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So the British planted the Seed. This Alien Legacy

More than 80 countries around the world still criminalize consensual homosexual conduct between adult men, and often between adult women.[14]

These laws invade privacy and create inequality. They relegate people to inferior status because of how they look or who they love. They degrade people's dignity by declaring their most intimate feelings "unnatural" or illegal. They can be used to discredit enemies and destroy careers and lives. They promote violence and give it impunity. They hand police and others the power to arrest, blackmail, and abuse. They drive people underground to live in invisibility and fear.[15]

More than half those countries have these laws because they once were British colonies.
This report describes the strange afterlife of a colonial legacy. It will tell how one British law-the version of Section 377 the colonizers introduced into the Indian Penal Code in 1860-spread across immense tracts of the British Empire.

Colonial legislators and jurists introduced such laws, with no debates or "cultural consultations," to support colonial control. They believed laws could inculcate European morality into resistant masses. They brought in the legislation, in fact, because they thought "native" cultures did not punish"perverse" sex enough. The colonized needed compulsory re-education in sexual mores. Imperial rulers held that, as long as they sweltered through the promiscuous proximities of settler societies, "native" viciousness and "white" virtue had to be segregated: the latter praised and protected, the former policed and kept subjected.MORE

And now? Here come the US Evangelicals, in search of power to add fertilizer and water to the poisonous plants that in this garden grow.

The Anti-Gay Highway: New Report Details Mutually Beneficial Relationship Between US Evangelicals and African Antigay Clergy

A new report released today details the role that US-based renewal church movements have played in mobilizing homophobic sentiment in at least three African countries. “Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches & Homophobia,” written by Rev. Kapya Kaoma for the progressive think tank Political Research Associates, was the result of a yearlong investigation into the relationship between conservative clergy on two continents, which has hastened divisions within denominations and has “restrict[ed] the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.” Renewal groups and their neoconservative ally, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, have long sought to conservatize or split mainline American churches—frequently over gender or sexuality issues—and liberal scholars have traced many of the mainline schisms that have dominated headlines over the past several years to groundwork laid by the IRD and others.*

Increasingly, though, renewal movements have begun looking abroad for allies. Focusing on three mainline denominations under assault by these renewal movements (the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church USA) in three African countries (Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya), Kaoma has documented a clear trend of the US Christian right exporting its battles over social and sexuality issues to Africa. There, churches have been pressured to sever ties with mainline funders in exchange for conservative support, and have become recipients of a more fiercely anti-gay message than the US Christian right delivers at home.
This report describes growing anti-gay movements in African churches as a “proxy war” for US culture battles. Can you explain?

Since the ’90s, we’ve seen this shift from the American conservatives who are going to Africa, and they started spreading this anti-gay rhetoric across sub-Saharan Africa. We started getting a lot of statements from US evangelicals that homosexuality is wrong and that there is this Western agenda among gays to take over world. So it is coming from the West. Why is it a proxy war? In America, these politics have been going on for a long time—since the ’80s they have been used as a political tool to gain support in American churches.

But we saw a shift in the [tactics] to allow that war to be fought outside American soil: They’ve allowed Africans to get involved and fight on behalf of conservatives. You see [US evangelicals] going to Africa and making statements and having political access to leadership there, asking them to criminalize same-sex orientation. And now, when they do that, the Africans are benefiting the religious conservatives, because they’re helping them fight in America. But American conservatives are also benefiting African leaders in terms of giving them not just an ideological framework—the anti-LGBT arguments that have been used in America—but also providing them with legitimacy.

The second aspect is very interesting in a sense, because in addition to the ideological framework, they’re getting the religious leaders in Africa involved by telling them to misrepresent the progressive or mainline churches as evil—part and parcel of a gay agenda to take over the world—so you cannot deal with them. They say they’re going to partner with [African leaders and churches], if they can disassociate from mainline churches [in the United States], which are part of the gay agenda. So [the African churches] cut the relationship, and then the American conservatives take over financially.

