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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 06:32AM

https://www.salon.com/2021/05/03/america-was-not-founded-as-a-christian-country-based-on-judeo-christian-values_partner/

A common rallying cry of the right in America, to justify regressive morality laws, is often to say that "America was founded as a Christian country" with "Judeo-Christian values" while the common response from the left is to declare that the United States was founded as an explicitly secular country with a separation of church and state.

Would it surprise you to learn both are wrong?

First of all, "Judeo-Christian values" is a dog whistle that erases Jewish values by subsuming Judaism into Christianity. It also excludes other religions, particularly Islam. When politicians claim "Judeo-Christian values" they're almost always describing Christian values but want to pretend they are being inclusive of Jews.

Initially, in the 19th century the phrase referred to Jewish people who converted to Christianity. It wasn't intended to be inclusive of Jews at all. The current meaning of the term was an invention of American politics in the 1930s, as a phrase to show opposition to Hitler and communism. "Judeo-Christian values" is often used by politicians to proclaim common opposition to atheism, abortion and LGBT issues.

Basically, there's no such thing as a "Judeo-Christian values."

Except Judaism and Christianity don't have a common value system on those issues. While it is hard to declare a universal Jewish value—there are many sects of Judaism and one of our core tenets is argument—most Jewish rabbis acknowledge that abortion should be allowed at least in certain circumstances. Jewish law dictates that life begins at first breath, not conception. Additionally, many Jews consider themselves atheists and consider Jewish practice to be through behavior and attitude, not belief. Unfortunately the acceptance of LGBT people in Judaism is more complicated, depending on the sect, but Reform and Conservative Judaism are publicly accepting of LGBT people. Basically, there's no such thing as a "Judeo-Christian values."

The United States was founded with an attempt at secularism as well as freedom of religion. As opposed to monarchies, democracies in general are less Christian-based, as rulers are not justified on the "divine right of kings." Practically, "freedom of religion" often meant the freedom to practice whichever sect of Christianity, or sometimes even Protestantism, a person chose. Considering a number of colonies were founded based on disagreements over which Protestant sect was "correct," even this level of legally inscribed religious freedom was progressive for the late 18th century.

However, when considering religious freedom in early America, we must look beyond federal law and beyond the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was not applied to the states, except to declare the citizenship of formerly enslaved people, until the Incorporation Doctrine was applied to incorporate the Bill of Rights to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. This doctrine has been traced to Gitlow v. New York in 1925, when the Supreme Court held that states were required to protect freedom of speech, partially incorporating the First Amendment.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2021 12:55PM by anybody.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 09:58AM

With the great Jehovah as my witness, I declare to you that the REAL basis for the founding of America was the desire of a wildly disparate mass of businessmen who vigorously enjoyed making money, and who believed with all their hearts that severing ties with England would yield greater returns on the money they invested, as well as the time and energy they devoted to cheating both their employees and their clientele.

And if the appearance of piety was an aid, why not use it as the face of the movement? Yeah, that's the ticket... Sure!

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 04:26PM

By James Beard, as flippant and cynical as you may seem to some, even many, you are correct:

“...the Constitution was essentially an economic document based upon the concept that the fundamental private rights of property are anterior to government and morally beyond the reach of popular majorities.”

—James Beard—
—An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution—

Or, as Yanis Varoufakis was told in our own time, by the debt holding Germans, democratic elections cannot be allowed to interfere with economic policies.

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Posted by: snagglepuss ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 12:43AM

Ditto this. The U.S. is a mining colony.

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 10:48AM

So how does this fit in with the the story that many of us were taught in school about the pilgrims coming to the US and eventually founding a new country so that they could practice their freedom of religion?

These Puritans (the Pilgrims) were primarily protestants, separatists who came to the US seeking opportunity and freedom of religion which they were able to establish here. Those who followed them came for the same reason. The earliest founding documents of the US later said that our rights established in the constitution are inalienable and come to us from God. From that, our ancestors built a country and laws that are the foundation of our modern system today. Did none of that happen?

I always understood the concept of Judeo-Christian to be more cultural than religious. Jesus was Jewish. Many Christian values and parts of culture were derived from Jewish customs and beliefs that were common until after Jesus changed some of those older paradigms in the new testament. So today's culture and beliefs in the US are a mixture of both Jewish and Christian influences and thus, Jedeo-Christian. The Bible includes both and if we asked what the predominant religious foundational book in the US is today, most people would say it's the Bible. And that would probably include responses from most non-religious, non-believers who don't believe in the bible but who understand its historical role in the United States. So its cultural and religious and something that may be difficult to refute as being a foundational part of our country, more as a historical fact than a religious belief.

