Tag Archives: Thomas Jefferson

North Carolina wants a State Religion

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Bill of Rights, 09/25/1789

Bill of Rights, 09/25/1789 (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

In the late 1800’s, some Christian groups proposed that the United States create a new state that was only for Christians. This worried feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton who knew traditional Christian values viewed women as second-class citizens – women couldn’t vote, own property, leave unhappy marriages, or do anything without their husband’s permission. Luckily, the Christian State was never created and decades later, women were able to gain equality rights since the United States was created with the idea of separating the church from the government.

On April 1, 2012, North Carolina proposed a bill that would allow an official state religion that would declare the state exempt from the Constitution and court rulings. The bill was filed on April Fool’s Day, though North Carolina is very serious about this pill. It is back by eleven Republicans and was filed after a lawsuit was filed to stop county commissioners in Rowan County from opening meetings with a Christian prayer. The bill’s main sponsors are Carl Ford and Harry Warren and the co-sponsors are Edgar Starnes and Larry Pittman.

The bill reads:

SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

Past American leaders knew religion should not control the United States. Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers made sure government was split from religion because they knew a country ruled by religion doesn’t allow democracy. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think, recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people.”  And she is right, look at the Middle East where all the countries are controlled by religion – the poor are uneducated, the leaders use the Quran to kill Christians and Jews, and women are forced to cover their faces and serve their husbands. Now, you may think “that wouldn’t happen here in a majority Christian country” but some strict Christians still believe men are better than women, that other religions should not be practiced, the homosexuals should be punished, and birth control should disappear – even though Jesus preached “love thy neighbor.”

The United States is supposed to be the country in the world that allows all religions, as long as the religions are not violent and the followers still follow the country’s laws. North Carolina choosing religion over government is a danger for all people. Though the bill will not pass since it 100% goes against the U.S. Constitution, the men behind this bill should not be in office if they care more about THEIR religion than about the people that were voted to represent. Instead of wasting time seeking revenge over the fact that they cannot pray at government meetings, they should be creating laws to help the poor and the weak; after all, that’s what Jesus said to do.

 

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Sacagawea: Guide of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

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Statue of Sacajawea in Washington Park, Portla...

Statue of Sacajawea in Washington Park, Portland,  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson “purchased” 828,000 square miles of Louisiana territory from France. Since little was known about the West, a group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark was chosen to explore and map the newly acquired land so that America could claim the the western land before European countries could. When Lewis and Clark returned three years later, they brought home news of the Pacific Ocean, the Rocky Mountains, multiple Native American villages, and descriptions of new plants and animals. They also brought home the story of Sacagawea, the Native American who helped lead them on their journey.

Sacagawea was born in 1790 to a Shoshone chief, but was kidnapped by the rival tribe Hidatsa when she was ten years old. Three years later, she and another Shoshone girl were purchased by Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian trapper. Sacagawea was 16 and pregnant when she met Lewis and Clark. Lewis and Clark were in South Dakota in 1804 asking fur traders to be interpreters. Though Charbonneau knew several Native American languages, Lewis and Clark were impressed with Sacagawea because she knew Shoshone. The travelers needed horses to travel across the Rocky Mountains, but since they were traveling by boats at first, they could not bring the horses with them. They knew the Shoshone tribe used horses so they planned to ask the Shoshone tribe to use the horses. Thus, Sacagawea and her husband were chosen.

On February 11, 1805, Sacagawea gave birth a bay name Jean Baptiste, nicknamed Pompey by the travelers. For the rest of the journey, Sacagawea carried Pompey on her back. Within a month of traveling, the small boat Charbonneau was navigated capsized. While Charbonneau panicked, Sacagawea gathered important papers, books, and medicines was making sure her baby was safe. In her honor, the river was named after her.

When the group made contact with the Shoshone, Sacagawea served as the interpreter. To her surprise, the chief was her older brother. The siblings were reunited and celebrated their reunion. Though Sacagawea could have stayed with her family, she continued with Lewis and Clark. Throughout the trip she was able to identify plants that were either medicinal or poisonous and she helped guide the travelers, leading them through a mountain pass in Montana. Sacagawea’s biggest contribution was the fact that she was female. The American travelers would have alarmed many tribes, but seeing a woman with a baby meant the Americans meant no harm. After seeing the Pacific Ocean, the group returned home. Sacagawea and her husband parted with Lewis and Clark at the Hidatsa village in Missouri on August 14, 1806. Three years later, they visited Clark in St. Louis. Clark made a deal with them; he would provide the family with farming land if he could educate Pompey. Farming didn’t work out for the family, but the parents left Pompey in Clark’s care. In 1812, at the age of 22, Sacagawea died from poor health.

Sacagawea walked hundreds of miles with her baby on her back, climbing mountains, riding horse back, sailing down rivers, and camping out during blizzards. Sacagawea also made the difficult decision to have Clark raise her child because she knew her son would receive the best education and life with Clark and not her and her husband. Because of her, Lewis and Clark were able to finish their journey, coming in contact with 72 tribes and mapping out the trail to the Pacific Ocean. If Sacagawea was not there, the travelers may have been viewed as a threat and killed, alternating history. Though Sacagawea had a short and difficult life, her contributions to the United States are the reasons why she has more statues and monuments than any other female American in the United States.

Sources:

Sacagawea

History: Sacagawea