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Last night’s episode of The Daily Show featured this lovely bit about James Dobson:
I have to disagree with Obama that laws are codifications based on ultimately Judeo-Christian values. Traditional American rights toward various freedoms are very non-Judeo-Christian.
While a bunch of the founding fathers were secularists or Enlightenment Deists, you can’t really deny that our laws are codification of Judeo-Christian values.
Laws against sodomy, bigamy, and even closing liquor stores on Sundays are nothing more than the result of this codification.
Speaking of videos, my friend showed me this gem earlier today:
BC (Biblically Correct) Tours takes kids through a museum and puts their own insane twist on everything.
I agree…I think it is very commonplace for people to believe that our nation’s laws are judeo-christian in origin. That is not so.
The laws we have now are based on the English laws that pre-dated us…and an assortment of political and social philosophers who influenced our founders.
They were born out of oppression. The laws we have today came about because of a largely humanist effort to break that oppressive grip. Does anyone REALLY need to be told that the greatest oppressor of indivudual freedoms of the time was religion? I would hope not. Even in places where the crown was the oppressor…during the dark ages, there was always a cross backing the crown.
Our laws today are far more reliant upon people moving away from what religion says and towards a humanist society.
And christians are just plain stupid if they believe that the laws prohibitting murder, stealing, fidelity and honesty are borne of their god and religion. But many do. Many actually believe that if it were not for the bible, societies would allow murder and theft, etc. Absurd. No…the real truth of that is that many of the 10 commandments were nothing more than what societies from the dawn of time had figured out in order to have success as a group.
Oh…I will concede that there have been laws that are set in judeo-christian. But only a handful. Stuf like blue laws, sodomy laws, etc. Few and easy to spot…also on the way out. The big ones…and the constitution in particular are humanist.
Ah, The Daily Show. How it does make the most sense of all sometimes. LOVED the “played backwards” section.
Kyle Peterson said,
Speaking of videos, my friend showed me this gem earlier today:
I know, right? The best part is when they accuse scientists of using circular reasoning.
Does anyone REALLY need to be told that the greatest oppressor of indivudual freedoms of the time was religion? I would hope not. Even in places where the crown was the oppressor…during the dark ages, there was always a cross backing the crown.
Crowns have always been greater oppressors than crosses. Moreover, they still are today, every if those wearing the metaphorical crowns claim they are not wearing them.
Lest anyone think I’m defending organised religion, I’m not. It’s their own fault that they got involved with a bad crowd (or crown).
I do deny it. Our greatest legal principles were codifications of enlightenment thinking that took an overtly non- or anti-religious (think “divine right of Kings”) and rational approach. This is why “God” or “Jesus” is not mentioned in our Constitution and why our rights are not drawn from the Bible or Tradition, but from Nature. We were born a secular Republic for the benefit of all our people–for those with religion as well as those without.
Obama is exactly right in the dilemma that he poses, and his obvious point is that rather than struggle to see who’s interpretation of the Bible will be legislated, perhaps we ought to suspend such efforts altogether. It is downright comic how grossly blind the religious fundamentalists have become since they have begun corrupting themselves with the taint of politics. Once upon a time Fundamentalism meant the movement of those that separated themselves from the ‘world,’ from the sinful lifestyles and behaviors of the fallen, spiritually-dead mass of humanity, especially as it is exemplified in politics. Politics is the art of compromise, and fundamentalists could not compromise their convictions.
Back then the engagement with the world was evangelical–to call the world to repent and believe, to turn from their wickedness and be saved–“not to conform to this world be to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Back then the battles that fundamentalists waged were not for Congress, or for State legislatures, or for the Presidency, or for the Supreme Court, or for this law or that, or for the State of Israel, or against Islam and Iran, or for American global hegemony, but their battles were of this kind:
Finally, my brethren be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having gird your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Way back when, when fundies were still fundies, they would harshly criticize liberal Christianity for its “Social Gospel,” which was an emptying of the Gospel message of saving grace such that it became little more than glorified public charity. The liberals worked through and with politics and government to benefit mankind, believing that the Kingdom of God could be built here and now, instead of in the sweet bye and bye. This was decried as apostasy by the fundies, and repudiated. They would have no part of it. They would quote Jesus “What does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul; or what will a man give for his soul?” At that time it was taboo for a minister to run for public office; now we have a Baptist preacher who was formerly a state Governor that so wanted to be our next President.
How ironic that fundies have now repudiated those very traits that made them so, and with them everything they say they believe, in order to achieve their ends by means similar to those of the liberals they once condemned. So long as they remained separate and apart, bearing witness before a wicked world, they could not be eradicated; now, they have all but guaranteed their ultimate demise.
The liberals no longer believed in an inerrant Bible, in miracles and such, and for this reason engaged in the only good works left to them–not believing in the spiritual they acted upon the highest ideals in the secular. How ironic that the fundamentalists, who professed belief in the inerrancy of the Bible and in God’s wonder-working power, have shown by their works in the secular sphere that they, in fact, do not believe. They once prayed for sinners to repent, and they did not. They once preached the Gospel, but few were saved. They once tried to live righteously, yet the world went merrily on its way. They were the People of God, but they did not prosper.
Fundamentalism was getting nowhere until they decided to get into politics. Now look at them. They are like James Dobson–bitter, uncharitable, busy-bodies. They’re just as hard-headed as ever, but now they’ve got a megaphone, and they don’t mind damning kindness, and humility, and all the other “Christian” virtues in pursuit of the next election victory. And they lie–God, do they lie! I swear they have made politicians look like amateurs in the art of prevarication. Second not even to used-car salesmen, these fundies will lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want. Their hypocrisy is truly of Biblical proportions. Dobson will soon die, and we can only hope his brand of fundamentalism will go down into the dust along with him.
Dobson will soon die, and we can only hope his brand of fundamentalism will go down into the dust along with him.
Darryl, part of the problem is that these have become family businesses. Falwell, Robertson,the Copelands, Oral Roberts, and on and on – they’ve all groomed their kids to take over for them. And it’s often the case that the children of proselytes are more rigid and uncompromising than their parents were; look at Franklin Graham.
I’d like to believe that their world view and their way of doing things are on the verge of dying out; I’m just not so sure.
Cipher, you make a good point, but I’m putting my hope on every other young person out there that just can’t see why they ought to outlaw abortion, not marry a person of color, and not hate gays.