Bible Thumping, Just Like the Founders
Bill O’Reilly recently took it upon himself to insult everyone in America who has reverence for the Bible as the word of God. He ludicrously claimed that supporters of natural marriage haven’t “been able to do anything but thump the Bible” in making their case.
Now God clearly defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman in Genesis 2, and Jesus reaffirmed God’s definition verbatim in Matthew 19, which means, of course, that man-woman marriage is as much a part of the gospel itself as heaven and hell. What God and Jesus Christ have defined, man must not redefine.
But O’Reilly obviously hasn’t been paying attention, since supporters of natural marriage have not only cited Scripture but the best in social research, history and legal thinking to make the case that marriage ought to be defined exclusively as a one-man-one-woman institution. So O’Reilly is betraying his own blinding ignorance here while at the same time mocking the very Americans he hopes will watch his program.
Well, Mr. O’Reilly, we are going to go right on clinging to our Bibles and our religion whether gasbags in the media approve or not.
In his self-infatuated preening, O’Reilly is apparently oblivious to the stubborn historical fact that the Bible was the primary source of the wisdom the Founders used to draft the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
When they wanted to talk about civil rights, they didn’t cite social research or history or legal precedence. They thumped their Bibles, appealing to the “Creator” of Genesis 1 as the source of every fundamental right human beings possess.
The Founders thumped their Bibles some more by shamelessly appealing to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” echoing scriptural teaching from Romans 1 and 2.
They pounded their theology even harder in the final paragraph of the July 4, 1776 document – the legal document on which the United States is founded – by “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World.” And they had the audacity to declare that the declaration was not, actually, in fact, a “Declaration of Independence” but, at a profound level, a “Declaration of Dependence” when they boldly affirmed their “firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence.”
In other words, they couldn’t stop talking theology in the very document that established the United States as one of the sovereign “Powers of the Earth.”
And things only get worse for O’Reilly when the books, monographs and pamphlets produced by the 55 men who drafted our Constitution are studied, as they were by professors Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman. Their findings were published in 1984 in the “American Political Science Review.”
They examined over 15,000 items with explicitly political content, examining them for citations of external, authoritative sources. In other words, they were seeking to identify which sources the Founders most often cited to support or defend their political opinions. They found 3,154 direct quotes from other sources.
In what may come as an aneurysm-inducing shock to Mr. O’Reilly’s system, the Bible was far and and away the most frequently cited source. In fact, an astonishing 34% of all references to other sources were from the Bible. Montesquieu was a distant, distant second with 8.3% of all citations, while Sir William Blackstone, the greatest legal mind of the 18th century, garnered just 7.9%. And poor John Locke, the most influential political philosopher of his day, was cited a paltry 2.9% of the time.
When indirect Bible citations are included, the percentage of scriptural citations is much higher than 34%. And even worse for Mr. Bill, the bulk of the thinkers cited by the Founders outside the Bible, according to historian John Eidsmoe in his book, “Christianity and the Constitution,” “were not deists and philosophes, but conservative legal and political thinkers who often were also Christians.”
Mr. O’Reilly, we stand in rock-solid agreement with President Andrew Jackson, who in one conversation pointed to a Bible and said, “That book, Sir, is the rock upon which our republic rests.”
So Bill, go right ahead and keep pounding your chest. We’ll go right ahead and keep thumping our Bibles. Just like the Founders.
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