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BY: Gregory Dearth
A particularly annoying claim made by Christians is that the United States of America is, or is meant to be a Christian nation. They assert that the nation was built on Christian values by Christians and that even our laws are based on the ten Biblical commandments. None of these claims are true. And there is definitely no evidence for these claims.
The laws of the United States of America were originally based on British Common Law, not the ten commandments of the Christian Bible. But merely making this factual statement typically only leads to a counter-argument that British Common Law was influenced by the ten commandments. Of course, this is not true either. So here is a comprehensive progression of British Common Law, going all the way back to the traditions of the Suebi, a large tribe of Germanic people that were in opposition to the Romans (and therefore the Church).
British Common Law is base on Norman Law, which was well established by 1245 AD.
Norman Law was created by the Vikings, and influenced by Frank Law by around 900 AD which is older than the Vatican and not influenced by Christianity.
These laws were based on Germanic Common Law, or Gemeines Recht, which was influenced by Salic Law. The Salian Franks and other tribes had established a basic civil and criminal law by 511 AD.
The Salic Law is derived from oral traditions of certain designated elders who were also not influenced by Old Testament teachings. Rather, the elders that contributed to Salic Law based their understanding on several sources.
The Suebi, a large tribe of Germanic people going back to 58 BC, contributed traditional laws to various compilations, such as the Lex Ribuariorum, Lex Alamannorum, and the Lex Suauorum. The Alamanni also contributed to these compilations from the 3rd to 6th centuries.
For the ten Biblical commandments to have contributed to the laws of the USA would require a link between Christianity and the Suebi, which is certainly not seen anywhere in history.
But besides the origin of the laws of the United States, the forefathers intentionally designed America to be secular or religion-neutral. The false idea that the forefathers were Christians and wanted to create a Christian nation can be easily shown by myriad quotes and documents. Here are some easy quotes.
“Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Lighthouses are more useful than churches.” – Ben Franklin
“This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.” – John Adams
“Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, the tyranny in religion is the worst.” – Thomas Paine
“The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” – James Madison
“The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.” – John Adams
“Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the People alone, without a pretense of miracle or mystery,” – John Adams
“Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law.” – Ben Franklin
Of course that last quote further validates the progression and evolution of British Common Law mentioned earlier.
Now, these quotes are merely statements made by the founding fathers. But the matter can be made even more concrete by using the legal documents and comments on those documents.
From the United States Constitution, Article VI, Section 3:
“No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
…and from the 1st Amendment (the Bill of Rights):
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercising thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
That last quote is often pointed to as defining a separation of church and state. Christians deny this separation by pointing out that the phrase is nowhere in the Amendment. But the point of the 1st Amendment is precisely this separation, as Thomas Jefferson had clearly explained in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association:
“…legislative should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
And that is where we get the phrase ‘separation between church and state’ from.
Even without this explanation and the Constitution or Bill of Rights, it has been made clear in yet another document that America is not a Christian nation.
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of [Muslims] and the Said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
This was so perfectly stated in the Treaty of Tripoli.
So should a Christian theist claim the United States of America is to be a Christian Nation, they would be required to explain all of this historical evidence that clearly specifies the opposite position
Richard Dawkins encourages atheists to come out of the closet. Its time to be proud to be an atheist.
by: Dan Hettmannsperger III
Like most of you I watched the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham with great interest. Looking back on it now there is much that stands out, not the least of which being the civility of Bill Nye and the astonishing hubris of Ken Ham, an embarrassment to Western Civilization if ever there was one. As a man that spends a great deal of my own time in debate forums (my favorite is GOD’S FRIENDS AND FOES on Facebook, which I highly recommend) I couldn’t help but notice that Ken’s tactics were both predictable and frankly disappointing.
I’m not really sure what I expected from Ken, but his constant use of the phrase “There’s a book…” rapidly got on my nerves. Ken doesn’t seem to understand that there are actually many books which outline a mythical creation and that the Bible is only one box of donuts in the spiritual bakery. Bill Nye was of course unimpressed by this and pressed Ken for anything factual or tangible and in so doing revealed him to be not a scientist at all but a mere apologist for a collection of irrelevant Bronze Age texts that could not be less relevant in the 21st century. Even the term “Creation Science” was shown to be the oxymoron that is always was.
