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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Fireslayer
08:11 AM on 07/01/2012
What a great man, George Washington. His pronouncements regarding religious freedom in America should be in stark contrast to the so called "Christian Millenialist" movement.that calls this a "Christian" nation. And now they are a force to be reckoned with and allied to the Republican Party. Remember who your real friends are in November.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
WESmith
Energy Conservation can save you M-O-N-E-Y!!!!!!!!
07:24 PM on 06/30/2012
History repeats itself. Religion has again become a critrium for whether a person should be able to hold office or not. Politicians are defining what the word religion means and their disciples are saying, "Fave." Politicians are defining what the word religious means and their disciples say, "Fave & Fave." Seems the Democrats have their definition that benefits them and the Republicans have a definition that benefits. Screw people's supposed freedom of religion. Nothing is more important than the two political parties' war over control of We The People.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
mabinog
My micro-bio is a desolate wasteland
07:42 PM on 06/30/2012
I am not sure that there has every been a time when this country did not have a de facto religious test for office.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
WESmith
Energy Conservation can save you M-O-N-E-Y!!!!!!!!
10:22 PM on 06/30/2012
You are right.  There was a fervor over Kennedy being a Catholic just like the fervor over Romney being Mormon and Obama over whatever he is.  We laughed Carter out of office for being honest after he nationalized coal, oil, natural gas, etc.  We even laughed at Reagan and W.
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12:50 AM on 07/03/2012
Personally, I would prefer an Atheist / Agnostic / completely secular person as President of the United States over any devout religious [insert any religion here] person holding the office. I would trust them to uphold the constitution's "freedom of religion" when setting policy over someone who has such strong, deep, connections to their specific religion that conflicts with the best interest of the nation as a whole.

The one thing the Founding Fathers forgot was to stipulate that "freedom of religion" also means "freedom from religion", and thus, creating a secular nation.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Allan Richter
07:05 PM on 06/30/2012
“Perelman, NMAJH’s (National Museum of American Jewish History) chief curator, is gearing up for the June 29 opening of the museum’s first special exhibition, “To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington & Religious Freedom.”

Hebrew scripture puts emphasis on the moral responsibility of nations to establish just societies. The sociological reality is that each of us is a part a national entity which shapes us as well as we shape it.

“Man was created as a single individual for the sake of the peace of mankind, so that a person should not say to his fellow ‘My ancestor was greater than yours’ (Sanhedren iv, 5)

“The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the home-born among you and you shall love him as yourself” (Lev, xix, 34)

History has shown that religious liberty and the disestablishment of state religion has fostered and maintained a religious society while allowing otherwise antagonistic views to co-exist in civil cooperation.
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09:00 PM on 06/30/2012
“The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the home-born among you and you shall love him as yourself” (Lev, xix, 34)
How can God forgive the atrocities imposed on Palestinians?
If any group of humans is able to treat its victims in such cruelty then all humans should watch up from that group
12:57 AM on 07/01/2012
Not all of us, sport, but I get the point. Still, it goes both ways, there's no real winner in that conflict.
KenInd
We too shall get through this.....
07:00 PM on 06/30/2012
The sort of rational enlightened thinking one would expect from a landed gentry Anglican (Episcoplian) Deist. He could be mistaken for an Archbishop of Canterbury.

Although America was founded disestablished from any one faith, its founders were largely Anglican/Congregational/Unitarian, with more than a pinch of Freemasonry. Baptists and Catholics hardly featured. It was a bunch of stalwarts with private pews.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
ejay579
MURKA! Numba one 4 EVA!
06:49 PM on 06/30/2012
The fact that Washington was responding to the inquiry from a Jewish congregation is only tangential to what Washington was saying. Washington summarily dismissed the idea that America was "tolerant" of all religions because the implication of such a belief was that one religion was able to practices its beliefs because other religions allowed it to do so. As Washington expostulated, one class of people was entitled to exercise its beliefs because it was "their inherent natural right"rather than the indulgence of any other group.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Dr Idris
polymathy is not understanding
10:50 PM on 06/30/2012
yes and he was explicit that they would be judged as CITIZENS not members of one or another congregation-Republics have citizens-two words with Latin roots and add Liberty-(Lat. Libertas)-NONE of that is in the BiBle-as a Republic our tradtion is Greco-Roman. Period.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Jack2011
05:29 PM on 06/30/2012
“As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow, that all those who conduct themselves worthy members of the Community are equally entitled to the protection of civil Government.”

