29 April 2009

CHRISTIANS BEHAVING BADLY #10 killing infidels

Francisco Pizarro
(c. 1471 or 1476 - 1541)

In my attempt to show that
being religious is not a
guarantee of moral
behavior,this post is a part
of my series of reports
featuring the bad behavior
of religious people, past
or present....

Look for other posts
showing the bad behavior
perpetrated by members
of other religious groups.

In 1532, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incan empire, he captured the Inca ruler Atahualpa and promised to free him if the Incan people would fill one room (17” X 22”) with gold and two with silver. In 1533, once the task was completed, Pizarro killed Atahualpa anyway. His reason? The Inca was not a Christian, thus he had no obligation to fulfill a promise to him.
According to Wikipedia: “Though Pizarro is well known in Peru for being the leader behind the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, a growing number of Peruvians regard him as a kind of criminal. By taking advantage of the natives, Pizarro ruled Peru for almost a decade and initiated the decline of Inca culture. The Incas’ polytheistic religion was replaced by Christianity and both Quechua and Aymara — the main Inca languages — were reduced to a marginal role in society for centuries, while Spanish became the official language of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile. The cities of the Inca Empire were transformed into Spanish, Catholic cities. Pizarro is also vilified for having ordered Atahualpa's death despite his paid ransom of filling a room with gold and two with silver which was later split among all his closest Spanish associates.”
In 1541 Pizarro was assassinated by Diego Almagro II and his armed supporters in order to avenge Almagro’s father who had been a companion, and later a rival, of Pizarro. Pizarro (who was between 65 and 70 years old) collapsed on the floor, alone, painted a cross in his own blood and cried for Jesus Christ. He reportedly cried: “Come my faithful sword, companion of all my deeds.”

22 April 2009



        “It is safe to say that almost every person living in New Orleans at the moment Hurricane Katrina struck shared...belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, and compassionate God. But what was God doing while Katrina laid waste to their city? Surely He heard the prayers of those elderly men and women who fled the rising waters for the safety of their attics, only to be slowly drowned there. These were people of faith. These were good men and women who had prayed throughout their lives. Do you have the courage to admit the obvious? These people died talking to an imaginary friend.” 

(Letter to a Christian Nation, p. 53)

12 April 2009


This post is part of a nationwide
event taking place April 10-12, 2009

Click on the link above to visit
posts from other bloggers.

Reverend Doctor Bird Wilson (an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York):
       • "The founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [Washington; Adams; Jefferson; Madison; Monroe; Adams; Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity.... Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism." (Sermon, October 1831)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
(in alphabetical order by last name)

ADAMS, JOHN, 1st Vice-president, 2nd U.S. President (1735-1826):
        • “As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?” (Letter to F. A. Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816)
        • “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced.” (Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 2000 years of Disbelief, James A. Haught, ed.)
        • “Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.” (Letter to his son, John Quincy Adams, November 13, 1816, 2000 years of Disbelief, James A. Haught, ed.)

, 6th U.S. President (1767-1848):
        • “There is in the clergy of all Christian denominations a time-serving, cringing, subservient morality, as wide from the spirit of the gospel as it is from the intrepid assertion and vindication of truth.” (diary entry, 5/27/1838)

, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1886-1971):
        • “...It is only by wholly isolating the state from the religious sphere and compelling it to be completely neutral that the freedom of each and every denomination and of all unbelievers can be maintained.”
        • “State help to religion injects political and party prejudices into a holy field. It too often substitutes forces for prayer, hate for love, and persecution for persuasion. Government should not be allowed, under cover of the soft euphemism of ‘co-operation,’ to steal into the sacred area of religious choice.”

, 15th U.S. President (1791-1866):
        • “I have seldom met an intelligent person whose views were not narrowed and distorted by religion.” (James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief)
        • [The United States] “possesses no power whatever over the question of religion.”

