LESSONS LEARNED #49: “The ‘tolerant’ are intolerant.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 20th, 2011

Agitate and Instigate – Getting the People to Help the Well-to-Do

There are tolerant people out there.  Independents.  Moderates.  Lots of Democrats.  And, yes, even conservatives.  Even though there are those who demonize conservatives.  And say that they aren’t.  By people who claim to be.  Who are, in fact, not.  Liberals.  That 20% sliver of the population.  Those who benefit greatly from a liberal agenda.  And agenda that greatly burdens the other 80%.  Through higher taxes.  And greater regulation.  Which adds costs to business.  Which results in higher prices.  Fewer jobs.  A poorer population that can’t buy as much stuff.  And a depressed economy.

This 20% lives a privileged life.  College professors, public sector employees, union public school teachers, the mainstream media, liberal politicians (both Republican and Democrat), etc.  People who make a lot of money.  But don’t work a real job.  Like the other 80% of the population.

To live a privileged life requires the other 80% to voluntarily pay for it.  And that’s not easy.  These people can make as much as three times what those in the private sector make.  So they can’t expect much pity.  Because people just don’t pity you if you’re struggling to make two house payments and a boat payment.  Especially when they’re staring foreclosure in the face on their one and only home.  So they need to get our support some other way.  So they agitate.  Instigate.  They like to stir up trouble.  Demonize their opponents.  So no one focuses on just how well they live and how little they work.

Feigning Tolerance to Attract the Single Issue Voters

So they agitate and instigate to get some of that 80% to support them.  They look at single issues that are dear to some people.  Abortion.  Immigration.  Drugs.  Cigarettes.  Birth control.  Fast food.  Sugary beverages.  Health care.  Secularism.  Etc.  Anything they can politicize.  Anything they can use as a wedge to move people from supporting the 80% and to supporting the 20%.

Scare tactics.  Demonization of individuals.  Political correctness.  These are some of their tools.  Things that can help stir up trouble.  Agitate people.  And make them do something that they normally wouldn’t do.  Support their far left agenda.  Because they attach these single issues to their agenda.  These single-issue people may not agree with the far left liberal agenda, but their single issue trumps all.  Much like Congress does when attaching pork to a bill.  They’ll attach bazillions of dollars of outrageous earmarks to a bill entitled ‘it’s time to stop abusing children’.  It’s effective.  Vote for the bill (and the irresponsible spending attached to it).  Or be on the public record for being in favor of abusing children.  Not much of a choice, really.  Especially if you ever plan to run for reelection.

Tolerance.  That’s an especially useful tool.  For painting themselves as enlightened and opened minded.  While painting their opponents as mean, cold, unfeeling and close minded.  And it’s rather ironic.  For their opponents are often far more tolerant than the tolerant, liberal left.

The Dangers of Smoke is Relative.  The Cigarette kind is Bad.  But the Marijuana kind, Surprisingly, Isn’t

Pity the poor cigarette smoker.  He or she can’t get a break anywhere.  They’ve made it criminal to smoke pretty much anywhere but in your own home.  And they’re looking at that, too.  Especially if you have kids.  Pity, too.  Some of my fondest memories are as a child when my aunts and uncles came over to visit.  They smoked and played gin rummy.  While we played.  My cousins.  My brother.  And me.  I’m not a smoker.  But to this day when I get a whiff of cigarette smoke I get this warm feeling of nostalgia wash over me.  But those days are gone.  First they’ll band smoking in your home.  Then gin rummy.  And then probably having aunts and uncles over that could unfavorably influence your kids. 

Cigarette smoke is bad for you.  Second hand smoke is bad for those around you. So they are very intolerant of anyone smoking those foul, detestable cigarettes.  But if you want to spark up a fatty, they’re okay with that.  In fact, they want to decriminalize marijuana.  They’ve already started with ‘medical’ marijuana.  Now there is a thriving market for illegal medical prescriptions for medical marijuana.  And, you know what?  That’s silly.  They’re going to smoke it anyway.  So let’s just decriminalize it completely.  And open cannabis coffee shops like they have in the Netherlands.  Because there ain’t nothing wrong with a little unfiltered marijuana smoke.  Unlike that nasty, foul, vile cigarette smoke.  And if you have a problem with marijuana, why, you’re just intolerant.