I am not religious and I don't believe in every word found in the Bible. But I don't think that revisionist history serves anyone, in part because we may want to point to parts of the Bible and say "look, this is just plain wrong", and to learn from those mistakes. Like myself, not everyone believes in every word from the Bible. Many people in the US do not live by Judeo-Christian values. But most of us were raised in that culture which has influenced all of us.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2021 11:42AM by azsteve.

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Posted by: blindguy ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 11:21PM

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of your response, let me say that you make the same mistake that talk show host Glenn Beck does. Both of you assume that what you are taught while in grade and high school is the absolute truth and that there is no updated evidence that historians didn't have at that time that could change what was taught back then. But everything changes, and we must learn to grow and change as new information comes to light.

azsteve Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So how does this fit in with the the story that
> many of us were taught in school about the
> pilgrims coming to the US and eventually founding
> a new country so that they could practice their
> freedom of religion?

The Pilgrims were not the first Brittish colonists in the U.S., and after coming to Massachusetts, they (mostly) remained there. (The first Brittish colonists to create a settlement in what is now the U.S. were those who founded Jamestown in what is now Virginia in 1616, if memory serves. And the founders of Jamestown were members of the Church of England.)
>
> These Puritans (the Pilgrims) were primarily
> protestants, separatists who came to the US
> seeking opportunity and freedom of religion which
> they were able to establish here. Those who
> followed them came for the same reason. The
> earliest founding documents of the US later said
> that our rights established in the constitution
> are inalienable and come to us from God. From
> that, our ancestors built a country and laws that
> are the foundation of our modern system today. Did
> none of that happen?

It did, but the Pilgrims/Puritans weren't the only founders of the country, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, these people made a rotten name for themselves by hanging some of their fellow Christians (mostly people viewed as outsiders) as witches during the 1680s.

And (hopefully) your history also taught you about Roger Williams who ran away from the Puritans and founded what is now Providence, Rhode Island, where (supposedly) anybody could come and practice his/her religion as he/she saw fit.

And were you not taught that Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, was much more inspired by the European Enlightenment movement than he was by Christian dogma? I certainly was.
>
> I always understood the concept of Judeo-Christian
> to be more cultural than religious. Jesus was
> Jewish. Many Christian values and parts of culture
> were derived from Jewish customs and beliefs that
> were common until after Jesus changed some of
> those older paradigms in the new testament. So
> today's culture and beliefs in the US are a
> mixture of both Jewish and Christian influences
> and thus, Jedeo-Christian. The Bible includes both
> and if we asked what the predominant religious
> foundational book in the US is today, most people
> would say it's the Bible. And that would probably
> include responses from most non-religious,
> non-believers who don't believe in the bible but
> who understand its historical role in the United
> States. So its cultural and religious and
> something that may be difficult to refute as being
> a foundational part of our country, more as a
> historical fact than a religious belief.

As noted above, Thomas Jefferson when writing the Declaration of Independence was much less influenced by the Bible (though he was a Christian) than he was by the European Enlightenment movement. I should also point out that there were a lot of changes made to both Judaism and Christianity between the time that Jesus (supposedly) lived and the creation of both the Brittish colonies and later the United states.
>
> I am not religious and I don't believe in every
> word found in the Bible. But I don't think that
> revisionist history serves anyone, in part because
> we may want to point to parts of the Bible and say
> "look, this is just plain wrong", and to learn
> from those mistakes. Like myself, not everyone
> believes in every word from the Bible. Many people
> in the US do not live by Judeo-Christian values.
> But most of us were raised in that culture which
> has influenced all of us.

As I pointed out at the top of this response, history is revised as we gain access to new documents that give us new insights. What you and I learned in grade and high school may have been true at the time we learned it, but it may not be as truthful now.

Edit to change 1880s to 1680s in one sentence.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2021 11:26PM by blindguy.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 11:48PM

I was going to jump in on the temporal problem. The Salem Witch Trials were in the 1690s, but Cotton Mather and his fellow travelers were active denouncing witchcraft in many parts of New England.

You are right about the Enlightenment. The founders of the constitution were not traditional Christians at all. They were urbane and widely traveled and read. The greatest influence on their work was probably David Hume, whose writings are lifted almost word-for-word in parts of the Federalist Papers and who was the first truly influential advocate of limited government, constitutional government, and private property. Many consider him the father of conservatism.

