I Get Hate Mail-Hate Comments

Not very often. In fact, almost never. (Scrupulously avoiding the ad hominem goes a long way here.)

So when I see one, I pay attention. From the following post entitled, Three Misuses of the American Founding & Religion For Political Purposes, commenter Kari writes:

Some of you who doubt the christianity of our forefathers should actually read some historical documents with quotes by them, nearly all of them not only believed in but worshipped Jehovah God and were Christians who definetely [sic] believed in Jesus Christ! I am so tired of everyone trying to change history and say that our forefathers really weren’t Christians. IT IS IN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS…READ IT!!! Stop living in denial and read for yourself. Why do you think there were so many references to God and the 10 commandments made by these men. Did Christians falsify things to our advantage? I think not. Our nation used to be a Christian nation, that was the only way that a small group of colonists was able to win their independence from England who was a SUPERPOWER!! These men prayed daily for God to be with them during this endeavor and he was because they worshipped him and believed in his word…our whole nation did.

It is a shame that as Americans our true history is being removed from history books and warped and twisted by heathens who do not believe in God or His divine words. It should be a requirement that all judges(especially supreme court), lawyers and politicians read all of our historical documents that set precendence [sic] in the forming of the laws of our once great country and be forced to follow them.

People like you sicken me for you are warping history to suit yourself!

Well I think this is directed towards me, so I will answer.

1) Kari never touched one point I made; I would appreciate if she told me where in my post I specifically went wrong.

2) If you are “sickened” by what I write, I cannot apologize because because I have done nothing wrong. I have only recited facts and logic (and admittedly my understanding thereof which may be subject to debate). Perhaps the facts of history, not the myths that you were taught by Christian Nationalist history revisionists “sicken” you.

3) Jehovah God, Christians, Jesus Christ, Historical Documents and Ten Commandments.

a) From my meticulous study of the primary sources, I admit a strong majority believed in “Providence” and, as part of “Christendom” thought of themselves as “Christians” in some sense.

b) However — and she can correct me if I am wrong — that’s not enough to be a “Christian” and believer in “Jehovah” as the “Christian Nationalists” articulate the concept.

c) Alternatively, some friends of mine, very generous in their ecumenicism, argue any kind of connection to belief in an active Providence equals Jehovah worship. For scriptural support, think of Acts 17, where St. Paul encountered seemingly pagan monotheistic Greeks who worshipped the God of the Bible without consciously knowing they did.

The key American Founders (Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, specifically) believed UNCONVERTED Native Americans who worshipped the monotheistic “Great Spirit” believed in the same God Jews and Christians did. I guess Jehovah and the unconverted Natives’ “Great Spirit” God are one and the same. Likewise Allah is Jehovah, even if the Muslims, like those Native Americans, get some of the details wrong.

But it’s that line of thought — that Jews, Christians, theological unitarians (Trinity deniers), Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims — all worship the same God, the true God (Jehovah). I know Mormons and JWs didn’t exist during the American Founding. Though the Swedenborgs, who did, make for a good substitute.

I don’t see “Kari” as arguing from this corner; correct me if I am wrong.

d) Re the historical documents: You may be able to find some more general God words in the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Federalist Papers. But you don’t see “Jehovah” or “Jesus Christ” in them. The US Constitution does use the conventional “In the Year of Our Lord” (i.e., AD on our currency) for dating purposing. Trying to make “God” out of that shows how nominally the US Constitution invokes God. (In other words, if the US Constitution is not “Godless,” it is “Godly” in the most nominal sense only.)

e) The Ten Commandments: What are you talking about? Where did George Washington specifically invoke the Ten Commandments? John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both DOUBTED that we had the correct version of the Ten Commandments? What about James Madison? A supposed quotation of his on the Ten Commandments circulated (in large part to the efforts of David Barton who is still trying to live this down) only later to have been debunked.

I think Kari’s note is important because it illustrates how corrupt the rot is among the home schooled “Christian Americanists.” David Barton et al. may not be so stupid to themselves make such grievous errors. But they give winks and nods to the kind of errors this commenter makes.

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14 Responses to I Get Hate Mail-Hate Comments

  1. Matty says:

    But it’s that line of thought — that Jews, Christians, theological unitarians (Trinity deniers), Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims — all worship the same God, the true God (Jehovah). I know Mormons and JWs didn’t exist during the American Founding. Though the Swedenborgs, who did, make for a good substitute.

    I don’t see “Kari” as arguing from this corner; correct me if I am wrong.

    She does use Jehovah God, which I think is JW terminology, but the on the other hand aren’t they meant to avoid politics?

  2. Jon Rowe says:

    JWs are interesting because they believe in a unitary “Jehovah” but not Jesus as God. Christians also use Jehovah as God, but they believe Jehovah is Triune.

