By Hank Shiver
In 1781, Paine traveled to France to raise money for the US Army. During his stay, he became involved in both French and English politics. For a decade, Paine traveled between the two countries, attempting to spread the idea of a democratic republic in Europe.
The French Revolution (1789-1799) would change Europe forever. The Revolution would overthrow the church and royalty in France and warn the rest of Europe of things to come. In 1789, the French Constitution was started and contained The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen as the preamble of the Constitution. Paine, who spoke no French, was lead writer of the French Constitution which was patterned after the US Constitution. Paine’s defense of The Rights of Man had him convicted of treason in England in 1792. Paine was banned from England for life.
Paine opposed the execution of Louis XVI and his family and was jailed for it. He was ahead of his time in opposing capital punishment. Paine’s Godchild, the USA, still has the death penalty. He supported suffrage in France and the US, and he lost on both counts. As late as 1982, the States influenced by the Religious Right voted not to give women equal rights with men. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands…” To the Conservative Christian, this means that a woman is never to be equal to man.
While in jail, The Age of Reason was written. This was and is the most controversial book ever written about the Jewish/Christian Bible. It includes over 400 contradictions, 300 slams at women, and 900 cruel and violent passages in the Christian Bible. Paine became the most hated man in the Western World.
Paine’s opinion of the Old Testament was, “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible [It should be remembered that by the word “Bible” Paine always means the Old Testament.] is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.
Paine wrote, “It is not then the existence or the non-existence, of the persons that I trouble myself about; it is the fable of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament, and the wild and visionary doctrine raised thereon, against which I contend. The story, taking it as it is told, is blasphemously obscene. It gives an account of a young woman engaged to be married, and while under this engagement, she is, to speak plain language, debauched by a ghost, under the impious pretence, (Luke: 1:35,) that “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” Notwithstanding which, Joseph afterwards marries her, cohabits with her as his wife, and in his turn rivals the ghost.”
Paine was given passage to the US by his friend, President Thomas Jefferson, aboard a US ship. Jefferson was lambasted for doing this. Paine was demonized by the Christian community and men who befriended him or renewed their friendship with him were threatened by religious leaders.
Paine would have never walked into Rick Warren’s church, nor submitted to a religious test by Warren as McCain and Obama did during the presidential campaign. It is time for America to return to her roots.
(Ed. Note: We welcome all opposing opinions.)