Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bob's "Blending" Claim Ignores the Constitution!

If you spend any time listening to Dutko, you know that he wants a "blending" of church and state. Bob believes that the Establishment Clause merely prevents the federal government from creating a national church, making it permissible for the government to require Bibles as textbooks, put up Christian displays on public property, and force Christian prayer in public schools.

Bob supports his thesis with the following nonsense:

As you can hear, Bob uses the closing of the Constitution as support for his claims. His claim is simple: The authors of the Constitution closed the document with "In the year of our Lord." Therefore, they clearly wanted a "blending" of Church and State. Because the ratifiers of the Constitution were Christians, only Christian iconography is properly allowed in public spaces. Football coaches should be allowed to lead Christian prayers, the Christian version of the Ten Commandments should be on the Courthouse walls, and Christian memorials should be at roadsides.

But realize that Bob is being extremely selective with the Constitution. Bob is distracting you with the Constitution's closing because he does not want you paying attention to the actual body of the Constitution.

In the body of the Constitution, you'll find Article VI, Section 3, which states:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
If the signers of the Constitution wanted a "blending," then why would they ensure that there should never be a oath requiring a person be a Christian before they can hold office?

There's an interesting history lesson behind this clause, learned in calling that England had a state church. When James II became king in 1685, he dedicated himself to reestablishing Catholicism as a recognized sect. (His goal was to reestablish Catholicism as the official religion.) The Parliament responded by passing the Test Act, which required all military and civil leaders to be members of the Church of England. The tension between hostile Christian sects led to the Glorious Revolution, an English Civil War and the overthrow of James II.

This history lesson is important, because it demonstrates what the Constitution's authors knew when creating our government. Those authors knew that religious beliefs were so volatile that some people were willing to go to war to enforce their opinions. Further, the Constitution's authors knew that a person's religious opinion is irrelevant to creating and running a good government.

However, rather than addressing the problems inherent in having government favoring a particular religion and dealing with the clearly expressed intentions of the ratifiers, Bob would rather play semantic games to exclude non-Christian from public spaces. Bob doesn't care that there are four million Jews living in America. The million Muslim citizens? According to Bob, they can suck it. The million Buddhists? They should stop worshipping idols and convert to the Dutko Approved! version of Jesus!

Clearly, Bob is less concerned with Democratic ideals than creating and enforcing a theocracy.

Why is Bob so unpatriotic?


Pat said...

One reason I suggested the inclusion of a link to the Freedom from Religion Foundation is that their site documents our Founding Fathers’ explicit aversion to making this a Christian nation and their explicit insistence that it wasn't one. Of course, one can also consult the Constitution to see what it says.
And here’s where the audio clip you posted comes in. To Bob, it seems that the phrase “In the Year of Our Lord” is an endorsement of religion (btw – he’s used this line several times that I’ve heard,
even though the clip is one I hadn’t heard). According to Bob, those who hold that there’s a separation of church and state hold the absurd position that “the constitution is unconstitutional” because of the A.D. reference.
Like so many (all?) of Bob’s startling conclusions, this one is entertainingly dumb. Calendars keep track of the passage of time, which means they have to have a reference point from which to begin
counting, and the calendar we use is no exception. That the reference point is somehow related to a myth in the distant past is completely unimportant, as long as the convention is fixed. After all, the name of each day of the week in English refers to some Roman or Etruscan god, yet neither the Founding Fathers nor anyone who asks us “want to get together on Tuesday?” is invoking one of those gods, either.
Indeed, if we examine our language, we’ll notice that people say things like “the sun rises in the East and sets in the West,” when, in fact it’s the Earth that moves in orbit, and they know this. But if the sun doesn’t rise, doesn’t that mean it’d be absurd to marvel at a sunrise? Only to Bob. The rest of us can tell when usage is a figure of speech, when its origins are in some long discarded view of the world, when it’s shorthand for something that really does make sense, and so on. That’s why we don’t have to file assault charges every time someone tries to pull our leg or rib us.
“The Year of Our Lord,” is this kind of expression: its origins can be traced back to some view long ago discarded by sensible people. Yet despite its being devised by a Christian monk who wanted to get rid of a calendar associated with the persecution of Christians, it’s more trouble than it’s worth to do more than either use the A.D. designation and regard it as innocuous, or, if that bothers you, use the C.E. designation (for Common Era).
I suppose we could breathe a collective sigh of relief that the constitutionality of the Constitution has been rescued in a mere four paragraphs, but, as I mentioned, Bob’s conclusions tend to the entertainingly dumb, and few who have even a passing acquaintance with his extremist political views could doubt that this is only his most recent attempt to manipulate his audience into supporting a theocratic political system. Luckily, since he himself is such a grossly uneducated dodo, his strategies are as transparent as his errors in thinking. Those who don’t mind figurative language might consider this a blessing in disguise…

djtyg said...

Bob wouldn't like living in a truly Christian nation, anyway. The rich would be required to give everything they have to the poor, the sick would be healed for free, and when attacked by outside forces we would have to "turn the other cheek".

djtyg said...

Forgot to add:

If we were a truly Christian nation we'd have to be a people like in the beginning of Acts. Which means there would be no concept of ownership, either.

Bob would hate it.