“Neither Pagan nor Mahamedan nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion.” – Thomas Jefferson, quoting John Locke
Hail to the pen and muse of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence! Hail to those who’ve honored the true spirit of our founding documents, who defended us with arms, who challenged us with nonviolence, and reminded us of our true nature through art and rebellion.
Let us not forget that the United States was shaped by indigenous Native religions, Transcendentalism, Deism, Freemasonry, and free-thinking products of the Enlightenment, just as it was shaped by Christianity. Let us not forget the pre-Christian “pagan” roots of our democracy, our republic.
“Every president, every politician, who takes the oath to uphold our Constitution, are taking an oath that the founders knew would allow for men and women of every faith (or even no faith) to someday take their place among our leadership. They are taking an oath on a document crafted by men who are products of the Enlightenment, whose thinkers looked to ancient pagan thinkers, politicians, and philosophers for wisdom and guidance, unencumbered by the filter of the Christian church. The religious pluralism of the United States of America is a pluralism that had its first breaths in ancient Greece, and later ancient Rome, where a variety of gods, goddesses, cults, sects, and traditions had to live together in a civil society. To return to Professor Majid’s essay, “one can’t imagine the American Republic without the Founding Fathers’ knowledge of Greece and Rome.”Democracy, republicanism, are core pagan inventions, and no matter how Christian the hand who steers the ship of State, those ideals remain lest our institutions crumble.”
Let us be thankful that our founders understood completely that religious freedom meant all faiths, even if they were Pagans, or claimed no religion at all.
“But it is objected that the people of America may, perhaps, choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mahometans may be admitted into offices. But how is it possible to exclude any set of men, without taking away that principle of religious freedom which we ourselves so warmly contend for? This is the foundation on which persecution has been raised in every part of the world. The people in power were always right, and every body else wrong. If you admit the least difference, the door to persecution is opened.” – James Iredell, North Carolina, one our first Supreme Court justices, appointed by George Washington.
Happy Independence Day! Also, happy belated Canada Day to my neighbors up north.