Hume and other Enlightenment philosophers were largely whitewashed out of the picture in order to make the United States a divinely favored nation. But it's all there--the separation of powers, checks and balances, individual liberties, again often word-for-word.

I don't agree that the people who wrote the textbooks were unaware of these facts: they just wanted to present a historiography, a mythology, that would "sell" to states and school districts. And in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, that was a Christian vision and not an historical one. But as Paul said, when one grows up it's time to put away childish things.

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Posted by: onthedownlow ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 06:35PM

Yo! TJ rapped all of his slaves. I walked in the dungeons below Monticello. All of those "founding fathers" were dirty rapist pigs. They all held high regard to the Brits and the Queen, but they held even harder to their greed.

There is an interesting show on the History channel about the hypocrisy of migration. Coming to the new world to establish free religion was bullshit. It was about colonizing ones own gold mine and setting your own standard of living or die.

Religion like any other bs is made to mind control. That is how the rich get richer.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 06:54PM

Religion was an area in which the Founders' commercial and political interests conflicted with any religious imperative. They'd seen European states rip themselves apart in religious wars and did not want that to happen in their backyards, as it were.

So what did they do? They rejected religion in the interest of political stability.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 05:49PM

azsteve Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So how does this fit in with the the story that
> many of us were taught in school about the
> pilgrims coming to the US and eventually founding
> a new country so that they could practice their
> freedom of religion?

Well, first off, the Pilgrims had freedom of religion in Holland, where they had fled, but they couldn't tolerate living among people who had different religious views. And when they came to the New World, they denied freedom of religion to others.

Secondly, the pilgrims weren't the first European settlement, or even the first English-speaking settlement. Jamestown, Virginia was started 15 years earlier, and it was a fortune-seeking enterprise, as were most of the other colonies. The vast majority of immigrants came for economic reasons. And, as stated above, the Revolution was primarily about economic issues.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 02:54PM

In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in what is now Massachusetts and founded what eventually became the United States of America. What this article ignores is that, previous to this journey, the Pilgrims had been living in what is now the Netherlands--and from what we now know, it is likely that the stay of the Pilgrims in the Netherlands likely resulted in some vital cross-fertilization with the Jewish refugees who had been living in the Netherlands since the late 1400s. (The Jews in the Netherlands had been fleeing Spanish and Portuguese persecution.)

Although Judaism can be analyzed like any other religion can be analyzed, Judaism is not primarily a religion--it is primarily a people (a people which is open to previous non-Jews who have decided to opt in).

I can say, from personal experience (I am, by Jewish law, a convert to Judaism), that most people who decide to become Jews do NOT "do it for the religion." They do it because they want to become part of the Jewish people (a major impetus), because they want to live their lives within Jewish culture (another major impetus)...and the Jewish religion which is an integral part of all this is, at minimum, unobjectionable to them.

Most converts to Judaism are attracted by Jewish life and Jewish culture (not to mention whatever specific Jew they might happen to be in love with ;) ), and the Jewish religion often comes along as an integral part of the entire Jewish "package."

Although some commonality does exist, Jewish values are, in daily life, often quite distinct from Christian values--beginning with the reality that Jews are overwhelmingly UNinterested in what happens after death, while to Christians, what happens after death is a central part of not only their general religious belief, but how they live their daily lives.

Here is a list (I took this from a video on YouTube) of Basic Jewish Values:

1) Value of Life
2) World Peace
3) Equal Justice [in Jewish understanding, this includes thoughtfulness, caring for humans, non-humans, and the planet alike, and etc.--"the root of charity is JUSTICE"]
4) Education (extremely important to almost all Jews both worldwide and throughout history)
5) Family
6) Social Responsibility

In addition, and for those Jews who choose to pursue the development of their individual selves, there are the middot ("the characteristics or traits of [a person's ordinary, everyday "soul"). There are many middot, and they are discussed in various contexts, but here are some of the ones Jews generally concentrate on:

1) Humility
2) Patience
3) Gratitude
4) Compassion
5) Order
6) Equanimity
7) Honor
8) Simplicity
9) Enthusiasm
10) Silence
11) Generosity
12) Truth
13) Moderation
14) Loving Kindness
15) Responsibility
16) Trust
17) Faith
18) Awe

It is important to know that these middot are understood in specific ways which do not necessarily correlate with how people in American society, in general, understand them. For example: "Trust" (Bitchon, in Hebrew) has a very specific Jewish religious/cultural meaning that does not apply to everyday English-language vocabulary (because no one Jewish is, in any way, recommending that others be, or become, fools)--and "awe" ("yirah," in Hebrew), in the context of middot, is really, REALLY difficult to attain an understanding of in English since it is not any part of English-language culture.