That’s how the war is being fought. Thus, when the Africans come [to the United States] they have nothing to do with mainline churches; instead they side with American conservatives against mainline churches. And the mainline church in Africa is bigger and stronger than in America. So the conservatives are relying on the numbers of African leaders; they start fighting mainline church leadership using Africans to win the American battle, and come across as though they care about Africa.MORE

The FULL REPORT:Globalizing the Culture Wars PDF

Rick Warren and Homophobia in Africa
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After spending opiles of monye to defeats gay marriage in Maine and California
Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum :Same-sex marriage bill, as written, called a threat to social service contracts

By Tim Craig and Michelle Boorstein
Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
Gee, can't have that now, can we?
Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

more here @ the source...
remind me again about how atheists can't be moral without serving god  and all those other wonderful arguments?

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters reminds us:

"Lets say an individual caterer is a staunch Christian and someone wants him to do a cake with two grooms on top," said council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 6), the sponsor of the amendment. "Why can't they say, based on their religious beliefs, 'I can't do something like that'?"

Almost a good question but the devil is in the details. I prefer to point to the words of hopefully soon-to-be EEOC head Chai Feldblum:

Once an individual chooses to enter the stream of economic commerce by opening a commercial establishment, I believe it is legitimate to require that they play by certain rules. If the government tolerated the private exclusionary policies of such individuals in the commercial sector, such toleration would necessarily come at the cost of gay people’s sense of belonging and safety in society. Just as we do not tolerate private racial beliefs that adversely affect African-Americans in the commercial arena, even if such beliefs are based on religious views, we should similarly not tolerate private beliefs about sexual orientation and gender identity that adversely affect LGBT people.

There may be some who disagree with this and I understand that. However the matter at hand is this: that the Catholic church would make such a petty move as to threaten to eliminate services for thousands of people in an attempt to erode not just gay marriage but gay anti-discrimination rights is just petty.


May. 20th, 2009 01:03 pm
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Thousands beaten, raped in Irish reform schools

DUBLIN – A fiercely debated, long-delayed investigation into Ireland's Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades — and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.

Nine years in the making, Wednesday's 2,600-page report sides almost completely with the horrific reports of abuse from former students sent to more than 250 church-run, mostly residential institutions.

It concluded that church officials always shielded their orders' pedophiles from arrest to protect their own reputations and, according to documents uncovered in the Vatican, knew that many pedophiles were serial attackers.

The commission said overwhelming, consistent testimony from still-traumatized men and women, now in their 50s to 80s, had demonstrated beyond a doubt that the entire system treated children more like prison inmates and slaves than people with legal rights and human potential.MORE
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If god is the foundation for knowledge, then such knowledge has alwasy had very non-objective consequences, objectivity has always been directed against the culturally designated inferior.

-Frantz Fanon
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Will someone PLEASe make Ted Haggard sit the fuck DOWN

He's throwing away every bit of self-respect that he may have had left.Seriously. Staying married for the sake of the kids? Want to bet that his kids are very embarrassed about him at the moment? He need to divorce the family, move somewhere far away and start dealing with some psychologists and move on to either quitting the Christian faith altogether, or rearranging it so that he can stop hating himself for being gay. This has gone past far enough.
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Via: Pharyngula

Rick Warren?At his fucking inaugural??? THIS rightwing tard with a softer voice?

As we've pointed out several times before, in 2004 Warren declared that marriage, reproductive choice, and stem cell research were "non-negotiable" issues for Christian voters and has admitted that the main difference between himself and James Dobson is a matter of tone. He criticized Obama's answers at the Faith Forum he hosted before the election and vowed to continue to pressure him to change his views on the issue of reproductive choice. He came out strongly in support of Prop 8, saying "there is no need to change the universal, historical defintion of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population ... This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about." He's declared that those who do not believe in God should not be allowed to hold public office.

That that BS in your speeches about gay Americans is just a sop? What the fuck is wrong with you? What exactly is preventing you, a smart, intelligent man, from not seeing how much of an ass you are when you pull shit like this? I mean seriously? You pulled this shit with Donnie McClurkin, dammit! Did you learn NOTHING? HELLO THERE? Its called bigotry when you pull that shit!

Via: Pams House Blend

Have complaints to share? Email Parag Mehta is Obama's LGBT liaison on the transition team -


ANd the fucker is even worse than I thought...

Warren: The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers.

AND he refuses to condemn Bush for torturing

In fact, the guy is against key issues in Obama's platform!

WTF? There were NO other preachers that he could find? Are only ignorant rightwingers Christians or something?


