Ron Paul on Separation of Church and State
I'm not a supporter of Ron Paul. I find him far too much of a social conservative to be worthy of support. And he's a bit crazed with loony conspiracy theories. He likes to pride himself on being a Constitutionalist and praises the Founders for their policies.
But how well does he know the Constitution? He wrote:
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.Let us put aside for a second his opposition to "rigid separation between church and state" and concentrate, not on Constitutional theory, but on Constitutional facts. Mr. Paul claims that the Constitution is "replete with references to God". Now replete means abundantly supplied or filled. So if the Constitution is abundantly filled with references to God how many are there? Let's get precise. How many times is God mentioned in the Constitution?
Zero! And if you don't believe me you can go check Ron Paul's own congressional website where he has a copy of the text. Go to the page and read it yourself. It is worth reading now and then. But if you don't have time do a page search for "God" and see all the abundant references on your own. All zero of them.
And what about the drafters of the Declaration of Independence? That would be Thomas Jefferson. Paul says he would be "aghast at the federal government's hostility to religion." Hostility? Didn't Jefferson actually say something about that? He said that the clergy, who opposed Jefferson strongly, "believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Eternal hostility to the schemes to promote state religion.
Jefferson had a lot to say about religion. Little of it would be liked by Ron Paul. And most of it sounds pretty hostile.
Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law. In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter.Jefferson said he was a Christian only in one sense, that he thought the moral teaching of Jesus made sense and in no other way. He did not think Jesus was a god, the son of god, or born of a virgin. He did not believe in prayer, divine revelation, the trinity or the resurrection. Jefferson took a razor to his own Bible and cut out of the New Testament every reference to the supernatural and divine. What was left has been called The Jefferson Bible.
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. 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. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.
But the fundamentalist Right is busy pushing a revisionist view of American history in order to fit with their theocratic agenda. And apparently Ron Paul is willing to help. But assuming he isn't then why the lie? Ron Paul has read the Constitution, he brags about his in depth study of the Constitution. He has the Constitution on his website. So why claim that it is filled with references to God when there is not a single mention of God anywhere in the document? He knows better.
PS: I know that the Ron Paul cult troll the internet looking for ways to boost him and cut down anyone who disagrees with St. Paul. For the record, I am a libertarian but one who does believe in separation of church and state. And I'd take Jefferson any day as president.
Labels: Ron Paul