Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Guess who said this

"I believe that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are divinely inspired documents, written by men especially raised up by their Creator for that purpose. I believe that God has made and presented to us a nation for a purpose -- to bring freedom to all the people of the world."

You can find the answer
here.

Discussions - 10 Comments

What a difference 40 years makes. Back then, such a statement was met without much controversy. We hadn't yet embraced the notion of thinly sliced identity politics.

A thought is rattling around in my mind ... it has to do with the reaction to Mitt Romney's speech and "non-believers." The language of this age is "inclusivity," but I think in truth we practice a rather robust exclusivity. That's the nature of identity politics, particularly when the goal of it is to secure differential benefits from the government.

To some degree the question of faith has been woven into this issue of exclusivity, hasn't it? From my own experience I've seen that the Evangelical message, offered up by some (not all, but enough to be noticeable), is a kind of "I'm in 'The Club' and you're not." Rather than acting in love to show the compelling nature of Christ, many responded in a selfish way to enhance the exclusivity of their identity group. Salvation is viewed as a kind of exclusive "ticket," and various "rules of entry" are created at the church and denomination level. A kind of "condemnation engineering" takes place -- "I'm in, and because of X you are out."

With the advent of political power to the "Religious Right" in the 1980's, such an attitude must be doubly irritating to those excluded. Not only are questions of eternal destiny exclusionary, so too are questions of present-day politics. Fuel is added to the fire.

It seems to me that some of the backlash we're seeing is a product of this identity politics merged with religion that's taken place.

It doesn't take a deep study of the New Testament to see that Jesus didn't pronounce the Kingdom to just those who hold to a tight doctrinal creed. Nor those of a certain political alignment. If anything, the presence and availability of the Kingdom was a matter of the individual's inclination of heart; their sincere desire to trust Jesus and allow him to be Lord. The Gospel is really as simple as "Trust Jesus ... period."

Sadly, humans being what they are, they embrace categorization for the purposes of exclusion. It is a basic problem of our fallen nature. Paul warns against this in Colossians 3:11 -- "Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."

My basic point is this: while I would not want to say that all the resentment towards conservative Christianity is warranted, I would say that the behavior of some over the past few decades might well have contributed to it.

My questions are:

Do you agree, and believe that the Declaration and the Constitution are divinely inspired documents?

How is anyone, or at least a Christian, to know that this is so? Is there evidence, or, at least, is there evidence that could satisfy a believing Christian? Was there some revelation of the divine inspiration for these documents?

Of course there is no evidence. Such a declaration of "belief" is a declaration of faith. It ought to prompt discussion. Instead, too often, it marks the end of the conversation. Such is the paradoxical result of historical liberalism's triumph: to have made matters of faith altogether private.

I'm all open to conversation, but neither U.S. document starts with "And God said..." So, it seems like it would even be a lot to ask of a Christian to accept, to have faith, that those documents are the words of God, inscribed by men.

Would it be possible to read the elder Romney's comment as a statement on Providence? Would any orthodox Christian disagree with it, so interpreted?

Craig, these documents are not revelation, but our nation's Founders such as George Washington, Ben Franklin, et al., all commented at one time or another on the workings of divine Providence on the victory in the American Revolution and founding of a new order for the ages based upon liberty over tyranny. They had no scientific proof, as you would have, but a strong faith that God guided the miracle of their military victory and the wisdom of their counsels. You can reject that of course, but that is what most of the nation's Founders believed.

JK: "Would it be possible to read the elder Romney's comment as a statement on Providence?"

Yes.

JK: "Would any orthodox Christian disagree with it, so interpreted?"

Quite possibly, but for the wrong reason. See my comments above.

The Apostle Paul makes clear in Romans 1:20 that an awareness of God and his Providence is available to all people ... Jew, Gentile, believer, non-believer, Christian, Mormon or whatever.

There ought not be disagreement between Mormons and orthodox Christians on this matter. But there probably is.

I think the statement is very problematic. Of course I am not coming from an irreligious standpoint, as many critics would be.



There is only one divinely inspired document. The idea that we were raised up to bring freedom to the world is hubristic and dangerous.



IMO, the correct balance here is to be a Christian nation particularist without being a Christian Nation exceptionalist. Does that make sense?

Do you agree, and believe that the Declaration and the Constitution are divinely inspired documents?...

How is anyone, or at least a Christian, to know that this is so? Is there evidence, or, at least, is there evidence that could satisfy a believing Christian? Was there some revelation of the divine inspiration for these documents?

...I'm all open to conversation, but neither U.S. document starts with "And God said..." So, it seems like it would even be a lot to ask of a Christian to accept, to have faith, that those documents are the words of God, inscribed by men.


If I understand my catechism correctly, the Church teaches that writings which are 'divinely inspired' are limited to Sacred Scripture.

It seems to me the elder Romney (an admirable man in many respects) could properly have been publicly admonished by Cdl. Dearden for this exercise in theodicy. A facet of what the Church teaches is that a full understanding of how all historical events relate to eachother will be revealed only at the time of General Judgment (at the End of Time).

It is reasonable to assume that in wartime earnest prayers are being offered on all sides for the triumph of one army or another. Those fond of Gov. Romney's statement might recall that Emperor Charles has been beatified and Pres. Wilson has not.

Who knows what is revelation and what is not? If God intervenes in the world and in the souls of men, who can know what is divinely inspired and what is , ever, strictly of men? If Christians are (allowed) to believe that God is sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, then the free will is the mystery, not divine inspiration.

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