Lastly: I am going to recommend a video on You Tube which is one of the most startling presentations on American culture and American life I have ever seen. I am a Los Angeles-born American citizen, I grew up totally within an American family, in American culture, my education has been overwhelmingly American, and I grew up (starting at age three) within the entertainment industry (which has been an integral part of my life ever since)--but I never actually understood my own Americanism, or American culture, or the history of the American entertainment industry, until I saw this video.

It is over an hour long, and extremely well worth the watching of every minute of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHfGuYiKlF4



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2021 03:02PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 03:03PM

Tevai,

Judaism today is not the same as 17th or 18th century Judaism. With few national exceptions, Jews in that period were an isolated minority who were, in part as reinforcement of their community identity, a lot more religious than they are now. It's true that the ethnicity/religion was since the destruction of the temple more intellectual and metaphorical than most others, but it was the 20th century that separated Judaism from religion most profoundly.

Attitudes towards God and truth changed dramatically after the Russian pogroms and particularly World War Two. So I'm not sure the same values animate Jewish communities today as in the 17th century.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2021 10:19PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 05:57PM

Tevai Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in what is now
> Massachusetts and founded what eventually became
> the United States of America.

No, the Pilgrims didn't found the US. They were outnumbered by non-Pilgrims within a few decades of their arrival as other groups came. By the time of the Revolution — 150 years after Plymouth Rock — the Pilgrims were a tiny minority.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 06:05PM

Christianity is a monarchy, where the king makes all the rules and everyone else obeys or is severely punished. Everyone serves the monarch.

The idea that the authority to govern is held by the governed and that they chose their own leaders is antithetical to Christianity and Christian values. The idea that humans can make their own laws and change them when they wish is also antithetical to Christianity and Christian values.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 06:06PM

olderelder Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tevai Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > In 1620, the Pilgrims landed in what is now
> > Massachusetts and founded what eventually
> became
> > the United States of America.
>
> No, the Pilgrims didn't found the US. They were
> outnumbered by non-Pilgrims within a few decades
> of their arrival as other groups came. By the time
> of the Revolution — 150 years after Plymouth
> Rock — the Pilgrims were a tiny minority.

Thank you for the correction!

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 04:04PM

As in "having an identity based on being a Jew is not the same as being a Jew"?

Perhaps I'm parsing using a microscope . . .

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 04:26PM

elderolddog Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As in "having an identity based on being a Jew is
> not the same as being a Jew"?
>
> Perhaps I'm parsing using a microscope . . .

Not at all. This is a often a very serious, and can be a really sad, problem in real people's lives.

For example:

Your father is Jewish; your mother is not Jewish (and her relatives probably either live a long way away, or have died), but you grew up Jewish because you always observed Jewish holidays (and each year you got to drink a bit of wine for Passover!), your paternal relatives (including your grandparents and your cousins) are Jewish, you know all the "in" Hebrew/Yiddish/Ladino slang words, you can dance Jewish better than any of your friends...you feel totally "Jewish inside," except you are NOT Jewish according to Jewish law.

This means: regardless of HOW Jewish you feel inside, you probably will not qualify to go to campouts (either weekend camps, or summer camps) for Jewish kids, you won't qualify for Jewish preschool or regular school, you can't go with your Jewish friends on Birthright trips to Israel (which are very heavily subsidized by donors so, ideally, every Jewish kid will grow up with their own first-hand experience of Israel)....

You feel SO Jewish inside, but everyone Jewish keeps saying you are NOT Jewish.

This can be a serious life problem for most all of the kids affected.

Even when they grow up.

We had some of these Jewish-through-their-father Jews in our conversion class.

Hearing their stories hurt every one of us who were listening.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 05:40PM

I thought that the Judeo part of Judeo-Christian gets thrown in because the Christians want to lay claim to the Ten Commandments, which they pretty much fetishize, and which are clearly not Christian.

I always found the fetishization of the Ten Commandments to be pretty ironic, since the first four basically have to do with God's self-esteem issues, and the one about not coveting basically attacks the foundation of capitalism. That's half of the batch that either violates the First Amendment or Adam Smith.

