Saturday, August 11, 2007

Why My Work Needs to be Done:

Again, some times I feel like I'm tackling a strawman given that few if any social conservatives scholars in respectable places in the academy push the Christian America thesis and that legitimate issues about church/state matters and proper interpretation of the Constitution's religion clauses remain.

Yet, it's obvious that millions of people believe in the Christian Nation nonsense, many of them making up the religious right "base" of the Republican party. Just scroll down the comments and see.

This column from WorldNutDaily by one Bryan Fisher typifies such utter misunderstanding about how the Founding Fathers viewed God. If these folks want to argue we shouldn't have a Hindu prayer in the Senate because that pays homage to false gods and thus might anger the one true God, fine. Just don't drag the Founding Fathers into this, the key ones of which believed that Hindus worshipped the same God Jews and Christians do.

Mr. Fisher writes:

Hindus believe in a virtually infinite number of gods and worship cows, monkeys and snakes. Our Founding Fathers, on the other hand, believed in one God: The Creator God revealed in the Old and New Testaments, the God who is the source of our inalienable civil rights and liberties.

As a people, we pledge allegiance to "one nation under God," not "one nation under gods." Hindus are certainly free in America to worship as many gods and animals as they want to, but we must not be deluded into thinking that they pray to or worship the same God who is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence.

Congressional invocations are not just ceremonial in nature, but substantive. They are one of the crucial ways in which our leaders seek the assistance of the God who granted us such signal blessings at the time of our founding and for more than 200 years since.

For the sake of our country's future and continued prosperity, it's important that we maintain the custom of the Founders, so the god we call upon in congressional invocations continues to be the God of George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.

I know little about the religious beliefs of Roosevelt and Kennedy but know that Washington, Adams, and Madison were all syncretic universalists who believed many of the exotic non-Judeo-Christian religions, including Hinduism and Islam, worshipped the same God Jews and Christians worship.

It's funny Fisher used the word "deluded" to describe those who might argue Hindus worship the same Nature's God in the Declaration of Independence, because that's exactly what John Adams, America's second President who helped draft the Declaration, believed. As he wrote to the Declaration's author:

Where is to be found Theology more orthodox or Phylosophy more profound than in the Introduction to the Shast[r]a [a Hindu Treatise]? “God is one, creator of all, Universal Sphere, without beginning, without End. God Governs all the Creation by a General Providence, resulting from his eternal designs. --- Search not the Essence and the nature of the Eternal, who is one; Your research will be vain and presumptuous. It is enough that, day by day, and night by night, You adore his Power, his Wisdom and his Goodness, in his Works.”

-- John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, December 25, 1813.

Regarding the whole one god/many gods issue, Hindus claim to worship one God who has many different manifestations (thousands or more). This logic is similar to Trinitarianism where Christians claim to worship one God who has three distinct persons.

Madison and Washington likewise believed non-Judeo-Christian religions worshipped the one true God of the universe. When they spoke to Native Americans, both of them referred to God as "the Great Spirit," exactly as the Indians call Him (for Madison see here, and Washington see here and here). I've seen Christian take umbrage at the notion that Allah is the same God they worship. Well, at least Allah claims to be the God of Abraham. The Great Spirit, I don't believe, makes that claim.

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