Rush to judgement
Yes, it is finally here. My take on the Rush Limbaugh flip flap. I’m sure the media has come up with a more official name for the controversy, but honestly, I’m too tired to go look.
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Independence, Church and State
Today is Independence Day. This holiday commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence is an amazing document. Luckily, it is of sufficient strength to be impervious to being waved about for crass short-term political nefariousness from the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others.
In honor of the occasion, I’d like to share a few thoughts, opinions and facts regarding the document that announced the thirteen American colonies had become independent states and how it came to be used (by some) as an instrument to denounce the concept of the separation between church and state.
The Declaration of Independence was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, who was one member of a “Committee of Five” appointed by Congress to draft the declaration. That committee determine that Jefferson should write the first draft. That draft was written within 17 days between June 11 and June 28, 1776. After consulting with others, Jefferson produced another copy which was then presented to Congress on June 28, 1776.
The vote for independence took place on July 2, 1776. The resolution of independence was adopted with twelve affirmative votes and one abstention. (The delegates from New York were not authorized to vote for independence.) In a letter to his wife, John Adams predicted the date would become a great American holiday. Continue reading →
You gotta have faith (in the White House)
Some of y’all may remember a young feller from Texas that came this way once.
His name was George W. Bush although we all just called him Dubya.
Back in 2000, some folks thought he was elected to be our president. To this day some folks still dispute that. But that’s not what I came here to say.
He was inaugurated as our president on January 20, 2001.
He had a lot to do and didn’t waste a lot of time. For example, did you know, that just nine days later, using the presidential power of an “executive order” he created the OFBCI?
You’re all familiar with the OFBCI, right? No? Well, I can tell you this much. It stands for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
What? “Faith-based” stuff in our federal government? Yeah, I know. Weird.
The OFBCI is an office within the White House Office that is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
The purpose of the OFBCI was to fulfill campaign promises made by Bush in regards to “compassionate conservatism.” Huh? Say what? I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that’s a phrase you haven’t heard about in a long, long time! Now I wonder why that might be?
What ever happened to this grand vision of conservatism that helped Bush win his way into the White House? That’s a good question.
I submit that Bush’s wholesale abandonment of compassionate conservatism may very well be one of the biggest “flip flops” in the history of U.S. politics. Ironic, eh? Yes, at first he kept his promise by creating the OFBCI, but then, as his presidency ground on, what did he do about it except lip service, if even that?
You might think Obama wouldn’t stand for a faith-based office in his White House. You’d be wrong. He kept the office, although he renamed it to be the “White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.”
Some people (like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh) will shout loudly that the phrase “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear in the U.S. Constitution. They are correct. Of course, neither do the words God, creator or maker. Yes, they are always quick to point out that the Declaration of Independence mentions a “Creator.” But that word didn’t originally appear in the draft by Thomas Jefferson or the copy that John Adams wrote in his own hand. It got in there some other way before it was signed. Additionally, that document, wonderful as it is, has no legal bearing on our legal system today. That, of course, comes from the U.S. Constitution. When is the last time you ever heard of an indepencian law? Yeah, I thought so.
What is the truth about what the founding fathers wanted? Many are quick to claim that they wanted this or they wanted that. I merely cling to the position: If they wanted this to be a Christian nation, wouldn’t they have bothered to actually mention it in our most basic legal document?
Constitutional Myth #4: The Constitution Doesn’t Separate Church and State
What’s scarier than someone with a gun? Someone with a gun and an imaginary friend. (Or a nuclear arsenal.) Someone who believes apocryphal myths (rather than verifiable facts) about the past to support his actions and beliefs today.