Monday, January 24, 2011

“This country was founded on Christian Ideals and Values!” Such as ...??

We’ve heard that phrase posited by right wing Xtian politicians and their faithful religious supporters for years. But exactly what does it mean? Likely not what they think.

While the first immigrants to this continent were in fact Xtian, suggesting that the Pilgrims' et al belief system was the basis for the "foundation" of what would later become our nation would be like saying that the 13th century invasion of the Mongol hordes into Europe resulted in Poland being founded on "Mongolian ideals." Or that Scandinavian countries were founded on Viking pagan ideals.

Anyone who insists this country is founded on the Ten Commandments hasn't read the Ten Commandments (any of the multiple Biblical versions of them), or hasn’t compared them to our Constitution. Anyone who says that this country was founded on "Christian Values" (whatever they are) just needs to explain what "values" this country has that are defined in the Xtian bible that is unique to Xtianity and which have been codified in our laws.

Perhaps they will offer burning witches as a Xtian value. Certainly the Bible endorses that, and certainly thousands of colonists were killed as witches by Xtians. If so then absolutely that particular Xtian value was embraced in the 17th century by Xtians of this continent.

If enslavement and genocide of indigenous peoples is a Xtian ideal, then yes it too was widely practiced here.

If anti-Semitism and intolerance of other sects and religions, is a Xtian value, then indeed that value was embraced in the 17th century and forward by our early Xtian residents.

If trying to force people to honor the Xtian god by imposing blasphemy laws that fine, imprison or kill for their violation, then yes, that particular Xtian ideal was observed here as well.

Xtians may well stake their claim to those ideals and values. They are welcome to them. But nothing in our Constitution or in the Common Law (derived from pre-Xtian Anglo Saxon common law) speaks to Xtian "values" or infers any Xtian dogma, doctrine, or rituals. Freedom of speech is NOT a Xtian value. Nor is freedom of religion, nor the right to vote, nor granting private ownership of firearms, nor determining who is qualified to hold office, nor is the abolition of slavery, nor is the concept of equality. Jesus never spoke on these issues or endorsed them. And they sure weren't universally practiced in Christian Europe.

This country was a unique and bold experiment. It was founded upon rational thought, democratic principles, and our Founding Fathers’ explicit intent to avoid the “Christian ideals and values” that are the very antithesis of rationality and which enslaved Europe for nine-hundred years. For any person to say otherwise exposes them as deluded, an undereducated buffoon, a lying history revisionist or all of the above.


GatorApe said...

I encounter this canard more than any other -- especially from my own family members who never even go to church! But, it is what it is.

As always, a well-stated post -- I'll be saving the last paragraph in particular for future use :)

Momma Moonbat said...

From my scattered thoughts to your keyboard...I was thinking about this earlier today before I checked your blog. So many of Rush Limbaugh's dittoheads (dickheads) have this "why should I" attitude when it comes to doing any humanitarian deed, particularly when it involves the US government doing any humanitarian deed. I'm sure you've heard the whole "why should I support these people" blathering. These same people claim to be xtians of the highest degree. I love to toss their scriptures back at them about sell off all your belongings and give it to the poor, that which you have done to the least, so have you done unto me, and the like. It's a riot to watch them either stumble and stammer about context, or back-track on that whole xtian values thing.


Rachelle said...

Great post, Hump. :) Can't wait for your next book.

NewEnglandBob said...

Very timely post, since the small minority of racists and bigots, known as the tea party, are the ones spewing the "Christian ideals and values" bullshit lately.

The right wing is known to vocalize the opposite of truth and this is just another in a long line of un-truths, such as "compassionate conservative" or "mission accomplished".

Leslie said...

Bam! Another spot on post! Loved it, Hump! I *especially* love that last paragraph.;)

Lisa said...

A timely topic, as I've just been reading about this subject. Quoting from Ian Buruma's new book Taming the Gods, "...In the American case, the secularist idealism of the founding fathers has been complicated by the assertion among Christian believers that the nation's destiny is guided by higher powers." In the early days of our nation there was freelance Xtian fundamentalist fever on the land. Jefferson, although not a religious person, defended holy-rollers' freedom to believe whatever they chose. Here's a quote: " does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." I wish I could feel so generous toward Xtian fundies, but they really scare me.

longhorn believer said...

Thankfully, the people who founded this country came to rational conclusions about the supernatural and the divine authority of kings and queens. Otherwise, we might not even have the right to be having this discussion. I'm so grateful it makes me want to get down on my knees or offer a burnt sacrifice to Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and Thomas Pain!

Randall "Doc" Fleck said...

Here, here, Hump!

But how do we get the Tea Party folks and their kin to recognize Shinola when they step in it?

NewEnglandBob said...

"But how do we get the Tea Party folks and their kin to recognize Shinola when they step in it?"

How can they possibly recognize it when they are so full of it?

Dromedary Hump said...

Thanks for your comments all. This topic really rings my chimes and I knew I wasn't alone in that regard.

"Doc"... to answer your question: As far as I can discern, We can't.

GatorApe ... Thanks. And thanks also for the very nice review on Very much appreciated.

mac said...

Don't want to take some stinkin' atheists word for it?

How 'bout the founders themselves:

"As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." - John Adams, Treat of Tripoli

"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia

"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst." - Thomas Paine

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." - Ben Franklin

Most of the Founding Fathers were deists, at best. Why would they establish a christian government when they, themselves, weren't christian ?

I Like this post a lot, thanks for putting it out there.

Anonymous said...

According to, "values" can also be negative:

"values may be positive, as cleanliness, freedom, or education, or negative, as cruelty, crime, or blasphemy."

(I guess my "values" would include blasphemy) :)

I'll bet that if you ask these proud christians on the spot exactly what their "values" are, they'll be hard pressed to come up with a real answer.
It's all part of the "I think I'm better than you are" delusion.

In regards to being "proud"... that the first "deadly sin". It is defined as a "mortal sin". According to their own belief, mortal sin jeopardizes their chances at entering their heaven. So, by the very act of displaying their pride (as in the tote bag), they are potentially damning themselves to their hell.

Now that's funny...

Shaw Kenawe said...

Great post, Hump. I've encountered this argument countless times with Xtian conservatives, and no matter the facts, they cling to their fantasy that this country is a Xtian country. And they back that up by saying the majority religion in the USA is Xtian.

True. A majority of those who say they're religious identify with some sort of Xtian sect. But it doesn't make sense to call this a Xtian nation any more than it makes sense to call this is a white nation, just because the majority [for now] of its people have white skin.

Dromedary Hump said...

I always tell them that while we are predominently a nation of Christians, we aren't a Christian Nation. Your anaology about it being predominantly white is a good one.