Thoughts Aloud

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 Post subject: Sovereign Rights
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:49 pm
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I have been promising for some time to unpack what our founders meant when Jefferson put into the Declaration of Independence those famous words about us being “endowed by our creator…” I have finally gotten around to finishing the essay SOVEREIGN RIGHTS to debunk the notion that they were creating a Christian nation. It also explains the classical liberal roots of our founders’ thinking, the nature of our Republic, why it is not a Democracy, and how I view my place in our society as a sovereign individual. Comments welcome. -Dave

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:25 am 
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Nice work, Dave; this is a complex and carefully constructed document, which offers so much to explore and discuss. I hope others will join in.
For the moment, I’d like to address one area, where I think you might have come up a bit short: the “nature of our “founding fathers” (perhaps if there had been a few “founding mothers” helping with the effort, things might have gone more smoothly… but that’s an argument for another day.)
Here’s the point; Yes, some of our more significant Founding Fathers were deists, if not atheists, such as Jefferson and Paine. But that’s not to say everyone agreed, notably, John Adams, who was quite comfortable with the existence of God. Indeed, this was a major point on which he took exception to Jefferson.
Benjamin Rush, writing to Adams, recalled; “You rose and defended the motion [a proposal for an official “fast day” which Jefferson opposed] and in reply to Mr. Jefferson’s objections to Christianity you said you were sorry to hear such sentiments from a gentleman whom you so highly respected … and that it was the only instance you had ever known of a man of sound sense and real genius that was an enemy to Christianity.”
Jefferson’s first efforts to separate church and state came much earlier, when he served in the Virginia General Assembly, where he attempted, but failed, to pass a bill for the establishment of religious freedom, which was a subject of great controversy in Virginia. While the proposal was accepted some years later, the issue came back to haunt him in 1800, during the contentious presidential election campaign, when the most serious charges hurled at him were those of atheism. Adams biographer David McCullough notes that the more influential newspapers of the time claimed “Not only was Jefferson a godless man, but one who mocked the Christian faith. In New England, word went out that family Bibles would have to be hidden away.”
No, sadly, our founding fathers would not be at all surprised by our modern take on their efforts. Many would actually feel vindicated, and the rest would at least understand the contentious arguments that have persisted for more than 200 years.

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