The never-ending saga of Sarah Palin’s infringement upon our national discourse took a turn for the worse (as if that were possible) last night. Palin appeared on “The O’Rielly Factor”, during which she doubled down on her theocratic vision of America by claiming that the Founders intended for our laws to be based on the bible and the ten commandments. So, in this chapter of fact-checking Sarah Palin, we debunk Palin’s Secessionist Theocracy (aka: Real America) theory.
A few weeks ago Sarah Palin wrongly claimed America was a Christian Nation. Ostensibly poking at the President of the United States, she said, “For any leader to declare that America isn’t a Christian nation and poking an ally like Israel in the eye, it’s mind-boggling for — to see some of our nation’s actions recently.”
Leave it to Palin to not only get the facts wrong about the founding fathers, but also about the current controversy regarding National Prayer Day as well as Obama’s position. The founding fathers did not intend this to be a Christian nation. National Prayer Day controversy was about Franklin Graham’s civilian group working in concert with the Pentagon while making volunteers sign a pledge to Christ, which any reasonable person can interpret as a violation of separation of church and state further compounded by Graham’s beliefs that Muslims are “evil”.
Palin doubled down on American as a theocracy last night on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor”. Click here to watch the interview courtesy of Fox News:
O’REILLY: All right. The governor joins us now. So why do you think America is a Christian nation?
As you may have guessed, this story involves fact-checking, since both Fox and Palin are involved. Fox, who sued for the right to lie on air and call it news and Palin, PolitiFact’s Liar of the Year winner, are a lethal combination of misinformation and white rage.
So, let the fact-checking continue: Palin is no longer the governor of Alaska and although she claimed in her quitting speech to not care about titles, Palin’s speaking contracts demand that she be addressed as “Governor Palin”. Palin quit as governor midway through her first term with no explanation other than a vague reference to opposition researchers trying to destroy her; aka, constituents who filed ethics complaints against her. Many of these complaints were found to be valid (even by the counsel who served at the pleasure of the Governor). One of them resulted in Palin’s Alaska Fund Trust being frozen.
SARAH PALIN: I have said all along that America is based on Judeo-Christian beliefs and, you know, nobody has to believe me though. You can just go to our Founding Fathers’ early documents and see how they crafted a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution that allows that Judeo-Christian belief to be the foundation of our lives. And our Constitution, of course, essentially acknowledging that our unalienable rights don’t come from man; they come from God. So this document is set up to protect us from a government that would ever infringe upon our rights to have freedom of religion and to be able to express our faith freely.
And on we go with our fact-checking mission through the tangled webs of Palinese. It turns out Palin was wrong about the Declaration of Independence (I can hear the collective gasp of shock around the nation from my kitchen window):
One Nation explains:
“There are no specific reference to Christianity or Jesus in the Declaration of independence. There are a few references to a ‘Nature’s God’ who is the creator of life, giver of rights and ‘supreme Judge of the world’ but that is rather vague.” Phrases used include:
“...that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” — This does describes God as a creator of life and giver of rights but goes no further.
“…appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions” — Here God is the ‘Supreme Judge’.
“There was plenty of doubt about Christianity among the framers. In order to justify their defiance of the King they had to invoke a higher authority and make the case that they were endowed with the higher power’s blessing. This higher power was not necessarily a Christian power.”
Oh, boy. I don’t understand what documents Palin is reading. Any and all of them that are put in front of her? We must remember that Palin could not name a single paper she read and she also thought the song “America the Beautiful” was part of the Constitution, so it would have been fair for O’Reilly to question Palin about her sources, but of course, his job doesn’t involve confronting Republican leaders. He left that job to us. So we take a brief gander at the document within which the Right cloaks their recent racism, bigotry and hate:
“The 1787 constitution is a nearly godless document. It mentions neither God, nor Christianity outside of a reference to the date using the Christian calendar. It does however have a provision against requiring specific religious ideas as a qualification for office.
Article VI, Section 3, US Constitution: “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
Article. VII, US Constitution: “Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven”
It certainly can be argued that this sentence sets up The United States under ‘our Lord’ Jesus Christ, but when viewed in context it takes on a much lesser importance. The sentence is in the last section of the fourth and final page of the Constitution and was a common way of referencing the Christian calendar. ‘In the year of our Lord’ translated to Latin is ‘Anno Domini’ which is commonly abbreviated ‘A.D.’ and is still used to this day by most of the western world when stating the year. It is merely a tradition and holds no religious significance.”
So, the use of the calendar term “In the Year of Our Lord” is proof that the framers wanted Judeo-Christian beliefs to be the foundation of our lives? And as for her last mention of the Constitution, it seems as if Palin confused the Declaration of Independence’s use of “inalienable rights” with the Constitution. Ah, well. What can you expect from the Republican front runner for 2012?
The first amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”Clearly the founders did not intended for our laws to be based on the bible.
Furthermore, Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli signed by President John Adams: “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen…”
All of this hooplah about National Prayer Day demonstrates that the persecution complex of the Right is in good order, folks. No one told Christians they could not worship on National Prayer Day. “U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote, “In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.”
Furthermore, Palin’s failure to acknowledge Graham’s assault of other citizen’s rights to worship whatever religion they chose is not only disingenuous but deeply, profoundly troubling. The founders understood the perils of mixing religion with government, which is why they went to such great pains to separate the two. It should be noted that Fox News holds Palin up as a leader of the Republican party and patriot extraordinaire, and yet she has a close affiliation with the Alaska Secessionist Movement, which has close ties to both southern secessionist movements and white nationalists/KKK groups. Somehow, I don’t see Jefferson applauding Palin’s arrival on our political scene.
We’ll close the saga of fact-checking Sarah Palin by quoting Jefferson, whom Palin tried to co-opt at the Times Gala earlier this week:
“I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.” ~~ Thomas Jefferson 3rd president, Drafted Declaration of Independence, Signer of Constitution, influential on 1st Amendment
Updated: to clarify Article 11 came from Treaty of Tripoli.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.