Archive for May 31st, 2010
Alaska’s ex-gov appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” on May 9 and said,
I have said all along that America is based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and, you know, nobody has to believe me though. You can just go to our Founding Fathers’ early documents and see how they crafted a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution that allows that Judeo-Christian belief to be the foundation of our lives. And our Constitution, of course, essentially acknowledging that our unalienable rights don’t come from man; they come from God. So this document is set up to protect us from a government that would ever infringe upon our rights to have freedom of religion and to be able to express our faith freely.
Of course, this is just more of Caribou Barbie’s invincible ignorance talking. Neither the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution say anything of the kind. The original U.S. Constitution doesn’t mention God at all. The Declaration of Independence, an important but not governing document, does mention God three times. But the author of the Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was pretty clear about the role of religion and the role of government.
In fact, the phrase “separation of church and state” is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. In the letter Jefferson states:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their “legislature” should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
That’s a wall between Church and State, Sarah honey. Described by the guy who wrote the document. But you’d have to actually read the document, you’d have to actually think, to know that. It’s so much easier to just blather on. It’s so much less work to just make stuff up, or quote your right-wing buddies who make stuff up.
Here’s a helpful suggestion if you ever want to do some actual research: Read Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and especially his description of the punishments reserved for false counsellors. If you can get your hands on the version illustrated by Gustav Duré you can just look at the pictures and not have to read all those boring words. It’s Canto 26, if that makes it easier. That Judeo-Christian Hell you believe in? That’s where false counsellors – leaders who lie about stuff – get to go.
Wickersham’s Conscience will be a Palin-free zone for the month of June in celebration of summer in Alaska. Unless she does something more egregiously stupid, of course.