Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Roy Moore Betrays our Founders...Again:

Gordon Klingenchmitt isn't the only public figure who sacrificed his career, in part, because of misunderstanding our Founding Fathers and Religion. Roy Moore did so first. And so Moore continues that misunderstanding in an article for the WorldNutDaily on the Hindu Chaplain controversy.

Hindus believe not just in a god that is one with the universe and with nature but in many gods, beliefs that are completely inconsistent with a belief in the Creator God of the Holy Scriptures and the Christian faith upon which our nation is founded. Our Founding Fathers knew better – and so should our senators.

Actually no, Hindus, like Christians claim to worship one God. Indeed, the prayer the Chaplain gave was to one God. And like Christians, Hindus claim their one God has more than one distinct personality. The difference being the God of Christians has three, Hindus many more.

Secondly our nation was not founded on "a belief in the Creator God of the Holy Scriptures and the Christian faith." The Declaration's "Nature's God" is not specifically identified as the God of Scripture precisely to be inclusive of non-Judeo-Christian faiths. The key Founding Fathers were syncretic universalists who believed most if not all world religions, including Hinduism, worshipped the same God they did. While all or perhaps even most of the Founding Fathers may not have believed this, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams, the men who wrote the Declaration did.

As John Adams put it:

Where is to be found Theology more orthodox or Phylosophy more profound than in the Introduction to the Shast[r]a [a Hindu Treatise]? “God is one, creator of all, Universal Sphere, without beginning, without End. God Governs all the Creation by a General Providence, resulting from his eternal designs. --- Search not the Essence and the nature of the Eternal, who is one; Your research will be vain and presumptuous. It is enough that, day by day, and night by night, You adore his Power, his Wisdom and his Goodness, in his Works.”

– John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, December 25, 1813.

Next, Moore quotes Ben Franklin's call to prayer at the Constitutional Convention:

Addressing George Washington, the president of the Convention, Benjamin Franklin asked:

"How has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered."

And then Moore misrepresents what Franklin believed:

Franklin knew what some of our senators have forgotten: that it was the God of the Bible and not Allah, Buddha or one of the many gods of the Hindu faith who provided and sustained us during our formative years.

Wrong. Franklin believed Muslims worshipped the same God as Christians, so much so that he thought it appropriate for Muslims to preach "Mohammedanism" in Christian Churches:

Both house and ground were vested in trustees, expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say something to the people at Philadelphia; the design in building not being to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in general; so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.

Next Moore denigrates the non-sectarian civil religion that our first four Presidents established in their always generic supplications to God:

Sadly, those references to God that courts do allow are permitted only as "ceremonial deism" – that is, a historical tradition that, the courts say, through repetition has lost its "religious significance" and does not really address or recognize the sovereign God. Thus, public prayers in state and local legislatures and in the military are approved if they are "nonsectarian" in nature and do not address or name a particular God.

It is particularly troubling to see the U.S. Senate disregard a long history of Christian prayers in favor of modern, pluralistic prayers to gods that have no relationship to this country or the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we cherish.

Such misunderstanding of history is a reason why Moore, unlike Justice Scalia, could never be appointed to the Supreme Court. As Scalia wrote in his dissent in McCreary:

All of the actions of Washington and the First Congress upon which I have relied, virtually all Thanksgiving Proclamations throughout our history, and all the other examples of our Government's favoring religion that I have cited, have invoked God, but not Jesus Christ.


This is not necessarily the Christian God (though if it were, one would expect Christ regularly to be invoked, which He is not).

I've confirmed this in the primary sources: When Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison made supplications to God in their public speeches on behalf of the nation, they never prayed in Jesus' name and always referred to a generic non-sectarian God. The closest exception is John Adams' recommendation for National Fast which sounded Trinitarian (strange given than Adams was a fervent theological unitarian). It mentioned "redeemer" but not "Jesus Christ." Adams later regretted giving such claiming it "turned me out of office."

Moore continues:

Mr. Zed certainly has the freedom to exercise his Hindu beliefs, but only because that is an unalienable right given by the God of creation and protected in this land. Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc., have freedom of conscience in this country that is not extended to Christians in other nations under other "gods." Our government should and indeed must affirm that Almighty God is the source of that right for it to continue.

Completely wrong. If anything, the political theology of the Founding suggests the Founders granted religious freedom to all precisely because they believed all religions -- Muslims, Hindus, Native Americans, etc. -- worshipped the same God they did. After all, as theocrats like Roy Moore remind us, Hindus, Muslims, etc. break the First Commandment when they freely exercise their religion. Why would the Biblical God grant men an unalienable right to break his commandments? Arguably, He wouldn't. Hence arguably, the rights granting "Nature's God" of the key Founders is not the Biblical God. Though He could be. But it's up to orthodox Christians to then reconcile how their God would grant an unalienable right to, in Jefferson's words, worship no God or twenty Gods.

I challenge Roy Moore or anyone sympathetic to his view to find one quotation from Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, or Franklin clearly expressing the belief that Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, or any non-Christians worship false Gods. (I'll give you a hint: They can't because they don't exist.)

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