The founders conceptualized freedom as a social mission, a social obligation, the chief goal of which was to serve the public good, not one’s narrow private interests.
Writing in 1782, in the aftermath of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine exclaimed, “We are now really another people.”
What Paine meant, in part, was that the new republican form of government required a new and different kind of person, a new kind of citizen. People were used to being subjects of the Crown, ruled monarchically through fear and force. So, the fledgling republic devoted to freedom faced the challenge of making liberty and some kind of governmental authority compatible. As noted historian Gordon Wood has noted, echoing Paine, simply transforming the structure and nature of authority, of government, would not be sufficient: “The people themselves,” he wrote, attempting to capture the sentiment and urgency of the time, “must change as well.”
Pope Francis has declared that evolution and the Big Bang are facts, no longer to be debated, saying of evolution:
When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so.
He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment.
One student was told that failing to stand is disrespectful to members of the U.S. military; another was told the law required him to stand
We are under siege this July Fourth. We can only resist with our love of liberty, for it is liberty that is the beating heart of liberalism
Ralph Nader is railing against the "imperial presidency" but has nothing to say about our runaway, do-nothing Congress. It makes no sense to rail against the one while ignoring the other.
Republicans claim to be the defenders of the Constitution; this while wishing to do away with every amendment save the Second and the Tenth- narrowing Republican goals to guns and secession.
As our nation celebrates Martin Luther King Jr, conservatives choose NOT to remember him, but to misremember him as a conservative
The Tea Party's actions in Wisconsin and Michigan show them to owe their inspiration not to the Patriots of 1776 but to King George III
In Why America Needs a Left, Eli Zaretsky makes a case for a 'hard' left, something beyond either progressivism or liberalism
The Religious Right says some laughable things, but there is nothing laughable about their money, power - or influence on American politics
Longtime foe of multiculturalism, William J. Bennett, says Republicans lost culture war and accuses Democrats of playing identity politics
David Barton's Christian publisher may have dropped his book of lies and who better to save lies about a Founding Father than Glenn Beck?
Jeffrey T. Kuhner of the Edmund Burke Institute, who last year accused President Obama of having “black nationalist sympathies” (whatever those are) wrote a column for the Washington Times on February 23, which he entitled Obama’s pseudo-religion, arguing that the “President’s secular moves” are “out of step with Judeo-Christian culture.” His claim is that “Mr. Obama is a radical leftist. Like all such extremists, he has nothing but contempt for traditional Christianity and the family.”
If Obama’s “secular moves” are “out of step with Judeo-Christian culture” they are very much in step with the U.S. Constitution, for which Kuhner and his friends show only contempt.
It is fitting that Kuhner should so despise the Obama “revolution” given the feelings English conservative Edmund Burke, “the great prophet of Anglo-American conservatism,” had for the French Revolution and the ideal of “we the people” (as expressed in his Thoughts on the Revolution in France, 1790). It is equally no surprise that radical liberal Thomas Paine wrote a point-by-point rebuttal of Burke’s attack called, appropriately enough, The Rights of Man (1791-2).
It is significant, before we go on, to remember and to understand that Thomas Paine had to flee England when he wrote The Rights of Man and that for having done so, for having literally defended the rights of man in print, he was found guilty of seditious libel! Paine, the Englishman who was so instrumental in winning the American War for Independence (The Liberty Tree, 1775, Common Sense, 1776), was never able to return to England.
And this is the true focus of Mr. Kuhner’s attack: the rights of man, the “we the people” that conservative Burke himself so despised. Mr. Kuhner’s focus is on one sort of rights only: the rights of a religious group to supersede the rights of all others. Like his hero Burke, he shows only disdain for the rights of man, the very rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Because this is a simple and inescapable fact: the United States is governed not by the Ten Commandments, not by the Bible or by king anointed by God or by a Pope, but by the secular document known as the U.S. Constitution which states that power derives not from God, but from the people.
Hypocritically, it is Kuhner who on a previous occasion claimed Obama has a “deep contempt for Christianity and democracy” as though the two are mutually compatible or even synonymous. As Gerd Lüdemann has persuasively argued (Intolerance and the Gospel, 2007), New Testament Christology contradicts the values of a pluralistic modern liberal democracy the Constitution celebrates.
There is a great deal wrong with what Mr. Kuhner writes. Again there is the ubiquitous conservative meme – the argument that secularism, which is the absence of religion from government, can itself be a religion (it cannot). There is also the chimera of “Judeo-Christian” culture. The term “Judeo-Christian” is an ideological construct, a construct created, unsurprisingly, not by Jews but by Christians. There is no such thing as “Judeo-Christian.” It is evidence only of Christianity’s desire to ride Judaism’s coattails to legitimacy as a religion. With Judaism’s antecedents, Christianity is a mock religion, and a grotesque distortion of Pagan religion at that.
One need not look too far to see that Christianity roundly denounces Jewish belief. It insists on a division of godhead not permitted in Jewish thought, by grating a “trinity” onto God, an indivisible one somehow becoming three; it insists that Jesus is now the path to salvation, not the Jewish law; it doesn’t even use the Hebrew Bible but a monstrosity called the “Old” Testament which is to be contrasted with what supersedes it (and isn’t even translated let alone interpreted properly), the “New” Testament which revolves around the idea that God once had a covenant with the Jews but now has a new covenant with Gentiles, whom demonstrably, even Jesus despised and was disinclined to preach to.
Christianity is by definition a renunciation of Judaism; don’t preach to us about “Judeo-Christian” while Christian theology is preaching that Jews must become Christians and will become Christians at the end-times or like all of us Pagans, atheists and secularists, die in the greatest genocidal orgy the world has ever known, to be hosted, appropriately enough, by people calling themselves Christians.
The idea that only a Christian can care about family is laughable but typical. It’s not as if any culture in the thousands of years of human history preceding Christianity any human couple ever cared about their family.
Makes you wonder how humanity survived long enough for Jesus to make his belated appearance! We didn’t know right from wrong for cripes sake! We had no ideas of morality or ethics, and we didn’t care for families. Of course, none of this explains why these other cultures created huge empires while Israel was, well…not to put too fine a point on it, conquered by them – repeatedly.
I think the God thing is overrated. After all, it wasn’t God who make Israel a nation again, it was the United Nations – a sort of world-wide “we the people.”
Kuhn presents us with his evidence against Obama of course:
During the 2008 campaign, he decried Americans who “cling to guns or religion.”
A lot has been said about our founding fathers in recent years. The tea party has all of a sudden become historical scholars. They have become the defenders of our Country and our Constitution. Glenn Beck is their proverbial historical professor. Unfortunately their knowledge is fairly limited to specifically what their Fox News comrade regurgitates, which inaccurately represents the true views of the Founding Fathers.
Glenn Beck dislikes government. He also dislikes social programs - such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Those who advocate such programs are, for Beck, "cockroaches." Beck, a radical conservative, thinks he channels Paine, an interesting feat considering Paine was a radical liberal, who is considered the real father of Social Security.