The US Constitution Founded on the Bible? Guess Again.

The US Constitution Founded on the Bible? Guess Again. February 2, 2016

(Happy Groundhog Day! I’ve written about the religious foundation of Groundhog Day here.)

Constitution BibleAs the world’s superpower, the United States is sometimes criticized for its foreign policy, but we often forget one of America’s greatest gifts to the world, the secular constitution. Paul Kurtz of the Center for Inquiry has said that 94 national constitutions are explicitly neutral on religion, with the U.S. Constitution being the very first. It’s frustrating that the secular nature of the Constitution is now being second guessed, when that trait is the friend not only of the atheist and non-Christian but also of the Christian.

Don’t Like History? Rewrite It!

History revisionists like David Barton (whose 2012 book The Jefferson Lies was recalled by its Christian publishing house for historical inaccuracies) imagine that America was founded on biblical principles.

The Constitution is full of biblical inspiration, he says:

You look at Article 3, Section 1 [sic], the treason clause. Direct quote out of the Bible. You look at Article 2, the quote on the president has to be a native born? That is Deuteronomy 17:15, verbatim. I mean, it drives the secularists nuts because the Bible’s all over it! … [We Christians] think it’s a secular document; we’ve bought into their lies. It’s not.

The Constitution not secular? There is no mention of deities, and the only mention of religion is to prohibit religious tests for public office in Article 6. But let’s investigate Barton’s claims.

First, the treason clause. In another video he makes clear what “direct quote” he’s talking about:

On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness (Deut. 17:6).

Compare that with the Constitution:

No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court (Art. 3, Sect. 3).

That’s the great wisdom that the founding fathers had to consult the Bible for—that you need at least two witnesses for an important crime? And that’s hardly a direct quote.

Consider what the Bible is talking about in this chapter: if anyone worships a god besides Jehovah, you are to stone them to death, with the witnesses the first to cast the stones. Death penalty for worshipping the wrong god? Uh, no—that’s about as unconstitutional as it comes.

In Barton’s second point, he compares

Be sure to appoint over you a king Jehovah your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite (Deut. 17:15).

With

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States … shall be eligible to the Office of President (Art. 2, Sect. 1, Clause 5).

That’s not a “verbatim” copy. That’s not even a rough approximation. The United States is to pick a king that God chooses?!

Not … even … close.

No, David, what “drives the secularists nuts” is your blatant lies. Do you assume your audience is too ignorant to know the truth? Or that they’re too stupid to care about it?

What Would a Religious Constitution Look Like?

There are lots more false Barton statements, but he’s a waste of time. If the founding fathers had wanted America to be governed by Christian or biblical principles, they would have said so in the Constitution.

Compare it with the constitution of the Philippines, which implores the aid of “the Almighty God,” or Malaysia, which makes Islam the official religion, or Nigeria, which declares that it is a “nation under God,” or even the new constitution of Egypt, which makes Islam the official religion and Islamic Sharia the “principle source of legislation.”

The signers of the Constitution knew full well how to make religious constitutions since these same founding fathers helped to create constitutions in their states. Maryland granted religious protection for Christians only, New Jersey referred to “the inestimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God,” Pennsylvania required office holders to acknowledge that the Bible was divinely inspired, and Vermont required all men to declare “by the ever living God” that they will honorably carry out civic responsibilities such as voting.

That’s what the Constitution would’ve looked like if the founding fathers had wanted it to be religious. By contrast, the U.S. Constitution begins “We the People.” By not referring to God, it says volumes.

Related post: “The U.S. Constitution is 100 Percent Secular—or Is It?

The likelihood that America is a Christian nation
is directly proportional to the number of occurrences
of the words “Jesus,” “Christ,” “God,” “Bible,” and “Christianity”
in the US Constitution.
— Richard S. Russell

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 3/4/13.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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  • JBrown971

    I fail to see your point. Are you claiming that David Barton, a man you acknowledge was discredited by a Christian publisher, is speaking for Christians? OR Are you claiming that scores of Christians across the country accept this view?

    • Bob can respond to your request for clarification on his specific point.

      I would only note that Barton, despite his risible reputation as a scholar, nevertheless has quite a number of die-hard fans and followers (probably more than a few score). His fanfic The Jefferson Lies has found a new publisher, WND Books. Barton is even running the Keep the Promise super-PAC that supports Ted Cruz.

      • JBrown971

        Please define ‘scores’. His facebook page has like 150K followers. There are about 223 million (70% of the pop) that are Christian of some sort in the US. By my math that is less than a 1%.

        Maybe the question should be, what number of followers can one count as representing the whole? I hope not 1%. Although, I would love to start associating every non-Christians with all matters of crackpot thinking.

        • adam

          “Maybe the question should be, what number of followers can one count as representing the whole?”

          The better question should be ‘do christians represent christianity’.

          If they dont who does?

        • MNb

          Nobody? Because it’s just an umbrella term?
          The only representation I think meaningful is the political one.

        • adam

          They are certainly a product of their own delusions created by christianity.

        • Greg G.

          Please define ‘scores’.

          My, oh, my. Do you not know how much a score is? A score is twenty (20). That’s how many fingers and toes most people have. “Scores”, being plural, means at least 40.

          1. Mike Huckabee
          2. Michele Bachmann
          3. Newt Gingrich
          4. Don McLemore
          5. Ted Cruz
          6. Glenn Beck

          to name a few of the people who have supported him.

          SPLC on David Barton says he was named by Time in 2005 as one of the nation’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals.”

          The article ends with:

          Barton still retains some influence, but only in the most extreme and uneducated segments of the Christian Right. Virtually all serious conservatives have repudiated him, and his chances of making a comeback seem remote, to be kind, although he sounds just as glib and sure as himself as ever.

        • JBrown971

          Greg, the word in question was used twice. You said ‘scores’ and Lex said ‘score’. There are two different meanings in play because you used a ‘s’ at the end. After responding to you, I had a feeling someone was using the word in an improper context. As it turns out, it was you. The word ‘scores’ means ‘a great many’. The word ‘score’ means 20. We don’t plural ‘score’ by adding an ‘s’, ie ‘Four score and seven years ago’. Lex used the term correctly, ‘a few score’ when he wanted to represent a multiple of 20. Hence, my question was perfectly valid as you didn’t use the word properly.

          I won’t address anything else you have to say until you apologize for your insults.

        • Greg G.

          http://learnersdictionary.com/definition/score

          4
          [count] formal + literary plural score
          a : the number 20
          [+] Example sentences
          b : a group of 20 people or things
          three score years [=60 years]
          A score of people were in attendance.
          [
          — see also fourscore, threescore
          5
          scores [plural] formal : a large number or amount of people or things — usually + of
          We have received scores of suggestions.

          I don’t owe you an apology. You should thank me for supplementing your basic education.

          You asked me to prove Barton had “scores of” Christians who accept his views where I was using your choice of words, that is, the way you used the word “scores”.

          I don’t care whether you do or not but the decent thing to do would be to apologize to the group for compounding a simple mistake and trying to bluster your way out of it. When you make a mistake, learn from it, laugh it off and move on. Don’t dig in and defend it.

          And don’t try to use this as an excuse to run away.

        • Is this really the hill you want to die on? From Merriam-Webster:

        • “Scores” very clearly means “multiple 20s,” as the definition shows.

          But even if it meant “a great many,” you said that Barton has 150,000 Facebook followers. That’s a great many.

          I think it’s you who needs to apologize or at least back away from this meaningless argument.

        • 1. “Please define ‘scores.'” Define a common English word that you were the first commenter to use in this thread? Okay, I’m game. ‘Scores’ is the plural of ‘score,’ meaning twenty, from the Late Old English scoru.

          So “more than a few score” means more than 60 to 100 or so. (We don’t have to get into the definition of “few,” do we?) More than a few score could be 61, could be 101. Could be 150,000. Could be whatever number of folks have bought Barton’s books, or watch him on TV, or listen to his podcast/radio show.

          2. “Maybe the question should be, what number of followers can one count as representing the whole?” That’s a semantic debate that probably wouldn’t be much fun to pursue. I would agree that Barton’s ideas are fringe, and that his fans make up a minority–indeed, a small minority–of all Christians in the U.S. To the best of my knowledge, no accredited Christian college uses any of his books in their curricula, and some of his most vocal critics are conservative and/or evangelical scholars. But Barton nevertheless remains an influential voice among a not negligible segment of the religious right. Ask the fella who won the GOP primary in Iowa yesterday.

        • JBrown971

          The plural of ‘score’ to represent a multiple of 20 is not ‘scores’. ‘Scores’ means ‘a great many’. Hence my usage stands. There are not ‘a great many’ Christians following this man. Especially when taken in conjunction with the entire Christian population.

          “Barton nevertheless remains an influential voice among a not negligible segment of the religious right” Right. Then a few years ago when a couple of non-religious European scientists published a paper (accepted by some) claiming that abortion should extended to one month past live birth; I can claim that it is a representation of all non-religious people.

          In the end, using Barton to advance an action against Christian is pointless because 99% either don’t know who he is, or thinks he is a crack pot.

        • Greg G.

          In the end, using Barton to advance an action against Christian is pointless because 99% either don’t know who he is, or thinks he is a crack pot.

          That “crackpot” is running a major PAC for the Republican who is seeking the nomination for PotUS who finished first in the Iowa caucus.

          He was embraced by Christians, including Christian-dominated school boards, until his “Jefferson Lies” was exposed as lies. He still has a considerable following among uneducated evangelicals.

        • adam

          “He still has a considerable following among uneducated evangelicals.”

        • davewarnock

          redundant?

        • adam

          But worth repeating…

        • Regarding “scores” as a plural, fair enough. The OED gives examples of “scores” as a plural for “score” as twenty, but that seems to be archaic and not the preferred modern usage. (As for whether 150,000 is less than “scores,” we’ll just have to agree to disagree.)