I was banned from The Blaze for attempting to post that quote.
(Yes, I know it was a huge mistake to even be on that site)
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Semprini
Cuidado!!! Llamas!!!
05:37 PM on 06/30/2012
A noble effort, nonetheless...
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10:04 AM on 07/01/2012
which just says that the premise hasn't been entirely fulfilled yet, has it…?
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
haljil
03:03 PM on 06/30/2012
Two and a half centuries ago we had enlightened Founders, who despite their limitations - based upon race, gender, ethnicity, conquest etc. - foresaw a much brighter and more progressive future for the new Nation that they had fought so hard to create! By encoding a system of Rights, liberties and freedoms - they opened the door to an unprecedented tolerance, understanding and acceptance to be ultimately resolved, way beyond their times.... Sadly too many of today's political, social and religious leaders, are hellbent upon relegating the hopes and dreams of our Founding Fathers to a bygone era of unattainable enlightenment...

I struggle in today's reality to identify anyone remotely resembling giants like Tom Paine, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin etc. etc. etc.... And if anyone like them actually exist, they could never compete with and pander to the special interest groups, crooks and charlatans who control those who attain power through a combination of con and cunning... Absolute pity!
07:24 PM on 06/30/2012
Oh, I am sure they are out there...but we no longer want to listen to well thought out or insightful men. We want our news in 30 second sound bites on big screen TVs and rate a persons performance by their physical looks. The men and women that really want to make a difference have to do a little pandering, take big money, and campaign like we have come to expect or they will not make it. Look at what is happening to Warren. She is an intellegent woman, a woman that sincerly thinks she can make a difference, but she is being reduced to defending stupid things in the GOP effort to take the campaign off the real issues. Or, Huntsman, that was not given a chance to let people know him and his ideas

Not until after a politican retires from public view do we listen to them. Look at the Presidential Library program. We only seem to be interested when it is too late.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
haljil
03:54 PM on 07/01/2012
To Cold in Michigan: So true!
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
TheWM
aka The Wrong Monkey
07:42 PM on 06/30/2012
"I struggle in today's reality to identify anyone remotely resembling giants like Tom Paine, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin etc. etc. etc.... "

Nostalgia. Those guys weren't perfect. Jefferson and Washington OWNED SLAVES. Women couldn't vote. Most men couldn't vote either.

"And if anyone like them actually exist, they could never compete with and pander to the special interest groups, crooks and charlatans who control those who attain power through a combination of con and cunning..."

Maybe you find it easier to whine than to try to do something to improve things.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Claude Hosch
A single bracelet does not jingle
09:10 PM on 06/30/2012
Thoughtful.
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c-tom
Badges we don't need no stinking badges
09:46 PM on 06/30/2012
Although we often forget this fact Ben Franklin was also a slave owner. Unlike Washington he never freed any of his slaves although that may have been to avoid the "free your slave bond" required in Pennsylvania.
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busterggi
I'm a Sally Randian
03:01 PM on 06/30/2012
Pla-wooooosh!

That was the claim that the US was founded as a Christian country getting flushed down the toilet.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
edander
Mary Full of GRACE the Lord is with You
02:25 PM on 06/30/2012
"Separation of church and state" is a common metaphor that is well recognized. Equally well recognized is the metaphorical meaning of the church staying out of the state's business and the state staying out of the church's business. Because of the very common usage of the "separation of church and state phrase," most people incorrectly think the phrase is in the constitution. The phrase "wall of separation between the church and the state" was originally coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists on January 1, 1802. His purpose in this letter was to assuage the fears of the Danbury, Connecticut Baptists, and so he told them that this wall had been erected to protect them. The metaphor was used exclusively to keep the state out of the church's business, not to keep the church out of the state's business.

The constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Both the free exercise clause and the establishment clause place restrictions on the government concerning laws they pass or interfering with religion. No restrictions are placed on religions except perhaps that a religious denomination cannot become the state religion. This, in conjunction with several other factors, makes the "separation of church and state" metaphor an icon for eliminating anything having to do with Christian theism, the religion of our heritage, in the public arena.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Watching rock grow
Earth is our collective home, take care of it.
03:25 PM on 06/30/2012
It equalized for the first time in history that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people didn't need to get permission from its religious leadership. Let's keep it that way :)
KenInd
We too shall get through this.....
07:01 PM on 06/30/2012
The irony is, those of the faiths of the Founders would agree. It is the Baptists and Catholics who are demanding a return to State deism.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
WESmith
Energy Conservation can save you M-O-N-E-Y!!!!!!!!
07:39 PM on 06/30/2012
June 25th was Christian Emancipation Day commemorating the day in 1530 when Christians told Emporor Charles V to get the hell out of their religion. The government has burned people who read the Bible like Jan Hus. Martin Luther and the printing press allowed the common people to find out the government had been lying to them for over a thousand years. The government slaughtered tens of thousands of commoners and burned chrisitan literature.
Today we have the Democratic and Republican parties telling We The People what christianity means for their own political benefit. The Democrats and Repblicans are religious and their politicians are their religious leaders. Wait, doesn't there have to be God for there to be religion? That is what your political "Leaders" are telling you and you religiously believe. It must be true. Politicians never lie, especially your Saviors that are going to pull jobs out of their arses.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
mabinog
My micro-bio is a desolate wasteland
06:33 PM on 06/30/2012
so what you are really saying is that since, as you posit, the establishment clause only prohibits the state from naming a state religion................then that would imply that any religion could with the application of wealth, influence, power create a de facto national religion to exclusion of all others, correct?

This process that you seem to imply is permissible would in fact deprive the adherents of the loser religions of their freedom to freely exercise their religion. Under your premise the government could not restrict the more powerful religion from oppressing others.

We in fact see the makings of this freedom of A religion instead of freedom of religion and from religion.

Your premise is that of a theocracy and tyranny.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
edander
Mary Full of GRACE the Lord is with You
02:20 PM on 06/30/2012
The founding fathers belief system may not have been overt but it was clear they all believed in God. Here are examples of things which were part of American society up until the last half century when the 'freedom of religion' athiestic people worked hard to eradicate any mention of God. Emblazoned over the Speaker of the House in the US Capitol are the words "In God We Trust."
The Supreme Court building built in the 1930's has carvings of Moses and the Ten Commandments.
God is mentioned in stone all over Washington D.C., on its monuments and buildings.
As a nation, we have celebrated Christmas to commemorate the Savior's birth for centuries.
Oaths in courtrooms have invoked God from the beginning.
The founding fathers often quoted the Bible in their writings.
Every president that has given an inaugural address has mentioned God in that speech.
Prayers have been said at the swearing in of each president.
Each president was sworn in on the Bible, saying the words, "So help me God."
Our national anthem mentions God.
The liberty bell has a Bible verse engraved on it.
The original constitution of all 50 states mentions God.
Chaplains have been in the public payroll from the very beginning.
Our nations birth certificate, the Declaration of Independence, mentions God four times.
The Bible was used as a textbook in the schools.
05:24 PM on 06/30/2012
Evidently you don't read very much.
05:34 PM on 06/30/2012
Evidently you don't read very much.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Brady McElligott
Political parties exist for their own preservation
07:08 PM on 06/30/2012
Quite right: they believed in God, and were Deists. They also recommended that the Bible be used as the main textbook in the public schools. Everything you listed in your post is historically verifiable. Am I liberal? Yes. Do I want to eradicate the religious part of our history? No. Stalin tried to do that in Russia, even tearing down famous churches, but it didn't work. History is history, after all. Do I wish to force anyone to believe in any religion? No. Even atheists and agnostics have proven themselves "worthy members of the Community". Thank you for "reading very much", and (I will add) very accurately.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
WESmith
Energy Conservation can save you M-O-N-E-Y!!!!!!!!
07:53 PM on 06/30/2012
"Even atheists and agnostics have proven themselves "worthy members of the Community". " is kind of a bigoted statement. All Americans are Americans whether they are religiously christian, jewish, muslim, atheistic, agnostic, paganistic, naturalistic, scientific deterministic, etc, etc, etc. We aren't suppose to judge people based on their sex, race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnic origin. But it is done everyday in the form of political rhetoric.
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Sam Adamson
Stands for what's right
01:59 PM on 06/30/2012
Thanks for an interesting article. This looks like a fascinating exhibition.
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
jamesmac10
01:28 PM on 06/30/2012
what's up with the earrings? hard to take him seriously.
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LintLass
"When you can balance a tackhammer on your head...
11:37 PM on 06/30/2012
Then go back to sleep.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
hoochie-coochie
Was an atheist until I discovered that I'm God.
12:55 PM on 06/30/2012
Such enlightenment from these men. Religious freedom!!! ...except if you happen to be African or Native American.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Charlie Sitzes
01:07 PM on 06/30/2012
Or in need of contraception while working at a Catholic hospital.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Brady McElligott
Political parties exist for their own preservation
07:12 PM on 06/30/2012
Non-European indigenous peoples were considered "children", not "citizens", during the Enlightenment. It took a very, very long time before what every educated person knew to be true and just would be made part of our laws, unfortunately, and some people are still being dragged "kicking and screaming" into the twenty-first century.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
WESmith
Energy Conservation can save you M-O-N-E-Y!!!!!!!!
08:04 PM on 06/30/2012
Actually, Germans were considered non-white by Ben Franklin. Franklin said they were swarthy, smelled bad, beat their mothers, refused to learn English, worked for cheap and put White Americans out of jobs.
Humans haven't changed in 5200 years. We are as savage we have ever been. Some people religiously believe they are Evolved Beings, but they are as bad as the rest of us. Every single person alive has ancestors that were slave masters and/or murderers of the people that lived on the land they wanted. That is human nature as described in Evolution. Survival of the Fittest. The weak die for the sake of The Species. Natural Selection is not a benevolent deity. It is random happenings. We create weapons to make sure it is them that die.
The 21st century might as well be 5 million years ago. We haven't, nor are we likely to evolve beyond the selfish animals we are.

