Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin & Christian Heritage:

Barry Lynn and Jay Sekulow are debating the goods at their BeliefNet blog. Here is the exact proclamation:

WHEREAS, the celebration of Christian Heritage Week, October 21-27, 2007, reminds Alaskans of the role Christianity has played in our rich heritage. Many truly great men and women of America, giants in the structuring of American history, were Christians of caliber and integrity who did not hesitate to express their faith. Some of their legacies are evidenced as follows:

WHEREAS, the Preamble to the Constitution of the State of Alaska begins with, "We the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land"

WHEREAS, Benjamin Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention stated, "It is impossible to build an empire without our Father's aid. I believe the sacred writings which say that, Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it (Psalm 127:1)."

WHEREAS, George Washington enunciated, "animated alone by the pure spirit of Christianity, and conducting ourselves as the faithful subjects of our free government, we may enjoy every temporal and spiritual felicity."

WHEREAS, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, wrote, "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"

WHEREAS, James Madison, father of the United States Constitution advocated "the diffusion of the light of Christianity in our nation" in his Memorial and Remonstrance.

WHEREAS, Patrick Henry quoted Proverbs 14:34 for our nation, "Righteousness alone can exalt a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people."

WHEREAS, George Mason, in his Virginia Declaration of Rights, forerunner to our United States Bill of Rights, affirmed, "That it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forebearance, love and charity towards each other."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Sarah Palin, Governor of the State of Alaska, do hereby proclaim October 21-27, 2007, as Alaska's 9th Annual Christian Heritage Week in Alaska, and encourage all citizens to celebrate this week.

In meticulously researching the beliefs of these Founders I have concluded Henry and Mason were likely orthodox Trinitarian Christians. The other four were likely both unitarian (that is disbelievers in the Trinity) and universalists (that is disbelievers in eternal damnation) in their theology (even though they weren't associated with those Churches which really hadn't yet emerged, in all but a handful of instances). Further they believed the Bible only partially inspired. Such that Franklin et al. could quote the Bible one minute (the parts of it in which he/they believed) and the next minute talk about how "corrupted" the original text was.

My question to Palin would be is their rejection of the Trinity, eternal damnation, and the infallibility of the Bible also to be included in our celebration of America's "Christian Heritage"?


Leo said...

Setting aside the critical theological issues for a moment...Would Adams,Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, and Washington have agreed with with Palin that the observance of such a week would be beneficial to all? I would think too that in a day of state churches that these men would have found Palin's proclamation quite refreshing.

Secondly, correct me if I'm wrong but did not each of these men consider themselves Christian?

Leo said...

I should hasten to add, in IMHO, that agreement would be based upon the desire to improve public morals - not upon any desire for conversions to any particular denominational theological persuasion. I tend to think that Gov. Palin's objectives would have been the same.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Hi Leo,

Sorry for the late reply.

Would Adams, Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, and Washington et. al have agreed with with Palin that the observance of such a week would be beneficial to all?

I'm not sure. I think they would have differed. I think Washington and J. Adams would, but the other three would not.

I do think however, the more non-sectarian, the more in the language of generic Providence and the less specifically Christian, the more attractive they would have found the proclamations.

Jonathan Rowe said...

On your second post, I agree 100%. To them religion was all about promoting morality not getting "doctrine" (like the Trinity) right. If the ends are achieved (as Franklin put it) the means don't matter.