Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Palin, Religion & Left Wing Dogma

Steve Benen writing at Washington Monthly has his panties in a bunch. Apparently, he can't believe that Sarah Palin, actually believes that there was a role for religion within the outer ambit of the state at the time of our nations founding. This from Mr. Benen:

THE THEOCRATIC WING OF THE GOP.... A certain former half-term governor appears to be drifting even further away from the American mainstream. Over the weekend, appearing at an evangelical Christian women's conference in Louisville, Sarah Palin rejected the very idea of separation of church and state, a bedrock principle of American democracy.

. . . She denounced this week's Wisconsin federal court ruling that government observance of a National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional -- which the crowd joined in booing. She asserted that America needs to get back to its Christian roots and rejected any notion that "God should be separated from the state."

Palin added that she was outraged when President Obama said that "America isn't a Christian nation."

The amusing aspect of this is the notion that the United States would return to its roots with support for National Day of Prayer observances. That's backwards -- Thomas Jefferson and James Madison explicitly rejected state-sponsored prayer days. I'll look forward to the conservative explanation of how the Founding Fathers were godless socialists. . . .

But far less amusing is the fact that Palin and others of her radical ilk reject any notion that "God should be separated from the state." It's the 21st century, for crying out loud. There are some countries that endorse Palin's worldview and intermix God and government -- Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan under Taliban rule come to mind -- but they're generally not countries the United States tries to emulate.

The separation of church and state has long been a concept that all Americans could embrace, and has served as a model for nations around the world to follow. For Palin to publicly denounce this bedrock American principle suggests she might actually be getting worse. . . .

. . . Update: Greg Sargent obtained a transcript, and it's worse than I thought. Palin not only thinks the Founding Fathers opposed church-state separation -- in other words, she thinks those who came up with the idea opposed the idea -- she also suggests religious people necessarily reject the constitutional principle. This is just astounding.

What is astounding here is the degree of Mr. Benen's historical ignorance. As to Madison and Jefferson vetoing a "national day of prayer," I wait to see that bit of historical fantasy. Lastly, as to the charge that Palin seeks to make America a theocracy, perhaps if Mr. Benen knew a bit more about Madison and Jefferson, he would understand how utterly ridiculous such a charge actually is. Mr. Benen is a pawn in the left's two centuries old war on religion - and not a particularly intelligent one.

Update: Greg Sargent, running a WaPo blog, the Plum Line, made a similar argument to Mr. Benan. Do they still teach history to journalists these days? Apparently, for these journalists, the history of religion in America begins with Everson.

Update: JP, writing at Texas For Sarah Palin, has a superb post up on the history of religion in America, and in particular, the history of "days of prayer" called by our government.

Update: Plumb Bob Blog also has an excellent post on this issue, take a deeper look at the Court's decision on the issue and some of the arguments the radical secularists are using to remove religion generally and Christianity in particular from the public square.


OBloodyHell said...

I think you can find one or two references to God in the PotUS' SOTU Addresses.

I think it's a safe bet that there was the equivalent of a day of prayer all through the 1800s and well into the early 1900s.

I also don't have a major problem with the drift away from tight religious precepts in government actions (that does not mean I agree with the tyranny of the minority on the issue, either).

Regardless of all that, it's amusing how idiots like this go into anaphylactic shock at the mere mention of God and prayer by a woman who almost certainly was playing to her audience (and I mean that in an understanding way, not a "disingenuous!" one).

I mean, really, would anyone think that Palin, speaking at an "evangelical Christian women's conference" would go all Jeremiah Wright on the audience?

Greg said...

The fact that Palin addressed a crowd of 17,000 women in Louisville was a real wake up call for the loons on the left. For the last 1.5 years one of their lines of attack on Palin is that women don't like her, and won't vote for her. Not only did 17,000 women turn out to see her in Louisville, a crowd of 11,000 predominatly women turned out for Palin's rally for Michele Bachmann in MN a couple of weeks ago. On June 5th Palin is going to the Women's Expo in North Carolina, estimates are that as many as 30 to 40,000 may come to this event. The tide is turning, the dems know it, and they are getting more and more desparate by the moment when it comes to Palin.

philwynk said...

Benin was correct, but he was also being disingenuous. Both Jefferson and Madison privately expressed doubts about the Constitutional propriety of the President or Congress declaring national days of prayer. However, Madison as President actually signed four such declarations that were passed by Congress: on July 9, 1812, July 23, 1813, November 16, 1814, and March 4, 1815. Also, Presidents Washington and Adams both declared national prayer days without any direction from Congress, and Washington declared one in conjunction with Congress.

There is a complete list of nationally-declared days of prayer in the amici brief from the American Center for Law and Justice for the case of Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Obama that was decided a couple of weeks ago. The amici brief can be found at http://www.aclj.org/media/pdf/ACLJAmicibrief-Final.pdf. Make a note of it, it's good reference material.