The Framers and The Faithful.
March 19, 2006 5:18 PM   Subscribe

How modern evangelicals are ignoring their own history. "Even though Jefferson was labeled anti-religion by some, he had become a hero to evangelicals—not in spite of his views on separation of church and state, but because of them." (via A&L Daily)
posted by darkstar (18 comments total)
Yeah, one of the major beefs that the puritans had with the British government was the lack of a separation of church and state.

In their view, having the government and the church work together lead to a corruption of the church.

The separation of church and state is just as important for the church as it is for the state.
posted by delmoi at 5:24 PM on March 19, 2006

posted by quonsar at 5:41 PM on March 19, 2006

it's a very recent thing, injecting themselves into politics and trying to remake the country--i'd say since Anita Bryant--and it sucks.
posted by amberglow at 5:51 PM on March 19, 2006

Then I suppose they wouldn't mind removing themselves from their tax free status so they wouldn't be seen as being in the government's pocket, right?
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 5:54 PM on March 19, 2006

as if, shnoz--Bush is shoveling tons of our money their way now with that faith-based stuff.
posted by amberglow at 5:57 PM on March 19, 2006

I need to start a faith based charity that gives money to me to promote my social rehabilitation.

actually i wonder if anyone has tried to do just that, shame the administration by setting up a bogus charity and then requesting faith based support for it. I can't imagine its difficult with all of the double talk from the president about making the money accessible.
posted by sourbrew at 6:28 PM on March 19, 2006

Thanks for the post, darkstar. I enjoyed reading this, and I'll look forward to the book.

It really comes down to power, I think. 18th century Evangelicals could ally themselves with skeptics like Jefferson and Franklin out of a shared sense that government is, literally, a necessary evil, not something to be conflated with personal faith. If you decide to mix your religion with your politics, expect people to not take your religion all that seriously.

WWJD? He wouldn't be a politician, that's for damn sure. And what shnoz-gobblin said.
posted by bardic at 6:29 PM on March 19, 2006

oh my god... vomit

look at this, almost every department in the government is required to have their own center for faith based initiatives. You can see the links to the external ones on the right... feeling soo soo sick.

according to this article you must first determine what type of program you have. Then you have to find the type of grant, which can supposedly be done at Not only does the site seem to imply that charity is not their first concern, but apparently its only for grants of 25,000 and over. Which seems to put lots of churches out of the running.

mmmm, faith based corporate pan handling... i <3 megachurches.
posted by sourbrew at 6:35 PM on March 19, 2006

Delmoi: In their view, having the government and the church work together lead to a corruption of the church.

I think I've heard this argument before, probably in a history class. But actually, all of the American colonies (except Rhode Island, I think) had established churches at least until the Revolutionary War. After we kicked out the Brits, the states where the Anglican Church had been established disestablished it (understandably), but the Puritan Congregationalist states (CT, MA, maybe NH) kept their churches established much longer (till 1818 in CT, and till 1833 in MA). For more info, see (e.g.) this paper (Journal of Political Economy via JSTOR via Google Scholar).

The larger point, I think, is that the Puritans were against established religion in England mostly because it was someone else's religion. This appears to be a common attitude.
posted by grobstein at 6:44 PM on March 19, 2006

And I hear they don't burn witches any more either. Kids today just have no respect for tradition.
posted by boaz at 7:46 PM on March 19, 2006

Some former British colonies still do.
posted by hank at 7:49 PM on March 19, 2006

Leaven: what (or whomever) the government pays for, it sooner or later tries to control. Who might be in power twenty years from now? As the article mentions, Jesus had it right.
posted by cenoxo at 8:12 PM on March 19, 2006

The funniest/saddest thing I ever saw on this was a web page with quote from the founding fathers, largely Jefferson, but Ben Franklin, Washington, et al . . . that supposely proved they supported religion in the State. The quotes went something like this:

"blah blah blah . . . . blah blah GOD!"

The quote appeared to support the church. However, if you looked up the actual quote, the part left out by the elipses was quite damning of the church. (sadly, I don't remember the address anymore.)
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:44 PM on March 19, 2006

"blah blah blah . . . . blah blah GOD!"

if only that had been their actual quote, verbatim.
posted by radiosig at 10:50 PM on March 19, 2006

Faith Based Prisons
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 11:32 PM on March 19, 2006

An interesting parallel is what's happened in Shi'ite Islam since Khomeini. Shi'ites traditionally insisted on keeping their distance from a necessarily corrupt state, taking their guidance from imams and religious leaders; Khomeini overturned all that with his theory of the "guardianship of the jurisconsult" and placed religious leaders in charge of the state. As a result, they have become deeply corrupt and many Shi'ites feel, as delmoi said above, that "having the government and the church work together leads to a corruption of the church."
posted by languagehat at 5:54 AM on March 20, 2006

Good point, languagehat. Khomeini changed Shia Islam dramatically, and there are a lot of Shia who aren't too happy about that.
posted by QIbHom at 9:32 AM on March 21, 2006

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