Past Features

December 11, 2015

Fox News -- December 10, 2015
Muslim mayhem aids Trump in new polls
    We don't know yet how Donald Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States will play out in the national Republican electorate. But a CBS/NYT poll out today suggests that the outrage and fear that has followed the worst Islamist terror attack in the U.S. since 9/11 is helping Trump.
    The poll, the first of real repute to show him breaking out of his usual range of about a quarter of the vote, has Trump dominating the GOP with 35 percent. Trump is up 16 points since the organizations' previous survey in October.
    While this poll was taken before his call for a Muslim crackdown, Trump had already expressed interest in a suggestion to force Muslim Americans to register with the federal government. Voters pretty well knew where he stood on religious tests.
    And we have real evidence that Trump's plan to single out visitors based on religion is doing him good, at least in South Carolina --- the vanguard for the Southern, conservative states that will dominate the early going in the upcoming GOP primary season.

The Founding Fathers, Deism, and Christianity
    For some time the question of the religious faith of the Founding Fathers has generated a culture war in the United States. Scholars trained in research universities have generally argued that the majority of the Founders were religious rationalists or Unitarians. Pastors and other writers who identify themselves as Evangelicals have claimed not only that most of the Founders held orthodox beliefs but also that some were born-again Christians. [...]
    But the widespread existence in 18th-century America of a school of religious thought called Deism complicates the actual beliefs of the Founders. Drawing from the scientific and philosophical work of such figures as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Isaac Newton, and John Locke, Deists argued that human experience and rationality --- rather than religious dogma and mystery --- determine the validity of human beliefs. In his widely read The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine, the principal American exponent of Deism, called Christianity “a fable.” Paine, the protégé of Benjamin Franklin, denied “that the Almighty ever did communicate anything to man, by…speech,... language, or…vision.” Postulating a distant deity whom he called “Nature's God” (a term also used in the Declaration of Independence), Paine declared in a “profession of faith”....