          In the rest of your comment, you seem to be arguing against a thesis that neither Bob nor I have advanced–that Barton and his ideas are representative of all or a majority of Christians and their ideas. My sense is that others on this thread take positions closer to this notion, so I invite you to have that discussion with them.

          Is Barton a crackpot? Sure. A crackpot with 150,000
          FB followers, a cable TV show, a podcast/radio show, significant book and DVD sales, and the ear and campaign bank account of one of the GOP’s leading presidential candidates.

        • What do you think we’re talking about? I never said that Barton is the pope of all American Christians. He is, however, a popular speaker with a platform. And he’s a nutjob.

          When no one listens to him, I’ll have no need to write about him. That happy day has yet to come.

        • MNb

          Even when no one listens to him it’s up to you to decide if you want to write about him or not, for whatever reason. It’s up to JBrown to decide if he wants to defend him or not. The rest is nonsense.

        • adam

          “I can claim that it is a representation of all non-religious people.”

          I mean if you can claim “God” you can claim anything.

        • RichardSRussell

          Of course, if you can redefine common English words to mean anything you want them to mean, you can “prove” anything you want to. But you’re not going to be very successful at communicating your ideas to native English speakers who take them as having their normal meanings.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          We should set a play date between JQ and JB, they share many of the same beliefs and hobbies like redefining the english language.

        • davewarnock

          You need to get current. Barton has heavy influence with Ted Cruz who could actually become the next president. (the mind boggles)

          http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-09-09/pac-built-by-ted-cruz-mega-donors-gets-evangelical-leader

          Google Ted Cruz and David Barton- you’ll find plenty.

          FFS! Please don’t just get on here and spout shit if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Do some homework!

        • Greg G.

          Although, I would love to start associating every non-Christians with all matters of crackpot thinking.

          Sez the guy who doesn’t know and can’t Google “scores”.

        • Even if Barton doesn’t represent all of Christianity, the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian country and that our Constitution is a religious document inspired by the Bible is commonplace, even among those who thing Barton is a fraud.

        • Jason K.

          “Scores” are groups of twenty. So if anything, it’s an underwhelming word to use to describe a number which actually stretches into 6 digits.

          Maybe the question should be, what adjectives can we use describe Barton’s number of followers which wouldn’t upset you?

        • Greg G.

          He used the term “scores of Christians” first and then started asking for proof that Barton had scores of followers, as if he thought that would be a difficult challenge. One could probably make a list name by name for that.

    • Greg G.

      David Barton is speaking as a Christian who tries to read the Constitution as a Christian with an agenda but he doesn’t even understand the word “verbatim” so it is no wonder he is consistently so wrong AND scores of Christians across the country do accept his views.

    • adam

      “Are you claiming that David Barton, a man you acknowledge was
      discredited by a Christian publisher, is speaking for Christians? ”

      Of course who else is he speaking for?

      http://www.wallbuilders.com/ABTbioDB.asp

    • Dys

      Actually, he was discredited by Chris Rodda, an atheist working for the MRFF.

    • Dys

      Considering Barton has unfortunately been influential in the text book debates in Texas and that government Republican officials buy into his bullshit, Barton’s undeserved influence is far greater than you’d like to admit.

      • JBrown971

        Of course. Vast right wing conspiracy I am sure.

        • Dys

          So your response is to simply reiterate that you’re content with your own ignorance. I’m hardly surprised.

    • Rudy R

      Would you agree that David Barton speaks for Christians? And would you also agree that scores of Christians across the country accept this view?

      • JBrown971

        No. He is a fringe crackpot.

        • Greg G.

          You said yourself that his Facebook has 150,000 followers. That is scores.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Ha ha ha , you expect a fundie to know maffs? pi=3 donchaknow

        • Greg G.

          But 3=1 so Pi = 1.

          I have been debating Agabu about Bible contradictions. I pointed to Matthew’s genealogy about the claim of three sets of 14 generations. He thinks it is OK that Matthew omits 4 names therefore if Matthew only lists fourteen, it is fourteen, so 18=14. But then the last group has only 13 names so you have to count one guy twice, so 13=14.

          He also claims that there is no contradiction where the Synoptics have Jesus eating Passover just before being arrested but John 19:14 says that Jesus was on trial on the day of preparation for the Passover. He says it wasn’t really a day of preparation for “Passover” it was a day of preparation for the sabbath and he pointed to John 19:31 where it says it was a day of preparation for the sabbath but it says it was a special sabbath, which probably means the Passover was on a sabbath. If it was a day of preparation for the Passover, then Jesus and the disciples did not eat the Passover. Agabu is still in denial and has resorted to just calling me names.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Not gonna hunt for a clip, but i am SOOO reminded of the scene in ‘Princess Bride’ where the line was (iirc) ‘Your logic is dizzying’ or some such.

        • Greg G.
        • Susan

          Wait until I get going!

          “I’ll likely kill you in the morning.”

          -Signed

          The Dread Pirate Robert

        • Cozmo the Magician

          i KNEW somebody would find that clip (; ty

        • davewarnock

          and yet he has heavy influence with Ted Cruz, who (shudders) could actually be our next president.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          I truly fear Cruz. ‘I am a christian first and american second’. Scary shit. He puts his dominionist end times fairy tale over the constitution he would have to swear to uphold. OTOH, Trump is just a bigoted asshole who would have no hope of ever doing the shit he says we would do as president. On the gripping hand, Cruz not only COULD but likely WOULD gleefully start WWIII to make his skydady happy. While I would HOPE Trump realizes that armeggedon would be bad for business.

        • Rudy R

          On that we agree, but would you also agree that scores of Christians across the country accept his viewpoint?

    • MNb

      Where did BobS even hint at such a claim? As a Dutchman I like to stress that the vast majority of Dutch christians have been secular for say 150 years.
      If you are a secular christian as well, more power to you.

    • Moving on from The War of the Scores, now. Here’s a new and bracing piece on Barton’s role in the Cruz campaign from an evangelical historian, John Fea: http://www.religionnews.com/2016/02/04/ted-cruzs-campaign-fueled-dominionist-vision-america-commentary/

      • adam

        Frightening…

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Adam, as an atheist I must say that the first pic may show a world this person might ‘hope for’ but not how I envision it. OTOH, the fundies do seem to both want and expect the damn ‘end times’ destruction shown in the second. On the gripping hand, after all the horror and stuff of the ‘end times’ the fundies THEN say we all either get to sit in heaven telling god over and over how totes awesome he is (wonder if that is where trump gets it from) or spend forever being tortured in flames. Given those options, I’m glad I will simply cease to exist when I die.

        • Michael Neville

          +1 for the Motie reference.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Thanks, I have been using that a lot lately. Even people who have not read the Niven/Pournelle books can understand the concept.

        • Hard to believe there’s somebody who might be worse than Trump . . . .

        • adam

          Fundamentally I think he is….

  • A little thought experiment. If we removed from the Constitution all the ideas and terminology readily traceable to the writings of classical pagan authors (Aristotle, Polybius, Cato, Cicero, Seneca, Tacitus, etc.), we would have a few unusable scraps left.

    If we were to eliminate from the Constitution the ideas and terminology traceable to the Bible, the damage would be largely limited to the characterization of the year it was signed.

    • JBrown971

      The constitution is based on the unalienable rights from our Creator as stated in the Declaration of Independence. The assumption, therefore, was that this secular document was given power by to grant rights via a God, rather than man.

      For a truer look at what would make this different. Lets pretend the founders thought rights came from man/government. It would completely change the power structure of the document. It would have been more apt to tyranny and less individual freedoms.

      • adam

        Then lets look at the writer of that and see what his view of “Creator” really is:

      • adam

        ” Lets pretend the founders thought rights came from man/government.”

        Which is exactly what they stated.
        No need to pretend like you do.

        “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

      • You’re getting into the Enlightenment take on natural law and natural rights, which ranged from a deistic formulation (Jefferson’s “Creator,” for instance) to explicitly Christian ones (see Locke’s Two Treatises on Government).

        This conception of natural law is largely a Christianized take on an idea that stretches back to classical thinkers at least 100 years before the earliest books of the NT were written. Cicero is one natural legal theorist who comes to mind; Jefferson credited him, among others (including Locke), with articulating the principles on which the Declaration of Independence was based.

        So would the Constitution look different in some ways without the assumption of a deistic Creator endowing people with rights, or at least without a notion of natural rights? That’s a reasonable proposition.

        But that’s not my hypothetical. I talked about removing ideas and terminology readily traceable to the Bible specifically, as opposed to classical authors. Removing the Christian accoutrements from Enlightenment natural law still leaves us with a core theory first discussed by classical pagans.

        • JBrown971

          I don’t accept the premise that the founders used specific Bibles passages as basis for Constitution. I do accept that they relied heavily on classical authors and that removing the Christian God from the constitution would have little impact.

          However, using the classics still assumes a religious back drop to the Constitution. The men of antiquity still accepted the idea that a power existed beyond man. While they may have been pagan, they were far from the atheist we see in the modern/post-modern era.

          So I agree with you original thought. My challenge to that thought is you haven’t really changed concept that the founders assumed a god gave the constitution its secular authority. A secular document in 2016 means something completely different than what the founders would have considered secular.

        • adam

          ” I do accept that they relied heavily on classical authors and that
          removing the Christian God from the constitution would have little
          impact.”

          Uhh, the christian god ISN’T in the Constitution.

          So NOTHING to remove.

          ” The men of antiquity still accepted the idea that a power existed
          beyond man. While they may have been pagan, they were far from the
          atheist we see in the modern/post-modern era.”

          Some were some were not.
          Consider why no claimed atheist has ever been President.
          Politics, persecution, etc.

          So many people of that day could have easily been atheistic (certainly Jefferson) and understood the caustic environment created by the religious.

          After all these people were probably witnesses to some of the witch hunting going on up until then.

          ” A secular document in 2016 means something completely different than what the founders would have considered secular.”

