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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe following is from an essay entitled Suffer Not a Witch, that is part of an upcoming book I’m writing called To Walk On Water.  It is copyright SJ Reidhead 2013 and may not be used in any shape or form.

One of the reasons we are told that we are to seek Christ is to live forever, for immortality.  That’s a catch 22, for many cultural reasons.  I suspect, that hard-wired into our consciousness, from the most primitive levels is this desire for immortality, to have a part of us live, forever.  That’s a nice sentiment, but is it Biblical, or anthropological?

As I grow older, I think about my legacy.  Will my writing live beyond me?  As far as immortality is concerned, genetically, I have none.  Having no children, genetically, I’m doomed.  I’m dead.  There is no immortality.  I’m a dead branch on the family tree.  Dead branches on family trees have a tendency to be forgotten, and pruned.  I’m a genealogist, I know that I am doomed to extinction.  My sister, with her three children and an adorable granddaughter is blessed with genetic immortality.  Unless my writing lives beyond me, I’m not much better than dust, dirt, nothing.

That’s the cynical view of things.  But, because I am a follower of Christ, I know I will be with Him forever.  I don’t give a rip about so-called immortality.  I have chosen to spend my time with Christ.  As for Heaven, I’m an original Trekkie.  My view of Heaven is warping through the stars, on an endless trek across the galaxy.  I want to be able to explore the cosmos.  I happen to see that as Heaven.

Heaven is also not being separated from the Lord, from Christ.  Hell, on the other hand, is being separated from the Lord, being separated from Christ.

Now – that is pure hell.

 

If I truly believe John 3:16, then anyone who doesn’t believe in Christ, who hasn’t confessed their sins, is doomed to spend forever, eternity on the outside, without Christ, without the Lord.

That – is pure hell.

One of the big problems we have in this country, is the fact that we are currently living under the misconception that this is a “Christian Nation” founded by “God Fearing” men (no women).  The country was founded on the requirement of freedom from religion, not freedom of religion.  There’s a big difference.  It is all about not having religion, no matter what it is, forced upon any individual.

Currently there is what I’ll kindly call an urban legend going around about the military not allowing evangelism and ‘praying’ in the name of Christ.

Wrong….

The US military does not allow evangelism outside of the chaplains.  One of the so-called ‘Christian’ leaders who was caught in this trap was a LTC who ordered – O – R – D – E – R – E -D those of a lessor rank, to attend a Christian evangelical meeting.  Wrong.  That is a violation of the Constitution.  He legally cannot do that.  Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, the man should be court-martialed.

Have you ever had religion forced on you, and have you been persecuted for what you believe?  I have.  No, it wasn’t much, but when you are in the sixth grade, and your teacher threatens to have you whipped because you don’t believe in her version of religion.  I was raised Presbyterian.  She was Southern Baptist.  My family believes in infant baptism.  She thought you should be dunked, and proceeded to tell me that not only was I going to hell, but so was my entire family.

It left me with a terrible taste in my mouth, to put it mildly.  As far as I am concerned, there should be no religion at all in public schools.  You want a so-called ‘Christian’ education for you children, the put them in a private religious school.  Kids who don’t happen to come from the same religious background as others in a school deserve not to be harassed the way several of the Catholic kids were in my class.

I guess you can tell I’m not big into public evangelism.  I find it distasteful.  I find going up to someone and ‘witnessing’ to them is also distasteful.  If my life doesn’t reflect Christ, then there’s something wrong with my life and my relationship with Christ.  If someone can’t tell I’m a Christian by my love, then I’m in deep shit, not them.  (I find someone who approaches me, demanding to know if I have been ‘saved’ to be insulting.  It’s  a matter of taste).

No, our Founding Fathers weren’t all that religious. Of these, only John Jay can be considered an orthodox Christian. As Congress’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, he argued (unsuccessfully) for a prohibition forbidding Catholics from holding office.

On October 12, 1816, Jay wrote, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”

It is John Jay that the modern Christians have in mind when they talk about the Founding Fathers? Luckily for the rest of us, and all freedom-loving Americans, he was not in the majority.

As far as this so-called ‘Christian’ nation thing, let’s examine this little canard more closely.  Of our leading funding fathers only John Jay was an ‘orthodox Christian’.

