Random Book Blogging: The Godless Constitution

In the last "Random Book Blogging" post, we excerpted a few sections from John Fea's "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction" where he explained that, contrary to pseudo-historians like David Barton and his supporters, the Founders never intended the Declaration of Independence to be understood as establishing a Christian nation.

In today's post, Fea explains that there is nothing in the Constitution that suggests the Founders intended to create a Christian nation.  In fact, the lack of God in the document was one of the reasons Anti-Federalists regularly cited for opposing it:

While Anti-Federalist opposition was always more political than it was religious, many Anti-Federalists rejected the Constitution because it did not make any appeals to God. Even some statesmen who were prone to give their support to the Constitution on political grounds wondered why the framers had not made the slightest mention of God in drafting the document. The writings of these constitutional skeptics present an interesting dilemma for those today who want to argue that the Constitution was a Christian document. In the eighteenth century it was those who opposed the Constitution who made the strongest arguments in favor of the United states being a Christian nation ...

One of the most scathing critiques of the godlessness of the Constitution came from William Petrikin, an Anti-Federalist from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Writing under the pseudonym "Aristocrotis," Petrikin attacked the framers of the Constitution as elitists who preferred a refined religion of "nature" over a religion of "supernatural divine origin." In doing so, he sounded a lot like a twenty-first century working-class evangelical complaining about the so-called secular liberal elites who had no respect for the Constitution. The difference, of course, was the Petkikin was attacking the U.S Constitution and the men who framed it ...

The Anti-Federalists wanted to insert an acknowledgment of God or a Christian requirement for officeholding into the Constitution because they took seriously the idea that religion was absolutely essential to a virtuous republic ... In the end, the Anti-Federalists lost. The Constitution was ratified and remains the foundation of American government today. The framers of this document chose deliberately to reject the notion that the U.S. government was a "Christian" government or that those who served in that government should acknowledge Christianity or even a belief in God. Today, many of the Anti-Federalist ideas about God and government can be found in the arguments made in defense of the notion that the U.S. Constitution was a Christian document that established a Christian nation. As far as history is concerned, the defenders of Christian America today cannot have it both ways. If they continue to defend the Constitution as a Christian document, they must be willing to part ways with some of the strongest eighteenth-century defenders of a Christian America, the Anti-Federalists. On the other hand, if they want to continue to make arguments in favor of a Christian America, then they might find some strong allies in the Anti-Federalists. But this would mean that they would to be a lot more skeptical and critical of the framers of the Constitution.

Filed Under

Right Ratchets Up Pressure As FRC Announces It Will Score Vote On Continuing Resolution

Last month, House Speaker John Boehner stated that, despite the demands from the Religious Right, Republican had no intention of shutting down the government over the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. 

The issue was not included in the last Continuing Resolution, but now that that one is set to expire soon, anti-choice Religious Right activists are warning that they will oppose any resolution that does not include the Planned Parenthood and a related anti-choice provision and will score the vote accordingly: 

In a letter FRC provided to LifeNews.com that it sent to House members, FRC Senior Vice President Tom McClusky said, “I want to strongly encourage you to oppose any additional temporary Continuing Resolutions for FY 2011 that fails to prevent government funding of abortion in the District of Columbia and government funding for the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.”

While FRC did not apply this pressure to House members on the first short-term continuing resolution, it is taking a more intense approach this time.

“FRCAction will score against any such extension of government funding without these key pro-life provisions,” the group promised. “FRCAction will oppose any additional temporary Continuing Resolution that does not include these two pro-life provisions and include any such vote in our scorecard for the First Session of the 112th Congress.”

Barton: There Are No Problems In America That The Bible Can't Solve

Just so you know: when Muslims want every aspect of culture to operate in accordance with their Holy Book, it is Sharia and an attempt to institute theocracy and a threat that must therefore be outlawed.

