Religion In America

The conservatives and neoconservatives are rushing to establish a connection between “God and Country”. While there have always been some who tried to do this, there is a more intense desire, it seems, to “prove” that this country was based on Christian principles, in spite of the statement of John Adams that:
“As the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion–as it has itself no character of enmity against the law, religion, or tranquility of Musselmen…”

There is yet the argument that somehow this government is directly founded on Christian principles. Madison, however, saw that in Christianity or in any religion, trying to govern by the “truth of God” was near impossible. As he wrote in “The Federalist”:

“When the Almighty himself condescends to address mankind in their own language, his meaning, luminous as it must be, is rendered dim and doubtful by the cloudy medium through which it is communicated”.

The problem lay in translation and interpretation, as Jefferson commented in a letter to a friend:

“Differences in opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of censor morum over each other”.

It is not that the founders especially believed in Christianity, or in any other religion, as a direct authority for government, but that they saw religion as an agent by which power could be equally divided in the name of conscience. This need to maintain a “balance of power” among factions in government became recognized as the “Madisonian problem” as Madison agonized over in “Federalist #10”:

“The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular states, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other states: a religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it, must secure the national councils against any danger from that source: a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project”.

We can conclude that Madison certainly never intended for any religion to represent the elimination of property rights. In fact, we can see from both Madison and Jefferson that both men intended that no “national council” could ever seek to overturn the property rights of people in the several states.

The “separation of church and state” which many claim is represented in the First Amendment, designed, according to Madison’s statement, to maintain property rights and discourage national power to override those rights. Both Madison and Jefferson were less involved with the ‘truth” of religion that with its ability to confound and separate people to the point they could not create “conflagrations” of power by using “paper money, abolition of debts, and for an equal division of property”, all of which we seem to have developed a taste for in recent times, not to mention the outright use of “paper money” with no Constitutional authorization.

The founders understood quite well that no person, especially themselves, had the knowledge or authority to speak for God, but they also intended that the government could, in no fashion, interfere with the free exercise of religion, not because they wished the government to be subject to God, but because they knew that no man could ever prove himself to be a representative of God.

As Madison wrote in the famous “Memorial And Remonstrance”:

“The religion then, of every man, must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man: and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate”.

While men may be subject to God, the state could never, in any sense, speak for God. None of the statements above show that the founders, in any way, intended for the state to claim power over any person’s conscience. They understood quite clearly that no belief in God could ever be reduced to state-endorsed rules.

While the right to worship God was permitted, it was intended as a counter-measure to the power of the state, but never to be subject to controls other than those chosen by the people themselves as individuals. More than the state, and less than the God in which they believed. Mankind, in the eyes of the founders, consisted of more than rules and laws. Mankind was made in the image of something which he could not define, but had the right to seek and desire.


33 Replies to “Religion In America”

  1. God is precise: It is a woman Rev 12 that delivers the true word John1:1, Rev 12:5, Rev 12:13 who restores Acts 3:21 all things to the world before Christ’s return. This woman exposes the lies of Satan who has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9. This woman creates a new thing in the earth by fulfilling God’s promise to Eve Gen 3:15, Jer 31:22, Isa 14:16. Moses and Elijah are together with the word Matt 17:3 they all three are in this one woman. She is like unto Moses Num 12:3. She was raised up Acts 3:22 from the Laodicean church that becomes lukewarm because they refused to hear her Rev 3:14-17. She is bold like Elijah Matt 17:11, Luke 1:17. As Elijah was alone declaring the true God to the people 1 Kings 18:22 so also her witness alone turns the hearts of the fathers to the children Mal 4:5-6 to prepare a people for the Lords return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord Matt 17:3, Luke 9:30. Those who will not hear Acts 3:23 the true word of God she now delivers to the world free of charge, as a witness, at the heel of time from the wilderness Rev 12:6 will not be allowed inside the walls of God’s coming kingdom from heaven Rev 21. This true testimony of the true value of the blood of the Lamb delivers the truth that not one child of God will be put in a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5. God created evil Isa 45:7 to teach his children the knowledge of good and evil Rom 8:7, Gen 3:22 so that at their resurrection they become a god Matt 22:29-30, Ps 82:6. Prove all things. You cannot rightly judge this unless you read all that has been written by this woman first Pro 18:13. Start here [Edited for Val’s shameful self promotion] Check out the bruising of Satan and the reason for all of mankind’s sufferings. This is the Gospel that shall be preached in all the world as a witness and then the end will come.