          The you can EASILY demonstrate this right?

        • “My challenge to that thought is you haven’t really changed concept that the founders assumed a god gave the constitution its secular authority.”

          Well, that’s not exactly what I was trying to get at. And I’d actually agree with that concept if worded differently: A critical mass of the Framers envisioned (1) a Creator endowing the people with certain natural rights, and (2) the people delegating enumerated authorities to the federal government by consent via the Constitution.

        • Just a follow-up to my other response here. You wrote that “the founders assumed a god gave the constitution its secular authority.”

          After noodling this over, I’ve concluded that this formulation probably wouldn’t have computed for the Founders (broadly speaking) if we could put it to them. As I’ve indicated before, the conventional wisdom at the time was that natural rights vested with existence, whether thanks to God, Providence, Nature, the Creator, whichever. But conferring authority to the governments via constitutions was an act of human enterprise, not of “a god.” Here’s how John Adams put it when discussing the state constitutions in 1787:

          “Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses . . . . Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind.” http://www.constitution.org/jadams/ja1_pre.htm

          Now, I don’t want to overstate things. My sense is that Adams (and many other Founders) viewed Christianity as a key element of a moral and enduring society. (Right after the text quoted above, Adams wrote: “The experiment is made, and has completely succeeded: it can no longer be called in question, whether authority in magistrates, and obedience of citizens, can be grounded on reason, morality, and the Christian religion, without the monkery of priests, or the knavery of politicians.”) I just don’t think he’d be on board with “a god gave the constitution its secular authority.”

        • Cozmo the Magician

          And yet the fundies will claim again and again that all our founders were jeebus lovers and that is what motivated them. When the words the founders WROTE DOWN say exactly the opposite.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Uh, no…using rediscovered classics of pagan origin and philosophy on the catholic church’s Index shows that religion was, if considered at all, denied.

          You could just as easily say the Constitution is based on trees and farms.

      • Greg G.

        The constitution is based on the unalienable rights from our Creator as stated in the Declaration of Independence.

        Then why was the Bill of Rights in the form of amendments to the Constitution?

        • You’d think that God would’ve gotten the Constitution right on his first try.

        • Greg G.

          God needed two tries to get the a covenant with a few Hebrews.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Why? He didn’t get the human race right. Flood, Moses, Jesus, still aint got around to that apocolpsie thing. Why should the constitution be any different (smirk) Srsly, anybody that reads the bible has to see that the one thing god is NOT is ‘perfect’. He has spent all of human history trying to fix own damn mistakes.

        • RichardSRussell

          There’s actually an interesting story behind that. James Madison resisted the whole idea of a Bill of Rights, because he feared it would lead people to think that only the rights listed there were enforceable. His attitude was that the government should start out assuming that citizens could do whatever they wanted, except for whatever powers they voluntarily gave to the government, as explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. He contended that, if a power wasn’t listed there, the government couldn’t do it, so the people were safe.

          His colleagues were not persuaded: “The people want a Bill of Rights, James, and we need to guarantee they’re going to get one, or they won’t ratify the Constitution.” So Madison, dragging his feet all the way, relented and volunteered to take on the task of drafting one. But he made sure to include the 9th and 10th Amendments as hedges against what he saw as the way human psychology would work:

          [9] The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

          [10] The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

          It was an act of noble ethicality practically unheard of in today’s opportunistic world: a politician agreeing to do something he was opposed to, but not having to do it until after he’d already gotten his half of the deal (ratification), and nonetheless doing one hell of a good job delivering on his promise. I am proud to live in a city named for the great man.

        • A great man who probably weighed no more than 100 pounds, I recently read. (I knew he was called “Little Jemmy,” but 100 pounds surprised me. That’s my fourth grader’s weight.)

      • Lets pretend the founders thought rights came from man/government.

        No need to pretend. They did.

        You ought to actually read the Declaration of Independence. It says, “Congress derives its just powers from the consent of the governed.” Very empowering (but sorry, Jesus).

        The Constitution isn’t built on the DoI. It stands alone, and it’s clearly secular.

        • JBrown971

          That is not a critically thought out answer. It also imposes 2016 terminology onto the man of the 1700’s.

          It is clear that the founders placed the Creator as the originator of rights. It is also clear that they wanted the governed to retain control of those rights. Your assertion that they felt man held the power to determine what a right was, is foolish. Rather they felt men should have the power to determine what the rights of the government were. See the difference?

        • Dys

          It is also clear that, considering who decided on the word Creator in the DOI, it is not a reference to the god of Christianity or Judaism.

          But really, trying to shoehorn the DOI as a way of trying to include religious belief onto the secular Constitution isn’t particularly well thought out. That the founders believed in a deity does not change the fact that the Constitution is a secular document that establishes a secular government.

        • Terminology? What terminology has changed? Show me what the founding fathers meant that makes that quoted sentence change its meaning.

          The DoI is a historical document, nothing more. The Constitution is a governing document, actually in use at this moment. If you’re seeing God as the foundation of the Constitution, show me.

        • JBrown971

          Foundation? Not sure I said that.

          However, without religion, you would not have the product we see today. You can’t have the constitution if you remove the religious backdrop that presented an entity by which man was given rights outside the constitution. Which religion was most subscribed to in the US at that time? Not THE foundation, but definitely a part of the foundation.

        • adam

          “However, without religion, you would not have the product we see today.”

          Nor the petty sibling rivalry we see as cause of a lot of the conflict on this planet.

          THIS is what the founders were trying to get away from not move towards.

        • JBrown971

          That is false, on both counts.

          Do you find peace where religion is absent? Would love to see your data on that.

          The founders embraced a notion of original sin as they built the US. The Bill of Rights was added because the founders understood that man had a propensity towards tyranny, not liberty. They understood that rights came from something outside of man and that man over the course of history always tried to supersede those rights and make themselves the gods.

          Finally, the founders embraced ‘petty sibling rivalry’. They used it to our advantage by creating 3 branches of government.

        • adam

          “That is false, on both counts.”

          Nope, the petty sibling rivalry we see from the worshipers of the ‘God of Abraham’ is well documented throughout history.

          Crusades, Inquisitions, witch burning, homosexual hatred.

          “The founders embraced a notion of original sin as they built the US.”

          Demonstrate your evidence for this.
          Jefferson obviously thought this was ignorant and dangerous https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/03bdb652b78a3f5acbb5f33ce5dc6acc11214381d9c6600588f2fba6e1f485fd.jpg superstition.

          ” They understood that rights came from something outside of man and
          that man over the course of history always tried to supersede those
          rights and make themselves the gods.”

          FALSE

          They understood that over the course of history men always tried to supersede those rights and make themselves TYRANTS.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ad11073a435fc518e67582acb61265f834f879e36f8562aafff19cec2803345a.jpg

          “Finally, the founders embraced ‘petty sibling rivalry’. They used it to our advantage by creating 3 branches of government.”

          Then you can easily demonstrate this as well….

          Because actually they UNDERSTOOD how religion support tyranny. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d39cee70446205cdb7912957c3af16755712053fa4f6030e67dbea65dcf6d103.jpg

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/49f1bc51f0fdf744257eb1e6d95ca429985d74f4032c93279caae5b7781828c7.jpg

        • JBrown971

          I appreciate your inability to think for yourself, but rely on meme’s to do the thinking for you.

          Benjamin Franklin:
          Your full quote came from below. It was a stand against religious test by the state. Prior to it, he confess his faith in Christ. It doesn’t mean what you hope it implies.
          http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/40/Letter_from_Benjamin_Franklin_to_Richard_Price_1.html

          Here is his evolution into Christianity.
          http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/65/Articles_of_Belief_and_Acts_of_Religion_1.html
          “That I may be preserved from Atheism and Infidelity, Impiety and Profaneness,”

          http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/on-the-providence-of-god-in-the-government-of-the-world/

          http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-02-02-0011

          Thomas Jefferson:
          Here is the full context of the quote. You will again see it doesn’t mean what you imply. It is a critique of the priests that profit off working with the government as they did in England.
          http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-07-02-0167

          Although a deist himself, you might find this interesting, “the Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind.”
          http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl138.php

          Maybe you should go back to your meme library and try again. This time find quotes that are taken in context and truthful.

        • adam

          “Benjamin Franklin:

          Your full quote came from below. It was a stand against religious test by the state. Prior to it, he confess his faith in Christ. It doesn’t mean what you hope it implies.”

          It means exactly what I thought it implies – Secular government.

        • adam

          “Here is the full context of the quote. You will again see it doesn’t
          mean what you imply. It is a critique of the priests that profit off
          working with the government as they did in England.”

          Yes, it again means what I intended. Secular government.

          “”the Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they have
          enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its
          benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to
          liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind.””

          The rags are supernatural claims.

          Otherwise Jefferson could easily been Buddhist.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Yeah, the same way Descartes said his philosophy was”for himself alone”, to protect himself from the hateful religidiots of his time who would have made his life difficult if not impossible.

          So?

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Thomas Jefferson never professed to being a Deist. He was raised an Anglican and attended to that religious institution. His ideas, however, aligned with the Deist view, specifically the English Deist view, which did not exclude religion. He was greatly influenced by Voltaire politically. French Deism excluded religiosity. With this in mind, Jefferson was able to separate his personal theosophy from the political philosophy to which he served. He believed it imperative to separate the two.

          A couple of quotes by Jefferson from the Monticello.org website may be interesting to note:

          Excerpt from Jefferson to his nephew, Peter Carr, in 1787: “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

          Excerpt from Jefferson to Richard Rush in 1813. “…the subject of religion, a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his maker, in which no other, & far less the public, had a right to intermeddle.”

        • JBrown971

          Forgot the first one. Which you again take out of context and try to imply something it doesn’t mean. If you ?read? the whole thing, you will Jefferson accepts the Christian God and Jesus, but not Jesus as one of the Trinity.
          https://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/53/Letter_from_Thomas_Jefferson_to_John_Adams_1.html

        • adam

          And not the supernatural claims about Jesus.