BTW, the USPS Act of 1810 required that post offices be open on Sundays, because they took that thing about no government involvement in religion seriously. (Come to think of it, that is another of the Ten Commandments that ought not be a part of government. That's six out of ten).

That law had an interesting side effect. In the later 1800s, newspapers were delivered by the post office. The Sunday delivery meant that the Sunday newspaper became the biggest one of the week.

In Canada, without Sunday delivery, the Saturday newspaper was the big one of the week, with the most advertising, special features, etc. That has continued to this day in both countries, even though newspapers are no longer primarily delivered by postal services, and Sunday delivery in the US is now extremely limited.

BTW, it was Thomas Jefferson who championed the Sunday open part of that postal service act, though it did not become law until after his term as president ended. There was no strong opposition to post offices being open on Sundays back then. They were often just a table in a public roadhouse anyway, so the bartender tended to be the postmaster as well.

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Posted by: JoeSmith666 ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 05:48PM

“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”

—John Adams

In 1797 our government concluded a “Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, or Barbary,” now known simply as the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 of the treaty contains these words:

As the Government of the United States…is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion–as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity of Musselmen–and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

This document was endorsed by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering and President John Adams. It was then sent to the Senate for ratification; the vote was unanimous. It is worth pointing out that although this was the 339th time a recorded vote had been required by the Senate, it was only the third unanimous vote in the Senate’s history. There is no record of debate or dissent. The text of the treaty was printed in full in the Philadelphia Gazette and in two New York papers, but there were no screams of outrage, as one might expect today.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 05:53PM

I was unaware that the treaty had that provision. Thank you for the information.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2021 05:53PM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 09:21PM

JoeSmith666 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> “The government of the United States is not, in
> any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
>
> —John Adams
>
> In 1797 our government concluded a “Treaty of
> Peace and Friendship between the United States of
> America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, or
> Barbary,” now known simply as the Treaty of
> Tripoli. Article 11 of the treaty contains these
> words:
>
> As the Government of the United States…is
> not in any sense founded on the Christian
> religion–as it has in itself no character of
> enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity
> of Musselmen–and as the said States never have
> entered into any war or act of hostility against
> any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the
> parties that no pretext arising from religious
> opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the
> harmony existing between the two countries.
>
> This document was endorsed by Secretary of State
> Timothy Pickering and President John Adams. It was
> then sent to the Senate for ratification; the vote
> was unanimous. It is worth pointing out that
> although this was the 339th time a recorded vote
> had been required by the Senate, it was only the
> third unanimous vote in the Senate’s history.
> There is no record of debate or dissent. The text
> of the treaty was printed in full in the
> Philadelphia Gazette and in two New York papers,
> but there were no screams of outrage, as one might
> expect today.

Whether or not we have a separation of church and state has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. The issue of this thread has nothing to do with matters of law.

At question is whether or not Judeo-Christian values were a significant part of the founding of the nation, or played a part in the forming of its laws which laws are not necessarily religious outside of the values that led to them. This works the same way as the Mormon church not being political while finding ways to get laws passed that serve its system of belief. Several Mayors are forced to claim non-partisonship in the management of their cities. But they often vote partison none-the-less. So it's about the values that a majority of the people hold more-so than having a lawbook that officially favors any specific religion.

Another example is Utah. There is no law that says that Mormonism is the official state religion of Utah. But Utah is a state that was founded mostly on Mormon values.

There are political forces out there today who would have everyone believe that our founding fathers represented a society that favored abortion, were concerned about LGBT issues, and that was concerned about global warming (well, maybe that's a bit of an exageration - anachronism intended for effect). But the truth is that they were a bunch of religious nuts by today's standards. And Judeo-Christian values led the way in then US back then. Many people didn't live by those values. But everyone talked about those values. The issues that we need to address and resolve today are relatively new when it comes to our ability to affect positive changes to them. So I think we should focus not on who we were two-hundred years ago, but on who we want to be tomorrow.



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 05/03/2021 09:52PM by azsteve.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: May 03, 2021 10:17PM

America is, was, and will always be about making a buck.

The trivia involving the "Rights" of any of the thousands of special interests groups vying for a place in the sun is just that, bits of trivia... until the Supreme Court says otherwise.

Then this or that bit of SCOTUS-enabled trivia becomes a Right and business veers to make the necessary adjustments, as befits each business's bottom line.

Purity of purpose is interesting, but America already enjoys such a Purity.

A phrase in Spanish points to this: "Caifas con la lana, cacaro!"

