Fake historian David Barton, who has a largely worthless degree from Oral Roberts University, is busy again conflating the Constitution, which makes no mention of God, Bible, Ten Commandments, or Jesus, with the Bible, which is full of references to those things. The Constitution gives us rights, a list of things you CAN do. The Bible limits rights with the big list of Top 10 “Do Nots” – The Ten Commandments.
According to Barton, speaking on his radio program Wednesday, how the presidential candidates “look at the Bible will tell you how they’re going to look at the Constitution.”
Take a listen courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
“If your religious faith is such that it doesn’t connect you to God, you’re not going to be good for the country. How they look at the Bible will tell you how they’re going to look at the Constitution. I’m not saying the Bible and the Constitution are the same thing, but I’m saying you have the same view toward authority, you have the same view toward there are absolutes, there are standards that should be followed and must be followed.
“The fervency with which someone follows their religious faith, a biblical faith, is nearly always a direct indicator of how well they will follow the Constitution. If they don’t respect the Bible, they won’t respect other firm, fixed documents like the Constitution, so we, as citizens, ought to engage in that type of personal religious test for our president.”
This is about as stupid a thing as we have ever heard Barton say, and he has said a lot of stupid things. There is no comparison between the two documents, or how one approaches the two documents. One was written by people for people – the whole “We the People” thing that is missing from the Bible, which purports to be the a record of the will of God.
The Constitution requires the use of reason, highly valued by Enlightenment thinkers like the Founding Fathers. The Bible requires faith, or belief that something, as Kierkegaard said, is true despite its absurdity. A person is perfectly capable of accepting and following the Constitution because it is not something you “believe in” or not, in the same way that science is not something you “believe in” or not.
In the Constitution, political power derives from the will of the people. We call that democracy. In the Bible, power (political and otherwise) derives from God, or at least from people who pretend to speak for God, be they kings or, worse, priests. Jefferson warned what happens under priestly rule, and the First Amendment of the Constitution was designed to save Americans that fate.
Sadly, the under-educated and dishonest Barton is wildly influential in Religious Right and even Republican circles, and what he says further reinforces the entirely false assumption that the Constitution and the Bible have something to do with each other.
A simple reading of both would disabuse any rational reader from thinking so, but sadly, there seems to be a real lack of rationality among both Republicans and Religious Right figures, who prefer what they want to be true over what actually is true.
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.