Friday, February 26, 2010

Three Misuses of the American Founding & Religion For Political Purposes:

The culprits are Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, Dan Kennedy, assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University, and David Limbaugh, writer, author, attorney, and brother of Rush.

First, at CPAC, Pawlenty declared:

"... God is in charge ... In the Declaration of Independence it says we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights. It doesn't say we're endowed by Washington, DC, or endowed by the bureaucrats or endowed by state government. It's by our creator that we are given these rights."


Pawlenty misused because he is a conservative evangelical Christian and the God of the Declaration of Independence is arguably not that of evangelicals and doesn’t vindicate their ideal vision for society. That document doesn't mention Jesus Christ or quote verses and chapters of scripture. Its call to revolution is arguably in tension with Romans 13. And it's not clear that other central principles enunciated in the Declaration have anything to do with the Bible.

Further, this speech was given at CPAC. God is not a member of CPAC or the conservative movement. Apparently, Pawlenty doesn't realize God is a libertarian. :)

Next we have Dan Kennedy's article on Pawlenty speech featured in the British newspaper The Guardian.

After making a number of good points, Kennedy finishes his article by quoting James Madison and writes:

"While we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess, and to observe, the religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to them whose minds have not yielded to the evidence which has convinced us," wrote James Madison.

In contrast to Madison, the Republicans propose a theocracy of believers. It is an assault not just on anyone who isn't one of them, but on the American idea, and on liberal democracies everywhere.


Kennedy's misuse is characterized by the phrase "overstating your case" or "hyperbole."

Finally, Limbaugh's misuse:

Kennedy responds that Pawlenty misrepresented the founders' "intent" because Jefferson, the "primary author" of the Declaration, deleted all references to Jesus' deity from his personal Bible.

Jefferson's Christianity may be subject to debate, but it is clear that he didn't view himself as expressing his own views in the Declaration; rather, "it was intended to be an expression of the American mind." (The American mind, it should be noted, was decidedly Christian.) Plus, a congressional committee led by the devout John Adams made more than 80 changes, deleting nearly 500 words and adding two references to a providential God. The Declaration was a corporate statement of Congress. Also, Jefferson was not present at the Constitutional Convention. So Kennedy's reference to Jefferson is at best misleading, as is his convenient omission of many other relevant facts – including that 52 of the 56 signers of the Declaration and 50 to 52 of the 55 signers of the Constitution were orthodox Trinitarian Christians.


First, Jefferson may well have believed the DOI an "expression of the American mind." But nothing suggests Jefferson believed in an "expression" that at all contradicted his personal political theological convictions. Jefferson -- that unitarian rationalist he -- thought such an "expression of the American mind" entirely compatible with his personal theology that rejected every single tenet of Christian orthodoxy, the infallibility of the Bible, eternal damnation, etc.

Jefferson so embraced the final version of the DOI that he lists his authorship of it as one of his three proudest accomplishments on his tombstone.

Second, Limbaugh falsely contrasts John Adams' "devout" nature with Jefferson's. In reality, the two possessed the same unitarian rationalistic creed that rejected orthodox Christian doctrine, the infallibility of the Bible, eternal damnation, etc.

Finally, Limbaugh passes phony statistics about the "orthodox" nature of the signers of the Declaration and signers [sic] of the Constitution.

The notion that 50-52 of the men who attended to Constitution Convention (only 39 singed!) were "orthodox Christians" is bunk. A scholar -- the late ME Bradford -- asserted this and he based it entirely on some kind of formal or nominal connection to a Christian Church that professed "orthodoxy."

The three of Bradford's "Deists" -- Ben Franklin, James Wilson, and Hugh Williamson -- likewise possessed the same formal/nominal connections to Christian churches with an orthodox creed. As did Jefferson, and J. Adams (who weren't at the CC). And Washington, Hamilton, G. Morris, James Madison and a plethora of other Founders who are not provably "orthodox Trinitarian Christians." (Hamilton, in fact had NO connection to a Church that professed orthodoxy during the Framing of the Constitution.)

