SOLO-International Op-Ed—An Open Letter to Glenn Beck

James S. Valliant's picture
Submitted by James S. Valliant on Fri, 2010-04-09 04:46

SOLO-International Op-Ed: An Open Letter to Glenn Beck

James S. Valliant
April 8, 2010

Dear Mr. Glenn Beck,

As a fierce defender of the American Founding Fathers and the free market, as well as an atheist, I listened intently to your discussion of "faith" and the founding of America today, April 8, 2010, on the Fox News Channel. Despite my views on religion, I have become a regular viewer because, in my estimation, the history lessons you deliver every night are enormously valuable.

However, today's discussion not only left me unpersuaded of your case, but also profoundly disturbed for the future of American Ideals. If men like you, i.e., the defenders of America's Founding Fathers, have no better an appreciation of the Founders' achievement than you displayed today, then we have a far more troubling problem than a bunch of Leftists who simply ignore the Constitution to create their vision of a socialist America.

Let me take a minute to explain why.

Politics is a field of study like any other and, like any science, it transcends race and religion. Just as there is no "pagan -Greek" physics, "Christian-English" physics or "Jewish" physics, only the contributions of Archimedes, Newton and Einstein, so the concept of individual rights is non-sectarian in this respect, as well. All human beings possess inalienable "rights"—whether they know it or not, and whether they are Christians, Jews or ancient pagans.

More than this, in order to understand and support the concept of individual rights as embodied in America's Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, one does not need to assent to any particular faith, or, indeed, to any faith whatever—i.e., one need not be a Christian or a Jew to grasp and to agree with the American Bill of Rights. Rights are a natural fact and, thus, can be discovered through observation and reason, and no aspect of distinctively Jewish or Christian belief is required to grasp their reality and importance.

John Locke, the well-known political philosopher who argued the case for natural rights that would inspire America's Founding Fathers, did argue from the Bible and from Mosaic Law in claiming that individuals have rights recognized by their Creator, to be sure, but this was not the case for which he would become internationally famous. No, in order to have had the influence he did, Locke's case had to be qualitatively superior to the claims of European kings who also claimed a divine origin for their "rights" (as tyrants).

Locke, and Thomas Jefferson after him, would have had no stronger, and certainly no more "scientific" a claim to rights had Biblical exegesis been the extent of his reasoning. But Locke also argued that the hand and mind of God could be seen in the very nature of humanity itself. Humans are—observably—creatures of reason and choice, and possessed of differing moral statures. As a species, Locke argued, we survive by "mixing" our "labor" with the "soil" to create the material goods we require to live. It is from these facts of human choice, human reason and the requirements of his existence, according to Locke, that one can see that rights are a wholly natural thing—that whether created by God or not, humans are so constituted as to require a respect for their rights: that is, if they are to survive and flourish.

It is this, the natural element in the case for natural law and natural rights, that makes Locke's argument for rights superior to previous supernatural claims of the "Divine Right of Kings." The conservatives' idea that rights "come from God" places the concept in as unscientific, as nebulous, and as arbitrary a position as Louis XIV's claim to being God's choice to rule France. (Not to mention the fact that Louis may also have had the better claim in a strictly Biblical sense.)

Yet, conservative Christians and Jews in America today, such as yourself, claim that rights can only be understood as a unique gift of Jehovah, the Judeo-Christian deity without realizing how dramatically you undermine the Founders' original case in the process. You take "rights" to be a special, mystical endowment like a coat of magical paint God happened to apply to us during creation, and not a scientifically demonstrable fact applicable to all men, and provable to any honest and rational man, regardless of his cultural origins.

Moreover yours is neither Locke's argument nor the Framers'. When they spoke of persons being "endowed by their creator" they meant, in effect, "beings of such a nature," and it is to that natural condition to which they referred. The belief in God which most men shared at the time was mere overlay. Just as Newton's physics was, for Newton, a revelation into the mind of the Creator, but something that would stand or fall on its own evidentiary merits in the minds of men who did not necessarily share his religion, so it was with Locke and the Founders: the idea of rights can and must be established on purely natural grounds, they held, through observation and logic, and be provable to the heathen as well as to the Christian in just the same fashion that Newton could establish the truth of his physics to an atheist.

Let's recall the story of the great astronomer Johannes Kepler in this context. A devout if unorthodox Christian, he sought to read the mind of God by reading the stars. He believed that if the orbits of the five observable planets could be lined up with the five "regular" solids of geometry, he could prove that a divine order had set them in motion, and that Creator was a skilled mathematician who left us geometric clues to his existence. Of course, the orbits of the planets do not line up to the regular geometric solids. (As it turned out, there are even more than five planets.)

What made Kepler a hero of reason and science was his willingness to set aside his Platonic vision of an Ordered Universe in the face of evidence gained from telescopes belonging to men like Tycho Brahe. The facts, not his own dearly-held suppositions about the "mind of God," must dictate our conclusions, Kepler knew, and, in the end, he produced an accurate description of the laws of planetary motion. Whatever "order" to the cosmos there was, he realized, it could be discovered only through observation and sound mathematics. Like the Protestants reading the text of the Bible for themselves in this new era of reason, so the Age of Science saw brave men reading the universe for themselves for the first time, as well, and to the same end: to read the mind of God not through ancient text but through observation of the natural world. For such a man, Christian though he was, the test of truth was the test of reason, and previous "authority" could hold no weight.

So it was with Locke. Christian though he was, he believed that the natural argument was essential to his case.

Yet, contemporary political conservatives in America like yourself seem determined to drain all of the natural reasoning and natural law out of the Founders' case for natural rights.

If the United States was built on distinctively Judeo-Christian principles, as you contend, then the Bill of Rights is no sounder an assertion than had been the claims of Louis XIV to rule France. But, if the science of human nature serves as our guide, then our conclusions will be ecumenically applicable and understandable.