Ben Franklin was a member of the Hellfire Club.  If you are up on your Regency history, you know the Hellfire Club was basically an S&M club with possible over-tones of the occult, and maybe even the beginnings of modern Satanism.  Modern Satanism grew out of the legacy of the Hellfire Club.  Don’t even consider Franklin a Christian.  He was not.

He wrote: “…As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion…has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho’ it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble.” He died a month later, and historians consider him, like so many great Americans of his time, to be a Deist, not a Christian.[1]

“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved– the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”

John Adams was a Unitarian.  He was not a born-again Christian.  In a letter to Thomas Jefferson he wrote:  “The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.  Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole cartloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.”

“Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?”[2]

Thomas Jefferson was a Deist.  He was so arrogant that he rewrote the Bible to suit his womanizing and bigoted life-style.  He also was a brutal and cruel slave owner.  Don’t make the mistake of calling him a Christian.  Jefferson wrote:  “…The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ leveled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained.”[3]

“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.” Thomas Paine was an atheist.

James Madison wrote: “During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have 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.”[4]

Ethan Allen was a Deist. “That Jesus Christ was not God is evidence from his own words.” In the same book, Allen noted that he was generally “denominated a Deist, the reality of which I never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian.” When Allen married Fanny Buchanan, he stopped his own wedding ceremony when the judge asked him if he promised “to live with Fanny Buchanan agreeable to the laws of God.” Allen refused to answer until the judge agreed that the God referred to was the God of Nature, and the laws those “written in the great book of nature.” [5]

George Washington was something of a Deist, also. The father of this country was very private about his beliefs, but it is widely considered that he was a Deist like his colleagues.

Historian Barry Schwartz writes: “George Washington’s practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian…  He repeatedly declined the church’s sacraments.  Never did he take communion, and when his wife, Martha, did, he waited for her outside the sanctuary…  Even on his deathbed, Washington asked for no ritual, uttered no prayer to Christ, and expressed no wish to be attended by His representative.” [6]

“…Clearly, then, one cannot assume from Washington’s presence at church services and his membership in the Truro parish vestry that he was a Christian believer. Is there any other evidence to suggest that he was a Christian? The Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, preached a sermon in October 1831 in which he stated that “among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism” (Paul F. Boller, George Washington & Religion, pp. 14-15). He went on to describe Washington as a “great and good man” but “not a professor of religion.” Wilson said that he was “really a typical eighteenth century Deist, not a Christian, in his religious outlook” (Ibid.). Wilson wasn’t just speaking about matters that he had not researched, because he had carefully investigated his subject before he preached this sermon. Among others, Wilson had inquired of the Reverend Abercrombie [identified earlier as the rector of the church Washington had attended] concerning Washing ton’s religious views. Abercrombie’s response was brief and to the point “Sir, Washington was a Deist” (Remsberg, p. 110). Those, then, who were best positioned to know Washington’s private religious beliefs did not consider him a Christian, and the Reverend Abercrombie, who knew him personally and pastored the church he attended with his wife flatly said that Washington was a Deist….”[7]

In February 1800, after Washington’s death, Thomas Jefferson wrote this statement in his personal journal. “…Dr. Rush told me (he had it from Asa Green) that when the clergy addressed General Washington, on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to disclose publicly whether he was a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly, except that, which he passed over without notice….”

Why are people so shallow and so afraid of what they believe, that they must inflate and lie about our founding?

“…The most damning evidence of a non-Christian past is a humiliating 1797 treaty with the Barbary Pirates. President Adams sought to stem unremitting Muslim raids against Mediterranean shipping and protect American sailors from African slavery. This obscure treaty submitted, “The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”…”[8]

It’s quite sad.

Evidently Christians, in this country, today, are so shallow, they must bend and twist the founders into creating this great Christian nation.  We are not.  We are a nation built on the freedom from being harassed about a state religion.  If that means that there are no Christmas trees in a public school fine.  It’s better than dealing with a dozen other religions. Once upon a time, when we had a nation where there were two religions:  Protestant and Catholic, then a Christmas tree in a school was fine.  Today it is not.

