By Sandhya Bathija
Last week, the former Alaskan governor appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” to correct the “nonsense” she was hearing over the National Day of Prayer.
Palin slammed Judge Barbara Crabb for her decision ruling the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional, claiming the opinion is “inconsistent with the national motto” and stems from a “worldview that involves some people being afraid to discuss our foundation and being afraid to discuss God in the public sphere.”
Palin wanted to set the record straight, stating that the Founding Fathers based our country on Judeo-Christian beliefs.
“I think we should keep this clean, keep it simple,” she told Bill O’Reilly. “Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant. They’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments. It’s pretty simple.” (O’Reilly, for his part, calls legal challenges to the National Day of Prayer “dumb” – brilliant legal analysis there, Bill!)
When O’Reilly asked her what she would say to Americans who come from other faith traditions, she said:
“I’d say ‘Yay, welcome to America, where we are tolerant and you have a freedom to express whatever faith, you can participate peacefully in whatever religion that you choose, that’s what America is all about.’”
But, she added, there must still be respect that Americans base their “laws and values on the God of the Bible and the New Testament.”
These remarks come on the heels of her statements last month asserting that America is a Christian nation.
Palin claims that those who disagree with her, including Judge Crabb and secularists, just want to “re-visit and re-write history.”
Let’s be real. It’s obvious who is doing the revising of history here.
While it may be true that many of the founders were religious, that does not serve as evidence that they based our laws on the New Testament, as Palin audaciously claims.
I’d like to ask Palin exactly where in the Constitution it says our laws are based on the New Testament or the Ten Commandments? Where does that document single out Jesus Christ as the inspiration for government? When did James Madison, the father of the Constitution, say anything even remotely like this?
Palin will search in vain because those references are not in the Constitution or the writings of the Founders. In fact, our founding document contains a First Amendment that guarantees religious freedom for all. The Founding Fathers took great pains to make sure that no one religion was singled out for special treatment and gave us the separation of church and state.
But not surprisingly, even after all this time, Palin has failed to read any of our founding documents – even, apparently, our Constitution, which she claims to know so much about.
I’d also recommend that Palin read Thomas Jefferson’s Jan. 1, 1802, letter to the Danbury Baptists, where he explained very clearly that our laws were not founded on any one faith tradition.
Jefferson wrote, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”
Next time, it would be helpful for Palin consult some history books – not to mention the Constitution – before rambling on like she is some sort of expert on anything. But I won’t hold my breath.