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Friday, September 14, 2012

Just One More Finger

Douglas Wilson: Just One More Finger
David Lampo tries to convince us that conservatives, Republicans, and libertarians should rally around in support of gay rights. Unfortunately, in order to make this case, he does not advance a new argument, but rather doubles down on an old confusion about the "wall of separation" between church and state. So this is not the next step in our upward evolutionary development, but is rather the point where a leper has one more finger fall off.
I agree with Lampo that, for the most part, the Founders left religious language out of the Constitution (excepting the signing "in the year of our Lord," referring to Jesus). So they left Jesus out of it, except where they didn't, and the standard reaction to this observation shows what would have happened if the Apostles Creed had been written into the Preamble. We would then be told that they "had to say things like that back then," and besides "nobody meant it." The secularists argue from that mythical wall of separation, erected in Thomas Jefferson's personal correspondence [*], but their ingenuity would be fully capable of working around established state churches, and a monarch who is a "Defender of the Faith."

Where we differ is why the Founders did this and, regardless of motive, whether it was wise or prudent to do so. When the Constitution was ratified, 9 of the 13 states were explicit Christian republics. Establishing a Church of the United States was problematic when the varying states had established varying denominations as their state churches. At the time, it was a federalism thing, not a secularism thing. But I have written on this enough elsewhere (e.g. here).
[*] And, keep in mind, Jefferson not only had nothing to do with the drafting of the US Constitution, for he was in Paris at the time, but he actively opposed it as it was being drafted, and actively worked against its ratification afterward.

Moreover, being the despicable weasel that he was, after Ratification and the election of Washington as first President under the Constitution, and Washington's appointment of Jefferson as first Secretary of State, Jefferson worked behind the scenes (*) to twart Washington's policies and to discredit Washington himself.

It is Jefferson who set the course the Department of State has followed ever since -- either to work against the policies of the current President or to work against the long-term interests of the United States.

(*) Jefferson knew he could not attack Washington directly, for all the nation loved him; to directly attack him would have been political suicide.