We have a pair of very loud Tea Party types who have been elected to the Michigan state legislature, Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, and they’ve put out what they call the “Contract for Liberty.” It’s a mishmash of the usual nonsense we’ve become accustomed to from the Christian right, expressed in irritatingly flowery rhetoric.
Hearts Set Aflame for Liberty…
It is now up to us to renew and restore a culture of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is time for principled, conservative leaders to stand firm in protecting America’s enduring national treasure of freedom. As God gives us the freedom to choose salvation through Christ or reject Him, our own government should allow us the self-determination of personal success or failure. God’s Providence, individual liberty, and personal responsibility make up America’s foundation, prepared and poured years ago. The national treasures that symbolize our Constitutional Republic, our Capitol and White House and all the other precious symbols, were crafted out of rock and metal but bound together by the blood, sweat, and tears of the sacrificial giving of our patriot leaders. All of these ideas flow from Divine inspiration of hearts set aflame for liberty by the moving of the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not the buildings, nor the documents, or even the people, but rather it is these ideas living in the hearts of men that enshrine personal liberty and freedom that keep the flame alive from generation to generation.
That kind of rhetoric hits my spine like nails on a chalkboard, but let’s focus on the substantive claims. In substance, this is identical to the “this is a Christian nation” rhetoric that I debated a couple months ago and all the arguments I made then negate this. The notion that the ideas found in the Constitution “flow from divine inspiration” of the Founding Fathers is simply nonsense. Would that include Thomas Jefferson? Was he divinely inspired by the “holy spirit” whose existence he explicitly denied? How about John Adams, who also explicitly denied the existence of the third person of the trinity (and the trinity as a whole, which both Jefferson and Adams argued was an incoherent, nonsensical idea)?
And if Jefferson was in touch with the holy spirit and thus divinely inspired, why didn’t the holy spirit tell him not to reject virtually everything in the Christian mythology? Why didn’t the holy spirit “inspire” him not to call the gospel writers a “band of dupes and impostors” or Paul the “first great corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus” or the Old Testament deity “cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust”?
And why didn’t any of these men bother to mention that divine inspiration? Why is there no mention of God or the Bible as sources for the ideas found in the Constitution in the Federalist Papers? Why was there no mention of those things at the Constitutional Convention? Why were the only mentions of it at the ratification conventions made in opposition to the passage of the Constitution? Indeed, as Donald Lutz’ study showed, there was no mention at all of the Bible from the Federalists in 1787 and 1788.
I imagine it goes without saying that the “contract for liberty” requires the elimination of a woman’s right to control their own reproduction and of gay people’s right not to be fired merely for being gay. Because when they say “liberty,” what they really mean is Christian privilege.