to believe a thing. You would understand that people are answerable ultimately to God and God alone and to suggest they were answerable to you (the founder, let's say) for their beliefs would violate your own belief in Christianity!! So what the secularists are reacting to is not even possible if the founders really truly believed the Bible and had a proper understanding of Christianity, and it appears that they did.

Once again, there need not be this idea of "separation of church and state" in order for people to have religious freedom. The 1st amendment gives us religious freedom (or at least it did at one point… Now we've essentially swept it under the rug) by ensuring that the congress can make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. That in no way means that the government's laws are not, or cannot be, based on Christian principles. I don't even understand why the government cannot "endorse" a religion in a general sense… again, without legal consequences. If, in talking with you, I "endorse" a particular view (as I often do!) that is not tantamount to me REQUIRING you to adopt that view, is it? Of course not!! As long as the government is not punishing people for not believing in Christianity, (or any other religion) and as long as the government is not interfering with the free exercise of religion, then we have religious freedom regardless of what religion the government may or may not have been founded on. Does that make sense to you?

The doctrine of "separation of church and state" does not appear in the constitution. We've discussed this before. You have some language about not requiring elected officials to belong to one religion or another, and you have the 1st amendment. I don't see how these occurrences argue at all for a "separation" except in the sense that the government is not requiring citizens to believe any particular religion.

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