More Terrible History From Ben Carson

More Terrible History From Ben Carson November 8, 2015

Credit: Michael Vadon
Credit: Michael Vadon
Other than neurosurgery, does Ben Carson know anything about anything at all? Is he even capable of ever being right? Given his track record of saying massively ignorant things about virtually every subject, one has to doubt it. In the latest example, he gets the founding of America exactly backwards while making the bizarre argument that this country landed on the moon because we “acknowledged God.”

“Here’s what is also fascinating,” the Republican presidential candidate explains in a video published by the Adventist News Network. “This nation — the United States of America — one of the few nations in history to claim God in their founding documents — we talk about in our Declaration of Independence certain inalienable rights given to us by our Creator, every one of our coins, every one of our bills says ‘In God We Trust.’”…

“Now I want you to think about something,” he says. “This nation has had a profound effect on the world. Before the United States of America came on the scene, for 100 years, 200 years, a 1,000 years, 3,000 years, people did things the same way… within 200 years of the advent of this nation, which believed in God, men were walking on the moon. Completely revolutionized and changed the world because a nation was willing to acknowledge God.”

But he has the history here completely reversed. In fact, nearly every western nation “claimed God” in their founding documents for centuries until the United States. Daniel Dreisbach, a Christian right historian and staunch critic of the separation of church and state, admits as much:

One of the most striking features of the United States Constitution of 1787 is the absence of an explicit acknowledgment of the Deity or the Christian religion. The invocation of a deity to authenticate or
attest to divine sanction for public acts or decrees is a tradition that pre-dates the Christian era and is found in non-Western, as well as Western, cultures. In this respect, the Constitution departed from the pattern of most public documents of the day. The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms (1775), The Declaration of Independence (1776), The Articles of Confederation (1781), virtually all state constitutions, and other official documents are replete with claims of Christian devotion and supplication for the Supreme Being. However, the federal Constitution makes no such religious affirmation or declaration, even of the perfunctory kind that was typical of other documents written by the framers.

Gary North, another hardcore Christian righter who has taken his compatriots to task for their claim that the Constitution intended to create a Christian nation, points out that it was in fact a radical break with a long history of governments being explicitly founded upon a covenant with God. 12 of the 13 colonies included such language in their charters, every European king claimed the divine right to rule, and even documents like the Magna Carta contained explicitly Christian language. The Constitution does not.

Far from being “one of the few nations in history to claim God in their founding documents,” the United States was perhaps the first western nation in centuries not to do so. And the Christian right of that day saw this as a capital defect of the Constitution. At every ratification convention, they attempted to amend the document to include language like this:

“We the people of the United States in a firm belief of the being and perfection of the one living and true God, the creator and supreme Governor of the World, in His universal providence and the authority of His laws: that He will require of all moral agents an account of their conduct, that all rightful powers among men are ordained of, and mediately derived from God, therefore in a dependence on His blessing and acknowledgment of His efficient protection in establishing our Independence, whereby it is become necessary to agree upon and settle a Constitution of federal government for ourselves, and in order to form a more perfect union, etc., as it is expressed in the present introduction, do ordain, etc.”

Every single one of those attempts were voted down. The advocates of such language warned that the failure to declare our dependence on God in the Constitution would bring down his wrath upon the country. They continued to take that position for nearly a century in a half. It was only in the first part of the 20th century that they completely reversed their position and began to argue that the Constitution was an explicitly Christian document all along.

As usual, Carson has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. He’s completely ignorant of the subject, but he has swallowed, and dutifully regurgitates, a number of falsehoods and cliches that have convinced him that he understands what he clearly does not.

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