Dec. 4th, 2008 03:46 pm
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May I be no man's enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides.
May I never devise evil against any man; if any devise evil against me, may I escape without the need of hurting him.
May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good.
May I wish for all men's happiness and envy none.
When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends.
May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent.
May I reconcile friends who are wroth with one another.
May I, to the extent of my power, give all needful help to all who are in want.
May I never fail a friend in danger.
May I respect myself.
May I always keep tame that which rages within me.
May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps.
- The Prayer of Eusebius (a pagan who lived some two thousand years ago, as quoted in Gilbert Murray, Five Stages of Greek Religion)

from www.edwardtbabinski.us
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Tim Minchin - White Wine In The Sun (Christmas Song)

Its surprisingly...tender. and very amusing. at least to me. oh the family bits...so beautiful. i hate tearing up.

via:digital cuttlefish
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Where's Charlie Heston when you need him?

Some Christian fanatics are concerned, quite reasonably, about the economy, and have chosen, quite absurdly, to try and correct the problem with prayer. So far, so typical, but then … well, they picked a peculiarly oblivious way to do it. They prayed before a statue of a golden bull on Wall Street.

We are going to intercede at the site of the statue of the bull on Wall Street to ask God to begin a shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the 'Lion's Market,' or God's control over the economic systems. While we do not have the full revelation of all this will entail, we do know that without intercession, economies will crumble.
Just a clue: there's this book called "the bible" that these people claim to follow, but I suspect they've never actually read it, or they might have seen Exodus 32.MORE

FAIL. Biblical FAIL!!! Just...FAIL! Dammit where a FAIL icon when you need one? Just, BIBLES, ladies and gents. They are MEANT to be READ. And understood.

Science after Sunclipse kills me ded!
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Female VP? Ok! Female Pastors on the cover of a magazine? Behind the counter!

Edit: This is just one of teh reasons why I'd like to clobber that wanker Paul with a cricket bat. Dried up, sexist, homophobic self-righteous fucktard.
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Britain's MI5 recently conducted an extensive review of hundreds of case studies in order to attempt to create a profile of would-be terrorists (via Calpundit 2.0, not to be confused with the 3.0 model). While MI5 was unable to establish a holistic profile, they were able to dispel certain myths and shoot down other would-be indicators of a propensity to engage in terrorist acts. One such counterintuitive conclusion is as follows:
....[The British terrorirsts] are mostly British nationals, not illegal immigrants and, far from being Islamist fundamentalists, most are religious novices. Nor, the analysis says, are they "mad and bad". [...]
The security service also plays down the importance of radical extremist clerics, saying their influence in radicalising British terrorists has moved into the background in recent years.
....Far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could actually be regarded as religious novices. Very few have been brought up in strongly religious households, and there is a higher than average proportion of converts. Some are involved in drug-taking, drinking alcohol and visiting prostitutes. MI5 says there is evidence that a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation.
These findings are entirely consistent with the scholarship of Marc Sageman, especially as expressed in his most recent work, Leaderless Jihad [highly, highly recommended]. According to Sageman's more comprehensive analysis of available case studies (he does not limit his review to Britain for example), the ignorance of Islam, and lack of formal religious training, are prevalent traits found in many who populate the latest wave of terrorists.
While it's popular mythology to imagine radical Imams presiding over maddrassas where they indoctrinate pupils with violent messages, as students nod along in a trance-like brainwashed stupor. Reality, however, does not comport with the sensational script. As Sageman points out, only about 10% of the sample attended radical maddrassas (and much of that 10% attended one particular maddrassa in Indonesia whose unique characteristics made it every bit the outlier). On the contrary, receiving formal, religious training tends to innoculate students from pursuing terrorism or other radical-tinged violence (a conclusion reached by the MI5 study as well).
Further, many of the latest wave of terrorists don't read or speak Arabic, and fewer still (even those with the requisite language skills) actually read the Koran. In fact, one of the methods that jailers use to rehabilitate captured terrorists is to provide them with copies of the Koran itself - which often leads to realizations of past wrongdoing as informed by Islamic scripture.


And there goes the rationale for a lot of political decisions and so called new atheist arguments. Whoops!