          You know virgin birth, resurrection, walking on water, healing, etc.

          MAGIC…

          Jefferson didnt believe in such magic.

          And understood the harm of spreading such evil.

        • Dys

          Jefferson does not accept the Christian God at all. If you learned how to read, you’d discover that Jefferson rejected:

          * That Jesus was the son of God
          * That Jesus was divine
          * The virgin birth narrative
          * That Jesus performed miracles
          * Original sin
          * The concept of the Trinity
          * The Resurrection
          * The Judeo-Christian God (especially as portrayed in the OT)

          In short, Jefferson was a classical deist who appreciated the morality and philosophy attributed to Jesus.

        • adam

          Well of course he didnt believe in the ‘Christian God’

          It was along the lines of Einstein and Spinoza’s god, the god of the gap argument for a ‘first cause’

          “In short, Jefferson was a classical deist who appreciated the morality and philosophy attributed to Jesus.”

          He could have just as easily been Buddhist.

        • JBrown971

          Did you read my links?

        • adam

          “The founders embraced a notion of original sin as they built the US.”Demonstrate your evidence for this.

        • Greg G.

          Do you find peace where religion is absent? Would love to see your data on that.

          My house is religion free and it is quite peaceful. Are there any places in the world where religion is absent besides Antarctica, the most peaceful continent since humans evolved?

          We can look at violent crime rates for each state in the US and compare the religiousity of each state. The least violent states are the least religious. I have heard that one can do that with a county-by-county analysis and it comes out the same but I haven’t seen those stats.

          The least religious countries would be in Europe and the biggest violence there for over seven decades has been religious in nature. Before that, there was a war you may have heard about where the aggressor’s uniforms had belt buckles with “Gott Mit Uns” on them.

        • MNb

          “Are there any places …..”
          Yes. Here.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piraha_people

          Very peaceful.

        • Michael Neville

          Ever hear of the 30 Years War? It ran from 1618 to 1648 and was fought between Catholics and Protestants. Approximately 1/3 of the population of Central Europe died during the war. So what does religion have to do with peace?

        • MNb

          “Do you find peace where religion is absent?”
          Yes. Here.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piraha_people

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Look at European nations, specifically the northern ones. Less religion than anyplace in the world, and remarkably idyllic.

          There’s also a difference between recognizing humanity’s savage, animal nature and ‘sin’.

          Show me anydamnplace in your book where there are three that strive against each other to protect the populace.

        • The US Constitution is completely secular. Your argument seems to be: the founding fathers brought some of their religious worldview into the constitutional process.

          I see no evidence of that. There certainly is nothing overt in the Constitution to suggest that–no mention of God/Jesus, no claim that our rights are God-given, no Bible quotes, no allusions to ideas that guided the Hebrews’ government after the Exodus, etc.

        • JBrown971

          The majority believed in a deity, many were some form of Christian; but since they didn’t put a Biblical footnote at the bottom you are claiming they checked their religious worldview at the door. Suddenly thought in an only non-religious manner.

          Whatever you need to believe to convince your lying eyes I guess.

        • Greg G.

          The Christians wanted to make it explicit that it was a Christian document. They deliberately made it no so.

        • Dys

          Apparently it’s too much for you to grasp that people who believed in a deity were capable of creating a document that didn’t rely on said deity.

          The Constitution is a secular document that established a secular government. Attempts to include references to Christianity were rejected during the Constitutional Convention.

          The Constitution isn’t a Christian document. That’s the reality, no matter how much you might wish it were otherwise.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          IKR! The founders specifically made DAMN FUCKING SURE NOT to include religion in the constitution . Its not like, oh well, they just figured everybody would know what they meant. They argues over EVERY.SINGLE.WORD. And everytime somebody tried to weasel some religion in, it was stomped on with both feet. Even the most devout realized that opening the door to religion would likely mean it would not be THEIR religion that top billing. And even waaaaaay back in the 1700’s christianinsanity had been so splintered that nobody could agree on a ‘one true version’

        • MNb

          “even waaaaaay back in the 1700’s ”
          If my memory serves me well arianism, nestorianism, manichaeism, pelagianism and monophysitism are somewhat older ….

        • MNb

          My favourite analogy: it’s like insisting that the Big Bang shows that the RCC should adapt marxist theology

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_theology

          as both the commie Friedmann and the catholic Lemaitre correctly prophetized it.
          Isn’t Ted Cruz a catholic?

        • Dys

          Nope…Southern Baptist

        • Fewer insults and more evidence, please.

          Yes, I agree they were beer drinkers, but their beer drinking didn’t enter into the Constitution. Same with eating meat. Same with worshiping Jesus (or not).

          They’d seen the problems with religion mixed with government, so they made an explicitly secular constitution as a response. That’s good for atheists, but no more so than for Christians.

          Thank you, founding fathers.

        • JBrown971

          When did I deny it being secular?

          I am claiming that without the religious backgrounds of the founders, we wouldn’t have what we have. That is was religion (mainly Christianity) that produced a liberty laden secular document.

        • adam

          “I am claiming that without the religious backgrounds of the founders, we wouldn’t have what we have. ”

          Well of course, without all the damage done by religions, they would have no reason to avoid a religious government.

          “That is was religion (mainly Christianity) that produced a liberty laden secular document.”

          No christianity isnt about liberty at all.
          Not with a tyrant as a ‘god”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          well, being a devil’s advocate, xtianity DID provide a horrible example to avoid.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          HA HA HA HA HA. Christianity is about anything BUT liberty. The whole fucking buybull from ot to nt is ALL ABOUT unquestioning obedience to rules that no sane person woukd think of following. Absolute 100% about ‘turning your will over to god’, ‘to be like a child and obey the father’. Show me just ONE FUCKING verse from the bible that talks about personal liberty and freedom. Ferfuxsake, the bible says all you need to stone somebody to death is just two whitnesses. None of this trial by jury in a court of law we have. The constitution also talks about making TREATIES with other lands and other peoples. The bible is 100% xenophobic. Kill everybody not like you (except their virgins, cause rape in god’s name is okie dokes). No matter how you slice it , the one thing this country sure as fuck was NOT founded on was the bible. And I for one am sofaking happy about that.

        • Dys

          The enlightenment informed the Constitution far more than any sympathy for Christianity.

          Trying to credit Christianity with providing a “liberty laden secular document” is simply historical revisionism of the Barton variety.

        • Greg G.

          Christianity had seventeen centuries of not granting the rights and liberties that the founding fathers did.

        • MNb

          Yeah, but shortly after the founding fathers did christianity did as well! Same with the abolishment of slavery. Same with the people’s right to dethrone their kings – the Act of Abjuration was written by solid christians ….
          Do we see a pattern?

        • Expand on this. The Constitution looks very dissimilar from any kind of governance in the Bible. It throws the first 4 Commandments in the trash, for example. I don’t suppose a “not one jot or tittle” kind of guy like Jesus would be into that sort of government.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Doubtful. They may have grown up with xtianity of some stripe, but the majority had put it aside, as witnessed by the lack of stated xtianity in the document.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          They also rode horses and didnt use electricity. So are we to say that Lightbulbs and Public transportation are anti-american? See, I can play that game too (: Oh and don’t forget the ones from coastal areas probably ate shellfish.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Considering that a lot of the philosophy that went into the Constitution (much less the DoI) was the result of reading a book of philosophy that the catholic church had in the Index puts the lie to that claim.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re inserting your bias again. Show us by exact quotation, or at least by accurate paraphrase. Right now you’re just handwaving, and Jedi Mind Tricks don’t work.

        • Michael Neville

          It is clear that the founders placed the Creator as the originator of rights.

          No it is not clear. Quote the part of the Constitution which supports your claim. Hint: There isn’t one.

        • MNb

          “It is clear that the founders placed the Creator as the originator of rights.”
          The DoI was at least partly inspired by this.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Abjuration

          And just like the AoA in the 16th Century the DoI – the title says it all – served exactly one purpose: to justify the deposal of a king. Both kings (the Spanish resp. the English one) claimed that it was their god-given right to rule the countries they rules. Both documents denied that right. Nothing more. The rest is just christian propaganda, including your non-argument.

        • adam

          “It is clear that the founders placed the Creator as the originator of rights.”

        • I’m sorry, I probably agree with you on more things than with JBrown971, but I’ve got two objections here.

          First, the “Creator” notion was widely accepted by deist Founders. Even our shrillest infidels–Paine, Jefferson, and Madison–frequently invoked some version of a Creator in their writings. Quotes critical of Christianity and Jesus in particular are a bit wide of the mark.

          Second, I’d recommend always double-checking quotes and attributions before passing them along. At least two of what I’m seeing here are materially inaccurate, and one is a tad misleading because it’s out of context. I’ll just leave it at that, unless you’d like me to be specific.

        • adam

          “First, the “Creator” notion was widely accepted by deist Founders.”

          Or at least used, the witch hunts were happened during these peoples life times. And people understood the dangers of speaking out against this religious power.

          So having a Deists status at least keeps you as a possible convert or fellow.

          I will check the quotes, thanks

        • adam

          I guess I am going to need your help

          The Paine quote checks out
          The first Jefferson checks out
          The second Jefferson is apparently paraphrased, but it doesnt look to me to have changed the meaning.

          This is a somewhat-paraphrased version of the following:

          “…those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, endeavored to crush your well earnt, & well deserved fame.” –
          Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, Washington, March 21, 18011

          Ahh the Ben Franklin non quote – thanks for the notice.
          My apologies.

          Looks like the Washington quote checks out.

          A little help on the ones you ided?

        • 1. I’d say the first Jefferson is an accurate quote, but potentially misleading. Out of context, it conveys an impression of total disdain for Christianity, whereas Jefferson did call himself a Christian and subscribed to a Christian “philosophy.” YMMV. (Edited to add: I’d say he was more of a deist, but I can’t argue with a dead guy.)

