Monday, November 30, 2009

The Treaty of Tripoli & The Secular State of The United States of America

Considering that I keep hearing this lie that America was built on Christianity, Judeo-Christian Values, and that the founding fathers were Christian, I think that the truth needs to be told again and again to dispel this lie, because the USA was founded on FREEDOM OF RELIGION, not any particular religion. That said, there is a majority Christian population in the USA, which is totally alright, however that does not dictate that the Government of the USA is Christian. Here is the document that more people need to familiarize themselves with...THE TREATY OF TRIPOLI:

Swiss Ban on Minarets & Why The Government of The United States of America Is Not, In Any Sense Founded On The Christian Religion

The Swiss Ban on Minarets is probably the biggest attack on Religious Freedom and Islam since the Crusades. Switzerland is no longer a "neutral" country and has taken a stance on "The War on Islam" by right wing fundamentalists. The fact that 57% of the Swiss parliament voted in favor of this ban is horrific and a return to when the swiss flag was not a symbol of neutrality, but a symbol of WAR in the Crusades. This is very disturbing and is just another reason why I love the USA and it's freedoms which were guaranteed by it's founding fathers who did not have a religious preference for America.

Soon, Switzerland will vote to make it mandatory for Muslims to wear Crescent Moons like the Jews in World War II, Then they will cry that Muslims are the reason Europe is lagging behind in the world and will try to round up Muslims and put them in concentration (detention) camps! Europe is going down a dark path, darker than it has since Germany and the Jews. Maybe it's Switzerland and the Muslims this time...

Here is an article that is wonderful:

The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense founded on the Christian religion

by Jim Walker
Originated: 11 Apr. 1997
Additions: 26 Dec. 2004

Many Religious Right activists have attempted to rewrite history by asserting that the United States government derived from Christian foundations, that our Founding Fathers originally aimed for a Christian nation. This idea simply does not hold to the historical evidence.

Of course many Americans did practice Christianity, but so also did many believe in deistic philosophy. Indeed, most of our influential Founding Fathers, although they respected the rights of other religionists, held to deism and Freemasonry tenets rather than to Christianity.

The U.S. Constitution

The United States Constitution serves as the law of the land for America and indicates the intent of our Founding Fathers. The Constitution forms a secular document, and nowhere does it appeal to God, Christianity, Jesus, or any supreme being. (For those who think the date of the Constitution contradicts the last sentence, see note 1 at the end.) The U.S. government derives from people (not God), as it clearly states in the preamble: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union...." The omission of God in the Constitution did not come out of forgetfulness, but rather out of the Founding Fathers purposeful intentions to keep government separate from religion.

Although the Constitution does not include the phrase "Separation of Church & State," neither does it say "Freedom of religion." However, the Constitution implies both in the 1st Amendment. As to our freedoms, the 1st Amendment provides exclusionary wording:

Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. [bold caps, mine]

Thomas Jefferson made an interpretation of the 1st Amendment to his January 1st, 1802 letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association calling it a "wall of separation between church and State." Madison had also written that "Strongly guarded. . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States." There existed little controversy about this interpretation from our Founding Fathers.

If religionists better understood the concept of separation of Church & State, they would realize that the wall of separation actually protects their religion. Our secular government allows the free expression of religion and non religion. Today, religions flourish in America; we have more churches than Seven-Elevens.

Although many secular and atheist groups fight for the wall of separation, this does not mean that they wish to lawfully eliminate religion from society. On the contrary, you will find no secular or atheist group attempting to ban Christianity, or any other religion from American society. Keeping religion separate allows atheists and religionists alike, to practice their belief systems, regardless how ridiculous they may seem, without government intervention.

The Declaration of Independence

Many Christian's who think of America as founded upon Christianity usually present the Declaration of Independence as "proof" of a Christian America. The reason appears obvious: the Declaration mentions God. (You may notice that some Christians avoid the Constitution, with its absence of God.)

However, the Declaration of Independence does not represent any law of the United States. It came before the establishment of our lawful government (the Constitution). The Declaration aimed at announcing the separation of America from Great Britain and it listed the various grievances with them. The Declaration includes the words, "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America." The grievances against Great Britain no longer hold today, and we have more than thirteen states.

