Posts tagged ‘Thomas Jefferson’

October 30, 2010

A New Low for Adams and Jefferson…

by michaelrdrane

“Children writhing on a pike!”

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October 21, 2010

Quote of the Week

by Vince

In a letter to a friend in 1816, Thomas Jefferson mocked “men [who] look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched”; “who ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.” “Let us follow no such examples, nor weakly believe that one generation is not as capable as another of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs,” he concluded. “Each generation is as independent as the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before.”

This quote came from a Newsweek piece detailing the continued Constitution worship by the Tea Party.

September 26, 2010

Constitution Worship: History into Scripture, Men into Deities

by Vince

I see this in Glenn Beck. I hear it from people who don’t fully even understand the document (myself included in my lack of comprehension but not with its worship). But it is real. And the below picture captures my thoughts to a T.

Lexington at the Economist describes this semi-religious practice:

The Declaration of Independence and the constitution have been venerated for two centuries. But thanks to the tea-party movement they are enjoying a dramatic revival. The day after this September’s constitution-day anniversary, people all over the country congregated to read every word together aloud, a “profoundly moving exercise that will take less than one hour”, according to the gatherings’ organisers. At almost any tea-party meeting you can expect to see some patriot brandishing a copy of the hallowed texts and calling, with trembling voice, for a prodigal America to redeem itself by returning to its “founding principles”. The Washington Post reports that Colonial Williamsburg has been crowded with tea-partiers, asking the actors who play George Washington and his fellow founders for advice on how to cast off a tyrannical government.

Sure, we all see bits and pieces of that in the videos we see (which indeed in part are bias), the stories we hear, and in the political arena in our midsts. The contemporary “Leviathan”, known as the big large monster of America’s overarching government, is in the Tea Party’s cross hairs. Lexington notes the paradox amongst the Tea Party, which whether you align yourself with them or not, can be fuel for secession:

But many of the tea-partiers have invented a strangely ahistorical version of it. For example, they say that the framers’ aim was to check the central government and protect the rights of the states. In fact the constitution of 1787 set out to do the opposite: to bolster the centre and weaken the power the states had briefly enjoyed under the new republic’s Articles of Confederation of 1777.

American Exceptionalism lives on the notion that our founders were 1) all Christians (which has been debunked) and 2) were almost above the normal man 3) set on a special mission by God and 4) were some of the most exceptional men on this earth, meant to establish a very exceptional country. You can see this in Sarah Palin’s rhetoric, in pockets of the TP, and in many churches. I don’t intend this at all to brand the TP as all American exceptionalists, but the very philosophy is AE is dangerous, arrogant, and at best not fully aligned with truth and history.

The framers were giants, visionaries and polymaths. But they were also aristocrats, creatures of their time fearful of what they considered the excessive democracy taking hold in the states in the 1780s. They did not believe that poor men, or any women, let alone slaves, should have the vote. Many of their decisions, such as giving every state two senators regardless of population, were the product not of Olympian sagacity but of grubby power-struggles and compromises—exactly the sort of backroom dealmaking, in fact, in which today’s Congress excels and which is now so much out of favour with the tea-partiers.

Hard core followers of the right loath Thomas Jefferson – see the Texas school board. We have to remember the founders were humans, made by a perfect G-D but drifted towards an imperfect existence. The same goes for the disciples of Christ. I see humans first in their original good nature but unfortunately later tainted by our decisions.

As for the constitution worshipers, this goes past the document written in the 18th century to the one written in the Middle Ages. AE is born out of a view that G-D providentially ordained our founders to form a Christian nation. As much as that may be common thought when one sees the brandishing of the 10 Commandments (law) above court houses and “Under God” in our schools pledges, such a notion is, again, poppycock at best and dangerous towards our nation and our worldwide neighbors in its worst moments.

September 15, 2010

A Short Question

by Vince

From a reader at the Daily Dish:

In a country founded by Washington, Adams, Paine, Hale, and Jefferson, how can we have reached a point where it has become a slur to call someone an “anti-colonialist”?

I wonder sometimes if these Christianist Tea baggers even know how their boy, Thomas Jefferson, saw Jesus, the Bible, and treated slaves. The irony builds..

September 8, 2010

Do Not Attempt to “Run the World”

by Vince

Nick Gillespie from ReasonTV interviewed an ecumenical crew of Honor Rally attenders.

The attenders t-shirts and posters/banners were priceless. The inarticulateness of the attenders (and most Tea Partiers) grievances and complaints continues to be legion, unfortunately. Emotion alone cannot forge a revolution without a legitimate plan.

In the end, everyone will have their say as to what religious standing the founding fathers stood on. Some say that they all were Christians and founded this country strictly under Judeo-Christian ideals while others may say they ranged from deists (Thomas Jefferson – see his view of the Gospels) to devout Christians.

Cropped version of Thomas Jefferson, painted b...

Image via Wikipedia

This directs us into religion in the public square. If our founding fathers were such staunch Christians, then we should we able to pray anywhere we want or put crosses on soldiers graves (regardless if they are Christians or not). Opposite of that, if all of the founders were not Bible thumpers, if they founded our country on religious freedom explicitly to not be a Christian nation, then we may need to send this in a different (non-Christianist) direction. Two quotes sum up my thoughts on this.

In some ways, they are proto-libertarian: they want the government to spend less money and they seemed wary of interventions into basic economic exchange (nobody seemed to dig ObamaCare or the auto bailouts or the bank bailouts). But they also want the government to be super-effective in securing the borders, they worry about an undocumented fall in morals, and they are emphatic that genuine religiosity should be a feature of the public square. Which is to say, like most American voters, they may well want from government precisely the things that it really can’t deliver, says Nick Gillepsie in regards to the Honor Rally.

We are in a fallen world that dominates government and culture in ways that are not of our Father. It is not a Christian community’s repsonbility to govern a world that we do not belong to; fight in wars that are in direct opposition to Jesus’ peaceful, nonviolent approach; or reign over a government we are not part of.
For Jesus and his followers, the central question was, How do we live faithfully to God? The central question was not How do we run the world as Christians? How do I run this profit-driven corporation as a Christian? How can we make culture more Christian? How would a responsible Christian run this war? But Jesus taught that his followers – or even the Son of God! – should not attempt to “run the world”. [p.167 Jesus for President, p.89 Love is an Orientation].

July 4, 2010

Revolution within the Constitution

by Vince

Morgan Meis discusses part of the Constitution detailing the abolishing of a destructive government by the people. This could be what the Tea Party thinks of:

In essence, it argues that the American people have a right to make up a new form of government, of whatever sort they like, any time the old forms of government seem like they aren’t working. Needless to say, this is an incredibly bold and incredibly dangerous proposition to put forth. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the document, was — along with his colleagues — perfectly aware that he was opening a massive can of worms with this principle of revolution and self-rule.

That’s why the next sentence in the Declaration comes right in to qualify the situation, to dampen down the radical impact of these thoughts. Jefferson writes, “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” We have a right to abolish any government and to establish a new one under any principles we fancy, but it is a right that only a fool would actually exercise.