- History to consider
- Compiled by Jim Walker
First U.S. money never used the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST"
The original Pledge of Allegiance did not use the words "under God"
How the Christians stole the Winter-Solstice holiday
How the Christians stole the Easter holiday
How the Christians stole Valentine's Day
Early Christians never used the cross
Dracula the Christian
Myths about communism & atheism
First U.S. money never used the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST"
The original coinage minted by the United States never carried a religious motto. Interestingly, "MIND YOUR BUSINESS" (from Benjamin Franklin) appeared as the first motto (see below). The first American coinage appeared totally secular; as clean from a mention of god as the Constitution.
However, the religious community in America grew. At the time of pre-Civil War days, church membership had risen to 16 percent of the population (1850) and to 23 percent by 1860. From a desire to transform America into a Christian state, several Protestant denominations organized the National Reform Association which aimed to amend the Constitution to "declare the nation's allegiance to Jesus Christ." and to put a "legal basis" of the land on "Christian laws."
Although the National Reform Association failed in its attempt to amend the Constitution, it continued its efforts into the twentieth century. The National Reform Association attracted many powerful men in its ranks, including governors, Supreme Court Justices, and James Pollock who became the Director of the U.S. Mint.
Not until 1865 did the the religious motto appear on the first public issue coin (a bronze two-cent piece). Later in 1865, an Act to authorize the Coinage of Three-cent pieces, containing the motto, got passed. The Act of 1865 gave the authority to place "IN GOD WE TRUST" on coins.
In 1866 politicians put the motto on $5, $10, and $20 gold pieces, silver quarters, halves, dollars, and on the shield nickel, new in that year. They dropped it from the nickels, from the 1883 Liberty Head, until sculptor Felix Schlag placed it on the Jefferson nickel of 1938.
In 1908 Congress ignored the concept of state/church separation and considered a bill to make the use of the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" a requirement of law.
The consideration served, of course, as more of a political polemic than a statement of fact. Congress had not specifically approved the motto until after the Civil war and only some coins had the motto imprinted on them. But on March 8, 1908, they passed the bill and made it a law.
On March 22, 1956, during the Christian anti-communist fever of McCarthyism, Congress passed a bill establishing "IN GOD WE TRUST" as a national motto.
Today, the religious motto defaces all of our paper and coinage, none of which appeared on our Founding Father's currency. Considering that Christians supposedly avoid the love of money, the "root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10 ), here we have a perfect example for justifying not only love for money but to place trust in a superstitious entity, the root of maleficence, if ever there existed one.
The original Pledge of Allegiance never used the words "under God"
The idea for such a pledge probably originated with one of the editors of The Youth's Companion, a magazine for children. By a proclamation from President Benjamin Harrison, the pledge first appeared on October 12, 1892 during Columbus Day observances in public schools. The original wording appears as follows:
I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Politicians subsequently amended the pledge by the submission of the words: "the flag of the United States of America" for the phrase "my flag." The newly worded pledge got adopted officially on Flag Day, June 14, 1924.
In 1954, several Christian anti-communists urged a bill to change the pledge further by including "God." Another amended pledge came by a joint resolution of Congress in 1954 with the addition of the words, "under God." The pledge now reads:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Unfortunately this pledge does not accurately reflect many Americans who do not believe in gods, and thus it can only stand as a biased an intolerant statement.
Although the first and second pledge offers a far better alternative than the last, has anyone noticed that the pledge first aims its allegiance to a flag and only secondly to the republic? This gives some reason why the flag presents so many problems with flag burners and with questions of law and the freedom of expression. However it may upset my fellow Americans, I do not pledge allegiance to any symbol including flags or unproven supernatural entities. I do, however, pledge allegiance to the United States, our country. I propose the following pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the United States of America: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
This pledge can conform to any American whether he or she worships a god or has opted for agnosticism, atheism or unbelief.
Of course we would still perform the pledge in front of the flag, which represents the United States, but the pledge should honor only the United States, not a design on a piece of cloth.
What do you think?
How the Christians stole the Winter-Solstice holiday
Perhaps I should title this section, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" except that the Grinch, in this case, describes Christians, and 'Christmas' gets replaced by the original pagan celebrations.
Christians celebrate the Nativity, or the birth of the alleged Jesus every December 25. Contrary to belief, there exists no evidence for a Jesus born on a December. Not a single shred of Biblical text declares this date, nor gives a hint of a winter season birth for a Jesus "the Christ." In fact, there occurs not a tad of evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus!
