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Thread: Happy 4th of July

  1. #51
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.Bullock View Post
    Jeff, one of my professors was a congregationalist and a very devout Christian ...no they are not free and easy with their profession of Christ they are however with their methods of ministry they are not as structed as say the Anglicans are.. The religious make up of the colonies was Lutheran, Baptist,Anglican/Episcopal, Catholic, Moravian, Puritans, Methodist all churches with creeds and confessions. To be sure it was an atmosphere of religious tolerance that wasn't found anywhere else. The way you are describing early America it was settled by pagans, sorry but I don't see it..

    How can you reconcile that with the Great awakening that began in 1730 by Ministers such as Johnathan Edwards certainly not a deist the same era that John Wesley began the Methodist movement of circuit riders planting churches throughout the colonies. All Confessing Christian churches.

    And I think some of the quotes you quoted would need to be qualified to be put in context. Quotes don't go to far in my estimation, I would hate for someone to find what I wrote regarding religion or even parenting 15 years ago and and after I am gone assume that was my worldview over my entire lifetime.

    http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/...info/deism.htm





    Your position on the scope and presence of Deism in early America is way overstated.
    With respect to Congregationalists, I agree that there is no question at all about the Christian basis of modern Congregationalism. However, as I noted in my comments, that is a position that emerged on in the late 18th century when conservative members demanded a that formal statement of Christian creed be executed by each minister and congregation. That is what split the church with a very large percentage of Congregationalist churches becoming Unitarian.

    My comments with respect to deists were very much directed at our "founding fathers" who were, not surprisingly, probably more liberal and anti-authoritarian in their leanings than many of their peers (the rejection of orthodoxy was probably more common among the leaders of the revolution than among the balance of the delegates signing the Declaration). However, the belief that religion was primarily a matter of personal conscience was much more widely held and was probably more of a factor in the Constitutional exclusion of the government from passing any laws respecting religion or requiring any religious test (i.e., statement of belief) for holding office.

    The move towards greater religious orthodoxy didn't really become a force until the end of the 18th century and early in the 19th. It was a major factor in Jefferson's Presidential campaign in 1800 (against John Adams) with the then equivalent of the religious right campaigning hard to defeat him. Jefferson won despite their opposition and despite widespread belief that he was an atheist. Jefferson also was relatively quiet about his religious beliefs, reserving his religious discussions primarily for his private correspondence. One of his frequent correspondents was Joseph Priestly and later, to the surprise of both, his former political opponent John Adams. Adams had received some details concerning the Jefferson Bible from Priestly and encouraged Jefferson to complete it.

    The article you referenced in your link actually supports much of what I say although it appears to have a very specific agenda of trying to formulate arguments to dilute the intentions of the establishment clause. I do disagree with some of the author's facts, including his classification of John Adams as a Universalist Unitarian. The first Universalist church in America was not formed until 1779 by John Murray and the link between Universalists and Unitarians did not emerge until the 20th century, being formalized in 1960. Until the time of the merger, a key distinction between the two was the universalism, while it rejected the notion of damnation, attributed universal salvation to Christ and accepted his deity. Unitarians did not. When the two religions merged, it was based on a complete rejection of religious creed in favor of personal conscience and an agreed set of principles for action. Christian and athiest Unitarians probably exist in approximtely equal numbers.

  2. #52
    Senior Member K.Bullock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    With respect to Congregationalists, I agree that there is no question at all about the Christian basis of modern Congregationalism. However, as I noted in my comments, that is a position that emerged on in the late 18th century when conservative members demanded a that formal statement of Christian creed be executed by each minister and congregation. That is what split the church with a very large percentage of Congregationalist churches becoming Unitarian.

    My comments with respect to deists were very much directed at our "founding fathers" who were, not surprisingly, probably more liberal and anti-authoritarian in their leanings than many of their peers (the rejection of orthodoxy was probably more common among the leaders of the revolution than among the balance of the delegates signing the Declaration). However, the belief that religion was primarily a matter of personal conscience was much more widely held and was probably more of a factor in the Constitutional exclusion of the government from passing any laws respecting religion or requiring any religious test (i.e., statement of belief) for holding office.

    The move towards greater religious orthodoxy didn't really become a force until the end of the 18th century and early in the 19th. It was a major factor in Jefferson's Presidential campaign in 1800 (against John Adams) with the then equivalent of the religious right campaigning hard to defeat him. Jefferson won despite their opposition and despite widespread belief that he was an atheist. Jefferson also was relatively quiet about his religious beliefs, reserving his religious discussions primarily for his private correspondence. One of his frequent correspondents was Joseph Priestly and later, to the surprise of both, his former political opponent John Adams. Adams had received some details concerning the Jefferson Bible from Priestly and encouraged Jefferson to complete it.

    The article you referenced in your link actually supports much of what I say although it appears to have a very specific agenda of trying to formulate arguments to dilute the intentions of the establishment clause. I do disagree with some of the author's facts, including his classification of John Adams as a Universalist Unitarian. The first Universalist church in America was not formed until 1779 by John Murray and the link between Universalists and Unitarians did not emerge until the 20th century, being formalized in 1960. Until the time of the merger, a key distinction between the two was the universalism, while it rejected the notion of damnation, attributed universal salvation to Christ and accepted his deity. Unitarians did not. When the two religions merged, it was based on a complete rejection of religious creed in favor of personal conscience and an agreed set of principles for action. Christian and athiest Unitarians probably exist in approximtely equal numbers.
    Is this what you are taking issue with?