Before mentioning rights as divine endowments, the Declaration makes reference to equality before the law as being the upshot of "the laws of nature and of nature's God." This is crucial, and often misread. According to Jefferson, the laws of nature themselves establish the vision of rights he laid out. Whether or not the laws of nature may be found in the Bible, and on this point the Declaration is silent, the concept of rights can be found in the "the laws of nature." To know God's will, in other words, one needs science, not just ancient text. Notice, too, the assumption that the laws of nature and God's laws must perfectly correspond to one another, and that observations of human nature, therefore, have greater merit than arguments like King Louis' purely Biblical case. It is observable fact, not Biblical text, upon which the Declaration builds its case, and it is not the God of the Bible, but the "God" of the natural world detailed by science, i.e., "nature's God," to which Jefferson appeals.

This is why the Bible was not used as a guide in the framing of the U. S. Constitution. In establishing a "republic," the Framers explicitly used pre-Christian models from pagan Rome as their principal inspiration. There would be no "parliament," but a "senate" and popular assembly, and two executive officers, one of whom possessed a "veto" power over legislation... and even much of the ancient, pagan nomenclature was adopted. No concept of individual liberty, no principle of "freedom of speech," much less one of "freedom of religion"(!) is to be found in the Bible at all. No limits on republican power can be found there because no concept of a "republic" is to be found in the ancient text in the first place, populated as it is with Divinely Chosen or hereditary Kings—even hereditary "messiahs."

Most of America's Founding Fathers were Christians, of course—although men like Jefferson and Franklin cannot be meaningfully described as "Christians"—and the Christian Framers saw their political views as being consistent with their religious views. However, the political philosophy upon which America was founded was based squarely on naturalistic reasoning and ancient, pagan precedents. Such reasoning and such precedents make America the distinctive and outstanding achievement of the Enlightenment and of secular, scientific reasoning—not Christianity. This same Christianity had had the better part of two thousand years to make itself felt politically with no outcome similar to the American Constitution.

You contend that the three pillars of America's foundation are "faith, hope and charity." However, all three of these "virtues" can be practiced by advocates of royal, theocratic or totalitarian governments, just as they were originally articulated by men who had absolutely no concept of limited government.

No nebulous "hope" in a better life-to-come informed the American Revolution, but a worldly demand for a better life right here and now. It was not the concept of "charity" which had been piously practiced by Christian monks throughout the Dark Ages which inspired the Founders, but the concept of worldly property rights and the pursuit of one's own earthly happiness, i.e., a form of ethical egoism, which lit their fuses. It was not "faith" but naturalistic reasoning, as we have seen, that served as the Founders' guide.

As our Islamic foes understand seemingly better than you, America has been the very symbol of worldly ambition, material success, the piling up of the "treasures" of this earth and the selfish pursuit of profit. This focus on the natural and the worldly explains why America has achieved such prosperity, just as the contrasting supernatural focus of the Christian Dark Ages characterizes its superstition and resulting misery.

The American revolutionaries ignored Christ's command to "render unto Caesar," refusing to pay even the modest tax from a king far less tyrannical than Caesar. They also ignored St. Paul's command to obey the governmental authorities placed over them. They ignored the Bible's plea for peace and the advice to "turn the other cheek" to coercive agents of the state. They were rebels akin to the Jewish zealots of Jesus's own time, the zealots of whom Christ was so critical.

No, it is not "faith, hope and charity" that uniquely distinguish even the American Christian, but reason, action and wealth-production that signal the distinctively American approach to their faith—with Reverend Ike advising his parishioners that "the best way to help the poor is not to be one of them," and Christian evangelists who argue for the "divine right to prosperity," notions so strangely out of step with the other-worldliness commended by the Sermon on the Mount.

If your purpose is to convince us that Christians have a special claim to the universal truths embodied by the American Constitution, then you are simply mistaken.

But of your goal is to persuade all Americans, not just Christians, of the virtues of the American Constitution, the free market, individual rights and individual liberty, then you must abandon the sectarian arguments which serve only to associate American liberty with mystical faith.

Sincerely,

James S. Valliant

James Valliant: jsvalliant@cox.net

SOLO (Sense of Life Objectivists): SOLOPassion.com


The things that are Caesar's

Richard Goode's picture

So, what were the things that needed to be rendered unto Caesar?

The things that are Caesar's.

"They oughtn't. Christ

Callum McPetrie's picture

"They oughtn't. Christ himself (it is alleged) opposed payment of taxes to Caesar."

So, what were the things that needed to be rendered unto Caesar? Enduring love and affection for the Roman state?

Callum

Richard Goode's picture

would it be true to say that Caesar is a legitimate governing authority, established by God?

No.

why ought Christians render anything to him, at all?

They oughtn't. Christ himself (it is alleged) opposed payment of taxes to Caesar. A libertarian role model! Innocent

Luke 23:1-2

Richard Goode's picture

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate.

And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king."

Richard

Callum McPetrie's picture

"Everyone must submit himself to the legitimate governing authorities, for there is no legitimate authority except that which God has established. The legitimate authorities that exist have been established by God."

Carrying on from Jesus' saying "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars; and render unto God the things that are God's", would it be true to say that Caesar is a legitimate governing authority, established by God?

If not, why ought Christians render anything to him, at all?

James: "Politics is a field

Newberry's picture

James: "Politics is a field of study like any other and, like any science, it transcends race and religion. Just as there is no "pagan -Greek" physics, "Christian-English" physics or "Jewish" physics, only the contributions of Archimedes, Newton and Einstein, so the concept of individual rights is non-sectarian in this respect, as well. All human beings possess inalienable "rights"—whether they know it or not, and whether they are Christians, Jews or ancient pagans."

Excellent comment.

Had to laugh here Goode

gregster's picture

"Is it even remotely plausible that thousands of 1st century Christians, whom were fed to lions by the Romans, were willing to die for a guy that never existed??? NOT a chance!"

They've been dying and killing in the name of a ghost.

"I have experienced miracles...