The Christmas that we celebrate today derived from pre-Christian Germanic, Roman, and Celtic people who celebrated the winter solstice. The use of holly, mistletoe, yule logs, wassail bowls, and decorating a tree derived from early pagan customs. Many European countries still call this celebration "Yule-tide" meaning "wheel time," the cycles of time. None of these derive from Christian origin.
The Persian Mithras cult spread during the 3rd and 4th centuries B.C.E. and predates Christian ceremonies and rites such as: baptism, communion wafer, and Sunday rest. On December 25, the sacrifice of a bull celebrated the Sol invictus (the invincible sun) and signaled the birth of a young sun god who sprang from a rock or a cave in the form of a newborn infant.
The Romans celebrated the Winter Solstice on December 25th as a renewing of the sun every year. Also the Romans celebrated the festival of the Saturnalia from December 17th to the 24th to honor Saturn, the god of grain and agriculture. The festival consisted of a period of goodwill, devoted to visiting friends and the giving of gifts.
At the beginning of the first century, Christianity emerged as a fledgling religion but not until the 4th century did Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. The motive behind the introduction of this celebration aimed at subverting the practice of pagan rituals such as Mithra and Saturnalia. It's unclear exactly when the Christmas celebrations began but it probably occurred around the time Pope Liberius gave a sermon on the Nativity on December 25th 354 C.E. (although this date is also disputed by some scholars). By the 5th century, the event became so customary that it began to mark the beginning of the ceremonial year.
Today, we still celebrate with ornaments on trees, mistletoe and giving gifts, none of which has anything to do with Christian mythology. So instead of celebrating the Christian deception, why not opt for the earlier non-god celebration of the Winter Solstice? After all, it represents an actual event as the planet earth orbits about the sun. The universe presents us with far more magnificent events than the superstitious religionists have ever dreamt up. Even more than the imagination of Dr. Seuss.
How the Christians stole the Easter holiday
Christians celebrate the annual festival commemorating the alleged resurrection of Jesus between March 22 and April 25. For centuries, Christian "scholars" have debated the date of Jesus' crucifixion (cruci-fiction?). Not even Christians know when he died. There occurs not a fragment of evidence about a Jesus crucified on Mt. Calvary or anywhere else (much less have evidence for his existence).
The Jews celebrate "Passover" at around this time, from an Exodus story where God passes over the "chosen ones" on his way to kill the firstborn of Egypt (Exodus 11, 12).
However, people had celebrated Easter during the vernal equinox long before Judaism, Christianity and their superstitious myths.
Nothing about the Easter bunny or colored eggs derives from Christianity, nor will you find them mentioned in the Bible.
No one knows the origin of the name Easter but some suspect that it derived from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom people dedicated a month corresponding to April. People celebrated her festival on the day of the vernal equinox. The tradition of Eastre survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts. Even the early Egyptians and Persians dyed eggs in spring colors and gave them to friends.
Ancient religions commonly held such festivals including the Greek legend of the return of Persephone, daughter of Demeter, goddess of the earth, from the underworld to the light of day. Her return symbolized to the Greeks the resurrection of life in the spring after the desolation of winter.
By contrast, the Christians celebrate a tortured man dying on a piece of lumber and Jews celebrate the passover of a god on his way toward killing infants. What morbidity! Instead of celebrating death, why not opt for the original Easter and admire the coming of spring, and the renewal of life?
How the Christians stole Valentine's Day
The name "Valentine" comes from one of two Christian martyrs of the 3rd century. One describes a Roman Christian martyred during the persecution of Claudis II, the other, a bishop of Terni who got martyred in Rome. (Most Christian celebrations have a preoccupation with death and martyrdom.) There occurs several versions of the Christian legend but no one knows the truth for sure. Probably at least one of them did live and die, but we have little else to go on. But the celebration of giving notes and gifts to loved ones began long before the Christian version and no doubts exist about its historical practice.
In pre-Christian Rome, people celebrated "Valentine's day" as Lupercalia, a Roman holiday that took place during the ides of February (the 15th). They believed that the goddess Juno Februata (where the name February comes from) inflicted her "love fever" on the young and unwary. The fertility festival of Lupercalia (in honor of the pastoral god Lupercus) involved an orgy and sexual excesses. Young men drew small "love notes" from a container composed by eligible young women. The men socialized with the women and attempted to guess who composed the note they had drawn. In this way, the festival brought young men and women together as sexual partners.
