At a recent conservative event titled "Rediscover God in America," potential 2012 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee spoke after "historian" David Barton. The beginning of Huckabee's speech can be viewed here:
Aside from his disturbing comment about how American's should be forced at gunpoint to listen to David Barton, Barton's own introduction provides insight into what a Huckabee presidency might look like. He begins by saying that Huckabee would be a great "Black Robe Regiment" guy. If you are unfamiliar with the Black Robe Regiment, this should tell you all you need to know about their aim: "Through this time the church and God himself has been under assault, marginalized, and diminished by the progressives and secularists. The false wall of separation of church and state has been constructed in such a manner that most are unaware of its limited boundaries." Its the familiar call that Christianity is under assault and that Christians are a group of poor, persecuted individuals in the United States. It is the familiar claim that the separation of church and state is false or that the constitution has not been interpreted properly by those damned activist judges... for the last 200+ years.
The only place the separation of church and state is nonexistent is in the minds of those who disagree with its basic concept. The idea is that religion and government should not mix and this idea was created by men who were all too familiar with what a religiously-controlled government was like to live under. Religious minorities were banished, marginalized and outright oppressed by the state church. The memory of people being burned at the stake for heresy was fresh in the minds of the founding fathers as they sought to create a new nation; a nation not controlled by a particular brand of religion. Our founding fathers had every opportunity to make this country a Christian Republic. They had every opportunity to establish a national church or a national religion. They had every opportunity to create laws disallowing particular brands of Christianity, or for that matter, different religious beliefs all together. They could have simply created a government based on the bible, with Jesus as founder and the Ten Commandments as the first ten amendments to the constitution. They could have done all of this and more, but instead they chose to do something that had never been done before: create a secular government.
The secular government they created has allowed for the enormous growth of religion in America. We are, still to this day, one of the most religious societies in the world. The separation of church and state has even allowed for the spawning of a brand new religion whose membership is steadily climbing and has even produced a presidential candidate: Mormonism. Of course, when Joseph Smith was first sharing his revelations with the world he was demonized as a fraud (which he was actually convicted of shortly before he founded Mormonism) and he and his followers were chased across the country, leaving a trail of blood and the murdered body of their founder. The Mormons would eventually settle in the Utah territory but their troubles did not end there. They very nearly went to war with the United States but luckily that was avoided. Eventually, Mormons would become more accepted and their religious beliefs would be protected by the First Amendment. The point is that they are here today because our founding fathers decided not to form a nation based on a particular brand of religion and instead ensured that the personal religious opinions of citizens would not be of concern to the government.
When "historian" David Barton makes the absurd claims that he makes, he is not finding lost history that the progressives and the secularists have been hiding. He is taking bits and pieces of history and shaping them into an instrument he and his followers can use to fundamentally alter the history of our nation to better fit their agenda. Apparently, the fact that none of his theories hold up under scrutiny does not matter to Mr. Barton; that is just the evil, secular machine keeping him in line. It is not surprising that the man who gives him the most praise is none other than everybody's favorite conspiracy theorist, Glenn Beck. I have no doubt that many of our founding fathers were Christian. I have no doubt that some of their ideas were inspired by their Christian ideals. I also have no doubt that many of their ideas were products of the Enlightenment and that many of the founders were more likely deists than Christians.
It troubles me that a man who has the potential to be the president of the United States has such an erroneous view of one of our nation's most important precepts. Anyone running for president should know better than to think that just because our nation is predominantly Christian that that means our government is Christian and that we were founded on Christianity. This is simply not true and anyone who reads our constitution should be able to figure that out for themselves. People like Barton like to run on about letters and writings of our founders that somehow prove that we are a Christian nation, yet they seem to ignore the most important writing of our founders: the U.S. Constitution. While some of those writings do provide some insight into the thoughts of the founding fathers, they do not hold any legal power while the constitution does. They say that we secularists have misinterpreted what Thomas Jefferson famously wrote to the Dansbury Baptists and that because of that, the separation of church and state is nonexistent. I disagree. Even without Thomas Jefferson's letter, the constitution makes it quite clear that the founders did not intend for the government to be religious in nature. If anyone can show me where in our constitution it states that our nation is Christian, or that we were founded by Christians, for Christians, I'll buy you a beer. I'll even go one further. If anyone can explain to me how the First Amendment does not create a separation of church and state, I'll buy you two beers. Until then, let us end this nonsense about the evil secularists who are trying to destroy Christian America. Christian America has never existed, only Christian Americans...