What’s a worse Lifestyle Choice than Heroin Addiction?  Eating a McDonald’s Happy Meal

San Francisco is a big gay city.  And by that I mean gay-friendly.  They have a lot of gays and lesbians living there.  And a lot of intravenous drug users.  Therefore, they have a big AIDS problem.  To try and prevent the spread of AIDS they’ve been providing clean syringes to help heroin addicts support their heroin addictions.  They brand anyone opposing this policy as intolerant of the gay community.  The addict community.  Or of drug users and sexually active people in general.

Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco has banned McDonald’s from including toys in their Happy Meals.  Because it encourages children to live an unhealthy lifestyle.  So they’re intolerant of parents letting their kids enjoy an occasional Happy Meal.  While they are tolerant of subsidizing an addict’s addiction.  Even though everyone eating a Happy Meal has not gone on to be obese and suffer from poor health.  While most heroin addicts eventually kill themselves from the drugs they abuse.

Gay Marriage is Beautiful.  While Traditional Marriage is Legalized Rape

And speaking of gays in San Francisco, let’s talk about marriage.  The Left says that we should allow gays to marry each other.  That we are denying them the highest form of happiness known to a loving couple.  Wedded bliss.  And anyone opposing this is just intolerant of the gay community.

 Meanwhile, who was it all these years saying that marriage was nothing more than slavery?  An archaic ceremony that made strong, independent women mere chattel.  Slaves in the kitchen.  Whores in the bedroom.  And legalized rape.  Who was this?  Why, the Left.  The feminists.  They hated the institution of marriage.  Because it relegated women into second class citizenry.  Anyone fighting for such an archaic institution was just intolerant of strong women.  Because marriage is bad.  Unless the people getting married are gay.

You can’t tell a Woman what she can do with her Womb.  But you can Police her Eating and Smoking Habits.

The abortion argument is about empowering women.  Liberals say that without the right to choose women are condemned to second class citizenry as housewives and mothers.  Because they would have no choice.  If they enjoy a little slap and tickle and get pregnant, a woman can’t go on in her life afterward like a man can.  And that ain’t fair.  And anyone who is intolerant of abortion on demand is just being intolerant of feminism.  And wants to confine women to being a slave in the kitchen.  And a whore in the bedroom.  Taking care of a bunch of rotten, screaming kids.  While that bastard of a father goes out and builds a glorious career.

Liberals say a woman is responsible for her womb.  That we should all stay out of it.  It’s her decision.  Her personal property.  Her rules.  No one should have any say whatsoever with what she does with that part of her body.  But every other part of her body is apparently open to regulation.  Telling her that she shouldn’t smoke, eat fast food or drink a sugary drink, why, that’s okay.  They have every right, nay, responsibility, to police her body in those respects.  But not her womb.  There, she has choice. 

Temporary Nativity Scenes on Public Property are Intolerable.  But Permanent Religious Displays on ‘Conquered’ Territory are Okay.

The secular left is very intolerant of any nativity displays on public property for a few weeks around Christmas.  They scream about the separation of church and state.  They argue that if we allow these nativity displays we’re just a step away from antidisestablishmentarianism.

These same people though called anyone who opposed the Muslim community center near Ground Zero intolerant.  Now even though all Muslims aren’t terrorists, the terrorists who crashed into the Twin Towers were Muslim.  And, interestingly, throughout history Muslims have built mosques on conquered territory.  So the terrorists (who happened to be Muslim) would have seen that community center (that included a mosque) near Ground Zero as a symbol of the territory that they, the bad guys, not Muslims in general, conquered.  And this was just the height of insensitivity to those who lost loved ones on 9/11.  But as far as the liberal left is concerned, these people are just being intolerant.  Because that community center that will be there all year long for years and years to come is no big deal.  But the appearance of nativity scenes for a scant few weeks around Christmas, well, that’s just plain offensive.  In intolerable.

We Should Tolerate Attacks on Christianity.  But not Attacks on Islam.

And speaking of religion, remember all that hoopla about those cartoons in the Danish press?  Of the Islamic prophet?  Well, this ignited a firestorm.  That reached all the way to South Park.  In Cartoon Wars Part II the show featured an appearance of the prophet.  But when the episode aired, Comedy Central blacked out the image.  Because they said it would be offensive to Muslims.  The Left applauded this.  For anyone who dared to do such an insensitive thing were obviously Christians showing their intolerance of Islam.