Although the Declaration may have influential power, it may inspire the lofty thoughts of poets and believers, and judges may mention it in their summations, it holds no legal power today. It represents a historical document about rebellious intentions against Great Britain at a time before the formation of our government.

Of course the Declaration stands as a great political document. Its author aimed at a future government designed and upheld by people and not based on a superstitious god or religious monarchy. It observed that all men "are created equal" meaning that we all get born with the abilities of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men." Please note that the Declaration says nothing about our rights secured by Christianity. It bears repeating: "Governments are instituted among men."

The pursuit of happiness does not mean a guarantee of happiness, only that we have the freedom to pursue it. Our Law of the Land incorporates this freedom of pursuit in the Constitution. We can believe or not believe as we wish. We may succeed or fail in our pursuit, but our Constitution (and not the Declaration) protects our unalienable rights in our attempt at happiness.

Moreover, the mentioning of God in the Declaration does not describe the personal God of Christianity. Thomas Jefferson who held deist beliefs, wrote the majority of the Declaration. The Declaration describes "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." This nature's view of God agrees with deist philosophy and might even appeal to those of pantheistical beliefs, but any attempt to use the Declaration as a support for Christianity will fail for this reason alone.

The Treaty of Tripoli

Unlike most governments of the past, the American Founding Fathers set up a government divorced from any religion. Their establishment of a secular government did not require a reflection to themselves of its origin; they knew this as a ubiquitous unspoken given. However, as the United States delved into international affairs, few foreign nations knew about the intentions of the U.S. For this reason, an insight from at a little known but legal document written in the late 1700s explicitly reveals the secular nature of the U.S. goverenment to a foreign nation. Officially called the "Treaty of peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary," most refer to it as simply the Treaty of Tripoli. In Article 11, it states:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." [bold text, mine]

Click here to see the actual article 11 of the Treaty

The preliminary treaty began with a signing on 4 November, 1796 (the end of George Washington's last term as president). Joel Barlow, the American diplomat served as counsel to Algiers and held responsibility for the treaty negotiations. Barlow had once served under Washington as a chaplain in the revolutionary army. He became good friends with Paine, Jefferson, and read Enlightenment literature. Later he abandoned Christian orthodoxy for rationalism and became an advocate of secular government. Joel Barlow wrote the original English version of the treaty, including Amendment 11. Barlow forwarded the treaty to U.S. legislators for approval in 1797. Timothy Pickering, the secretary of state, endorsed it and John Adams concurred (now during his presidency), sending the document on to the Senate. The Senate approved the treaty on June 7, 1797, and officially ratified by the Senate with John Adams signature on 10 June, 1797. All during this multi-review process, the wording of Article 11 never raised the slightest concern. The treaty even became public through its publication in The Philadelphia Gazette on 17 June 1797.

So here we have a clear admission by the United States in 1797 that our government did not found itself upon Christianity. Unlike the Declaration of Independence, this treaty represented U.S. law as all U.S. Treaties do (see the Constitution, Article VI, Sect.2: "This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.") [Bold text, mine]

Although the Treaty of Tripoli under agreement only lasted a few years and no longer has legal status, it clearly represented the feelings of our Founding Fathers at the beginning of the American government.

Common Law

According to the Constitution's 7th Amendment: "In suits at common law. . . the right of trial by jury shall be preserved; and no fact, tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law."

Here, many Christians believe that common law came from Christian foundations and therefore the Constitution derives from it. They use various quotes from Supreme Court Justices proclaiming that Christianity came as part of the laws of England, and therefore from its common law heritage.

But one of our principle Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, elaborated about the history of common law in his letter to Thomas Cooper on February 10, 1814:

"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it."