  2. There are, as Madison and Jefferson seemed to realize, now over 38,000 versios of the “gospel” that shall be preached before the end. From those “precise” scriptures you quote, we have untold numbers of interpretations.

    That is why the founders decided not to every try and define religion, because they knew it could never be precisely defined, and would contribute to constant disagreement, and act as “censor morum” over other religions. IOW, Jefferson seemed to realize what Jesus himself foresaw in Matthew 10:34-38. Jefferson, BTW, was an admirer of Jesus, but had no use for Christianity as a religion. He wrote:

    “Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned, yet we have not advanced an inch toward uniformity. What has been the effort of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth”.

    Today’s fundamentalists seek to establish that very uniformity, which the founders sought to deny. There is no one who can speak for God, and if such a person claims it, let him/her prove it beyond doubt. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 24:23, “If any man says to you, ‘Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not.’ ”

    The only logically correct choice any person can make in regard to God is to be free of all who claim to represent that God.

  3. Val,

    That was shameful. Have you ever checked out the Painful Truth?

    In the end Val, your God is a god that always fails rain or shine. Your god is one who teaches evil to her children. Correct? What parent teachers their child evil? Maybe right from wrong, but evil?
    Get a life!

  4. Actually, if there is a “gospel that shall be preached in the end time”, I would think it’s more in line with atheism. The atheist has a simple enough conclusion: “You can’t prove there is a God in the first place, so why should I believe you? Why should I believe in(any) God at all?”

    If “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”, then any person attempting to enslave me to some idea of men about God wouldn’t make me free. It would make me subject to men. The only true gospel that would make men free, therefore, would have to be atheism.

  5. BTW, are most ex-COG’ers now “liberal” in their political views as a result of avoiding anything associated with God?

    Thought that might be a question worth discussing.

  6. “The only true gospel that would make men free, therefore, would have to be atheism.”

    Ralph, you hit the “nail” squarely on the head! I have never been freer or more at peace than since I finally settled on being atheist.

  7. Ralph asked “BTW, are most ex-COG’ers now “liberal” in their political views as a result of avoiding anything associated with God?”

    In my opinion, yes they are. Politics and religion are based on belief.
    The question I would have asked is, were the members liberal or conservative before entering the cult, became conservative while in the cult and then go liberal or stay conservative on exit. That would speak volumes as to whether politics is a replacement for religion lost and/or a return to believes from an earlier day. For some, the cult experience may never have changed the political views of the member.

    I have always been libertarian in thought. I never trusted government and the clowns that run it. In the cult I became somewhat more conservative, after the cult I slowly morphed back into what I was before entering the cult. Less conservative yes, liberal no.


    I might work up a survey this weekend, time allowing.

  8. Al, there’s a “trap’ involved in believing in Giod which we tend to create for ourselves. If you believe in God, the first thing you want to do is define “Him”. It’s unavoidable. If God exists, “he” exists as….and you’ve got a full scale religion next thing you know.

    As Occam said, why add extra entities when you can explain reality without it?

    Here’s the advantage for me, in joining HWA’s noinsense: as a teen-ager, I was trapped purely in Southern Baptist nonsense, dictated by Billy Graham nonsense, and he lived just a few miles away near Black Mountain, NC.You could ask questions, but ONLY within the box already created. After awhile, you start feeling like the electronic blip on the old “Pong” games, bouncing from one barrier to another. HWA came along and said “They’re all BS!” That’s when I went through the barrier, and finally went through that final barrier created by HWA.

    James, I was neither liberal or conservative when i entered the church. I was mostly filled with a mind like a sponge and a desire to explore this new idea of freedom from false religions. In fact, I was hesitant on forming opinions uintil I had a good idea of what I was talking about. This is probably similar to many others who joined the WCG, but Herb quickly stepped n and told us that should be our permanent state of mind. Anythig worth knowing, he could tell us.

    After I left, it seemed that circumstances forced me to make a decision also regarding government, and the discovery of Ayn Rand after my court martial in the marines. To my dismay, I read the Howard Roarke defense in “The Fountainhead” and it was identical in philosophy to what I had told the marines! And with the same result!

    The question I asked myself is this: If there is no God, and we failed so miserably trying to create one, why would we fare any better by substituting government in God’s place?

  9. “The question I asked myself is this: If there is no God, and we failed so miserably trying to create one, why would we fare any better by substituting government in God’s place?”

    Damned good question Ralph. Why put your trust in either religion created by man or government created by man? In the end you’ll get burned. Politicians are scum in nature, parasites on the ass of men forever sucking out the life. And the priest is???