Meanwhile, placing a crucifix in a jar of piss is art.  Making a movie about Christ having a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene is art.  Openly deriding Christians derogatively as ‘God-clingers’ is just free speech.  And perfectly acceptable.  No matter how many Christians are offended.  To the offended the Left simply says, “Get over it.  You intolerant God-clingers.”

Never Let a Crisis go to Waste.  Or an Opportunity.

You get the picture.  America is basically a center-right country.  A nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values.  And these values still guide many people today.  This is the 80%.  So the 20% attacks these values.  To agitate.  To instigate.  To foment.  They attack Christianity and tell gays that conservatives want to get rid of them.  Meanwhile the religion they say we must be tolerant of openly persecutes gays.  They don’t preach to them that they are morally wrong.  But literally persecute them.  Kill them.  The Left supports this religion and their mosque near Ground Zero.  In New York City.  Where there is a large gay population.  And yet no one sees this disconnect.

Because everything for this 20% is an opportunity.  And when you’re opportunistic (never let a crisis go to waste), you don’t let a thing like philosophical consistency weigh you down.  Look at every issue they stand on and you will probably find a paradox.  Cigarette smoke is bad for you but marijuana smoke is fine.  We shouldn’t eat fast food or drink sugary drinks because they are unhealthy.  But let’s give clean syringes to help our heroin addicts feed their addictions.  Marriage is bad and oppresses.  But gay marriage is a beautiful thing.  Women can choose to have an abortion.  But they can’t choose to have a Big Mac Combo meal and a cigarette.  Christianity can be mocked because it’s ‘not nice’ to gays and women.  But we must respect Islam that persecutes gays and treats women as chattel. 

Here a paradox.  There a paradox.  Everywhere a paradox.  Why, you can say liberalism itself is a paradox.  Because it is both tolerant and intolerant.  Often on the same issue.  It all depends on which way the political wind is blowing at the time.  You see, that’s what happens when you trade philosophy for political expediency.  When you don’t govern but exploit opportunity.  When you see an opportunity to extort money (sue Big Tobacco).  Or just to screw with Big Business (like McDonalds) to show those corporate sons of bitches who really has power.  Or to just stir up the pot, getting people riled up against their Judeo-Christian tradition (gay marriage, abortion, feminism, etc.).  Not to advance a particular philosophy.  But an agenda.  That has but one goal.  To perpetuate their privileged class.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LESSONS LEARNED #18: “Man-given rights are only privileges allowed by the privileged elite.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 17th, 2010

GOD WAS HERE before the Marine Corps. So you can give your heart to Jesus, but your ass belongs to The Corps.

(From the movie Full Metal Jacket, 1987.)

In Roman Catholicism, this is the doctrine of the two swords.  The spiritual sword is the Church.  The temporal sword is the state.  Martin Luther had the doctrine of two kingdoms.  The religious and civil.  Going back to the source, Jesus Christ put it this way:

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s 

The original separation of church and state.  Of course, back then, this was all intended to limit the state’s interference into spiritual matters.  Today it’s reversed.  It’s the state that is trying to hold the spiritual sword at bay.

THE FOUNDING FATHERS were gentlemen of the Enlightenment.  This makes them complex.  The Enlightenment was the Age of Reason.  And guess what we did during the Age of Reason?  We thought.  Rationally.  There was a philosophical revolution going on in Europe.  Simply put, things weren’t what they were because the Church said so.  There were other explanations.  Other laws.  And the Church could be wrong.

So, if the Founding Fathers had lived in the 20th century, they would have probably been fans of the rock group Rush.  And Ayn Rand.  Who influenced Rush.  Thomas Jefferson probably would have an iPod filled with their songs, including Tom Sawyer:

No his mind is not for rent
To any god or government

They questioned ALL authority.  And some may have been Deists.  But they were not atheists.  Even Jefferson.  He may not have believed in the Trinity or Christ’s divinity, but he still believed in God.  And he worshipped Jesus in his own way.  As the world’s greatest philosopher, with his Sermon on the Mount being the best philosophy man could ask for.

