Feb. 28 Towery column
Whence cometh the U.S. Constitution?
DeLay says God wrote our constitution. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay made the news again last week when he announced that God wrote the U.S. Constitution.
James Madison, the lead author of the United States Constitution, and later the fourth president of the United States could not be reached for comment. (Records show Madison died in 1836.)
DeLay was voicing his concern that the American government is becoming secular, and leaving its spiritual roots. In the interview Delay said, “we stopped realizing that God created this nation, that he wrote the Constitution, that it’s based on biblical principles.”
To rise to the occasion DeLay’s supporters tell us that DeLay meant that God guided those who physically wrote the Constitution. DeLay was speaking metaphorically.
This is politics for the 21st century? Apparently it is as America’s ultra-right wing of the Christian religion continues to insist that the United States began as a Christian nation. The only way for America to become great again is in a religious awakening. Their thinking is in a Christian revival, not in connection with other faiths. The Christian faith alone is included in the phrase, “freedom of religion.”
Tom DeLay, who was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy charges until the Texas appeals court overturned the judgment, continues in the interview that he has been trying to lead members of the House to Bible study. He assured Matthew Hagee, son of John, pastor of the San Antonio Cornerstone Church that Americans “stopped realizing that God created this nation, that he wrote the Constitution.”
This sounds a lot like the revelations in Jeff Sharlet’s 2008 book “The Family” that was about the frat house for Jesus on C Street in Washington, D.C. The congressmen, lobbyist and Republican and Democratic supporters lived in an eighteenth-century brick row house on C Street. Bible study and prayer meetings (in their view) would restore fundamentalist faith to America’s political agenda.
C Street was the old political power grab with an evangelistic approach. The homosexual problems in Uganda today grew from these men’s opposition to anything related to gay rights. Congressmen even went to Uganda urging the government to make anything gay illegal.
Religions of the world generally have good relationships with one another until one of them claims to worship the one and only true God. The trouble is between monotheists. Monotheists believe in one God. The greatest of these are the Christians, the Jews, and the Muslims.
These three, following the ancient texts, each claims to have a lock on God. Living by the letter of their own religious texts, puts them at odds with each other and other religions.
That is why a fanatic Muslim becomes a human bomb, refuses to eat pork and abstains from alcoholic drinks, goes to his heaven in the process. Not every Muslim, just the fanatic taking his book literally.
Throughout the Jewish scriptures are rules for fasting, warring, loving, cooking, and activities to be done or avoided on the Sabbath. They too, like their Arab brothers, have a dislike for pork products. (But Hebrew Nation makes a wonderful all beef weenie.)
A full embrace of scripture is simply to believe it, act on it, make it as a means of pleasing God. That is why we have fundamentalist, conservative and liberal religious believers. Each in his or her own way is seeking to grow closer to God and Truth through their own understanding and faith.
As time evolved religious man or woman sought to be more religious than their neighbors. As religions developed, divided and grew more common, humans felt their god was much better than the god across the pasture.
So what is so different today when a politician or a preacher says his god is the true God, sewing discontent. They were not there when God, after writing the Ten Commandments, wrote us a constitution.
What does it mean? Simple answer: No one knows. I was not there “In the beginning…”