I found Bill’s argument against a literal reading of the Noah story compelling. We all know that it’s absurd that so many animals could ever fit in such a small ship, but I personally had forgotten that the arc was at sea for a whole year. What should probably be mentioned at this point is that Jews do not take the story of Noah literally, it is only Christian Fundamentalists and Muslims that insist that it really happened…and Ken’s feeble assertion that Noah was simply able to build the arc because it says so couldn’t have sounded more stupid if he’d tried.
In a debate that was filled with many great moments I think the high point had to be the moment when Ken Ham said “I can’t prove anything.” For me this was the same as when Obama crushed Romney in the last Presidential debate re: Benghazi. It was the final crushing admission that Creationism is nothing more than a groundless speculation that touches reality at no noticeable point. Science will continue to march forward with courage and wonder, and Monotheism will continue to fight a losing battle against its own irrelevancy.
Kansas City Atheist, Adam Brown, paints with cremation remains to memorialize loved ones we’ve lost. Features prominent LIVING atheist portraits.
By: Dan Hettmannsperger III
“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” -Anne Lamott, American novelist and non-fiction writer.
I’ve been on the internet in one form or another now for more than two decades. That’s right, I’m old enough to remember when AOL was cool (sigh). The war of ideas that started in ancient Greece found its way here, and the casualties have been high. I’m not talking about a literal body count, but the opposition has always been brutal and doesn’t mind dirty pool. Let’s not forget that Christians used to routinely burn people like us without a second thought as a spectator sport. It’s an ugly business fighting the true believers after all God is on their side. Fortunately we have a far superior ally: TRUTH.
But lets start with a few facts. Back in 2003 I was an admin at a site calledChristianburner.com. CB.com was a simple atheist forum where people gathered in the thousands to hash out the Bible, theology, and other assorted lies and cons connected with the whole God-franchise. For years, it was my favorite site. Things began to get ugly when we started getting death threats, which always seemed to emanate from places like Mississippi and rural Alabama. We always posted the threats as proof of the barbarism of the opposition, and we just kept on voicing our views with Facts and Logic…something the Christians were never very strong on as we all know. Then one day I tried to log in and found that it was impossible. The home page was there, but that was all, and it wouldn’t let anyone log in. I contacted the site manager who informed me that the HTML has been corrupted by a virus and that the site was thrashed for good. One of the fanatics we’d banned contacted him, taking credit for this singular act of vandalism…and this has now become part of a pattern I’ve observed.
I joined Facebook in 2010 and have seen what is in effect an Undeclared Cyberwar going on between atheists/agnostics and Christians. Christians will target a Facebook page they dislike for whatever reason and will attack it en masse with bogus complaints until Facebook finally takes it down. Many of my own friends inform me this is far more common than ever gets noticed in the media. There is no way to count the number of pages, forums and profiles that Christians have destroyed, but we can be certain the number is high. This is really a form of soft-terrorism as I see it, and we must all stand resolutely against it.
Christians have made it pretty clear that if they can’t win the argument with ideas (which they can’t) then they’ll do whatever it takes to silence the opposition even if it means destroying their access to an audience, discrediting them with lies or intimidating them with the kind of low brow bullying that I had hoped we’d all outgrown by high school. Just after I published my last blog about the Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate, I found my account attacked several dozen times with false reports. The page I ran for science fiction fans, The 37th Realm of Existence, unpublished and lost after the trolls hit it repeatedly as a means of getting to me. Another Christian made a degrading meme out of my own profile photo with an unflattering allusion to my orientation, which happens to be bisexual, that has found its way into a half a dozen forums that I know of and doubtless more that I don’t. I’ve received insults, death-threats, and harassment. But, guess what? I’m not going anywhere…no matter what they say or what they do they won’t silence me or those who stand up for what is right and true. The 21st Century has seen unprecedented progress for Reason, Social Justice and Equality. Those who would drag us back thrash against a tide that they can’t possibly hope to match and never will. And let me be crystal clear here so that there is no misunderstanding: I would never suggest or support that such methods should ever be employed against them. We are above such tactics and always were. Only those about to lose ever feel a need to move the goal posts.
My goal remains the same: to break the bones of this world’s ignorance once and for all. Who’s with me?