4th Of July: Bible, Burgers, And The Tea Party

We’re all accustomed to political rhetoric exhorting God’s blessings on America and Americans. It seems to be the way every political speech must end, regardless of the speech’s message. It’s long been the requisite platitude to end a political speech, but since when did it become the political speech itself?

This weekend I attended an ‘Old Fashioned, Independence day, Picnic-in-the-Park’, in Las Cruces, New Mexico, hosted by the Tea Party. The event featured food, fiddle players, a protest march, and two guest speakers.

Of the approximately 150-180 attendees, most of whom looked as though they’d had decades of experience with all things ‘Old Fashioned’, approximately 60% appeared to be seniors, and close to 100% white, despite the fact that whites make up only 42% of our local population.

The protest march, as advertised, proceeded for one block North, turned around, and then returned to the park. To be fair, this would be quite a challenge for a geriatric group in the New Mexico heat. There was no particular agenda or issue to protest. It was simply a protest. It was a general ‘take our country back from the socialist, Muslim, spendthrift, un-American’ in the White House protest.

The food was good, and six-time National Championship fiddle player, Bart Trotter & the Riversong Ramblers, put on an entertaining and skillful performance. That aside, the real fun began when the speakers took to the stage.

The first speaker, Douglas Coyle, titled his message ‘Christianity and the Constitution.’ With a deep monotone voice, Mr. Coyle explained that the American Constitution was a Christian document, subject to the laws of the Christian Bible, and, somehow, this assertion alone, proved that America was a Christian nation. There seemed no middle to the argument. There was the proposition, and then the conclusion that agreed with the proposition. The only supposed proof that he offer from the Constitution, was the manner in which the the founding fathers had noted the date, “In the Year of Our Lord…”

This, apparently, is proof enough. One may think that if the founding fathers, the framers of the Constitution, were intent on establishing a Christian nation, they might have taken the time to actually state such a fact, rather than letting it be presumed by their use of the common formal method of stating the date at that time. The fact that Jesus is never mentioned in the Constitution, or in the Declaration of Independence, at all, nor is the Christian Bible, didn’t seem to dissuade Mr. Coyle’s argument that the entire nation must adhere to the Christian religion and its dictates.

If the framers of the Constitution were intending on establishing a Christian nation, why did they even include the First Amendment as it is written? Why did they bother to say that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” when all they had to say was ‘America is a Christian nation based on the teachings and laws of the Bible?’ Were they really that inept at communicating? If a Christian nation was their intention, why was the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, worded in a manner that can just as easily refer to Jews, Muslims, Hindus and non-believers? Perhaps because that was the true intention.

The founding fathers’ stated intention was to establish freedom and liberty in a nation, a republic, based on the rule of law. The freedom and liberty for each individual to believe and worship, or not, as they see fit, without having a religion and its accompanying doctrine and dogma imposed on them, was precisely their objective. The purpose of a written law was to protect people from the potentially abusive power of the state, or a majority; not to define a god’s rules and religious prescriptions for his subjects.

Mr. Coyle explained it somewhat differently. According to Mr. Coyle, the intention of the Constitution was to put limits on Americans, not to establish freedoms or rights. He said that men are imperfect, and therefore must be subject to God’s law, not man’s. He stated that rights are given by God, not the Constitution, yet he failed to give even one example of a right given by God.

Freedom of speech — not in the Bible. Equal rights — not in the Bible. Right to bear arms, protection from unreasonable search and seizure, trial by jury, protection from cruel and unusual punishment… none of these are in the Bible. None of these facts seem to have any impact on the delusion shared by the religious right, and the Christian Reconstructionists, that have high-jacked the right wing of the American political spectrum.

Mr. Coyle was followed by Jim Hoft, a Gateway Pundit Blogger, who wholeheartedly agreed with the need for the Christianization, or re-Christianizing, of America. A great deal of effort is expended, without any foundation in fact, to establish credibility through a past that never was by falsely claiming America’s Christian roots. However, where Mr. Coyle provided a sermon more suited for a church, Mr. Hoft went on to build a house of rebellion on Coyle’s foundation of sand.