EDIT:It appears that in Britain, at least, fundamentalist Islam doesn't necessarily lead to terrorism, which means that one of the central arguments of the so-called "new atheists" is hereby complicated, if not outright invalidated. One of the problems a lot of people have with hardline rhetoric against religion is that it too often descends into illogic and lack of evidence in order to advance the argument that religion is an overall, faceless evil. I do agree that for me, religion is simply not sensible. But many comments on Islam in particular go on to practically demonize the religion, blaming it for everything like cultural practices of genital mutilation, to completely misunderstanding the fact that interlocking causes such as historical and continuing oppression, power fights among political factions, economic hardships and various political realities all combine to produce the dysfunctional results that can be seen in many Middle-Eastern countries. To make matters worse, so many people seem to think that Islam: Muslim as Muslim:Islam. This, of course, is not so. The largest Muslim population are found in Indonesia and Malaysian, not in the Middle East. Many Arabs are actually Christian, some are even Jewish. Certain harmful assumptions are being made, and they hurt the atheist effort to attack the actual dangers of fundamentalist religion. It would be nice if the more prominent soapbox atheists among us would apply our vaunted logic and ability and flexibility to go where the evidence leads us, and thereby refrain from alienating so many potential people who may want to have common cause with us, but who are insulted by demeaning and untrue representations of themselves and their cultures.
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Camp Inquiry

This is a place where kids can be themselves. We work toward helping youth confront the challenges of living a non-theistic/secular lifestyle in a world dominated by religious belief and pseudoscience. Grounded on the conviction that kids can begin establishing habits of the good and ethical life early on, Camp Inquiry 2008 adopts a three-part focus: The arts and sciences, the skeptical perspective, and ethical character development comprise an integrated approach to this “Age of Discovery.” Campers, counselors, and teachers will address key issues around individual identity, forging trusting relationships, establishing a sense of local and global community, and living with respect for the natural world.

take a look at the schedule

Two things: 1. I wish I were a child
2. I wish I lived in New York.
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"My country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right. When wrong, to be put right."-- spoken by Carl Schurz, during an address he gave at the Anti-Imperialistic Conference in Chicago, October 17, 1899 (the original quote).


And while we are at it....

If your human rights are not for everybody, they are not rights, they are just privileges. -- Italian doctor Gino Strada, from the documentary "Jung (War) in the Land of the Mujaheddin"

And one MORE thing:

"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." -- The Treaty of Tripoli 1796 is an Official US Federal Treaty penned by George Washington and James Adams as Presidents.

"The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy."-- George Washington

Quotes come from here

Post inspired by The Christian Progressive Liberal's "Being at Oxford"


Jul. 9th, 2008 11:27 am
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In a small compound on the outskirts of Riyadh, the Saudi government is exploring new ways to combat extremism.

This is still a prison, run by the Ministry of Interior and housed inside secure premises with high perimeter walls and barbed wire, but the Saudi authorities prefer to call it a "care centre" and refer to prisoners as "beneficiaries".

This is not what you would imagine when you think of a typical Saudi jail.

Inside, prisoners enjoy access to wide-ranging recreational facilities including their own swimming pools, video games and table tennis.

In return for the more relaxed environment, prisoners have to attend religious education classes where Islamic scholars challenge their views.

The thinking behind the new initiative is to fight al-Qaeda's ideology by convincing militant Islamists they have a distorted view of Islam.

The Ministry of Interior oversees the new scheme and has created the Ideological Security Unit (ISU) dedicated to co-ordinating their efforts.

"You cannot defeat an ideology by force. You have to fight ideas with ideas," says Abdul-Rahman Hadlaq, ISU director.

But the centre goes beyond just debating ideas. It also encourages prisoners to express their "softer side" by running art therapy classes where inmates find alternative ways to express themselves.

The US Christian Military?

Is the United States Military becoming a Christian organization? That’s what one U.S. soldier tells us.

I met Army Specialist Jeremy Hall in Kansas City a few weeks ago. He’s based at Fort Riley, in Junction City, Kansas about an hour away.

At 24, he’s a remarkable young man determined to complete one final mission. That is to win a lawsuit against the federal government.

Specialist Hall is suing the Department of Defense and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for failing to protect his religious freedom. He says the military discriminates against non-Christians and his rights under the First Amendment were denied.

Hall has served two tours in Iraq as a gunner. He’s back at Fort Riley now only because he says his life was threatened after it became public he is an atheist.

“I don’t believe in God, luck, fate, or anything supernatural,” Hall told me.