It's right up there with the phrase I learned to shout when the movie theater projector screwed up: "Deje la botella, cacaro!!"

Being trilingual is fun!

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Posted by: Humberto ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 01:27AM

In spite of the fact that many of the early european immigrants traveled to the US for religious reasons, there was a whole lot of history and cultural development that took place during the 150 or so years between the puritan immigration and the independence from England.

To oversimplify, the colonists were sick of England's shit related to trade and taxes, realized that they finally had the power and resources to compete independently on the world stage, and therefore told the king to take a hike.

The founding of the country had nothing to do with religion - the puritans already had established themselves. It had everything to do with money, particularly the desire to stop sending it back to the motherland.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 01:56AM

I have a marginally different interpretation. There was a geopolitical problem that England might have solved if it were led perspicaciously. That problem was demographics. The US already had a very large population (1/3 of England's, if memory serves), and its growth rate was far more rapid than that of the mother country. It was therefore inevitable that the Americans would soon become powerful enough to naturally seek greater autonomy.

This is how it played out. When the French pressed south from Canada in the French & Indian Wars in the 1750s and 1760s, the colonies desperately needed English help. In the name of the crown and the empire, London obliged. That enabled the Americans to push the Canadians back to the north. England raised taxes in the colonies in order to pay for the very considerable debt the war had caused.

At this point Franklin made the rounds in London, trying to persuade the court and the government that the Americans would not long tolerate colonial status and that England would do well to offer a sort of co-equal status (how Rome treated Greece) for the colony. An early offer of that status, and parliamentary representation, would appease the Americans and render them more willing to help pay down the debt as well as preserving the imperial ties.

George III balked, however, insisting that the American colonies remain subordinate like any other English colony. Soon Franklin and the other visionary, Washington, started agitating for American independence. This was partly because of the taxes but more because the colonials wanted political power and couldn't get it as part of the empire. Cynically, the Americans then turned to France for help against England--which Paris offered because it wanted vengeance for what London and done in the French and Indian Wars.

The formulation of the constitution came years later. That process was definitely managed by the elite for the elite, as you and Human, citing Beard's magisterial work, note. But the prior and more fundamental problem with regard to England was geopolitical: London was too weak to continue dominating a distant power that was growing so fast. It was a failure to recognize and address that reality which doomed the English dominance over the American colonies.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2021 02:28AM by Lot's Wife.

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 02:26AM

>When the French pressed south from Canada in the French & Indian Wars in the 1850s and 1860s,

That would be in the 1750s and 1760s.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 02:28AM

Duly fixed. Thanks!

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Posted by: Humberto ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 10:19AM

Yes, all that and more. (Unlike my kids who write college essays on their phones, and quickly, I'm not fast with the thumbs, hence the gross simplification.)

I think we get taught in high school a very simplified history that moves quickly from pilgrims to revolution, causing some to conflate the two. The land was settled in part for religious freedom, but the revolution and the resultant creation of a nation was for power, including the power to control trade.

For anyone interested, Theodore Draper's "A Struggle for Power" gives a very detailed history of the 150 years or so that lead up to the revolutionary war. There is a lot that happened in that time.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 06:09PM

azsteve Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> But the truth is that they
> were a bunch of religious nuts by today's
> standards.

That is untrue. The founders were worldly, traveled widely, and read Enlightenment philosophers. Many were Deists, some (including Jefferson) were agnostic if not atheist.

At the time, the norm in Europe was for countries to have state religions. The Establishment Clause in the constitution represented a rejection of that principle, which is one of the reasons European governments viewed American political philosophy as subversive and dangerous. As noted above, the Treat of Tripoli, with its abjurement of Christianity as the basis for the US polity, received unanimous support in the Senate.

There were religious nuts in the US in the 1780s and 1790s, but they were not in Washington. The contrast with today's religious zealots could not be much clearer.

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Posted by: jay ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 10:37PM

Is slavery a Judeo-Christian value?

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 04, 2021 11:01PM

jay Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is slavery a Judeo-Christian value?

I don't think the designation "value" is correct or appropriate re: this subject, but slavery did exist, from antiquity [see: the Bible/"Old Testament" regarding slavery in antiquity] through New World times, in areas of the planet where Jews existed and in areas where Christians existed.

In pirates of the Caribbean times, Jews were at least inadvertently involved in the slave trade (and were sometimes involved much more directly) because many of the ships involved in the larger, on-going, historical conflict between Spain and Portugal (on the one hand) and Jews (on the other hand) were slave ships.