But when David Barton goes on and on about how the Bible was and must remain the foundation of our nation and says that every aspect of American life needs to operate in accordance with it  ... that is totally different, so much so that Newt Gingrich can promise him a key role in his presidential campaign:

Some of the challenges we're facing literally go back to us not having followed Biblical principles; economic principles is a good example, moral principles, the strength of marriage. Sure, marriage is under attack but, my gosh, it's under attack from Christians. Did you know 87% of Christians got a divorce after they became a Christian? Now, we got to follow the word of God better than that - we can't just use it as a devotional guide, we have to use it as a guide book for living. And so we'll strengthen our country by living by the word of God, we strengthen our country by really teaching that and by electing leaders who really understand that. So we've got a lot of challenges, but there's none that the Scriptures won't be able to handle.

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Sarah Palin to Share Stage With Lila Rose

Sarah Palin will be appearing with notorious smear artist Lila Rose in an upcoming fundraiser for the anti-choice group Heroic Media. Rose, the head of the extreme group Live Action, has called for abortions “to be done in the public square” and pushed discredited and doctored videos against Planned Parenthood. Heroic Media uses advertisement campaigns to push anti-choice messages, such as, “the most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb,” and hosted Palin in 2010.


Howse: Glenn Beck Is a New Age Pagan Promoting The Anti-Christ

Last year, around the time that Glenn Beck was organizing his "Restoring Honor" rally on the National Mall, concern started bubbling up from the Religious Right fringes about Beck's Mormon faith, especially from people like Brannon Howse, president and founder of Worldview Weekend, who started using his radio program to attack Mormonism as "America's Islam" and warn that Beck was spreading "anti-Biblical beliefs."

Eventually, we stopped paying attention to Howse's attacks, but that didn't mean that Howse stopped leveling them, as he has now released a half-hour video attacking Beck for promoting "universialism, post-modernism, and pagan spirituality" and attacking all of those Religious Right leaders who continue to stand with him:

A Christian author and national speaker has just released a video in which he flays radio and TV commentator Glenn Beck as a pagan, New Age "anti-Christ" who is deluding many believers away from the Bible's teachings and leading them toward Eastern mysticism.

Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend in Collierville, Tenn., who was once a defender of Beck, is now blasting the popular Fox News host based on content of Beck's new book, "Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life," co-authored by psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow.

"Back in August of 2010, I tried warning folks that Glenn Beck was a pagan, New Age, universalistic Mormon, and indeed, he now has revealed his hand," Howse says in the video, which is based on a column he wrote earlier this year. "Beck's book is nothing less than a promotion of universalism, postmodernism and pagan spirituality, also known as the New Age movement."

He continued: "I hate to say it, but through testing Glenn's doctrinal fruit, he is not a Christian. In fact indeed, he is a false teacher. He is proclaiming another Jesus and another gospel. ... Nowhere in Beck's new book does he mention the biblical Gospel. In fact, what he mentions is anti-Christ. He's denying the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. What Glenn is promoting is the same lie promoted by Satan in Genesis 3, verses 1–5. And I'm fearful that the spiritual poison Beck is promoting is not seven wonders that will change your life, but in fact lies that will condemn the souls of millions for eternity."

Right Wing Round-Up

  • Sarah Posner @ Religion Dispatches: Welcome to the Shari'ah Conspiracy Theory Industry.
  • Salon: NPR caves to O'Keefe -- and we all lose.
  • Good As You: Equality Confounds NOM’s Jennifer Roback Morse.
  • County Fair: After Shootings, Does Pat Robertson Still Support Recalcitrant Ivory Coast Leader?
  • Florida Independent: ‘Choose Life’ companion bill moves forward, would gut rule that funds go to pregnant women.
  • Amanda Terkel @ HuffPo: Indiana Bill Would Force Doctors To Tell Women That Having An Abortion May Lead To Breast Cancer.
  • Steve Benen: Did You Hear The One About The $7.5 Million Clean-Up?

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Lisa Ling reports that even the head of Exodus International believes “you can't change your sexual orientation.”
  • Bryan Fischer says “it’s long past time to return our public policy to biblical principles of justice.”

Huckabee Feigns Ignorance Of Bryan Fischer's Bigotry

Last night, Alan Colmes had Mike Huckabee on his radio program and asked him about all the news he has been making lately -  from criticizing Natalie Portman to claiming that President Obama grew up in Kenya - most of which he blamed on Media Matters.

But for our purposes, I want to highlight a section at the end of the interview where Colmes asked Huckabee about why he went on Bryan Fischer's radio program, given Fischer's unapologetic bigotry. 

