Monday, January 16, 2006
Within the Mantle of its Protection
Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher recently came out for intelligent design, saying in his State of the Commonwealth speech that, "Our founding fathers recognized that we were endowed with this right by our creator. So I ask, what is wrong with teaching 'intelligent design' in our schools?"
Red State Rabble readers will be aware -- even if the highest elected official in Kentucky is not -- that the words cited by the governor are from the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776:
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. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...The signers of the Declaration may have said that all men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights --but notice that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted by men, deriving their powers, not from God, but from the consent of the governed.
Of course, the Founding Fathers are responsible not only for our declaration of independence from England and the King, but for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well. The U.S. Constitution aka "The laws of the land" derive their powers not from God, but from, "We the People... "
It is interesting that Gov. Fletcher cites the words of Thomas Jefferson, a deist who rejected the the superstitious mysticism of Christianity. Right-wing fundamentalists often proclaim, these days, that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Jefferson, of course had different ideas. In his autobiography, Jefferson wrote, in reference to the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, which he authored:
Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.But, you probably won't hear the good Gov. citing that passage anytime soon -- unless, of course, he undergoes a Damascus Road Conversion like Rick Santorum did following the Dover decision.