          2. The second Jefferson quote is inaccurate. For one thing, it’s a problematic paraphrase presented as a direct quote. In my field, that’s extremely sloppy if inadvertent, unethical if deliberate, and malpractice if it were to materially affect the outcome for a client.

          For another thing, the paraphrase does not accurately capture Jefferson’s meaning. The full quote is in a letter to a liberal Christian theologian (Joseph Priestley), stating that “Christian philosophy,” which is “the most sublime & benevolent” system that ever shone on man, is nevertheless also the “most perverted,” presumably thanks to the orthodox charlatans of organized religion. “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man” is no more accurate a paraphrase than “Christianity is the most sublime & benevolent system that ever shone on man.”

          Here’s more on Priestley, a Christian reformer and scientist whose “fame” we see Jefferson describing as “well earnt, & well deserved”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Priestley

          3. I disagree about the Washington quote. That’s from the Treaty of Tripoli, which Washington did not write. He was President during some of the negotiations, but not when the parties signed the final version, nor when it was sent to the Senate, nor when it was ratified. The correct attribution would be to the Treaty itself (and then I’d probably note the unanimous Senate vote of approval, as well as ratification from President John Adams, to give it oomph).

        • adam

          Thanks

          1.My reading of Jefferson is that his deism, was like that of Einstein’s, both god of the gaps for a first mover. Apparently neither seems to believe in magic, which taking the god of the gaps into perspective, surely makes primarily atheistic, especially towards christianity.

          Jefferson’s bible reads more like Buddhism, which is what Jesus sounds like minus the magic.
          He certainly had distain for the Christian religion of his time.

          2. I see your point, be he still had distain for established Christianity

          3. Thank you.
          I think your info is actually more powerful than the quote.

        • JBrown971

          I already proved you a spreader of lies on the on Jefferson quote.

          Congrats on the cut/paste job on the Thomas Paine meme.

        • adam

          Nope, you are LYING right now.

        • adam

          “It is clear that the founders placed the Creator as the originator of rights.”

          Edited out one image with an uneasy paraphrase, a incorrect quote, and a misquote.

          Sorry,
          Thanks Lex.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          It is clear TO ME that you are inserting your prejudices into a plain reading of the text, not to mention the jurisprudence which has arisen from it.

        • Here we should probably distinguish between rights and powers in Enlightenment political and legal philosophy. The Framers were not legal positivists. They generally subscribed to some version of natural law, and, depending on the individual, conceived that God or the Creator (or Governor of the Universe or Author of Nature or [insert vague deist metaphor here]) endowed certain inherent rights (natural rights) in the people, who then vested powers in Gubmint via consent.

          The Constitution is focused largely on those powers and that consent, but it also acknowledges those inherent or natural rights in some respects. For instance, the Bill of Rights does not create or confer any individual rights, strictly speaking; it was written so as to protect and guarantee them. The wording of the Amendments assumes the existence of these rights, quite deliberately.

          Even so, I’d agree that the Constitution is a thoroughly secular document, and I find its silence on the existence of God (or a Creator) remarkable. As did folks at the time, I might add. The Reverend Timothy Dwight, president of Yale for several decades, complained: “Notwithstanding the prevalence of Religion, which I have described, the irreligion, and the wickedness, of our land are such, as to furnish a most painful and melancholy prospect to a serious mind. We formed our Constitution without any acknowledgment of God ; without any recognition of his mercies to us, as a people, of his government, or even of his existence. The Convention, by which it was formed, never asked, even once, his direction, or his blessing upon their labours. Thus we commenced our national existence under the present system, without God.” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/09/17/david-bartons-biblical-constitution-happy-constitution-day/

        • A helpful addition, thanks.

          My fellow Virginian Patrick Henry was also anxious because the Constitution didn’t have enough God language, but his faction lost the fight to put it in.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          What a difference time can make. Back then a preacher was complaining that the country was NOT founded on gawd. Now they all say it was. Nothing like consistency.

        • Yup. Today David Barton is claiming that Jefferson was a proponent of orthodox Christisnity, but in America’s early years, conservative clergy were calling him a “confirmed infidel” and “howling atheist.”

        • Cozmo the Magician

          I don’t care how much ‘The Doctor’ messes with history over in England, but when he start messing with MY history, enough is enough. If anybody sees a ‘Police Box’ anywhere in the U.S. please shoot on sight! /s

      • Michael Neville

        The Declaration of Independence was a political and propaganda document, the Constitution is a legal document. The two have nothing to do with each other. Many Christians pretend that since the “Creator” is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence that the Constitution is somehow tainted with goddism. Nothing could be further than the truth.

        The founders did think that rights came from men. Read the preamble to the Constitution (those of us of a certain age can sing it):

        We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

        Do you see the slightest hint of gawd in that paragraph? If the founders thought that supernatural critters had anything to do with the Constitution then they would have mentioned it. Since there’s no mention of sky pixies or any other superstitious nonsense in the preamble or anywhere else in the Constitution (albeit “year of our lord” is in the dating paragraph) then the founders didn’t credit gawds with the legal rights and duties given in the document.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          You remember that schoolhouse rock too? Awesomeness. I just turned 50 today, and am amazed that my grey matter still remembers that. OTOH, maybe my brain is less to give credit than to the awesome ‘jingle writing’ that went into it. It DOES stick in the brain.

        • Michael Neville

          Happy birthday!

        • Cozmo the Magician

          TY

        • Greg G.

          I’m surprised that I remember being 50.

          And Happy Birthday!

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Heck im surprised i remember turning 25 (that was a hell of a party…) Goingout tonight for a fun time at the local pub.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Nope. Liar. The Declaration was the brochure, the Constitution is the program.

        And religion is specifically mentioned only to forbid its use as an eliminating criterion.

    • RichardSRussell

      Your thinking parallels that of a really smart guy on a related subject:

      “The metaphorical God of the physicists is light-years away from the interventionist, miracle-wreaking, thought-reading, sin-punishing, prayer-answering God of the theist and of ordinary language. … If all the achievements of scientists were wiped out tomorrow, there would be no doctors but witch doctors, no transport faster than horses, no computers, no printed books, no agriculture beyond subsistence peasant farming. If all the achievements of theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference?”

      —Richard Dawkins PhD, Free Inquiry, 2004 Feb./March. p. 11

      • That’s a keeper.

      • Greg G.

        That triggers a recollection of reading that paragraph in 2004.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        I remember seeing something similar, with the added clause “and if xtianity was obliterated from all text and memory, would it likely ever arise again?”

    • commonsense987

      Making a statement without empirical and verifiable evidence doesn’t make your statement true. It makes it a personal opinion of which I wouldn’t agree with.

      • Lex Lata

        I suspect that no matter how much evidence I might cite, you still wouldn’t agree with my position. But I’m willing to give it the old Patheos try. Let’s break it down into two parts.

        1. First, at a basic level, we can point to the key vocabulary of law and liberty used in connection with the Constitution’s drafting and ratification by men who had studied the Greco-Roman world passionately. It consists overwhelmingly of Anglicized words appropriated from the classical languages. Liberty itself comes from Latin libertas. Constituiton from Latin constitutio. Democracy from Greek δημοκρατία. Republic from Latin res publica. Legislation, vote, veto, senate, judiciary, executive, and so on–originally Greek or Latin words used by pagans to describe Greek or Roman concepts long before Christianity came along.

        2. The principal philosophical and structural themes in the Constitution, such as separation of powers and federalism, are explicitly traced to classical history and political philosophy (either directly or via Enlightenment intermediaries such as Montesquieu) by the Framers. In The Federalist Papers, for instance, we can find any number of references to Greek and Roman writings, yet no citations to the Bible. (In contrast, the Anti-Federalists who objected to the Constitution were more likely to cite scripture.)

        Of course I’m not suggesting that the Framers didn’t think of themselves as Christians, whether spiritually or philosophically. Rather, I’m simply noting the reality–as reflected in the Framers’ own writings–that when it came specifically to the messy, painstaking business of crafting a new national government, they drew far more upon the lessons of Athens and Rome than of Jerusalem.

        • commonsense987

          Pre-script–Likewise, understanding that my citing of evidence would probably not change your position, I will respond in the interest of a great discussion

          1. Logically, the English language will use Latin and Greek in its construction in as much as previous dominant Empires have influenced every language even as today’s foreign languages have many English terminologies.

          However, I could equally and correctly apply your position to the reality that liberty did not start with the Greeks nor did the Romans finish the concept regardless of its etymology. Nor can one say that since the two Empires existed before Christianity the concept did not come from Christianity in as much as Christianity has its basis on the Hebrew Scriptures that predates the two Empires.

          Lev 25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land

          Thus, although our language will be a composite of its root words that have Greek and Roman roots, the concept is still Biblical. Perhaps the Greeks got the concepts from the Jewish Scriptures?

          2. I would disagree as to where the separation of powers came from. Understanding that they had hours and days of prayer as they formed the Constitution, the Biblical application is quite apparent!

          Example: In the OT, government was separated into 3 parts, the King (Executive Branch), the Priesthood (The Judicial Branch), and the Prophets that Kings went for guidance and procedures especially for war (The Legislative Branch).

          As far as the Federalist papers—a couple of points. The Federalist papers are NOT, (not shouting), founding documents so your application is quite limited.

          I read a book called “Leadership and Self Deception” Getting Out of the Box” by The Arbinger Institute. Not one scripture mentioned but it is a literal Thesaurus on Bible principles. Lack of mentioned scriptures does not constitute a lack of Bible principles of which most were professed believers.

          To apply a singular set of papers written after the Constitution while eliminating other pertinent papers written at the same time is quite wrong.

