What a great thing it is, to live in a country founded on principles of freedom, especially religious freedom. Despite those who would rewrite history, the United States of America is “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion”: a statement approved by George Washington himself. In fact, many of the building blocks of early American government rest on solid Pagan foundations.
Am I saying the Founding Fathers were Pagans? No, they were mostly Deists with a good sprinkling of nature reverence. They were no more Pagan than Teddy Roosevelt was Pagan. However, they were classically educated and found inspiration in ancient Pagan ideals and symbols.
Our system of government was based on the ancient Roman Republic, both having a Senate and our House of Representatives a more egalitarian version of the Plebeian Council. Long before Uncle Sam, and even before the Statue of Liberty, came on the scene the US was represented visually by Columbia and Liberty. These Goddesses were very Roman representations of the American genius, a manifestation of the power of the American Spirit.
While they may not have been up for ecstatic dancing around a bonfire ringed with drummers, I think we Modern Pagans would get on well with the Founding Fathers. Our love of freedom, our passion for classic myths and philosophies and understanding of the importance of symbols to foster a sense of unity bind us to them. We should be proud that when founding a new, unorthodox nation the symbols the Founders chose to give us a sense of continuity, purpose and direction came from Pagan cultures.
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