The Wit and Wisdom of the Benham Brothers

Jason and David Benham, sons of anti-abortion extremist Flip Benham, are not the brightest bulbs in the sign. One might surmise, in fact, that they share a brain. In their latest Worldnetdaily column they blather ignorantly about the dangers of separation of church and state.

America was built upon a firm foundation, too; yet over the years it has been compromised.

Our first president said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Now that is a firm foundation.

Nope. That is a fake quote. George Washington never said it. Doesn’t exactly make a firm foundation for the rest of this nonsense.

Yet today, and over the past few decades, we’ve rejected God and the Bible, and our “wall” is falling as a result.

Take a look at a few of these compromising Supreme Court decisions:

1962: Engel vs. Vitale – prayer removed from school

Up until this decision, schools across America began each day of instruction with prayer – like this one in New York schools: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers, and our nation.” But this landmark case swept prayer out of our schools.

No it didn’t. Millions of students and teachers pray in school every day, silently or out loud, individually or in groups. What they can’t do is force anyone else to pray. It’s always astonishing to me that these right wingers who scream about freedom and tyranny continue to argue that it’s perfectly constitutional for the government to force school children to recite government-composed prayers. If that isn’t tyranny and a violation of the Establishment Clause, what in the world would be?

1963: Abbington vs. Schemp – Bible reading removed from school

The Holy Bible on which our first president placed his hand to swear his oath of allegiance – the same book used by subsequent presidents for two centuries – was removed from our public schools. Abraham Lincoln said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” Oh boy.

Actually, there’s no evidence that Washington placed his hand on the Bible to swear his oath. It’s a myth. And again, the Bible has not been removed from public schools. Students and teachers read their Bibles in school every day. What they can’t do — I’m sensing a theme here — is force other people to read their holy book. This is a very simple difference to understand and they would instantly grasp it if they were forced to read the Quran or the Dhammapada.

1980: Stone vs. Graham – removal of Ten Commandments from school

After we removed public fellowship with God (prayer and Bible reading), we sought to live without His boundaries – we got rid of the Ten Commandments. The Court’s majority opinion said:

“If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments. However desirable this might be as a matter of private devotion, it is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.”

May it never be – our school children obeying the Commandments!

But it isn’t the job of the government to teach religion to children and get them to believe in it. And again, they know this because they would throw a massive tantrum if someone tried to get their children to believe in Islam or Hinduism in school. As always, what they are arguing for is Christian privilege. They want to force their religion on other people, all in the name of “religious freedom.”

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  • Jared James

    Given it’s been a couple of centuries since Madison fought to end state religion in Virginia, they’re a bit late to the fight to re-establish it, but I wish them godspeed in their superbly ignorant crusade against that windmill.

  • John Pieret

    What good is belonging to the majority religion, if they can’t force everyone to follow it?

  • eric

    With most students having smart phones, and the bible being online, it is pretty much a practical impossibility for anyone to prevent students from carrying or reading bibles, even if an administrator wanted to (hint: they don’t).

    Of course the ability of every teacher and student to pull up a bible and read it on screen at will is irrelevant to these folks, as for them it really isn’t about the ability of students to read bible content. Its about Christianity being visibly supported by students and teachers, peer pressure, social norms, and subliminal social coercion of those who aren’t visibly showing off their Christian affiliation.

  • cottonnero

    I liked the part where they managed to misspell both Abington and Schempp.

  • garnetstar

    These two don’t look like they’re in their fifties, so they’re complaining about the lack of two practices that have *never* been in effect during their entire lifetimes?

    What’s next, how far back should we go? Burning at the stake? Now *there’s* a spectacular way to draw the attention of children to the firm foundation of a theocracy.

  • busterggi

    They left out how black children are now allowed to attend schools alongside white children. It doesn’t have anything to do with the bible but you know they want to reverse that too.

  • dingojack

    The Holy Bible on which our first president placed his hand to swear his oath of allegiance – the same book used by subsequent presidents for two centuries – was removed from our public schools.

    Just a quick question on logistics here. Do all the public schools share the bible Washington (allegedly) swore his oath on (each getting for a day say), or does each school get a tiny piece of the aforementioned bible (in a reliquary) or does a courier bike the bible around to each public school in America, as is required?

