Journal Week 2 - In God We Trust

I have to say my main response to the discussion tonight was that wow, are people ignorant of really basic US history. I don't expect people to know about the plague that killed 90% of the eastern coast's Native Americans, so that settlers were able to just move into the dead people's towns complete with already built houses with already planted corps and stores of food. High school classes never teach kids about it. Or most of the harrowing details of the slave trade, starting with our old buddy Christopher Columbus. Chris and his sailors enslaved inhabitants of the societies he "discovered." And just don't get me started on "discoveries" of places and things that everyone already living there knew all about - hint: if someone who already lives there is guiding you to it and showing you, you haven't discovered anything. Much like being shown Einstein's theory of relativity in seventh grade does not mean that I, Mary Heil, have discovered relativity. Back to Columbus, he ordered the slaves' hands cut off if they failed to give over their daily quota of gold. Even children. And there's always the failure to discuss the abandonment of the freed slaves after the civil war, with repracussions now.

But I have to draw the line at "The Founding Fathers were fleeing religious persecution."

First of all, the religious persecutions of the "pilgrims" who settled Plymouth (150 years BEFORE the Founders were twinkles in their mothers' eyes)consisted of fines equivalent in price to speeding tickets today. Just like today, if you didn't pay your ticket you might end up in jail for a couple of days. And these folks were rich - they usually went to "jail" at a boarding house instead of a real jail with poor people. It wasn't exactly the Inquisition. When you consider that people could be and routinely were hanged for stealing food when they had none to feed their children, it really puts that "persecution" in perspective. And any amount of religious persecution the pilgrims suffered pales beside religious persecution of slaves. Nobody in England was getting gang raped and whipped to death for practicing her religion, but slaves could be and were. Calling fines persecution is an insult to African Americans and First Nations people.

This is not and was deliberately meant not to be a "Christian nation." Roughly a fourth of the Founders were NOT Christian. Which is why the Constitution/Bill of Rights emphasizes religious freedom, abolishes a national religion and a includes a requirement that there be no religious test for political office. The Founders were pissed off because could be survielled, searched and stolen from by British soldiers, imprisoned indefinitely without charges (England STARTED habeas corpus in the 1215 Magna Carta, but ignored it in colonies) and taxed outrageously without representation in parlaiment, meaning that they had no legal recourse to protest and right these wrongs. They were not fleeing religious persecution. Most of them weren't fleeing anything, they had been born here.

Okay, I need to put the kids to bed. Rant over.

Except to say that King George the Second of the USA has pretty much restored all of the depredations that the Founders rebelled against.


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