Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Moore’s Christians Only Theocracy

Good ol’ Roy Moore is back at it again and he’s playing poker. He’s seeing Dennis Prager’s stupidity and raising it a heaping dose of theocratic insanity. He’s also showing, yet again, his ignorance of American history. Prager only claimed that a Muslim shouldn’t be allowed to swear an oath on the Quran instead of the Bible. Moore ups the ante: no Muslim should be allowed to serve in Congress at all. And his reasoning is astonishingly ignorant.

In 1789, George Washington, our first president under the Constitution, took his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.” Placing his hand on the Holy Scriptures, Washington recognized the God who had led our Pilgrim fathers on their journey across the Atlantic in 1620 and who gave our Founding Fathers the impetus to begin a new nation in 1776.


Moore is repeating what is almost certainly a myth. As Jon Rowe notes here, the first reports of Washington saying “so help me God” do not appear until the 1850s. There is no contemporary source that supports the claim at all. Washington did, however, kiss the Bible; that is a Masonic ritual, not a Christian one, and Washington was, of course, a master mason. In fact, the Bible used by Washington in his swearing in came from a Masonic lodge.

To support the Constitution of the United States one must uphold an underlying principle of that document, liberty of conscience, which is the right of every person to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience, without interference by the government.

Well yes, I agree completely. And since you are now arguing that no one can be a Muslim and hold public office, you clearly do not uphold that underlying principle, nor do you support the Constitution, which clearly forbids such religious tests for office. But you’re in good company. Many of the people who opposed the passage of the Constitution when it was up for ratification didn’t support the ban on religious tests for office either and they fought against ratification for that reason. At least they were consistent; you’re wrapping yourself in that document while simultaneously undermining it.

Justice Story echoed the sentiments of Thomas Jefferson in his Bill for Religious Freedom in 1777 in which he stated that “Almighty God” (El Shaddai in Hebrew) “hath created the mind free and manifested His supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint.” It was a specific God who endowed us with a freedom of conscience with which government could not interfere.

And now, a little history lesson: when Jefferson’s act was being deliberated in the Virginia Assembly, Moore’s ideological ancestors tried to amend it to make it specifically about the Christian God rather than an all-inclusive one. They failed. And Jefferson later wrote in his autobiography about it and made clear that this principle protected everyone, including Muslims:

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

Jefferson quite explicitly wrote his Act not to be about any specific God but about his own broadly theistic, non-Biblical conception of God. Contrary to Moore’s ignorant claim that men like Jefferson (and Adams, and Washington, and Madison) believed only in the “Judeo-Christian” God and only extended the notion of freedom to those people, these men believed in a universal God and that all religions, when stripped to their core moral principles, acknowledged. That’s why Jefferson could write in a letter to James Fishback:

Every religion consists of moral precepts, and of dogmas. In the first they all agree. All forbid us to murder, steal, plunder, bear false witness &ca. and these are the articles necessary for the preservation of order, justice, and happiness in society. In their particular dogmas all differ; no two professing the same. These respect vestments, ceremonies, physical opinions, and metaphysical speculations, totally unconnected with morality, and unimportant to the legitimate objects of society….We see good men in all religions, and as many in one as another. It is then a matter of principle with me to avoid disturbing the tranquility of others by the expression of any opinion on the [unimportant points] innocent questions on which we schismatize, and think it enough to hold fast to those moral precepts which are of the essence of Christianity, and of all other religions.

It’s why John Adams could write to John Taylor and say that “moral liberty resides in Hindoos and Mahometans, as well as in Christians.” So much for the notion that Moore is following in the footsteps of the founding fathers. So whose footsteps is he following in? Those who tried to kill the Constitution. The religious right of that day hated the Constitution. They believed, like Patrick Henry did, that because the Constitution said nothing about God or Christianity, that it did not acknowledge our reliance upon God, it would bring down His wrath upon us all.