THE FOUNDING FATHERS were gentlemen of the Enlightenment.  Now the other part.  The thing that makes them complex.  The gentlemen part.  What did this mean in the 18th century?  Here are some adjectives that describe a gentleman.  Honorable.  Virtuous.  Reputable.  A gentleman strived to achieve moral excellence and righteousness.  He was ethical.  His life was a steadfast adherence to a strict moral code.  And when he served in public office, it was with selfless disinterest.  He would go out of his way to NOT gain personally from his time in public office.  Some did it better than others.  But all tried.  And when they fell short, they at least put on an appearance of disinterest.  It was that important.  And expected.

In a word, restraint.  This is what a gentleman practiced.  George Washington exercised this restraint to such a degree that many found him cold and aloof.  Few saw him smile.  Few saw public displays of emotion.  What they did see was an exemplary life of virtue, honor and moral excellence.  And they would forever look at him with awe and reverence.  We do to this day.

These students of the Enlightenment, then, espoused Judeo-Christian ethics.  They questioned all authority oppressing man, whether it be Church or state.  But they did not throw out the baby with the bath water.  They remained religious.  They just wouldn’t yield to it unconditionally.  Not to the Pope.  To a bishop.  Or any other tyranny of a minority, privileged elite.  Even after their Revolution.

And they would extend this restraint to the new nation they would found.  It would be a government that would govern with the consent of the people.  But it would not be mob-rule.  Not a true democracy.  It would be representative government.  The idea was to restrain the extreme passions of the people.  They would not exchange one tyranny for another.  There would be no tyranny of the majority.

FRANCE HAD PROBLEMS in the late 18th century.  The toll of war was bankrupting the country.  Their financing of the American Revolution didn’t help either.  Food was scarce and expensive.  Famine and malnutrition were commonplace.  Among the Third Estate (the poor).  The First Estate (the Church) was doing well.  The Second Estate (the nobility), too.  Unemployed and hungry, the poor looked at the clergy and the nobility who were not. 

The Church was largely exempt from paying taxes. And the Church was the largest landholder in France.  The Church levied a 10% tax (i.e., a tithe) on the general population.  A lot of that was collected in-kind (food crops).  So the Church had more land, money and food than the starving, suffering masses.  Who became an angry mob.  That demanded democracy.

The people stormed the Bastille.  Confiscated Church property.  Overthrew the monarchy.  And sent the king and queen, and many others, to the guillotine.  Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror.  They executed political enemies, including priests, and displayed their severed heads to the angry mob.  They de-Christianized France, destroying churches and religious symbols.  They tried to do away with the Church altogether and replace it with civic and community events and organizations.  It was a revolution against Church and state.  Against law and order.  Against restraint.  They would send Robespierre himself to the guillotine at the end of his terror.  Then another terror followed to avenge the previous terror. 

There’s more to the French Revolution.  But that should suffice for now. 

FRANCE WAS IN the epicenter of the Enlightenment.  Some of the great minds of the Enlightenment were French.  But France was older than America.  And more populated.  With centuries of wrongs to right.  It was anything but a blank canvas.  Egalitarianism soon devolved into angry mob rule.  Democracy.  They went from the tyranny of a minority to the tyranny of the majority without stopping in that fertile middle ground.  As was the case in America.  Why?

It’s that blank canvas thing.  We weren’t overthrowing our history to start anew.  We had little history.  Maybe a century or two of English colonists who literally started with raw earth.  There wasn’t a rich and privileged Church.  So there wasn’t a festering resentment against the Church.  No, the early colonists escaped religious oppression and came here for religious freedom.  Which they found.  And enjoyed.

The American Revolution was more restrained.  There were no bloody reprisals after the War.  There were isolated instances of mob violence during the War, but the ‘mob’ was never in control.  The ‘gentlemen’ were always in control.  Gentlemen steeped in Judeo-Christian ethics.  From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, the Founding Fathers built a new nation upon the Rule of Law.  And at its heart were the God-given rights enumerated in those documents.  That no man, or minority, or majority, or mob, could take away.

GOD WAS HERE before the United States.  So we can give our heart to Jesus.  But our ass belongs to the Rule of Law.

Or something like that.  We are a secular nation with a de-emphasis on the religious part.  Yes, legal punishment may dissuade you from doing wrong.  If you think the cops can catch you.  But it’s our morality that will keep us from doing wrong in the first place.  And the people at our founding were moral.  And Christian.  Or deists with Judeo-Christian ethics.

