Sean Faircloth points out in his book, Attack of the Theocrats, that only 10 to 15 percent of Americans were church members in 1800. Those were the days of the great Enlightenment that had swept the world and the days during which thousands of colonists, or their immediate forefathers, had fled the religious oppression so rampant in Europe. Religion was suspect and people with sharp memories of the horrors their immediate ancestors had escaped weren't inclined to listen to the siren song of religious hucksters.
The scepticism declined slowly, but decline it did under the constant onslaught of circuit preachers and missionary zeal of every slant and type. The propaganda has been so insidiously effective that today, the average American is absolutely certain that our "founding fathers" were devout religious individuals who set out to establish a "Christian America."
That's a total lie!
Thomas Jefferson stated: "Religions are all alike -- founded upon fables and mythologies." Again, "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature." Yet again, "Christianity is 'our particular superstition.'" I particularly like his statement that the Christian clergy dreads "the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight." That's certainly representative of the dominant attitude throughout the "Bible Belt.
There was no "Bible Belt" in 1800! This country began as a nation of free thinking sceptics!
James Madison was just as pointed and incendiary in his statements. He pointedly stated, "In no instance have...the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people." We see ample demonstration of that in modern efforts to stifle and outlaw stem cell research, birth control, LGBT rights and freedoms and to impose religious indoctrination in our public schools.
Madison saw clearly that "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." Also, that "Religion...has been oftener a motive to repression than a restraint from it."
Nothing has changed since he penned, "During almost 15 centuries has the legal extablishment of Christianity been on trial. What has 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."
Among our founders, the drive to separate the new union from the corrosive influence of religions was passionate. Now, we have descended to the point that W. A. Criswell who was selected by Ronald Reagan to deliver the benediction for the 1984 Republican National Convention stated that the separation of church and state "is the figment of some infidel's imagination."
Jefferson and Madison, not to mention Thomas Paine, Adams, Abraham Lincoln, and a host of other esteemed Americans, are now haughtily relegated to the category of "infidels!" And, nothing has improved since 1984.
It's gotten worse!
I could go on with many other foundational quotes from other great Americans, but this is getting to be a long blog. You can get them all by purchasing and reading Sean's eye-opening book and find many more with a simple online search of what our esteemed national leaders of the past have stated. Even as late as Barry Goldwater, the onslaught of religion was resisted and repudiated.
The point is that descendants of those esteemed men of the past have been hornswoggled into believing in the complete antithesis of what were the driving precepts and beliefs they held. For the most part, they completely rejected the haughty certitude of religious hucksters and prognosticators.
Their descendants feel alienated from society if they don't kowtow to some religious ism or other. They've even come to believe that they can't be a loyal, patriotic citizen unless they bow and scrape to some manufactured and totally ludicrous deity.
It's time for Americans to reawaken to the peril they face!