". . . if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

In the same letter, Jefferson examined how the error spread about Christianity and common law. Jefferson realized that a misinterpretation had occurred with a Latin term by Prisot, "ancien scripture", in reference to common law history. The term meant "ancient scripture" but people had incorrectly interpreted it to mean "Holy Scripture," thus spreading the myth that common law came from the Bible. Jefferson writes:

"And Blackstone repeats, in the words of Sir Matthew Hale, that 'Christianity is part of the laws of England,' citing Ventris and Strange ubi surpa. 4. Blackst. 59. Lord Mansfield qualifies it a little by saying that 'The essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law." In the case of the Chamberlain of London v. Evans, 1767. But he cites no authority, and leaves us at our peril to find out what, in the opinion of the judge, and according to the measure of his foot or his faith, are those essential principles of revealed religion obligatory on us as a part of the common law."
Thus we find this string of authorities, when examined to the beginning, all hanging on the same hook, a perverted expression of Priscot's, or on one another, or nobody."

The Encyclopedia Britannica, also describes the Saxon origin and adds: "The nature of the new common law was at first much influenced by the principles of Roman law, but later it developed more and more along independent lines." Also prominent among the characteristics that derived out of common law include the institution of the jury, and the right to speedy trial.

For another article on this subject visit The Early America Review:

Note 1: The end of the Constitution records the year of its ratification, "the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven." Although, indeed, it uses the word "Lord", it does not refer to Jesus but rather to the dating method. Incredibly, some Christians attempt to use this as justification for a Christian derived Constitution. The term simply conveys a written English form of the Latin, Anno Domini (AD), which means the year of our Lord (no, it does not mean After Death). This scripted form served as a common way of dating in the 1700s. The Constitution also uses many pagan words such as January (from the two-headed Roman god, Janus), and Sunday (from the word Sunne, which refers to the Saxon Sun god). Can you imagine the ludicrous position of someone trying to argue for the justification of a pagan god based Constitution? The same goes to any Christian who attempts to use a dating convention as an argument against the Constitution's secular nature, and can only paint himself as naive, or worse, as dishonest and deceiving. (For a satire on using calendar words to support pagan Gods, see The United States: A Country founded on paganism.)

Sources (click on an underlined book title if you wish to obtain it):

Robert Boston, "Why the Religious Right is Wrong About Separation of Church & State, "Prometheus Books, 1993, pp. 78-79

Morton Borden, "Jews, Turks and Infidels," Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1984)

Charles I. Bevans, "Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America 1776-1949," Vol. II, [ICCN 70600742 // x763]

Merrill D. Peterson, "Thomas Jefferson Writings," The Library of America, 1984

Hunter Miller, ed., "Treaties and other International Acts of the United States of America," Vol. 2, Documents 1-40: 1776-1818, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1931

Paul F. Boller, Jr., "George Washington & Religion," Southern Methodist University Press: Dallas, 1963, pp. 87-88

George Seldes, "The Great Quotations," Pocket Books, New York, 1967, p. 145

James Woodress, "A Yankee's Odyssey, the Life of Joel Barlow," J.P. Lippincott Co., 1958

Encyclopedia sources:

Common law: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 6, "William Benton, Publisher, 1969

Declaration of Independence: MicroSoft Encarta 1996 Encyclopedia, MicroSoft Corp., Funk & Wagnalls Corporation.

Internet sites:

By Ed & Michael Buckner:

The Founding Fathers Were NOT Christians:

Treaty of Tripoli from the American State Papers, Senate, 5th Congress, 1st Session Foreign Relations: Volume 2, Page 18, Page 19

Special thanks to Ed Buckner, Robert Boston and Selena Brewington for providing me with source materials.

Is Maurice Clemmons a Christian, Jew or Muslim?

I just read this news report about shootings in Seattle, my question is that the name "Maurice Clemmons" sounds very Christian, so is this shooter a Christian, if so is he doing the shootings because of religious influence or because he a Christian? Read More: The reason I mention this is that there is a double standard when it comes to Christians, Jews, and others commiting crimes than when a Muslim commits a crime like the Fort Hood Shootings. This double standard is something that has been around since at least the Crusades where Muslims have been demonized, such as Saladin being depicted in German woodcuts as having "Devil Horns".

