It is unequivocal fact that the Founding Fathers of our nation were deeply religious men. So important was religion in their view that the protection thereof was codified in the first line of the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, even before freedom of speech and of the press. From Washington to Adams to Madison and on, Christianity and the Judeo-Christian belief system was at the heart of the government which they formed. Even Jefferson, known as a Deist who shunned the organized religions of his day, wrote in an April 1803 letter to Benjamin Rush, "I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others."
Strange indeed then that modern liberals live in abject terror of the possibility that any religious influence might accidentally (or more likely, through the nefarious workings of those dreaded, meddling Christians) seep into the philosophy or policies of our secular government.
Recently, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller attempted to whip Americans into a fearful frenzy regarding the religiosity of Republican presidential candidates. Said he, "But I do want to know if a candidate places fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon (the text, not the Broadway musical) or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country. It matters to me whether a president respects serious science and verifiable history -- in short, belongs to what an official in a previous administration once scornfully described as 'the reality-based community.' I do care if religious doctrine becomes an excuse to exclude my fellow citizens from the rights and protections our country promises."
What exactly is he afraid is going to happen? Mitt Romney gets elected and issues an executive order mandating all Americans have at least four children, wear modest clothing and eat green Jello at least three times a week (Utah Mormons love green Jello ... don't ask me why)? Michelle Bachmann gets elected and encourages fidelity in marriage and that husband and wife be "equally yoked" while observing the traditional role of the husband as head of the home? There is also fear of Rick Santorum's Catholicism (a fear not extended to Democrats Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chris Dodd or Dick Durbin, presumably because they do not allow their Catholic faith to interfere with their political support for killing unborn children). We're also supposed to be afraid of Rick Perry, not for any specific beliefs apparently, but because many Christian evangelicals support him.
Oddly, in 2008, when the issue of Obama's religion came up, the NYT and liberals in general were outraged that conservative Republicans would dare make mention of the fact that Obama attended Trinity United Church for 20 years (baptizing his two daughters there), led by hate-spewing pastor Jeremiah Wright, a man with a racial vendetta who referred to our nation as the "U.S. of K.K.K.A." and said "...not God Bless America, God d**n America." No, Obama's religion was never a concern to liberals. Apparently Christianity is only a concern when practiced out of personal conviction and not political pragmatism (for example, the separation of church and state never seems to be an issue when Democrats swarm black churches shortly before elections).
Keller goes on to give specific concerns. For example, he is gravely concerned that Bachmann expressed her opinion that social welfare should come from private charity, not government taxation. If I were Bachmann, I'd ask Keller to show me article, section and clause in the Constitution that authorizes government extorted "charity." Even James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," could find no warrant for government charity, as noted when he stated, "Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." This sentiment was later echoed by presidents Cleveland and Pierce when they vetoed appropriations bills containing provisions for taxation for charitable purposes.
Keller also posed more questions he would ask candidates to respond to, including:
Do you agree with those religious leaders who say that America is a "Christian nation" or a "Judeo-Christian nation?" and what does that mean in practice? The answer is an emphatic "YES." Just over a decade after the ratification of the Constitution, the Supreme Court ruled in Runkel v. Winemiller that "By our form of government, the Christian religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed on the same footing." This view was reiterated throughout our history, not only by the Founding Fathers as their personal views, but also by the legislature in the Jan. 19, 1853, Senate Judiciary Report, and the March 27, 1854, House Judiciary Committee Report and again by the Supreme Court in Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S. (1892), which ruled again that "There is no dissonance in these [legal] declarations ... These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic [legal, governmental] utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people ... These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation."
Keller also insists Republican candidates declare fealty to tenants of liberal secular religionism, such as a belief in evolution and global warming, both of which are far from being "settled science" and which even hard-core evangelical Christians would be shocked at the leap of faith required to believe in. Theory of anthropogenic ("man-made") global warming has taken repeated hits over the last few years, from NASA being forced to correct erroneous/fraudulent data, to the leaked emails from UNIPCC leadership showing they doctored temperature data to achieve the desired political outcomes, to the fact that the earth has been in a decade-long cooling trend despite increased carbon emissions.
Likewise, Darwinian macroevolution (belief that man is the product of random mutations over billions of years, creating entirely new species which has taken us from primordial slime to homo sapiens) takes a huge leap of faith, and is easily undermined by something as "simple" as the human eye, a complex organ with intricate interrelated parts that could not possibly have come into existence by random mutation, since every single part has to work simultaneously in order for the organ itself to function. On the other hand, you'd be hard pressed to find a conservative that does not believe in microevolution, intraspecies mutations that allow creatures to better adapt to their environment.
In summary, Keller wants us to believe that electing any of these frightful Christians will usher in a Christian theocracy, because he "care[s] if religious doctrine becomes an excuse to exclude my fellow citizens from the rights and protections our country promises." Yet, the Founding Fathers were deeply religious men, and more than three quarters of all U.S. presidents can be identified with a specific Christian denomination, and most of the others were considered religious but not affiliated with a particular sect.
So while Keller may be concerned about overtly Christian presidents, I join the millions of other Americans that are far more concerned by a president that would bow the head and bend the knee not to Jesus Christ but to brutal dictators, and who would worship at the altar of abortion, global warming and big-government control of our lives.
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is chairman of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.