Starting at the 11:00 mark, Colmes recounted some of Fischer's more recent outrages and Huckabee claimed that he was not responsible for the things said by the people who host the shows upon which he appears. But then Colmes inquired why he seemingly agreed when Fischer asserted that there is "some fundamental anti-Americanism" in President Obama.  At the time, Huckabee responded by saying "that's exactly the point that I make in the book," but when Colmes questioned him last night, Huckabee claimed he never meant to say Obama is anti-American because that is, in fact, the "polar opposite" of what he meant.  


But then Huckabee went on to claim that he is not familiar with Bryan Fischer or the things he says because he had never heard Fischer's radio show until he was on it for this interview:

Really?  Because within the first ten seconds of his interview with Fischer, Fischer says it is "great to have you back on again":

On top of that, Huckabee shared the stage with Fischer at last year's Values Voter Summit and we even brought Fischer's long history of bigotry to his attention ... but Huckabee is claiming ignorance.

Roy Moore Opposes Effort to Remove Racist Language From Alabama's Constitution

In 2004, voters in Alabama were given an opportunity to remove racist language mandating separate schools for "white and colored children" and poll taxes from the state constitution ... and they refused.

In 2012, it looks like they will get another chance ... and "Ten Commandments Judge" Roy Moore is opposed to the effort because apparently trying to rid Alabama's Constitution of the vestiges of racism makes Alabama look racist

Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur got a Senate committee to vote unanimously Tuesday for his proposed constitutional amendment that would remove language providing for poll taxes and for schools separated by race.

The vote by the Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee sends his legislation to the Senate, where its passage is almost assured because more than two-thirds of the senators are co-sponsors. If approved by both houses of the Legislature, it would go before Alabama voters in a statewide referendum in November 2012.


Moore, however, opposes the current amendment. He said the racist language is meaningless because of court rulings and is ignored by people, and he said Orr could do more damage to the state's image by bringing it up for a statewide referendum.

"Painting Alabama as still racist is not a good thing for our state," Moore said in an interview.

Gohmert: Terror Babies and Islamist-Progressive Axis Are Plotting to Destroy America

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) believes that radical Islamic terrorists and progressives are working together to bring down America out of their shared “hatred” for conservatives and Christians, and intend to use “terror babies” as part of their plan. Speaking with a receptive audience of Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, Gohmert explained his allegation that terrorists are plotting to come into the United States in order to gain citizenship for their children. After Gohmert first floated his conspiracy theory on the House floor in June, he was later unable to produce any evidence to substantiate his claim and a former FBI official maintained that “there was never a credible report — or any report, for that matter — coming across through all the various mechanisms of communication to indicate that there was such a plan for these terror babies to be born.”

Wildmon: Somebody’s gotta get strong here, and say listen, no more 20-40 year olds from Saudi Arabia are allowed into America until you all get this cleaned up.

Gohmert: I’ve been beat up pretty badly over an issue of women coming into US, having babies here, and returning where they came from with an American citizen and an American passport for that child. But if people will do the homework, as I’ve been doing, they will find out that there are people who are known associates of groups we call terrorist groups whose wives have come and have children here and go back with American passports. I don’t use the term terrorist babies that’s an oxymoron, but others have, or terror babies, I mean a baby is a gift from God, it’s not a terror.

After discussing “terror babies” with Perkins and Wildmon, he went on to suggest that Muslim terrorists and progressives have “thrown in together” because “they hate conservatives and they don’t care that much for Christianity.” Gohmert adds that “if the radical Jihadists took over, the first people they kill are the extreme leftists that have thrown in with them right now”:

You know the great irony, the extreme leftist media that is throwing in with the radical Jihadists, the great irony is, if the radical Jihadists took over, the first people they kill are the extreme leftists that have thrown in with them right now. They would not have the freedom of press to say the things that they want or disagree with the government, all of those things would go by the wayside. It is ironic that the two groups throw in together. In fact, my friend Andy McCarthy had a great article about how leftists and jihadists have thrown in together in this effort, not because they have anything at all in common other than that they hate conservatives and they don’t care that much for Christianity.