And to those who fear antidisestablishmentarianism, don’t.  I doubt the Catholics and the Protestants could agree on what an established church would be, let alone the myriad other religions peacefully coexisting with each other.  No, more religion would not result in an established church.  It may, though, result in government leaders who fear God and, maybe, they would be better leaders for it.  It sure beats us living in fear of them.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LESSONS LEARNED #14: “Christianity does not beget antidisestablishmentarianism.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 20th, 2010

THE FOUNDING FATHERS were literate.  As many in British America were.  They knew their history.  Europe’s history.  And Antiquity’s.  They read books.  They knew that a Macedonian conquered a weak confederation of Greek city-states.  That Julius Caesar marched into Rome at the head of a professional Roman Army and put an end to the Roman Republic.  That large standing armies and a bloated bureaucracy bankrupted the Roman Empire and led to her demise.  That differences in religious opinion plunged nations into war.  And they were very conscious that history repeats itself.

They studied history and applied the lessons they learned to the founding of a new nation.  And they were blessed with a blank canvas.  There were not centuries of past wrongs to right.  No grudges.  No bad blood.  They had an ocean between them and that past.  Europe may have still been fighting each other, but it was just too costly to extend that fight across an ocean.  At least, not in any large scale action.  And they had vast tracts of land to the west waiting for them to settle.  Growing space.  True, there were indigenous people on some of that land, but there was so much more land than people (even today vast tracts are uninhabited).  Not like in Europe.  There, if a nation left the confines of her borders, it bumped into another.  And, typically, professional armies did the bumping.

So there they were, the Founding Fathers, on a new continent ripe with possibilities.  They had land, resources, knowledge and timing.  It was as if God said that now was the time for a great new civilization to begin.  Or so many felt then. 

THE FATHER OF Christianity was a Jew.  A Rabbi.  Born and raised in a part of the Roman Empire that was a royal pain in the ass to them.  The Jews just did not readily submit to Roman rule.  And the Emperor was growing tired of this thorn in his side. 

The hapless procurator for this troublesome land was Pontius Pilate.  He may have been cruel.  He may have been just (in the context of the times).  He may have tried his best to keep the peace.  But he was certain to fail.  Don’t rule hard enough and order breaks down and Rome is unhappy.  Push too hard and it may cause open rebellion.  Again.  And Rome is unhappy.  Damned if he does.  Damned if he doesn’t.

Long story short, the Romans crucify Jesus Christ.  And a religion is born. 

THE CHRISTIANS WOULD became as big a pain in the ass as the Jews were for the Roman Empire.  Christ’s apostles spread His message and Christian pockets developed in the Empire.  And the Romans persecuted them.  Until one day.

The Roman Empire was in civil war.  Constantine approached the River Tiber.  Across lay Rome and Maxentius.  They would meet in battle in the morning.  Before that battle, though, Constantine had a vision.  He saw a Christian symbol.  The Christian god appeared to him.  He was to advance his armies behind this symbol.  Or so the story goes.  Anyway, Constantine did win the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.  He proclaimed that the Christian god made that victory possible.  And he would subsequently convert to Christianity.

The Roman Empire would give up its pagan past and become Christian.  Constantine would build a great Christian city and name it after himself.  Constantinople (modern day Istanbul).  Christianity would spread throughout the civilized world. Even to the place where he became emperor.  Britain.  A Christian Monk would take the religion into the hostile lands north of Hadrian’s Wall (Scotland).   There he founded a monastery called Candida Casa.  His successor at the monastery, Caranoc, probably introduced Christianity to Ireland.  St. Patrick’s missionary work took over from Caranoc.

ONE OF THE surviving institutions of the Roman Empire was the Catholic Church.  With the structure and order of Roman rule gone, it was the one uniting force that transcended the diverse remnants of the empire.  King Clovis converted to Catholicism and united the Gallic people.  Charlemagne built on this consolidation and created the French and German monarchies, setting the stage for modern, Christian Europe.

The Catholic Church was the bedrock of life in the Middle Ages.  It soothed and comforted.  It gave hope and meaning during difficult times.  Civilization became civilized when Christianized.  People lived by the Golden Rule.  They helped each other.  Christian kings ruled more compassionately, for the afterlife was important to both ruler and ruled.  A king may answer to no man, but a Christian king answered to God. And in Europe, that was the Pope, who ruled spiritually in God’s temporal world.

