America’s True History of Religious Tolerance

  
Via:  larry-hampton  •  4 months ago  •  24 comments

America’s True History of Religious Tolerance
The idea that the United States has always been a bastion of religious freedom is reassuring—and utterly at odds with the historical record

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



In the storybook version most of us learned in school, the Pilgrims came to America aboard the Mayflower in search of religious freedom in 1620. The Puritans soon followed, for the same reason. Ever since these religious dissidents arrived at their shining “city upon a hill,” as their governor John Winthrop called it, millions from around the world have done the same, coming to an America where they found a welcome melting pot in which everyone was free to practice his or her own faith.

The problem is that this tidy narrative is an American myth. The real story of religion in America’s past is an often awkward, frequently embarrassing and occasionally bloody tale that most civics books and high-school texts either paper over or shunt to the side. And much of the recent conversation about America’s ideal of religious freedom has paid lip service to this comforting tableau.


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Larry Hampton
1  seeder  Larry Hampton    4 months ago

Late in his life, James Madison wrote a letter summarizing his views: “And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

 
 
 
Gordy327
1.1  Gordy327  replied to  Larry Hampton @1    4 months ago

Mr. Madison's statement is a clear indicator that government and religion should always be separate.

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
1.1.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Gordy327 @1.1    4 months ago

That can only happen if only atheists are elected. They all bring their religion into office because it is part of who they are. A classic example is when Truman thanked God for the atomic bomb. 

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
1.1.2  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1.1    4 months ago

Do you consider atheist ontology completely correct, or without bias?

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
1.1.3  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Larry Hampton @1.1.2    4 months ago

I see no evidence it is not correct. If evidence can be presented I suspect the vast majority of them will be openminded to examine the evidence.  

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
1.1.4  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1.3    4 months ago

I'm not debating your point (believe it or not lol), just trying to get a better sense of where you're coming from. I assume you acknowledge that there is still room for bias though?

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
1.1.5  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Larry Hampton @1.1.4    4 months ago

Yes.

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
1.1.6  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1.5    4 months ago

The question I would pose then is, in what way would an atheist mind set differ from a religious one in regards to bias?

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
1.1.7  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Larry Hampton @1.1.6    4 months ago

I didn't say it would but they would not bring religion into government. 

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
1.1.8  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1.7    4 months ago

So other bias is not as dangerous as religious bias?

 
 
 
DRHunk
1.1.9  DRHunk  replied to  Larry Hampton @1.1.8    4 months ago

we can see religious bias in the world today and point to specific instances where religious bias has armed or is harming the nation.  Can we do the same for an atheist bias, are there any that can be identified?

it is easier to detect one and not the other as one uses the bible as its authority.  Atheists can only use law, logic, and societal cues.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
1.1.10  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1.1    4 months ago
That can only happen if only atheists are elected. They all bring their religion into office because it is part of who they are.

As an agnostic atheist, I believe religious persons can and do (not many, but some do) function properly without religious bias in elected positions.

I believe a person can use their moral compass, that they may have learned through their religion, to make good civil decisions. A person who sees their constituents or citizens going through hardship and has compassion for them and makes a good civil decision like funding a program to replace lead pipes from a populations water supply, is simply expressing their faith through helpful civil decisions.

It's only when some step over the line and start trying to "fix" civil society by injecting their brand of faith into it that they need to be shut down and kicked out of office.

When they start proposing restrictions and bans based on their interpretation of some religious document and not the constitution that they have crossed the line and should be removed.

I don't mind a persons faith informing their decisions, helping them be more compassionate and understanding, following the golden rule. It's only when they try and force that faith on others as the answer or solution to the problems in society that they need to be stripped of any power or responsibility.

 
 
 
Gordy327
1.1.11  Gordy327  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.1.1    4 months ago

The Founding Fathers were generally quite good at keeping theit religious beliefs separate from their political functioning. It is possible. 