[Prediction of next comment - you may be an animal, but I'm not (religion in action)]
12:47 PM on 06/30/2012
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both users and growers of cannabis. George Washington used cannabis for his spiritual quest of seeking the Philosopher's Stone.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAMyCazzfwA
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phal4875
The world is run by cats; we just feed them.
01:52 PM on 06/30/2012
Are you certain that wasn't the Philosopher's "stoned?"
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busterggi
I'm a Sally Randian
03:02 PM on 06/30/2012
Nah, they were just too lazy and let weed overtake their fields.
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01:05 AM on 07/03/2012
The Constitution of the United States is written on hemp paper.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
samearl
What is truth?
12:45 PM on 06/30/2012
It's amazing to me how the controversy still rages about the Christian nation debate. There were few men in the 19th century who identified themselves as nonbelievers. Most just didn't talk too much about personal beliefs. Other than Paine and Jefferson, most did identify with some religious sect and even those two did believe in a deity. What did set most of these people apart was they wanted to make this nation a united nation to the best of their ability and they wanted to protect it from religious prejudice. From my limited study, it seems that most of their thoughts on religion were in letters to others such as the correspondence between Adams and Jefferson. They didn't put their beliefs out for public display as seen in today's political climate. It would be a breath of fresh air if today's political rhetoric did more to respect other people's beliefs rather than imposing personal belief on others. As a nonbeliever I can say that if it weren't the case that religion tried to control education and reproductive rights we would have little to argue about. It could be a much more live and let live country and maybe one of compromise.
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suebeedue
01:24 PM on 06/30/2012
In my study of Scripture (and I am a believer) Jesus rejected participation of the political nature, for he continually taught that the Kingdom of God ( a theocratic government) was no part of the secular world. His kingship was in heaven over the earth and was for a future time. In fact, after he performed miracles, many reasoned that he would make a great king. When they tried to make him king, he withdrew from the crowds. (John 6:15)

The first century Christians had the same pattern of neutrality to politics and government. As well as restraining from warfare. These early Christians would not hold public office or serve in the military. It was considered irreconcilable to the life of a Christian to do so. Whether the consequences be imprisonment, or even death, these first century Christians were neutral in stance. It was not until Christianity had been corrupted, after the death of the last apostle, that a person "calling themselves" christian become a soldier or participate in politics. (Acts 20: 29-31)

In our day there are millions of us who follow the pattern of the first century apostles and are completely neutral to politics. We do not vote, hold office of go to war. We are very different from those of our day in this regard, but we are very like the first century Christians who took this stance.
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c-tom
Badges we don't need no stinking badges
01:02 AM on 07/01/2012
One can read "give to Caesar" as an OK to participate in the politics of a Republic.
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phal4875
The world is run by cats; we just feed them.
01:53 PM on 06/30/2012
Fanned, samearl, for a very sensible post.