Personally my Creator is Evolution, by means of Natural Selection, and if that ‘endows’ me with ‘certain unalienable Rights’ then good, however I repeatedly see attempts to infringe on those Rights in respect to myself and people who share my world view.
“that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Life. Christians are quick to remind me that they don’t stone Heretics to death anymore. However I can’t help but find it uncomfortable that the book they hold as the word of the Creator of everything gives explicit orders to kill people who think as I do. It would be like the Klu Klux Klan, a Christian Group by the way, using the defense they haven’t lynched a black man since the 70’s. I think any Black person would still have good right to be unsettled around a group of Klan members, as I still get edgy around the Fundamentalist Christians.
Liberty. The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one’s own choosing. Which is ok with Christians, as long as your belief is in the same god they believe in, and the manner you choose to express yourself does not challenge their personal beliefs in anyway or is not contrary to the teachings of the Bible they still choose to follow (unlike those sections about killing heretics). If they do, then somehow you be come a Socialist, Liberal, which is somehow un-American and bad.
And the pursuit of Happiness. Which for me is expressing my dissatisfaction with Religion. Challenging peoples preconceptions and beliefs makes me happy. Mostly because I like to try and make people think, and do a fairly good job of it when they are willing to actually discuss why they believe what they believe– which most Christians won’t, they simply want to site scripture and relegate it to personal experience and faith.
“the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.”
Despite the secular nature of our national government, there is one unambiguous reference to Christ in the Constitution. Article VII dates the Constitution in “the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.” But what does this mean for the principle of religious liberty?
The answer to this is simple, because really everything is still dated that way, technically.
There are two dating formats we are all familiar with, or should be familiar with from grade School. Currently we are in the year 2011 AD. We don’t write the AD all the time as a general rule, because its not necessary in regular business. It is just generally assumed that when you write a date your writing AD and not BC/BCE. .
A.D. From the Latin annō Domini “in the year of the Lord” from the word annō “in the year” the ablative of annus “year” + Domini “of the Lord” the genitive of Dominus “the Lord”.
B.C./B.C.E. Before the Common Era, or often thought of as Before the Christian Era.
The fact that the people penning the Constitution choose to write out the English translation of the Latin annō Domini, as was common practice in that era on Legal documents provides proof of nothing more then their adherence to a cultural tradition.
“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
So regardless of the personal beliefs of any of the founders of our nation, this clause, which is found in Article VI, paragraph 3, is explicit that regardless of any ones religious beliefs or lack of they can serve this country. If the intention had been build this country as a wholly Christian Nation as some say why would they make a provision allowing anyone to hold office.
Religious tests were very common in 17th and 18th century England. In part this was done to keep the Church of England in political control while keeping Catholics and ‘nonconforming’ Protestants in their place. Anyone holding elected office was required to swear the Oath of Supremacy- which stated that the monarch of England was the head of the Church and they held no foreign loyalties, such as the Pope. As time progressed the oaths became more about religious belief and less about loyalties to the King, requiring elected officials to disavow transubstantiation and the veneration of saints. It was the royal government’s religious favoritism that in part encourage people to leave England for the Colonies, and it was memory of such mistreatment by the Christian Nation they had left that encouraged our Founding father to prevent the return of Test Acts by adding this provision to the Constitution.
So what does this all mean? It means if the intent really was to create a Christian Nation, then they had that Blueprint already. England was a Christian Nation, the Pope, Gods Emissary on this mortal plain, and the King of England was King only because God had bestowed earthly power on the king, just as God had given spiritual power and authority to the Church. So had that been their intent why would as Jefferson so eloquently put it would they think “all men are created equal” Shouldn’t that have read, all Christians are created equal, but it does not. In fact no where does it mention the Christian Religion, and the only time Religion is mentioned it is to say it can not be used to exclude who can serve their country and to prohibit the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”. If promotion of Christianity had been their goal should this not have read. “respecting an establishment of Non-Christian religion”? However it does not.
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” Treaty of Tripoli November 4th 1796
When ever I point out this line to Christians I am told “sure pull out the only place it says this.” At least I have a place where it says it directly. Some will also say they were simply pandering to the Muslims to avoid war. Of course again there is nothing to support this position other than wishful thinking.