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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Religious Freedom, Not the Christian Religion

Its been said, many times, many ways, but again...

"Under God" was added to the Pledge in 1954, some sixty two years after it was written.  God in Government was not part of our Nation when it was founded - quite the opposite.  The Founders set our government up as being only about civil and common issues, leaving religion up to the individual.

It took the Civil War to allow the theocrats to insert "In God We Trust" onto coins, breaking a barrier our constitution had set up.  Note that it was 88 years after the war for independence from a country who had the Church of England as it's official religion.  How quick oppression was forgotten.  But 88 years and "God" was no part of our federal government.

In 1956, during the paranoia of the Cold War, was when they changed our nation's motto from "E Pluribis Unum" ( Out of Many, One ) to "In God We Trust" - ideologically tossing roughly half our citizens out of the government and breaking our Unity.  That was 180 years of Unity, broken by one vote in a paranoid congress.

If you are urging "God" and YOUR religion to be inserted into OUR government, then you do not respect our Country nor our Constitution.

I have no problem with you having your religion, practising your religion, going to your church, advertising your religion (despite your book's admonishments) or teaching your religion.  The problem starts when you try to enforce your religion on others.  It is especially problematic when you try to get our government to force your religion on me.

In the United States of America we share a common core, a belief in Freedom.  We can, and should, rally around the core of Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Realizing and Embracing the notion that our Liberty ends when another person's begins and extending to all people each and every right we want for ourselves.  This forms out of many people of different backgrounds, religions, races, orientations and persuasions, One Nation, Indivisible, with True Liberty, Justice and Equality for All.

Sources (this time) :

Excerpts from the sources:

The Pledge of Allegiance

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth's Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.
In its original form it read:
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy's daughter objected to this alteration

The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was placed on United States coins largely because of the increased religious sentiment existing during the Civil War. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the United States recognize the Deity on United States coins. ....
The Congress passed the Act of April 22, 1864. This legislation changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. The Mint Director was directed to develop the designs for these coins for final approval of the Secretary. IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin

The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America
Frank Lambert

1639...Those Puritan Fathers exemplify two of the most enduring views of colonial America: America as a haven of religious freedom, and America as a Christian Nation. First, the Puritan settlers had fled England, where Archbishop William Laud had persecuted them because they refused to subscribe to religious beliefs and practices that they deemed to be unscriptural. Now in the American wilderness, they were free to worship according to the dictates of their consciences, governed only by the rule of God's word. And, second, those Puritan Fathers organized a Christian State. They established their Congregational churches as the official religion of Connecticut, supported by tax revenues and defended by the coercive arm of government.
One hundred and fifty years later... (in 1787, after such horrors as the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 - BK)
... unlike the work of the Puritan Fathers, the federal constitution made no reference whatever to God or divine providence, citing as its sole authority "the people of the United States." Further, its stated purposes were secular, political ends: "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty." Instead of building a "Christian Commonwealth," the supreme law of the land established a secular state. The opening clause of its first amendment introduced the radical notion that the state had no voice concerning matters of conscience: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
In debating the language of that amendment, the first House of Representatives rejected a Senate proposal that would have made possible the establishment of the Christian religion or of some aspect of Christian orthodoxy. There would be no Church of the United States. Nor would America represent itself to the world as a Christian Republic. 

Their bequests were the ideas of separation of church and state and the free exercise of religion extended to people of all faiths or no faith. Their achievement can be understood only against the backdrop of the American Revolution. Clearly, they were architects of a political revolution, throwing off constitutional monarchy for a democratic republic. But they were also framers of a religious revolution, rejecting the idea of an established or official religion, which was the organizing principle informing church-state relations in the vast majority of countries, as indeed it had been in most of the American colonies. Never before had there been such a total separation of religious and political institutions. But the ban on establishment was not the Founders' only legacy in church-state matters. Regarding religion as a natural right that the governed never surrendered to government, they prohibited any interference in citizens' rights to the free exercise of religion.

Influenced by the Enlightenment, they had great confidence in the individual's ability to understand the world and its most fundamental laws through the exercise of his or her reason. To them, true religion was not something handed down by a church or contained in the Bible but rather was to be found through free rational inquiry. Drawing on radical Whig ideology, a body of thought whose principal concern was expanded liberties, the framers sought to secure their idea of religious freedom by barring any alliance between church and state.