          Supreme Court:

          Man, fearfully and wonderfully made, is the workmanship of his all perfect Creator: A State; useful and valuable as the contrivance is, is the inferior contrivance of man; and from his native dignity derives all its acquired importance. When I speak of a State as an inferior contrivance, I mean that it is a contrivance inferior only to that, which is divine: – See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/2/419.html#sthash.EYvOvCAa.dpuf

          It is to be remembered, that the government of the United States is based on the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, by the congress of 1776; ‘that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted.’ – See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/40/518.html#sthash.Nxc90xjp.dpuf

          Regardless:

          John Jay

          With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that PROVIDENCE has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same Religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.

          Publius.

          James Madison:

          The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man (a VERY Biblical viewpoint and foundational belief system); and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good.

          Publius.

          Post-script: Therefore, not that they didn’t use lessons of Athens and Rome, for they were very learned, but not at the expense of the very foundation of what they lived their lives on, The Bible, from which they also relied on, sought after and gleaned from in the creation of the Constitution.

        • Lex Lata

          1. “Thus, although our language will be a composite of its root words that have Greek and Roman roots, the concept is still Biblical. Perhaps the Greeks got the concepts from the Jewish Scriptures?” Sorry, that’s pure wishful thinking on your part. There is zero etymological or historical evidence for the notion that the Greek and Roman political systems of antiquity incorporated ideas from Hebrew religious texts.

          Second, you’ve ignored all those other words, such as senate, democracy, etc. But I don’t feel like getting into that.

          2. Do I have this right? You’re going to summarily disregard The Federalist Papers–an authoritative series of eighty-five commentaries about the U.S. Constitution written by the principal architects of the Constitution during its ratification in 1787 and 1788–because they’re not “foundational documents,” and then turn around to cherry-pick vague, barely relevant quotes from other non-foundational documents? That’s simply not debating in good faith, and I’m guessing our conversation will not last much longer.

          3. ” I would disagree as to where the separation of powers came from.” Okay, but you’re not disagreeing with me; you’re disagreeing with Madison, Adams, and others who traced the idea along a line from Aristotle and Polybius through Locke and Montesquieu to the Constitution. This isn’t secret knowledge here. Again, I direct your attention to the sources I provided above, as well as the original writings of the Framers. The Library of America publishes just about everything they wrote.

          If you believe the Framers got the idea for separation of powers from the Old Testament, please provide a specific quotation to that effect–preferably from Adams, Jefferson, Madison, or Hamilton, but I’ll take what you’ve got from anyone at the Constitutional Convention.

        • Lex Lata

          My apologies. I’m actually gonna go ahead and bow out. I see that you’re the commenter who opened a few months ago with a botched legal citation that even David Barton has disowned. I shouldn’t have engaged here. Feel free to have the last word. Cheers.

  • Dys

    Christians are very creative when it comes to interpreting documents they like. It’s the only way they’ve managed to pretend the Bible is inerrant for so long.

    • L.Long

      And they also have to be that creative to pretend that the buyBull is still relevant and important!

  • Michael Neville

    Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore claims that 1st Amendment religious rights are only for Christians.

    • Even Barton’s WallBuilders didn’t go quite that far, at least not in an amicus brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals several years ago: “Thus, it seems best to limit the definition of religion [in the First Amendment] to monotheism. It is true, as Justice Stevens noted, that many Framers used the word ‘religion’ as a synonym for Christianity. However, with both definitions clearly documented and looking at the historical clues, especially the Memorial and Remonstrance, one must conclude that it was the broader, not the narrower usage that was enshrined in the Constitution.” http://wildhunt.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Amicus-Brief.pdf

      Having said all that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Barton and associates take a Moore-ish, exclusivist approach in other fora, when not worried about the scrutiny of a panel of three impartial federal judges.

    • tsig

      If the founders had wished to specify Christianity there was a perfectly good word they could have used – “Christianity”.

  • tsig

    Contrast “We the people” with “I god command it”.

    • Or contrast the first 4 of Ten Commandments (have no gods before me, obligatory Sabbath day, no graven images, no blasphemy) with the First Amendment.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Or gee I don’t know… How about using the fact that the constitution is for running a REAL country with REAL people in a REAL world. And not a book of fables that tries to scare people into whoreshipping an imaginary sky daddy (;

  • L.Long

    The only people who think the Constitution and law is based on the buyBull are delusional xtians who have never tried living by the buyBull laws. Cuz if they did they would find themselves in jail.

  • RichardSRussell

    Whenever somebody mentions THE LIAR David Barton, I am always at pains to remind them to use his full title, which he has so richly earned, namely “THE LIAR David Barton”.

  • Sheila Warner

    I wonder what Barton thinks about the outright denial of the USA being a Christian nation in the Treaty of Tripoli. Oh, BTW, I read “A Modern Christmas Carol”. I loved it. You need to write another book, as I have read both of yours!

    • Thanks for the positive feedback on the book. That makes an author’s day!

    • commonsense987

      That’s called politicking and is in stark contrast to so many other statements as well as the Constitution of each and EVERY State Constitution in as much as the United States is the conglomerate of each State.

      • Greg G.

        Are you sure those contrasting statements aren’t politicking to get Christian votes? Anybody who would post a quote of David Barton quoting any kind of document without investigating it first is the kind of person who would fall for such political pandering.

        • commonsense987

          Couldn’t that be said of your position too? But, to answer you question, anybody can go and verify the Constitution of each State and find that God was indeed an integral part of each State and the Government was never supposed to usurp the authority of the State.

          The Supreme Court again and again supported that position until we progressed further away from original intent.

        • Greg G.

          Couldn’t that be said of your position too?

          I wouldn’t know? Nobody has ever pandered to my position.

          But, to answer you question, anybody can go and verify the Constitution of each State and find that God was indeed an integral part of each State and the Government was never supposed to usurp the authority of the State.

          But different states favored different religions. That is why the federal government evens things out. Otherwise, there might be religious strife between Protestants and Catholics like there was in Ireland a couple of decades ago. The letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Church that described the wall of separation between church and state was what they wanted to hear because they feared what they and their ancestors fled from.

          The Supreme Court again and again supported that position until we progressed further away from original intent.

          There were those who wanted to put religion into the US Constitution. It was omitted intentionally.

          Are you still under the impression that THE LIAR David Barton is reliable on history? Reading what he has written and assuming the opposite is more reliable.

        • commonsense987

          I think you are creating a different discussion. Regardless of denomination, they all acknowledge God because God was the foundation of each state and not secularism

        • Greg G.

          Protestants and Catholics have been killing each other for five centuries. Christians who came to America were fleeing oppression from other Christians. The founders did not want to repeat the problems of Europe.

          Government requires compromise. Religion has problems with compromise. That is why there are 43,000 different denominations of Christianity. That is why separation of church and state is important.

        • commonsense987

          Your first paragraph is correct but your deduction from it isn’t.

          Our forefathers did not want a denominational Government and thus separating State from Church but never Faith from Government.

          There was a reason they held service in the Capitol.

        • Dys

          You’re not seriously trying to prop up the debunked notion that the founding fathers just didn’t want one particular sect of Christianity to be the national religion, are you? I hope I’m reading you wrong, because that’s David Barton-esque revisionism.

        • commonsense987

          That is called an “association fallacy”. Won’t fly with me.

        • Dys

          There was no fallacy committed on my part. I was asking a question. If you don’t want to answer, that’s your prerogative. I also don’t particularly care what does or doesn’t fly with you, as you’re not an authority on much of anything that I can see (including spotting fallacies).

          You’ve already been caught peddling one bullshit quote that you were too lazy to validate, so you’re not exactly in a position to be taking any sort of high ground.

          If you don’t want to be associated with Barton, stop making the same idiotic and lazy mistakes he does. Simple solution.

        • Greg G.

          Your first paragraph is correct but your deduction from it isn’t.

          Let me correct it then, “The founders did not want to repeat the problems of Europe.”

          Or did you mean they were completely indifferent to whether those problems arose.

          Our forefathers did not want a denominational Government and thus separating State from Church but never Faith from Government.

          There were Christians and Deists. The Deists won the argument and left out all mention of religion and faith, except for the factually incorrect “year of our Lord” colloquialism.

          There was a reason they held service in the Capitol.

          Because some politicians wanted something to do on Sundays? Because they liked the music?

          That discussion can be found at Religion and the Founding of the American Republic on the Library of Congress website. The next paragraph reads:

          Jefferson’s actions may seem surprising because his attitude toward the relation between religion and government is usually thought to have been embodied in his recommendation that there exist “a wall of separation between church and state.” In that statement, Jefferson was apparently declaring his opposition, as Madison had done in introducing the Bill of Rights, to a “national” religion. In attending church services on public property, Jefferson and Madison consciously and deliberately were offering symbolic support to religion as a prop for republican government.

          The next section is about the letter to the Danbury Baptists with a draft of it next to the actual letter. The draft shows that Jefferson had consulted two other officials from Connecticut and Massachusetts while composing it. He definitely meant what is says.

        • commonsense987

          Perhaps you can share with me how you are able to quote and enhance your font.

          (Let me correct it then, “The founders did not want to repeat the problems of Europe.”

          Or did you mean they were completely indifferent to whether those problems arose.)

          The other side of that coin is “did you mean freedom FROM religion or freedom OF religion”

          They took care of the problems by not imposing a “State” religion. Incidentally, today they are imposing the State religion of Secularism.

          (There were Christians and Deists. The Deists won the argument and left out all mention of religion and faith, except for the factually incorrect “year of our Lord” colloquialism.)

          Please quote your reference.

          (There was a reason they held service in the Capitol.
          Because some politicians wanted something to do on Sundays? Because they liked the music?)

          Because it was founded on prayer???

          Excerpts from The Proclamation, July I3, 1775, by Jonathan Trumbull, Lebanon, Connecticut, to George Washington:

          The Honorable Congress have proclaimed a Fast to be observed by the inhabitants of all the English Colonies on this continent, to stand before the Lord in one day, with public humiliation, fasting, and prayer, to deplore our many sins, to offer up our joint supplications to God, for forgiveness, and for his merciful interposition for us in this day of unnatural darkness and distress. They have, with one united voice, appointed you to the high station you possess.