The Middle East vs. West Asia & North Africa

Something that occured to me recently has to do with the term "Middle East" being used to speak of West or Western Asia and North Africa...the term Middle East is Euro-Centric and was popularly introduced with the help of the British Empire. From the point of view of the Imperial British, Iran is the Middle East, however in reality there is no continent called The Middle East. It is actually in Western Asia. On the same note, Egypt is North Africa and not the Middle East. Why you may ask this term is used? Well, when you want to describe majority Muslim nations as barbaric, what better way to call it "The Middle East" and say that the ME has been at war for thousands of years? Ironically so has the rest of the China, which is in Asia has been around for over 9000 years, 2000 more years than Iran, however they don't talk about Asia the same way as the ME...That brings more questions to much of Asia is Muslim? If you refer to Asian countries with the proper names, then you will realize that at least half of Asia is Muslim...including 100 million in China!

Earth Warning: Global Warming vs. Climate Change

The reason why the term Global Warming is replaced with Climate Change has to do with the fact that it's WORSE than we thought. If the earth was only warming (hat tip to Al Gore) we would be alright, however the fact that cold places are becoming hot and hot places are becoming cold is much worse, meaning that there is a huge planetary shift happening. You may ask why I bring this up? Well, I was reading some extremist evangelical rhetoric about why Al Gore had it wrong by referring to Climate Change as Global Warming and how "liberals" don't get it...well, ironically it appears that conservatives, centrists and liberals do get it, however ultra-conservatives don't.

Smith spoke of the Israeli Center: "You're sure it's not Borat's older brother?"

"Fox Sports Prime Ticket suspended announcer Ralph Lawler and analyst Michael Smith earlier in the week for offending some viewers with their comments about Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi. Smith spoke of the Iranian center: "You're sure it's not Borat's older brother?... If they ever make a movie about Haddadi, I'm going to get Sacha Baron Cohen to play the part." After Haddadi passed the ball to a teammate for an assist, Lawler said, "I guess those Iranians can pass the ball." Both announcers were suspended one game."

They should have had to take a sensitivity class on not making biggoted and racist comments as well. I wonder if the player was Israeli, would they make the same comments? How much more of a penalty would they recieve? Would it be like Mel Gibson's crucification? Considering that Sacha Baron Cohen is Jewish playing the role of a Kazakhstani and not an Iranian? I wonder how the world would see an Iranian actor impersonating an Israeli the way Borat impersonates Kazakhstanis? Ponder on that...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best Buy Wishes American Muslims a Happy Eid Al-Adha

Best Buy stands by its decision to wish U.S. Muslims a Happy Eid Al-Adha, a rep for the company said, and though some Best Buy customers took offense, a Muslim advocacy group praised the move...

finally, I feel that we are starting to make progress where you actually feel like part of the fabric of this country. Considering that there are an estimated 7 to 10 million American Muslims who should be next in line after Christians in numbers in the USA...this is a long time coming! Of course, when you read such wonderful reports that Muslims are being treated the way the Constitution will have the right wing extremists jumping on this and attacking Best Buy for being a "Dhimmi". Well, considering that the USA is not an Islamic State, nobody can be a "Dhimmi" and those who write such things are "Dummis".

This feels like integration back during the Civil Rights era for African-Americans!...

Wolverine & The X-Men

My colleague Ahmed Rehab of the Chicago Chapter of CAIR inspired me to start my first "official" blog in the wake of the Fort Hood Shootings.

The combination of the events of the Fort Hood Shooting remind me of Marvel's "X-Men" Comics...we have William Stryker and his Purifiers (Right Wing, KKK, Pat Robertson, Pamela Gellar, etc.), Professor-X and the Mutants (CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, NAACP, ACLU, Muslims), and then you got Magneto and his Mutants (Extremists ie. Youssef Al-Khattab, Anwar Al-Awlaki, Al-Qaeda, etc.) and finally the regular American public. I am a bit of a renegade, so I guess I would be Wolverine in this equation.

The dynamics of what is happening is straight out of an X-Men Movie or Comic. Rather sad, but I see the parallels.... The issues brought up in the series deal with Civil Rights issues and make references to Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Jewish Holocaust, and many more. Many of the situations that are dealt with in the series are the same issues that American Muslims have to deal with in real life.

In this clip, Wolverine says "Let's bring back the X-Men". Reminds me of "Let's bring back CAIR into the Federal Government's outreach program"... =)