Marcus's picture

(and other such stuff) myself, witnessed them happen to others and read many accounts in other people's lives - things that worldly "reason" cannot explain."

What better reason to throw out reason and evidence with the bathwater and attribute your "unexplained" observations to an impossible, unknowable super-being. Just put your mind in park and forget any "real" world explanations.

Reverend B. Goode. It's hard to believe that the only reason he has hung around this site so long is that he has now found God (or Goode).

No wonder he is such a subjectivist-mystic and has a major problem with Lindsay and his arguments for absolute value judgements. And all this time I thought he was applying misguided reasoning and not faith as the basis for his arguments.

Shit! You learn something new every day!

Doug

Rosie's picture

Thanks for the compliment, Doug! However I wouldn't say that reason will not penetrate. Because I have experienced miracles (and other such stuff) myself, witnessed them happen to others and read many accounts in other people's lives - things that worldly "reason" cannot explain - perhaps the boundaries of what makes something "reasonable" are different between us. Mine move into the abstract, yours remain in the concrete. I don't think you are irrational. You are as I used to be. Completely unaware of what is possible.

"There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio."

I will punish you for your gluttonous desire to continue this conversation on the subject of sin tomorrow as it is a bit late now.

In the meantime, a question for you: Do you think humans are spiritual creatures?

From the Annals

Richard Goode's picture

As for thousands of 1st century Christians being fed to the lions, not a chance. Persecutions of Christians don't start until much later.

Christians were persecuted under Nero in 64 AD. This was documented by Tacitus, who wrote, "Nero... inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most michevious superstition, thus checked for a moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted... of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination when daylight had expired."

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer

Doug

Neil Parille's picture

Josephus' account of Jesus may contain a later Christian interpolation, but most scholars consider at least part of it authentic. See the careful discussion by John Meier in A Marginal Jew, vol. 1. Josephus also mentions John the Baptist and James.

No one claimed that Paul wrote Acts. The traditional claim is that it was written by Luke, an associate of Paul's.

Paul says in Galatians (I think) that he met "James, the Lord's brother." Obviously he believed Jesus a historical person.

-Neil Parille

The Jesus myth myth

Richard Goode's picture

Robert Price, G.A. Wells, Earl Doherty and others have pretty much destroyed the Jesus myth.

No, they haven't.

Robert Price says, "There might have been an historical Jesus". G A Wells "now accepts that there is some historical basis for the existence of Jesus". Earl Doherty's "treatment of the issue has made no impact on scholarly debate".

What other conspiracy theories do you subscribe to, Doug?

Rosie

Doug Bandler's picture

I don't even know where to begin in arguing with a person who believes in miracles and who can't see the horrendous evil of the very concept of substitutionary atonement.

It was all predicted prior to Jesus's birth in Isaiah. Do you know how many predictions there were, that they were each realised and the probability of this occurring?

That's because the NT was the product of Jewish Midrash. It was written deliberately to fulfill ancient OT prophecies. But you are a true believer Rosie and reason will not penetrate. In fact, I am sure you redefine reason to mandate that only believing in Christian theism is truly rational. To you, I am the one being irrational; an irrational skeptic who refuses to make the obvious logical inference that there is a god and the New Testament is the historically verified account of his relationship with his creation.

Update: By asking this question, I am proving that I am a glutton for punishment but here goes...

What is sin? How is it defined and what is its source? I always like to ask Christians how they see sin. Is it transgression of god's moral law? If so, how do we know god's moral law? From the Bible? From Christian theologians? From intuition? What is sin's relation to morality? Is all immorality sinful? Can you be immoral yet not sinful? Help me get a grasp of this thing called sin. I hear about it a lot from followers of the Cult of Christus.

Testimonium Flavianum = Later Christian Edit

Doug Bandler's picture

The Hebrew Historian Josephus, who was not a Christian, wrote about Jesus.

That Christians rely on Josephus us telling. The Testimonium Flavianum is considered by true NT scholars to be a later addition probably by Eusebius but definitely from some period two or three hundred years after Josephus. What Josephus wrote about Jesus goes against everything he was writing in his pro-Roman account of the Jewish War. Its a later Christian edit. Josephus didn't write it.

But all of this is covered in the works of Price, Wells and Doherty. The Christ myth started as a decentralized faith movement that was different all over the Empire. There was no historical Jesus until Mark (or whoever Mark was) created him. There is no historical Jesus in Paul. For Paul, Jesus is not a real historical figure but a spiritual figure gleaned from reading ancient Jewish scripture. The Gospel details of Jesus life and ministry are absent in Paul. All he writes about really is the Crucifiction and Resurrection. But for Paul, the Crucifiction happens in another dimension and not on Earth. The Catholic tradition of reading the Gospel account of Jesus back into Paul is deliberately misleading. You can not rely on many Christian scholars for historical research about the Historicity of Jesus.

As for thousands of 1st century Christians being fed to the lions, not a chance. Persecutions of Christians don't start until much later. In fact, there is no non-Christian 1st century account of Jesus. By the time you get to Pliny the Younger and Tacitus you are in the 2nd century and they mention a 'Christus'. They were repeating what the Christians of the time were saying and it is clear the Christ cult was in the process of developing.

I am convinced that rational NT scholarship is going to prove that Christianity was created out of whole cloth. Rational individuals know that even if Jesus lived he was just a preacher. But true historical scholarship will more than likely show that there wasn't even a real figure at the center of it all.

The author of the Gospel of Mark was the most influential fiction writer of all time. Sadly.

James

Sam Pierson's picture

An excellent letter sir!

Real Jesus

Richard Goode's picture

This assumes there was an historical Jesus which is very doubtful.

Wishful thinking, Doug. This copy and paste from metalslut1, meets your objection.

There's PLENTY of historical evidence Jesus existed. You must not read or something. The Hebrew Historian Josephus, who was not a Christian, wrote about Jesus. Jesus is also mentioned in the Gnostic writings, which are outside of the Bible. Is it even remotely plausible that thousands of 1st century Christians, whom were fed to lions by the Romans, were willing to die for a guy that never existed??? NOT a chance!