          (That discussion can be found at Religion and the Founding of the American Republic on the Library of Congress website. The next paragraph reads:)

          You might want to read up on a dissenting viewpoint:

          http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2006/06/the-mythical-wall-of-separation-how-a-misused-metaphor-changed-church-state-law-policy-and-discourse

        • Greg G.

          Perhaps you can share with me how you are able to quote and enhance your font.

          Disqus allows some HTML tags.

          <b>Bold</b>
          <i>Italics</i>
          <u>Underline</u>

          <blockquote>Block Quote</blockquote>

          <a href=”URL”>Text or Title</a>

          You can use “strike”, too.

          I am using &lt; and &ampgt; to make the signs show up instead of hiding the mark ups. I used &amp; to do those.

          The tags can be combined but I have found that tags have to be inside the “a href” tag to work.

          Don’t forget the slash for the closers and correct spelling is required.

        • Greg G.

          If a state is going to have a state religion, they shouldn’t settle for a false religion, should they? If there was a religion that was true, then everybody should follow it. But if everybody followed it, it wouldn’t matter whether it was a state religion. What could be worse than a state religion that was a religion with false beliefs while the people are trying to practice the correct religion?

          Shouldn’t you be trying to show that your religion is true and all other religions are false before you ever give the slightest thought of a state religion?

          I think the first religion rejected would be this:

          Christianity: the belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father makes you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a naked rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.

        • Pofarmer

          You can use common html tags. Firefox has an addon html editor. For instance (b)bold (/b) for bold. (Blockquote)blockquote (/blockquote) for quotes, except replace the () with carrots

        • Michael Neville

          Carets not carrots.

        • Greg G.

          I thought a caret was ^. I call them “less than” and “greater than” signs. Real UNIX geeks call them “wakas.”

          This poem should be spoken aloud:

          () !*”#
          ^”`$$-
          !*=@$_
          %*() ~#4
          &[]../
          |{,,SYSTEM HALTED

          Transliterated, it is

          Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
          Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
          Bang splat equal at dollar under-score,
          Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
          Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
          Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

        • Michael Neville

          I sit corrected. However carrots is definitely not right.

        • Akira625

          Lol, that’s a great poem!

        • Greg G.

          I wonder if it would bring down a UNIX system if entered from the command line…

  • Sophia Sadek

    Washington was established as a Rome away from Rome. Christians tend to render unto Jesus that which belongs to Caesar.

  • Greg G.
  • MNb

    This Dutch liberal politician, who legalized euthanasia, got killed ‘cuz the christian god:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Els_Borst#Death

    • I wonder if he sees the irony (hates euthanasia and so killed someone). Still, she was 81. You’d think he would’ve just let nature do the job.

  • commonsense987

    “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.” – United States Supreme Court, 1892.

    no guessing needed

    • Greg G.

      That’s an excellent example of a lie Barton got called on over ten years ago.

      http://msgboard.snopes.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=44;t=000802;p=0

      David Barton finally issued a statement in which he admitted that many of the quotes in his book were, shall we say, inaccurate. Barton’s official statement on the Redeemer quote can be found here Unconfirmed Quotations [link now dead]

      quote:
      This appears to be a classic example of a cut-and-paste typographical error. These words are not found in the Holy Trinity case. However, these same thoughts are found throughout the case and in other state and federal court rulings, primarily in the early years.

      He then goes on to justify the sentiment, but does end with

      quote:
      One thing is clear: the quote in question, while not characteristic of late twentieth century judicial expressions, is consistent with those of the eighteenth and nineteenth century state and federal courts. However, this quote is obviously not in the [Trinity] case, and should not be used.

      Barton claims that in his book he used “popular and widely-used quotes by historians and others ” but that when he tried to find the quotes in primary sources, he discovered problems. “…some of those quotes had come from works nearly a century-and-a-half old and therefore would seem to have been credible; yet David could not find those quotes in original documents.”

      • Good Crom. A fake quote attributed to an opinion written a century after the Constitution’s ratification? Are they even trying anymore?

        I guess we can add one more to the ranks of Bartonesque revisionists. Surely we’ve reached “scores” by now. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Barton’s excuse was “a cut-and-paste typographical error”. He seems to understand the concept of “cut-and-paste” about as well as he understands the word “verbatim”.

      • commonsense987

        If indeed God was not part of the picture…

        The Constitution is the work or will of the People themselves, in their original, sovereign, and unlimited capacity. Law is the work or will of the Legislature in their derivative and subordinate capacity. The one is the work of the Creator, and the other of the Creature. – See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/2/304.html#sthash.MfvS8uGZ.dpuf

        • Greg G.

          Did you read your link? Just a few lines below the quote:

          In the second article of the Declaration of Rights, which was made part of the late Constitution of Pennsylvania, it is declared: ‘That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understanding; and that no man ought or of right can be compelled, to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against, his own free will and consent; nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments, or peculiar mode of religious worship; and that no authority can, or ought to be, vested in, or assumed, by any power whatever, that shall, in any case, interfere with, or in any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.’ – See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/2/304.html#sthash.MfvS8uGZ.RZJXzF3P.dpuf

          That is the separation of church and state right there in case law by the earliest Supreme Court.

          What you quoted is not about any god. It is referring to humans. Read it in context.

        • commonsense987

          It is in context and one statement did not nor does it invalidate the other. It establishes that indeed the Constitution of Penn acknowledges God but also establishes that you can’t force someone.

        • Greg G.

          It is about a Deist type of god. There is no hint of Christianity in the text. If you are arguing that the US Constitution is based on Christianity, you should be able to come up with something.

          The fact that you are presenting things that do not say what you think it does makes me wonder if you have not been damaged psychologically by Barton. That what he has become famous for now.

        • commonsense987

          You make a great statement with no empirical and verifiable evidence which makes one wonder who brainwashed who. Not to mention you haven’t debunked any of my statements.

          Deists believe that God removed Himself after creating earth. “Almighty God” in the Penn Constitution and “invoking His Guidance” does not speak of a Deist position but rather a Theist position.

        • Greg G.

          OK, but that is not the US Constitution.

        • commonsense987

          Greg, I think the problem with that statement is that people tend to separate and divorce the Declaration of Independence which clearly references God from the US Constitution as if they were not intertwined.

          The spirit of the Constitution is found in the Declaration of Independence

          In Cotting v. Godard, 183 U.S. 79 (1901), the Court stated:

          “The first official action of this nation declared the foundation of government in these words: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “While such declaration of principles may not have the force of organic law, or be made the basis of judicial decision as to the limits of right and duty, and while in all cases reference must be had to the organic law of the nation for such limits, yet the latter is but the body and the letter of which the former is the thought and the spirit, and it is always safe to read the letter of the Constitution in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. No duty rests more imperatively upon the courts than the enforcement of those constitutional provisions intended to secure that equality of rights which is the foundation of free government.”

        • Greg G.

          endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights

          Why are you arguing for Christianity while only producing evidence for Deism? You should change your position. You can’t help proving yourself wrong.

          That quote of the DoI ends right before the part about “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” which is important to democracy.

          How can governments alienate unalienable rights? If the “consent of the governed” grants those rights, one doesn’t even need them to come from a Creator. That religious mumbo jumbo in the Declaration of Independence sounds profound but is essentially meaningless.

          If the unalienable rights are philosophically from a Creator, the Creator might as well be evolution.

        • commonsense987

          Nice try, Greg, but no dice. There are intersections between Deism and Christianity.

          As the Supreme Court says, the Constitution comes from the spirit of the Declaration – unalienable rights come from God.

          It is only meaningless to you because of your personal viewpoint which have not but substantiated.

          Equating Creator with evolution only shows that you are shooting a shot gun in hopes of hitting something.

          I have given you chapter and verse in the Supreme Court documents. That you don’t want to accept it as fact is your prerogative. The fact that you admit the possibility that Deism is the context still supports my position that it is religious based and negates your position of secularism .

        • Michael Neville

          The Declaration of Independence was a political and propaganda document. The Constitution is a legal document. The two were written over ten years apart for completely different purposes and have nothing to do with each other.

          Yes, I have read the excerpt from the court decision you quoted above. That’s an example of obiter dicta, a judge’s incidental expression of opinion, not essential to the decision and not establishing precedent.

        • Michael Neville

          Equating Creator with evolution only shows that you are shooting a shot gun in hopes of hitting something.

          It’s even sillier than that. It’s equating a fictitious non-existent figment of bronze-age priests’ imaginations with reality. What could be more foolish?

        • Greg G.

          Deism is not Christianity. That is the key. If they had the benefit of the explanations of modern science, they most likely wouldn’t have been deists, either.

          Prove that it is a fact that unalienable rights come from God. It is declared without evidence in the Declaration of Independence.

          The Bible endorses slavery. Obviously the God of the Bible does not grant unalienable rights. Many of the Ten Commandments are in direct opposition to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The regulations of biblical slavery don’t. They don’t even guarantee life.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder if the numbnuts even realize that the founders were a century before “Origin of Species.”? There wasn’t any other decent explanation but deism of one form or another. Shoot, they were only 50 years after the death of Isaac Newton.

        • Dys

          I have given you chapter and verse in the Supreme Court documents.

          Your first of which was completely bogus (which you’ve conveniently ignored) and the rest aren’t a reference to Christianity.

          Equating Creator with evolution only shows that you are shooting a shot gun in hopes of hitting something.

          Projection is a terrible thing. If you’d do a bit more research and engage in some critical thinking, you’d stop making so many blatant mistakes. Your attempts to link classical deism and Christianity are incredibly flawed, as they don’t actually have much to do with each other beyond placing a god as a first cause.

          Christianity isn’t enshrined in the Constitution, and the founding fathers, despite being religious, still established a secular government.

        • Dys

          The Declaration of Independence….which was written by a man who specifically rejected the Judeo-Christian god, along with the divinity of Jesus, all the miracles ascribed to him, etc.

