Sunday, February 11, 2007

Anti-Deist religious bigotry:

Thomas Paine Day Vote Fails in Arkansas

Thomas Paine may have helped inspire the American Revolution, but inspiring Arkansas lawmakers to commemorate a day in his honor is another matter.

The proposal by Rep. Lindsley Smith, D-Fayetteville, to commemorate Jan. 29 as "Thomas Paine Day" failed in the state House of Representatives after a legislator questioned Paine's writings criticizing the Bible and Christianity.

...Rep. Sid Rosenbaum, R-Little Rock, quizzed Smith about Paine and quoted passages from Paine's book, "The Age of Reason," which Rosenbaum criticized as anti-religion.

"He did some good things for the nation, but the book that he wrote was anti-Christian and anti-Jewish," Rosenbaum said....

As Philip Slater recently wrote:

Paine, a deeply religious man, who believed in God and tried to model his life after Jesus, wrote a book pointing out that the Bible was written by men, not God, and was filled with absurdities and contradictions, and that humanity should look for God in the beauty of Creation, not in a book filled with the follies of men--that God should be worshiped not because of the 'miracles' of the Bible--mostly imported from older mythical traditions--but because of the miracle of the universe that surrounds us.

...Yet, supposedly for saying these things--which simply placed him in the same religious camp as most of the Founding Fathers--Paine was spat on and vilified by Christians, called Satan, refused food and lodging at inns, prevented from voting, and died in poverty of a lingering illness, supported only by a few friends.

And now this.

I see, by the way, that Arkansas still has an Arkansas Confederate History and Heritage Month, a Confederate Memorial Day, and a Confederate Flag Day. Apparently being anti-America isn't a dealbreaker if you want a commemorative day (or month) in Arkansas.

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