Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Lutz Study, the Bible, and the Constitution:

Given that the historical record shows little connection between the principles of the Constitution and the principles of the Bible, what about the oft-cited study by Donald S. Lutz that supposedly shows the Bible as the most cited source from the Founding era? Lutz is a reputable scholar and the "Christian America" crowd have shamelessly misrepresented his study. Chris Rodda has the goods. She writes:

Of all the findings in Lutz's study ignored by Barton and the NCBCPS, however, none are as important as those found in the section of his article entitled "The Pattern of Citations from 1787 to 1788." As seen in the earlier chart, Lutz broke down the number of citations by decade. In addition to this, he singled out the writings from 1787 and 1788, and then further separated these writings into those written by Federalists and those by Anti-federalists. Lutz found few biblical citations during these two years, and, very interestingly, not a single one in any of the Federalist writings. The following is from what Lutz wrote about this two year period in which the Constitution was written and debated in the press.

Quoting Lutz, this passage from the original study destroys the conclusion the Christian America crowd draws from his work:

The Bible's prominence disappears, which is not surprising since the debate centered upon specific institutions about which the Bible has little to say. The Anti-Federalists do drag it in with respect to basic principles of government, but the Federalists' inclination to Enlightenment rationalism is most evident here in their failure to consider the Bible relevant.

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