The Pope may be the last word on things spiritual, but he was still a man.  And like all men, power tends to corrupt.  And it would be a German priest to point this out in a grand way.

IT WAS THE 16th century and the Renaissance was under way.  Everyone was catching the fever.  Even the Pope.  Pope Leo X was renovating his St. Peter digs in the new style.  Paid for, in part, by the selling of indulgences.  You say you’ve sinned?  But you still want to go to heaven?  No problem.  I can help you.  I can forgive you.  For a nominal fee.  And really, now, can you put a price on personal salvation?  I mean, sure, you can risk eternal damnation.  But why take the chance?  Buy an indulgence today.

Or so went some kind of sales pitch.  Which caused a problem for a German priest.  Martin Luther.  He didn’t believe you could buy your way into heaven.  So he said it.  The king wasn’t wearing any clothes.  I mean, the Pope was wrong.  He nailed up his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517 and the Protestant movement was afoot.  Caused a reverberation or two.  Plunged Europe into war.  Catholic versus protestant.  Reformer versus counter-reformer.

Luther translated the Latin Bible into the common German spoken in his country.  Over in England, they were translating the Bible, too.  And speaking of England.

HENRY VIII WANTED a son.  As kings are wont to do.  But he wasn’t having any luck.  He needed a new wife.  So he wanted a divorce.  Couldn’t get one.  So he said goodbye to Rome and opened the Church of England.  He got his divorce.   And a new baby.  Another girl.

The story of England’s break with Rome is a bit more complicated than this.  Henry VIII was a Catholic.  He even persecuted Protestants.  But his third wife was a German princess married for political reasons.  And his new Church leaned Protestant.  He did a lot of things that Luther said to do.  And he hated Luther.  His subjects were even reading an English translation of the Bible.  But then the politics changed and he divorced Anne of Cleves.  And the Church swung back to Catholicism.

When Henry VIII died, Edward VI assumed the throne.  And the Church swung back to Protestant.  When he died, his sister took the throne.  His Catholic sister.  Queen Mary.  And the Church swung back to Catholicism.  People didn’t mind.  Hey, they were Catholics far longer than they were Protestants.  Then she married the Catholic King of Spain.  Started burning Protestants at the stake.  Went to war with France in support of Spain.  And lost English land on the continent in the process.  The people didn’t take kindly to this.

Then came Queen Elizabeth.  She swung the Church back to Protestant.  And the Pope thanked her for that by excommunicating her.  Pope Paul V sent missionaries into England to agitate and return England to Catholicism.  Elizabeth countered by making life very difficult for Catholics.  But the Catholics weren’t the only ones unhappy with Elizabeth.

The Puritans were Calvinists who were extremely anti-Catholic.  Yes, she swung the Church of England back to Protestantism, but it still had some Catholic flourishes (bishops, priest vestments, candles, some saints’ days and feasts, transubstantiation, etc.).  As Supreme Governor of the Church, these Puritans were challenging her authority.  So she arrested and executed them.

YOU GET THE picture.  The tug of war between Catholicism and Protestantism was a long and bloody one.  And it involved outsiders.  Catholic France was stirring up trouble in Protestant Scotland.  Mary, Queen of Scots, cousin of Elizabeth, even plotted against her cousin to take her throne (and make Scotland and England Catholic).  She failed and Elizabeth chopped her head off.

Meanwhile, Catholic Spain was stirring up trouble in Ireland.  She hated England for their break from Rome.  Wanted to bring her back to the Catholic fold.  The Catholic Irish did not like Protestant English rule. There was rebellion in Ulster.  Spain helped the rebels.  The English suppressed the rebellion.  To dilute this Catholic hotspot from causing further disturbances, England settled Ulster with Protestants.

Spain also wanted vengeance for the looting of Spanish ships (filled with gold and silver looted from the New World) by English pirates.  Spain assembled a great fleet (The Great Armada) for the invasion of England.  It was defeated.  England escaped Catholic Spanish subjugation.

SO THERE YOU have it.  Kindling for civil war in England as well as world war across the continent and in the New World as the Old World fought to colonize it.  And that history would be a bloody one.  A lot of wrongs to right.  A lot of bad blood.  A lot of grudges.  And the Founding Fathers wanted no part of it.

