Saturday, February 11, 2006

American Fairy Tale

Linda Kimball is a right wing fundamentalist christian columnist

Kimball writes for Christian News in Maine which is published by these nutbars.
The Church for the American Christian
who is a Patriot Pro-Christ, Pro-Life, Pro-Constitution.
34 Duck Pond Road
Harrison, Maine, USA

It's a good thing Linda Kimball begins this column with the classic fairy tale introdution " Once upon a time" otherwise her unsuspecting readers might think she was being factual.

Once upon a time, not too awfully long ago, America was known as the 'shining city on the hill.' America, the most radical experiment in the history of the world, was the only nation to which people oppressed and repressed by old world systems of social classes and castes could be free of the stifling bindings engendered by those man created constraints. She was a Judao-Christian nation where the God of the bible, and not an elite ruling class, was sovereign over all. America was the land of hope, promise and opportunity, where not only all men were equal before God's eyes, but where all human life from conception to natural death, was gifted by God with intrinsic worth.Because our Founders believed in the existence of a transcendent sovereign Creator, they declared that belief in the Declaration of Independence where it is written that our rights are endowed to us from our Creator and thus are inalienable, which means not from man. Under the aegis of the Judao-Christian worldview, Americans were able to work towards a civilization of excellence and virtue wherein natural families and their children could grow and thrive in safety and security. America was also a civilization where individual liberty could be maximized to the fullest in the absence of strangling webs of manmade laws since followers of Judao-Christianity were guided by the Golden Rule and voluntarily exercised self-control over destructive impulses for the common good of all.

Wow what America was this?

It never existed except in the imagination of right wing fundamentalists like Kimball.

The founding fathers were Freemasons and Deist's. They did not espouse or believe in a Christian God but in Natures God, a deist ideal. They believed in a historical Jesus not the Son of God.

Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus.
The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.

Thomas Jefferson

In his, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788], John Adams wrote:

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."

As I wrote here in December: Secular Democracy

Since its founding in 1776 America has defined in practice the meaning of Democracy, it equates with Secularism. Anti-Theist (though a Quaker and Deist himself) Thomas Paine espoused the belief that the revolutionary nature of Democracy was two fold a recognition of the Rights of Man, and the seperation of Church and State. Paine was there urging on the American Revolution, then a hop skip jump to France to promote his Rights of Man during the French Revolution, and then back home to Britain to promote his ideals of democracy.

In fact Thomas Jefferson wrote his own version of the new testament removing all the mythology about Jesus, and it ended up being as radical as the current Jesus Project which tries to find the real historical Jesus in the bible. A project which is absolutely abhorrent to evangelical literalists.

The character of Jefferson's religion is one of the most interesting aspects of his intriguing life. Certain evangelicals, who were also his political opponents, tried very hard to make Jefferson's religion a factor in elections. They filled the press with scurrilous attacks on his "deistical" beliefs. He made it his steadfast policy never to respond to any of these attacks or, indeed, to make any public statement at all concerning his faith. Ironically, in spite of the attacks, evangelicals flocked to support Jefferson because they favored the end of tax support for established churches—which meant freedom for their independent churches—as passionately as did he. Today religious conservatives portray Jefferson as a sympathetic figure, unaware of his religious beliefs, his understanding of religious freedom or his criticisms of evangelical religiosity.

These facts about Jefferson's religion are known. He was raised as an Anglican and always maintained some affiliation with the Anglican Church. He was also known to contribute financially, in fair proportion, to every denomination in his town. While a student at William and Mary College, he began to read the Scottish moral philosophers and other authors who had made themselves students of church history. These scholars opened the door for Jefferson's informed criticism of prevailing religious institutions and beliefs. But it was the world renowned English Unitarian minister and scientist, Joseph Priestley, who had the most profound impact on his thought. According to Priestley's Corruptions of Christianity, published in 1782, and many other of his books, the teachings of Jesus and his human character were obscured and obfuscated in the early Christian centuries. As the Church Fathers adapted Christianity to Mediterranean-primarily Greek-forms of thought, they contrived doctrines altogether foreign to Biblical thought, such as the doctrine of the Trinity. Jefferson assumed that a thoroughly reformed Christian faith, true to Jesus' teaching, would be purged of all Greek influence and doctrinal absurdity.

