Monday, December 13, 2004

Founding Fathers On Religion: James Madison

I wanted to talk a little about the separation between church and state. This comes to my mind during this holiday season because of certain high-profile news stories. One being the removal of the cross from the City of Los Angeles seal. The other being some of the things being said right now by certain conservative pundits. Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly have been saying that Christmas is "under assault" or "under attack" because people are saying "Happy Holidays" more now then "Merry Christmas."

First of all, Christmas is in no danger of being abolished. Let me just state that before I get to what the founding fathers had to say about a seperation between church and state. Saying, "Happy Holidays" is not endangering Christmas as much as it is inclusive of other religions and indescriminate of any particular religion. Anyway, on with the founding fathers. I am going to do a series of posts about different founding fathers and their opinions on religion and government. Today's it is going to be James Madison. Signer to the Constitution, co-author to the Bill of Rights and the 4th American President. This from Devin Bent of the James Madison Center:

"There is no doubt that James Madison believed in the separation of church and state. It was a constant theme of his career and an area in which his views were sometimes stated without his characteristic moderation. In the Memorial and Remonstrance of June 20, 1785, he wrote:

'During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have 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.'

Thirty-seven years later, he has perhaps softened his rhetoric, but not changed his mind. In a letter to Edward Livingston, he writes: 'religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed.'"

Not only does Madison not endorse a "Christian government" he does not endorse a specific Christian denomination. Again quoting the JMC, "He [Madison] does not endorse Christianity or any specific Christian denomination; he is 'absolutely indiscriminant.' He refers to 'great Parent and Sovereign of the Universe,' for instance. He also asks that persons gather 'in their respective religious congregations;' thus they can follow 'their own faith and forms.'"


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5 comments:

L.L.E. said...

hey...you need to update your blogroll...jason has his own domain now...

L.L.E. said...

oh, and hope you're having a good day. :)

mynym said...

"The belief in God all powerful wise
and good, is so essential to the moral order
of the world and to the happiness of man,
that arguments which enforce it cannot
be drawn from too many sources nor
adapted with too much solicitude to the
different characters and capacities to
be impressed with it." --James Madison

"Republican government presupposes the existence of [virtue] in a higher degree than any other form. Were the inference would be that there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government; and that nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another."
THE FEDERALIST No. 55, at 346
(JAMES MADISON)(Clinton Rossiter and Charles Kesler
eds., Mentor 1999)

"Within a year of his inauguration,
Jefferson began attending church
services in the House of Representatives
[note: he started attending 2 days after
writing the famous 'Danbury Letter
which contains the phrase concerning
separation of Church and
State']. Madison followed
Jefferson's example...."
Library of CongressThe Founding Fathers believed that the mind/Conscience must be left free to have the greatest impact on the body politic.

Therefore, there was to be no Clergy firmly ensconced by the State.

I see you made a post somewhere about "mental illness." I'll have to read it. Look at the concept carefully, if something is mental, of the mind, then it is all in your head metaphorically speaking. But if something is an illness then it is literally of the body.

Psychology and the Nazi Use of Literalized MetaphorsIt is a rather precise inversion of the freedom of Conscience the Founders wanted. Instead, sentience is presumed to be matter in motion and medicalized as such. Many totalitarian regimes rely on this notion and begin trying to condition the brain through the perceptual, brain washing, instead of appealing to the mind based on the conceptual.

I'll read your other post, later.

mynym said...

"But if something is an illness then it is literally of the body."

In other words, you should say what you mean, which is a brain illness, a literal pathological illness of the brain.

james said...

"In other words, you should say what you mean, which is a brain illness, a literal pathological illness of the brain."

Isn't this an issue of symantics? Although you do have a point. I shall use "brain illness" from now on. :)