Sarah Palin Lectures Fox News Viewers: Our Constitution Creates Law Based On The God Of The Bible And The Ten Commandments
Reported by Ellen - May 7, 2010 -
In honor of the National Day of Prayer, Bill O’Reilly brought on Sarah Palin to explain why she believes America is a Christian nation. You can say a lot of things about Bill O’Reilly but one thing you can’t say is that he’s stupid. He’s a very intelligent man and he’s a former history teacher. Sure, he gets a historical fact wrong now and then but I’ll bet dollars to donuts, as my mother used to say, that he knows his U.S. Constitution. So when Sarah Palin started lecturing viewers that she based her belief on the words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, it was pretty clear that O’Reilly knew what Palin did not: that the Constitution does not mention God, Creator or Christianity. But O'Reilly helped cover up her ignorance. Palin also had words of encouragement for Asian-Americans and others who may not be Christians: “Yay! Welcome to America, where we are tolerant and you have the freedom to express (your) faith.” With video.
“Why do you think America is a Christian nation?” O’Reilly asked at the beginning of the interview.
With her customary cockiness, Palin said, “Nobody has to believe me, you can just go to our Founding Fathers’ early documents and see how they crafted a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution that allows that Judeo-Christian belief to be the foundation of our laws and our Constitution, of course, essentially acknowledging that our unalienable rights don’t come from man. They come from God. So this document is set up to protect us from a government that would ever infringe upon our right to have freedom of religion and to be able to express our faith freely.”
It’s true that the Declaration of Independence mentions God and Creator (though not Christ or the Bible) but, as I previously noted, the Constitution does not. Nor does it mention "unalienable rights" at all.
I’m pretty sure from the way O’Reilly said, “OK,” when he thought Palin had finished with her little dissertation and from the fact that he did not ask any follow up questions that he knew that she knew not about what she spoke. But, perhaps because he seems to agree that the U.S. is a Christian nation or because he wanted to be magnanimous or because he likes her, he said helpfully, “All they have to do is walk into the Supreme Court chamber and you’ll see the Ten Commandments.” Then he added this gentle, subtle correction. “We know that you’re absolutely correct. The Founding Fathers did base not only the Declaration of Independence but the Constitutional protections on what they thought was right and wrong. And what they thought was right and wrong came from the Ten Commandments which was Judeo-Christian philosophies.”
Palin grinned like someone who had just gotten an A after cheating on a test. But when her lower lip curled tightly up against her upper lip, I could not help but think she knew O’Reilly had seen right through her attempt to sound knowledgeable.
O’Reilly added that America has “evolved” into “a much more secular nation than we were back in 1776” and now “opponents” of spirituality don’t want it pushed.
From there, Palin was on sounder footing. Because if there’s one thing she does know – and it may be the only thing Palin knows about political science – it’s how to be divisive and inflammatory. And sure enough, she knew what to say now. “That new kind of world view that I think is kind of a step toward a fundamental transformation of America that some want to see today… it is an attempt to revisit and rewrite history.”
I seriously doubt Palin would know the original version of history if it reared up and bit her on the nose, much less a revised version of history. But she kept pretending otherwise. “I think we should just… 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.”
It may be simple, but it’s not right. For example, as John Fea, a Christian who teaches history at a church-related college wrote, “Those who insist that America was founded as a Christian nation run roughshod over the historical record. They… selectively choos(e) texts from the writings of the Founders without any effort to explore them in the context of the 18th-century world in which they were written. Just because John Adams and George Washington quoted from the Bible or made reference to God does not mean that they were trying to construct a Christian nation. Granted, the Founding Fathers were the products of a Christian culture, but most of them were never comfortable with the beliefs that defined this culture. Very few of them would qualify for membership in today's evangelical churches.”
Not surprisingly, Palin never cited a single quote from a single document or a single Founding Father to back up her assertions.
O’Reilly, who has obviously given the subject some thought, asked her “What do you say to the people in Chinatown… the Asian-Americans who come from a different religious culture, do they not participate in the Judeo-Christian tradition?”
Palin’s answer? “We get to say to them, ‘Yay! Welcome to America where we are tolerant and you have the freedom to express whatever faith…” Palin quickly shifted gears to attack “the ridiculous ruling… saying the National Day of p\Prayer is unconstitutional” and then, as if the ruling were the fault of Chinese immigrants, she said, “We would ask that there would be respect for what the Judeo-Christian beliefs are, too.”
Palin continued trying to pass herself off as knowing something about the subject by adding, “Every state constitution acknowledges God because every state constitution which backs up our U.S. Constitution can acknowledge that our unalienable rights came from God.”
O’Reilly interrupted her again, probably because while Palin may be right about the state constitutions, the U.S. Constitution never “acknowledges that our unalienable rights came from God.”
The Constitution does refer to the Vice President as a “he.” I wonder how Palin would explain that away.