, 43rd U.S. President, (1946- ):
        • “Americans practice different faiths in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. And many good people practice no faith at all.” (Easter Address, 2002)
        • “Baptists have long upheld the ideal of a free church in a free state. And from the beginning, they believed that forcing a person to worship against his will violated the principles of both Christianity and civility.” ("Remarks by the President Via Satellite to the Southern Baptist Convention 2002 Annual Meeting" 6/11/02)
        • “My job is to make sure that, as President, people understand that in this country you can worship any way you choose. And I'll take that a step further. You can be a patriot if you don't believe in the Almighty. You can honor your country and be as patriotic as your neighbor.” (Christianity Today: 5/28/04)

, 39th U.S. President (1924- ):
        • “As a Christian, a trained engineer and scientist, and a professor at Emory University, I am embarrassed by Superintendent Kathy Cox's attempt to censor and distort the education of Georgia's students.... There is no need to teach that stars can fall out of the sky and land on a flat Earth in order to defend our religious faith.” (The Dallas Morning News, 2/04/04)
        • “I believe in the separation of church and state and would not use my authority to violate this principle in any way.” (letter to Jack V Harwell, 8/11/1977)
        • “The government ought to stay out of the prayer business.” (press conference, 1979)

               RAUCH, JONATHAN, American author, journalist, 
               activist (1960- ):
                         • "Indeed, one modern President abjured God
               altogether, ending speeches with a chaste 'Thank you
               very much.' This was Jimmy Carter, the most
               genuinely devout President of the postwar period."

COOLIDGE, CALVIN, 30th U.S. President (1872-1933):
        • “We cannot permit any inquisition either within or without the law or apply any religious test to the holding of office. The mind of America must be forever free.” (Inaugural Address, 3/4/1925)

, 13th U.S. President (1800-1874):
        • “I am tolerant of all creeds. Yet if any sect suffered itself to be used for political objects I would meet it by political opposition. In my view church and state should be separate, not only in form, but fact. Religion and politics should not be mingled.”(address,1856)

, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1882-1965):
        • “Certainly the affirmative pursuit of one’s convictions about the ultimate mystery of the universe and man’s relation to it is placed beyond the reach of the law. Government may not interfere with organized or individual expressions of belief or disbelief. Propagation of belief ---or even of disbelief ---in the supernatural is protected, whether in church or chapel, mosque or synagogue, tabernacle or meeting-house.” (Majority decision, Jehovah’s Witnesses case, 1940. Minersville School District v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586)
        • “Separation means separation, not something less. Jefferson’s metaphor in describing the relation between Church and State speaks of a ‘wall of separation,’ not of a fine line easily overstepped.”

, American statesman, scientist, author (1706-1790):
        • “I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.”
        • [Of Christianity] “I wish it were more productive of good works. I mean really good works, not holy day keeping, sermon hearing, or making long prayers filled with flatteries and compliments desired by wise men.”
        • “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches. The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
        • “The United States Constitutional Convention, except for three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary.”

, 20th U.S. President (1831-1881):
        • “In my judgment, while it is the duty of Congress to respect to the uttermost the conscientious convictions and religious scruples of every citizen ... not any ecclesiastical organization can be safely permitted to usurp in the smallest degree the functions and powers of the national government.” (Inaugural Address, 3/4/1881)
        • “The divorce between church and state should be absolute. It ought to be so absolute that no Church property anywhere, in any state, or in the nation, should be exempt from equal taxation; for if you exempt the property of any church organization, to that extent you impose a tax upon the whole community.”(Congressional Record, 1874)
        • “Whatever help the nation can justly afford should be generously given to aid the States in supporting common schools; but it would be unjust to our people and dangerous to our institutions to apply any portion of the revenues of the nation or of the States to the support of sectarian schools. The separation of Church and State in everything relating to taxation should be absolute.” (letter of acceptance of presidential nomination, 7/12/1880)

, 18th U.S. President, commander Union forces (1822-1885):
        • “Encourage free schools and resolve that not one dollar appropriated for their support shall be appropriated for the support of any sectarian schools.Resolve that neither the state nor the nation, nor both combined, shall support institutions of learning other then those sufficient to afford every child growing up in the land the opportunity of a good common school education, unmixed with sectarian, pagan, or aetheistical dogmas. Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separated.”
        • “I would like to call your attention to ... an evil that, if allowed to continue, will probably lead to great trouble.... It is the accumulation of vast amounts of untaxed church property.”
        • “I would suggest the taxation of all property equally, whether church or corporation.”
        • “Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separated.”

