You might remember Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin (retired), who now works as the Family Research Council’s executive vice president, as the guy who said the bad smellin’ man’s man Jesus will come back toting an AR-15.
He also, ominously, said Muslims are not entitled to First Amendment protections, and during the Iraq War put down other gods as false gods and said our enemy was not Saddam Hussein, but Satan himself.
Now, more ominously, he says “When Christians say we shouldn’t be involved in politics, you’ve got to be kidding me. We’re the government.”
Speaking to fellow fake Christian radical Rick Joyner on Sunday, he said that separation of church and state is a myth (even though “wall of separation” were words actually used by Thomas Jefferson), and insisted despite all evidence to the contrary that “the Church was the biggest single factor that brought about the American Revolution.”
What Jefferson said in his famous letter to the Danbury Baptists about the First Amendment (Boykin might want to read it) was:
I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
No fact, of course, will stand in the way of Boykin or Joyner. Watch Boykin spin his web of deceit courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
You don’t have the courage to stand for what you believe in because the church has always been a dominant factor in the politics of America and the 56 men who signed that document were men of faith. When they came back and wrote that Constitution, they wrote that Constitution and derived all of the principles out of that Constitution out of the Bible. So when you hold up a Bible, you need to hold up the Constitution right next to it and say, ‘This Constitution came from this Bible and every freedom that’s given in this Constitution came from the Bible.’
This is a man with a long history of delusional behavior, and it is no wonder that he once served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence for George W. Bush. He fit right in, though his crusading rhetoric got a bit too strident even for Duyba in the end.
There is no doubting that religion has played a strong influence in American culture and society and even in politics. There were strong supporter of slavery who used the Bible to defend it, and strong opponents of the Bible who opposed slavery. Both North and South sought God’s help in the Civil War. Boykin’s Christianity was used again to defend American apartheid in the Civil Rights Era. But to say the Bible and the Constitution are all but indistinguishable is appalling.
To date, no Religious Right figure has been able to point to the Constitution and show one instance of the word “God” or “Jesus” or “Bible” or “Ten Commandments.” Not one. David Barton is forced to rhetorical contortions to try to show connections with the Bible, claims which cause other contortions because they leave you laughing so hard.
There is no freedom in the Bible. Israel had a king. And when it no longer had a king, it had a theocracy. It was a land ruled by priests. The Founding Fathers had nothing good to say about religion mixing with politics, or about priests for that matter. Thomas Paine wrote an entire book denouncing Christianity, The Age of Reason.
James Madison gave us his A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785) and Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786) that, “our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions.”
These are not the writings of men who wanted religion and politics mixed. These are men who believed in that wall of separation.
In his Memorial and Remonstrance, Madison wrote that the claim that a “Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious Truth” is “an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages,” and that a civil magistrate “may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy” is “an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.”
Take that, Jerry Boykin. That door just slammed in your face.
Jefferson’s Virginia Statute tells us,
That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
Lest Boykin thinks this freedom is limited only to Christians, as the Religious Right would have you believe, Jefferson himself wrote in his autobiography:
[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom… was finally passed,… a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read ‘a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.’ The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.
That’s right. The majority of the Virginia legislature rejecting including “Jesus Christ” in the text of the Statute as too exclusive.
So much for Boykin’s Christian nation. Perhaps Boykin might want to consider reading the works of actual historians, rather than the fantasies of David Barton.
Boykin is a dangerous religious radical in a nest full of dangerous religious radicals, not least for his militant tone and violent temperament. As I’ve said here before, when we invaded Afghanistan, we were fighting the wrong Taliban.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.
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