  10. “And the priest is???”

    Another good question.I did some study on history of law, and found much of it to be directly related to Jewish concepts more than Roman law. In fact, a reading of Blackstone shows that Roman law, also known as civil law, is totally rejected in favor of common law, which is based, writes Blackstone, on “God, reason, and nature”.

    Some Talmudic scholars have written that the idea of “stare decisis”, making a judgement and letting that judgement stand for all future references, has its origins in Talmudic law. Jonathan Swift, in “Gulliver’s Travels” writes:

    “It is a maxim among lawyers, that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of directing accordingly.”

    There is an ancient story among Talmudic scholars that the sages, now called rabbis, ruled on a case in which there was no direct evidence, but the sages ruled on precedent, or “stare decisis”. It was said that God came down and told them they had ruled wrongly, that the man they convicted was actually innocent, to which the sages responded that God was “out of order”, since the law was near at hand, and it was not necessary to go to God for every judgement. It is said that God laughed, “My children have defeated me” and exited, leaving judgement of law to the sages by precedent.

    One can only conclude that they considered themselves responsible to their own opinions, and not even to God. Religion and government operates pretty much the same way. Get enough people to agree on a thing, and it’s law. As Tocqueville wrote in “Democracy In America”, the people rule as the deity in the universe.

  11. French economist Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) said, “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

    The same can be said for those who run religious scams. They live off of others labor.

    Ralph, who is more dangerous? The State or the religious “authorities?”

  12. Bastiat, one of my favorites. You’re preaching to the choir.

    Since both “authorities’ are created by man, they’re both subject to the same flaws.

    I just argued a seatelt case in court, and actually hadp the judge on the ropes. He was thumbing through his lawbook, and I had a constitutional response for every argument. He finally said, Mr. Haulk, I’m going to have to tell you that your Constitutional rights come second to the compelling interest of the state”.

    He could as easily have said, “Your personal beliefs come second to the compelling interest of the dominant religion”.

    It would seem that we’ve been freed from the church in order to submit to government. Pot and kettle.

  13. “It would seem that we’ve been freed from the church in order to submit to government. Pot and kettle.”

    Ah, but they’re being joined by every crafty device at hand, and the public is falling for it.

  14. It’s all the same thing, just swapping titles. As long as you believe, it doesn’t matter what ytou believe. Just stay in the herd, pay your taxes(tithes), make your sacrifice, don’t rock the boat.

    Recent vote in Iowa’s straw poll, Ron Paul was less than 200 votes behind Bachman, with everybody else half or less. Nine thenths of one percent difference between Paul and Bachmann, and you hear nothing about it. It was basically a tie between Paul and Bachmann, yet no mention.

    The constant news banner: “Bachmann wins, Pawlenty drops out, Rick Perry announces”. Funny stuff.

  15. I got involved with Ron Paul’s campaign years ago, but the letters remind me a lot of HWA’s old spin. “Get the work done, please send what you can, we are doing something very important”.

    I agree that Ron Paul is certaly re-shaping the face of politics, and I like what he’s doing, but it still gets us into that trap where all communication is one way, no chance for individual feedback, just jump on the bandwagon of truth and do your part for a better world. I find that I get quickly excluded from discussion groups aimed at such political promotions. If I don’t get in my two cents’ worth, I don’t send my two dollars’ worth. That’s the good part of my HWA experience.

  16. “I find that I get quickly excluded from discussion groups aimed at such political promotions. If I don’t get in my two cents’ worth, I don’t send my two dollars’ worth. That’s the good part of my HWA experience”

    People who cannot discuss ideas beyond their own point of view are closed minded and with politics and religion its the same class.

  17. It’s hard to think beyond your own point of view. If you look to a human representative for a POV, then you’re just assuming that some other person has the right idea, and you’re back in the same trap as before.

    A good background sttudy of this would be Marshall McLuhan’s book “Understanding Media”. McLuhan writes that the “point of view” was created by alphabetic text, in which each literate person could exercise a knowledgeable view on any subject one could write about.

    This seems to be supported by the Gutenberg printing of the bible. The sudden standardization of texts, the easy availability of it, and the right of any person who could read to draw his own conclusions, actually led to blood in the streets once people began forming their own opinions.

    This easy availability of all texts led to the “internalization of authority”. The early Catholics resisted the bible printed in common language.

    McLuhan maintains it is not the “content” but the “form” of the medium itself that shapes our thinking. The effect of standardization of print, repeatability of products, exact copying of all manufactures, created a social stress that led to the “mass mind”. We formed religions based not on the contents of the bible, but on the technology that produced it.