Jews are not innocent of these historical realities, but they also were not the major offenders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_slavery

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 01:19AM

jay Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is slavery a Judeo-Christian value?


My take on it: no one really cares, because it’s the economies of slavery that matter. Which is why it should be no surprise that there are credible, defensible estimates that there are more slaves in “captivity” right now than at any other time in history.

So the correct question is, is slavery an Economic value?

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 03:33PM

elderolddog Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jay Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Is slavery a Judeo-Christian value?
>
>
> My take on it: ...because it’s the economies of slavery that < matter.

> Which is why it should be no surprise that there
> are credible, defensible estimates that there are
> more slaves in “captivity” right now than at
> any other time in history.

In numbers, absolutely--but I think this because of global population growth (together with the simultaneous reduction of deaths of all ages due to disease, etc.)


> So the correct question is, is slavery an Economic
> value?

Absolutely--and this has always been true, throughout human history. Economics has always been one of the main reasons why slavery in large numbers (and large percentages) once existed, why it took centuries of effort to [mostly] decrease to the percentages we have today, and why slavery still exists today in places around the planet.

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Posted by: macaRomney ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 04:12AM

I agree that the Judeo part is out of sink. All the founders leaned towards protestant Christianity. There weren't many Jews until the early 20th century when the Russian peasants started immigrating away from the Czar. Then New York had an explosion of Jews. But America (the silent majority) is and was mainly protestant . This is what made all the difference. It's basically free market capitalism that is transferred into the sphere of religion. Let the best and most useful religion win!

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 04:28AM

Yep. The Bible is full of free market capitalism. Few people realize the Book of John was written by John Stuart Mill, David was actually David Hume, and Adam would be incarnated as Adam Smith in the Fullness of Times.

Naive readers often think the Jews were not capitalists and are deluded enough to believe Jesus’s teachings were suspiciously hostile to the accumulation of wealth if not positively communitarian. But no one’s pulling the wool over your eyes, that’s for certain.

After all, the measure of truth is profitability!

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Posted by: Michael Kelly ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 09:17AM

macaRomney Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I agree that the Judeo part is out of sink. All
> the founders leaned towards protestant
> Christianity. There weren't many Jews until the
> early 20th century when the Russian peasants
> started immigrating away from the Czar. Then New
> York had an explosion of Jews. But America (the
> silent majority) is and was mainly protestant .
> This is what made all the difference. It's
> basically free market capitalism that is
> transferred into the sphere of religion. Let the
> best and most useful religion win!

The US had a substantial RC population from the beginning. Maryland had a notable population and there were pockets elsewhere.

Like Dissenting Protestants, Roman Catholics had no desire to be under the thumb of an Anglican (Church of England) ascendancy as was the case in Ireland already.

There weren't many Jews immediately after the War of Independence, but there were still a few thousand and synagogues had already been built.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 03:59PM

macaRomney Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There weren't many Jews until the early 20th century when the > Russian peasants started immigrating away from the Czar. Then > New York had an explosion of Jews.

The four hundred years before the 20th century began had a lot to do with it too.

We know for a fact that Columbus's crew were either partially, or predominately, "hidden Jews" [a.k.a. "conversos," a.k.a. "crypto-Jews," a.k.a. "Anusim,"etc.], who were actively being protected by Columbus.

When Columbus made landfall in the New World, Jews were an integral part of that event--and "hidden Jews" (under any of the identifying designations popular at the time) were plentiful throughout the colonization era of not just North America, but also throughout the Caribbean and large parts of South America as well.

(A large percentage of the people whose families go back to Spanish colonial times, such as in the present state of New Mexico, are of Jewish descent--which most of them were not aware of until the last several decades.)

The 1800s were when "out" Jews in Eastern Europe began coming to the United States in large numbers, and they definitely (to begin) preferentially began settling in East Coast metropolitan areas of the United States.


> But America (the silent majority) is and was mainly
> protestant.

True, although there are a lot of Roman Catholics too.


> This is what made all the difference. It's
> basically free market capitalism that is
> transferred into the sphere of religion.

Again: I think you are not accounting for the pivotal contributions of Roman Catholics (especially on the East Coast), and Jews (East Coast Jews, Jews in the American South, and Jews in the American West and Southwest). The economy of the USA is built on much more than just the culture of the American Midwest.


> Let the best and most useful religion win!

I do not understand what you are saying here.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/06/2021 04:59PM by Tevai.