They also believed, and argued loudly all over the country, that the ban on religious tests for office would destroy America because it would allow people other than their own brand of (primarily Calvinist) Christians to hold public office. Madison, in a letter to Jefferson, then in Paris in 1788, notes that in New England there was much opposition to the provision banning religious tests for office because it “opened a door to Jews, Turks and infidels.” In North Carolina, one delegate, a Presbyterian minister, declared that the new Constitution would allow America to be ruled by “Jews and pagans of every kind”.

In Kramnick and Moore’s The Godless Constitution, they quote from a widely circulated article at the time that declared that without religious tests for office limited only to specific types of Christians, the following groups would be allowed to take office:

“1st. Quakers, who will make the blacks saucy, and at the same time deprive us of the means of defence – 2dly. Mahometans, who ridicule the Trinity – 3dly. Deists, abominable wretches – 4thly. Negroes, the seed of Cain – 5thly. Beggars, who when set on horseback will ride to the devil – 6thly. Jews etc. etc.”

During the time of our founding, the only ones who took the position that Moore is now taking are those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution. Yet here is Moore taking the same position as those people while claiming to support that document. This is beyond ridiculous; this is delusional.

Ellison may well, as an individual, not accept the Constitution at all. Many Muslims would argue that one cannot be a true Muslim and uphold the constitution. But many Christians said the same thing when the Constitution was written. Some Muslims are just fine with the Constitution and our basic principles of liberty and equality; some are not. The same is true of Christians. And on the subject of rejecting those whose religion requires them to reject the Constitution, Roy Moore is the last man on the planet who should be doing the talking.

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    December 14, 2006

    Excellent post… “theocratic insanity” indeed!

  2. #2 Russell
    December 14, 2006

    The hypocrisy of this is amazing. I don’t know Ellison’s theological views, or whether they would inhibit him from upholding the Constitution. I [i]do[/i] know Moore’s theological views, that they [i]did[/i] prevent him from upholding the Constitution, and that he was removed from the bench because of that.

  3. #3 ruidh
    December 14, 2006

    I suppose, then, a case could be made that the US was established as a Masonic nation and not a Christian one. Now, that would get some people’s noses out of joint.

  4. #4 Steve Reuland
    December 14, 2006

    I just don’t understand the argument, “Our religious freedom is granted by God, so if you don’t believe in (the right) God, then you don’t have religious freedom”. It would seem that if you accept the premise, then to believe the conclusion is an act of sacrilege.

  5. #5 kehrsam
    December 14, 2006

    Russell: Use the angle brackets on the comma and period keys for your tags.

  6. #6 Prup aka Jim Benton
    December 14, 2006

    Russell, the HTML tags use <> not [] but they are cuye as ankle bracelets.

  7. #7 Russell
    December 14, 2006

    Yes, yes. Angled brackets. On this site. Square brackets, on some of the other boards I visit. Red right returning, except in Region B nations. :(

  8. #8 Kristine
    December 14, 2006

    Hey, hey, hey, I’m one of Rep. Ellison’s new constituents! You didn’t know that the Muslims and the godless belly dancing atheists were in league with the devil, now, did you! I knew the guy before he ran, and helped with his campaign of course, because I’m eeeevvviiilll! I know his religious views.

    He’s a Muslim who’s not anti-gay! He’s pro gay rights! Well, there you have it, folks. If he were a homophobe you can be sure that the right wing would be crowing about their ability to attract “diversity.”

    Shimmies to Keith Ellison and raspberries to Roy Moore! Eat that raspberry pie, Moore. You can’t handle Minnesota.

  9. #9 TemplarScribe
    December 14, 2006

    An excellent article, Mr. Brayton. Thanks for poiting out the historical accuracy of our Founding Fathers’ beliefs, rather than parroting innaccuracies the way many in Moore’s camp so often do. I think it’s highly likely that were the majority of the Founding Fathers alive now, people like Moore would find their inclusive tolerance wholly anti-American, and — horror!! — too Liberal.