., 29th U.S. President, (1965-1923):
        • “In the experiences of a year of the Presidency, there has come to me no other such unwelcome impression as the manifest religious intolerance which exists among many of our citizens. I hold it to be a menace to the very liberties we boast and cherish.” (address, 3/24/1922)

HAYES, RUTHERFORD B., 19th U.S. President (1822-1893):
        • “We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference. (Statement as Governor of Ohio, 1875)

HOOVER, HERBERT CLARK, 31st U.S. President (1874-1964):
        • “I come of Quaker stock. My ancestors were persecuted for their beliefs. Here they sought and found religious freedom. By blood and conviction I stand for religious tolerance both in act and in spirit.”

, 7th U.S. Presient (1767-1845):
        • “I could not do otherwise without transcending the limits prescribed by the Constitution for the President and without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion nowadays enjoys in this country in its complete separation from the political concerns of the General Government.”(statement refusing to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer, 1832)

, 3rd U.S. President, founder of the University of Virginia (1743-1826):
        • “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” (to Danbury Baptist Association, 1802)
        • “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.” (to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 2/10/1814)
        • "Civil officials have no business meddling in private religious affairs." (when asked to issue an official prayer proclamation)
        • "Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth." (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVII)
        • “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear... Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences.  If it end in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others which it will procure for you... Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision.” (to Peter Carr, 8/10/1787)
        • “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.” (to Alexander von Humboldt, 12/6/1813)
        • "I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from inter meddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises...Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the general government. ...But it is only proposed that I should recommend, not prescribe a day of fasting and prayer. That is, that I should indirectly assume to the United States an authority over religious exercises, which the Constitution has directly precluded them from...civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents." (to Reverend Samuel Miller, 1/23/1808)
        • “If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? ...Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.” (to Thomas Law, 6/13/1814)
        • “Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believe nothing than he who believes what is wrong.” (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-1785)
        • “I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.” (Letter to Dr. Woods)
        • “I inquire after no man's [religion], and trouble none with mine; nor is it given to us in this life to know whether your or mine, our friends or our foes, are exactly the right." (to Miles King, 9/26/1814)
        • “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.” (to Francis Hopkinson, 3/131789)
        • “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” (Notes on Virginia, 1782)
        • “It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it [the Apocalypse], and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams.” (to General Alexander Smyth, J1/171825)
        • “It is wicked and tyrannical to compel any man to support a religion in which he does not believe.”
        • “Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind.” (to James Smith, 1822)
        • [In Virginia] “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinion of belief; but that all men shall be free to profess...their opinion in matters of religion.” (Jefferson’s Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, 1786)
        • "No religious reading, instruction or exercise, shall be prescribed or practiced [in the elementary schools] inconsistent with the tenets of any religious sect or denomination." (proposed legislation meant to be sent to Joseph C. Cabell, 9/9/1817, but scratched out, legislation not enacted)
        • “Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.”
        • “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
        • “What has been the effect of religious coercion?  To make half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.” (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785)

KENNEDY, JOHN FITZGERALD, 35th U.S. President, (1917- 1963)
        • “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie: deliberate, continued, and dishonest; but the myth: persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.”
        • “...Because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected President, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured.... So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again -- not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to  me -- but what kind of America I believe in.
        “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President...how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.
        “I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
        “For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been -- and may someday be again -- a Jew, or a Quaker, or a Unitarian, or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you -- until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart at a time of great national peril.
        “Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end, where all men and all churches are treated as equals, where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice, where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind, and where Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, at both the lay and the pastoral levels, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.
        “That is the kind of America in which I believe.”
               (excerpt from: Address to the Greater Houston 
               Ministerial Association, 9/12/1960. The entire
               text and an audio file can be found HERE.)