The 52 of the 56 figure that relates to the Declaration of Independence results (likely) from a mistake some activist made, confusing Bradford's "52 out of 55," that was meant to discuss the US Constitution, with the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The truth is, we know a handful of very important Founders (Jefferson, J. Adams, Franklin,) explicitly rejected orthodox Christian doctrines, a handful of important Founders (Washington, Madison, G. Morris, Wilson, Hamilton before the end of his life) were, after meticulous study, not provably orthodox Christians during the time in which they founded America; they went out of their way not to give rope to hang their good reputations with (which leads me to believe they were close to the heterodox rationalist camp than the orthodox camp). And a handful of second tier Founders (Jay, Henry, Witherspoon, Boudinot, Sherman) were provably orthodox Christians (but even they flirted with heterodoxy and rejected Sola Scriptura). There were a number of important second tier Founders like Paine, Allen and Palmer who were strict Deists.

And with the great many of other lesser Founders, we just don't know enough to be certain. Proving they had some kind of connection to an orthodox Church -- as Bradford did to prove the Founders' "orthodoxy" -- shows nothing more than they could have been as orthodox as Patrick Henry or heterodox as Thomas Jefferson.

21 comments:

Kari said...

Some of you who doubt the christianity of our forefathers should actually read some historical documents with quotes by them, nearly all of them not only believed in but worshipped Jehovah God and were Christians who definetely believed in Jesus Christ! I am so tired of everyone trying to change history and say that our forefathers really weren't Christians. IT IS IN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS...READ IT!!! Stop living in denial and read for yourself. Why do you think there were so many references to God and the 10 commandments made by these men. Did Christians falsify things to our advantage? I think not. Our nation used to be a Christian nation, that was the only way that a small group of colonists was able to win their independence from England who was a SUPERPOWER!! These men prayed daily for God to be with them during this endeavor and he was because they worshipped him and believed in his word...our whole nation did.
It is a shame that as Americans our true history is being removed from history books and warped and twisted by heathens who do not believe in God or His divine words. It should be a requirement that all judges(especially supreme court), lawyers and politicians read all of our historical documents that set precendence in the forming of the laws of our once great country and be forced to follow them.
People like you sicken me for you are warping history to suit yourself!

Jonathan Rowe said...

Kari,

Are you for real?

Jonathan Rowe said...

"IT IS IN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS...READ IT!!!"

Show me where "IT" is in the US Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Federalist Papers. I'll give you a hint: You may be able to find some more general God words there, but you don't see "Jehovah" or "Jesus Christ."

Brad Hart said...

Sorry, Kari but it is you who needs the history lesson...DESPERATELY.

Mikewind Dale said...

I think I'm missing something, and maybe someone can help fill me in.

The whole discussion of whether America's founders were Christians or not, seems like a red herring.

First, as Tocqueville and others assert, America in general was quite Christian in nature. Even if the founders themselves were not always Christian, the populace of America at large certainly was, if we can trust Tocqueville.

Second, the entire history of social contract and federalism is a thoroughly Christian one. The ideas we associate with Locke, were invented not by Locke, but by men like the Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos and George Buchanan and John Milton and Johannes Althusius, all Reformed Christians, and they all built their political theories firmly upon their theology (politics was still a branch of theology at that time). So the political theories that undergird America are all thoroughly Christian ones.

And as such, even those Americas who not orthodox Christians in theology, were often still orthodox Christians in politics and morality. Jefferson, for example, was theologically not a Christian, but he still held by Biblical morality and social values and Reformed Christian political philosophy.

According to the Protestant doctrine of the two kingdoms, the task of the civil government was enforce those aspects of the Bible that affected public morality and society, but not those aspects of the Bible that were purely theological or "religious", for those aspects were to be left to the church. Eventually, the Bapists applied this more strictly and starkly than the Congregationalists did, and the result was that the civil government, even from a thoroughly religious perspective, was only to protect life, liberty, and property, according to a Biblical conception of what "life, liberty, and property" meant. Even Jefferson held by this Baptist conception. If God has two kingdoms, the state and the church, then Jefferson may not have been in the good graces of the church, but he was still orthodox according to the state-aspect of the two kingdoms. So in terms of his politics and morality, Jefferson was an Orthodox Christian, even if theologically he was a non-believer.

So in short, the whole debate about whether the founders were Christians, seems misplaced. Most Americans were Christians, and even those who were not Christians theologically, were usually Christians in their social values and political philosophy. And given that our entire discussion is not on whether one will go to heaven or belong to the church, but only how to form the government, it turns out that one's social values and political philosophy are all that we are concerned with! So exactly where it counts, in morality and politics, Jefferson was a Christian! He was not a Christian theologically, but that is irrelevant!