The White House, Washington, D.C. 1804.

Thomas Jefferson was frustrated. It was not the burdens of office that bothered him. It was his Bible.

Jefferson was convinced that the authentic words of Jesus written in the New Testament had been contaminated. Early Christians, overly eager to make their religion appealing to the pagans, had obscured the words of Jesus with the philosophy of the ancient Greeks and the teachings of Plato. These "Platonists" had thoroughly muddled Jesus' original message. Jefferson assured his friend and rival, John Adams, that the authentic words of Jesus were still there. The task, as he put it, was one of

abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separate from that as the diamond from the dung hill.

Who was the Jesus that Jefferson found? He was not the familiar figure of the New Testament. In Jefferson's Bible, there is no account of the beginning and the end of the Gospel story. There is no story of the annunciation, the virgin birth or the appearance of the angels to the shepherds. The resurrection is not even mentioned.

Jefferson discovered a Jesus who was a great Teacher of Common Sense. His message was the morality of absolute love and service. Its authenticity was not dependent upon the dogma of the Trinity or even the claim that Jesus was uniquely inspired by God. Jefferson saw Jesus as

a man, of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, (and an) enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions of divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition by being gibbeted according to the Roman law.

In short, Mr. Jefferson's Jesus, modeled on the ideals of the Enlightenment thinkers of his day, bore a striking resemblance to Jefferson himself.

Jesus Without The Miracles

Thomas Jefferson's Bible and the Gospel of Thomas

ERIK REECE / Harper's Magazine v.311, n.1867 1dec2005

Jefferson's tombstone at Monticello does not remind visitors that the deceased was once president of the United States. Rather it states that Jefferson authored the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. So it was fitting that in 1904 the Government Printing Office published 5,000 handsome, leather-bound copies of The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth for the first time, one hundred years after Jefferson pasted it together.

To read the Gospel story—the "good news"—through Jefferson's lens is instructive in a number of ways, the least of which is its representation of Jesus' "life." Many New Testament scholars agree that the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke are pure myth. And no one has solved the mystery of the "missing years"—the two decades between when Jesus supposedly taught in the temple as a precocious child and when he came ambling along the Jordan river, asking to be baptized by the fiery zealot, John the Baptist. From then until his execution a few years later, Jesus' life was a combination of walking, eating with followers and social outcasts, preaching, fishing a little, telling stories that no one seemed to understand, and offering largely unsolicited diatribes against the powers that be. That is to say, the life of Jesus—if unconventional—was nevertheless ordinary enough. Thousands of homeless men and women do pretty much the same thing every day in this country. But to find the historic Jesus within the fabulous accounts of the four Gospel writers is indeed an exercise of looking for diamonds in the compost heap.

Jefferson's gospel could not solve that problem. Nor did it need to. The life of this itinerant preacher was much less important to Jefferson than what he taught. Somebody, after all, spoke the Sermon on the Mount, or on the plain, or wherever it was spoken, and somebody told fascinating parables that explained nothing and left everything up to "he who has ears." What's more, Jefferson's objection to the version of Christianity taught in American churches was precisely that it did put so much more emphasis on Jesus' life and, consequently, his sacrificial death. By excising the Resurrection and Jesus' claims to divinity from his private gospel, Jefferson portrayed an ordinary man with an extraordinary, though improbable, message.

But Jefferson's gospel also leads to an impressive clarification of what those teachings are. One can make a list, and it need not be long.