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
1.1.12  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  DRHunk @1.1.9    4 months ago

I believe that you are probably correct. That being said, I’ve also noted scientist and philosophers ready to beat the hell outta each other in their own passion.

I would surmise that if given the chance even the most secular and educated also fall to human frailty. Perhaps we have more examples of religion doing so, perhaps as well we haven’t seen a secular atheist culture have the opportunity to do so. 

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     4 months ago

What is never taught in schools is that American Indian religion were outlawed by the US government. 

The history of Christians and Indians is full of suppression, killings of native people because of our believe. 

This is a speech by Red Jacket to the Christian missionaries in 1805...The message is clear.

Red Jacket Defends Native American Religion, 1805

by Red Jacket

The Senecas, members of the Iroquois Confederacy, fought on the side of the British in the American Revolution. Red Jacket, also known as Sagoyewatha, was a chief and orator born in eastern New York; he derived his English name from his habit of wearing many red coats provided to him by his British allies. After the hostilities, as the British ceded their territories to the Americans, the Senecas and many other Indian peoples faced enormous pressure on their homelands. Red Jacket was a critical mediator in relations between the new U.S. government and the Senecas; he led a delegation that met with George Washington in 1792, when he received a peace medal that appeared in subsequent portraits of the Indian leader. In 1805 a Boston missionary society requested Red Jacket’s permission to proselytize among the Iroquois settlements in northern New York State. Red Jacket’s forceful defense of native religion, below, caused the representative to refuse the Indian’s handshake and announce that no fellowship could exist between the religion of God and the works of the Devil.

Red Jacket Defends Native American Religion, 1805

by Red Jacket

The Senecas, members of the Iroquois Confederacy, fought on the side of the British in the American Revolution. Red Jacket, also known as Sagoyewatha, was a chief and orator born in eastern New York; he derived his English name from his habit of wearing many red coats provided to him by his British allies. After the hostilities, as the British ceded their territories to the Americans, the Senecas and many other Indian peoples faced enormous pressure on their homelands. Red Jacket was a critical mediator in relations between the new U.S. government and the Senecas; he led a delegation that met with George Washington in 1792, when he received a peace medal that appeared in subsequent portraits of the Indian leader. In 1805 a Boston missionary society requested Red Jacket’s permission to proselytize among the Iroquois settlements in northern New York State. Red Jacket’s forceful defense of native religion, below, caused the representative to refuse the Indian’s handshake and announce that no fellowship could exist between the religion of God and the works of the Devil.


Friend and brother; it was the will of the Great Spirit that we should meet together this day. He orders all things, and he has given us a fine day for our council. He has taken his garment from before the sun, and caused it to shine with brightness upon us; our eyes are opened, that we see clearly; our ears are unstopped, that we have been able to hear distinctly the words that you have spoken; for all these favors we thank the Great Spirit, and him only.

Brother, this council fire was kindled by you; it was at your request that we came together at this time; we have listened with attention to what you have said. You requested us to speak our minds freely; this gives us great joy, for we now consider that we stand upright before you, and can speak what we think; all have heard your voice, and all speak to you as one man; our minds are agreed.

Brother, you say you want an answer to your talk before you leave this place. It is right you should have one, as you are a great distance from home, and we do not wish to detain you; but we will first look back a little, and tell you what our fathers have told us, and what we have heard from the white people.

Brother, listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. Their seats extended from the rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He made the bear and the beaver, and their skins served us for clothing. He had scattered them over the country, and taught us how to take them. He had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. All this he had done for his red children because he loved them. If we had any disputes about hunting grounds, they were generally settled without the shedding of much blood. But an evil day came upon us; your forefathers crossed the great waters, and landed on this island. Their numbers were small; they found friends, and not enemies; they told us they had fled from their own country for fear of wicked men, and come here to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat; we took pity on them, granted their request, and they sat down amongst us; we gave them corn and meat; they gave us poison in return. The white people had now found our country; tidings were carried back, and more came amongst us; yet we did not fear them, we took them to be friends; they called us brothers; we believed them, and gave them a larger seat. At length, their numbers had greatly increased; they wanted more land; they wanted our country. Our eyes were opened, and our minds became uneasy. Wars took place; Indians were hired to fight against Indians, and many of our people were destroyed. They also brought strong liquor among us; it was strong and powerful, and has slain thousands.