Other than the issue of abortion, where a Christian will usually feel that an embryo is a human being whose murder is prohibited - I cannot think of any place where a Christian ought to differ with a libertarian. Libertarianism is built on the Reformed Christian concepts of social contract and federalism, and so in terms of political philosophy, Christians and libertarians ought to be in complete accord, except regarding abortion, and even there, some secular libertarians might agree that abortion is murder.

Other than that, Christians and libertarians ought to want exactly the same things, for in terms of politics, libertarians are Christians, even if theologically they are not.

So what is the whole debate about? I feel like I'm missing something.

As an aside, I will note that as an Orthodox Jew, happen to hold by basically the same political opinions as Reformed Christians and atheistic libertarians. My lack of belief in Jesus does nothing to separate me from the Reformed Christians on politics, and my belief in God and the Sinaitic nature of the Torah does nothing to separate me from atheistic libertarians on politics.

Mikewind Dale said...

Check Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance", Jefferson's law for freedom of religion, and Locke's "Letter on Toleration." They may all tend more in the direction of Roger Williams than John Cotton, but their arguments are all thoroughly Christian ones, and the substance of their arguments builds on the two-kingdoms doctrine of Calvin and Luther, only applied more strictly and starkly.

And even where the Baptists disagreed with the Congregationalists, it was mostly because the Baptists were so driven by a belief in Original Sin, that they, more than the Congregationalists, believed that any human authority over the church would lead to hypocrisy and corruption. In other words, they were hyper-Protestants, and held by the Protestantism of Protestantism, the dissidence of dissent, and did not want there to be even a Protestant pope.

So whereas the Congregationalists wanted to enforce theological or "religious" aspects of Christianity wherever they thought a public value was at stake - such as by enforcing the teaching of Christianity in public school, or punishing public, outward violation of the Sabbath, believing that in these cases, the "religious" aspect of religion was close enough to being "secular" and public and related to the second table of the Ten Commandments to be within the purview of the civil government - by contrast, the Baptists drew the line more sharply, and wanted there to be an absolute wall of separation between the two tables of the Ten Commandments.

But like I said, the Baptists' arguments were thoroughly Christian ones, and made them perhaps even more Protestant than the Congregationalists, even more loyal to the thrust of what Calvin and Luther wanted. Jefferson, Madison, and Locke's opinions on this matter were basically Baptist, making them politically Christians even if not theologically Christians.

Jonathan Rowe said...

MD:

I just noticed this last night. I'm going to sit on this and answer in due time.

I've got an idea which I'll later tell you about where we may be able to play this up.

Currently I'm moving to a bigger group blog and that's got my attention. But this may be the focus of my attention there.

Jack Pelham said...

How can anyone possibly agree on whether the Founders were "Christians" when we cannot agree on the definition of "Christian", "Christianity", or "Orthodox Christian"? Do we not argue amongst ourselves even today as to who is a "real" Christian and who is not?

For most, these definitions come with a fair amount of hand waving...where we do not expect anyone to inquire as to the EXACT definition of terms. And so with this debate; it seems that many expect to have others embrace their conclusions without any examination of the particulars. The "proofs" that the Founders either were or were not "Christians" (however the term ought to be defined), therefore, are often dubious.
And if THIS math is "fuzzy", it gets even worse once we put the term "Christian Nation" on the table.

I won't purport to argue any of these particulars; that's not my point. Rather, I suggest that we take a step back and remember the importance of defining terms. And if a particular term proves to be undefinable, then we ought not use it in a debate.

Jack Pelham

Jack Pelham said...

I will say further that the debate on whether the Founders were "Christians" seems largely reactionary on the part of certain believers who are on the defensive, feeling that their religion is being stolen from them at the hands of an ever-more-secular society. They argue that "we" were founded as a "Christian nation", and they seek to influence "us" to return to those "roots".
The sad irony, however, is that too many of these activists fail to understand the real import of these matters. They blame the decline of our society on things like "taking prayer out of schools" or upon the legalization of abortion, and they argue that if these things were reversed, God would "once again bless this nation". So they call upon the government to legalize or to prohibit this or that, effectively MANDATING what they believe is the preferred, "Christian" behavior. What they miss, however, is the obvious fact that they, in spite of all their churchly efforts, are failing to persuade individuals to adopt these tenets voluntarily. And having failed that, they now ask the government to MAKE people behave like "Christians".