          Jefferson was a classical deist, not a Christian. So the Declaration of Independence doesn’t help at all with trying to link Christianity with the Constitution. In fact, it hurts your case significantly.

          Keep researching. Not every reference to God is a reference to the Judeo-Christian one.

          When it comes to the Constitution, the Enlightenment had far more to do with its influences than any form of Christianity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why is it that a thick Irishman, living three and a half thousand miles away, knows these things, yet a lot of Yank’s, including the dufus getting tore a new one here, hasn’t a feckin’ Scooby?

        • MNb

          Perhaps because your thick Irish skull is still not thick enough to protect your brain from getting invaded by something as inconvenient as empirical evidence. Like not a single god being mentioned in the American Constitution and that Constitution being the fundament of the American political system. Also like the DoI being nothing but a legal justification for getting rid of a king you thick Irishmen have longed to get rid of a few centuries more.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not all Irishmen wanted rid of the monarchy though…many still don’t.

        • MNb

          Neither did all Americans.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalists_fighting_in_the_American_Revolution

          And in its time the Dutch speaking population was even more divided.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Arras

        • Greg G.

          Some people think they have common sense and that common sense means one doesn’t need facts.

        • Dys

          Classical deism still accepted an interventionist god.

        • Raging Bee

          You make a great statement with no empirical and verifiable evidence…

          YOU pasted a quote that was demonstrably false. You have no credibility.

        • Legend79

          you sux at this.

        • commonsense987

          Thx

        • Raging Bee

          Yeah, and his emissions are like those of donkeys.

      • commonsense987

        If indeed God was not part of the picture…

        Man, fearfully and wonderfully made, is the workmanship of his all perfect Creator: A State; useful and valuable as the contrivance is, is the inferior contrivance of man; and from his native dignity derives all its acquired importance. When I speak of a State as an inferior contrivance, I mean that it is a contrivance inferior only to that, which is divine: Of all human contrivances, it is certainly most transcendantly excellent. It is concerning this contrivance that Gicero says so sublimely, ‘Nothing, which is exhibited upon our globe, is more acceptable to that divinity, which governs the whole universe, than those communities and assemblages of men, which, lawfully associated, are denominated States*’. – See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/2/419.html#sthash.Kp7B7VSG.dpuf

        • Greg G.

          That’s Deism. They quote a righteous pagan, Cicero, a first century BC Roman, not a Christian and not the Bible.

        • commonsense987

          Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

        • Greg G.

          Ezekiel 23:19-20 (NRSV)19 Yet she increased her whorings, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt 20 and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions.

        • commonsense987

          ??? this is a reply?

        • Greg G.

          You quoted a Bible verse with no context. So did I.

          Is that verse something Barton says is verbatim?

          The text cites Cicero and quotes Cicero’s words.

        • adam

          Here, I want to play too.

        • Raging Bee

          After pasting a quote that was called out as false, and not admitting you were wrong, we have no reason to take you seriously. Go to bed.

        • Greg G.

          I’m sure cs987 has slept since then. The post was two years old.

      • commonsense needs to rethink his name. Being a mouthpiece for Barton doesn’t do him any favors.

        • Greg G.

          All one has to do is read the links s/he provides to rebut the argument. No further research required.

    • Oops. Better be careful of “Doctor” Barton.

      But you should’ve known the limitations of this anyway. The Constitution defines a secular public square. Are you saying that Christians would want anything else?

    • Dys

      Fake quotes are fun. Stop reading David Barton. He’s not a historian. He is, however, a notorious liar.

      The quote is actually from the Illinois case, Richmond v. Moore. Unfortunately for you, the case actually supports the separation of church and state. The full decision is available here, on page 448: https://books.google.com/books?id=xom2AAAAIAAJ

      Here’s another quote from the same decision:

      “Our government is unlike the British government, as that government combines the ecclesiastical and secular powers. Its constitution is based upon the union of church and State, and it claims and exercises the power to enforce the faith and doctrines of the established church, by statutes imposing penalties for failing to perform religious duties and requirements, and compelling all to contribute support to the State church; on the contrary, however, a total severance of church and State is one of the great controlling foundation principles of our system of government. The spiritual welfare of our people is left entirely to the hierarchy of the various churches. The government protects all alike in their religious beliefs and unbeliefs. It is no part of the function of our government to prescribe and enforce religious tenets.”

      You don’t need to guess…but you should probably fact check better. Reality doesn’t support you.

  • Michael DuMez

    @BobSeidensticker:disqus Why did you build your main point on a recalled History book?

    • Nothing in the post was built on Barton’s “The Jefferson Lies.” That’s why there are links.

      • Michael DuMez

        Okay, after reading this again, I see that you just quoted Barton. Another question, Have you read the book of Esther? It never mentioned the word ‘God’ a single time and was canonically approved to be included in the Bible. I say this because your (seemingly) final point is that God is not mentioned once in the Constitution (Even though it is mentioned twice)

        • adam

          ” I say this because your (seemingly) final point is that God is not
          mentioned once in the Constitution (Even though it is mentioned twice)”

          Source needed

        • Michael DuMez

          I admit upon further looking, and do I apologize, that God is not, in fact mentioned in the Constitution, however, that does not depreciate the validity of the point I made about the book of Esther. The source I read about the Constitution having the word ‘God’ in it was horribly misinformed, and again, I apologize for making that point.

        • adam

          THANK YOU, for your honesty.

          What is your point about the book of Ester?
          There are a lot of ‘books’ that didnt make it into the bible, of course it was MEN who decided what ‘books’ made up the bible and which were left out.
          This would all seem to be politically motivated to maximize potential income/power for the Church.

        • In fact, there are noncanonical books that were rejected from the New Testament even though they actually claim to have been written by disciples. The four gospels that made it in don’t make that claim.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed.

          The Gospel of Peter is one such gospel which was originally accepted and used as scripture with permission of the patriarchs until it was pointed out to Serapion, the Bishop of Antioch, that it contained passages that might be considered docetic in nature. So Serapion declared it heretical.

          Ehrman reckons it dates to the early part of the second century. J.D. Crossan reckons it predates the synoptics, fitting in with his belief that the early Christians thought things differently.

          Even though the work was eventually declared heretical, it was still used as scripture at least until the 9th century by some Christians.

        • Who doesn’t like a gospel with a talking cross?

          it contained passages that might be considered docetic in nature

          The canonical gospels contain passages that might be considered Docetic in nature! Or Apocalyptic or Gnostic or Marcionistic.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Certainly.

          The epistles appear Gnostic and apocalyptic. The gospels have passages that can be interpreted that way. The Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, among others, too.

          Thomas was Jesus twin…go figure.

          The elephant in the room is how can there be so many early Christians with Gnostic and Docetic mindsets, given the real living flesh and blood Jesus story was supposed to be well established, if you are to believe what Christians think was the case?

          Yet by A. D. 200, the situation had changed. Christianity had become an institution headed by a three-rank hierarchy of bishops, priests, and deacons, who understood themselves to be the guardians of the only “true faith.” The majority of churches, among which the church of Rome took a leading role, rejected all other viewpoints as heresy. Deploring the diversity of the earlier movement, Bishop Irenaeus and his followers insisted that there could be only one church, and outside of that church, he declared, “there is no salvation.” Members of this church alone are orthodox (literally, “straight-thinking”) Christians. And, he claimed, this church must be catholic– that is, universal. Whoever challenged that consensus, arguing instead for other forms of Christian teaching, was declared to be a heretic, and expelled. When the orthodox gained military support, sometime after the Emperor Constantine became Christian in the fourth century, the penalty for heresy escalated. ~The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

        • Helpful, thanks.

        • Thanks for the correction. Many Christians who come here refuse to admit an error.

          As for Esther, OK–it doesn’t mention God. So what? How does that inform our conversation?

        • Greg G.

          As I understand it, the Book of Esther was included to justify the Festival of Purim.

  • Raging Bee

    Actually, there is one Constitutional principle that is indeed found in the Bible: separation of church and state. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Funny thing, though, that doesn’t stop the Christians from hating that principle with all their hearts and souls.

    • Chemkeeder

      The phrase “separation of Church and state” does not appear in the Constitution. It is an abridgment of a phrase Jefferson used in 1802 when he addressed the Baptists, who for good reason had feared the establishment of a hostile state religion. It was Jefferson’s summary of the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment.

      It is certainly true that the government cannot establish a state religion, and cannot abridge the free exercise thereof. But that is a far distance from concluding that the government may also not deal with religious groups as if there was a wall of complete separation. It is constitutional to pay government subsidies to church schools like those paid to secular schools; it may exempt Churches and religious bodies from paying taxes, it may enforce wage and hour regulations for Church ees, and it may hear in its state and federal courts disputes among or involving Churches etc, so long as it does not rule on right doctrine.

      • Raging Bee

        That tired old line again? Guess what else isn’t in the Constitution: “air force.”

        • Guess what isn’t in the Bible: the Trinity.

        • Chemkeeder

          Your style of thought and argument is Trumpian: misinform and misdirect.

          You stated first that there is a provision of the Constitution you call, as so many do, a “separation of Church and state. [which arises from Jefferson’s 1802 comment about the “wall of separation”] [” Actually, there is one Constitutional principle that is indeed found in the Bible: separation of church and state.”].

          I pointed out in response that the phrase is an overstatement of what the Constitution provides; that neither the phrase nor the implication, strictly construed, appear in the Constitution and that many arrangements between the Churches and religions and the state are fully constitutional so long as they are not afforded such preference that an establishment of religion or a derogation of free exercise as to non-adherents has occurred.

          And, as if you were a con law teacher, you play it all off in response by saying merely:

          “That tired old line again?”

          You, like Trump, are a blowhard at times, too lazy to figure out what you claim to know about. I hope you can cotton up to your spiritual twin The Donald, because you communicate nothing substantive just as he does.