07 March 2011

*Preview To Tea Party Rebuttal - Part Two

**Update: The source is none other than that hotbed of Tea Party activists and right-wing distorters of history - at the library of Congress.

". . . a religious people rose in rebellion against Great Britain in 1776, and that most American statesmen, when they began to form new governments at the state and national levels, shared the convictions of most of their constituents that religion was, to quote Alexis de Tocqueville's observation, indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions."

Anybody want to guess the source on this? (Don't cheat by googling)

Hint: It is not the Tea Party or David Barton.

*I may or may not get to this 2nd part of my rebuttal of Michael Aubrecht's criticism of the Tea Party for a while - though I'll try. March is always a very busy time of the year for me. End of week I'm leaving the country for seven days. After I return, I'll be attending Liberty University's 15th annual Civil War seminar and then, the following week, I'll leave for a three day, invitation only Civil War relic dig near Brandy Station (on private property). I'll have much to blog about once the dust settles. I may post some "best of" OVB while away from my office.


The Warrior said...

I'm stumped. Lee?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

No. Much more recent.

Kat said...

I'm thinking it was the Supreme Court in the '50's? Sorry, can't be more specific than that without googling... ;-)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Kat - a good guess, but no. Still more recent.

The Warrior said...


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

No, but closer. Time to reveal:

The Library of Congress:


Michael Aubrecht said...

True my friend, but my gripe was that she argued that "Judeo-Christian teachings were the basis for all American law and should continue to be used as a guiding force for creating future legislation." That my friend is a theocracy which is defined as “a form of government in which god or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities” and there is no way they intended that. I never said religion didn’t influence the Founders.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Michael - you've bought into the secularists' argument (which defies logic), that laws and cultures are, somehow, value free and neutral. That's absurd. All laws are based on some value system. Our founding was based on Judeo-Christian precepts. Now one can argue as to whether that is a good or bad thing (I believe it good), but one cannot deny the facts.

You're putting words into my mouth again. I'm not advocating a theocracy and, other than certain segments of Islam, I don't know anyone who is.

Furthermore, you contradict yourself and assign your contradiction to the Founders. There's no question, based on historical documents, speeches, letters, legislation, monuments, etc, that the majority of the Founders recognized Judeo-Christian precepts as the basis of American Jurisprudence. That is NOT a theocracy. You suggest that advocating certain precepts in law with "laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities” are one in the same.

Not so.

Even our President said that his faith influences his life as President:

What drew him to Christianity was "the precepts of Jesus Christ" which spoke to him in terms of the kind of life he would want to lead, he explained.

Those precepts include "being my brothers' and sisters' keeper; treating others as they would treat me."

He continued, "I think also understanding that ... Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility that we all have to have as human beings – that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes; we achieve salvation through the grace of God."

In terms of how he's living out his Christian faith, he said he strives and prays to "see God in other people" and "help them find their own grace."

"I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith," he said.

So is President Obama advocating a theocracy. No, he's not. Neither were the Founders.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

And neither was Palin. Again, I think you're letting your personal dislike for the Tea Party cloud your judgment.

michael Aubrecht said...

I don't want to get too far into this as I know you intend to deal with this later but I will close by saying that both my priest and pastor agreed that you cannot legislate morality nor force one religious doctrine over another and maintain religious freedom. The bible cannot be used to create law anymore than the koran. I understand the Founders were influenced by Christian Judeo teachings. I've even blogged on that very subject. My issue is that I believe Palin does not understand what they did and did not intend. We can argue this in detail when you post your full rebuttal. In the meantime get ready for your trip and have a wonderful time.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

That, with all due respect, is absurd. Is it not against the law to murder someone? Is murder immoral.

I rest my case on that point.

You keep throwing up these straw man arguments Michael. Where has anyone said anything about "force(ing) one religious doctrine over another?"

We are talking about basic precepts and values, not "religious doctrine."

"The bible cannot be used to create law anymore than the koran. I understand the Founders were influenced by Christian Judeo teachings."

Those 2 sentences contradict one another.

"My issue is that I believe Palin does not understand what they did and did not intend."

That's fine Michael, but you've yet to make your case.

Yes, we're looking forward to some down time. Thanks.

michael Aubrecht said...

The ONLY way a true democratic society works is under a secular system of government that does not wiegh one religion over another. The Founders would not have approved the system in which the Ten Commandments were specifically used to determine law as that would give more power to Christians over other religious sects. That would have mimicked the church that they ran away from in the first place and would directly contradict the concept of religious freedom. OK no more...I will await your return. I promise. :)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Sorry Michael - but the facts simply don't support your statements. You're confusing "forcing" someone to be a Christian vs. basing law and government on a particular belief system. Yes, I know what the courts have ruled, but don't assign that to what the Founders believed:

“What is an oath?” . . . [I]t is founded on a degree of consciousness that there is a Power above us that will reward our virtues or punish our vices. . . . [O]ur system of oaths in all our courts, by which we hold liberty and property and all our rights, are founded on or rest on Christianity and a religious belief." - Daniel Webster

"The Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society." - Daniel Webster

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God." - John Adams

"The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone, that renders us invincible." - Patrick Henry

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." - John Jay

"The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses." - Thomas Jefferson

"I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament." - Benjamin Rush

"The only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible." - Benjamin Rush

How many more would you like? And yes, I can source these.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I prefer a constitutional republic (rule of law) to a a "true democratic society" (mob rule).

michael Aubrecht said...

Richard my friend...I too can provide quotes. Remember that we are specifically talking about law. Here's a quote just for the occassion by our beloved Mr. Jefferson:

Letter to Thomas Cooper on February 10, 1814:

"For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it."

". . . if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Michael - common law is only part of the basis for American jurisprudence. We were also talking about America's *founding.*

Besides, Jefferson's opinion does not settle the matter. Joseph Story issued a rather strong rebuttal to Jefferson's comments on the common law. You can read part of the rebuttal here:


Regardless, Jefferson is, again, speaking specifically of common law and not America's founding, though there is a connection. We also both know that Jefferson had more liberal views than most of the Founders when it came to Christianity. Even so, the quotes you cited do not contradict Jefferson's views on religious teachings specifically impacting society and American law.

13thBama said...

Interesting piece on the Supreme Court Building


I think it fits.