This canard about our nation being a ‘Christian’ nation is leading certain batsh*t crazy politicians and TV pundits to beg that God destroy our country because we aren’t doing what THEY think the Lord wants us to do.  When you filter out the crap, and realize they are either rankly ignorant or lying about what they believe, what a mess.

They are an embarrassment.

I don’t know about you, but my belief is not shallow.  I don’t need to hang on the words of a pathetic little football player to makes this big deal about praying in the end-zone after doing something great, on the field.  I don’t need to make up false history of this country.  By liberating myself from the fake history of this nation, I get to have more time to love people the religious purists don’t want loved.  You know the ones – the kind of people Christ hung out with, social outcasts, the ones who really aren’t welcome in many churches today.



[1] Benjamin Franklin, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Thomas Fleming, p. 404, (1972, Newsweek, New York, NY) quoting letter by BF to Exra Stiles March 9, 1970.

[2] John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

[3] Thomas Jefferson, an Intimate History by Fawn M. Brodie, p. 453 (1974, W.W) Norton and Co. Inc. New York, NY.  Quoting a letter by TJ to Alexander Smyth Jan 17, 1825, and Thomas Jefferson, Passionate Pilgrim by Alf Mapp Jr., pp. 246 (1991, Madison Books, Lanham, MD) quoting letter by TJ to John Adams, July 5, 1814.

[4] The Madisons by Virginia Moore, P. 43 (1979, McGraw-Hill Co. New York, NY) quoting a letter by JM to William Bradford April 1, 1774, and James Madison, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Joseph Gardner, p. 93, (1974, Newsweek, New York, NY) Quoting Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments by JM, June 1785.

[5] Religion of the American Enlightenment by G. Adolph Koch, p. 40 (1968, Thomas Crowell Co., New York, NY.) quoting preface and p. 352 of Reason, the Only Oracle of Man and A Sense of Historycompiled by American Heritage Press Inc., p. 103 (1985, American Heritage Press, Inc., New York, NY.)

[6] New York Press, 1987, pp. 174-175

Paul F. Boller states in is anthology on Washington: “There is no mention of Jesus Christ anywhere in his extensive correspondence.” [Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963, pp. 14-15]

[7] http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/myth.html

[8] http://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2012/09/25/was-america-founded-as-a-christian-nation/

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3 Comments

  • jose maria says:

    My mother, a good Catholic lady liked to hear evangelical sermons. She was a fan of Billy Graham etc. and all of those like him. One summer while we were renting a cottage over in Biloxi, she went to one of those tent meetings. The preacher said, “I won’t condemn that woman wearing make-up because she may be a very good woman.” He then proceeded to give a talk on the evils of powder and paint. Mother said she started looking around and she was the only woman in the congregation wearing lipstick. Everybody started looking at her and she thought for awhile they were going to throw her out. If she ever went to another one of those meetings I never heard anything about it………Most of us, when we die, will leave nothing behind us. A person actually dies two deaths.(Have you ever heard that before?) One is the physical death, but a person lives on in the minds of everybody who knew and loved that person. When the last person who remembers you on this earth dies, then you die your second death.

  • SJ Reidhead says:

    I would listen to Billy Graham. His sermons were based on actual knowledge.

    My parents had friends who were a Baptist minister and his wife. Right before their friends were married, she told a story about going to visit her future husband’s first church. He was being installed that Sunday. The outgoing minister’s sermon was on the harlot and Jezebel and painted women. She had on a new dress, at the knee, hair in that early 1960s updo, make-up, colored stockings….The minister saw her, pointed her out in the sermon as the perfect example of Jezebel, not knowing that she was to be the new preacher’s wife! Just made a fool out of himself. Then she was introduced! She said she did everything possible when they had that congregation – makeup, nail polish, short skirts – anything to drive them crazy.

    I never heard the story about the second death.

    SJR

  • jose maria says:

    I loved the story about the minister’s wife. You have all kinds in the Catholic church. There are people who wear the latest styles and makeup and people who look like evangelicals wearing no makeup at all. We once had a bishop who didn’t like to see women wearing makeup. He made it clear that he didn’t want any woman kissing his ring wearing lipstick. It’s interesting. They say the best fashion parade in town is on Easter Sunday at one of the Baptist churches.


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