Last week Newt Gingrich gave a speech at Cornorstone Church in San Antonio. I found his speech on youtube and decided to watch it because, well I hate how the media sometimes tells half of a story. This comment has gotten the most attention so far:
I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.
Now, ‘a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists’ has made those of us in the secular community laugh our collective asses off. Besides quips about ‘Atheist Islamists’ most of us just see his words as pandering to the religious right. Yeah, just telling people what they want to hear to make them feel better.
According to Politico: Newt proposes a mandate the teaching of the Declaration of Independence to elementary school children and insisting that immigrants learn more American history. Besides the word mandate, I agree! My question would be how does teaching documents such as the Declaration of Independence or Bill of Rights or Constitution do anything for a child unless you also teach what was going on behind the scenes at the time? Should we also teach the Federalist and Anti Federalist papers too? Surely, one has to look at the WHOLE picture. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for Newt’s mandate! This organization provides ‘teachers with a Complete Educational Resource on the U.S. Constitution.’
There is another point he brings up when talking about the Declaration of Independence.
“What I think is the central statement in defining America and the thing about which we need to have an argument for the next few years, and that is ‘we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.’ And why does this matter? Well it goes to the heart of the nature of power. There are two competing philosophies: there is the philosophy that says ‘power comes from government and defines who you are’; then there’s the philosophy that says ‘oh no, power comes from god…..”
He goes onto say that sovereignty rests in the citizen. He also explains that ‘endowed by their creator’ pretty much puts god in the Declaration of Independence. I’m not a Constitutional scholar and seriously, we can argue ‘god in the Constitution’ untill the Flying Spaghetti Monster lands in his spaceship (it’s shaped like a pot of boiling water). I will say this though; it doesn’t MATTER if the Founding Fathers were Christians! It doesn’t MATTER how many times Abraham Lincoln references scripture in his 2nd Inaugural Address. It doesn’t MATTER that there are Scriptural references on the Washington and Jefferson memorials. Those things are NOT in the Constitution, no matter how Newt tries to spin “Endowed by their Creator.”
Actually, I think Christians should be wary of Newt using their religious morals as a pulpit for his brand of politics. I came across this comment on a catholic.org article:
- A politician making a political speech at a church? I hope and pray this NEVER happens at a Catholic Church. I hope our buffer against secularizing, as it were, is to not let our house of God be a mere political podium as the ‘bible’ churches and evangelists permit. Sad. Another protestant compromise of God for the purposes of man and power.
I want to go back to Newt’s “two competing philosophies.” One claiming power comes from the Government and the other that power comes from god. Hey Newt, you forgot a philosophy! My philosophy is that it is not the government or god who gives me my power: My power comes from ME, I define who I am. Power or self-worth coming from the individual not a third-party: now that’s a concept! It’s like that old song:
To any god or government.
Always hopeful, yet discontent,
He knows changes aren’t permanent,
But change is.
PS: Below are the links to Newt’s speech.