    Deist phrases may thus have been a sort of theological lingua franca, and their use by the founders was ecumenical rather than anti-Christian. Such ecumenical striving sheds fresh light on the first amendment and the secular order it established. This secularism forbade the federal government from establishing a national church or interfering with church affairs in the states. However, it did not create a policy of official indifference, much less hostility toward organized religion. Congress hired chaplains, government buildings were used for divine services, and federal policies supported religion in general (ecumenically) as does our tax code to this day. The founding generation always assumed that religion would play a vital part in the political and moral life of the nation. Its ecumenical secularity insured that no particular faith would be excluded from that life, including disbelief itself.
    I thought that was an interesting take on the use of ecumenical terms, that would seem to be very logical to me. Considering the founders were attempting to escape a state run church.
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  3. #53
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.Bullock View Post
    Is this what you are taking issue with?



    I thought that was an interesting take on the use of ecumenical terms, that would seem to be very logical to me. Considering the founders were attempting to escape a state run church.
    I believe, beyond the notion of a state church, that the founders viewed religion as a matter of personal choice, whatever that choice might be, and fully intended government to not take any position on religious issues. Today, many prefer to believe that their intent was simply that you were free to choose what brand of Christian you wanted to be but that the assumption was that you would be Christian. The point of my postings on this has been to show that, while most may have been Christian, our founders were a diverse group that included clear non-Christians among its respected leaders and even some who at times questioned the existence of a deity altogether. Their views of acceptable religious diversity encompassed a full range of personal choices including no religion at all.

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    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    The European experience from which our founders came clearly demonstrated the negative aspects of church involvement in state affairs. It makes absolute sense to me that they would want no church to precedence over the inalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration.

    However, I think we take this to extremes in today's world n ways that prevent voluntary, free expression of one's religion because it happens to take place on government property, most notably schools. If all forms of religious expression, including atheism, are equally permitted, I see no reason for government to regulate voluntary gatherings or expressions.
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  5. #55
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry Clinchy View Post
    The European experience from which our founders came clearly demonstrated the negative aspects of church involvement in state affairs. It makes absolute sense to me that they would want no church to precedence over the inalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration.

    However, I think we take this to extremes in today's world n ways that prevent voluntary, free expression of one's religion because it happens to take place on government property, most notably schools. If all forms of religious expression, including atheism, are equally permitted, I see no reason for government to regulate voluntary gatherings or expressions.
    My own perspective is shaped by having grown up going to a public school before the SCOTUS outlawed school prayers. There was nothing voluntary about what went on. Morning bible readings were mandatory rotating so that each student would read a selection each day. In fifth grade, my teacher made a point of requiring that the Jewish children only read selections from the New Testament to help them find Jesus.

    Public institutions carry an implicit power of compulsion. That is the reason why prayer advocates seek to use those institutions for group prayer. Nothing prevents any individual from speaking to God. If a God is there, I am sure that it does not require a group voice to hear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    My own perspective is shaped by having grown up going to a public school before the SCOTUS outlawed school prayers. There was nothing voluntary about what went on. Morning bible readings were mandatory rotating so that each student would read a selection each day. In fifth grade, my teacher made a point of requiring that the Jewish children only read selections from the New Testament to help them find Jesus.

    Public institutions carry an implicit power of compulsion. That is the reason why prayer advocates seek to use those institutions for group prayer. Nothing prevents any individual from speaking to God. If a God is there, I am sure that it does not require a group voice to hear.
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  7. #57
    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    My own perspective is shaped by having grown up going to a public school before the SCOTUS outlawed school prayers. There was nothing voluntary about what went on. Morning bible readings were mandatory rotating so that each student would read a selection each day. In fifth grade, my teacher made a point of requiring that the Jewish children only read selections from the New Testament to help them find Jesus.

    Public institutions carry an implicit power of compulsion. That is the reason why prayer advocates seek to use those institutions for group prayer. Nothing prevents any individual from speaking to God. If a God is there, I am sure that it does not require a group voice to hear.
    I do not believe that the school should have any type of required ritual such as you describe. I would join you in objecting to the type of thing you describe in your public school experience.

    I also went to public school. We were granted released time each week to attend religious instruction at the church of our choice offering same; or use the period as a study hall. The only compulsion for a student to attend religious training was parental, and the school's only participation was to allow such a time period.

    I was thinking of such things as not allowing students of a certain religious affiliation to use school property for a gathering, providing such gatherings did not include prosletyzing or solicitations for that group's beliefs.

    The closest our school came to what you describe was the daily Pledge of Allegiance, which included the words "under God". I doubt anyone would have noticed if any student chose not to say those words during the Pledge of Allegiance, but nobody was much interested in making a big deal of their choice to do so.
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  8. #58
    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    My own perspective is shaped by having grown up going to a public school before the SCOTUS outlawed school prayers. There was nothing voluntary about what went on. Morning bible readings were mandatory rotating so that each student would read a selection each day. In fifth grade, my teacher made a point of requiring that the Jewish children only read selections from the New Testament to help them find Jesus.

    Public institutions carry an implicit power of compulsion. That is the reason why prayer advocates seek to use those institutions for group prayer. Nothing prevents any individual from speaking to God. If a God is there, I am sure that it does not require a group voice to hear.
    My recollection is of an Indian kid in my 6th grade class being ridiculed in front of the class for worshipping cows, while we worshipped the only "true God". To this day, I can see the tears running down his face and his chin quivering. He was new in this country, 8000 miles from his hometown, and very small of stature. He grew up to be a cardiologist, and is one of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. I still feel ashamed for not standing up to the teacher on his behalf, but at the time, knew better. I pray he has overcome his first impressions we gave him as a nation of freedom of religions.
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