When the British defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City, Catholic French Canada became British.  To appease the local French inhabitants, though, the British passed the Quebec Act.  And let them keep their French heritage.  Je me souviens (I remember, motto of both Quebec Province and the Royal 22e Régiment).  One part of the Quebec Act expanded Canadian territory into lands that the Americans were planning to settle.  Another part guaranteed the free practice of Catholicism.  Right in British America’s backyard.  Which was a Protestant backyard.  This infuriated the Americans.  The Protestant-Catholic simmering hatred did make it to the New World.  This was one of the last of British insults that eventually led to the Revolutionary War.

But that was the peak of anti-catholic rhetoric in America.  After the war, the states would eventually disestablish their churches.  Catholic and Protestant would live peacefully together.  Along with Baptists.  And Jews.  And any other denomination.  And religion flourished.  Especially Christianity.  By not establishing Protestantism or Catholicism, both flourished.  The new nation blossomed.  And America became that city on a hill.  If you go by immigration records.  And one day America would even have a Catholic president.  JFK.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #14: “Christianity does not beget antidisestablishmentarianism.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 18th, 2010

DID THE FOUNDING Fathers found America as a Christian nation?  No.  Did they found a secular nation?  Not exactly.  Did they found a federal nation?  Yes.

Federalism.  What does it mean?  It means the new federal government would have LIMITED powers.  The new national government would do national things.  Trade.  National defense.  Treat with other nations.  In other words, those things that required a single national voice.  The French didn’t want to treat with the individual states.  They didn’t want one set of trade agreements for Virginia and another for North Carolina.  Neither did Great Britain.  Or the other European powers.  No.  If the United States of America wanted to be an independent nation, then they had to act as a single, unified nation.  So they did.

The other things, the non-national things, they left to the states.  And one of these things was religion.  For when it came to religion, the new federal government did not interfere in the states’ religious business.  Ergo the First Amendment.  The ‘wall’ between church and state was to separate the new federal government from the states’ religious establishments.  If a state discriminated against all but their established religion, that was fine and dandy for it was a moot point as far as the federal government was concerned.  It just wasn’t their business.

Now, a truly secular government would intervene in such a case.  The federal government would later, but at the founding, one of the preconditions for ratification of the Constitution was that it wouldn’t.  And it didn’t.  Interfere with a state’s religion.

WE ALL KNOW the story of the Pilgrims, the Puritans, coming to the New World from England to escape religious persecution.  Probably not as familiar with the backstory.  The English Civil War.  Duke of Buckingham.  King and Parliament.  Queen and Parliament.  The French.  The Spanish.  The Pope.  The Kirk.  The Ulster Uprising.  Oliver Cromwell.  And, of course, William Laud.

Here’s the short version of what happened.  And some back-story to the back-story.  The Protestant Reformation split the Catholic Church.  Much fighting ensued.  This split nations into essentially Catholic and Protestant camps (which broke down into further divisions).  England was Protestant.  Scotland was Presbyterian (a branch of Protestantism).  Ireland was Catholic with a Protestant enclave in Ulster.

Mix them together, add a not great English king, who married a French Catholic, throw in a revised Church of England prayer book, bring back some Catholicism to the Protestant Church of England, dissolve Parliament, recall Parliament, try to dissolve it again and, well, you get civil war.  Parliament wins the war.  They behead the king. 

The English Civil War is a little more complicated than this.  But for our purposes, it’s the religious component that’s important. Everyone persecuted someone at one time.  One group, the Puritans, were Protestants.  Hardcore Protestants.  Calvinists.  They were about as anti-Catholic as you could get.  Didn’t like any of the Catholics’ fancy vestments, icons, statues, pictures, altar rails, candlesticks, stained glass windows, etc.  That church was corrupt.  They had lost their way. 

They didn’t believe in original sin or that you can buy your way into heaven.  God chose your fate before you were born.  If you were one of the elect, you passed your days in long church services and you read the Bible.  If you didn’t do these things it was proof you weren’t one of the elect.  And were damned.  No matter what you did during your life.  Cure cancer, it didn’t matter.  You were damned.