It wasn’t always that way. Hall grew up reading the Bible every night and saying grace at dinner. Then, after his first tour of duty, he met some friends who were atheist and decided to read the Bible again. He read the whole Bible, and had so many unanswered questions, he says, he decided to embrace atheism.

In the army, he says, that cost him dearly.

Hall says he was denied a promotion because of his beliefs, and felt his life was in jeopardy. He says the army assigned him a full-time bodyguard because of threats.

Pharyngula further comments

Of course the military leadership is in denial (this should also trouble everyone: shouldn't our military be first and foremost a pragmatic organization that is equipped to cope with reality?).
R i g h t. You all remember that story about Christian Embassy actively proselytizing? The Christian Right has been pushing its way into the military for decades. The Campus Crusade for Christ has been working hard to indoctrinate new members of the military — you should be horrified at the priest in this video who proudly states that the US Air Force Academy, with their help, turns out "government-paid missionaries" for Christ. Go here for the disturbing video


I've been reading a book called Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews -- A History(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) by James Carroll


It makes the complementary point that this isn't just bad for the culture, but it's bad for the religion — that many of the worst excesses of historical discrimination and oppression are the product of not just religion alone, but that dangerous combination of religion coupled to the machinery of the state. Look here, now, in America…it's happening to us.

One: Americans are already being racist fuckwads in Iraq. Can you imagine the conflagration that fundamentalist religious kooks can cause?

Two: A fundamentalist American Christian ARMY!!! There go our freedoms...
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From The Religious Freedom Page

Memorial and Remonstrance
Against Religious Assessments

James Madison

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia
A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments

We the subscribers , citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled "A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion," and conceiving that the same if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill,
  1. Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, "that religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence." The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable, because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also, because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considerd as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man's right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.
  1. Because Religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained; but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

  2. Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entagled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

  3. Because the Bill violates the equality which ought to be the basis of every law, and which is more indispensible, in proportion as the validity or expediency of any law is more liable to be impeached. If "all men are by nature equally free and independent," all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. Above all are they to be considered as retaining an "equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of Conscience." Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to man, must an account of it be rendered. As the Bill violates equality by subjecting some to peculiar burdens, so it violates the same principle, by granting to others peculiar exemptions. Are the quakers and Menonists the only sects who think a compulsive support of their Religions unnecessary and unwarrantable? can their piety alone be entrusted with the care of public worship? Ought their Religions to be endowed above all others with extraordinary privileges by which proselytes may be enticed from all others? We think too favorably of the justice and good sense of these demoninations to believe that they either covet pre-eminences over their fellow citizens or that they will be seduced by them from the common opposition to the measure.

  4. Because the Bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: the second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.

  5. Because the establishment proposed by the Bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion. To say that it is, is a contradiction to the Christian Religion itself, for every page of it disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them, and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence and the ordinary care of Providence. Nay, it is a contradiction in terms; for a Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy. It is moreover to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence and the patronage of its Author; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies to trust it to its own merits.

  6. Because experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest lustre; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive State in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks, many of them predict its downfall. On which Side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?

  7. Because the establishment in question is not necessary for the support of Civil Government. If it be urged as necessary for the support of Civil Government only as it is a means of supporting Religion, and it be not necessary for the latter purpose, it cannot be necessary for the former. If Religion be not within the cognizance of Civil Government how can its legal establishment be necessary to Civil Government? What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just Government instituted to secure & perpetuate it needs them not. Such a Government will be best supported by protecting every Citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of another.

  8. Because the proposed establishment is a departure from the generous policy, which, offering an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion, promised a lustre to our country, and an accession to the number of its citizens. What a melancholy mark is the Bill of sudden degeneracy? Instead of holding forth an Asylum to the persecuted, it is itself a signal of persecution. It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority. Distant as it may be in its present form from the Inquisition, it differs from it only in degree. The one is the first step, the other the last in the career of intolerance. The maganimous sufferer under this cruel scourge in foreign Regions, must view the Bill as a Beacon on our Coast, warning him to seek some other haven, where liberty and philanthrophy in their due extent, may offer a more certain respose from his Troubles.

