In message-id: <email@example.com> dated: 5/26/2001 7:03 AM Pacific Daylight Time, EDarr1776 writes:
|Kevin said: >>>Jefferson
approved legislation which was designed to convert the
>Indians and other savage heathen to Christianity.<<
Jefferson may have approved legislation to school Indians. Christians may have been involved. I'd like to see details of any place Jefferson urged schools to convert people.
That flies in the face of his clear statements that the Bible was inappropriate material for the schools and should be removed (to make room for teachings on morality instead!), and his actions banning teachers of Christianity from schools where he had authority to do so.
First, as to removing the Bible to teach morality:
"The Jefferson Bible" was designed to teach Christian morality to the Indians, of whom Jefferson said,
Speaking of "the widespread denunciation of him by his political opponents as an anti-Christian infidel or atheist," Foote observes,
Henry Wilder Foote, "Introduction," The Jefferson Bible, 18
[I]t is one of the minor ironies of history that such slanders should have been so generally and so long believed about the man whose knowledge of and admiration for the teachings of Jesus have never been equaled by any other President.
As to banning Christians from schools,
Jefferson never really had much authority to ban Christians from schools.
Jefferson proposed combining missionaries and anthropologists -- a clear violation of the modern myth of "separation of church and state":
Notes on Virginia, Query XV
- The purposes of the Brafferton institution would be better answered by maintaining a perpetual mission among the Indian tribes, the object of which, besides instructing them in the principles of Christianity, as the founder requires, should be to collect their traditions, laws, customs, languages, and other circumstances which might lead to a discovery of their relation with one another, or descent from other nations. When these objects are accomplished with one tribe, the missionary might pass on to another.
TJ, Report to the Visitors [school boards] Oct 7, 1822
It was not, however, to be understood that instruction in religious opinion and duties was meant to be precluded by the public authorities as indifferent to the interests of society. On the contrary, the relations which exist between man and his Maker and the duties resulting from those relations are the most interesting and important to every human being and the most incumbent on his study and investigation.
Numerous laws were passed during the Jefferson Administration which had as their goal the Christianization of the Indians. This was in keeping with the accepted idea that America was a nation "under God."
From Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, by Edwin S. Gaustad, NY: Harper & Row, 1987.
Notice that during his administration, Jefferson appropriated funds for Christian missionaries to evangelize the heathen, as Justice Rehnquist noted:
In the final years of the twentieth century, it is easy to persuade ourselves that a comprehension of American history requires going back no farther than, say, the Age of Jackson -- surely no earlier than the inauguration of George Washington. But when that latter event took place in 1789, the British colonies of North America had nearly two centuries of history behind them. Or, to put it another way, the period from Jamestown to Washington's assumption of office would stretch in the other direction from Washington's presidency to that of Richard Nixon. Such is the apologia, if one be needed, for taking the nation's colonial antecedents seriously. In the area of religion, particularly, it is otherwise impossible to understand the one revolution in American history that was truly radical.*
In all European settlements in North and in South America, the interests of state and church melded together in a strong and seemingly indissoluble bond. Today's historians put questions to yesterdays conditions that would make little sense to those who lived in sixteenth-century Mexico City, or seventeenth century Boston, or eighteenth-century Quebec. We of today ask where the state left off and the church began; they of yesterday can only shake their heads in wonderment at so meaningless a question. [S]ociety survived only as church and state worked and worshipped together, only as values were shared, only as common assumptions about human nature and the nature of God and the universe underlay all action . . . .
It was also a given that "savages," so long denied the blessing of the Christian Gospel, should have that blessing bestowed upon them. And to reject that great give made as little sense as for starving multitudes to turn away from freely offered food. To attack the Church as it went about its proper mission, whether to savages or civilized, was to attack the state and the threaten the very survival of civilization itself.
As the United States moved from the 18th into the 19th century, Congress appropriated time and again public moneys in support of sectarian Indian education carried on by religious organizations. Typical of these was Jefferson's treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians, which provided annual cash support for the Tribe's Roman Catholic priest and church. The treaty stated in part:"And whereas, the greater part of said Tribe have been baptized and received into the Catholic church, to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually for seven years one hundred dollars towards the support of a priest of that religion . . . [a]nd . . . three hundred dollars, to assist the said Tribe in the erection of a church." 7 Stat. 79.From 1789 to 1823 the United States Congress had provided a trust endowment of up to 12,000 acres of land "for the Society of the United Brethren, for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen." See, e. g., ch. 46, 1 Stat. 490. The Act creating this endowment was renewed periodically and the renewals were signed into law by Washington, Adams, and Jefferson.
Congressional grants for the aid of religion were not limited to Indians. In 1787 Congress provided land to the Ohio Company, including acreage for the support of religion. This grant was reauthorized in 1792. See 1 Stat. 257. In 1833 Congress authorized the State of Ohio to sell the land [472 U.S. 38, 104] set aside for religion and use the proceeds "for the support of religion . . . and for no other use or purpose whatsoever. . . ."
