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“America Should Be Governed By Biblical Law”: David Barton

Senior Research Director Chris Rodda chronicles the proceedings of a Conservative conference, the Rediscover God in America conference, in which its belief is that America should be governed by “Biblical law”:

While most eyes were on the Conservative Principles Political Action Committee conference in Iowa on Saturday, many of us who follow the religious right were more interested in another conference, also held in Iowa, on Thursday and Friday. This other conference was the Rediscover God in America conference, where all the same potential 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls that appeared at the Saturday’s Conservative Principles PAC conference told us what they really think — that America should be governed by biblical law.

One of the principle proponents of this view is David Barton, a much-loved “historian” featured by Glenn Beck and other right-wingers. In fact, potential Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said at this conference that Americans should be forced, at gunpoint, to learn from David Barton. This statement, according to Rodda, was edited out of the webcast:

But the most outrageous statement by far came from Mike Huckabee, who expressed his admiration for Barton by saying that he “almost wished” that “all Americans would be forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message.”

Now, I wasn’t watching the Rediscover God in America conference live on Thursday when Huckabee said this. I had planned on watching and recording the whole conference when it was webcast again on Saturday, so that’s when I saw Huckabee’s speech. I was quite surprised a few days later to come across a video clip from this conference on the People for the American Way (PFAW) Right Wing Watch blog with the headline “Huckabee: Americans Should Be Forced, At Gunpoint, To Learn From David Barton.” I had watched Huckabee’s speech. How on earth could I have missed a statement like that? Well, I didn’t. It had been edited out of the webcast that I had watched.

What if this was a Muslim? Would the Right, especially “Police Blotter Bob,” be silent? While lawmakers are in search of the “threat” from Sharia, there are Americans who are actively seeking to supplant our secular, Constitutional system with Biblical law, and Mike Huckabee thinks we Americans should be forced to learn about this under threat of death. Wow.

But, they are not Muslim, so no worries…

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  • John R

    A reminder to those who govern us according to the Bible (and also those who would not–it is still a good rule to live by):

    Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.

    I think it is high time that the most outspoken of Christians start acting like Jesus would have them act.

  • Rodd

    143 U.S. 457, 12 S.Ct. 511, 36 L.Ed. 226
    February 29, 1892

    “These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

    “Even the constitution of the United States, which is supposed to have little touch upon the private life of the individual, contains in the first amendment a declaration common to the constitutions of all the states, as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” etc., – and also provides in article 1, § 7, (a provision common to many constitutions,) that the executive shall have 10 days (Sundays excepted) within which to determine whether he will approve or veto a bill.” [Sundays excepted for the simple reason that Sunday is the Lord’s Day among Christian peoples.]

    “Nor are we bound by any expressions in the constitution, as some have strangely supposed, either not to punish at all, or to punish indiscriminately the like attacks upon the religion of Mahomet or of the Grand Lama; and for this plain reason that the case assumes that we are a Christian people, and the morality of the country is deeply ingrafted upon Christianity, and not upon the doctrines or worship of those impostors.”

  • Victor Purinton

    It’s a pipedream. There’s no way Americans will accept any religious laws, ever. And if a majority arises that does, I’ll be the first to pick up a gun to defend the Constitution, as is my obligation as a citizen.

  • It happened quite some time ago Khushboo, but yes, good 😉

  • Khushboo

    Wow! LittleGreenFootballs has really turned against “Shrieking Harpy” Geller. Well good for them! 😀

  • corey

    once again NassrH you always introduce some of the nicest people especially the idiot who misspelled mecca it just shows that islamaphobes are of great wisdom and compassion for there fellow man as they dehumanize an entire religion and its followers for something the few do.

  • NassirH
  • Pingback: “AMERICA SHOULD BE GOVERNED BY BIBLICAL LAW”: DAVID BARTON | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper()

  • Moose,

    “I wonder if those who want this have really read the Bible and all of the laws in it.”

    This is nothing more than the unlikely alliance of unlikely bedfellows. One group is racing for power and will opportunistically use powerfully resonant religious symbolism to incite their audiences to support their bids for power. It is truly doubtful that people with this type of ethics really believe in the Bible or know what it says. Once in power they would make America a fascist state anyway.

    And there is the other group that genuinely believes in the falsehood of a Christian America(rather than a majority-Christian identifying population). It is unclear if this group believes in the application of “Old Testament laws as Biblical Law or will use the New Testament as a the only source of Law. like I said, Biblical/Christian Law isn’t anything like Shari’ah or Halacha. In any event this group fully supports a theocratic state based on Christianity. For this group, the ideal politician manifests within himself all of the salient values of both groups. It is this group that seeks to put the first group into power. The success of this alliance can only lead to a Fascist Religious Theocracy.

    Allahu A’lam

    “This sacred knowledge shall be borne by reliable authorities from each generation, who will preserve it from the distortions of extremists, the plans of the corrupt and the false explanations of the ignorant.” (Narrated mursal by Al-Bayhaqi in Kitab al-Madkhal on the authority of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Rahman al-’Udhri.)

  • Moose

    I wonder which laws in the Bible they want to use, New Testament or Old Testament. Oh well, either way, if they get their way I’ll open a hijab/headscarf store and make a fortune selling them since all the women will be forced to cover their hair. Also will this then legalize domestic violence and restore slavery? And I fear a shortage of beef bacon since pork will be outlawed. I wonder if those who want this have really read the Bible and all of the laws in it.

