Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Eye Opener

Have you ever had one of those 'ah-ha' moments when everything makes sense and the rose-coloured glasses fall off? I had one of those moments today when reading Andrew Sullivan's The Conservative Soul: How We Lost it, How to Get it Back. Here's the passage:

"The founder of the country, George Washington, was particularly concerned about the impact on civil life of religious and doctrinal disputes. He wrote in a letter: 'Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would have reconciled the Christians so that their religious fights would not endanger the peace of Society.' Tell that to the architects of Republican hegemony, Karl Rove and Tom Delay."
In this chapter, Sullivan also discusses the deistic foundations of America, and the Founding Father's emphasis on the separation of church and state:

"In 1797 the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the Treaty of Tripoli, an attempt to deal with Muslim privacy and terrorism in the Mediterranean. One of its clauses reads: 'As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shalt ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.' It is hard to think of a leading contemporary Republican insisting that American government 'is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.' In the early republic not a single senator dissented."
Wow. I'm speechless. Of course, no one has ever before shared this information with me. Incredible the false consciousness (a la Adorno) I have been under until recently.

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