For years the Christian church tried to suppress the festival of Lupercalia. Interestingly, the Church did not object to the festival for its love celebrations but for the pagan beliefs that rejected the Christian god. In 496 C.E., Pope Gelasius changed Lupercalia from the 15th to the 14th and renamed it after the legendary St. Valentine in an attempt to stop the pagan celebration. Gelasius had hoped people would emulate the lives of saints. Even after the Church replaced Lupercus with St. Valentine and recast Cupid into a cherub, the Lupercalia festival continues much as it had before, but without the sexual excesses. The change of the name and the day of celebration serves as the only "contribution" that Christians brought to Valentine's day.
To this day, men and women send love notes to each other. And in elementary schools across the country, children still put concealed notes or gifts in a box much as the ancient Romans did. So the idea of Valentine's Day did not come from Christianity, but from the "heretic" Romans. Praise Juno!
Early Christians never used the cross
I can think of no other invented symbol of religion that gives a more horrific description than a man tortured in the throe of extreme agony while nailed to two wooden planks. But does the cross of Christianity really stand up to Biblical evidence?
Although a stake called a stauros (the Greek term used in the earliest Bible writings but where English versions incorrectly translate it to "cross") got used to execute criminals, there exists not a shred of evidence that a Biblical stauros describes a cross or even a T-shape. Regardless of whether you believe the cross as mythical or think it comes from the Bible, you will find nothing describing Jesus' execution with outstretched arms or nailed to a cross-like frame. I invite any Christian to look up the word 'cross' wherever it appears in the Bible and check the Greek version and see for yourself.
There occurs no cross in early Christian art before the middle of the 5th century, where it (probably) appears on a coin in a painting. The first clear crucifix appears in the late 7th century. Early Christians usually depicted their religion with a fish symbol (ichthus), dove, or bread of the Eucharist, but never Christ on a cross (or on a stick).
The first known conception of a Christian cross as a physical symbol began with Constantine's supposed 4th century conversion as a Christian. He allegedly had a miraculous vision in the sky of a cross composed of light with the inscription, "By this conquer." The Church father, Eusebius, described that, at night after his vision, Constantine dreamt that God commanded him to make a likeness of the sign to safeguard all engagements with the enemy. At dawn the next day Constantine allegedly told this to his army and ordered the symbol to be made in the form of a golden spear with a transverse bar (some traditions describe it as the Greek letter "X" (chi) with a "P" (rho) through it, the well-known monogram of Jesus). From then on Christian armies carried the cross symbol into battles. Christians who deny this story cannot escape the fact that the story derives from Euesbius's own writings and church fathers after him used this to support the symbol of the cross. Later on, and especially during the crusades, the cross became a permanent part of the uniform of a soldier. Thus the army of Christianity invented the symbol of the cross to symbolize battle (a spear) to represent Jesus and to protect their killers (the army). Christianity has remained a religious and political justification for war and violence ever since.
Any Christian who prays to a cross or wears one goes unwittingly flaunting, not only an unsupported historical assertion, but born as a war symbol from a blood-thirsty Roman ruler who forced orthodox Christianity onto the world.
The Crucifixion = fiction.
Note: For those men and women (especially women) who wear a cross necklace, cross earrings or other crucifixion jewelry, if you think it adds to your beauty, think again. For those who know what the cross really represents, do you really think your symbol of torture will help attract the opposite sex? You will only appear a little more uncomely and even repulsive to many men. The Christian cross to many people (especially Jews) represents intolerance, narrow-mindedness, or prudishness. Of course many women wear their crosses to attract other Christians like themselves, but consider that you might also appeal to men (or women) who enjoy Sadomasochism or Gothic-Satanism.
Dracula the Christian
The fictional story of Bram Stoker's vampire, Dracula, derived from an actual historical man, Vlad the Impaler (also known as Vlad Tepes and Vlad Dracula). Although Stoker's fictional Dracula has produced fear in the hearts of readers for a hundred years, the real Dracula proved far more dangerous, scarier and real.