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Posted by: azsteve ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 04:44AM

I think the US was largely Christian and stayed mostly christian up to this current day. Although I think that is more cultural than most people actually being religious. Just look at Utah to see if it's feasible for a religion to create the predominant culture for a few hundred years.

But somewhere the Judism worked its way in to the culture as well. I think that had mostly to do with money. At one time, any loaning of money with any interest charged was considered usery, and against religious beliefs. Only the Jews would engage in loaning money for profit. Somehow they got wealthy by becoming the bankers in most communities.

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Posted by: Tevai ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 04:13PM

azsteve Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think the US was largely Christian and stayed
> mostly christian up to this current day. Although
> I think that is more cultural than most people
> actually being religious. Just look at Utah to see
> if it's feasible for a religion to create the
> predominant culture for a few hundred years.

I agree.


> But somewhere the Judism worked its way in to the
> culture as well. I think that had mostly to do
> with money. At one time, any loaning of money with
> any interest charged was considered usery, and
> against religious beliefs. Only the Jews would
> engage in loaning money for profit. Somehow they
> got wealthy by becoming the bankers in most
> communities.

Until comparatively recently in western history, Jews were the only people allowed BY LAW to lend money for interest. Christians were forbidden BY LAW to lend money for interest.

Since advanced or advancing economies require that money be allowed to be lent for a profit, Jews became (at least for a period of time) the only people who were granted this right by the king or other ruling authority.

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Posted by: smirkorama ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 08:07AM

The "Judeo-Christian" thing really is contrived, to say the least. glad to see that some people noticed that.

Would it really be so horrible to give the Masonic lodge and its ideals some credit for being the basis of American ideals like individual freedom and liberty.

Many of the American founding fathers were members of the Masonic lodge. FTR, NONE of the American founding fathers were Catholic or formal traditional Christians, as Catholicism is formal traditional Christianity and the root of Christianity, it is also the second coming of the Roman Empire or Roman Empire 2.0 in modern lingo. It appears that the American founding fathers gave some favor to grass roots informal Christianity as a way to fend off the heavy political meddling of formal Christianity aka Catholicism/the old Roman empire posing as a church/religion.......NOT so that 2 centuries later LDS inc and its Book of MORmON church could be the Utah/American version of the Catholic church which is what it really is .....even as MORmONISM really is NOT technically Christian, even though it now wants to be.

What a thing when Christians are on the prowl trying to expose "the New world order" and they want to point at the Masonic lodge instead of at Rome.

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Posted by: Michael Kelly ( )
Date: May 05, 2021 09:08AM

There are some ridiculous claims in here, such as the automatic linkage of Christianity to the right, and irreligion to the left. It's almost as if the right doesn't have atheists, and the Christian Left isn't a thing (I guess we all must have dreamed up the Martin Luther Kings, Al Sharptons and all those religious peace activists...)

If you want to go back to the origins of the USA, be careful what you wish for. It was a slaveowning country, where women didn't have the vote or much else, and native Americans were not part of the equation. It was little like the modern USA. Yet the documents it produced are treated like Holy Writ. Right up to the eve of Washington's uprising, independence was arguably not even the will of the majority. Some people put support as low as one third. (Britain's armed reprisals and the flight of many loyalist Americans to Canada changed that.)

The majority of the original US population was Christian, or one or two removes from it like the Deists and Universalists. There were some Jews, but they were few in number, and most of the families of today's American Jews arrived much later (as did those of most American Christians. :) ) There are some dubious philosophical statements in the founders' documents which are clearly based on Christianity - such as the notion of being "CREATED equal" (when even biological siblings aren't) and mentions of deity. These owe as much to Quaker thinking of the time as to "Free Thinkers" and proto-Jacobins, but could appeal to both parties.

The separation of church and state was not purely for the reasons that the writer thinks - from the Pilgrim Fathers onwards, many of the early settlers were religious Dissenters who left England so that they would not be under the state Church of England. There were many Dissenter churches in the 13 Colonies, and also a notable Roman Catholic population. None of these people wanted to be controlled by a church other than their own.

I agree with the references to Masons above. The USA has always been heavily influenced by secretive societies like them, but Freemasonry is certainly quasi-religious (despite claiming otherwise), and its fingerprints are all over Washington's uprising.

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Posted by: olderelder ( )
Date: May 10, 2021 12:32AM

The 10 Commandments (which the Christian Nation folks love love LOVE) says not to covet, steal or kill, yet the Christians credited with building the country coveted the land and resources, stole it from the indigenous peoples, and killed them when they resisted.

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