Friday, March 26, 2010

Immanent Frame's Claude S. Fischer writes about Christian America

Over at Immanent Frame, Claude S. Fisher, a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, has written a small post claiming, "American was not born Christian, but grew to be very Christian centuries later."[bold face mine]

Why a liberal, sociology professor would dare write about our founding is beyond me. It's easy pickins even by a cursory examination of this blog. Immanent Frame, do yourself a favor, employ persons who understand the Founding Fathers. I've read some of your posts on Christianity in relation to our nation, and it's less than satisfactory. Let's get something clear right now. When the framers spoke of Protestant religion, they are referring to the Protestant Reformation, and they knew exactly what the Reformers preached. They did not preach heterodoxy. The Protestant Religion did not include unitarianism, or any other pelagianism; all of that heresy was kicked to the curb at the Synod of Dort in 1618-1619.

Politically speaking, some forms of pelagianism was allowed, and considered Christian, although it carried little weight, as unitarians needed to keep their views secret; heretical pastors hid their views. Theologically speaking, the majority understood orthodoxy from the Reformers, and by reading the Scriptures themselves.

Returning to Mr. Fischer, listing the State Constitutions is enough to keep Mr. Fischer in his day job:

Constitution of the State of North Carolina (1776), stated: There shall be no establishment of any one religious church or denomination in this State in preference to any other. Article XXXII That no person who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State. (until 1876)[bold face mine]

Constitution of the State of Maryland (August 14, 1776), stated: Article XXXV That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support and fidelity to this State and such oath of office, as shall be directed by this Convention, or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion.” That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God is such a manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested… on account of his religious practice; unless, under the color [pretense] of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality… yet the Legislature may, in their discretion, lay a general and equal tax, for the support of the Christian religion.(until 1851)[bold face mine]

Constitution of the State of New Hampshire (1784,1792), required senators and representatives to be of the: Protestant religion. (in force until 1877)The Constitution stipulated: Article I, Section VI. And every denomination of Christians demeaning themselves quietly, and as good citizens of the state, shall be equally under the protection of the laws. And no subordination of any one sect of denomination to another, shall ever be established by law.[bold face mine]

Constitution of the State of Delaware (until 1792) stated: Article XXII Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust… shall… make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit:“I, _______, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed forevermore; I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.”

Constitution of the State of Connecticut (until 1818), contained the wording: The People of this State… by the Providence of God… hath the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State… and forasmuch as the free fruition of such liberties and privileges as humanity, civility, and Christianity call for, as is due to every man in his place and proportion… hath ever been, and will be the tranquility and stability of Churches and Commonwealth; and the denial thereof, the disturbances, if not the ruin of both.[bold face mine]

NEW YORK 1777 (until 1821) That all such parts of the said common law, and all such of the said statutes and acts aforesaid, or parts thereof, as may be construed to establish or maintain any particular denomination of Christians or their ministers, or concern the allegiance heretofore yielded to, and the supremacy, sovereignty, government, or prerogatives claimed or exercised by, the King of Great Britain and his predecessors, over the colony of New York and its inhabitants, or are repugnant to this constitution, be, and they hereby are, abrogated and rejected.[bold face mine]

NEW JERSEY 1776 (until 1844) XIX. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this Province, in preference to another; and that no Protestant inhabitant of this Colony shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right, merely on account of his religious principles; but that all persons, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government, as hereby established, shall be capable of being elected into any office of profit or trust, or being a member of either branch of the Legislature, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity, enjoyed by others their fellow subjects.[bold face mine]

Here is more of a taste of Mr. Fischer:
Over the wider American landscape, however, colonists were notably “unchurched” and “un-Christian.” Scattered around in separate households (unlike the Puritans who concentrated in villages), most Americans had no church to go to and little connection to what we would call organized religion. Even where there were churches to attend, many went either irregularly or simply because the church was one of the rare places—along with the tavern—to see people in a sparsely-developed society.
Then why do all the states mandate Christianity, and why did nearly every state mandate the death penalty for homosexuality? The people obviously understood their faith from the Bible. Here is more:
Such waves of enthusiasm (“Awakenings”) in some places and at some times rallied some people to faith, but the clergy generally despaired of the heathens who had settled the new continent.
The Great Awakening went from New Hampshire to Georgia! It went not into some places, it went everywhere, and entire communities were affected.
Most early Americans were not believers in the sense that affirming Christians are today. They were likelier to understand spells, potions, and omens than theological doctrines.
Spells? Potions? Omens? If they weren't Christians as today, why did the vast majority take communion in the Church to identify with Christ?
The colonial elites, some of whom became Founding Fathers, themselves tended to be vaguely Christian. Even John Adams, a cultural conservative who struggled against the radical Thomas Jefferson, was “only” a Unitarian.
Only a small minority were Unitarians; this is why Adams and others kept their views secret.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

David Barton On The Glenn Beck Show

David Barton makes an appearance on the Glenn Beck Show. Glenn Beck has been under some heat from the Christian Left, especially Jim Wallis, for attacking the "Social Justice" aspect of the Gospel. Wallis and the left, claim the Bible mandates big government should help the poor, any way it can, and that Jesus wanted it that way.

