Creationist Wisdom #784: Junior College Teacher

Today’s letter-to-the-editor — it’s actually a column — appears in the Anza Valley Outlook of Fallbrook, California, which calls itself the “Avocado Capital of the World.” It’s titled God referenced five times in the Declaration of Independence, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today’s author is an exception. It’s Harold Pease Ph. D, described as “a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and to applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College.”

Taft College is a public community college located in Taft, California. We searched for Harold’s name in the faculty directory, but for some reason it’s not there. Anyway, we’ll give you a few excerpts from his column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis.

It always amazes me when otherwise intelligent people are unable to find evidence of God in our governing documents.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It always amazes your Curmudgeon when people do find such evidence. As we explained in Is America a “Christian Nation”?:

The “Christian Nation” advocates typically begin their spin by pointing out that the Declaration of Independence says we’re endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. … [E]ven if Jefferson actually were referring to the scriptural deity, which is dubious, the “Christian Nation” advocates fail to grasp the basic point that the Declaration isn’t the law of the United States. It was a statement made for the king, and for the world, announcing that the Americans were declaring their independence, and the reasons why they were doing so.

[…]

The Articles of Confederation — our first constitution — was drafted by another committee of the Continental Congress, and was presented to Congress for approval the same month as the Declaration — July of 1776. … Did the Articles — drafted mostly the same month as the Declaration — create a “Christian Nation”? No. There’s no mention of religion — Christian or otherwise — in the document. Well, there is a vague (probably Deist) phrase in the signature section … .

For contrast, we quoted some of the Colonial Charters, which were drenched in religious language, and with which the Founders were undoubtedly familiar. Nevertheless, neither the Declaration, the Articles, nor the Constitution contain any language even remotely like that which had theretofore been employed in the beginning of such documents. We also pointed out that the Constitution is specifically non-religious, and the Federalist Papers, written to explain the Constitution clause-by-clause, has no scriptural references.

That was a long comment, but it was necessary. Then the junior college teacher says:

The Declaration of Independence, the signing of which we commemorate July 4th, alone has five references to God – two in the first paragraph, one in the middle and two in the last. It begins, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Yes — that’s the Declaration’s first “reference to God.” But it says “nature’s god.” Who’s that — the supernatural, miracle working Yahweh? It doesn’t sound like Yahweh, but the junior college teacher thinks otherwise. He tells us:

Who is responsible for “the laws of nature” but God – certainly not man nor nature itself? From the “laws of nature” sprang an awareness of natural law, sometimes called common sense, understood by early philosophers to be a source of higher law that never changes.

Okay. Somehow the junior college teacher thinks “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” counts as two references to God. He continues:

The third reference to God is the word “creator” found in the second paragraph. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” …

Whoopee — that’s three! Let’s read on:

The fourth and fifth references to God in the Declaration of Independence are found in the last paragraph. The rightness of our cause was left to God as judge. Here is stated, “We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in general congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown…”

That’s four. Here’s the last one:

The fifth and last reference to God asks for his divine protection in our revolutionary course of action, “and for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Verily, the Declaration is steeped in supernatural references. It’s an abominable mystery how Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, also wrote The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and produced the Jefferson Bible. Anyway, now we come to the end of the junior college teacher’s column:

There was no dissent noted with respect to these references to God and their placement or emphasis in this document by any of the participants then, nor should there be now. The signers of the Declaration of Independence clearly viewed God as justifying revolution from existing government in the protection of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” rights he had endowed upon man.

Amazing, isn’t it, that the same people who approved the Declaration also wrote the virtually godless Articles of Confederation. And somehow, less than a dozen years later, the Founders wrote the totally godless Constitution. Perhaps you can explain it, dear reader.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #784: Junior College Teacher

  1. BTW, the concept of natural law that never changes is a Deist concept. God does not interfere in the orderly universe that he set up, for example by miracles or revelation. Like a clockmaker who makes a clock and winds it up and lets it run.

  2. It’s amazing that someone who “has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers” totally neglects “the virtually godless Articles of Confederation” and “the totally godless Constitution”. Or perhaps not, if we start from the assumption that christians like Peasy Harry wipe their pious asses with their own 9th Commandment.

  3. The declaration of Independence is not one of our governing documents. It has no binding authority over anything in our legal sphere.

  4. Eric Lipps

    Who is responsible for “the laws of nature” but God – certainly not man nor nature itself? From the “laws of nature” sprang an awareness of natural law, sometimes called common sense, understood by early philosophers to be a source of higher law that never changes.

    (1) No one has ever said that either man or nature is “responsible” for natural law; if anything, it’s understood (by non-creationists) to be the other way around.

    (2) “Common sense” tells us the earth is flat and stationary at the center of he universe–which also happens to be what the Bible tells us.

    (3) As for natural law never changing, young-earth creationists tell us that among other things radioactive decay was millions, if not billions, of times faster during Creation Week than it is now, and never mind that if it had been the planet would have melted and all the works that were therein, including every living thing, would have gone up in smoke. Apparently natural law never changes except when fundamentalists need it to do so.

  5. (4) What about the supposed unchanging natural laws such as “Conservation of Information” or “the Second Law of Themodynamics” and “Borel’s Single Law of Chance”? If these are always and everywhere obeyed, even in face of the desires if their Creator, then life has never appeared.

  6. Dave Luckett

    “The concept of natural law that never changes is a Deist concept”. Quite so, but it need not imply a completely non-interventionist God. God is timeless, (not merely eternal) and omniscient and omnipotent. He sees all time, space, matter and energy as one single gestalt, which he created by his will in full knowledge of the whole. Every act, every event, is part of that gestalt and of that knowledge. Therefore, God need not intervene in it. In a sense, he already has, except that expression is inadequate for a Being that need not operate in time at all.

    You can object that this is pure Omphalos. Why, yes. Yes it is.

  7. The 18th century Deists did speak of Divine Providence. They were more interested in lack of Divine intervention in the form of speaking to us in Scripture.

  8. Pease:

    “The signers of the Declaration of Independence clearly viewed God as justifying revolution from existing government in the protection of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ rights he had endowed upon man.”

    Well, if they did view “God” in such manner, it was certainly not the New Testament God, and they certainly were not New Testament Christians.

    If they were NT Christians, they never would have rebelled, they never would have declared Independence and they never would have established their own nation.

    The Apostle Paul made it quite clear in chapter 13 of his Epistle to the Romans. (Recall that Rome was political and governmental center of the Roman Empire, then near its peak).

    “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. . . . . Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

    (NIV)

    Further, please show me in the Christian Bible, Old or New Testament, where “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, or any rights at all, were ever endowed by God upon man.

    Finally, as SC has noted, the Christian clergy at the time were still pretty much staunchly devoted to the notion of the Divine Right of Kings. The Christian authorities were not on board for the American Revolution.

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