    When the prevailing religions of his time sends an otherwise principled and sincere person like Jefferson to edit his own version of the Bible — cutting out completely whole sections he felt were incongruous with a loving Creator — then we mere mortals must take pause and reconsider how much to support Fundamentalists like Moore.

  10. #10 Rhampton
    December 14, 2006

    This bears repeating:

    Notes on the State of Virginia
    QUERY XVII — The different religions received into that state?
    by Thomas Jefferson
    Feb. 27, 1787.

    …But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

  11. #11 Ahcuah
    December 14, 2006

    You know, sometimes I think we should just come right out and call folks like Moore what they are to their faces: Anti-American. And make a big deal of it.

    But then, I guess, that would be Dawkinsian :-) .

  12. #12 Ed Brayton
    December 14, 2006

    No, it wouldn’t. They are anti-American.

  13. #13 Uber
    December 14, 2006

    Being more like Richard is rarely a bad thing. We need more of him not less.

  14. #14 Ed Darrell
    December 15, 2006

    Hmmmm. By Roy Moore’s criteria, then, shouldn’t Roy Moore be denied office, too? He’s arguing that one must tolerate the beliefs of others in order to serve. He doesn’t tolerate beliefs differing from his.

    One more thing Roy Moore didn’t think through.

  15. #15 J. Constantine Hanges
    December 15, 2006

    If Jefferson is allowed to speak for himself, he would confront Judge Moore and his ilk at the most fundamental level, i. e., at the level of the very definition of Christianity. Notice the following excerpted quotations:
    “I am a Christian, in the only sense he [Jesus] wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other…the committing to writing his life & doctrines fell on the most unlettered & ignorant men; who wrote, too, from memory, & not till long after the transactions had passed…Hence…fragments only on what he did deliver have come to us mutilated, misstated, & often unintelligible…[his] followers…found an interest in sophisticating & perverting the simple doctrines he taught. If we could believe that he [Jesus] really countenanced the follies, the falsehoods and the charlatanisms which his biographers father on him,..the conclusion would be irresistible by every sound mind, that he [Jesus] was an imposter.”

    From: Thomas Jefferson, “To Dr. Benjamin Rush,” from Washington, April 21, 1803, and “To William Short,” from Monticello, August 4, 1820 in Writings: Letters, Library of America, Penguin Books, 1984), pp. 1122-25, 1435.

    Obviously, as Jefferson goes on to explicate, he did not believe in any of the cardinal doctrines of Christian orthodoxy, e. g., the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Vicarious Atonement, or the Resurrection – these he considered and explicitly described as Platonic absurdities. Most of the present Religious Right would have to deny him even the right to call himself a Christian. What then can we say about a contemporary political movement that could not support the election of Thomas Jefferson to public office!

  16. #16 Lee
    December 15, 2006

    Long before our founding fathers stepped foot on America’s shore, Native Americans had lived and worshipped their own brand of religion here for over a thousand years. They may have appeared to be Pagans or Heathens or whatever you want to call them, but they too, deserved to enjoy freedom of religion. My point is, after trying to anhililate them, and then herding them onto reservations and trying to convert them, we learned that efforts by whatever means to foist a specific religeous ethic on someone just doesn’t work. Does the name Osama ring any bells? I think a belief in a supreme Diety and the tenets of morality that go along with that belief can have a place in government without violating the division of church and state. It’s when we impose the customs, practices and traditions of a specific religion onto others that we get in trouble. The Ten Commandments, besides being a great motion picture, is just a title for a set of moral guidelines that should be followed by every person on the planet no matter what religion or non-religion they espouse. John Lennon said it best, Imagine….

  17. #17 richdys
    December 15, 2006

    Great article. Interesting to note that Jefferson lists three accomplishments on his epitaph. Authorship of the Declartaion of Independence, his role as the founder to the UofVA (The first american college not founded by a religious order) and authorship of the Virginia Resolution for the Religious Rights of Man. This from a man who was our Third President, Our First Sec of State, an Ambassador to France and a Governor of Virginia.