Whether Wallis is a Christian at all, I will leave for another day, however, I don't recall Jesus ever claiming the government should help the poor. Beck, along with Barton, believe the New Testament leaves that duty to the Church, and individuals. And so, the Christian left is calling a boycott of The Glenn Beck Show.

The question is, "Does the Bible present the Church or Israel supporting the poor in a government context?"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Typical Ed Brayton

Blogger Ed Brayton throws in his two-cents, here, on Huffington Post. Here is a taste of what he says:
"And not once, according to the notes of those in attendance, was the Bible ever referenced at the constitutional convention in Philadelphia to justify a concept or provision," according to Brayton.
Brayton is about as hard-core about his beliefs as anyone. The only problem is, the majority of the time, he's wrong; including this one. There were several times the Continental Congress referenced the Bible to emphasize a concept.

Here is a reference, in the Convention, by a man who isn't even a Christian! Thus, Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention cites the Bible for office holder qualifications, using property, and promoting the rich:
"We should remember the character which the Scripture requires in Rulers, that they should be men hating covetousness- This Constitution will be much read and attended to in Europe, and if it should betray a great partiality to the rich- will not only hurt us in the esteem of the most liberal and enlightened men there, but discourage the common people from removing to this Country."
Franklin is referencing Exodus 18:21, the specific verse that quotes, as Thomas Paine wrote, a form of Republican Government:

Exodus 18:21 (King James Version)
"Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens"
As I found this reference, I realized the important connection Franklin has made. No doubt he studied this verse, as did the other framers, which is why Thomas Paine called Israel a type of Republic. The Nations that employed this type of Republicanism were: The Swiss, and Calvin's Geneva, The Dutch, and England. All three had Republics that varied in some way. To the Founding Fathers, the Scriptures, through the Protestant Reformation, birthed modern Republicanism.

Folks, think twice when Ed Brayton speaks about the Founding Fathers; his knowledge of the Founding is less than noteworthy. The Constitution signers were fairly silent about religion because they left religion to the states. However, the fact remains, our schools should teach our children where the principles of Republicanism originated; The Bible.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Alexander Hamilton; The Calvinist, Part II


Continuing my post on Alexander Hamilton leaves no doubt his belief in Calvinism. As with James Madison et al. AH remained a partial Calvinist his entire life. Contrary evidence from their writings has yet to be found, apart from, in Madison's case, irrelevant 19th Century religious inclinations. In Hamilton's case, there is no evidence he departed from belief in the Total Depravity of John Calvin. From my previous posts on James Madison, belief in human depravity demands belief in man bearing God's image, hence they are both founded on the principle of imputation; imputed from Adam. Also, from a letter by Stanley Stanhope Smith, it appears JM believed in pre-destination, not the freewill of hyper-arminianism. I cannot make that claim for AH; pre-destination is not derived from imputation.

Furthermore, JM cannot be considered a Unitarian; 18th Century unitarians, including the "Old Lights," rejected God's Grace; JM affirmed Grace in his Memorial and Remonstrance. Many bloggers confuse 18th, with 19th Century Unitarianism. They are not the same. William Ellery Channing's 19th Century unitarianism allowed for Grace that the Old Lights did not.

Much has been said about Hamilton never joining a church; this claim, made with other various heterodox christian labels, is un-factual.

Hamilton rented Pew 92 at Trinity Church as early as 1790. Further detail into Hamilton's church attendance, and if he communed, needs to be done. His wife Elizabeth is listed as a communicant in Rev. Moore's record book. Interesting to note, Hamilton provided legal counsel regarding the independent incorporation of St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, a complex issue that arose in the late 1790s.

Is there a doubt Hamilton went to church after his son died, mandating his son go to church every sunday?
"On Sunday he will attend the morning church."

-Rules for Philip Hamilton, 1804. Works of Hamilton.
Knowing Hamilton's character, would he allow his children to do what he did not approve of? Hamilton's notion of human depravity resonate through his writings:
"But I reverence humanity, and would not wish to pour a blush upon the cheeks of its advocates. Were I inclined to make a satire upon the species I would attempt a faithful description of your heart. It is hard to conceive, in theory, one of more finished depravity."

-Publius, November 16, 1778. New York Journal, and the General Advertiser
Regarding the Caesar Letters of 1787, we do not know for sure if Hamilton wrote them. However, if they are attributed to him, Hamilton used a Biblical description for God while forming the Constitution, refuting many skeptics who claim God is absent. Hamilton stopped short of claiming the Constitution is inspired:
"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [The Constitution] a system, which, without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interested I will not presume to say that a more perfect system might not have been fabricated; but who expects perfection at once?" [bold face mine]

-Caesar II, October 17, 1787. For the Daily Advertiser.