Christian Principles

Copyright 2004 Bob Persons
September 10, 2004

Which Christian principles is our country supposedly founded on? those of the Catholics (at least 2 varieties - Roman and Greek)? the Protestants? (tons of them, including Lutherans - several varieties of these too, Methodists, Baptists - several varieties of these)? the Jehovah's Witnesses? the Mormons? the Quakers and Shakers and Amish and Mennonites? the tent preachers? Robert Schuller? David Koresh? Jim Jones? the Puritans? the Calvinists? How about the principles of the Christian crusaders in the middle ages, that slaughtered non-Christians by the thousands? or the principles of the Christian inquisitions that slaughtered heretics and witches and gypsies by the thousands? or the Spanish conquerors of the American Indians who destroyed books and (again) slaughtered plenty of them in the name of Jesus. or the principles of the Christian wars that have been fought over the past 2,000 years that - once again - slaughtered thousands? Try to find a common Christian principle among them.

How far back do Christian principles go? The Old Testament (which is part of the Christian Bible) allowed multiple wives; should we? It decreed that you must not roam more than 50 feet from your home on the Sabbath; do you honor that? It is full of stories of god ordering the slaughter of entire nations; I guess we honor that, looking at current history. Let's talk about "family values". Jesus said we should forsake mothers and fathers and kin for the sake of the kingdom of heaven; should that be part of our American system?

If you want to talk about basic Christian principles, you can just look at what Jesus said about the law boiling down to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. I can buy that. What I can't buy is everything that's been added onto that by the churches and self-righteous hucksters. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, or disease, or prostitution, or gambling, or cussing, or smoking, or displaying granite monuments to the ten commandments, or any number of other right-wing causes. He just said love God and love your neighbor. And he didn't proclaim this to a nation; he proclaimed it to individual people. He never said nations should be founded on it.

Besides, I have no idea what you mean when you say "Christian principles", because you don't say wahat those principles are. I see that from the Christian right. They talk talk talk about "family values" and "we finally have a decent man in the White House" and "bring morality back" and on and on, but they never define those terms for us benighted folk. Thus they shut out all discussion because there is nothing to discuss - just blind faith, and everyone's blind faith is different from everyone else's.

As for the founders, many of them professed to be Christian. Again, there was a wide variety in the Christian principles they professed to believe in. Which of those are we to apply to the country? If we are to apply those principles at all, why isn't that specified in the constitution so we know where we stand? The only reference to religion in the Constitution is that the government should not inhibit its free expression. That's a far cry from the government or its agents pushing prayer and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in the schools, or promoting marriage and abstinence, or any number of other things.

By the way, not being Christian doesn't mean you're an atheist. There are plenty of God worshipers around who don't believe Christ was God. Among them were some of the founders. Jefferson didn't like some of the Bible, so he rewrote it. Hamilton seems to have loved economics more than his neighbor. Franklin not only was an avowed atheist, he also tended to love his neighbors' wives. Scores of them professed Christian principles while owning people as slaves. Most of them felt that only aristocrats and land-owners were smart enough to run the country. How about we demand that America conform to all those "Christian" principles?

What it boils down to is that this nation was founded on laws, not religious principles. You can't argue religion because it is based on faith, emotion, the inner spirit, which is not logical. Faith is no common ground for discussion, because everybody's faith is different (even among Christians). The only way for people to communicate rationally is with logic, so everyone participates in the decison making and everyone knows how decisions were reached. I don't mind if my leaders search their souls for the right thing to do, but I strongly object to them imposing that on me without my input. This is not a church; it's a nation. We can come to agreement only when issues can be discussed logically, with sound evidence and numbers. (And sound evidence and numbers are something that never come out of this adminstration's collective mouth.)

And despite what you say, people are free to express their religion in America. You can pray in school; just don't expect teachers to lead the prayers (which prayers? pray to which god? what about the atheists and agnostics who are genuine citizens of the United States of America? If you want to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, nobody is legally stopping you; just don't forc everyone else to do it. If you want to display a granite 10 commandments in your yard, who's stopping you? just don't use public funds or other resources to do it.

It's bad enough we have radical Muslims who want to force Islam on the world. We don't need Christians doing the same.

Certainly, some Christian principles have guided the making of our national principles, but that doesn't mean the national principles are Christian. If that were the case, what am I supposed to do about my Senator Feingold, who is a Jew? or Senator Kohl and Representative Tammy Baldwin, who are gay? Am I supposed to kick them out because they don't conform to your notion of Christian principles? Fat chance! What about the non-christian citizens who live and vote here? Do we ship them out? That would be a trip, if it were to apply to American Indians, who actually lived here for thousands of years before us white guys ever set foot here.

We had a Christian in the White House named Jimmy Carter. Republicans couldn't wait to get him out of there. We had another, Bill Clinton. Republicans hounded him relentlessy, to the point where it distracted him greatly from his duties in office, just to "get him" on anything they could drum up, and they spent $100 million of tax payer money doing it. How Christian is that? The currrent administration (it disgusts me to even speak his name any more) lies again and agin to the American people, and many thousands of people have been slaughtered in the name of those lies. How Christian is that? The same administration lies about the environment for the sake of endlessly rising profits of the corporations that paid to get Bush into the White House. How Christian is that? The same administration now lies about John Kerry's war record, in a blatant false smear attempt because they're desperate to retain control. How Christian is that? The same administration baldly exploits 9/11 in an attempt to keep its power. How Christian is that? If that's Christian, then give me the atheists. At least they don't say God told them it's the right thing to do and expect everybody to agree just because he said so.

Base our country on Christianity and you'll have a theocratic state like Saudi Arabia, where anyone different or feared is not tolerated, where all our principles of freedom of expression and privacy are washed out in the great tide of conformity. Yes, you will see Michael Moore hanged or beheaded. Maybe they'll hang me, too.


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