  • Khushboo

    Creeping Biblical Laws…OMG! Next thing you know we will be forced to eat pork, wear mini skirts, celebrate Christmas, sing Xmas carols…(mocking)

  • It seems that Islamophobes are very guilty of a massive case of projection. Supposedly we(Muslims) are the ones who are supremacist, want to take over America and replace it’s laws with our own religious law. Supposedly we are in favor of religious fascism. Supposedly we are the ones who want war with other nations. I could go on and on. I am very concerned about the direction that America is taking. Take a look at these 14 defining characteristics of fascism from Dr. Lawrence Britt and see the many parallels in America today. It wasn’t so much a problem when those who wanted to turn America into a Fascist Christian Theocracy weren’t in power. Now they have9in some instances) and continually seek political power:

    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

    4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
    domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

    6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

    9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
    [(a) Dissent is labeled unpatriotic]
    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    I can already hear the shouts of hypocrisy from the Islamophobes and “critics” of Islam, So here is my disclaimer:

    Disclaimer: I do in fact support Shari’ah Law. So in that sense I do not see anything wrong with religious based law in itself, because at the end of the day it is people who are just and people who are corrupt. A religious-based law can be as corrupt as a secular law can be just, and vice versa. However, as a Muslim, I do not support theocracy, as Islam does not mandate or support theocracy.

    In addition, I believe that what is normally understood as Shar’ah Law is in fact fiqh, jurisprudence that is in fact flexible, fallible, subject to change along the guidelines provided by Islam itself. It is not an ossified, code of law. “Straw Man Shari’ah” is not Shari’ah and cannot be used as a stick to beat Muslims over the head with, to deny it’s validity, or to argue against religious law in general. It must be understood that I believe that a majority Muslim State has the right to be governed by Shari’ah, just as a majority Christian State has the right to be governed by Christian/Biblical Law(whatever that is since Christian Law really isn’t anything like Shari’ah or Halacha.

    But along with this right comes the caveat IF the majority of the people decide to exercise that right. I do not forsee a secular nation(America) supporting theocratic law, and I do not see the majority of Muslims supporting an anachronistic “Straw Man Shari’ah” though they support Shari’ah in principle. Forcing people to be ruled by “religious law”, even if the laws are just, is itself unjust.

    Long disclaimer, huh? 🙂 I tried to cover all bases.

    Allahu A’lam

    “This sacred knowledge shall be borne by reliable authorities from each generation, who will preserve it from the distortions of extremists, the plans of the corrupt and the false explanations of the ignorant.” (Narrated mursal by Al-Bayhaqi in Kitab al-Madkhal on the authority of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Rahman al-’Udhri.)

  • mindy1

    Oh good god, do they not realize how they sound??

  • corey

    a theocracy sounds like fun after all why have laws that are usually results of votes from people when we can have laws because a person said that god said it was okay and you cant question it, lets bring stoning back thats fun, or legalize slavery that should get the economy boosted up again, and then we can outlaw that pesky religious freedom thing that people like to go on about.

  • NassirH

    It seems that Newt Gingrinch is part of the “Rediscover God in America” conference. Recently, he stood in front of thousands of evangelicals at church and said:

    “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.”

  • Nur Alia


    Perhaps this is another wild haired far fetched idea I have. I think too much somtimes.

    I just want to put this into the discussion.

    I noticed that these same people who espouse ‘Christian values’ in public are those who appose ‘abortion’, and those seeking to undermine the safety net programmes that so many Americans depend on.

    What if this is the same method missionaries use in placed where they go. They demean and undermine…sometimes by law…the culture of the people and its practice, including langauge, and force upon the people they deny thier own assmilation policies in which thier religious beliefs are imposed on those who need sustanance, and denied to those who refuse.

    I think that westerners need to take a look at missionaries in Africa, and study thier influence in political affairs in places where colonialism was intrenched, and you will see the basic same thing.

    So yes, perhaps some people have a pure political motive here, to make people dependnat on ideology, rather than self sufficeny through the offering of oppurtunity to advance past it.

  • Mosizzle

    So much for toning down the political rhetoric…

    I think Huckabee said it in a metaphorical way. 🙂 . But then again, so did everyone else.

  • Solid Snake

    “forced at gunpoint”

    and they say that right wing rhetoric doesn’t incite violence! I hope that another *lone nut* doesn’t go on another killing spree to do just that.

  • Huckabee is scary. And I say that as a native Arkansan. He passed “Covenant Marriage”, a way for Christians to make a marriage contract that’s practically impossible to break. It’s completely unnecessary, because it’s a state law that imposes religious beliefs (although voluntarily). I mean, if you don’t believe in divorce, don’t get a divorce! You don’t need a “special” marriage contract to strip you of something you don’t want to do anyway.

    Very little separation of church and state in Arkansas, tho. Still can’t buy alcohol on Sunday, still can’t sell alcohol within so many feet of a church (although there’s a restaurant directly adjacent to our mosque that sells beer), courts refuse to allow live-in partners (homo- or heterosexual) in child custody cases….

    And they’re afraid of creeping sharia!

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