Brother, our seats were once large, and yours were very small; you have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets; you have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.

Brother, continue to listen. You say you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to his mind, and if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right, and we are lost; how do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book; if it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given it to us, and not only to us, but why did he not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding it rightly? We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit; if there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?

Brother, we do not understand these things. We are told that your religion was given to your forefathers, and has been handed down from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children. We worship that way. It teacheth us to be thankful for all the favors we receive; to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion.

Brother, the Great Spirit has made us all; but he has made a great difference between his white and red children; he has given us a different complexion, and different customs; to you he has given the arts; to these he has not opened our eyes; we know these things to be true. Since he has made so great a difference between us in other things, why may we not conclude that he has given us a different religion according to our understanding. The Great Spirit does right; he knows what is best for his children; we are satisfied.

Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion, or take it from you; we only want to enjoy our own.

Brother, you say you have not come to get our land or our money, but to enlighten our minds. I will now tell you that I have been at your meetings, and saw you collecting money from the meeting. I cannot tell what this money was intended for, but suppose it was for your minister; and if we should conform to your way of thinking, perhaps you may want some from us.

Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors; we are acquainted with them; we will wait, a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again what you have said.

Brother, you have now heard our answer to your talk, and this is all we have to say at present. As we are going to part, we will come and take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on your journey, and return you safe to your friends.

Source: Daniel Drake, Lives of Celebrated American Indians, Boston, Bradbury, Soden & Co. 1843), 283–87.


Friend and brother; it was the will of the Great Spirit that we should meet together this day. He orders all things, and he has given us a fine day for our council. He has taken his garment from before the sun, and caused it to shine with brightness upon us; our eyes are opened, that we see clearly; our ears are unstopped, that we have been able to hear distinctly the words that you have spoken; for all these favors we thank the Great Spirit, and him only.

Brother, this council fire was kindled by you; it was at your request that we came together at this time; we have listened with attention to what you have said. You requested us to speak our minds freely; this gives us great joy, for we now consider that we stand upright before you, and can speak what we think; all have heard your voice, and all speak to you as one man; our minds are agreed.

Brother, you say you want an answer to your talk before you leave this place. It is right you should have one, as you are a great distance from home, and we do not wish to detain you; but we will first look back a little, and tell you what our fathers have told us, and what we have heard from the white people.

Brother, listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. Their seats extended from the rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He made the bear and the beaver, and their skins served us for clothing. He had scattered them over the country, and taught us how to take them. He had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. All this he had done for his red children because he loved them. If we had any disputes about hunting grounds, they were generally settled without the shedding of much blood. But an evil day came upon us; your forefathers crossed the great waters, and landed on this island. Their numbers were small; they found friends, and not enemies; they told us they had fled from their own country for fear of wicked men, and come here to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat; we took pity on them, granted their request, and they sat down amongst us; we gave them corn and meat; they gave us poison in return. The white people had now found our country; tidings were carried back, and more came amongst us; yet we did not fear them, we took them to be friends; they called us brothers; we believed them, and gave them a larger seat. At length, their numbers had greatly increased; they wanted more land; they wanted our country. Our eyes were opened, and our minds became uneasy. Wars took place; Indians were hired to fight against Indians, and many of our people were destroyed. They also brought strong liquor among us; it was strong and powerful, and has slain thousands.

Brother, our seats were once large, and yours were very small; you have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets; you have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.

Brother, continue to listen. You say you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to his mind, and if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right, and we are lost; how do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book; if it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given it to us, and not only to us, but why did he not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding it rightly? We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit; if there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?

Brother, we do not understand these things. We are told that your religion was given to your forefathers, and has been handed down from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children. We worship that way. It teacheth us to be thankful for all the favors we receive; to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion.