And further irony lies in the fact that so many are so willing to ask government to exceed its lawful powers by mandating such things without the required constitutional amendments. Is this the "Christian" thing to do? Could any of us count the numbers of believers who would "have a cow" should any serious movement to repeal the unconstitutional federal narcotics laws arise?

While I'd say that it's certainly debatable whether we ought to have laws concerning narcotics or abortion (just to name a couple of common moral questions), it's very interesting that so many of the churches are so quick to try to attain by virtue of the law of the land what they are failing to do by way of moral persuasion.

And the result is a rather regrettable line of argumentation about just what great "Christians" were the majority of the Founders. Little can they say, "Hey, let's be a Christian nation because of the demonstrable moral elevation of the churches". So instead, they say, "Hey, let's be a Christian nation because that's what this nation was founded to be."

And if those who oppose them were suddenly to acquiesce, "OK, we're a Christian Nation", whatever would they do? After all, it's a mere matter of verbal assent. So OK, we're a Christian nation....what now?

And what would be the reply?

"Uh....well...uh...."

Would they have us mandate weekly church attendance and the observance of the Lord's Supper? No, for they could still never agree on the exact definition of "Christian".

My point is that they wouldn't know what to do with such a "victory", even if they could capture it. Indeed, what IS there to be done about it?

Again, this is why I think that this particular debate has so little value. Yet sadly, ours is a society that is quite ill equipped to realize it.

Mikewind Dale said...

Jack, very interesting. Thank you.

Incidentally, then, I very much like the AmericanVision organization. As best I can tell from limited and admittedly incomplete and unscientific perusal of their blog, their arguments come down to two types:
(1) Secularism is pernicious and evil for such-and-such a reason, and so for such-and-such a reason, a person ought to be a Christian or oppose those who are not Christians, and
(2) Libertarian practical policy proposals and politics.

There is often overlap, in the form of: secularism is evil because it produces socialist politics, and so we should all be Christian so that we have libertarian politics.

They're good Reformed Christians, and so they are producing exactly what I would expect a good Christian to.

Every time I hear the debate about whether America is a Christian nation, I always read the Evangelical response in light of American Vision-type argumentation, but maybe that's an error on my part, and I should think about what you, Jack, have written. Thanks.

Jack Pelham said...

Mikewind,
Thanks for your kind thoughts.

You mentioned "secularism" in your thoughts about AmericanVision. If I may, I'd like to zero on in this single term without addressing anything at all about AmericanVision.

I looked up secularism to be sure I understood the idea. I found this one-liner at wikipedia: ------Secularism is the concept that government or other entities should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs.------

(Other definitions were similar.)

The reason I bring this up is that I find the term irreparably indefinable inasmuch as no exact and consistent definition of "religion" can be derived.

Can't we make it illegal to drive while intoxicated on other grounds than that we think that Jesus will be unhappy with that behavior?

Sure we can; we can do it to protect life, property, and the orderly course of traffic on our public roads. But under a secularist agenda, all a naysayer would have to do is to claim that such a proposal is inspired by religion. Similarly, the religionist who is in favor of such legislation can argue that the secularists are attacking the bill because they hate God. It's quite senseless...an obfuscation of the real issues.

Frankly, I think that the divisions around such matters are deliberately fanned into flame by some, making them far greater than would exist if all parties concerned took a wholly rational approach. Meanwhile, others exaggerate them out of tradition and ignorance.

The fact of the matter is that it is impossible to separate morality from ethics from religion from law from politics. That the notion to the contrary fares so well in this country is instructive as to our low state of intellectual achievement.

As it is, we are consumed with several such "debates" in which nothing is being settled, and nothing is meant to be settled. The cults of predetermined conclusions are alive and well in America.....as elsewhere.

Now as to AmericanVision, I must confess that I know absolutely nothing about them, so please don't take this post as any indication of an opinion, for I have none.

Jack

Mikewind Dale said...

Thank you, Jack.

As for the original blog post itself, I'm sorry to say, Jonathan, that I am rather critical of it.

Pawlenty's quote was completely correct. Pawlenty said nothing about Jesus or any specific policies, and what little he did say, was completely correct. Pawlenty's quote makes a very modest claim, and I believe he is exactly correct. Now, I know nothing about Pawlenty, and perhaps his other opinions, documented elsewhere, are questionable, such as if he believes that America ought to be a theocracy and enforce specifically Christian behaviors. But even if he believes any such thing, nevertheless, this specific quote of his is very modest, and is beyond any real criticism I can imagine. If a man makes true claim A but you know he also believes false belief B, then please, stick to the subject, viz. A, and keep B out of the discussion.

