AFTERWORD The Evils of Faith BY MAURY MAVERICK JR. Dear God, who are the whole splendor of things and the sacred stars, but also the cruelty and greed, the treacheries And vileness, insanities and filth and anguish: now that this thing [World War I] comes near us again I am finding it hard To praise you with a whole heart. From “Contemplation of the Sword,” by Robinson Jeffers A, S A JEFFERSON deist four days a week and a Thoreau pantheist the remaining three, I go to church nearly every morning. My church is a secret live oak in Brackenridge Park. That tree and I have had some fine conversations. Let me, as an outsider, ask you Christians, Jews and Muslims some questions. Each Sunday, television evangelists pro claim Jesus can do or stop anything. Why then the Nazi Holocaust? Why the slaughter by Christians in Bosnia? Why be Jewish in Israel, where status is determined not by citizenship, but by a single religion? Isn’t that ultimately a formula for national suicide? Just what do Muslims have in mind regarding the following provision in the Koran: “They who believe not shall have garments of fire fitted onto them; boiling water shall be poured on their heads, their bowels shall be dissolved thereby and also their skins, and they shall be beaten with maces of iron.” Do not those questions lend credence to Robert Ingersoll’s contention that, “To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all creeds”? In the. May 21 San Antonio ExpressNews, Julio Noboa, an educational anthropologist, wrote: “Fundamentalist Protestants are foremost among those in the religious right who have made a career of attacking values in ‘Government Schools.'” \(The situation might be worse than what Noboa has described, as according to a disturbing article in the National Catholic Reporter, the right wing of the Catholic Church is considering an alliance Maury Maverick Jr. is a civil liberties attorney and former legislator. This originally appeared in the San Antonio Express-News. Then, Noboa writes, “Deists, who were prominent in the early revolutionary movement, are accused, by the fundamentalists, of having an un-Biblical view of God.” Well, let’s talk about those revolutionary deists. Tom Paine, the most ardent of the American revolutionaries, wrote in The Age of Reason: I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the’ Turkish church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.” About the Bible, Paine tore his britches with the Puritans when he wrote the following boob-shocker: “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.” Thomas Jefferson was first offended with Christianity through his headmaster and Episcopal priest, the Reverend James Maury, my fairly close cousin. Jefferson, like Paine, not only denounced the Bible, but wrote his own Bible, leaving out the nonsense and cruelty. To John Adams, Jefferson wrote in 1815, “The question before the human race is whether the God of Nature shall govern the world by His own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles.” Seven words Jefferson spoke went around the world like a shot in the night. They got him in trouble then and they still do with the fundamentalists: “This loathsome combination of Church and State.” Benjamin Franklin first gained prominence as a printer and as the deputy postmaster of Philadelphia, where, among other things, he established street lights. Later in Poor Richard’s Almanac, he would write: “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” If, in fact, there is a hereafter, then surely the ghost of John Henry Faulk is entertaining the ghost of John Madison. Johnny loved Madison and quoted these words o; Madison’s to me: “During almost 15 centuries, the legal establishment of Christianity has been on. trial. What has been its faults? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” Baptist leader Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, hit a homer when he wrote, “There goes many a ship to sea with many hundred souls in one ship…I affirmed that all liberty of conscience…turns upon these two hingesthat none of the Papists, Protestants, Jews or Turks be forced to the ship’s prayer or worship nor compelled from their own particular ptayer or worship, if they practice any.” Cut the deck by reading that provision of the Bill of Rights that provides for separation of church and state. Protect the public schools and protect your own integrity. Separation of church and state came to us from Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Paine, Roger Williams and is kept alive by the living John Henry Faulks. They knew a secret Hugo Black knewthat mankind has had to fight its way past the cross, the stake and the hangman’s noose. Postscript: There are good individuals in all religions. Father Bill Davis, the San Antonio Catholic priest, is a fine fellow. I hope he gets a pope who believes in artificial birth control. When I was co-chair of the National Advisory Committee of the ACLU, rabbis in New York, the liberal kind, were an inspiration for the cause of liberty. Because of McCarthyism, when I was a young legislator, a lone-wolf Methodist bishop, G. Bromley Oxnam, helped me against the terror of those days. Edmond Browning, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, knows more about the world than’ you can shake a stick at. But I say it again: Cut the deck when it comes to violations of separation of church and state. Stand by the Bill of Rights and by the old heroes of the American Revolution. Send a Friend the Texas Observer Contact Stephan Wanstrom at 477-0746, or. write 701 West 7th St., Austin, TX 78701. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23
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