  • Be just; justice comes from virtue, which comes from the heart.
  • Treat people the way we want them to treat us.
  • Always work for peaceful resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion.
  • Consider valuable the things that have no material value.
  • Do not judge others.
  • Do not bear grudges.
  • Be modest and unpretentious.
  • Give out of true generosity, not because we expect to be repaid. In all of his teachings, the Jesus that Jefferson recovers has one overarching themetheworld's values are all upside down in relation to the kingdom of God. Material riches do not constitute real wealth; those whom we think of as the most powerful, the first in the nation-state, are actually the last in the kingdom of God; being true to one's self is more important than being loyal to one's family; the Sabbath is for men, men are not for the Sabbath; those who think they know the most are the most ignorant; the natural economy followed by birds and lilies is superior to the economy based on Caesar's coinage or bankers who charge interest.

Above all, this Jesus cannot abide hypocrites. He has nothing but contempt for men who would kill a woman because of adultery when they themselves have thought about cheating on their wives, or for temple officials who tithe mint and cumin but would do nothing to help a poor woman with a child. "Stop talking about righteousness," this Jesus is saying, "and be righteous." It sounds simple. But of course nothing could be more difficult, as Jefferson's own life illustrates.

In his only book, Notes on the State of Virginia (1787), Jefferson urged readers to resist the factory life of large European cities and stay on the land. "Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue," Jefferson wrote in the famous chapter called "Manufactures." Farmers intuit the laws of God within the laws of nature, and so become virtuous, he reasoned. They are, by the nature of their work, resourceful, neighborly, independent. They are the elemental caretakers of the world. Nor do they succumb to the crude opinions of the masses. But the farmer is free-thinking and inquisitive. The manufacturer, by contrast, is a specialist, a cog, a wage slave. "Dependence," Jefferson concluded, "begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." A manufacturer cannot be a citizen of a democracy, only a consumer within an oligarchy.

Four years later, Hamilton submitted to Congress his Report on Manufactures, in which he dismissed Jefferson's agrarian vision in favor of developing industry, division of labor, child labor, protective tariffs, and prohibitions on many imported manufactured goods. Today, fewer than 1 percent of Americans work on farms, and many of those are huge, industrial farms that generate massive amounts of toxic by-products. That Jefferson's self-reliant farmer is so unrecognizable to us today is evidence enough, should we need any, that we have inherited Hamilton's America, not Jefferson's.

The difference between Jefferson and Hamilton is the difference between a version of Christianity based on Jesus' life and death and Resurrection, and one based on his teachings. Or to put it another way, it is a difference between where one locates basileia tou theou—the kingdom of God. Is it, as Luke's gospel says, "in the midst of you" (17:21), or is it, as John's gospel claimed, a reward saved for the sweet hereafter? To live by Jesus' teachings would be to live virtuously as stewards of the land; it would be to create an economy based on compassion, cooperation, and conservation; it would be to preserve the Creation as the kingdom of God. Jefferson was proposing a country of countrysides, a pastorale in which we would want to live; Hamilton was giving us a nation of factories from i which we would want—perhaps in the end need—to be saved.

The People’s Bible Goes to Washington
Thomas Jefferson’s edited version of the New Testament again makes its way into the hands of members of Congress.

Now Linda Kimbal would have us believe that this deism is of course the very historical anti-christ itself. If that is the case then her America is the Anti-Christ not the New Jerusalem.

our Creator had endowed all human beings with a natural right to life, secular militant atheists have taken away that right and very predictably, replaced it with the "right to die." Dostoevsky predicted this would occur when he said, "If God is dead, then all things are permissible." Nietzsche concurred by saying, "[…] God is dead…the heroic individualist is no longer bound to a traditional slave morality, but is creating his own."

Nietzschean secular humanists, socialists, and militant atheists who call themselves 'free thinkers' are shaping our culture and politics, and what they are determined to create is an atheistic America. By definition, free thinkers are people who reject authority and religion in favor of what they refer to as "rational inquiry and speculation based upon science." But they have elevated science to a philosophy and what they call reason is nothing but the constantly changing fickle whims that arise from unbounded self-idolization, selfish desires, and wishful thinking. In this way, as in so many other ways, free thinkers have not risen one inch above their ancient pagan ancestors. The free thinkers sitting on America's Supreme Court have made highhanded rulings based on world law rather than on American law, provide a good example of capricious decision making sans fixed moral ethics.

