The usual collection of wingnuts — Michele Bachmann, Louis Gohmert, Mike Huckabee, etc — held an event at Capitol Hill recently to celebrate “George Washington: Man of Prayer.” Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, an end times preacher, delivered this amusingly stupid diatribe to the gathered throng:
“We stand tonight on Capitol Hill, in the city named after the one who gave that prophetic warning, to ask, can a nation drive out the name of God from its public square, and the Word of God from its schools and the ways of God from its culture and still expect the smiles of God to shine upon it?
“Can the blood of 50 million unborn children cry out to heaven from this land and the smiles of heaven still remain?
“Members of Congress, can a government call evil good and good evil and forge laws that war against the laws of the Almighty and the smiles of heaven still remain?
“Supreme Court justices, can you strike down the statutes of the Almighty and overturn the judgments of the Most High and still expect the smiles of heaven to remain?
“Mr. President, can you place your left hand on the Word of God to assume your office and with your right hand sign laws which break the very Word upon which you swore and still expect the smiles of heaven to remain?
“The voice of our first president cries out to us tonight and answers, no you cannot do so and still expect the smiles of heaven to remain on this land.”
There are two things I find absurd about this. The first is rather obvious: Really, this is what it takes to get God to stop smiling on us (whatever the hell that means)? A couple centuries of slavery justified with the Bible didn’t bother him? The slaughter of millions of Native Americans in his name didn’t take his smile away? The lynching of thousands of black people and the systematic segregation and discrimination, again often justified and led by institutional Christianity didn’t get him upset enough to take his smile away? But treat gay people equally and let women control their own reproduction and he suddenly starts frowning upon us? Sounds legit.
Second, the “laws of God” were broken by the very existence of the Constitution itself that Washington signed. The lack of religious tests for office was viewed by conservative Christians of that day as an abomination. The guarantee of religious freedom was a clear violation of the first commandment. The guarantee of free speech is a violation of Biblical laws against blasphemy, taking the lord’s name in vain and bearing false witness. The fact that we didn’t put witches, homosexuals and women who weren’t virgins on their wedding day to death by stoning was a violation of the same law that Cahn and his fellow theocrats are upset that we’re violating today.