Arkansas House Rejects Thomas Paine

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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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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