Rosie

Kasper's picture

Unfortunately, like my mother, your interpretation of god being all about love leaves most of the bible behind. It is unfortunate only when trying to pin you guys down in doctrinal nonsense. Mum is a very happy, positive, loving and generous women and I suspect that you are at least not some christian moralizer who goes round bible bashing everyone.....

The letter is on this thread: http://www.solopassion.com/nod...

Kasper

Rosie's picture

Who was her letter to? How would I locate it on this site, do you know? A search for ??????what???????

And why did she accuse him of being an alcoholic and not to be trusted? Rather a strange claim to make from nothing I would have thought. You may not know of course. There may well have been communications between them to which you are not privy.

Did she meet him ever?

How do you know her statements and his being removed from speaking at TAS have a causal connection?

Doug

Rosie's picture

You seem to have missed the point in each of the stories listed in your number 1. Not only do you seem to have got the point of each story quite wrong but you do not seem to understand the nature of a loving God. A loving God is not someone who gives sweeties and chocolate every day and does not punish wrongdoing and disobedience. Like a human parent. I don't know whether you have children but, if so, do you raise them without punishment/consequences for bad behaviour and disobedience?

One who believes in collective punishment (the flood),
It was said that all people other than Noah and his family were evil and God was sorry for his creation. He saved Noah and his family because they were the exception. The wages for sin are death of course - changed somewhat since Jesus as He has taken that wage upon himself.

punishment of the innocent (story of Abraham and Isaac)
You will need to explain what "punishment" you mean here. Abraham was not punished but blessed. A son at 99 years of age! If you are referring to God testing Abraham's obedience by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, this request was withdrawn.

, punishing ambition (Tower of Babel),
Punishing worshiping other Gods. This was supposed to be the building of the celestial city for Marduk, the supreme Babylonian deity.

punishment of the lust for knowledge (the story of the Apple),
Punishment for disobedience.

2. The sinfulness of man - Why is man sinful? Because he is non-omniscient. Sin and the entire Christian ethics pits man against his own nature.

Man is sinful only when he sins. He may succumb to temptation. The Christian ethics do not pit man against his own nature, they seek to develop the best in his nature. They seek to provide a kind of heaven on earth if obeyed by all.

3. The revelation of God in the world - The uniformity of nature be damned. Walking on water, turning water into wine, loaves of bread that multiply at will, virgin births, resurrections, all of this and more is all true. Paranormal phenomena do occur in this worldview and non of it is contradictory. Its all valid evidence for a supernatural realm.

The list you quoted is not the revelation of God in nature. These are not ordinary events. These are miracles performed by Jesus to illustrate he is the Son of God. He reluctantly turned the water in to wine at his mother's numerous requests. She naturally knew His divinity from the outset with the angel coming to her and the virgin birth. If you read the story and put on the Jewish mother's NY accent, it is really rather funny. The stereotype of Jewish mothers has not changed!

4. The reality of miracles - See above.
Ditto.

5. The incarnation and virgin birth - See above. BTW, how primitive are virgin births? Couldn't Christianity come up with something new?

Please provide the list of these stories of a virgin birth.

You seem to think that these miracles somehow make Christianity unreal. It was all predicted prior to Jesus's birth in Isaiah. Do you know how many predictions there were, that they were each realised and the probability of this occurring?

In terms of the Bible and its truth, this looks at it from an archaeological perspective. Although there have been many doubts about the Bible even from this perspective, each truth has been verified. The famous archaeologist, Sir William Ramsey, set out to prove the New Testament wrong and was surprised to find its every claim verified. He became a Christian on the strength of this alone.

6. The substitutionary atonement of Christ - Eat that wafer and drink that holy wine!

This is symbolic.

One man died for your sins dammit!

It is plain that you do not understand the rationale for this.

BTW, think of the very concept of this. One man was made to suffer for the salvation of an entire species; a species that is inherently corrupt by its very nature. Think about the ethical implications of this. Christianity elevates suffering and sacrifice - i.e. altruism - to a cosmic level.

This is not the point of Christ's death and resurrection.

How is Glenn Beck or any Christian going to challenge a socialist like Obama when his moral ideal is based on a story like the Christ mythology, i.e. the "suffering servant"?

Again, you do not understand the point of Christ's death and resurrection. Not sure where the "suffering servant" comes in to what you are trying to say but if you mean that socialism and Christianity both aspire to caring for one another then be assured one can look after others without a socialist government.

7. The resurrection of Christ - More miracles. And don't let it be forgotten that resurrected man-gods were a dime a dozen in the ancient world. They were literally on every street corner.

To which many myths are you referring?

The difference here is that it was a reality witnessed by many.

8. The Great Commission - Christianity is evangelical by its original intention. As Lindsay says, Christianity is a malignant superstition that is eternally fighting to regain cultural dominion.

Is this relevant to your first statement to which this is number 8 on the list?!

This and more is what is built right into the Christian religion. Imagine the cognitive destruction rot like this does to a human brain let alone to human psychology, especially if it is taken seriously. Christianity, in the end, is the story of a human blood sacrifice offered to propitiate an angry god. It is primitive and vicious.

Actually, what you have said is rot! Where do you find Christians offering human blood sacrifice to propitiate an angry god?!

But I'll end with this thought. What can we say about today's "liberals" or leftists as they should be called? What is today's leftism? How about this: it is a Christian sect. It is Christianity without the Christian god but in its place a secular alternative. Or how about this - it is a Christian heresy of sorts. A heresy that shares the same mystical, irrational foundations as its hated theological parent.

Interesting thought.

I too will end with an idea. Listen to this.