Kennedy's claim is also a very good one. If I'm not mistaken, that is Madison's "Memorial and Remonstrance" he is quoting, but regardless, his usage and appeal to Madison is very well taken. His only problem is speaking of "the Republicans" instead of saying "some" or "many" Republicans, or especially "neoconservative Republicans," to distinguish from paleoconservative and libertarian Republicans. But his basic point is a good one, and is completely true, with the one minor comment that his brush was too wide. But his basic point was clear and true. I think it is unfair to do nothing but point out his hyperbole, without also noting that nevertheless, he was basically correct. He deserves fair, even-handed treatment.

to be continued

Mikewind Dale said...

continued from above

Finally, your treatment of Jefferson is tendentious. Rushbaugh's claims regarding Jefferson seem completely correct. Your response is that Jefferson didn't intend to contradict his own beliefs, but you're reading too much into it. What Jefferson did in the DOI was write the lowest common denominator. Therefore, you cannot assert that Jefferson was a deist and that the DOI agrees with him and that therefore the DOI is deistic. By that logic, if Jefferson loved tomatoes and onions, and the DOI agrees with him, then the DOI also advertises tomatoes and onions. But that's absurd, because the DOI says nothing about tomatoes and onions. Similarly, I would say, the DOI says nothing about deism, and therefore, you cannot say that since Jefferson was a deist, the DOI must be deistic. Jefferson was many things, both a deist and a (hypothetical) lover of Italian cuisine, but not everything about Jefferson was enshrined in the DOI.

Presumably, Jefferson wrote the DOI in such a way that both he and the pious Christians (who made up the vast majority of its readers) both agreed with it. So if you want to argue that since Jefferson was a deist that therefore the DOI is deistic, then you must argue that because some random Sephardi (Spanish-Portuguese) reader agreed with it (it was, after all the "expression of the American mind") that therefore the DOI is Orthodox Jewish.

In fact, deists largely agreed with Christians on the foundations of rights and morality, because the deistic belief was that God implanted justice at creation and only that He no longer intervenes anymore. But to the deist, He still did originally implant justice, and their conception of justice was basically the same as the Christian one. In fact, according to John Calvin, natural law is nothing but the writing on man's heart by God of what He also wrote in the Bible. So a Reformed Christian could easily say that what he believes God wrote in the Bible - which Jefferson would deny as a deist disbelieving in the Providential giving of the Torah at Sinai and prophecy - is the same as what Jefferson believed God wrote on man's heart at creation. In other words, a Reformed Christian would merely believe that subsequent to God's writing Jeffersonian natural law on man's heart, that God later gave a Bible reiterating what He had already written on man's heart.

And that's if Jefferson was a deist. If he was rather a non-deistic unitarian, then he merely doubted the Trinity, a subject having no bearing whatsoever on rights. No matter how many pieces God can be divided up into, the Bible He gave and the rights he implanted in nature at creation need not be altered. A Jew and a Christian and a deist can all read the Ten Commandments and derive a right to life and property irrespective of how many gods or what kind of god one believes in.

to be continued

Mikewind Dale said...

continued from above

In fact, I - an Orthodox Jew - can quite often completely agree with a Reformed Christian on these matters, because our different theologies have no bearing whatsoever on politics. Our political views just happen to both derive from that narrow slice of theology that Jews and Christians just happen to both agree on. We both disagree on a lot, but none of our disagreements affect politics.

By the way, the Sephardic - i.e. Spanish-Portuguese - Jews of Holland considered the Calvinists to be the most Jewish of all Christians. See pp. 160f. of The History of the Jews of the Netherlands (Littman Library).

There's a contemporary rabbi, Hakham ( = Rabbi) Jose Faur (Fah-oor), a scholar of the pre-Expulsion Jews of Spain (especially Maimonides), and I've seen him cite, numerous times, Reverend Jonathan Mayhew on political matters to buttress his citations from Talmudic literature on politics. Faur usually speaks in general terms of the Jewish tradition, and rarely if ever brings up practical politics, so I cannot be sure, but as best I can tell, he is basically a libertarian, the same as a Reformed Christian.