  18. #18 kehrsam
    December 15, 2006

    Lee: I happen to be a fan of the Bible, but Commandments I-IV are a little tricky unless one buys the initial premise.

  19. #19 twangster
    December 15, 2006

    it’s clear that many of neocon/ christian right types are fervent believers in the nine commandments

  20. #20 Lee
    December 15, 2006

    I see your point. Maybe we only need one commandment. Love one another – PERIOD!

  21. #21 Rosie
    December 15, 2006

    My favorite screw-up of the anti-American religious right is how they consistantly keep referring to the Founding Fathers, Pilgrims, colonial founders, etc as Christians! Many were not – they were deists mostly. And Masons, Quakers, and a variety of other religious protest groups who refused to accept the Church of England or any other earthly religious authority.

    One could say that the authors and first defenders of the US Constitution were really defending their right to have a country where they themselves were free from religious persecution…gee whiz what a novel idea. As fresh and controversial today as it was in 1620, 1776, 1784, and and and… plus ca change!

  22. #22 Alien_Observer
    December 15, 2006

    Any politician who makes this kind of public remark should be immediately and irrovocably removed from Congress. We need enlightened individuals to govern our society, not these cave men masquerading as “Christians” doing “God’s work”. There are so many underlying philosophies in Christianity (and all religions for that matter, but Christianity is the most rampant religious poison in North American society) that bleed negativity into the minds of it’s followers, how can we possibly believe that we’ll be able to move forward as a civilization by hanging onto these archaic belief systems. Send him on his way, open his mind and feed him accurate information UNTIL he gets it. Don’t stop UNTIL he gets it. If he wants to play a role in this life that greatly effects how other humans live, then he must be schooled to understand life at a higher level. Personally I don’t believe there is much hope for many of these closed minded, “my time has come and gone” types. Renew I say, it’s truly time for renewal at the highest levels….Globally.

  23. #23 Ed Brayton
    December 15, 2006

    Rosie wrote:

    My favorite screw-up of the anti-American religious right is how they consistantly keep referring to the Founding Fathers, Pilgrims, colonial founders, etc as Christians! Many were not – they were deists mostly. And Masons, Quakers, and a variety of other religious protest groups who refused to accept the Church of England or any other earthly religious authority.

    Sorry, but what you just said is just as inaccurate as what Roy Moore said. There were, in fact, very few deists among the founding fathers and none among the founders of the colonies. All of the colonies were founded with established churches (Puritan in Massachusetts, Anglican in Virginia, etc) and all were founded by Christians. They did not come here merely to escape “earthly religious authority”, they came here also to establish earthly religious authority – their own, of course – and they treated those of other religions (even other Christian variations) every bit as badly as the Anglican church did in England. The colonies were not run by deists, they were run primarily by Christian theocrats until the founders’ generation. If you’re going to counter the myths of the religious right, you can only do that by being accurate, not with more myths.

  24. #24 Ahcuah
    December 15, 2006

    I wrote:

    But then, I guess, that would be Dawkinsian :-) .

    Ed replied:

    No, it wouldn’t. They are anti-American.

    Well, yes it would. The parallel I was trying to make was that folks criticize Dawkins for too strident of an approach, even when he is right (at least part of the time) on the particulars. Calling people “Anti-American”, even if true, may be so strident that those who need to just cannot hear the message.

  25. #25 Tom in Iowa
    December 15, 2006

    Um, I wonder if anyone pointed out to Mr. Moore that Allah is the Arabic name for the same god he claims to worship? Allah is the name of the god of Abraham and Jesus as well. QED.

  26. #26 Middle Professor
    December 15, 2006

    richdys, I was surprised to see the statement “The first american college not founded by a religious order” as Penn is certainly much older than UVA and was founded, by Ben Franklin, as a non-sectarian school, indeed the first in the U.S. Wikipedia states, in the first paragraph on UVA, that UVA is notable for “being the first [college] to separate church and education”. This, too, seems miseading as Penn was explicitly founded on a liberal-arts model (again a first) and not to train men for the clergy. Yes, religion was part of the curriculum at Penn, while it seems to have been explicitly removed by Jefferson from the early curriculum at UVA (according to Wikipedia). Consequently, I would claim that Penn’s model separated church and education (that is, no church was dictating the form of education). Maybe UVA should claim they were the first to separate church “from” education.