Rosie

Kasper's picture

The letter Ms Branden wrote is on this site somewhere. I don't know where but I have sighted it. She has accused Lindsay of being a raving alcoholic to be untrusted and discredited him completely which has a lot to do with him being removed from speaking at TAS. I'm not bull-shiting you when I say this. Her attack on Lindsay being an alcoholic is vicious because it is incorrect and therefore a blatant lie. She used it to discredit him hoping to get him removed from speaking which is exactly what happened.

It would have been much better had she written to TAS and said please don't invite Lindsay because I think he is a dick... Hell it would have been honest.

Pacifism A-OK

Doug Bandler's picture

It means not to take revenge and enter into that battleground of fighting if someone does you a wrong.

Oh, so it only means suicidal pacifism. Oh, that's much better.

/sarcasm off

No Real Jesus

Doug Bandler's picture

It comes from Paul rather than Jesus

This assumes there was an historical Jesus which is very doubtful. Robert Price, G.A. Wells, Earl Doherty and others have pretty much destroyed the Jesus myth. Also, it is pretty much agreed by serious NT scholars that Acts was not written by Paul and was a later interpolation.

Regardless, reading into Paul some proto-libertarianism is pure hogwash and total desperation.

Linz

Rosie's picture

the lonely goblin scenario...gets bored with its own company, creates man and then has a hissy fit at him

Oh! So you think that your incorrect and ludicrous parody of Genesis makes Christianity vicious?! But it isn't even accurate or sensible!

damning most men to an eternity of torture

Most men? Not so. And man damns himself.

turn the other cheek

Why is this vicious? This command is never understood properly. It means not to take revenge and enter into that battleground of fighting if someone does you a wrong. It reinforces that your own behaviour is paramount. Advice that some would do well to take.

there are always two equally valid sides to every story..the Brandens have a point, etc. Ugh

Don't recall this as a tenet of Christianity! This is just someone's homespun philosophy isn't it?

So, Linz, you are unable to convince me that you are in any way well versed with Christianity or its tenets and you have not cited any Christian tenets that are vicious. You are therefore in no position to make any sensible (or insensible!) comments about it. You show about the same level of understanding for Islam as was evidenced by the brilliant expose on this site of your ignorance and unwillingness to learn about Islam. Despite this you still feel justified to vent your negative rhetoric about both religions!

which part of Babs's smearing of me do you consider to be true?

Linz, over the years I have read and viewed on YouTube much of what there is to read and listen to regarding the Brandens but have not come across any smearing of you. I do not know what your disagreement is about. I have been told that she has accused you of drinking too much. I can't imagine that this would be a smear of any weight however to create such bad relations. I can imagine it may have been a difference about something Ayn Rand said or did or her motives for it - or it may be that he/she/they have wounded your pride in some way. Shakespeare was on the mark when he wrote, "Vanity, all is vanity!" since, look a little deeper at most people's squabbles, this is often at its root. But whatever it was about it is not the thing itself but your reaction to it that is important. If they were wrong, dismiss it. If they were right about what they said, and you don't like what was said about you, correct yourself.

I have listened to Mrs Branden speaking and, for a woman whose husband neglected her both emotionally and sexually in preference to Ayn Rand and whose marriage ended as a result, she was remarkably generous in her applause for Ayn Rand. She had been very emotionally damaged it seemed (and rightly so) but she was able to isolate that aspect from all the attributes she still respected in AR. I liked and respected her for that. She also seemed honest and thoughtful about what she said.

Romans 13:1-7 (Goode News Version)

Richard Goode's picture

Everyone must submit himself to the legitimate governing authorities, for there is no legitimate authority except that which God has established. The legitimate authorities that exist have been established by God.

Consequently, he who rebels against the legitimate authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

For legitimate rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in legitimate authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the legitimate authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the legitimate authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Actions speak louder than words

Richard Goode's picture

St. Paul sure did [command us to pay taxes to tyrants].

Good point, Doug. This copy and paste from Roy Halliday's article, Christian Libertarians, meets your objection.

The strongest defense of government in the New Testament is in Paul's letter to the Romans in which he says we should pay our taxes and honor and obey our rulers, because they are ministers of God, and if you resist them, you are resisting God, and you will be damned (Romans 13). Paul's statement is quite clear and unequivocal, but there are reasons why Christians should disregard it: (1) It comes from Paul rather than Jesus, so it is not from the most authoritative source and (2) Paul ignored it himself.

For example, when Paul was in Damascus (Acts 9:23), the Jewish leaders plotted to kill him, and the governor under King Aretas had the walls of the city guarded in order to seize him (2 Corinthians 11:32-33), but Paul defied the law, and his Christian friends let him down in a basket at night through a window in the wall, and he escaped the authorities. Paul also fled from the authorities in Iconium (Acts 14:5-7), and he hid from angry Jews and government authorities in Thessalonica (Acts 16:4-7). He was not so fortunate at Caesarea, where he was imprisoned for 2 years for spreading illegal ideas. Finally, this outlaw's luck ran out completely when he lost his appeal to Rome and was executed by the "duly established" government.

Vicious Nonsense Indeed

Doug Bandler's picture

Here are some Christian assumptions. Think about what you actually have to believe in to be a Christian.

1. A personal and loving God so they say - One who believes in collective punishment (the flood), punishment of the innocent (story of Abraham and Isaac), punishing ambition (Tower of Babel), punishment of the lust for knowledge (the story of the Apple), etc..

2. The sinfulness of man - Why is man sinful? Because he is non-omniscient. Sin and the entire Christian ethics pits man against his own nature.

3. The revelation of God in the world - The uniformity of nature be damned. Walking on water, turning water into wine, loaves of bread that multiply at will, virgin births, resurrections, all of this and more is all true. Paranormal phenomena do occur in this worldview and non of it is contradictory. Its all valid evidence for a supernatural realm.

4. The reality of miracles - See above.

5. The incarnation and virgin birth - See above. BTW, how primitive are virgin births? Couldn't Christianity come up with something new?

