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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.


Tom Van Dyke said...

Jim, I've done some work on this. Whether speaking theologically or historically or legally, the "covenant" theory just doesn't fly. To have a covenant, even if between the people and their government, God must be called as a witness.

The Constitution clearly does not invoke God as a witness. My pet [unprovable] theory is that both sides intended to break the "agreement" over slavery someday, but that's neither here nor there.

However, there are plenty of good arguments and avenues open---you can inspect the state constitutions under federalism to see the relation of God to the political agreement, see if you can find something resembling a covenant. How quickly the secularists narrow the Founding down to the Constitution! They offer the bait, "Christianists" put their heads in the trap every time.

Another interesting argument is for the origin of rights in Christian thought. You'll like this one.

According to Donald Lutz, 3/4 of the rights in the Bill of Rights are in the 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties, with a Bible verse attached to each one.

Enjoy the full essay, which I have only minor disagreements with. Plenty of solid stuff to work with for a conscientious digger like yrself.

Our Founding Truth said...


You may be right. After all, it was you who said Dickinson's quote referenced God, and not specifically Christ. Even though the Penman of the Revolution used a term to signify Christ, it appears he was referring to God, as TJ did. Kudos to you!

I am firmly convinced the DOI is a legal document; the Constitution carrying out the principles listed in the Declaration, evidenced by Samuel Adams:

"Before the formation of this Constitution, it had been affirmed as a self evident truth, in the declaration of Independence, very
deliberately made by the Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that, "all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights." This
declaration of Independence was received and ratified by all the States in the Union, and has never been disannulled."

JANUARY 17, 1794.

Adams refers to the Articles of Confederation as to how the DOI was ratified.

This being the case, I believe the DOI is the covenant I'm referring to, thus, "the laws of nature's God entitle them." If these rights are treaded upon, TJ's Notes on the State of Virginia says, " That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever . . . ."

It was a covenant of protection for obedience, the same as Israel.

By the way, I emailed Dr. Pennington, a catholic professor, expert in Canon Law, upon the connection with rights and the scriptures.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not based on the book of Deut., you stupid fuck!

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Dr. Mom said...

I have heard quite a bit from Chris Rodda lately, but have been unable to discover what her degree is or where it is from. Anyone know?

That asked, I would like to throw my support to the Deuteronomy theory. It is quite disturbing to hear supposedly intelligent people pretend that faith and religion were not the animating impulse of the vast majority of political activity surrounding the Founding. Indeed, faith has been the central question of Western civilization for the last 2000 years. It is only very recently that the Western world (and the US most slowly of all) has attempted to move beyond the centrality of faith--though even then we have only replaced it with a watery sense of "purpose" or "meaning."

The Founders were striving for something republican and new, something visionary and long-lasting. But there is little to no evidence that they did--or even would have imagined--attempting such without a "firm reliance on the protection of divine providence." The Declaration is, itself, a concise theological argument. Their interest in the Creator did not disappear between the Declaration and the Constitution.

Our Founding Truth said...

I don't think she has a degree. She takes all her time trying to refute David Barton, unfortunately succeeding most of the time.

She may win some battles, but her belief that the United States was not formed a Christian Nation in untenable.


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דודשמש יםךא ךםהד עםג said...

So what if Chris Rodda doesn't have a degree? She still knows more than Barton does. Since when are degrees evidence of common sense? Ted Budy was a lawyer.
Just knowing how to read and write is enough education to refute Barton's lies. I have recently become one of his opponents because I am a born again Christian.
Barton thinks we are living in the 1000 years of peace and America is Jesus. This is Barton's entire message in a nutshell.
Barton isn't interested in souls for Christ, his interest is limited to Barton and "proving" America is a Christian nation, which is one the biggest lies ever perpetrated on the human race.
As a Christian and a believer in Jesus I take issue with Barton and his absurd view of God.

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Anonymous said...

A refutation of David Barton's writings, written by a Christian.