Arkansas House Rejects Thomas Paine

| Mon Feb. 12, 2007 11:45 PM EST

A lot of conservative spokespeople like to say that America's founders were Christian, when, in fact, most of them were not. Members of the Arkansas state House of Representatives now know that Thomas Paine was not a Christian: A proposal to commemorate January 29 as "Thomas Paine Day" failed because of concerns about Paine's criticism of Christianity.

Paine, the author of "Common Sense," was a deist. Arkansas state representative Sid Rosenbaum presented to the legislature Paine's book, The Age of Reason, as "anti-Christian" and "anti-Jewish." As a result of this characterization, the proposal to create "Thomas Paine Day" failed to pass the Arkansas House. Only six more votes are needed, however, and the proposal's sponsor, Rep. Lindsley Smith, plans to introduce it again.

Said Paine in The Age of Reason:

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
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