A few months ago, we posted a video of David Barton falsely claiming that the Constitution’s provision regarding treason “is a verbatim quote out of Ezekiel 18:20.” Even by Barton’s lax standards, this claim made no sense as the Bible passage has literally nothing to Constitutional provision he cited:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
It turned out that Barton was not talking about the treason section of Article III, Section 3 but rather the provision pertaining to bills of attainder:
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.
Obviously, this is not a “verbatim quote” either, but in his book “The Founders Bible” Barton tries to make the case that is evidence that these “Biblical principles [were] directly incorporated into the Constitution”:
[W]hen a nation is under the curse of the Lord, children are punished for what their parents did … But when the Lord exalts a nation, the policy changes – each individual’s actions are imputed only to himself and not to his children … Americans understood this Biblical principle, and so when they separated from Great Britain, they changed their laws accordingly so that no one would be punished for a crime he himself did not commit … These two clauses are but another example of the many Biblical principles directly incorporated into the Constitution.
Barton’s book also contains an article on the origins of the Declaration of Independence written by Paul Jehle, Executive Director of the Plymouth Rock Foundation, who claims that the rights mentioned in the document came directly out of the book of Genesis:
When we look at the Declaration of Independence and the truths they held as self-evident – the list of inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (which is another way the Founders spoke of the right to private property) – those ideas were not the invention of great minds of the Enlightenment; they originated with the source of light Himself, God. They were revealed truth our forefathers found in the pages of Scripture.
The charter that God made with Adam was threefold. First, “Be fruitful and multiply,” which is mankind’s basic right to life. Second, “fill or replenish, the earth.” The Hebrew word fill or replenish involved the scientific method, meaning to take something that we observe, then break it down to its essential ingredients and reform it into a different form. It is a concept that requires the right to liberty. When we have liberty, we can take natural resources and then refill the earth with the same natural resources in different forms through invention and technology. Third, “subdue the earth and rule, or have dominion, over it,” which is the right to own private property. Dominion of the earth simply means we have a parcel of land that is our exclusive possession that we steward before God.