Publishers note: This is a must read for Christian Homeschooled Children.

Wow militant athiests, socialists and individualists all wrapped up in one. And these Freethinking Athiest Socialists are all sitting on the Bush Reagan Supreme Court. Give your head a shake. This is the kind of thinking that is taught in home schooling America is truly in trouble, and not just failing grade point average. America is going backwards to embrace its small thinking nativist agrarian past. Which is another myth.

The very beast of the biblical revelations that these biblical literalists and evangelicals believe in resides not in Israel or the Middle East, or the Vatican or Russia but in Washington itself. The very home of the freethinking anti-establishment of its day way back when the first Constiutional Congress drafted the American Deist Constitution. A constitution which was the model for many revolutionary movements constitutionz including France and Vietnam.

All of Kimballs complaints about America, are the same as those created as a foil in the 19th Century for the Evangelical Second Great Revival, the Anti-Masonic hysteria and the Knownothing party.

All of this coincided with the crisis in America that Jefferson and Hamilton had predicted in their debate over manufacturer versus farmer,the transformation of America from an agrarian nation into a manufacturing society. From small capitlaist farmers to large scale industrial capitalisn.

These movements occured between 1830-1868 as America went from small scale Artisan production to large scale manufacturing. The death of the small scale native American homecrafts and their replacement with large scale production and factories, with its immigrant and imported labour, situated as it was on the East Coast, led to reactionary movements against the new urban civilization. The Civil War destroyed all that remained of the Jeffersonian agrarian artisan America.

Today the same crisis is upon America as production is destroyed, jobs lost or sent offshore, the new nativist American movement comes from its working class that has embraced evangelism as it once embraced trade unionism. And today the right wing which embraces free trade embraces the very ideology of Hamiltons manufacturers while clinging to the Jeffesonian ideals of small scale agrarian capitalism. That is the real contradiction in the American psyche not Kimballs free-thinking indiviudalist socialism.

And the Republican party in its modern incarnation as the political voice of this Great Revival with its links to Moral Majority and its right wing evangelicals shares more in common with the Knownothings than they do with the great Whig party of Lincoln.

What Was the Matter with Ohio?: Unions and Evangelicals in the Rust Belt
by James Straub

It was a fittingly ironic end to an election full of grotesque twists: When George W. Bush was narrowly reelected president of the United States, it was the electoral votes of the state he had harmed most that gave him the final nudge across the finish line. Ohio went for the second election in a row to the Republican clown prince. But if the first Bush victory was tragedy, the one in 2004 was surely farce: has world history ever turned before on the artful elevation of gay bashing to an electoral tactic?

“In twenty-one years of organizing, I’ve never seen anything like this,” former trucker’s union organizer Phil Burress told the New York Times shortly after the election. “It’s a forest fire with a 100 mile-per-hour wind behind it.” Burress was speaking not of the efforts of unions and community organizations to register and turn out hundreds of thousands of new voters to the polls in Ohio to vote against Bush, but of his crusade to mobilize even larger numbers to pass a state constitution amendment prohibiting gay marriage.

The demographics and causes of Bush’s slim victory in Ohio and the country continue to be debated—for instance, while 25 percent of Ohio voters identified themselves as white evangelicals (and 78 percent of them voted for Bush), the Washington Post’s number-crunching later revealed that the percentage of frequent church-goers voting in Ohio actually declined 5 percent in 2004—and Congressman John Conyers has documented evidence of electoral fraud that indicates Ohio my have been this election’s secret Florida. However, it remains undeniable that Bush’s Ohio victory did come in part from a massive outpouring of socially conservative evangelical Christians to the polls. A large majority of these Republican evangelicals were blue-collar Ohioans voting against their self-interest, many mobilized by Burress’s anti-gay marriage amendment.

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