6. The substitutionary atonement of Christ - Eat that wafer and drink that holy wine! One man died for your sins dammit! BTW, think of the very concept of this. One man was made to suffer for the salvation of an entire species; a species that is inherently corrupt by its very nature. Think about the ethical implications of this. Christianity elevates suffering and sacrifice - i.e. altruism - to a cosmic level. How is Glenn Beck or any Christian going to challenge a socialist like Obama when his moral ideal is based on a story like the Christ mythology, i.e. the "suffering servant"?

7. The resurrection of Christ - More miracles. And don't let it be forgotten that resurrected man-gods were a dime a dozen in the ancient world. They were literally on every street corner.

8. The Great Commission - Christianity is evangelical by its original intention. As Lindsay says, Christianity is a malignant superstition that is eternally fighting to regain cultural dominion.

This and more is what is built right into the Christian religion. Imagine the cognitive destruction rot like this does to a human brain let alone to human psychology, especially if it is taken seriously. Christianity, in the end, is the story of a human blood sacrifice offered to propitiate an angry god. It is primitive and vicious.

But I'll end with this thought. What can we say about today's "liberals" or leftists as they should be called? What is today's leftism? How about this: it is a Christian sect. It is Christianity without the Christian god but in its place a secular alternative. Or how about this - it is a Christian heresy of sorts. A heresy that shares the same mystical, irrational foundations as its hated theological parent.

Left-liberalism is a Christian heresy just like Arianism or Pelagianism were, although one could say not as benevolent. In the end, we still live in a world that is in the shadow of the Cross. Rand, IMO, is the way to come out from underneath that shadow.

What about St. Paul?

Doug Bandler's picture

Christ did not command us to pay taxes to tyrants.

St. Paul sure did. And he had no problem with slavery either.

Rosie

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Howso? (Please don't quote non-Christian acts done in the name of Christianity though. Stick to the tenets of Christianity and say what you think is vicious about it. I am intrigued.)

I've answered this before. Partly the viciousness lies in the militant stupidity of the lonely goblin scenario, whereby your hypothetical troll gets bored with its own company, creates man and then has a hissy fit at him. Partly it lies in your goblin's then damning most men to an eternity of torture. That is beyond vicious. That is beyond viciousness on super-stilts. It is unspeakable. You and Goode should be ashamed of yourselves for signing up to such cosmic sewage.

Then of course there's the inexpressible awfulness of turn the other cheek, there are always two equally valid sides to every story, the Brandens have a point, etc. Ugh!!

Tell me Rosie, which part of Babs's smearing of me do you consider to be true?

As Nietzsche said, Christianity is a rebellion by things that crawl on the ground against that which has height.

And Glenn Beck, Mormon, believer in crap-on-super-stilts, says this crap-on-super-stilts is the salvation of America??!! Please!!!

Linz

Rosie's picture

You just destroyed your case irretrievably.

"I don't want to be compassionate to the Brandens." Stamping foot. "I don't want to understand their position."

Oh dear.

Reminds me of the crowd in the square viewing the statue in the middle. "It's gold!" said they on the north side. "It's silver!" said they on the south side.

The statue was one half gold, one half silver. It just depended on where you stood as to how you saw it.

Vicious nonsense?

Rosie's picture

Howso? (Please don't quote non-Christian acts done in the name of Christianity though. Stick to the tenets of Christianity and say what you think is vicious about it. I am intrigued.)

Rosie

Lindsay Perigo's picture

And despite your claim that you could not be more loving, your heart would indeed change so that even the Brandens could, and would, be approached with compassion. Imagine that

You just destroyed your case irretrievably.

In all seriousness, Christianity is nonsense on super-stilts. Not just nonsense, but vicious nonsense. The spectacle of intelligent adults like you and Richard embracing it is truly depressing.

Linz

Rosie's picture

Jesus just told me that Slayer were sent as a foretaste of Hell. I'm alarmed enough to be contemplating conversion myself.

Then, logically, it would follow that you must already be a believer. Smiling

I think that if you studied the subject as passionately as Objectivism you would find it a hell of a lot more interesting and deeply richer. (The music, already beautiful, would take on an extra dimension also.)

And despite your claim that you could not be more loving, your heart would indeed change so that even the Brandens could, and would, be approached with compassion. Imagine that. Big smile

And furthermore Kasper

Rosie's picture

And furthermore, Kasper, this subject has been dealt with two times already that I can recall on this site. If you keep rehashing wrong interpretations as though they are correct you will be as Marc is from the M&M blog (the recent Easter blog). This guy has had his various and changing (!) claims that the Jesus story is a rehash of first, Horus, second, Krishna and third something else (can't recall) completely slayed by both Matt and an eminent theologian/philosopher from the USA. Despite this, and without posing ONE accurate analogy or authority to back up any of his statements (except to say that some people wiser than he have claimed this - duh?) vows to continue to rehash his ignorance on other threads. Complete intellectual dishonesty. I wouldn't like to see you repeat the same error of judgement. Smiling

This is a telling illustration of the bigotry of human beings. Nothing will change their minds even if sound evidence and explanation is put before them. They just go on repeating and believing their false beliefs because it doesn't suit them to do otherwise. It may require, God help them, a change of mind.

However, an intelligent truth seeker just seeks the truth without this sorry and limiting background of bigotry behind everything he hears.

My fist, on your nose - if

Richard Wiig's picture

My fist, on your nose - if the situation demands it.

Let's be having it, then - your scientific demonstration or proof that there are unalienable rights.

Aw Jeez(us) Goode ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You're no fun. Will you deny me the exquisite hilarity of "I once was lost in Humean scepticism but now I've found Jesus"? Come on man, share the rapture!!

And actually, Jesus just told me that Slayer were sent as a foretaste of Hell. I'm alarmed enough to be contemplating conversion myself.

Jesus outwits the Pharisees

Rosie's picture

1. This is Jesus cleverly playing with words to get out of a tricky political situation.
2. When he asks whose is the image on the coin (and remember it is a commandment of God's not to worship false images) the Pharisees answer him Caesar.
3. When he asks about the superscription (and the same word in Hebrew is a very solemn Judaic prayer) they read on the coin that it is Tyberius, son of the God, Augustus, owner of all things including peace.