, 16th U.S. President, (1809-1865):
        • “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not that we be not judged.” (Second Innaugural Address, 1865)
        • “The only person who is a worse liar than a faith healer is his patient.”
        • “There was the strangest combination of church influence against me. Baker is a Campbellite; and therefore, as I suppose with few exceptions, got all of that Church. My wife had some relations in the Presbyterian churches, and some in the Episcopal churches; and therefore, wherever it would tell, I was set down as either one or the other, while it was everywhere contended that no Christian ought to vote for me because I belonged to no Church, and was suspected of being a Deist and had talked of fighting a duel.” (letter to Martin M Morris, 3/26/1843)
        • “When the Know-Nothings get control, it [the Declaration of Independence] will read: "All men are created equal except negroes, foreigners and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.” (letter to Joshua F Speed, 8/24/1855)
          See an earlier post with more quotations by Lincoln.

, 4th U.S. President (1751-1836):
        • "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment 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."
        • "The establishment of the chaplainship to Congress is a palpable violation of ... constitutional principles." (Detached Memoranda)
        • "It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority.  Distant as it may be in its present form from the Inquisition, it differs from it only in degree."
        • "Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history." (Detached Memoranda)
        • "The settled opinion here is that religion is essentially distinct from Civil Government. and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both…." (1823)
        • "Who does not see that the same authority, which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?" (address to the VA Assembly, 1785)
        • "A zeal for different opinions concerning religion...[has] divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good." (The Federalist Papers, Paper No. 10)

OBAMA, BARACK, 44th U.S. President (b.1961):
               See an earlier post with quotations by Obama.

, English-born American patriot (1737-1809):
        • “Accustom a people to believe that priests, or any other class of men, can forgive sins, and you will have sins in abundance.”
        • “All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” (The Age Of Reason)
        • “I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy” (The Age Of Reason)
        • “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church , by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.” (The Age Of Reason)
        • “I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another his right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.”
        • “Infidelity does not consist in believing or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe.” (Ralph De Sola, Quotations from A-to-Z for freethinkers and other skeptics)
        • “The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and trust I never shall.” (The Age of Reason)
        • “Of all the tyrannies that afflict mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst: every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts a stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity.”
        • “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but is always the strongly marked feature of all low-religions, or religions established by law.” (The Rights of Man)
        • “The World is my Country and to do good my Religion.”

POLK, JAMES KNOX. 1175 U.S. President (1785-1849):,
        • “Thank God, under our Constitution there was no connection between Church and State, and that in my action as President of the United States I recognized no distinction of creeds in my appointments to office.”

, 26th U.S. president (1858-1919):
        • “I hold that in this country there must be complete severance of Church and State; that public moneys shall not be used for the purpose of advancing any particular creed; and therefore that the public schools shall be nonsectarian and no public moneys appropriated for sectarian schools.” (Carnegie Hall address, 10/14/1915)

, 27th U.S. President (1857-1930):
        • “I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe.” (Note: Taft was a Unitarian)

, 33rd U.S. President (1884-1972):
        • “We have gone a long way toward civilization and religious tolerance, and we have a good example in this country. Here the many Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church do not seek to destroy one another in physical violence just because they do not interpret every verse of the Bible in exactly the same way. Here we now have the freedom of all religions, and I hope that never again will we have a repetition of religious bigotry, as we have had in certain periods of our own history. There is no room for that kind of foolishness here.” (note: while Truman professed that bigoty has no place in the U.S., he had unkind words to say about Jews.)