  27. #27 Jean Young
    December 15, 2006

    “To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian.”
    Addressing Troops at Valley Forge, May 2, 1778
    George Washington (1732-1799); Commander in Chief of the Continental Army; First President of the United States 1789-1797

    “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
    James Madison (1751-1836); Known as the Father of the Constitution; Architect of the Bill of Rights; Fourth President of the United States 1809-1817 — (Exodus 20:1-17; 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4) –”acknowledgement of the Judeo-Christian foundations of the U.S. system of government” http://www.family.org/cforum/judicial_tyranny/faqs.cfm#1

    “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. From the day of the Declaration…they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of The Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct.”
    John Quincy Adams (1767-1848); Sixth President of the United States 1825-1829; Then Member US House of Representatives 1830-1848

    “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faith have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
    Patrick Henry (1736-1799); Renowned Orator; Major Figure of the American Revolution; Governor of Virginia 1776-79, 1784-86

    “Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
    John Jay (1745-1829); Fifth President of the Continental Congress; First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

    “The fundamental basis of this nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teaching we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.”
    Harry Truman (1884-1972); Thirty-third President of the United States 1945-1953

    “It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”
    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865); Sixteenth President of the United States 1861-1865; Issued Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
    “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance….Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.”
    Psalm 33:12; 144:15 KJV

    “Before all else, we seek, upon our common labor as a nation, the blessings of Almighty God.”
    Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969); Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Western Europe, World War II; Thirty-fourth President of the United States 1953-1961

    “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.”
    William Penn (1644-1718); English Quaker leader; Founder of Pennsylvania

    “We must disabuse our friends of the notion that all religions and belief systems are basically the same. They’re not. If grace is at the heart of Christianity while obeying rules is at the heart of Islam, the two will produce radically different cultures. And this is exactly what has happened….Of course, we want all Americans to love our Muslim neighbors, but Christians ought to love them enough to want to lead them to a true religion of love….”
    Chuck Colson, 2002, BreakPoint
    (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10; 16:15)

    “The Bible…is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God and spiritual nature and needs of men. It is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation. America was born a Christian nation. America was born to exemplify that devotion to the elements of righteousness which are derived from the revelations of Holy Scripture.”
    Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924); Twenty-eighth President of the United States 1913-1921

    “….During the past two thousand years of Jewish history Jews have never enjoyed a more hospitable home than we enjoy here in the United States of America. This is because we have a religiously neutral government and a largely religious Christian population. Most American Christians love Jews and support Israel unconditionally because of their commitment to the Bible and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Evidence from across the Atlantic persuades me that our lot will deteriorate if America’s population gradually becomes secularized….Years ago we Jews advocated for full equality. Today, with thirteen Jewish United States senators, over thirty Jewish congressmen, two Jews on the Supreme Court, and disproportionate Jewish representation in media and entertainment, one could reasonably say we have achieved it. But back then, the only culture in America was Christian. Today, however, America is home to many faiths, not all of them friendly towards Judaism. Today, agitating for Jewish religious representation in the culture inevitably results not in equating Judaism with Christianity but the removal of both Judaism and Christianity….For Jews to oppose Christianity in America is a mistake. The world today is populated by millions who harbor festering hatred for Jews. There remains one group of people who love and support us and they are America’s Evangelical Christians….We should recognize that we all have a stake in protecting Christian symbolism in the village square (or the airport). The only alternative will be no religious symbolism at all and make no mistake, secularism’s rise is Judaism’s decline….A weakening of Christianity in America could become a huge threat….”
    December 11, 2006, Rabbi Daniel Lapin; Rabbinic Scholar; National Public Speaker
    http://www.towardtradition.org/index.cfm?PAGE_ID=235

