It was starting out to be a relatively news-free weekend, but then the blaring sirens and flashing lights of the Drool-o-tron™ alerted us to this one. The blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND) — the flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed. As you know, WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo displayed above this post.
Our computer was locked onto this article: Separation of church and state was never intended. The author is Bill Federer, a frequent writer for WND. He’s been posting a series of articles about American history in which he picks out some issue or event, then quotes a President’s public mention of the Creator, or perhaps he describes a general’s visit to church which coincided with a victory, attempting to give the impression that everything good that has ever happened in American history was due to divine activity resulting from answered prayers.
In today’s article, Federer is applying his same method of historical analysis to the relationship of church and state. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis. It starts with this:
“O Beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain …”
Almost chosen as the national anthem in 1926, “America the Beautiful” was written by Katherine Lee Bates, born Aug. 12, 1859. Daughter of a Congregational minister, Katherine Lee Bates taught high school, then English literature at Wellesley College.
We used to sing that song in school. We sang Christmas carols too. So what? For some reason, Federer thinks it’s important. He tells us:
“America, the Beautiful” was quoted by President Lyndon Johnson in his first formal address before a joint session of Congress … .
“America. the Beautiful” was referred to by President Ronald Reagan in meeting South Korean President Chun Doo Hwan, Nov. 14, 1983 … .
Katharine Lee Bates’ poem was printed in The Congregationalist for Independence Day, July 4, 1895 … .
That’s nice, but again we ask: So what? Federer explains:
America’s founders did not intend for there to be a separation of God and state, as shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledged God in their state constitutions … .
He then gives little quotes from the preamble all the state constitutions, and that takes up most of his post. For example, he gives us this one from Florida, and the ellipses are in his quote:
Florida 1885, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty … establish this Constitution …
We looked at the current Florida Constitution. The preamble says:
We, the people of the State of Florida, being grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty, in order to secure its benefits, perfect our government, insure domestic tranquility, maintain public order, and guarantee equal civil and political rights to all, do ordain and establish this constitution.
However, the preamble isn’t the law. In ARTICLE I: DECLARATION OF RIGHTS, it also says:
SECTION 3. Religious freedom. There shall be no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting or penalizing the free exercise thereof. Religious freedom shall not justify practices inconsistent with public morals, peace or safety. No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.
For some reason, Federer doesn’t mention that, or similar provisions in the other state constitutions. We didn’t bother to check them all, but we did look at the Constitution of Utah, because considering its history, that state would be the likeliest to have theocratic leanings. Yes, it has the flowery preamble language that Federer quoted, but in Article I, the Declaration of Rights, they have a provision like that in Florida. It says:
Sec. 4. [Religious liberty.] The rights of conscience shall never be infringed. The State shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust or for any vote at any election; nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror on account of religious belief or the absence thereof. There shall be no union of Church and State, nor shall any church dominate the State or interfere with its functions. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment. No property qualification shall be required of any person to vote, or hold office, except as provided in this Constitution.
We strongly suspect it’s the same with all the other states. Nevertheless, Federer concludes his brilliant post with this:
After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control federal courts are wrong.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Federer’s silly article has already attracted over 70 comments from WND’s drooling readers. We glanced at a few of them. [*Curmudgeon shudders*] We hate to disappoint Federer and his fans, but there is absolutely no question — the US wasn’t founded as a theocracy. We’ve discussed all that before — see Is America a “Christian Nation”?
Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.