Christian Seniors push bogus history

California Congressman Pete Stark answered a query about his religious beliefs, saying he does not believe in God. This is not unusual, really. Through history the U.S. has had people of many religious beliefs, and disbeliefs, serve in Congress.

A group calling itself the Christian Seniors Association, a division of Traditional Values Coalition, hit the panic button unjustly, issuing a press release noting a “Sad First in the History of Congress.”

“It is sad but not surprising that the current Congress has produced this historic first – one of its members has denied God,” said CSA Executive Director James Lafferty. “The liberals in Congress want to throttle any school child who bows his or her head in prayer, but they want to establish a right for liberals to bash Christians and berate God around the clock.

Would it be too much to ask such a group to actually study history? This is not a first, and probably not all that historic, either. Their claim is bogus history.

In 1846 an Illinois state representative ran for Congress, against a famous Methodist preacher, and issued a flyer noting his non-membership in any church and his questioning of traditional views of God, but noting that he bore no ill-will to any believer, especially Christians. Illinois elected him to Congress for one term. The state failed to send him to the U.S. Senate a dozen years later, but his religious belief was not an issue in that consideration at all.

Two years later that one-term Congressman was elected President of the United States, and Illinois now proudly calls itself the “Land of Lincoln.”

And now you know the rest of the story, and you know why the Christian Seniors Association should go back and renew its vows to traditional American values like love of education, studying history, and celebrating the differences in our views that keep our democratic republic vital and strong. Then, after renewing the vows, they should practice what they promise.

Nor is there a shred of evidence that Rep. Stark has ever “berated” God, let alone “around the clock.” Their clock is obviously in need of some cleaning.

Stark has been in Congress for 34 years, first elected in 1972. He is a graduate of MIT in engineering, and a graduate of UC Berkeley with an MBA. He founded a successful bank, Security National Bank, in Walnut Creek, California, in 1963. He served in the U.S. Air Force, and he’s been on the board of directors of a school of ministry. Stark is a strong supporter of real American values and traditions.

Stark is a long-time supporter of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and religious freedom for all Americans. That agenda probably does not sit well with the Christian Seniors Association. Would it kill these guys to read Stark’s views, read history, and study what the Bible says about looking out for others?

High Irony Award: On the website listing the press release where this group calls for an assault on Pete Stark for answering their question, for admitting membership in a group they disapprove of, they offer their “We Believe” statement, including this: “All freedoms, rights and liberties are granted by God not government. Each individual has these unalienable rights and it is unrelated to membership in any group.” Why, then, do they assault Stark for stating his religious beliefs, in response to their question?

Tip of the old scrub brush to P. Z. Myers, a staunch defender of real values in America.

Update:  See later news, here.  Stark’s constituents approve of his stance.

4 Responses to Christian Seniors push bogus history

  1. James Kessler says:

    To quote:
    The comment on your website, “would it be too much to ask for groups to study history?” I have and you have blatantly misquoted President Lincoln, who referred to God in his speech during the Civil War and in other statements he made in history. Sincerely, Ginger Abney

    A President can name whatever deity he or she wants in a speech. They can also choose to mention no deity in a speech. A speech is just that…a speech. It is not government policy.

    And Lincoln may have mentioned God..but that doesn’t mean he was a member of an organized religion. It’s perfectly possible to believe in a deity and not belong to the religion in question.

    For example Jefferson believed in God..and strongly disagreed with organized Christianity. So did Adams, Madison and Franklin.


  2. Ginger Abney says:

    The comment on your website, “would it be too much to ask for groups to study history?” I have and you have blatantly misquoted President Lincoln, who referred to God in his speech during the Civil War and in other statements he made in history. Sincerely, Ginger Abney


  3. Actually, it has been the atheist sites — which I read regularly, since I’m one — that have stressed the fact that this is unique, and I believe that it is, if it is true. (People who contacted his office have been told, in fact, that he is a UU, Universalist Unitarian.) There is a big difference between athiesm or agnosticism and having ‘a non-standard view of God’ — which was true for the majority of the founding fathers, as well as for Lincoln, and, for that matter for Eisenhower.

    I find Jinger Jarrett’s comments fascinating in that, on a post purportedly criticizing some Christians for bias he so obviously reveals his own — though perhaps it is more ignorance than prejudice. We atheists are not — for the most part, nothing is true about ALL members of a group — prejudiced against believers, we simply think you are WRONG. We may, as I do, delight in pointing out logical fallacies in your beliefs. We certainly object to the way many of you demand ‘special privileges’ for your beliefs, or consider that the beliefs of other faiths do not deserve the same respect as yours — how many Christians who demand ‘prayer in schools’ would accept readings from the Qur’an, the Avesta, or even the Talmud, even if there were members of those faiths in the classroom?
    (It is true that some atheists confuse ‘Christianity’ as a whole with the type of — usually — fundamentalism which many of them grew up with, and I have criticized this on a number of sites.) Again, atheists are not a group, but simply a — growing — number of people who share only one thing in common, a disbelief in the existence of any form of theistic deity.

    And please remember that most atheists grew up in theistic households and were believers for at least a part of their lives. In connection with this, I’d suggest you check out the web site “Debunking Christianity,” the owners of which were not merely believers but were, for the most part, ministers and even Christian apologists before they realized they could no longer accept Christianity as true. (I’d also suggest you check out this Sunday’s “Carnival of the Godless” to see the wide ranging differences between various atheists and agnostics — obviously I make this recommendation without knowing which aryicles and writers will be included, but my own experience shows the width of opinions that are usually shown in thisa bi-weekly blog carnival.)


  4. It’s really unfortunate that Christians are sometimes as biased and prejudiced as the people they are going after. There are a lot of things that I don’t agree with, but I don’t see a reason to get upset and have a tantrum. God gave us all free will, and we have the right to exercise that.

    As a Christian, I don’t have to agree with other people. This isn’t what tolerance is about anyway. Tolerance is about respect. Why can’t we just respect each others’ differences?


    Jinger Jarrett


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