, 10th U.S. President (1790-1862):
        • “The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment... that of total separation of Church and State. No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgement. The offices of the Government are open alike to all. No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgement of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith. The Mahommedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions.... The Hebrew persecuted and down trodden in other regions takes up his abode among us with none to make him afraid.... and the Aegis of the Government is over him to defend and protect him. Such is the great experiment which we have tried, and such are the happy fruits which have resulted from it; our system of free government would be imperfect without it.” (letter, dated 7/10/1843)

, 1st U.S. President, commander-in-chief Continental Forces (1732-1799):
        • “If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.” (letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)
        • “The government of the United States is in no sense founded upon the Christian religion. The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation. Religion is a matter which belongs to the Church, and not to the State.”
        • “Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would have reconciled the Christians so that their... religious fights would not endanger the peace of Society.” (Letter to Sir Edward Newenham, 6/22/1792)
        • “We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition ... In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.” (letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, 1/27/1793)

WILSON, WOODROW, 28th U.S. president (1856-1924):
        • “It does not become America that within her borders, where every man is free to follow the dictates of his conscience, men should raise the cry of church against church. To do that is to strike at the very spirit and heart of America.” (Address, 4/4/1915)
        • “May it not suffice for me to say ... that of course like every other man of intelligence and education I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.(letter to an academic, 8/29/1922)

Find my two other posts for the 2009 Blog Against Theocracy event:

11 April 2009


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to visit post
from other bloggers.

Below you will find a few of the questions from a Church State Separation quiz on the Freedom From Religion Foundation website.

What Do You Really Know
About The Separation of State and Church?

1. The U.S Constititution says that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, based on the sovereign authority of God
a. in the First Amendment
b. in Section VI
c. in the Preamble
d. nowhere

2. How many times does the word God appear on the U.S. Constitution?
a. 0
b. 1
c. 3
d. 6

3. How many times does the Declaration of Independence refer to Christianity or Jesus?
a. 0
b. 1
c. 3
d. 8

FIND the answers to these three questions below.
For the full 21 question quiz, click HERE.

* * * * *

The Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin has a page of FAQs about Church/State Separation that can be found HERE.

Or you can read “Is America a Christian Nation?” from the

Find my two other posts for the 2009 Blog Against Theocracy event:

Quiz Answers:
1. d, 2. a, 3. a

10 April 2009


This post is part of a nationwide
event taking place April 10-12, 2009

Visit the link above to visit posts from other bloggers.

The Godless Constitution:
The Case Against Religious Correctness
Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore (1996)

Excerpts (in green) from Chapter One: 
Is America A Christian Nation?

“Since before the founding of the United States, European colonists in North America were arguing about the role of religion in public and political life.... The nations’ founders, both in writing the Constitution and in defending it in the ratification debates, sought to separate the operations of government from any claims that human beings can know and follow divine direction in reaching policy decisions...”

“While many at the birth of America advocated a Christian politics, the principal architects of our national government envisioned a godless Constitution and a godless politics. One would never know this, however, by listening to the
Christian right today, which has an utterly different take on the American past... The rhetoric of the Christian right repeatedly calls for a return to America’s lost Christianhood, as shaped by the founding fathers.”

“America’s original founding as a Christian state is central to the
Christian right’s conspiratorial theory of American history. The Dallas Baptist minister who delivered the benediction at the Republican National Convention in 1984 insists ‘that there is no such thing as separation of church and state. It is merely the figment of the imagination of infidels.’ The founder and president of the religious right’s Rutherford Institute writes that ‘it’s of little surprise then that... the entire Constitution was written to promote a Christian order’... James Dobson [Focus on the Family] distributes... a set of history lesson that seeks to show that ‘the concept of a secular state was virtually non-existent in 1776, as well as in 1787, when the Constitution was written, and no less so when the Bill of Rights was adopted’...”

“This reading of the minds of the men who wrote the godless Constitution is wrong.”

“The principal framers of the American political system wanted no religious parties in national politics. They crafted a constitutional order that intended to make a person’s religious convictions, or his lack of religious convictions, irrelevant in judging the value of his political opinion or in assessing his qualifications to hold political office.... So successful were the drafters of the Constitution in defining government in secular terms that one of the most powerful criticisms of the Constitution when ratified and for succeeding decades was that it was indifferent to Christianity and God. It was denounced by many as a godless document, which is precisely what it is.”

