PART 2 - THE REVOLUTIONARY HEROES
His book was the inspiration for the rebels with a cause – theFounding Fathers of a prospective new country. His words fired up the soldiersright before General George Washington crossed the Delaware.
He was the authorof “Common Sense”, the biggest seller since the King James andGeneva Bibles in America! His words “These are the times that try men’s souls”have been engraved in the American story. He was a tiny little Englishman whowas introduced by letter to America by another man who loved good living – theerstwhile Ben Franklin. His name was Thomas Paine. Once the AmericanRevolution was won, however, Paine needed more literary fields to conquer andliked what he was hearing out of France and the evil Jacobin Club. He movedthere to join the men behind the Age of Reason ….and fellow atheists –Voltaire, Rousseau and others. In fact Paine even wrote another popular book bythat same name and thus began the proposed elimination of Christianity and theBible in pagan France. Now, the French Revolution was about to start. Butunlike the freedom, God-loving spirit of America, these people had an agendafrom another world.
The Jacobins burned down catholic churches; killed priestsand used the guillotine to destroy the entire royal family and anyone else whomthey wished. Their goal was to wipe God off the map in France! Voltaire, whoselast words before he died were “my feet are on fire”, remarked during this timethat within 100 years, Christianity will be wiped out in France! This offendedAmericans to no end, and not just Christian America, but decent people of allstripes, including American newspapers. President Washington, John Adamsand other Founding Fathers were horrified. Locally, especially in theuniversities of the northeast, anti-God rhetoric was exploding. Charles Chauncy lit the fuse of atheism with his attacks on the orthodoxChristian doctrine of the Bible and his Unitarianism was taken to extremelengths by college students at Harvard, Yale and other now well-knownuniversities.
These young college students went full bore atheist as thebooks and literature of the Age of Reason reached our shores, via subsidiesfrom French atheists and the Jacobin Club, who hoped to do to AmericanChristianity what they did to the French church! The idolatry of these youngAmerican students for the new atheistic movement, in the “Age of Reason” knewno bounds! They even started acting like groupies by calling themselves by thenames of these unsaved men: Voltaire, Rousseau, La Rue and the bunch. These men along with others, two of whom we will examine tomorrow (Ethan Allen and Elihu Palmer) joined up with Jefferson's new political party: the Democratic-Republican Party,( which prophetically enough, just left the Name of God out of their party platform this week)!
But it was not just these unwise young men. The great Founding Father ThomasJefferson was always a Deist, but his stint in France as ambassador reallysolidified his dislike of Christianity. Not knowing the furor that Paine's anti-Christian book "The Age of Reason" and the despicable conduct of the Jacobins and others during the anti-Christian French Revolution, President Jefferson invited Tom Paine back to the US in 1801 to celebrate. The outrage which greeted the return of Tom Paine to these shores shocked Jefferson. Yet, he should have known as American newspapers and the newly independent country did not take kindly to Paine's attacks on George Washington and Christianity!
Here is how the New York Evening Post from 1802 greeted the great American Revolutionary Hero of the 1770's.....Tom Paine....the same Tom Paine, who now had to disguise himself, get an alias and sneak down to visit his old friend Jefferson in the White House:
TO TOM PAINE
Detested reptile! Wherefore has thou come
To add new evils to our groaning land?
To some wild desert let they carcase roam,
Where nought can wither by thy blasting hand.
In the dark hour that brought thee to our shore
The shade of Washington did awful scowl-
Hence, gloomy monster! Curse mankind no more,
Thy person filthy as they soul is foul!
(Seasons of Refreshing by Keith Hardman, Baker Pub. Pg 105)
Wow!! I don't know any Christian these days who speaks to atheists like that! But this is how Paine was welcomed back to America, causing his atheist friend Jefferson to regret the whole thing. By the way, personally, I don't recommend speaking like this to our non-believing friends. We need to pray first for them, then if they still reject the Gospel, leave them in the capable Hands of God and walk away.
There have been many well-meaning Christians over the years, who try to project Christianity and belief in Christ to these men and other Founding Fathers. The most well-known is David Barton, who just had his own controversy when Thomas Nelson pulled his "The Jefferson Lies" book from all bookstores everywhere. Barton is famous for taking public quotes of these men about God, adding one plus one and coming up with eleven. Jefferson and his friends and party at the time were no more believers in God than the Jacobin friends he had. Even his Secretary of War Henry Dearborn was an avowed atheist. Dearborn once said of Christianity and the church "So long as these temples stand we cannot hope for good government"!!!
If there is any doubt why things are the way they are in a country that is now $16 Trillion in debt with moral and spiritual crisis that is unsurpassed in human history, all we have to do is look back and we can find where it all began!
Tomorrow: The Conclusion - "Ethan Allen and Elihu Palmer"