One of Faur's students, Hakham Aaron Haleva, once wrote the following, speaking about the "slippery slope" of permitting women to read from the megillah (Purim scroll), and what he wrote certainly has a very libertarian ring to it (I have started each paragraph with "-----"):

to be continued

Mikewind Dale said...

continued from above, AND MY LAST COMMENT

-----I fail to comprehend "slippery slope."
-----The Law is what it is, and it is not always the same as what Jews (especially ones who do not first study the Law) imagine it is.
-----If women may read the meghilla, then they may (as R. Ovadia Yosef has pointed out). If they may read the Sefer [Torah], then they may. If they cannot serve as hazzan, then they may not.
-----All of these issues are well defined and precisely known by anyone who reads the Law (and not somebody’s report of the Law).
-----The "slippery slope" idea only has any significance if a "rabbi" has authority to make new law. So then — the thinking goes – if the "rabbi" "allows" women to read the meghilla in public to a mixed minyan, next he may "allow" a woman to pray Musaf (what a crying shame that would be, anyway, no?). What women cannot do is truly well defined, and there is nothing to be afraid of in letting them do what they are allowed to do, which is also very well defined and very well known or knowable.
-----Once again, this "slippery slope" mindset I find to be acutely non-Jewish. Unlike all other religions where the "clergy" have authority, in Judaism the Law has the only authority. The Law is actually the sovereign. A hakham has relevance only insofar as he can guide you to what the Law is.
-----If the very Sanhedrin is moreh [teaches] that X is the Law, and you happen to know that this is hora’ath ta’uth [an erroneous ruling], and really Y is the Law, then you may not listen to them, and you must not follow them. No other nation on Earth ever had such a rule, or such a culture where the People were the true repository of the Law.
-----Imagine! The Tora expicitly tells you NOT to listen to the rabbis in certain cases. I.e., when they are wrong, as you see it (provided you have sufficient knowledge to make the call). Rebel against the authorities — why that sounds like insurrection and blasphemy!
-----Wait — isn’t that just like the Maccabees rebelling against the corrupt kohanim in Jerusalem? Isn’t that something we **celebrate** ? Didn’t God himself even send a sign that He approved, with the oil and all?
-----(or was that just the same corrupt rabbis some 200 years later simply ripping off a pagan Roman holiday? In a time when nobody in Israel or Babylon had anything good to say about Rome("malkhuth harish’a" ["kingdom of evil"]) or its culture.)
-----We should try to preserve this very unique value. It is what makes Am Yisra’el truly a "horizontal society." The only one that ever existed. I do not see that it still exists very much, though. It is also what allows free thinking men to reject the "Jewish Scholars" (our modern day "authorities" — at least for the "Modern Orthodox" types) when they are wrong.
-----In a horizontal society it is not who you know, but only what you know. Good practice and training for "olam shekullo emeth [a world that is wholly truth]."
)

Haleva's Reform Christian-esque libertarianism doesn't seem to have been impaired by his lack of belief in the Trinity. He derived it all from his Orthodox Jewish reading of the Torah.

That said, your criticism of Limbaugh regarding the 50/52/55 is valid and well taken.

End of my comment

Mikewind Dale said...

Jack, I forgot to reply to your point. You said, You mentioned "secularism" in your thoughts about AmericanVision. If I may, I'd like to zero on in this single term without addressing anything at all about AmericanVision. I looked up secularism to be sure I understood the idea. I found this one-liner at wikipedia"....

Sorry. I wasn't clear. What I meant by American Vision's opposing secularism, is opposing personal, individual irreligiosity. So I meant that American Vision does two things:
(1) Promote personal, individual religion, and
(2) Promote libertarianism in the public sphere.

Jonathan Rowe said...

American Vision has theocratic tendencies.

Mikewind Dale said...

Do they? Like I said, I've hardly read everything from them, but as far as I can recall, everything they said was basically libertarian. They had one article advocating excommunication of someone who suggested greater government oversight into home-schooling, and they've had a few articles that basically put Austrian economics and the Biblical prohibition of theft into a blender and offered the result as Christian economics.

Jack Pelham said...

Thanks for the clarification, Mikewind.
Jack

Jonathan Rowe said...

I think they followed Gary North who writes for lewrockwell on economics. They agree with Rothbard. But once the state is destroyed, they want to reconstruct it with theocratic law that stones to death adulterers, homosexuals, recalcitrant children, etc.

Walter Olson wrote a classic article on this how the libertarian movement gets associated with the theocrats.

http://reason.com/archives/1998/11/01/invitation-to-a-stoning

Mikewind Dale said...

I'll read that article; thanks.