Thursday, August 9, 2012

The founding fathers

I heard this report last night on the radio, and was seething. I wondered, is David Barton willfully dishonest, or deluded?

Journalists reported that:
"We looked up every citation Barton said was from the Bible, but not one of them checked out. Moreover, the Constitution as written in 1787 has no mention of God or religion except to prohibit a religious test for office."
Later, Barton claims the founding fathers opposed evolution. But, again, as the journalist points out:
"Of course, that was years before Charles Darwin was born."
I thought about what could be said to help him realize that his claims are completely unfounded. Or to help his followers realize that this guy is just making things up.
But then, I realized I was getting distracted, which is perhaps what he's looking for. Barton's argument is that the US was founded by fundamentally religious people like him, and so we should reject science, reject inclusivity, and adhere to his version of fundamental version of Christianity.

He gets folks riled up, arguing about what the 200+ year old personal beliefs of the men writing the Constitution were.

But I wonder if it matters. We have a constitution, our bill of rights, and all the amendments that have been made to it. We continue to make amendments. The individuals who founded our country did so in such a way that we, as a people, can elect representatives and, as needed, amend the original document.

So, is it worth my time arguing with a brick wall about whether Thomas Jefferson was a "civil rights visionary"? No. Because I should be concerned about civil rights now, regardless of whether the founding fathers were visionaries about it or not.  Just to add, there's absolutely no evidence that T.J. was anything near what we might consider a civil rights visionary, but that's okay. We need to learn from our history, and continue moving forward.

It isn't worth my time to point out to a rock that there's no way there could have been a debate about evolution, when it hadn't yet been proposed. Instead I'll work towards increasing standards for science education, based off of research, as well as promoting more hands-on science experience.

It isn't worth my time to sigh into my hands that the very first clause of the first change to the Constitution prohibits the government from establishing a state religion or legislating anyone's personal decisions regarding religion:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"
Instead, I will focus on how wonderful it is to live in a country where I am not forced into a particular religious view (usually), and know that this is the direction I want my country to continue in.

As such, I will exercise my right to vote, my ability to be informed, and my freedom to speak about the things that matter now, rather than waste my breath (okay, maybe just a few breaths) over someone who is either dishonest, deranged, or both.

No comments: