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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Yes, Chris Rodda, Our Constitution Is Based on the Book of Deuteronomy

Chris Rodda makes it her business to attack the Christian Nation Thesis any chance she gets. David Barton, of Wallbuilders, is usually her target. She is Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF); the group that lobbied the Obama Administration to prohibit Franklin Graham from attending the National Day of Prayer Breakfast in light of his statements about Islam. Chris is the Author of Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History. However, as this post will show, it is her Alternate Version of American History that needs to be debunked; the Constitution, and Bill of Rights, firmly founded on the Book of Deuteronomy and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In attempting to present Barton's distortions, of which there may be, revisionists like Rodda are vulnerable to Orthodox Christians like myself that read the Scriptures everyday. It appears her article about David Barton in Daily Kos, was presented with an ill-advised title: "No, Mr. Beck, Our Constitution is Not Based on the Book of Deuteronomy."

The body of her article that refutes Barton's use of Donald S. Lutz's research: "34% of their quotes came out of the Bible." looks legitimate to me. However, whatever Barton presented that skewed the evidence, has little to do with the Constitution not based on the Book of Deuteronomy.

If the Scriptures and Natural Law are the same, from the same source, the latter will be harmonious with the former, and our unalienable rights will be written in the Scriptures, linked together to the Common Law, Magna Carta, English Bill of Rights (1689) et al. I am not unaware, nor will lessen the impact Natural Law has in this equation, however the framers understood rights are derived from religion and Natural Law; religion a more solid foundation, referenced through Christian philosophers, including Montesquieu and Blackstone, and Protestant forms of government, such as: Switzerland, and Holland. The framers also made it clear, they perused the Protestant Reformers, and Blackstone, in the Constitutional Convention for guidance, however, Rodda distorts that influence she accuses Barton of:

In order to prove that individuals in a State of nature are equally free & independent he read passages from Locke, Vattel, Lord Summers--Priestly. To prove that the case is the same with States till they surrender their equal sovereignty, he read other passages in Locke & Vattel, and also Rutherford: that the States being equal cannot treat or confederate so as to give up an equality of votes without giving up their liberty. [italics mine]
-Luther Martin, June 27, 1787. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 [Farrand's Records, Volume 1]. MADISON Wednesday June 27. in Convention.

 First, our rights as Christians from Jesus and Moses in the Book of Deuteronomy:

II. The Rights of the Colonists as Christians.
These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.
-Samuel Adams, The Report of the Committee of Correspondence to the Boston Town Meeting. November 20, 1772.

Benjamin Franklin, believed our rights are found in the Bible by endorsing Adams' report, and adopted by inhabitants of Boston, no less:

The person alluded to by Governor Hutchinson, as "the great director in England," was Dr. Franklin, and it is insinuated that he was in effect the author of the report, but this is in no sense true..To the sentiments expressed in the report of the committee, and adopted by the inhabitants of the town, he fully assented. This is proved by his sending a copy of the proceedings to the press, as soon as he received it in London, with a prefatory notice written by himself. The pamphlet was entitled "The Votes and Proceedings of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, in Town Meeting assembled, according to Law. Published by Order of the Town." -- Sparks.
The fact is, liberties, which are our unalienable rights, are immersed in their writings, thus, only liberty can give peace and happiness, and religion is the source of virtue, which brings happiness. It is religion coupled with Natural Law, that grants individual rights that are essential to happiness, thus, John Adams believed our liberties are found in the Scriptures:

Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, They may change their Rulers and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.
-Letter to Zabdiel Adams, June 21, 1776.

Adams again, linking Christian morality with unalienable rights found in the Scriptures, and in the true Constitution of Britain. Unalienable rights must encompass the principles Adams alludes to, for the Revolution was fought for more than just improper morality:

The gallant Struggle in America, is founded in Principles so indisputable, in the moral Law, in the revealed Law of God, in the true Constitution of great Britain..."
-John Adams second "Clarendon" letter as printed in the Boston Gazette, 20, Jan. 1766.

The Christian religion is the source of unalienable rights:

[T]he Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children under a free government ought to be instructed. No truth is more evident than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
-Noah Webster, REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIER; JUDGE; LEGISLATOR; EDUCATOR; “SCHOOLMASTER TO AMERICA” A Collection of Papers on Political, Literary, and Moral Subjects (New York: Webster and Clark, 1843), p. 291, from his “Reply to a Letter of David McClure on the Subject of the Proper Course of Study in the Girard College, Philadelphia. New Haven, October 25, 1836.”

 Next, our greatest Judge, called "the american blackstone" whose judicial philosophy of Federal superiority has shaped our nation to this day, wrote the free exercise clause is found in the Scriptures:

The rights of conscience are, indeed, beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority, without a criminal disobedience or [sp?], the precepts or [sp?] natural, as well as of revealed religion. [italics mine]
-Joseph Story, Commentaries. CH. XLIV FREEDOM OF RELIGION. 727.

Story is more than qualified to exposite the Constitution.

Story produced nine major treatises within the space of twelve years: Bailments (1832), Commentaries on the Constitution (3 Vols., 1833), Conflict of Laws (1834), Equity Jurisprudence (2 Vols., 1836), Equity Pleadings (1838), Agency (1839), Partnership (1841), Bills of Exchange (1843), and Promissory Notes (1845).

Judge Story was also the author of valuable notes on prize, admiralty, maritime, and patent law contained in appendices to Supreme Court reports, and a frequent contributor to the North American Review, in which he published legal essays. His judicial opinions and writings laid the foundation for admiralty law, equity jurisprudence, and commercial law in the United States. Though a member of the judiciary, Story also worked diligently to clarify and improve Federal laws. He drafted legislation to extend the jurisdiction of the circuit courts and revise the bankruptcy laws.

Story may justly be regarded as the real founder of the Harvard Law School; for his appointment marked an important turning point in the history of an institution that was faltering until Story took command. As a result of his leadership, enrollment increased, the quality of instruction improved, and the school's reputation for excellence grew rapidly.
-American Reference Library, The Ultimate Reference to American History and Political Science, World Book Encyclopedia. 1998 World Book, Inc and Western Standard Publishing Company.

Just where are the texts in the Scripture that expound unalienable rights?

LIFE, Judges 13:5, Deut 24:16. HAPPINESS, Eccles 3:13. Ironically, several rights are in the same chapter of Deuteronomy, listed one after the other, as the framers listed the Bill of Rights:

Property, Ninth and Tenth Amendment: Deut 19:14. "Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it." and I Kings 4:25.

Trial by Jury. Sixth Amendment: v.15. "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."

Unreasonable search and seizure. Fourth Amendment: Deut. 24:10-11. "When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee."

Right to bear arms. Second Amendment: “He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” (Luke 22:36)

Free Speech, assembly, free exercise. First Amendment:

John 4:14
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 6:40,47,51,54
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever:
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 7:37
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
John 8:51
Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
John 11:26
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Many State legal codes, the death penalty, et al., are quoted verbatim by the framers. It isn't difficult to see why the framers considered America the "New Zion."

So Israel under the monarchy always had an armed population (as the 2nd Amendment envisions for the United States). It also had powerful dissidents, the prophets, who were not afraid to use their freedom of speech to rebuke the government (as the 1st Amendment provides). Yet even though ancient Israel might be said to have protected both 1st Amendment and 2nd Amendment rights, these were not sufficient to protect the full scope of liberty and prevent serious abuses by government. The concentration of national political power continued to have terrible consequences.

The framers knew where these rights derived, just as Thomas Paine understood Israel was a "kind of Republic." There was no mention at the Constitutional Convention of any separation of church and state, only the anti-establishment clause. We see this is true because they immediately hired Christian chaplains, issued Christian religious proclamations, promoted Christianity amongst the Indians, used government buildings for Christian church services, used the bible as a textbook in federally run public schools, set aside land for Christian religious purposes and continuousy thanked God for his blessings, guidance, and protection.

Whatever be the case of Barton's errors, the entire foundation of Law: the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights, are founded upon the Bible.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Federal Government Will Sue Arizona Over Immigration Law

Kris W. Kobach of National Review defends Arizona. The Federal Government is sueing the State of Arizona on the basis their immigration law violates the Constitution. If this lawsuit doesn't show how incompetent the Obama Administration is, nothing will. The Arizona law copies the Federal Law, since the federal law mandates:

Since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens not to keep certain registration documents on their person or not to register with the federal government.
One wonders if Barack Obama knows what a green card is. The law was made with full view the feds would sue under racial profiling, so they made sure there is no racial profiling in the bill.

Andrew McCarthy states in an earlier post:

At the border, the federal government does not need probable cause — or any cause at all — to inquire into a person’s citizenship, immigration status, or purpose for attempting to enter our country. Agents can detain immigrants and citizens alike. They can perform bodily searches. They can go through every inch of a would-be entrant’s belongings, read his mail, and scrutinize the contents of his computer.
If the government can search anyone entering the country, why can't anyone be searched with probable cause?

The fact is James Madison and George Washington, would advocate deportation:

[T]hose who acquire the rights of citizenship, without adding to the strength or wealth of the community; are not the people we are in want of."

-James Madison, to Congress Feb 3, 1790. The Writings of James Madison. 1998 World Book Inc. Western Stnd Publishing Co.
Most hispanics who break our laws to enter our country, add no strength to our communities, since they fail to assimulate to hold onto their own language and culture, and they provide no wealth as they send their money back to their home countries. More than likely, JM would be for deportation.