4 Stat. 618-619.
It was not until 1897, when aid to sectarian education for Indians had reached $500,000 annually, that Congress decided thereafter to cease appropriating money for education in sectarian schools. See Act of June 7, 1897, 30 Stat. 62, 79; cf. Quick Bear v. Leupp, 210 U.S. 50, 77-79 (1908); J. O'Neill, Religion and Education Under the Constitution 118-119 (1949). See generally R. Cord, Separation of Church and State 61-82 (1982). This history shows the fallacy of the notion found in Everson that "no tax in any amount" may be levied for religious activities in any form. 330 U.S., at 15-16.
Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, at 104, J. Rehnquist, dissenting.
In the 20 pages of material Rehnquist cites from Robert Cord can be found numerous provisions for the teaching of religion (Christianity) in order to effect "the civilizing of the Indians." They spanned the entire century following the ratification of the Constitution. These acts were clearly "unconstitutional" by modern "separationist" standards, thus showing that the "separation of church and state" as we understand it today is not constitutionally required.
Daniel L. Dreisbach, "In Search of A Christian Commonwealth: An Examination of Selected Nineteenth-Century Commentaries on References to God and the Christian Religion in the United States Constitution," 48 Baylor Law Review 927 at 955-56 (1996).
In a reply to a Presbytery that had expressed misgivings [on the absence of express references to God in the Constitution], Washington wrote the following:
- [A]nd, here, I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country. To the guidance of the ministers of the gospel this important object is, perhaps, more properly committed -- It will be your care to instruct the ignorant, and to reclaim the devious--and, in the progress of morality and science [knowledge], to which our government will give every furtherance, we may confidently expect the advancement of true religion, and the completion of our happiness [i.e., blessedness].
[Letter from Geo.Washington to the Presbyterian Ministers of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, (Nov. 2, 1789), reprinted in 4 The Papers of Washington (Dorothy Twohig, ed.) at 274; see also 1 Stokes, Church and State in the U.S. (1950) at 248.]
In any case, it would be a mistake to automatically conclude that the omission of God or a religious designation from the Constitution was an expression of indifference toward religion, much less a deliberate repudiation of Christianity.
So far, Jefferson and early America sound pretty Theocratic to me. But let's let Gaustad continue:
There is a third version of a Christian Theocracy, one which shares with the other two a view of the way in which God providentially orders the world.
- In the British colonies of North America, this self-evident worldview manifested itself in two powerful versions: the Congregational Way found in New England and the Anglican Way found, to some degree, nearly everywhere else. Risking a scandalous superficiality, one might even argue that these were merely two versions of the same Christian establishment, the chief difference being that one looked to London for direction and support and the other did not. it is far more complicated than that, of course, but for our present purposes it is useful to see these two establishments as sharing a common and virtually unquestioned view of the way in which God ordered the world.
The Constitution did not require that the sacred and secular be "separated." The Constitution protected an already-existing separation between church (ecclesiastical powers) and state (political powers). (It was Christians -- not atheists -- who held the Constitution hostage until an agreement was made to add the First Amendment, which would keep the Federal government from establishing any legal preference for one denomination over another under the Constitution.)
- [S]ociety prospered and the gospel advanced only as sacred and secular realms coalesced.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.Such a coalescence could be called "Christian civilization," and this is precisely what the U.S. Supreme Court recognized when it declared (throughout the first century after the Constitution was ratified) that America was a Christian nation.
What happened in the years following the Revolution against Britain was the disestablishment of the Anglican church, and then the disestablishment of all other denominations, but not the disestablishment of God. America was an ecclesiastically laissez-faire Theocracy.
The writers of the "Separation of Church and State Home Page" regrettably admit that the Framers were part of this Theocratic thinking and intended to civilize the Indians by teaching them Christianity:
If you are like many users of the World Wide Web, you may by somewhat put off by the words "civilizing the American Indian," as if Native Americans did not already have their own long-standing civilizations, and as if it were not widely known that the term "Indian" is an anachronism that is offensive to many Native Americans. We want to make clear that we use these words, not because we agree with them, but because these were the words of the framers of the Northwest Ordinance, and because "Indian affairs" was an important concern of 1780s America.
Separationists are multiculturalists; the Founding Fathers were not. The Founding Fathers believed that America was a Christian nation and that this was a good thing, because Christianity is true and the rest are (to use Madison's words,) "false religions."
George Washington, asked to address the Chiefs of the Delaware Indians about educating their youth:
- You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. . . . Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.
The Writings of GeoWashington, Jared Sparks, ed., (Boston: Ferdinand Andrews, 1838) XV:55, from his speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.
And they shall beat their swords into plowshares
and sit under their Vine & Fig Tree.