I believe these quotes from the early days of our nation, and during its founding, enlighten us as to the nature of their thinking and to their intentions. I also think that, instead of leveling accusations of quote mining (but, there are so many, and they seem so precious, one can’t help it!) honest Fundys would fire back with legitimate opposite quotes from their own catalog. IF they had any.
They seem to have none that pass the required tests for legitimacy. Most fail in at least one of three tests:
- They were manufactured, contrived, invented, not to be found, unverifiable, iron pyrites.
- Taken out of context; back in context, their real intent is obviously not what was claimed.
One must really want to believe, it appears, to allow oneself to be so easily and so thoroughly bilked. It seems almost that one is required to be duplicitous against oneself, and understandably so: the gap between beliefs imposed by faith and those unearthed from reality is so wide and deep it inspires fear to contemplate an attempt to cross it. If you are an atheist with enough imagination, try visualizing yourself going the other direction, back to church, all those personal questions, kneeling to pray, praying aloud, women’s hats and men’s neckties… Sickening, right?
Now, in this sign’s Jefferson quote, please notice he specified sects rather than religions. While that may seem unimportant, it bears upon how he viewed religions in his mind. As you surely know, sects are divisions of religions made over points of doctrine. Christianity, for a known example, is the name of a religion. Methodists and Baptists are just two of the many denominations with differing beliefs and practices, some at great odds with each other that operate under the Christian umbrella. Only now do we get down to sects.
While Methodist and Baptists can also be labeled as sects, it makes good organizing sense to keep using the ‘denominations’ label and make a third row labeled ‘sects’. Check your spelling on that; your mind can play sneaky tricks on you.
What I am aiming for, here, is to assure you that Jefferson had honorable intentions with his overly maligned ‘wall of separation’ and that those who denigrate it to you may have an evil agenda to pull wool over your eyes. You, not such as myself, are the ones with something to lose if those pushing to knock down Jefferson’s wall ever get their way.
You will lose the one protection you have against becoming forced into membership at the bland, mean Christian Church of America, whose doctrine seem foreign to regretful Americans all over the land. There will be no more Primitive Baptists of Third Street Down Town, no Seventh Day Adventists sharing a building with a tiny, one of a kind Methodist Church. You may not care about those, but who will you call when they come to shut your church down?
Call to action: Work to defend The Wall of Separation. It’s the founding fathers’ gift to you.