  9. Because it will have a like tendency to banish our Citizens. The allurements presented by other situations are every day thinning their number. To superadd a fresh motive to emigration by revoking the liberty which they now enjoy, would be the same species of folly which has dishonoured and depopulated flourishing kingdoms

  10. Because it will destroy that moderation and harmony which the forbearance of our laws to intermeddle with Religion has produced among its several sects. Torrents of blood have been split in the old world, by vain attempts of the secular arm, to extinguish Religious disscord, by proscribing all difference in Religious opinion. Time has at length revealed the true remedy. Every relaxation of narrow and rigorous policy, wherever it has been tried, has been found to assauge the disease. The American Theatre has exhibited proofs that equal and compleat liberty, if it does not wholly eradicate it, sufficiently destroys its malignant influence on the health and prosperity of the State. If with the salutary effects of this system under our own eyes, we begin to contract the bounds of Religious freedom, we know no name that will too severely reproach our folly. At least let warning be taken at the first fruits of the threatened innovation. The very appearance of the Bill has transformed "that Christian forbearance, love and chairty," which of late mutually prevailed, into animosities and jeolousies, which may not soon be appeased. What mischiefs may not be dreaded, should this enemy to the public quiet be armed with the force of a law?

  11. Because the policy of the Bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of Levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of Truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it with a wall of defence against the encroachments of error.

  12. Because attempts to enforce by legal sanctions, acts obnoxious to go great a proportion of Citizens, tend to enervate the laws in general, and to slacken the bands of Society. If it be difficult to execute any law which is not generally deemed necessary or salutary, what must be the case, where it is deemed invalid and dangerous? And what may be the effect of so striking an example of impotency in the Government, on its general authority?

  13. Because a measure of such singular magnitude and delicacy ought not to be imposed, without the clearest evidence that it is called for by a majority of citizens, and no satisfactory method is yet proposed by which the voice of the majority in this case may be determined, or its influence secured. The people of the respective counties are indeed requested to signify their opinion respecting the adoption of the Bill to the next Session of Assembly." But the representatives or of the Counties will be that of the people. Our hope is that neither of the former will, after due consideration, espouse the dangerous principle of the Bill. Should the event disappoint us, it will still leave us in full confidence, that a fair appeal to the latter will reverse the sentence against our liberties.

  14. Because finally, "the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience" is held by the same tenure with all our other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consult the "Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Vriginia, as the basis and foundation of Government," it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis. Either the, we must say, that the Will of the Legislature is the only measure of their authority; and that in the plenitude of this authority, they may sweep away all our fundamental rights; or, that they are bound to leave this particular right untouched and sacred: Either we must say, that they may controul the freedom of the press, may abolish the Trial by Jury, may swallow up the Executive and Judiciary Powers of the State; nay that they may despoil us of our very right of suffrage, and erect themselves into an independent and hereditary Assembly or, we must say, that they have no authority to enact into the law the Bill under consideration.

    We the Subscribers say, that the General Assembly of this Commonwealth have no such authority: And that no effort may be omitted on our part against so dangerous an usurpation, we oppose to it, this remonstrance; earnestly praying, as we are in duty bound, that the Supreme Lawgiver of the Universe, by illuminating those to whom it is addressed, may on the one hand, turn their Councils from every act which would affront his holy prerogative, or violate the trust committed to them: and on the other, guide them into every measure which may be worthy of his [blessing, may re]dound to their own praise, and may establish more firmly the liberties, the prosperity and the happiness of the Commonwealth.

  15. Comment:

"Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance was written in opposition to a bill, introduced into the General Assembly of Virginia, to levy a general assessment for the support of teachers of religions. The assessment bill was tabled, and in its place the legislature enacted Jefferson's Bill for Religious Liberty." ( Source: Hensel, Jaye B., Ed., Church, State, and Politics Washington D.C. Final Report of the 1981 Chief Justice Earl Warren Conference on Adovcacy in the United States)

Thomas Jefferson had drafted The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom in 1779 three years after he wrote the Declaration of Independence. The act was not passed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia until 1786. Jefferson was by then in Paris as the U.S. Ambassador to France. The Act was resisted by a group headed by Patrick Henry who sought to pass a bill that would have assessed all the citizens of Virginia to support a plural establishment. James Madison's Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments was, and remains, a powerful argument against state supported religion. It was written in 1785, just a few months before the General Assembly passed Jefferson's religious freedom bill.

Both the final version of the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom and the 1779 draft are available on this site.


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