Excerpts (in green) from Chapter Two:
The Godless Constitution

“’The Constitution was designed to perpetrate a Christian order,’ the Christian right’s Focus on the Family informs us. That’s not what happened in 1787. God and Christianity are nowhere to be found in the American Constitution... The U.S. Constitution, drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1788, is a godless document. It’s utter neglect of religion was no oversight...”

“While passionately debated in the new nation, the ‘no religious test’ [for public office] clause elicited... little discussion at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention...”

It should be noted than Catholics and Jews fought in the Revolutionary War, yet they were among the religious groups, along with Quakers (because of their pacifist and anti-salvery stances) many wanted to exclude from holding office in the new nation. Some worried that if a Catholic were allowed to become president, that the Pope could be elected. The following passage seems so antiquated, biased, and vindictive, that we should all be glad religious tests were not added to our Constitution:

“An anticonstitutional article written for the New York Daily Advertiser ... January [1788] and widely distributed within days in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts papers pulled no punches about the social repercussions of Article 6 No religious tests admitted to national lawmaking: ‘1st. Quakers, who will make blacks saucy, and at the same time deprive us of the means of defense --- 2dly. Mahometans, who ridicule the doctrine of the Trinity ---3dly. Deists, abominable wretches ---4th. Negroes, the seed of Cain ---5thly. Beggars, who when set on horseback will ride to the devil ---6thly. Jews etc. etc.’ Not quite finished with the last, the newspaper writer feared that since the Constitution stupidly gave command of the whole militia to the president, ‘should he hereafter be a Jew, our dear posterity may be ordered to rebuild Jerusalem.”

“In Federalist No.10 [The Federalist Papers written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, 1787-1788] Madison argues that zealous pursuit of religious opinions, far from leading men to ‘cooperate for their common good,’ causes them to hate each other and disposes them ‘to vex and oppress each other.’

“When Benjamin Franklin, who presided over the Constitutional Convention, urged the delegates to open their sessions with prayers, a request cited often today by the religious right, the delegates... voted to adjourn for the day rather than discuss Franklin’s suggestion. The matter was never brought up again.”

“The political convictions of the men who struggled to ratify a godless Constitution were not products of personal godlessness... Many of the men... stayed aloof from dogmatic forms of Christian faith, but most of them believed in a God...”

“...While the idea of a godless constitution clearly incorporated certain secular ideals, important and forceful justifications for such a secular document lay in religious thought. No one in American experience has cared more about religion than Roger Williams. And virtually no one in American experience has fashioned a stronger argument for a godless politics....”

The next few chapters go into detail of Roger Williams' thoughts on government and the Founding Fathers reasons for writing our secular Constitution.

This book was extremely informative and easy to read. I recommend it highly.

While I read the 1996 version, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness, the updated version of the book is The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State.

Find my other two posts for the 2009 Blog Against Theocracy:

You may also find this earlier post interesting: God in the White House

07 April 2009

Please Participate - 2009's BLOG AGAINST THEOCRACY


If you support the
and you have a blog,
please participate in the
2009 event April 10-12
by posting something in support of
church/state separation and
against religious interference in
government or government support
of religion or religious organizations.

For more information on this year's event
and some logos you may use on your own
blog click HERE.

06 April 2009

MORE BIBLE QUIZZES - when you need a good laugh

(click image to enlarge)

On a great parody web site, Landover Baptist Church, you can find numerous Bible quizzes on subjects as diverse as sex, women, science, logic, sin, creationism, diet, slavery, wrath, damnation, punishment, and the teachings of Jesus.

Take the quizzes to test your knowledge of the scriptures. At the bottom of each quiz you can click on the answers where you will find Biblical verses as references for the correct answers.