Vlad Tepes got born sometime between 1430 and 1431 in a Transylvanian town called Schassburg (aka Sighisoara). Vlad did not live as a vampire; but far worse: as a Christian. Like his father, he joined the Order of the Dragon (Dracul), an ancient Christian society dedicated to fighting Turks and heretics. Vlad earned the name Tepes (TSEH-pesh) which means "Impaler" a reference to Vlad's favorite form of punishment.
In 1408 the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund, created the Order of the Dragon. Its statutes required its members to defend the Cross and do battle against its enemies and infidels. Vlad II took the name Dracul and his son, Vlad III took the name Dracula (Son of Dracul).
Symbol of the Order of the Dragon
One of the symbols of the Order of the Dragon uses a strangled dragon which represents the Beast of Revelation (Satan) who gets slain by the forces of "good" (Christianity) represented here as the Cross of Jesus.
The Latin words, O quam misericors est Deus (Oh, how merciful God is) appears on the vertical bar and, Justus et paciens (Justifiably and peacefully) on the horizontal bar.
On Easter Sunday of 1459, Vlad committed his first major act of revenge by arresting the Boyer families whom he held responsible for the death of his father and brother. He impaled the older ones outside the city walls and forced the rest to build what people now identify as Castle Dracula.
In addition to disloyal people and Turks, Vlad regularly impaled infidels, gypsies, lazy peasants and "impure" women. He would pound wooden stakes (like a stauros ) up through their torsos, lollipop style.
Vlad also skinned people alive, roasted them over red-hot coals and by one account from the mid 1400s, "stuck stakes in both breasts of mothers and thrust their babies onto them."
The fictional vampire, Count Dracula killed around 16 characters, the Christian Vlad Dracula killed over 20,000 actual living breathing people.
Consider also that Christianity claims that men lived over 900 years (Adam, Methuselah. etc.), the practice of the Eucharist (consuming bread and wine, the literal drinking of blood and eating the flesh of Christ ), praying in front of a statue of a bleeding and dying man staked to lumber, the belief of the rise and resurrection from death, and the promise that, you too, will live eternal as long as you eat the flesh and drink the blood (see John 6:54), and you have all the elements of diabolic vampirism. I don't wish to unduly frighten anyone, but consider that anyone who passes you by as you walk the streets, might serve as a member among millions who visit dark churches every Sunday to receive their weekly fix of drinking Christ's blood in their ritual called communion. Now I don't for one moment believe in this sacrament, but if there occurred any truth to it, wouldn't we, by definition, have to consider them vampires?
For those of us who do not believe, Christianity and Vlad the Impaler represents horror filled examples of how religion can create fear, torture and death. As in that classic movie line, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
Myths about communism & atheism
During the Nazi era along with German Catholics in the 1920s and 30s, and through the 1950s American anti-communist hysteria, right wing fanatics helped fuel the idea that communism meant an absence of religion and a promotion of atheism. Today, this myth still lives in the minds of many political conservatives and religionists. However, nowhere in the Communist Manifesto or in USSR's Constitution (even during the height of the cold war) does there occur any mention of atheism. Nor did the USSR ever exterminate religion. On the contrary, nothing in Communism disallows religion. Noteworthy appears the fact that the Communist Manifesto (i.e., Manifesto of the Communist Party) compares Christianity with socialism:
"Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the State? Has it not preached in the place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church? Christian Socialism is but the holy, water with which the priest consecrates the heart-burnings of the aristocrat."
Article 34 of the 1977 Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics states that,
"Citizens of the USSR are equal before the law, without distinction of origin, social or property status, race or nationality, sex, education, language, attitude to religion, type and nature of occupation, domicile, or other status."
Communism describes an economic and social belief system, based on the concept of community ownership rather than individual ownership. It says nothing about promoting atheism or eliminating religion.
Although there certainly occurred prosecutions against Russian churches in the early 1900s, the powers of communism did this out of political concerns, not for religious or atheist reasons. Communists desire the control of all social resources and this includes its religious instruments just as it does its industry and agriculture. This served as one of the reasons why Stalin reintroduced the Russian Orthodox Church where it exists to this day.
Perhaps the most quoted "reason" for connecting atheism to communism comes from Karl Marx's statement:
"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people."
This statement does not come from his communist philosophy, but rather from his critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. It also does not express a statement about atheism or about the absence of a god, but rather an observation about religion. Note that many people who believe in god but who renounce religion agree with that statement. Pure individualist Protestantism, for example, correlates precisely with Marx's statement.