Brother, the Great Spirit has made us all; but he has made a great difference between his white and red children; he has given us a different complexion, and different customs; to you he has given the arts; to these he has not opened our eyes; we know these things to be true. Since he has made so great a difference between us in other things, why may we not conclude that he has given us a different religion according to our understanding. The Great Spirit does right; he knows what is best for his children; we are satisfied.

Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion, or take it from you; we only want to enjoy our own.

Brother, you say you have not come to get our land or our money, but to enlighten our minds. I will now tell you that I have been at your meetings, and saw you collecting money from the meeting. I cannot tell what this money was intended for, but suppose it was for your minister; and if we should conform to your way of thinking, perhaps you may want some from us.

Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors; we are acquainted with them; we will wait, a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again what you have said.

Brother, you have now heard our answer to your talk, and this is all we have to say at present. As we are going to part, we will come and take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on your journey, and return you safe to your friends.

Source: Daniel Drake, Lives of Celebrated American Indians, Boston, Bradbury, Soden & Co. 1843), 283–87.

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
2.1  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Kavika @2    4 months ago

THAT is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. I can’t thank you enough Kavika. 
This is the legacy of the USA before it’s very founding.  
What a graceful speech,,,I’m gonna chew on that a good while.   

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Kavika @2    4 months ago

HI Kavika,

This speech IS in NY's textbooks. It always hurts me to read these words. Red Jacket truly understood the situation that Indians faced when he delivered these powerful words, little good that they did.

 
 
 
Split Personality
3  Split Personality    4 months ago
MIssouri Executive Order 44, also known as the "Extermination Order," was issued on Oct. 27, 1838, by Gov. Lilburn Boggs. Believe it or not, it states in part:

"The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace — their outrages are beyond all description."

The order was part of the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri.

The Mormons were driven out of Missouri to Illinois, and after Smith's murder, from Illinois to Utah where they fought the US government from April 1857 to June 1858.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Split Personality @3    4 months ago

It was truly messed up what people did to the Mormons. They justified it by saying that they were not Christian and in fact, a danger to all Christians. They never intended on living in Utah, but it was the only place that was far enough away, that they could get some peace. 

 
 
 
Kavika
3.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3.1    4 months ago

The Mormons are far from innocent. The Meadows Massacre where the Mormons massacred 120 innocent men women and children and tried to make it look like American Indians did it.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94509868

The Mormon treatment of American Indians was horrible. A little research into the history with us would shed some light on the ''innocent Mormons''.

Christian or not they were no better than the other Christian religions and their treatment of American Indians under the cover of ''religion''....

 
 
 
Split Personality
3.2  Split Personality  replied to  Split Personality @3    4 months ago
Those who casually admit their atheism in discussions over public policy (e.g., scientists who deny the existence of God) ought to heed these findings and be cautious in revealing their true beliefs (or lack thereof). Some seem to wear the badge of atheism proudly, but they should be advised that nearly a majority of Americans would, if they had their way, deny freedom of speech to those who are against all religions and churches. For many Americans, atheism is an illegitimate political position and must therefore be prohibited from entering the marketplace of ideas. https://psmag.com/news/religion-and-intolerance-in-contemporary-american-politics-3916
 
 
 
Larry Hampton
4  seeder  Larry Hampton    4 months ago

From the article...

From Puritan Boston’s earliest days, Catholics (“Papists”) were anathema and were banned from the colonies,

ctyp-father-vandenbroeke-church-website.

...then just recently, this scarecrow said ...

“I believe it is essential to consider the religion and worldview of the immigrants or refugees. More specifically, we should not be allowing large numbers of Muslims asylum or immigration into our country.”

...will we ever learn?

 
 
 
Larry Hampton
5.1  seeder  Larry Hampton  replied to  Split Personality @5    4 months ago

There ya go; protect your children from the apocalypse by killing everything they love.
fuckin’ sick wackos.  

 
 
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