Dispatches from the Creation Wars

My friend Chris Rodda has been blasting the “Christian heritage” resolutions that have been submitted in Congress by Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia for years. Those resolutions are chock full of oversimplifications, half-truths and outright lies. During a recent radio appearance, Forbes issued the following challenge:

“I challenge the president or anyone else — come up, either debate me on this issue or simply tell me where that single moment in time was when you can say we crossed the threshold — we ceased being a Judeo-Christian nation — and you can’t do it.”


And Chris gleefully accepted that challenge publicly:

Well, as an “anyone else,” I hereby accept Mr. Forbes’s challenge. I want to publicly debate him on his resolution…

Mr. Forbes has incessantly touted his footnoting and documentation of all the claims found in the 75 “Whereas” clauses of his resolution, making numerous statements like the following one from his Jodi Hice Show appearance, so he should have no worries at all about defending those claims, right?…

So, Mr. Forbes, just name the time and place — your turf, my turf (up here in NJ-6), DC, or anywhere else — and let’s debate your resolution clause by clause and see how well that very impressive looking list of footnotes you keep boasting about stands up to scrutiny.

I’ll be sending a registered, return receipt letter to Mr. Forbes’s office formally accepting his challenge to make sure he knows that I, as an “anyone else,” have stepped up to accept it.

This should be fun.

Comments

  1. #1 OFT
    July 30, 2009

    Observer: In the Federalist Papers, Madison clarifies several times that the prohibition of religious tests in the federal constitution goes beyond merely a denominatinal test. In fact there was discussion during the constitutional convention of making it a denominatinal test, but the idea was rejected. Some members clearly were in favor of the idea, but the majority were not. Once the states began debating whether constitution should be ratified, there was considerable discussion in the press as to the nature of the religious test clause. There is no doubt, reading these discussions, that the clause was understood to be a prohibition against religious tests of any kind, not a denominational test. Many people were aghast at the notion, many were highly favorable, but the meaning of the clause was apparent to all, and was clearly the opposite of what OFT mainains. Any study of the source documents will reveal that the religious test clause in the federal constitution was to be all-encompassing.

    The State Constitutions established Christianity, and the same time prohibited a religious test, obviously, there was no contradiction, with Reed and Bassett, who wrote Delaware’s Constitution, signed the Consitution months before. By earlier learning my lesson, I humbly believe the framers were consistent on this issue. Madison made it clear at the Virginia Ratification Convention that States could establish any religion they wanted:

    “If there were a majority of one sect, a bill of rights would be a poor protection for liberty. Happily for the states, they enjoy the utmost freedom of religion…Fortunately for this commonwealth, a majority of the people are decidedly against any exclusive establishment. There is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermeddle with religion. Its least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation. I can appeal to my uniform conduct on this subject, that I have warmly supported religious freedom. It is better that this security should be depended upon from the general legislature, than from one particular state. A particular state might concur in one religious project. But the United States abound in such a variety of sects, that it is a strong security against religious persecution; and it is sufficient to authorize a conclusion, that no one sect will ever be able to outnumber or depress the rest.”
    -James Madison, June 12, 1788. Elliot’s Debates In the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution(Virginia)

    As to other aspects of our former Republic, at least one framer (Thomas Paine) believed there were many types of Republics; Israel having one:

    “Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases, where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes…Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for which a curse in reserve is denounced against them. The history of that transaction is worth attending to.”
    -Common Sense

    To Paine, it appears there were many types of Republics, to which the framers drew from:

    “What is called a republic is not any particular form of government. It is wholly characteristical of the purport, matter or object for which government ought to be instituted, and on which it is to be employed, RES-PUBLICA, the public affairs, or the public good; or, literally translated, the public thing. It is a word of a good original, referring to what ought to be the character and business of government; and in this sense it is naturally opposed to the word monarchy, which has a base original signification..Republican government is no other than government established and conducted for the interest of the public, as well individually as collectively. It is not necessarily connected with any particular form, but it most naturally associates with the representative form, as being best calculated to secure the end for which a nation is at the expense of supporting it.”
    -Rights of Man

    As to the Jury System, Common Law would be a good place to start. Where the Ecclesiastics started is a good indicator. The Talmud says the Law contained trial by jury, ie, DT. 17, and EX.22.
    http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA64&lpg=PA64&dq=trial+by+jury+in+the+Old+Testament&sig=ArasbKWoEWMDzbH8er85XL4whxs&ei=YNJxSseeLInGMLXkhbEM&ct=result&id=rc8YAAAAYAAJ&ots=Zecw7fhFMn&output=text

    As to some of our inalienable rights(freedom of conscience), by keeping the spheres separate, Madison said Luther led the way, obviously through the Reformation, not the enlightenment:

    “It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported.”
    -TO F. L. SCHAEFFER Montpellier, Dec. 3rd ,1821
    http://personal.pitnet.net/primarysources/madisonluther.html

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