Constitutional scholar Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) blew apart Speaker Mike Johnson’s claim that the Bible comes before the Constitution.
Raskin said when asked about Johnson’s comments on MSNBC’s Inside with Jen Psaki:
Well, let’s start with this, when we take our oath of office, we put our hand on the Bible and we swear to uphold the Constitution.
We don’t put our hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible. The Constitution is the governing document of the country. And, we of course have a multiplicity of faiths and people can choose their faith or no faith at all. And that’s what Jefferson and. Adams and Madison fought for with the American Revolution and the Declaration and the Constitution.
Video of Raskin:
I mean, the great breakthrough of the American Constitution was to rebel against centuries of religious conflict. The wars between the Catholics and the Protestants and Inquisition and Crusades and witchcraft trials and all of that. They said, we want to put government on a secular principle, which is No establishment of religion, no religious test for public office, and free exercise.
Everybody can worship exactly as he or she pleases. But I’ve got colleagues who get up. One got up not long ago and said, The moral downfall of America was in 1962 with Engel versus Vitale. where the Supreme Court banned prayer in the public schools. And I had to remind him, no, the Supreme Court never banned prayer in the public schools.
As long as there are pop math quizzes, there will be prayer in the public schools, right? All the Supreme Court said in Engel versus Vitali is that the government can’t compel you to pray according to a script that the government writes. And that case was from. New York, the suit was brought by Catholic families saying that there was a Protestant prayer that was being imposed on everybody.
And of course, that’s the great argument or one of the great arguments for the separation of church and state and no establishment of religion. What happens is one church gets control of the governmental process and then imposes Its theological orthodoxy and discipline on everybody else. And that’s why it’s in place.
Raskin was correct, and Johnson’s belief that the Bible comes before the Constitution is what makes him so dangerous in a position of power. Speaker Johnson does not believe in democracy. The nation was founded due to religious persecution. It is why there is a separation of church and state.
The good news is that in a little more than a year, it is extremely likely that Mike Johnson will go back to obscurity, and Jamie Raskin will be leading the House Oversight Committee.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
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Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association