OK, so far, we have Jesus pointing out the irony: (1) Tyberius, son of the "God" Augustus; Jesus, son of God; (2) God is the owner of all things but also this Tyberius claims he is the owner of all things.

The claims are mutually exclusive.

So when Jesus says render unto Caesar what is Caesar's etc he is saying "choose your allegiance and pay accordingly."

He has neatly removed himself from a troublesome political confrontation. He has not said, pay your taxes to Caesar. Indeed, how can you possibly think this, Kasper, when he is later charged with defying to pay taxes to Caesar as a result of this conversation?
I suppose it may be your reading of Justin the Martyr that leads you to believe this but this is, at best, controversial and the opposite view was taken by Augustine.

Linz

Richard Goode's picture

why don't you, instead of posting your usual cryptic smart-asseries, lay out your Credo on a new thread?

Too busy posting Christ's cryptic smart-asseries, right now. How about some Slayer, instead?

Goode

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Now that you've officially got God, Goode, why don't you, instead of posting your usual cryptic smart-asseries, lay out your Credo on a new thread? It's a challenge I've issued to Scherk, Parille, and now you. Scherk seems to be finding it beyond him; Parille would rather fixate on Rand's type-writer ... perhaps it'll be a case of third time lucky?!

Plain as day

Richard Goode's picture

In other words he took a look at the inscription and said yep, that's Caesars

No, the Pharisees and Herodians said that, not Jesus.

And they said unto him, Caesar's.

Plain as day.

It's right here under your nose

Kasper's picture

And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's

In other words he took a look at the inscription and said yep, that's Caesars you gotta give it over. Plain as day.

well, now

Brant Gaede's picture

It's just separation of church and state. Pay your taxes and say your prayers.

--Brant

Kasper

Richard Goode's picture

The relevant Bible passages are below.

It's as plain as day that Jesus doesn't say, "well the guy's face is on the back of the coin so give it to him."

Mark 12:13-17

Richard Goode's picture

And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.

And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?

Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.

And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's.

And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

Matthew 22:15-22

Richard Goode's picture

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

James

Kasper's picture

This is an excellent post. Articulate, logical and packs a great punch.

I have read it

Kasper's picture

and your escaping the fact that your interpretation was wrong. Read the whole answer on this issue not just one line.

If you're struggling to comprehend something written that is as plain as day then I can't help you.

Ayn H Rand

Richard Goode's picture

In response to a question put to him whether one should pay taxes... Jesus's dumb answer was well the guy's face is on the back of the coin so give it to him

No, Kasper. Jesus's actual answer was, "Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?" (Matthew 22:18)

Read the goddamn Bible. Failing that, listen to this. (Thanks, Neil.)

In response to a question put to him

Kasper's picture

whether one should pay taxes... Jesus's dumb answer was well the guy's face is on the back of the coin so give it to him..... Hahaha...

Who determines what the tax level is?

Caesar's government did.

How did the individual with the coins get the coins?

He earned them.

Who does the money belong to? The earner... But jesus looks at it, sees an imprint of Caesar and says give it over. Pay to him what is his. Meaning pay Caesar what ever he demands. One would think this was elementary. Jesus supported paying taxes blankly having made no provisions and thereby conceded the idea that man's property does not belong to him.

Kasper

Richard Goode's picture

The money is not Caesar's.

That's right, Kasper.

Jesus said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's." He didn't say, "Give to Caesar what isn't Caesar's."

Christ did not command us to pay taxes to tyrants.

Nope, wrong again Goode

Kasper's picture

Give to Caesar your accumulated material wealth as per his commands and give unto god your spiritually accumulated wealth as per his commands.

The money is not Caesar's. It is wealth earned and accumulated by its holder. To tell a follower to give that over to the authorities is to endorse the authorities and concede the violation of property rights.

Render unto Caesar

Richard Goode's picture

The American revolutionaries ignored Christ's command to "render unto Caesar," refusing to pay even the modest tax from a king far less tyrannical than Caesar.

Jesus said, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17)

This is an exhortation to respect property rights, and an endorsement of the separation of Church and state. It is not a command to pay taxes to tyrants.

Let's be having it

Richard Goode's picture

[Rights are] a scientifically demonstrable fact applicable to all men, and provable to any honest and rational man

Let's be having it, then - your scientific demonstration or proof that there are unalienable rights.

Good God, Goode's got God

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Unalienable rights are God-given.

Out of the closet at last! Eye

RG There's

Kasper's picture

your intrincism in all its shining armour.

Looking forward

Richard Goode's picture

I look forward to Dr. Goode's telling the thug holding a gun to his head that rights have never been demonstrated.

I look forward to Mr. Perigo's telling the thug holding a gun to his head that rights are "a scientifically demonstrable fact applicable to all men".

Were there any historical

reed's picture

Were there any historical mistakes in this Glenn Beck program?

Interpreting the Legacy

James S. Valliant's picture

The idea that America is founded on uniquely Judeo-Christian principles is a regular theme for both Beck and O'Reilly. While this does not deny a capacity to understand the Constitution, at some level, by others, it suggests that Biblical belief is its prologue, conditioning its interpretation. It seems to disqualify a non-theistic context for its interpretation. This is all that I meant and thanks for the chance to clarify.

Over the Top?

atlascott's picture

Would it be over the top to call him...

Dr. Senator Ron Paul, M.D.?

Or Senator Dr. Ron Paul, M.D.?

[Just being a brat over here...]

I think we agree

atlascott's picture

There is no question in my mind that Beck believes that Christian beliefs are "better" than any other non-Christian belief.

Frankly, it would not much surprise me if he did say that ethics and integrity are impossible absent Christian beliefs. He is wrong, of course.