Karl Marx makes this clear from his own observation:
"It is possible, therefore, for the state to have emancipated itself from religion even if the overwhelming majority is still religious. And the overwhelming majority does not cease to be religious through being religious in private.... The emancipation of the state from religion is not the emancipation of the real man from religion."
--Karl Marx (Bruno Bauer, The Jewish Question, Braunschweig, 1843)
That doesn't sound atheistic at all. At all.
Moreover, how does one explain communism's alleged atheism when other social and communist countries during the 1970s and 1980s, especially South American countries, embraced Christianity, especially Catholicism?
Note that virtually all books that attempt to connect atheism with communism have come from religious organizations or religious authors who have an obvious bent against a rival and competing belief-system. Indeed, Communism, at least the brand of Russian communism, has served as a threat to certain brands of Christian denominations, but this reflects no more an alignment with atheism than the history of Catholicism against Protestantism, or Protestantism against Catholicism, or Islam against Christianity or Christianity against Islam. Believers have always portrayed enemies of religion as practicing subterfuge, propaganda, and by false labeling (and always doing the same themselves), and the same goes with arguments against Communism, for Communism describes a kind of religion in itself, a worship of the god of state instead of a god who dictates. Communism competes against religious dogma because it itself describes a dogma.
How can anyone explain the founding members of communism in terms of atheism with hardly a mention of atheism coming from them? Unfortunately even many atheists fall prey to this myth. Just because Bolshevik Communism curtailed the churches, what in the world has this got to do with atheism by that fact alone? If a hurricane swept through a Christian city and destroyed all the churches, should we blame it on an atheistic hurricane? If, indeed, communists justified their beliefs through atheism, then where do we find their arguments? In religious crusades, pogroms, and inquisitions, for example, we find a plethora of theological arguments to justify these atrocities from the theologians and religious believers themselves. But what atheistic reasons did the Communist leaders use? Where do we find their exegesis? One should think that with all the claims and accusations we should find abundant sources. Where do we find them? Although I have not read the entire works of Marx and Stalin, I tried but failed to find where they even admit to their own atheism, much less an elucidation about their philosophy of atheism. This seems rather odd considering all the hoopla spent, ad nauseam, on the subject of atheistic Communism. Imagine a god based religion started by people who rarely speak about God, and you get a flavor of the absurdity of the atheist-Communism argument. So whenever some believer wants to defend the evils of religion by comparing it with the evils of Communist atheism, simply ask for the evidence of atheistic justification. I submit that they haven't a clue about what they talk about.
Let me give you a little challenge. Surely the great "Atheist," Karl Marx must have opined about atheism somewhere, so find an article or essay where Karl Marx explains or writes about atheism, either as a philosophy, or belief system. No? Better yet, find where he admits his atheism even in one sentence.
Although Communism represents a dangerous and unworkable belief system, it has nothing to do with atheism (and as an atheist, I abhore communism). On the contrary, its emphasis on the loss of ownership and giving one's self to a "larger" idea has more in common with Christianity than atheism. The story of Jesus and his disciples in the Gospels describes an exemplary example of a communist life style. Simply substitute or add government as the ideological belief and you have the basis for communism. In the end both Communism and religion hold a dangerous commonality: they both represent belief systems.
Note, the idea that communism derived from Christianity is also supported by the Catholic Pope. In June 2014, Pope Francis accused communism of stealing its ideas from Christianity, and said its founding thinker Karl Marx “did not invent anything.” (see news story)
Karl Marx came from Jewish parents but his father converted to Christianity (so he could practice law in the Christian state of Prussia) and the family got baptized as Protestants including Marx.
Stalin came born into religion. Raised by a deeply religious mother, he attended a parish school, and later entered a theological seminary. It occurred during his theological training when he began his radical communist thinking. Much of his temper and intolerance matches that of the religious teachings of his day.
Sources: (click on an underlined book title if you wish to obtain it):
A Guide Book of United States Coins (42nd Revised Edition), R.S. Yeoman, Western Publishing Co.
Would You Believe?, by Sydney J. Harris, Argus Communications, 1979
A Brief History of Religious Mottoes on United States Currency and Coins, by Madalyn O'Hair, American Atheists Online, 1992
Constantine's Sword, by James Carroll, Houghton Mifflin Co., 2001
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles on Religion, Schocken Books, 1964
Stalin, by T.H. Rigby, Ed., Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966
Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 96 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1995 Microsoft Corporation.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1969