Guys, I got drawn into a Facebook discussion you might enjoy. Here’s the kicker written by the guy who started the thread:
Nothing, in fact, could have been more of a contradiction of the entire N.T. [New Testament] than the Declaration of Independence. “Life”? Life on earth is not what Jesus thought should be our concern. Do not store up your treasures here on earth, where moth and rust can get at them, but in the imperishable Kingdom of Heaven. Likewise, do not worry about what you wear or what you eat, but be glad, recognize that you are “blessed” if you must surrender your life for others, or because of your faith. “Liberty”? Obey the government, crime is sin, as the State is God’s “appointed agent” on earth. “Honor the emperor,” even in the age of Caligula. “Render unto Caesar” and “pay your taxes,” willingly. Slaves obey your earthly masters, even if they are cruel and even when they are not looking. “The pursuit of happiness”? That’s selfish, of course, and earthly, and… “Property”? The love of money is the root of all manner of evils, and it is as hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. After all, man cannot serve two masters, both God and money, and the “rich young man’s” salvation hinged on giving away all his money to the poor — and, well, “Blessed are the poor.” …
If you want to get some, here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/james.valliant/posts/10153249943151474?comment_id=10153251470861474&offset=0&total_comments=14¬if_t=feed_comment_reply
There are more comments along that line. Here is my last comment:
Gentlemen, the “state” is the creation of men and as such can “sanction” any idea its creators choose. To state what “right” a state has implies a state which exists apart and separate from its people. That may well be something we have evolved to but I certainly do not see that intent at our founding.
The most common form of education at the time of the Revolution was religious education. Such as it was, public education included the Bible and biblical subjects in lessons. To think that this group of men envisioned a totally secular government absent of religious influence seems ludicrous given their education and the philosophers they leaned on for inspiration.
“…specific instances of contradictory ideation…” would seem to demand that we do address the contradictions in debate of intent as we cannot ask these men directly. I do not agree that because there is “contradictory ideation” it augurs for one direction over the other.
It seems that there is the idea that there must be a binary result – American government must be either atheistic or a theocracy. I simply do not find that a possibility.