Hint for earning a high score ---choose the most ridiculous, horrific, antiquated, sexist, politically incorrect, cruel, inhumane, unscientific, or hilarious answer and it will usually be the correct choice.

Below are examples of several quiz questions:

How long is a woman unclean after the messy act of childbirth?
A. She is not unclean at all for childbirth is a perfectly natural and quite beautiful act.
B. The woman is unclean until the baby's umbilical cord is cut and the woman and baby are fully cleansed with soap and water.
C. The woman is unclean for seven days for any child she has.
D. The woman is unclean for seven days if the child is a boy, but she is unclean for twice as long if the child is a girl.

Did God order his early followers to honor Him with animal dung?
A. No. You honor God solely by following His commands and loving His son.
B. Yes. Before Jesus, people atoned for their sins by sacrificing animals and their dung to God. (But only if they burned the dung outside town.)
C. Yes. You can show your love of God by shaping cow dung into the face of the Virgin Mother. (But you must wear gloves.)
D. None of the above.

Why are there clouds in the sky?
A. Heat causes water on the Earth to condense and rise into the atmosphere where it forms clouds.
B. Clouds are God's footprints in Heaven and are made up of the dust from his feet.

How long can a person survive without oxygen?
A. Three minutes.
B. Ten minutes.
C. Thirty minutes.
D. Three days.

If you retain the services of a prostitute, but are careless and impregnate her, what should you do for her in return?
A. Nothing. Prostitution is a sin that makes the woman equally culpable for the pregnancy.
B. Pay child support until the woman marries or the child reaches the age of maturity, whichever comes earlier.
C. Kill the Godless whore! (particularly if you find out she’s a relative).
D. None of the above.

What does God foresee happening to those who make predictions about what God will do?
A. If their predictions are accurate, they are likely to earn a good living.
B. They will be rewarded in Heaven with riches unthinkable to mere mortals for spreding God's message.
C. Their parents will kill them.
D. None of the above.


Find another Bible quiz from the Freedom From Religions Foundation HERE.

Quiz Answers: D, B, B, D, C, C

05 April 2009


When asked, "Do you support religious freedom?

Madalyn Murray O'Hair responded,

        "Oh, absolutely! I feel that everyone has a right to be insane. And that they can do this any place at all. If they want religious schools, build them! My only problem with that is, do not ask for the land to be tax-free. Do not ask for a government grant to build them. Do not ask for money for teacher's salaries, or more books, or anything else. Just go ahead and do your thing, and do it yourself. Just exactly the same as if you were a nudist. Somebody doesn't get a tax break for being a Mason, or whatever they're interested in. [Interview in Freedom Writer magazine, March 1989]

03 April 2009


copyright 2009 C Woods

Mark Twain ----one of my favorite religious skeptics.

The Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College (NY) holds a conference every four years. The Sixth International Conference on the State of Mark Twain Studies will be held August 6-8, 2009 beginning with a buffet breakfast at 8:00 am Thursday and ending with breakfast on Sunday morning. If you plan to attend the entire conference, I recommend arriving on Wednesday and leaving late Sunday morning.
Those in attendance are at the forefront of Mark Twain scholarship, many the authors of books on Twain and many who are professors of Twain studies internationally. However, many attendees are independent scholars or those who are Twain aficionados. A few Twain impersonators usually show up, too. In 2005 the keynote speaker was Ron Powers. In 2001 Ken Burns previewed his Mark Twain film. The keynote speaker in 2009 will be Russell Banks.
The three-day event is filled with panel discussions and speakers presenting their papers on Mark Twain, the man and his work. There are usually two or more choices of sessions to attend during each time slot.

