You know what makes me mad? I know; there's a lot of things that make me upset. But one of the things that has the potential to send me to a fiery tirade is when people >cough, Christians, cough< feel the need to point out that we are a Christian nation founded by Christians. OK first, one needs to describe "founded" and "nation". Are you talking about when the pilgrims came to America to set up shop? Are you talking about Chris and his three boats in the Caribbean? Or are you speaking of the Founding Fathers signing the Declaration of Independence and/or The Constitution?
What made me so up set was an article written by Juanell Garrett. What she insinuates throughout her article is what many crazy people point to: that kicking god out of schools in the 60s caused the down fall of mankind. Garrett and others are referring to Abington Township School District v. Schempp; this is the infamous case that stated that organized bible study was unconstitutional. By the way, let me just add that all this ruling did was state that the schools can not sponsor a religion of any kind. If during study hall, a student wants to whip out his Bible and read, then so be it. Garrett finds this to be a line in the sand in American morality:
I blame something else: the expulsion of God from public schools following Supreme Court decisions in 1962 and 1963.
In the following decade, birthrates for girls 15-19 increased 50 percent, and gonorrhea rates in that same age group more than tripled. Violent crimes increased 170 percent while the population grew by only 12 percent.
One thing went down. SAT scores, which had peaked in 1963, started a steady regression in 1964.
Here's the problem with Garrett's argument. The bad thing about having only one life is that we have a tendency to view that this one that we are living in is the worse time ever. Especially with humans, we have this ability to romance the past, sometimes it seems like we are living in an absolute shithole.
Starting with her erroneous statement about the SAT scores, because I could find info on that faster, she makes the wonderful mistake that most people like her make: ignoring some facts that could be detrimental to the overall browbeating. Garrett is right-SATs did drop in 1963, BUT it made a "miraculous turnabout" in 1982. Like I said before, we always like to think we are living in the worse moment in history. I think it's because of our narcissism. It's quite annoying you know.
As for the STDs, well, those nasty little buggers have been around forever. And since Ms. Garrett thinks that the world was a charming cartoon before the "I hate god" 60s, take a look at what I found. Oh and before I go further, I am not bashing the military. But I think most people know about some of the trysts that men in the military engaged in. I've even heard some stories from the horse's mouth. All right... moving forward. Apparently our little friend, gonorrhea, has been around for a long time. Someone queue in George Washington, Ethan Allen, and those Mountain Boys:
…gonorrhea and syphilis, were significant disease threats before the availability of penicillin in the middle
1940s.Medical records from the Revolutionary War indicate that these STDs had a significant impact in terms of lost person-days among members of the Continental Army.
Oh it gets worse.
In World War I, the Army lost nearly 7million person-days and discharged more than 10,000 men because of STDs. Only the great influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 accounted for more loss of duty during that war. The STDs remained a significant threat in the early years of WorldWar II, prompting the War Department to embark on a massive educational and prophylactic campaign. Numerous posters were produced, warning soldiers and sailors of the dangers of excessively amorous behavior.
Gross, right? Seems that those men's bible circle in school didn't really help much, now did it?
Even with all this contradiction in her article, I'm sure you must be thinking how could there be more? But there is. Going back to my original paragraph- we are not a christian nation. Got that? NOT!! The founding of our nation, which I personally state as the signing of the Constitution, was based upon the ideas of the Enlightenment and the writings of John Locke. In fact, James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, who I love, stated such:
The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores
the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.
Doesn't sound like someone who likes religion to meddle in government. Granted, most people may not know Madison. So here are some that people should:
John Adams signing the Treaty of Tripoli:
As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen [Muslims] ... it is declared ... that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries....
The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation.
Abraham Lincoln to Judge JS Wakefield:
My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them
And the big man himself, George Washington writing to clergymen about why Jesus Christ was missing from the Constitution:
I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country.
This blog has a lot of quotes, but I believe this final one by Justice William Brennan, who wrote a concurrent decision in the Abington Township School District v. Schempp, is a fantastic ending:
There are persons in every community—often deeply devout—to whom any version of the Judaeo-Christian Bible is offensive. There are others whose reverence for the Holy Scriptures demands private study or reflection and to whom public reading or recitation is sacrilegious.... To such persons it is not the fact of using the Bible in the public schools, nor the content of any particular version, that is offensive, but the manner in which it is used.
Whatever Jefferson or Madison would have thought of Bible reading or the recital of the Lord's Prayer in ... public schools ..., our use of the history ... must limit itself to broad purposes, not specific practices. ... [T]he Baltimore and Abbington schools offend the First Amendment because they sufficiently threaten in our day those substantive evils the fear of which called forth the Establishment Clause. ... [O]ur interpretation of the First Amendment must necessarily be responsive to the much more highly charged nature of religious questions in contemporary society. A too literal quest for the advice of the Founding Fathers upon the issues of these cases seems to me futile and misdirected.