The nation’s ‘domestic enemies’ were quickly identified as all the godless, socialist, liberals that have taken over the White House, and the media. Except for Fox News, of course. Mr. Hoft used the word ‘radicals’ so often, I thought Glenn Beck himself had shown up. He made it clear that the good Christian Americans were under siege from a hostile foe that has taken over the White House and is ruining their country. I think he was referring to the 2008 elections, yet he made it sound as though there had been a military coup resulting in a socialist junta that now lorded over the public park where they were exercising their right to free speech.

The usual fear mongering, and charges of government take-overs (stimulus and bail-out packages), loss of rights (unnamed and undefined as usual), socialism (health-care reform), higher taxes (despite the fact that they are lower than they’ve been in decades) and general ‘un-Americanism,’ made up the bulk of the speech. Mr. Hoft’s language was rife with calls to revolution, and of course, the ubiquitous call to ‘take the country back.’ The fact that it was a democratic election that they lost might be why they’re so intent on establishing a non-democratic government, ruled by the authority of a religion they feel free to interpret as meets their needs.

Mr. Hoft’s dicussion of the BP oil disaster was particularly entertaining, mainly because he never once mentioned BP. It’s Obama’s oil spill. Apparently, when he’s not trying to clean up the economy that Bush left in tatters, and prosecute two wars that Bush initiated, he’s working a rig in the gulf. This is perhaps why the state sanctioned day of prayer didn’t work. Obama, the anti-Christ, was ruining the clean-up efforts. It seemed clear to everyone there that this was somehow an intentional part of his evil socialist plan.

In addition to all his other crimes, according to this group, Obama is guilty of the sin of not supporting Israel enough. That’s God’s home town, don’t ya know. Not only should the Bible be used to dictate domestic and social policy, as interpreted by the Christian Conservatives, but it should dictate foreign policy as well.

As I was leaving the event, I was able to get a good look at the float that the Tea Party was entering in the Las Cruces annual Electric Light Parade, to be held that evening, July 3rd. The base of the float was trimmed with slogan signs including ‘Faith in God’ and ‘Personal Freedom.’ There was no word on how they planned on reconciling those two.

The rest of the float was festooned with just about every American flag you can imagine, including all branches of the military and a MIA-POW flag. They did remove the confederate flag that had been on their truck last year. All flags were American, except one. Right at the front of the float, next to the Stars and Stripes, was the Israeli flag.

Sinclair Lewis wrote, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” The Tea Party may have been wrapping themselves in more than one nation’s flag this day, which perhaps makes them all the more dangerous, but they were certainly holding the cross front and center.

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5 Responses to 4th Of July: Bible, Burgers, And The Tea Party

  1. Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ July 4, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Nothing like a lil’ Tea Party Party to reinforce my belief that Church and State should be separated — as far as possible.

  2. Doug Mappin July 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I’ll just bet the gay rainbow flag was NOT one of those flags they included on their float.

    These people are truly psychotic. I’ve often said the “Christian Right” is as bad, if not worse than the Taliban or any other enemy we have ever faced fron outside this nation.

  3. GJY July 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for an inspiring, reassuring piece. With this I don’t feel the need ( or need to find excuses) to look away from ‘the wreckage’ we seem to be headed into slow-mo style. The advice to always wear your seatbelt and steer into a skid comes to mind. 😉

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  5. markleak July 5, 2010 at 2:00 am

    You guys should stop complaining cuz one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed give it a try u guys are too hard on democrats they went to college and we voted for most of these people.so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. as for obama people are just tryin to make it look like america made a mistake he has done things to help us and we had a full 8 years of a terrible president and i will be so as happy as ever when a obama fixes bush’s mistakes. You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price from http://bit.ly/9sfoMb obama has to put up with the wo0rld judging his every move and trying to fix the mess we are in we are lucky anyone wants to be our president. STOP COMPLAINING AND GIVE HIM A BREAK. i wanna see one of yall do what he sas done. some people are just so ignorant.

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