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February 27, 2005 - Pay attention! This is a new America!

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Religious group challenges 'traditional' history

Gina Farthing, The News Virginian, Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Presidents’ Day is when many Americans honor the country’s past commanders-in-chief.


At the Christian Heritage Center in Fishersville, Thomas Jefferson was not on the list of honorees Monday.


It was the day a call to arms went out, to Christians everywhere, to band together and fight religious persecution they encounter even today.


It was the day to recognize the perpetrator, that “enemy of the Gospel” - Jefferson, according to Christian Heritage officials.


The new religious group, which recently built a complex on a hilltop overlooking Interstate 64 at Tinkling Spring Road, pronounced Jefferson “the anti-Christian” and George Washington’s opposite.


Jefferson, they said, “feigned belief in God to achieve his own political ends and came to sever Jesus Christ from his divinity.” …


“His purpose … was taught by Voltaire, Locke, Paine and Priestly. They become … wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

And then there’s this -


Canadian Press Updated: Mon. Feb. 21 2005 4:16 PM ET


TORONTO — Uh oh! That other jolly green giant could be in trouble. Shrek 2 is the latest animated film title to be "outed'' by Christian fundamentalists in the U.S.


On its website the Traditional Values Coalition is warning parents about the cross-dressing and transgender themes contained in the hit DreamWorks feature, now on DVD.


"Shrek 2 is billed as harmless entertainment but contains subtle sexual messages,'' says the coalition, which describes itself as a grassroots inter-denominational lobby with more than 43,000 member churches.


"Parents who are thinking about taking their children to see Shrek 2 may wish to consider the following.''


The article then proceeds to describe one of the characters, an "evil'' bartender (voiced by Larry King) who is a male-to-female transgender in transition and who expresses a sexual desire for Prince Charming.


In another identified scene, Shrek and Donkey need rescuing from a dungeon by Pinocchio and his nose, which is made to extend as an escape bridge by getting the wooden boy to lie about not wearing women's underwear.


The TVC report, A Gender Identity Disorder Goes Mainstream', raps DreamWorks for helping to promote crossdressing and transgenderism. …


Yeah, yeah.  There really are two Americas.


But that is minor stuff.


There is this REALLY basic disagreement - Our nation WAS founded on Christian principles!  Or was it?


Our Godless Constitution

Brooke Allen, The Nation, from the February 21, 2005 issue


Here’s the conflict -


It is hard to believe that George Bush has ever read the works of George Orwell, but he seems, somehow, to have grasped a few Orwellian precepts. The lesson the President has learned best--and certainly the one that has been the most useful to him--is the axiom that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. One of his Administration's current favorites is the whopper about America having been founded on Christian principles. Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones. God only entered the picture as a very minor player, and Jesus Christ was conspicuously absent.


Our Constitution makes no mention whatever of God. The omission was too obvious to have been anything but deliberate, in spite of Alexander Hamilton's flippant responses when asked about it: According to one account, he said that the new nation was not in need of "foreign aid"; according to another, he simply said "we forgot." But as Hamilton's biographer Ron Chernow points out, Hamilton never forgot anything important.


In the eighty-five essays that make up The Federalist, God is mentioned only twice (both times by Madison, who uses the word, as Gore Vidal has remarked, in the "only Heaven knows" sense). In the Declaration of Independence, He gets two brief nods: a reference to "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God," and the famous line about men being "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." More blatant official references to a deity date from long after the founding period: "In God We Trust" did not appear on our coinage until the Civil War, and "under God" was introduced into the Pledge of Allegiance during the McCarthy hysteria in 1954 …


The rest is evidence – text and quotes – but who should you believe? 


Take this for example -


In their fascinating and eloquent valetudinarian correspondence, Adams and Jefferson had a great deal to say about religion. Pressed by Jefferson to define his personal creed, Adams replied that it was "contained in four short words, 'Be just and good.'" Jefferson replied, "The result of our fifty or sixty years of religious reading, in the four words, 'Be just and good,' is that in which all our inquiries must end; as the riddles of all priesthoods end in four more, 'ubi panis, ibi deus.' What all agree in, is probably right. What no two agree in, most probably wrong."


This was a clear reference to Voltaire's Reflections on Religion. As Voltaire put it:


There are no sects in geometry. One does not speak of a Euclidean, an Archimedean. When the truth is evident, it is impossible for parties and factions to arise.... Well, to what dogma do all minds agree? To the worship of a God, and to honesty. All the philosophers of the world who have had a religion have said in all ages: "There is a God, and one must be just." There, then, is the universal religion established in all ages and throughout mankind. The point in which they all agree is therefore true, and the systems through which they differ are therefore false.


Of course all these men knew, as all modern presidential candidates know, that to admit to theological skepticism is political suicide. During Jefferson's presidency a friend observed him on his way to church, carrying a large prayer book. "You going to church, Mr. J," remarked the friend. "You do not believe a word in it." Jefferson didn't exactly deny the charge. "Sir," he replied, "no nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I as chief Magistrate of this nation am bound to give it the sanction of my example. Good morning Sir."


As Rick the News Guy in Atlanta says – “More evidence to the fact that, contrary to popular belief, Thomas Jefferson could now and then be just as full of shit as the next man.”


Ah well, the evil, Godless Jefferson is long gone.


But all this reevaluation of history, and even cartoons, can make one’s head spin.  As we move more and more rapidly toward becoming a Christian theocracy sometimes all this just makes you weary.  It’s hard to keep up – and hard to keep out of trouble for admiring the wrong folks (Jefferson BAD, Washington GOOD – at the moment), or for even going to the wrong movie.


One needs a scorecard to keep all this straight.




Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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