IS IT A CHRISTIAN OR SECULAR CONSTITUTION?

constitution1.pngDuring one of my recent journeys through the blogosphere, I encountered this lovely post at the Daily Whackjob, Awwwwwwwwwww, look how bat shit crazy Huckabee is! Well, anything with such an imaginative title had to be interesting, so I went ahead and read it.

As it turned out, Phriendlyjaime was going batty over this quote from Mike Huckabee.

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

What did Huckabee say wrong? Well, obviously Huckabee committed the mortal sin of connecting religion with politics. Of course, this most distressing quote got wide play over the Internet. Oddly, however, only Liberals seem hugely distressed over the matter. And for some reason, few of these people seemed the least bit concerned about the context of the quote. In fact, I did not have much luck finding the entire text of the speech from where this quote was taken.

So what exactly was Huckabee talking about? Well, here is how he responded when the question was put him him on Fox News.

COLMES: All right, Governor, you made a statement at a rally in Michigan within the last 24 hours. You said, I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. You said, I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it’d be to change the word of the living God, and that’s what we need to do.”

That makes people a little worried. It sounds like you’re looking to have a theocratic state when you make statements like that…

HUCKABEE: Oh, no, Alan.

COLMES: … going to make change in Constitution…

HUCKABEE: Not at all.

COLMES: … in keeping with your view of God.

HUCKABEE: On two things. The context is two things, human life amendment, which I support and which has been in the Republican platform since 1980. And by the way, Fred Thompson doesn’t support it, nor does John McCain. And yet it’s part of our platform. And it’s a very important part of our platform to say that human life is something we’re going to stand for. And the second thing is traditional marriage.

So those are the two areas which I’m talking about. I’m not suggesting that we rewrite the Constitution to reflect tithing or Sunday school attendance. I want to make that very clear. (from here)

When does life begin? What defines marriage? Don’t these two questions involve religious issues? One side of the debate says government must be entirely secular and “rational.” The other side says religion has an appropriate and rational place in our public lives. What this place is is in and of itself a religious debate. How do we live out our religious beliefs in our public lives?

Because the Founders believed in religious freedom, they wrote our Constitution as a secular document. They intended that government leave the religious beliefs of the People in peace. As the Founders themselves were doing when they wrote the Constitution, they intended that the People live their lives in accordance their religious beliefs.

Consider the nature of religious freedom. Historically, the belief in religious freedom has not been particularly common. When someone disagrees with us, most of us instinctively take it as some kind of personal affront. Because religious beliefs are so important to each of us, religion, like politics, tends to be a dangerous subject. Yet the Bible describes salvation as an individual choice. Because such is the case, Christians eventually arrived at the conclusion that God gave us each of us the right to believe what we choose about Religion.

So like it or not, the Constitution is an expression of the Founders religious beliefs. Because the Constitution expresses values based upon religious beliefs, the Constitution is essentially a religious document. That is why democracy as know it today first arose in Christian nations.

And yes, I know about ancient Athens (here) and the Roman Republic (here). What would you call the philosophical underpinnings that allowed democracy to form in these city states? Why did Athenian democracy fail? Why was the Roman Republic unable to survive?

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