They didn’t like Catholics and Catholics didn’t like them.  And, as it turned out, the Protestant powers that be didn’t much care for them either.  In England or on the Continent.  They just couldn’t be un-Catholic enough to please the Puritans.  Much bitterness ensued.  Many left the Old World and settled in the New World.  Like the Israelites fleeing Egypt, these Puritans came to the New World to establish that city on a hill of Mathew 5:14 fame (from the Sermon on the Mount.  Given by Jesus Christ.  Just in case you’re unfamiliar with it).

THEY CAME FROM England, Scotland, the Netherlands, France and settled in New England, New York and the far side of the Appalachians.  A hard working people.  They provided for themselves.  Went to church.  Read the Bible.  All work and no play.  At least, some would say. 

They established the state-supported Congregational Church in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  John Adams was born and raised a Calvinist and attended this state-supported church.  When writing the new state’s constitution, the state support of the church was a contentious issue.  Most felt that religion was an indispensible part of life.  Others agreed but feared a religious majority would oppress a religious minority.  The process would take 3 years to resolve.

Being in the heart of the rebellion, Abigail Adams, Founding Mother, and perhaps America’s first feminist, experienced much of the darker side of the struggle for independence.  Soulmate of John Adams in every sense of the word, she was as religious as he.  As the war dragged on with no end in sight, she feared it was God’s punishment for the sins of American slavery.

IN VIRGINIA, THE established church was the Anglican Church (i.e., the Church of England).  As in Massachusetts, there was debate about an established majority religion oppressing a minority religion.  For good reason.  It did.  Right in James Madison’s backyard.  Baptists were harassed.  And imprisoned.  You needed a license to preach.  Virginia and the established church made getting that license very difficult.  If you were a Baptist.

America’s least religious Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, wrote the Virginian Statute for Religious Freedom.  The Virginian General Assembly passed it in 1786, two years before the states ratified the U.S. Constitution.  To help get the Virginian Baptists on board for ratification, James Madison, the father of the Constitution, promised to add a Bill of Rights after ratification that would add similar rights and protection at the federal level that were enacted at the state level.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN MAY have been a Deist.  He was, after all, the embodiment of the Enlightenment.  Like Thomas Jefferson.  They embraced reason over dogma.  But Franklin believed religious faith was fundamental to civilized society.  His personal beliefs boiled down to simply doing good deeds.  Help others.  And sometimes you need to remind some people to help others.  And that’s why he liked religion.  He spent much of his life helping his community (serving in the state militia, participating in the volunteer fire department, etc.).  At an impasse at the Constitutional Convention, it was he who suggested they should pray.

GEORGE WASHINGTON MAY not have taken communion, but he added chaplains to his army units during the American Revolution.  He believed the American cause was a divine one.  He feared a lack of faith may determine battlefield outcomes.  He led an integrated army of Protestants and Catholics.  And Jews.  And blacks.  And others.  He forbade anti-Catholic demonstrations which were very common in the former British colonies.  When an Army went to Canada to attack the British, they were to respect the Catholic French Canadians and invite them to join their cause.  He would even attend Catholic service on occasion.  Like the army, the nation he would lead would be a melting pot.  Tolerance and respect was the mantra.  For all Americans.

SO, DID THE Founding Fathers found a Christian nation?  No.  Religious establishment was simply beyond the responsibility of the new federal government.  Did Christians settle the original colonies?  Yes.  And they established Christian churches.  And the states were worried that a new federal government would interfere with their religious business.  Some wanted additional safeguards written in.  So James Madison added the Bill of Rights after ratification.  The First Amendment placed a wall between the federal government and the States’ religious establishments.

In time, the states extended the tolerance and respect of religious diversity prevalent in Washington’s army to their states.  They disestablished their established churches.  And, to their relief, religion flourished.  Especially the different branches of Christianity.  Yes, America became even more Christian, but it tolerated and respected other religions.  New York even had a Jewish Temple 3 years after the British surrender at Yorktown.  And even the Catholics were welcomed in the new nation.

DISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM INCREASED THE spread of Christianity.  Like the economy, the freer it was the more it flourished.  And with the great number of Christian religions that have since spread across the nation, it is unlikely that overt acts of Christianity would result in the establishment of one of these.  Or the reestablishment of the Church of England. 

So go ahead and display your Christmas Crèche or the Ten Commandments.  Chances are good that it won’t beget antidisestablishmentarianism.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,