    Since, from the above quote, like in the movie Highlander: ‘There can only be one!

    @@

    Dingo

  • bmiller

    dingojack…it’s the same magic that turns the cracker and grape juice into jesusbloodandflesh. Mysterious ways

  • theguy

    “1963: Abbington vs. Schemp – Bible reading removed from school… Abraham Lincoln said, ‘The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.’ Oh boy.”

    Considering that many of the tea baggers elected in 2010 would have been born after 1963, it appears that this quote is not true in practice, if Lincoln ever said it.

    All throughout this screed, the Shitham brothers have borne false witness. Pretty sure that’s in the Ten Commandments too…

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    Funny that they want people to acknowledge their dependence on God. I thought these right wingers hate anything that might involve dependence.

  • http://rationalrant.blogspot.com/ sbh

    It was Howard Hyde Russell, founder of an anti-saloon league, who first wrote “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible” and attributed it to Washington. Before that it had circulated in the form Henry Wilson, vice-president under U. S. Grant, had given it: “It is impossible to govern the world without God.” Wilson modified it from the form presented by the reverend B. F. Morris, who had Washington say, “It is impossible to govern the universe without God.” Morris got it (directly or indirectly) from an undocumented children’s life of Washington written by novelist and playwright J. K. Paulding, who had Washington say as part of an argument for the existence of God “It is impossible to govern the universe without God.” (The point being that the existence and continued functioning of the universe proves the existence of God.) Paulding claims to have gotten the information in his book from people who had known Washington, but he doesn’t give specifics. He wants us to take him (and presumably his unnamed informants) on faith.

    Also, no one has ever shown that Lincoln actually said that bit about the philosophy of the schoolroom. It first shows up as his in the latter half of the twentieth century.

    On the other hand George Washington was sworn in on a Bible, according to witnesses at the time. He had to borrow it from a local Masonic lodge. Eisenhower and Carter used it as well in their inaugurations, if I recall correctly.

  • chirez

    It’s vital to remember that tyranny is other people forcing me to do what they want.

    Democracy is my forcing other people to do what I want.

  • colnago80

    Although Washington was a vestryman in Episcopal churches in Northern Virginia, he seldom attended services and always left before the communion service.

    Re sbh @ #11

    On the other hand George Washington was sworn in on a Bible, according to witnesses at the time. He had to borrow it from a local Masonic lodge. Eisenhower and Carter used it as well in their inaugurations, if I recall correctly

    Presumably a Masonic bible, which I’m sure that Egnorance doesn’t consider kosher.

  • theDukedog7 .

    [But it isn’t the job of the government to teach religion to children and get them to believe in it.]

    I agree. The issue is that there are two ways in which religious rights are guaranteed in this country.

    One way is in the Constitution, which prohibits an established federal church and guarantees free exercise of religion.

    The second way is the will of the American people, expressed through legislation.

    Involuntary prayer in school is clearly unconstitutional, because it invokes legally-compelled worship that is characteristic of an establishment of religion.

    Voluntary prayer–even prayer organized and conducted by the school–is not an establishment of religion, anymore than a prayer or religious invocation made by a government official is an establishment of religion. because compliance with it is voluntary. The President may say “God Bless America”, but you are not required to join in the prayer.

    Whether nor not it is appropriate to expose schoolchildren to social pressure to pray is not a constitutional issue–social pressure is not a federal establishment of religion. It is a decision to be made by the elected legislatures, reflecting the values of the people living in the school district or state.

    We do have religious rights and we do have a right to not be forced to participate in religion. But we must be honest about what is in the Constitution and what is not.

  • http://www.dexterityunlimited.com/ Dan J

    Whether nor not it is appropriate to expose schoolchildren to social pressure to pray is not a constitutional issue–social pressure is not a federal establishment of religion.

    Sorry, oh Egnorant one, but you’re wrong. The Supreme Court disagrees with you on this point, and they’re the ones that make such a decision, not you.

  • zenlike

    theDukedog7 would of course have no problems with Islamic prayer by public school officials.