Washington would have illegals deported as well, as they are not acting decently by breaking our laws, however, he would never have allowed it to get this bad:

The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations And Religions; whom we shall wellcome to a participation of all our rights and previleges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.[italics mine]

IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, New York, December 2, 1783.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Timothy Dwight, And The Moderate Calvinist Battle Against Unitarianism

The theological fight between Orthodox Christians and Unitarians took center stage in mid to late 18th Century America. Moderate, Orthodox Calvinists such as: Timothy Dwight, Abiel Holmes, Ashbel Green, Samuel Langdon, Ezra Stiles, Joseph Bellamy, Jedidiah Morse, Nathan Strong et al., battled unitarians: Jonathan Mayhew, Ebenezer Gay, Charles Chauncy, Simeon Howard, and Samuel West. These leaders in the Church, fought like cats and dogs in various periodicals, and in the pulpits, over the fundamentals of Christianity, and what was literal and allegory. Timothy Dwight was the leader, and promoter of today's Evangelical movement. For the next one-hundred years and beyond, Dwight's Theology was study material in every Protestant college in the world, going through twelve editions. Dwight is the Father of Modern Evangelicalism.

Dwight, and the Evangelicals halted unitarianism, deism, and other forms of Pelagianism to the inner Boston, Massachusetts area:
By the 1830's, evangelicals had successfully contained Unitarianism within the Boston area and the West had become the new battleground for Orthodoxy.
          -Stephen E. Berk, Calvinism Versus Democracy. Anchron Books, 1974, p. 199.

Furthermore, independent periodicals echoed the same point:

Unitarians, who are principally confined to Boston and its vicinity.

-Boston Patriot, May 13, 1815.
That unitarianism was limited to a small area reflects the influence it had on the population. Make no mistake, there were many Unitarians at Harvard, however, "only one man: John Clark of Boston, an overseer of the college disagreed with David Tappan's election as Professor of Divinity in 1793." (Bentley, Diary, III, p. 38). Dwight's battle with the unitarians started in 1783 as the minister in "Greenfield Hill," a congregational church in Fairfield, Connecticut. "Dwight had a genius for recognizing able proteges — among them Lyman Beecher, Nathaniel W. Taylor, and Leonard Bacon, all whom would become major religious leaders and theological innovators in the ante bellum decades." Having graduated from Yale in 1769, Dwight made Yale the "largest institution of higher education in North America." Dwight took over Yale from Evangelical Clergyman Ezra Stiles, the President from (1778-1795) and Pastor of Second Congregational Church in Newport, R. I. from (1755-1777).

Not a few historians label Stiles an innocent bystander in this Puritan battle against pelagianism, which may have been the case publicly, however his diary paints a different picture. If Stiles did not join this quarrel in print, he joined the Orthodox in the pulpit. His diary gives many examples of his opinion of heresy.
May God defeat these insidious Machiavellian hellish designs against his Chh [Church] in New England.

-Diary, Vol I, p. 587.
Stiles had many, less than Orthodox friends, such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Stiles once had dinner in Scotland with Franklin, and David Hume. However, he was an evangelical:
[M]ay I be quickened to greater press home Evangelical Truths..reprehending with all authority, not shuning to declare the whole truth.

-Diary, Oct. 22, 1769. 
His Diary presents short entries of debate that never appear to escalate detailing Christian doctrine:
He [Abraham Redwood] has a peculiar notion about sin--that there is no Imputation of sin from Adam, but God created every man a Sinner..I objected this made G[o]d the Author of Sin.

-Diary, May 9, 1770.
Stiles died in 1795, and Dwight personally led Yale in training men to carry out the fight against heresy. Dwight engineered the Second Great Awakening (1802-1810), aligning Old Calvinists by planning to spread Orthodoxy throughout New England. Among these Calvinists Dwight joined forces with, were Hopkinsians, after Rev. Samuel Hopkins, D. D. pastor of the First Congregational Church at Newport, Rhode Island. Hopkinsians were remnants of the Edwardians, after the great Theologian Jonathan Edwards; the main theologian of the Great Awakening, that spread from New England to Georgia. Towards the end of Edwards' life, he strayed into meta-physical doctrine, attempting to "combine his theory of cause & effect with Newtonian Cosmology." The staunch Calvinist that he was, Edwards did not believe in self-determination; this tended to mis-lead his later followers that God was vengeful, wanting to punish everyone. Rigid discipline, and too much emphasis on human depravity pushed parishoners away. Here is an example of Edwards' thoughts:
No energy is self-generating, so the actions of human will must be determined from outside oneself.
-Edwards, Stephen E. Berk, Calvinism Versus Democracy. Achron Books, 1974.
Contrast Edwards with Dwight and the moderate Calvinists:
God's foreknowledge has not the remotest influence on the agent, or his action.

-Dwight, Theology I.
Dwight used "means" to nurture one's spiritual conversion, through prayer, education, and church attendance. The Old Calvinists meta-physical doctrines stifled evangelism, but Dwight understood they were a vital group, with a large base, that also disliked heterodox doctrine calling itself Christianity. Yet, the Scriptures are simple; for simple people. The Church has long delineated what is literal and what is allegory. Here, in Luke 17: 26-30, Jesus affirms the flood, the story of Abraham, Lot, and the destruction of the cities of the plain:
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. [italics mine]
Notice, Jesus says, "[A]s it was in the days of Noe." Unitarians and/or rationalists, proclaim they adhere to inerrancy, yet, denial of these obvious literal passages leave no excuse.

Dwight, and the moderates employed Old Calvinists to spread a moderate, almost Arminian form of Calvinism.

 Along with Jedidiah Morse in Massachusetts, the New Divinity combined all Calvinists to defeat the unitarian influence. Morse, with the Hopkinsians, formed Andover Theological Seminary, that survives to this very day. Furthermore, the battle against heresy was not as some would suggest:
Contrary to publicized orthodox opinion, the great majority of Jeffersonians were in fact Trinitarian Protestants.
-Stephen E. Berk, Calvinism Versus Democracy. Anchron Books, 1974, p.150
In my opinion, Dwight and the Modern Calvinists did a dis-service, sometimes viciously attacking the Jeffersonians throughout New England. These attacks by Federalists, no doubt hurt the party, losing the 1800 election to Thomas Jefferson; linked "Jeffersonian leaders with the illuminati" in the Connecticut Courant, Berk, p. 131. Yes, the Jeffersonians attacked the Standing Order of Connecticut Gentry, however, writing these falsehoods didn't help the Federalists. Dwight even advised spurning democratic members of Puritan families. The Connecticut Courant, edited by Dwight's brother, Theodore, had the nerve to ask Jefferson to sign the Apostles Creed.

In New England, Jeffersonians had several papers as well, including The Aurora and American Mercury. Their rhetoric included calling Dwight, "Pope of Connecticut" and a diatribe in the Mercury, attacking the Standing Order of Connecticut:
" union of church & state--an union which the experience of all countries has proved to be incompatible with civil & religious liberty."

-American Mercury, Sept. 25, 1800.
It reads like James Madison. If it is him, it's another example of Madison's inconsistency, having fought against Virginia's assessment for Christian teachers, yet, he wrote any State can form whatever religion they like:

If there were a majority of one sect, a bill of rights would be a poor protection for liberty. Happily for the states, they enjoy the utmost freedom of religion...Fortunately for this commonwealth, a majority of the people are decidedly against any exclusive establishment. There is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermeddle with religion. Its least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation. I can appeal to my uniform conduct on this subject, that I have warmly supported religious freedom. It is better that this security should be depended upon from the general legislature, than from one particular state. A particular state might concur in one religious project. But the United States abound in such a variety of sects, that it is a strong security against religious persecution; and it is sufficient to authorize a conclusion, that no one sect will ever be able to outnumber or depress the rest. [italics mine]

-James Madison, June 12, 1788. Elliot's Debates In the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Virginia).
Dwight viewed religion (Orthodox Christianity) the basis for liberty, as Puritanism had protected their rights, and provided happiness for nearly two centuries. Dwight was correct; there was no discrimination of any sects, nor a union of church and state. Dwight claimed the Jeffersonians wanted a pluralistic society, that always leads to infidelity:

Requiring citizens to support religion is not only consistent with freedom, but the primary cause of it.

-Woods, History of Andover,  p. 106.
In light of the happiness and liberty religion had brought to New England, the Jeffersonians arrogantly labeled Congregational missionary work as a "Priestly Conspiracy." Berk, p. 163. and "the usual alliance of church & state." Mercury, July 2, 1801; and June 27, 1805.

But Dwight had history on his side.  "To the orthodox mind, religion was the chief agency of social control." Berk, p. 142. In defense of Connecticut's Standing Order, Dwight wrote:
The whole history of the heathen world furnishes not a single reason to believe, that its teachings ever reformed one individual, either among the teachers, or among the disciples.

-Sermons I, On Revelation, p. 103.
Because God demands obedience to governmental authorities, this obedience is the basis for social virtue. To the Federalists, democracy served to destroy social harmony and a disrespect for authority.

At the end of the day, Harvard did not officially became Unitarian until Henry Ware was appointed Hollis Professor of Divinity in 1803, by succeeding David Tappan, who defended historical Puritanism. Unitarianism never even gained ground in outer Massachusetts. Many Politicians, such as, Josiah Bartlett, Benjamin Rush et al., became universalists, yet, never departed from Historical Christian Orthodoxy.