05 January 2016

John Andrews Thinks Atheists Want Islamic Law

[This was originally written about five years ago.]

Words of foolishness from a libertarian think tank chair, who really doesn't understand the establishment clause of the First Amendment (not dated April 1):
Dear Grandson: I risk writing you this letter in order to pass along some censored history. Today's America of 2050, officially atheist by law, is a very different place from the "nation under God" of my boyhood in 2010. . . . I'm sad to tell you that during my lifetime, "brave" and "free" have been redefined so as to disallow any reverence for that power whom our founders called the Creator. Christians and Jews have been made outlaws.

So hide my letter with your Bible; both are illegal to possess. It is only because your father and mother honor the civil-disobedience tradition of Martin Luther King and ignore the ban on Judeo-Christian writings that you can read the Scriptures at all. . . .

The dominoes began falling with the election of three fiery atheists to the Colorado House in 2010. Once in office, they played on the Catholic sex scandals, allegations of evangelical homophobia, and the anti-Israel mood to portray the God of the Bible as civilization's worst enemy. Their "freedom from religion" movement pushed a bill branding the Gospels and the Torah as hate speech. It finally passed on Good Friday, 2025.

A coalition led by the Catholic archbishop, leading rabbis, and the son of James Dobson filed suit, denouncing the act as "tyranny worthy of Lenin or Nero." But the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it. The majority opinion explained that "religion" in the First Amendment excludes by definition every thought, word, and action that manifests intolerance toward any species whatsoever, or the planet itself.

Legislation and court rulings piled on rapidly after that, first marginalizing, then stigmatizing, and finally criminalizing the followers of Jesus and Moses. Islam was judicially certified as a "political system," however, giving it indulgence and then preference - resulting in the Sharia-infected USA of today. Buddhism and earth-worship also remained free, the one as a "philosophy," the other as "science." . .

Stay strong - Grandfather.
It would almost make you want to cry blood libel, if it wasn't so damned silly. Is John Andrews really a leader of the conservative movement?

About Nero

Nero is an interesting choice to scapegoat as well. He reigned in Rome from 54 CE-68 CE. His scapegoating of Christians in the wake of the great fire of Rome, 64 CE, was one of the first time that Christians were referred to as a community in a non-Christian history, which was written by Tacitus:
Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths.
Tiberius reigned from 14 CE-37 CE. Pontius Pilate is believed to have been the Equestrian procurator of the Roman province of Judaea from 26–36, and is mentioned by Philo in his Legatio ad Gaium (Embassy to Gaius) describing his trip to the emperor in 40 CE regarding the treatment of Jews in Alexandria, Josephus, and Tacitus. Philo and Jospehus relate that Pilate reported to client-state king Herod Antipas (reigned 4 BCE to 39 CE), to whom the Gospels refers both in connection with the passion story and the execution of John the Baptist, the Biblical spiritual mentor of Jesus (with the execution probably taking place around 34 CE when the second marriage John purportedly criticized Herod for took place) and prior to the death of Jesus.

Nero's masascre episode provides many of the more colorful sainthood stories of the Roman Catholic tradition.

It also provides modern historians with one of the oldest definitive dates at which the Christian faith could have become notable in Rome, a date roughly a generation after the traditional date of the events recounted in the passion story recalled each Easter (ca. 26-36).

The earliest non-Christian historical date is 49 CE, when Roman historian Suetonius when Jews were expelled from Rome on account of the Christians (seen then as a Jewish sect), a date close in time to the date attributed to the Council of Jerusalem that established that Gentiles could be Christians without following all Jewish laws, took place in the early Christian church according to the Book of Acts (Chapter 15), to which the Epistle to the Galatians attribute to Paul the writer of the biblical epistles is believed to have been addressed.

Another of the early Roman historians was Josephus, who was Jewish, and wrote The Jewish War (c. 75) regarding the events that caused the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94), which contains another of the earliest non-Christian references to Christianity. The earliest non-Biblical church writings, such as a letter from Pope Clement I, date to c. 96, and the dates of the Biblical works have long been disputed because of their importance to the Christian church.

The Biblical book of Luke and Acts were probably in the process of being drafted at the time Nero carried out his massacre and were probably drafted without access to the full set of Pauline Espitles, although they probably existed at that time, and tradition puts Paul the Epistle writer in Rome during part of Nero's reign. Per Wikipedia (which accurately represents of the consensus in this case): "Traditional views assume that the bulk of New Testament texts date to the period between AD 45 and AD 100, with the Pauline epistles among the earliest texts."

Atheists, of course, may deny the divinity of Christ or the theology of Christianity, but to a one, do not deny the existence and considerable antiquity of Judaism and Christianity.

Nero, of course, did not wipe out the Christians. Christianity would go on to become a leading religion of the empire over the next two hundred and fifty years.

Nero was also assassinated two years before the Jewish temple was destroyed in Jerusalem, the event that ended temple Judaism and commenced the rabbinic age of Judaism.

As Christianity grew more important, the Roman nation became embroiled in intramural fights over which sect of Christianity was correct. The Arian heresy, which (to grossly oversimplify) proclaimed that Christ was fully human and not in his nature divine (and was popular with the often successful missionaries to the barbarians and with many Romans), was the leading runner up for about a hundred years in the late 3rd century and most of the 4th century.

Indeed, it was Christianity's elevation to the state religion of Rome under Emperor Constantine which resolved tentantively the schism in the faith at the Council of Nicea in 325 CE, and Rome's subsequent persecution of heretics and pagans, a few emperors later under Theodosius I, starting in 380 CE, and under some of his successors, that were pivotal in positioning Christianity to become the dominant and almost exclusive religion of Europe on into the present. By the time that the Western Roman empire fell, state policy had made Christianity the exclusive legal religion of the empire.

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