The De Facto American Theocracy

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” which means that legally speaking America is a secular nation, that the separation of church and state is the indisputable law of the land. But by the unwritten law of the people, the law that really counts, America is not at all a secular nation. De facto, there is no separation of Church and State in America. Since the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock, 170 years before the ratified Constitution was implemented, America has been, spiritually, culturally, and politically, a Protestant Christian nation with a strong Evangelical bent, and probably more so today than ever.
Consider the missionary-like zeal of American leaders to foist their fiath on foreign cultures; the banning of stem-cell research and the widespread opposition to gay rights and abortion on religious grounds and, to further connect the dots, the visceral distrust of many American conservatives of Barak Hussein Obama, no so much because he comes across as a liberal, because he might be not be a bona fide Protestant Christian. Recall that John Kennedy, though to a lesser degree, was rejected out of hand by many voters for being a Catholic. The contrast between America and the secular democracies of Europe is striking.
Let us first hear from some notable true believers:
“I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."-- George Bush, 43rd. President
“God has spoken to me. I listen to God, and what I’ve heard is that I’m supposed to devote myself to rebuilding the conservative base of the Republican Party.” --Tom Delay, Former Speaker of the House
“War in Iraq is God's Plan." – Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska, former Vice-Presidential candidate, aspiring Presidential contender.
"God called me to run for Congress".--Michelle Bachmann, U.S. Congresswoman, Tea Party leader. aspiring Presidential contender.
“Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”—Alabama Governor Robert Bentley
“I’m proud to say I’m a born-again Christian.” Scott Walker, Wisconsin Governor.
“Ladies and Gentleman, evangelical Christians support Israel because we believe that the words of Moses and the ancient prophets of Israel were inspired by God. We believe that the emergence of a Jewish state in the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was ordained by God.” – Pat Robertson, TV Evangelicalleader and former Presidential candidate.
"We should live our lives as though Christ was coming this afternoon." -- Jimmy Carter, 39th President.
“I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land.” Martin Luther King, Jr. martyred civil rights leader.
Consider next how during election time TV ads of candidates for public office invariably include clips of themselves attending church with their families, (strong family values being an integral part of the Evangelical image); how they lard their talking points with allusions to the Bible and God; how in a key debate in the 2008 presidential primaries the would-be candidates on stage groped for Biblical stories and verses they recalled in answer to a question about their familiarity with the Holy Scriptures. They all knew that no matter how qualified they were to fulfill the role of President as defined by Article II of the Constitution, they would not have a ghost of chance of being nominated, much less elected, if they did not display they proper Christian credentials. Some, no doubt, were religiously indifferent, even agonistic or atheist, but they had to play along. Below are samples of religious affirmations made by high-power Americans politicians in speeches and interviews though not necessarily living up to them. Hypocrisy? Not necessarily, just smart politics:
“The Bible is the authoritative Word of God and contains all truth.” Bill Clinton, 42nd President.
“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged. . . Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” -- Ronald Reagan, 40th President.
"A call rooted in faith is what led me, just a few years out of college, to sign up as a community organizer for a group of churches on the south side of Chicago. And it was through that experience, working with pastors and laypeople, trying to heal the wounds of hurting neighborhoods that I came to know Jesus Christ for myself and embrace him as my Lord and Savior." Barack Obama, 44th President
“For most Americans, prayer is real, and we subordinate ourselves to a God on whom we call for wisdom, guidance, and salvation,” Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and aspiring Presidential contender.
"Faith is enormously important to me personally and to tens of millions of Americans”-- John Edwards, former U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate.
“Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free.” Pat Buchanan, former Presidential candidate
"The fundamental basis of this nation's law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.” Harry Truman, 33rd President
"It is my conviction that the fundamental trouble with the people of the United States is that they have gotten too far away from Almighty God." Warren Harding, 29th President.
"America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scriptures.—Woodrow Wilson. 28th President
"The Bible is the Rock on which this Republic rests." Andrew Jackson, 7th President
"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were.... the general principles of Christianity." John Quincy Adams, 6th President
"The liberty, prosperity, and the happiness of our country will always be the object of my most fervent prayers to the Supreme Author of All Good." James Monroe, 5th President.
“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” – George Washington, 1st President.
But not all American notables, especially those of past generations, fully believed or played along:
“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.” -- Thomas Paine, Revolutionary War Patriot.
“The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.—Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President.
(The “Creator” Jefferson referred to in the Declaration of Independence was the Deist creator of the 18th century Enlightenment, not the God of Christianity, as modern-day Evangelicals erroneously assume.)
"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."-- Benjamin Franklin, world-renowned 18th century American statesman and scientist, helped edit the Declaration of Independence.
"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."—John Adams, 2nd President
"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together." James Madison, 4th President.
“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. . . The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.” – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President.
“To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular Church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any Church, is an outrage against the liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President.
Needless to say, the seven last quoted would not have been elected had they run for office in modern-day America. By the laws of probability, there must be such free-thinkers around today, but we’ll never hear about them, except maybe as objects of derision on talk shows. Religious differences and practices aside, the United States of American at heart is no more a secular nation than Indonesia or Saudi Arabia.

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