    “Israel has been a trusted ally and friend to the U.S. for many years. I would go so far as to say one of the reasons that America has been blessed over the years is because we have stood by Israel as a friend and ally. I am a Christian who believes the entire Bible. I am also a proud American who loves my country, and desires the blessings of God upon our nation….We pray that God will bring revival to America, to the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, and revival to the Arab people living in the Bible Land. However, it cannot come if we compromise moral principals and the biblical values upon which our nation was built.”
    Mike Evans, February 20, 2003, Jerusalem Prayer Team

    “The Bible carries with it the history of the creation, the fall and the redemption of man, and discloses to him, in the infant born in Bethlehem, the Legislator and Savior of the world.”
    President John Quincy Adams, February 27, 1844

    “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so….Redeemed….with the precious blood of Christ….by grace….through faith….the gift of God: Not of works….For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son….the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world….that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life….God….will have all…to be saved, and to come into the knowledge of the truth….There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus….Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity….For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God….Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered….We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works….Rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,….God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved….His compassions fail not.”
    Psalm 107:1-2; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 2:4,8-10; John 1:29;3:16-17; 1 Timothy 2:3-5; Titus 2:14; Romans 3:23;4:7; Lamentations 3:22 KJV

  28. #28 doctorgoo
    December 15, 2006

    This is for you, Jean Young.

    Okay… everyone, on the count of three…

    Trollin’ Trollin’ Trollin’
    Keep them dawggies rollin’
    Man my ass is swollen, rawhide!

  29. #29 Ed Brayton
    December 15, 2006

    Ahcuah wrote:

    The parallel I was trying to make was that folks criticize Dawkins for too strident of an approach, even when he is right (at least part of the time) on the particulars. Calling people “Anti-American”, even if true, may be so strident that those who need to just cannot hear the message.

    You’re making the same misrepresentation so many others made in the previous exchange, as though my argument had something to do with not calling a spade a spade, not being honest or blunt. My position had nothing at all to do with that. I dare say no one can reasonably accuse me of not being honest or blunt. But I’d really rather not rehash that whole argument again and I wish people would quit trying to turn every post into that old argument.

  30. #30 Ed Brayton
    December 15, 2006

    Oh boy, the fake quote machine has arrived. Jean Young writes:

    “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
    James Madison (1751-1836); Known as the Father of the Constitution; Architect of the Bill of Rights; Fourth President of the United States 1809-1817 — (Exodus 20:1-17; 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4) –”acknowledgement of the Judeo-Christian foundations of the U.S. system of government” http://www.family.org/cforum/judicial_tyranny/faqs.cfm#1

    A fake quote, never uttered or written by Madison and completely at odds with everything he did write. Even David Barton now admits that this quote has never been found anywhere in Madison’s writings and speeches. Strike one.

    “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. From the day of the Declaration…they (the American people) were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of The Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct.”
    John Quincy Adams (1767-1848); Sixth President of the United States 1825-1829; Then Member US House of Representatives 1830-1848

    Another fake quote, also never found anywhere in the writings or speeches of John Quincy Adams. Again, even David Barton, the man responsible for spreading these quotes far and wide among the religious right in the first place, now admits this. Strike two.

    “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faith have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
    Patrick Henry (1736-1799); Renowned Orator; Major Figure of the American Revolution; Governor of Virginia 1776-79, 1784-86

    And yet another fake quote, also admitted by the man who made it so popular among the Christian Nation crowd. Strike three. I think you’re out. Try doing some actual historical research rather than blindly regurgitating a bunch of fictitious quotations.

  31. #31 chris
    December 15, 2006

    “We must disabuse our friends of the notion that all religions and belief systems are basically the same. They’re not. If grace is at the heart of Christianity while obeying rules is at the heart of Islam, the two will produce radically different cultures. And this is exactly what has happened….Of course, we want all Americans to love our Muslim neighbors, but Christians ought to love them enough to want to lead them to a true religion of love….”
    Chuck Colson, 2002, BreakPoint
    (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10; 16:15)

    I didn’t realize Chuck Colson was one of the founders!