    That’s whyt newspaper publisher Hearst, who controlled the distillation of mass media, told his editors to “puff” Billy Graham. Religious “crusades’ to convert masses to a homogenous mass served the interest of mass industry.

    The “awakening” into a world of individualism today is basically the result of an increasingly individualized telecommunications system. POV is again more important than identifying with a group.

  18. BTW, I noticed the video on the “Awake” magazine. I was dog some reading a few days ago on microbes and evolution by Howard Bloom, and he points out that there is evolutionary significance in those fringe groups that warn us of disaster and extinction. It is most likely that sucg groups form naturally as a result to what they perceive as unchecked power that leads to widespread destruction. The Millerites, who failed in their prediction of the “end of time”, re-organized and became the Seventh Day Adventists. Jehovah’s Witnesses were quite similar.

    If a group like this fails in their predictions, they are then forced to adapt to their wrong ideas and try to find a new meaning in which they are forced to deal with a reality they cannot change. This creates new options within a culture, and makes individuals more reactive to change, as they watch for anything that will support their new vision, using that to “convert” others.

    Notice that many fringe biblically oriented groups tend to be similar, even as the old WCG was very similar to SDAs and JWs, with many more breaking off that.

    If human brains are like body’s cells, there is a natural point of specialization, in which new systems break away and form similar but slightly different branches, as cells in a body become fingers, feet, hands, etc. As Howard Bloom suggests in “Global Brain” we do actually seem to be part of an intelligence a bit “higher” than ourselves. That intelligence, however, seems to come from microbes, not God.

  19. “If I don’t get in my two cents’ worth, I don’t send my two dollars’ worth. That’s the good part of my HWA experience.”

    My feelings exactly. No one, absolutely no one, controls my thinking or my expression of my thinking anymore. I’m willing to lose friends, be ridiculed, anything to express what I think.

    I just signed up to help in the 2012 Democratic campaign, and if they want my wholehearted efforts, they’d jolly well better listen to what I have to say. I get along fine in the Lions Club because my ideas are welcomed. In fact, they named me “Rookie of the Year” for the past year and gave me a plaque. No big deal, but it makes me feel good and appreciated.

  20. Al wrote,
    “In fact, they named me “Rookie of the Year” for the past year and gave me a plaque. No big deal, but it makes me feel good and appreciated.”

    We may not see eye to eye on politics and that is fine. I count you as a friend anyway. Everyone needs a hobby Al. Have fun and make friends! Life is too short as we all have fought too many battles!

    We should all be blessed to exit life with grace and be at peace with all our lifetimes of decisions.

    As I grow older, all I want is the best for others and a chance to make a difference as to what I hold dear! Everything we have to offer should be put forth with the vigor and conviction of honest men who want nothing less than the best for all of those we share our humanity with!

  21. You’re a true friend, James. I appreciate that.

    What gets me down is the decline in energy as I age. I want to tear the world up, but I just don’t have it anymore. A not so hard carpet edging job left me exhausted today. However, I’m thankful I’m not in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank strapped to me like so many others I see.

    No wonder Ponce de Leon wasted so much time looking for that fountain. If only…..

  22. I used to be republican, then I saw GW Bush wrecking the economy after two years in office, so I left the republican party and started buying gold when it was $288.00 an ounce. The libertarians asked me to run for state office, and I found they were as oppressive and controlling as any party with their own elected bureaucracy, so I said “bye bye” to them.

    And even with the Ron Paul movement, the constant request is, “Send us money and keep your mouth shut”. I don’t see any of this as a solution, any more than I see any religion as a solution. In politics or religion, I’m asked merely to be a “soldier” and do my part. To heck with that.

    Eric Hoffer said that everyt now and then, there comes a person who is so out of step that the group has to get in step with that person. I like that idea. 🙂

  23. We need such a person right now. I still support Obama and what he would like to do, but he’s too damn nice a guy. I’ve sent him several emails telling him to emulate Harry Truman and his “give ’em hell” approach. He just seems to have an aversion to attacking. You don’t win wars that way, and this is war!

  24. Obama is simply a servant of a system that existend long before he was born. Libertarians like to call it the “demopublican” party or the “republicrats”, but the libertarians, perhaps with the exception of the voluntaryists, are as bad in their efforts to seek political solutions.

    I’m afraid what you’re seeing niow is the slow extinction of a system that worked at the height of the mechanical era, but can no longer work in the age of electronic communications. Both republicans and democrats are trying to apply solutions that worked okay in the days of FDR, though they didn’t really work all that well even then. Maybe I should do an essay on the developments in politics, and let James decide if he wants to blog it.

