You can always rely on Joseph Farah to take the most ridiculous and bigoted positions possible in any situation. In a recent column, he explained why we atheists can never be “real Americans.” The reason, I’m sure you will not be surprised to hear, is because the founding fathers were all Christians.
Atheists can’t be real Americans in the truest sense of the word – and People for the American Way should be renamed People for the un-American Way.
Let me explain why.
America was founded on a creedal statement. It can be found in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”
Thus, America was founded on the principle that the Creator God endowed men with certain unalienable rights. This statement formed the basis of self-governance in a world ruled by kings and tyrants. It is the principle that set America apart from the rest of the world.
It’s important to note that the founders – and most of the 2 million people living in America at the time of the founding – were Christians who believed in the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They weren’t referring to any other god. They rejected Allah. They rejected paganism in all its forms. They rejected atheism.
*yawn* Yep, same stupid argument we’ve heard a million times. None of the founders were atheists, of course, and many of them were obviously Christian. But many of the leading lights would be viewed as anti-Christian by Farah if he was capable of being honest about their real views. The statement he quotes was written by Thomas Jefferson, who explicitly rejected the notion that Jesus was anything more than a man, who called the gospel writers a “band of dupes and impostors” and Paul the “first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” He called the God of the Old Testament “cruel, capricious, vindictive and unjust.” There is no doubt that Farah would call anyone who believes such things anti-Christian, but that would be inconvenient for his argument, so he plays pretend. And that’s without even mentioning Thomas Paine; I’m sure Farah would prefer to simply write him out of existence.
But even if that was not true, so what? It is still absolutely irrational to say that only those who believe in the Christian God can be “real Americans.” It’s pure bigotry and stupidity, which is exactly what we have come to expect from Farah on a daily basis. Not to mention the dishonest editing. Here he presents Ben Franklin’s creed:
Another signer, Benjamin Franklin, wrote in 1790: “Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is in doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them. As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see.”
He left off a rather important part of that quote. That last sentence did not end with a period but with a semicolon, which continues:
…but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his Divinity: tho’ it is a Question I do not dogmatise upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble.
Like Jefferson, Franklin believed that Jesus was just a man, not divine, and that much of the words attributed to him in the Bible were corruptions and distortions. Again, Farah would undoubtedly reject the idea that anyone who thinks Jesus was not divine is a Christian today. But he applies entirely different standards to the founding fathers because applying the same standards would undermine his anti-atheist bigotry.