  3. Kolohe says:

    “Our nation used to be a Christian nation, that was the only way that a small group of colonists was able to win their independence from England who was a SUPERPOWER!!”

    GOD HATES REDCOATS!

  4. Jon Rowe says:

    I think what she fails to understand is the England was more officially a “Christian Nation” than America was.

  5. Matty says:

    Christians also use Jehovah as God, but they believe Jehovah is Triune.

    I was aware that Trinitarian Bibles and books that quote the Bible occasionally transliterate the Hebrew name of God as Jehovah but in my experience combining this with the English to get ‘Jehovah God’ is normally used by JW’s looking to distinguish their beliefs about God from the Christian mainstream. Still my experience is pretty limited so I’m probably just wrong.

    England was more officially a “Christian Nation” than America was.

    Was and is, you want to see what is required in schools, and this with a population largely apathetic about religion. Thor* help us if a US style religious right ever took off.

    *Where Christian terms might normally be used but seem inappropriate in context I like to substitute a random deity from one of the less popular religions, call it equal opportunity taking the name in vain.

  6. buddyglass says:

    I get the feeling what most folks (these days) consider to be a “Christian Nation” is one in which these three things are true:

    1. Most people self-identify as being “Christian”. Few people self-identify as members of other religions, or as atheists/agnostics, and those who do are generally not very vocal about it.

    2. Most people do outwardly “Christian” things like attending church services regularly, praying before meals, Christening their children, etc. (This point could probably be merged with #1 above.)

    3. Even if they aren’t very good about attending church, etc., most people share (or at least give lip service to) “traditional” Christian views of right and wrong. That is to say they condemn pre-marital sex, homosexuality, porn, blasphemy, non-traditional male/female roles (here I would disagree with them on the extent to which this is biblical, but from their point of view it is), etc.

    I’m not sure most apply a theological test. They may consider the colonial U.S. to have been a “Christian nation” simply because most folks self-identified as Christian and generally held to traditional Christian morality.

  7. Scott S. says:

    After seeing this message and Matty’s link to the UK’s religious education requirements, I’ve changed my mind about the whole Christian Nation thing.

    Let ’em have it.

    Let “Christianity” be the official religion of this country. Let them establish a national governmental apparatus for religious education. Let that national, political organization determine how religious information gets taught in schools and what home-schoolers must do to meet their responsibilities. Let kids sing Christmas songs in school again (I really liked that part, actually, even though I turned out an atheist).

    Maybe then people will be really educated about this stuff, and by a politicized government agency that is as religiously mixed as our population is. After a couple of generations, the fundamentalists of this nation will have dwindled to the levels seen in France, UK, and Sweden today. Culture War over.

  8. tom van dyke says:

    Scott, Tocqueville rather made the same observation, that the lack of a state church in America actually fostered religiosity.

    BTW, it’s been my experience that most who use “Christian nation” use “Judeo-Christian principles” freely as well, as buddyglass notes. They are quite content with “in God we trust” and the like.

  9. Jennifer says:

    From the US constitution, article 6, paragraph 3: “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.”

    If that bit after the semicolon said instead, “In addition, belief that Christ died for the sins of humanity is a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,” then the “Christian nation” proponents would have a point.

  10. tom van dyke says:

    Under the United States. Religion was left to the individual states; some still even have religious tests on the books.

    The proper “Christian nation” argument is that America was already a Christian nation, and the Constitution and First Amendment did nothing to alter that.

    David Barton et al. may not be so stupid to themselves make such grievous errors. But they give winks and nods to the kind of errors this commenter makes.

    Not that it applies to you here, Jon, but again, this is a door that swings both ways.

  11. Heidegger says:

    Okay, Jon– made my own brain teaser just for you! Listen to this clip–here’s your clue–this music it very, very important to some of the Founding Fathers and in its own way, also important to the success of the Revolution. (my money’s on you-don’t disappoint!) Good luck.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio/B00005QISL/ref=pd_krex_listen_dp_img?ie=UTF8&refTagSuffix=dp_img

  12. Heidegger says:

    Oh no–hopefully not too late–was hoping only the sound of the clip would appear but the whole page comes up, giving away the answer. So–here are the new rules–once you click on the link, turn your monitor off immediately. No cheating! You won’t need to anyway, and if anyone else out there wants try this, be my guest–but remember these rules–good luck!

  13. tom van dyke says:

    Oh, you blew the punch line, dude. Just give up the goods.

  14. the innominate one says:

    Note that the level of certainty in Kari strongly correlates with the level of vituperation and also the level of ignorance. Another exemplar of the Dunning-Kruger effect?

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