  25. Ralph, I for one would be interested in seeing what you come up with. It might not sway my mind much, and again, it might. I’m totally frustrated right now and fed to the teeth with all the BS. Wrote another blog about it a couple hours ago and put it on my site. I’m just not into grandstanding and posturing. I’m a nuts and bolts kind of guy who wants to see things get done.

  26. I put a proposal before James. He see ms to like it, but it’s really just the intro to a two-part piece.

    The problem is that we’re entering into a whole new paradigm that leaves our entire political system useless. For a good in-depth look, there’s a book called “The Sovereign Individual” by James Dale Davidson and Sir William Rees-Mogg. It was written in the late nineties, but they predict the manhunt of Osama Bin Laden long before 9/11.

    If you’re really interested in understanding the nature of change, I recommend this book.

  27. Yes Ralph. Here is a video that might add to understanding as to the problem.


    “Capitalism Is The Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity examines the ideological roots of the “austerity” agenda and proposes revolutionary paths out of the current crisis. The film features original interviews with Chris Hedges, Derrick Jensen, Michael Hardt, Peter Gelderloos, Leo Panitch, David McNally, Richard J.F. Day, Imre Szeman, Wayne Price, and many more!

    The 2008 “financial crisis” in the United States was a systemic fraud in which the wealthy finance capitalists stole trillions of public dollars. No one was jailed for this crime, the largest theft of public money in history.

    Instead, the rich forced working people across the globe to pay for their “crisis” through punitive “austerity” programs that gutted public services and repealed workers’ rights.

    Austerity was named “Word of the Year” for 2010.

    This documentary explains the nature of capitalist crisis, visits the protests against austerity measures, and recommends revolutionary paths for the future.

    Special attention is devoted to the crisis in Greece, the 2010 G20 Summit protest in Toronto, Canada, and the remarkable surge of solidarity in Madison, Wisconsin.”

  28. This video dovetails nicely with the essay I sent you, James. I used to be involved in a discussion group that explored “Mondragon” cooperatives that started in Spain, which now involves production of millions of dollars worth of various appliances with worker owned cooperatives.

    BTW, a friend of mine in Mexico , writing on economic alternatives to be developed in opposition to capitalism, included a segment on my reasearch into ancient history of the common law, and how it will dovetail into this new concept of worker ownership.

    Why is capitalism in crisis? As I explore in the essay I sent to James, Adam Smith described what is known as the “labor theory of value”. Smith pointed out that the amount of wealth one could control(at that time)was precisely equal to the amount of labor one could control. This started an unavoidable causal chain in capitalist theory, because, if one wanted to control great wealth, one also had to control large amounts of labor. In order to do that, much effort had to be put into ideologies that allowed the few to control the many.Christianity, as we came to recognize it, is merely part of that ideological process.

    Marx seized on this by pointing out that if money became the “universal equivalent” of all value, then the “so-called inalienable rights, and the fixed property relationships corresponding to them break down before money(“The Essential Marx”: Saul K. Padover)”.

    A thing can be transformed into money, said Marx, only when it is alienated, when the possessor has divested himself of the intrinsic value of that thing. If control of labor was the source of wealth for the few, then it was necessary for labor to organize to balance the proportions of wealth that flowed between owners and producers.

    This theory, however, along with Smith’s capitalism, is outdated, because in an electronic age, “labor” can be magnified by the use of machinery that incorporates all labor, including skilled diagnostic calculations, within itself. I can own massive amounts of “labor” combined into computers and machinery, and so can most anybody with the willingness to invest. The “ideology” of labor is incorporated into the machinery itself, which means that the old confrontations between owners and workers is already collapsing.

    That’s the synopsis. Hopefully James will let me present the idea in more detail.

  29. In reading historian Jack Rakove’s book on the causes of the Revolutionary War, I noticed that the colonists were not eager at first to rebel against the king. They were more concerned with rights of Englishmen, because many of them felt it necessary to maintain a controlling hand over the forces of industry and capital that were developing. Even John Adams declared that “a dependence on the Crown is what we own” as compared to Parliament controlling colonial affairs from England.

    In the Fourth Resolution of the Declaration of Rights, 1774, the colonists declared they would “cheerfully consent” to obey such Parliamentary acts as were “restrained” in good faith to securing the “commercial advantages” and “benefits” of a common trading system.

    IOW, they agreed by their own free will to Parliamentary decisions, but they still offered loyalty to the king.

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