Some of the 2009 topics that may be of
interest to freethinkers will be:
Mark Twain, Religion, and Imperialism
Mark Twain and Robert Ingersoll: The Freethought
Connection Revisited
Mark Twain’s Lover’s Quarrel with God: Readings
in Twain, Satire, and American Religion
Mark Twain’s Reading of John Milton, Reconsidered
The War Prayer: Marking the Twain of the Sacred
and the Profane
Maturity and Irreverence
Clash of Civilizations -- Contrast of Civilizations
Huck Finn and the Fifth Commandment
Waking from this Dream of Separateness: Hinduism
and the Ending of The Mysterious Stranger

Attendance at any one session is not mandatory, so one can take a walk or a drive, read, take a nap in a dorm room, enter a private discussion of Twain with other conference participants, visit Mark Twain's study or the campus Twain musuem.
Attendees are provided with scrumptious gourmet food provided by the Elmira College chefs. Thursday evening has a wine tasting event before dinner (where one will probably receive a discount coupon for a local wine warehouse.)
Friday night will feature Russell Banks.
On Saturday, everyone heads to the hill overlooking the city for a picnic at Quarry Farm, the home of Twain's sister-in-law where the Clemens family spent summers while Sam wrote many of his most famous works.
During one time-slot, a trip to the Clemens family grave site is a choice.

After each evening's festivities have concluded, one can head for the campus tavern for lively, informal Twain discussions.
Dorm rooms are available without air-conditioning, however a new dorm with A/C will be available for the 2013 conference. If you drive to Elmira, I suggest packing a fan. (One year I spent in the dorm, it was incredibly hot, so I chose to stay in an air-conditioned motel room the next year ---when the weather turned cool. ) There are several hotels and inns close to the campus and several motels in the Horseheads area about 5 miles north of Elmira.

I have attended the last three conferences: 1997, 2001, 2005. The conference committee is wonderful and creative. There, I have met the authors of some of the books on Mark Twain that I cherish most. After an Elmira conference, I spend most of the next four years in happy anticipation of the next one.

For more information and a registration form, go the the website:

01 April 2009

CHRISTIANS BEHAVING BADLY #9 debunking science

In my attempt to show that
being religious is not a
guarantee of moral
behavior,this post is a part
of my series of reports
featuring the bad behavior
of religious people, past
or present....

Look for other posts
showing the bad behavior
perpetrated by members
of other religious groups.


Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, Don McLeroy, wrote a glowing recommendation of the self-published book Sowing Atheism: The National Academy of Sciences’ Sinister Scheme to Teach Our Children They’re Descended from Reptiles by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.

Texas Freedom Network (TFN) Insider suggests that McLeroy really wants to teach that scientists are atheists, parents who want to teach their children about evolution are monsters, and pastors who support scientific teachings are morons.

From TFN Insider
Excerpts from Sowing Atheism by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr.

In some ways, the author’s acknowledgements tell you all you need to know. At the start of the book, Johnson gives a thank you to a virtual “who’s who” of the creationism /evolution-bashing industry:
"Thanks also to Answers in Genesis.org, CreationontheWeb.com, the Institute for Creation Research (www.icr.org), ScienceAgainstEvolution.org, and American Vision."

Like these creationists pressure groups, Johnson doesn’t just think the theory of evolution has weaknesses. He thinks the whole thing is a toxic fiction:
"Out of millions of species on this planet, the evo-atheists cannot specifically trace back the 'evolutionary' ancestry of one of them even a single 'evolutionary' generation. That’s an ugly embarrassment and an ugly fact. The NAS [National Academy of Sciences] writers have to slap some lipstick on their 'no-evidence' pig." (p. 51)

And what is the end game for this creationist strategy?
"Creationists do not want to bring religion into the classroom… Creationists simply want the God hypothesis brought back into the science classroom, and recognized for what it is—a scientifically valid hypothesis." (p. 24)
There you have it, folks. No religion here. Just the hypothesis that God created the world and everything in it. Nothing religious about that.

The majority of the book is dedicated to proving the author’s pet hypothesis that evolution (or “evo-atheism”) is a plot by atheists to indoctrinate students - and ultimately destroy religion.
The real issue is the inability of the chair of the Texas State Board of Education to distinguish between legitimate, mainstream science - as represented by the National Academy of Sciences - and a lone crackpot with an openly religious agenda.

Find more at TFN Insider.
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