WILLIAM EDELEN: President’s Day


The Contrary Minister

I cannot tell you how much I look forward to this annual event. Once a year it gives me an opportunity to relieve the ignorance and illiteracy of the general public on our first six founding presidents… who were not even remotely Christian, but humanists and deists.

When I used to do this show out of KGO in San Francisco… the switchboard would light up like a Christmas tree, with callers saying, “I have never heard that in school: Why are teachers to afraid to teach those facts… that are in their actual quotes?” Our omission and censorship of these historical facts to school children, and with the media to adults, is insulting and an embarrassment to any historically educated adult who knows the truth.

I have one bust in my study. It is of Jefferson. On the base are these words of his: “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 Jefferson that “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.

Jefferson and John Adams, with James Madison, had almost a total contempt for Christian doctrine, dogma and superstitions.

John Adams wrote that “the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus has made a convenient cover for absurdity” and Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. This Treaty, written by George Washington, has Article Eleven which begins… “As the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” This Treaty was ratified by the senate in 1797 without a SINGLE OBJECTION and signed by then President John Adams. Article six of the U.S. Constitution made this treaty doubly binding by saying… “All treaties made under the authority of the United States shall be bound thereby, anything in the laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” It should be treasured today as the supreme document for the American doctrine of the absolute separation of church and state.

During this day of freedom, let us never forget that Jefferson, Adams and Madison, the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, all believed that Christian doctrine and dogma was one of the most dangerous tyrannies opposing freedom. Jefferson put it in these words:

“I have examined all of the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our superstition 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 and to support roguery and error all over the earth.” So wrote Thomas Jefferson.

What if Jefferson could see this country today? There is so much blabbering “God talk” coming from the phony politicians today that it makes you want to throw up. They can’t make a statement without ending it with “God bless you”… or “God bless America.” Our first six presidents were Deists and Humanists and they would find this blabbering God talk repugnant.

A few facts: The Presidential oath of office, the only oath detailed in the Constitution, does NOT contain the phrase “so help me God”, or any requirement to swear on a bible. All of that phony ritual is done by participants to appease the bible thumpers. They can be sworn in without it.

Next fact: The words “under God” was not in the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954. And “In God we Trust” was not on paper currency before 1956, when Congress, under Eisenhower inserted them. Since every biographer has said that Eisenhower never attended church services in his life until he became President the hypocrisy of it all is staggering. Dwight Eisenhower’s brothers have all made the same observation. Please do not miss the point: None of this presumption “God Talk” came from the Presidents who founded this nation and wrote our Constitution and Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Independence and freedom that we celebrate this weekend.

Roland Hegstad, a former editor of the Seventh Day Adventist magazine, wrote; “how ironic, to lose our freedom at last, not to leftists tossing bombs, but to so called Christians espousing slogans and cliches.”

Several years ago the academic dean of Stanford University wrote these words: “The Christian right is potentially much more dangerous to our nation than any Communist threat ever has been. This group presents the gravest crisis to our nation because of their wedding of religious slogans with their politics. They are infringing upon a precious right that each of us inherited from those very learned men of the 18th century who expressly separated church and state in these United States of America.”

I am always 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 American president had the guts to say what he actually thought about the brown-noser of the White House, Billy Graham. What Truman said cannot be printed in a family newspaper, but paraphrased, was that Billy Graham would not get within five miles of the White House while Truman was there.

On this weekend of freedom, compare these historical facts with the recent disgusting and historically ignorant invocation of Franklin Graham (Billy’s son) at the inauguration of George W. Bush. He “dedicated” the inauguration to “Jesus Christ” in a country with millions of United States citizens who are Jewish, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, Humanists, Unitarians, Free Thinkers and others. But, of course, you remember when Bush senior was president, he said that “I do not consider atheists to be citizens of this country.” We should not be surprised that we are being smothered and buried in a fog of religious and historical illiteracy combined with brazen arrogance.

When I lectured on this subject at the Garvin Theatre in Santa Barbara, the standing ovation said to me… “there is hope… there is light at the end of the tunnel… there is a silent majority out there who is awake and is aware of a Christian tyranny that has been invading this country of ours.” Similar responses at other schools and universities have given me the same feeling of hope… from the University of Colorado to Boise State University.

May I suggest that we celebrate the brilliance of Jefferson, Adams and Madison and continue in the hope that we may someday see men and women of their caliber in American politics. Remember the words of the man who wrote this Declaration of freedom… “I have sworn… eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

When this weekend is over… may we have the courage to dedicate our lives to that vision.