    Really, what does he have to do with all this? Of course he thinks that, but so what? Including this quotation, and the others from Truamn, Wilson, Rabbi Lapin, et al, real or imagined, are just not germane. If you are going to make stuff up, at least try to stay on-topic.

  32. #32 Eric
    December 16, 2006

    Ed wrote: “Ellison may well, as an individual, not accept the Constitution at all. Many Muslims would argue that one cannot be a true Muslim and uphold the constitution. … Some Muslims are just fine with the Constitution and our basic principles of liberty and equality; some are not.”

    I believe this touches on a key point. A religious test such as “Are you a Muslim?” is too crude and misses the actual issue. The question is whether you uphold the constitution and the principles it represents, including religious freedoms.

    Consequently, the oath of office should be meaningful, and not a formality with no teeth or significance. The test is this: Can you take the oath and hold true to it, sincerely and not merely as an appearance?

    It is true that some number of Muslims find our system inherently incompatible with their understading of Islam. But whether many or few, and whether regarding Muslims or others, the question of willingness to support, defend and uphold this system of governance, including its religious liberties, turns on the individual.

  33. #33 Boo
    December 16, 2006

    Whittling down Jean Young minus the fake quotes:

    “I am a famous historical personage. As a famous historical personage, my pronouncements are binding Constitutional law. Christianity is important in the history of this nation. My pronouncement that Christianity is important in the history of this nation overrides the First Amendment and all court precedents. Oh, and I really like muffins.”
    A famous historical personage

  34. #34 Ahcuah
    December 16, 2006

    Ed wrote:

    You’re making the same misrepresentation so many others made in the previous exchange, as though my argument had something to do with not calling a spade a spade, not being honest or blunt. My position had nothing at all to do with that. I dare say no one can reasonably accuse me of not being honest or blunt. But I’d really rather not rehash that whole argument again and I wish people would quit trying to turn every post into that old argument.

    Actually, I’m not. I wasn’t even thinking about the exchange that you were talking about. In fact, I tend to come down on your side of it. My comments were not aimed at you at all, nor was I trying to represent (or misrepresent) your position at all.

    All I was saying was that there are some, not you, but some who do not like Dawkins merely because of his stridency. There are numerous media stories about that. And those were the ones I was referring to and making the comparison to.

  35. #35 John Bryans Fontaine
    February 27, 2007

    As a Liberal, I strongly oppose our country becoming a Theocratic Fascist state, as the Dominionist Roy Moore proposes. However, I also strongly oppose H.R. 254, the David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007′ or `David’s Law’. It is being promoted as an anti-hate crime measure, but I think that the more accurate term would be anti-hate speech.

    And rest assured, this bill is a major threat to Free Speech. Liberal groups must help stop it. To side with HR 254′s supporters, the anti-hate Speech P.C. Stalinists, is why Liberals lose. If Libs and Democrats don’t stand for Free Speech and the First Amendment, we don’t stand for anything.

    “In order to evade the Constitution’s clear limitations on federal intervention in law enforcement, HR 254 alleges that hate crimes are actually…slavery! “Violence motivated by bias is a relic of slavery that can constitute badges and incidents of slavery.” (Sec. 2, 8) ”

    While the following websites are far-right, they contain valid info on H.R. 254 :

    http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/hate_crimes_

    http://www.rense.com/general75/whoswarn.htm

  36. #36 Matthew Hines
    March 11, 2007

    Hello! I am a Christian and conservative leaning in my politics, but I have to say I am fed up with the highmindedness of the Religious Right. To me, part of living in America is recognizing that everyone, including Muslims, can share in the greatness of this country. Sure we have extraordinarily blessed by God, but can anyone prove that America is the “chosen” nation? I guess it depends on which history text you read. Napoleon Bonaparte said that ‘history is a pack of lies agreed upon.’ That’s why we need to be perceptive enough to know and decide for ourselves while reading things from Roy Moore or even Chuck Colson.

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