- Boycott the Knights of Columbus
- A wedding sermon.
- An open letter to my parish community.
- Why was a college student in the car of drunken Archbishop-elect Cordileone at 12:26 AM, when Cordileone was arrested for a DUI?
- When the Church married Same-Sex couples.
- How It All began
- The Supreme Court’s Decisions and the New Mason-Dixon Line
- What the Vatican & American bishops DO NOT want you (and Politicians) to know.
- The Morality of Sex, gay & straight.
- San Francisco in archbishop Cordileone’s sight
Friday, April 1, 2011
Myth & Truth about America
The following is a letter to the editor that I wrote in response to a comment by "HardTruth2011"
“The heritage and the patriotic foundation of this country is based upon a strong belief in God, prayer in schools and in every public gathering, and using the Bible as the standard textbook in all public schools, colleges, and universities.”
I can think of no better rejoinder to your statement than the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The USA was the world’s first Secular State, since it had no established State Religion.
Your views about the founding of this nation are non-historical and highly romanticized, at best. Here are a few quotes from famous Americans regarding religion:
"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus."
"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?"
..........To F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816
"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both here (England) and in New England."
"As to Jesus of Nazareth...I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity."
"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
..........."A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785
"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church."
"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
"The bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma."
"My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."
As for your theological views, suffice it to say that, a considerable number of theologians and various denominations would disagree strongly with your exegesis of scripture. However, that is the beauty of the First Amendment it protects both your right to “free exercise” of religion and everyone else’s.
The spiritual truth of authentic religion is practical love of God, neighbor and self. This is much more difficult to accomplish than forcing ideas on others involuntarily. That is why we had Good Friday, the Crusades, and the Inquisition, burning at the stake, State religions, heresy trials, pillories, and sadly too few saints.