Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Declaration of Independence a submission to God

According to the Christian right news outfit,, the American Declaration of Independence, according to one "scholar ... is more a submission to God than an assertion of rights."

Let's be right up front here. The man who said that, Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College in Michigan is no "scholar". He thinks it just "remarkable" that the Declaration of Independence contains four references to God.

"The posture of The Declaration of Independence is an appeal to heaven," says this "scholar." The Declaration puts forth God as "maker of the laws of nature and of nature's God - which makes him a legislator. He's mentioned as the supreme judge of the world - which makes him a judge. He's mentioned as divine providence - which makes him an executive. And he's mentioned as the creator -- which is like being a founder."

Oh, stop laughing.

For Dr. Arnn, all of this can mean only one thing: "...the power of government could only be rightly united in the hands of God." And he concludes that is " a submission [to God] at the same time as it is an assertion [to the King of England]."

Well, I guess you can make just about anything say anything you want if you try hard enough. Dr. Arnn knows full well that the framers of the Declaration of Independence were using the typical "nod-to-god" language of the time; that references to God in such a document are not "remarkable" at all; and that most of those involved in writing the Declaration were Deists who would would find the type of fundamentalist Christianity that casts a pall over our landscape today incomprehensible.

You can read the entire Declaration of Independence here and decide for yourself if this document should be thought of as "more a submission to God than an assertion of rights."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, does that fool really think that is what the framers meant? In those days, just as today, people use such phrases as they are acceptable to most people. they are not to be taken literally by all.
Bob Poris

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