WILLIAM EDELEN: The Fourth of July and Freedom



The Contrary Minister

When John Kennedy was President, he gave a banquet in the White House that was without precedent. The banquet was for every living American Nobel Prize winner, with about 150 present. At the beginning of the evening, President Kennedy stood and announced he would give a toast. He said:

“Never has so much talent, and so much genius, been assembled in one room, since Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

The author of the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate today was a brilliant philosopher, scholar, theologian, architect, linguist, statesman, musician, horticulturist, agronomist, humanist, scientist, deist, and master of the civilized arts.

There is no question in my mind that the 4th of July is the most important holiday that we celebrate in this nation.

All of the other holidays, Easter and Christmas included, pale by comparison.

On the 4th of July, 1826, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of her independence. John Adams, the 2nd President, died on that day at the age of 90. His last words were ‘Thomas Jefferson still survives.’ But on that same day, Jefferson too, died.

There was something mystical about the relationship between Adams and Jefferson. It was these two giants who, with James Madison, set the direction and the philosophy of this great nation. We are celebrating the Declaration of Independence. With only a very few word changes that magnificent document was written by one man, Thomas Jefferson.

I have one bust in my study. It is of Jefferson. On the base are these words: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” He uses the word “God” as a Deist, not as a Christian. A VAST DIFFERENCE. He made this scathing statement aimed at the tyranny of the Christian church. In a letter dated August 22, 1800, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote this to him: “Republicanism should ally itself to the Christian religion in order to overturn all of the corrupted religions of the world.” Jefferson was appalled. He responded with his now famous “every form of tyranny over the mind of man,” including the tyranny of the Christian church.

There was, and is, no doubt as to Jefferson’s opinion of Christianity.

JESUS: “The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by a Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

GOD: “Question with boldness the existence of God… because if there be one, it will much more approve of reason than of blindfolded fear.” (Written to his nephew)

TRINITY: “It is too late in the day for men of intelligence to pretend they believe that three are one… and one is three… and yet that the one is not three… and the three are not one… let us sweep away the fictitious religion of the priests so that they will catch no more flies.” (Jefferson-Adams Letters)

CHRISTIANITY: “I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstitions of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. 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. Christian creeds and doctrines, the clergy’s own fatal inventions, through all of the ages has made of Christendom a slaughter house.” (Notes on Religion, passed in the Assembly of Virginia in the year 1786)

American history scholars, writing for the “Encyclopedia Britannica” have stated that Deism was the religion of our first six Presidents, not Christianity. “One of the embarrassing problems for the nineteenth century champions of the Christian faith was the fact that not one of the first six presidents of the United States was a Christian. They were Deists.” (Chicago, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, vol.2; p. 420, Mortimer J. Adler, editor in chief, ‘The Annals of America: Great Issues’)

In Deism, there is no personal God, only “providence” or “nature’s god,” Jesus was only a teacher and nothing more. The bible is only literature and very bad literature at that, filled with thousands of errors, contradictions, falsehoods and superstitions.

Jefferson made his own bible. It is in the Smithsonian. He literally took scissors and cut out only a few of the parables of Jesus that he thought had ethical value and he pasted them in his book. He threw out all of the Old Testament, calling it “rubbish”…”degrading”…”disgusting.” He eliminated all of the writings of Paul and the rest of the New Testament since he found the authors to be “very ignorant men.” After removing a few parables, he said, “I have removed a few diamonds from the dunghill.”

The Smithsonian magazine had an excellent article on this subject a few years ago describing how Jefferson made his own bible from the “dunghill.”

Jefferson and our first six presidents would find all of this blabbering God talk today coming from our phony politicians repugnant. They cannot end a statement without saying, “God bless you”…or “God bless America.” None of this God stuff comes from our founding presidents. It was only in 1954 that “under God” was put in the Pledge of Allegiance. And only in 1954 that “in God we trust” was put on paper currency.

Do not miss this point. There was no “God talk” put into our Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights or our Constitution by the brilliant, Deist authors of those documents.

When I lived in Sonoma County, I did many radio shows out of KGO in San Francisco on this subject. I was always staggered by the mass of telephone calls that came in from the public indicating total ignorance of this subject.

On this Fourth of July, I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving and gratitude that men of the stature and integrity of Jefferson, Adams and Madison never stooped to the low level of inviting a token bible-thumping clown to lead a “prayer breakfast” to placate bible belt America. Only one recent president had the guts to say what he actually thought about the brown-noser of the White House, Billy Graham. Harry Truman said as long as he was president, Billy Graham would not get within five miles of the White House. I cleaned up what Truman actually said. He was noted for bluntness.

On this Fourth of July weekend, just for a few minutes, please do forget cold beer and cook outs, and fireworks for a few minutes. For just a moment, please do celebrate the Declaration of Independence and the brilliant author who gave us that magnificent document. He would ask us to join him in this declaration carved in stone on his breathtaking memorial in Washington D.C.



One Comment

Thanks for this terrific article. Any person of reason who has read the Declaration and also the Constitution cannot help but be awed by the brilliance and foresight of our Founding Fathers. Yes, of course they were human and had flaws; but such brilliance is rarely seen in our world, and I celebrate it (Not forgetting that the Constitution was based on the Iroquois Confederacy).