by Bill Edelen, printed in "Bodega Bay and West County
Navigator", March 2 - 8, 1997

In my last column I made the following statement: "Our first six presidents knew that religion is a disease that makes fools out of men and women." I could write 10 columns on each one of the presidents documenting that fact, but alas, it would be called overkill, which it surely would be. So, I present the following for those of you wishing to pursue the subject further.

  • GEORGE WASHINGTON: Letter to Sir Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792. "Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would have reconciled the Christians so that their religious fights would not endanger the peace of Society."

  • JOHN ADAMS: Letters to F.A. Van Der Kamp 1809-1816. "How has it happened that millions of myths, fables, legends and tales have been blended with Jewish and Christian fables and myths and have made them the most bloody religion that has ever existed? Filled with the sordid and detestable purposes of superstition and fraud?"

  • THOMAS JEFFERSON: Notes on Religion, passed in the Assembly of Virginia, in the Year, 1786. "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Million of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."

    Letter to Thomas Whittemore, June 5, 1822: "Christian creeds and doctrines, the clergy's own fatal inventions, through all the ages has made of Christendom a slaughterhouse, and divided it into sects of inextinguishable hatred for one another."

  • JAMES MADISON: Father of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. From his speech to the General Assemble of Virginia, 1785. "During almost fifteen centuries, the legal establishment of Christianity has been on trial. What have been the fruits of this trial? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; and in both, clergy and laity, superstition, bigotry and persecution."

    Among the principal founder of this nation was THOMAS PAINE, who first used the words "The United States of America." He was read daily to Washington's troops to keep them motivated. A memorial is now being built to Paine in Washington, D.C.

  • From Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason": "The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most destructive to the peace of man since man began to exist. Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses, who gave an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and then rape the daughters. One of the most horrible atrocities found in the literature of any nation. I would not dishonor my Creator's name by attaching it to this filthy book."

    Please do remember that I am writing about "religion" not "spirituality." They are two different subjects. Our founders, as many others, recognized the fact that religion has been the greatest obstacle to our spiritual evolution as a species. "Religion is a disease," wrote HERACLITUS. Our American giant RALPH WALDO EMERSON put it in these words for our times: "Christian doctrines and creeds are a disease of the intellect."

    Jim Carew

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