That is not the precise point I took exception to. The issue isn't whether Beck believes Christians are in a privileged or superior moral or ethical position. I mean, how could he hold religious beliefs and NOT? Isn't that a prominent feature of any religion? "We have it right and everyone is wrong."

The point was, I never have heard him say that only Christians or Jews could understand or appreciate the Bill of Rights, which is what you wrote [paraphrasing, of course]. I think we would all agree that those from a culture with a history of respect for individualism, for example, would more easily grasp the importance of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

But you are correct in pointing out that while there was an intellectual precedent for respect for individualism in America, those individualist ideas were certainly not a large part of Christian dogma. One need only review Miss Rand's [That one's for you Linz ;)] essays to correctly and easily identify on which side --individualism or collectivism -- religion falls.

Beck is a naked Christian. Everything about his ideas are colored by it. He is proud of it and he is honest about it, and that is to be commended.

It also makes him an objectively worse choice as a leader for individualists, as compared to, say [just pulling this one out of the air] Ron Paul.

True

atlascott's picture

"...and if Glenn doesn't/can't read it that's his problem—and America's"

This part is unequivocally true.

I also agree that his jumpy presentation style is either an adaptation to or symptom of Airhead America.

Of course, Ron Paul suffers from neither of these shortcomings.

But He Has, Scott

James S. Valliant's picture

Scott, last week Beck had on his show a scholar who argued that without the belief in God, integrity and ethics itself are impossible. Beck agreed. If this does not demote non-believers and carve out a privileged position for the God-fearing, I do not know what could.

Neil

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Instead of your usual wimpy simpering on behalf of Christianity, why don't you present a full-blown defence of your hero, Bishop Berkeley? On a separate thread. I promise I'll blue-sticky it. That promise will hold good even if I have to wait as long for your apologia as I apparently have to for your humanity-diminishing Brandroid soulmate Scherk's.

Glen Beck

Neil Parille's picture

. . . is a Mormon, a rather unusual offshoot of Christianity.

BTW, I'd recommend Ed Feser's recent book on Locke.

-Neil Parille

Rights

Brant Gaede's picture

Rights are a human invention validated by referencing human nature. This is true of true philosophy generally, rights being a part of that.

--Brant

James

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Don't worry about being nay-said by Ron Paul supporters or Humeans. Your letter is brilliant, and if Glenn doesn't/can't read it that's his problem—and America's. It's more likely that he can't rather than won't, since by his own admission he can't pay attention, which is obvious from his cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof style of presentation— which is the reason I don't watch him, since we have enough antsy autists right here to keep me occupied.

The proper upshot of this letter would be Glenn's interviewing you on his show. I'm not holding my breath. But know that regardless, you're right on the money. I look forward to Dr. Goode's telling the thug holding a gun to his head that rights have never been demonstrated.

An Objection

atlascott's picture

"...one need not be a Christian or a Jew to grasp and to agree with the American Bill of Rights."

No, but it is a mistake to fail to note historically that it was within the context of an essentially Christian nation (or more accurately, a nation with a culture which sprang from and was suffused with Christianity and Christian ideals) that such conceptions and documents were posited and written.

I also note with some alarm that this is a "straw man" statement, James. I do not think that Glenn Beck ever suggested ANYWHERE that only Jews or Christians could grasp or agree with either document.

I will agree with you that having, for example, a devout Muslim grasp and accept these concepts and documents is unlikely because there is no cultural precedent for them.

This is also precisely why our "nation-building" will, historically, prove to be a monumental failure in Muslim lands. Unless one counts a sham Democracy run in totalitarian fashion as"success."

I agree for other reasons which you outline in your article that Beck is quite mistaken as to they "why's" of American history. That is why, should HE run for President and be elected, he would be a MUCH WORSE choice for America than Ron Paul, who generally keeps religion in its place (a private matter, not to affect policy decisions or governance overtly).

Beck is nowhere near the level of thinker or scholar as Ron Paul. I respect that, unlike so many on Fox News, Beck is not always a blanket and blind supporter of the GOP, but he comes pretty close.

Ron Paul ALWAYS calls it like he sees it, and that, my friends, is called true integrity. Beck should direct his massive audience into unequivocal support of Ron Paul and the Tea Party. It is time for a new, small government third party in American politics.

Problem?

Richard Goode's picture

Rights are a natural fact and, thus, can be discovered through observation and reason

[Rights are] a scientifically demonstrable fact applicable to all men, and provable to any honest and rational man

Rights have never been observed; nor are they the posits of any respectable scientific theory.

Unalienable rights are God-given.

Well...

James S. Valliant's picture

That's a relief! Smiling

My motivation

Brant Gaede's picture

is getting thru any concrete in that guy's head. I don't care if it's you that does it.

--Brant

But Marcus...

James S. Valliant's picture

... that part contradicts Jesus himself.

I'll Bet You're Right, Brant

James S. Valliant's picture

But just reading it won't get you excommunicated or anything, will it? Smiling

Excellent letter James...

Marcus's picture

...I hope you have e-mailed it to him via the address on his website.

me@glennbeck.com

The part about the founders not knocking prosperity or wealth generation is not really necessary for Beck. I think he has made that point quite often himself.

Perhaps effective though, considering he will automatically agree with that part of your letter.

I didn't have time

Brant Gaede's picture

to read it either. Just rewrite it and try again; it'll get much better, I'd bet, at 1/3 the length.

--Brant
praying for a precis

Wade into them!

Ross Elliot's picture

It was an open letter.

As I said here, "Your real target is the sort of person who is always present at any social gathering or in any forum—the quiet observer."

Well...

James S. Valliant's picture

You are probably right about the demands on Mr. Beck's time, Ellen, but we can hope, and, in any case, others may benefit from some extended reflection. Smiling

"*humans are so constituted*...

Ellen Stuttle's picture

...as to require a respect for their rights: that is, if they are to survive and flourish."

I think that states the "essence" of Rand's claim that rights are conditions of human (by which I think she meant in the context rationally-functioning human) survival.

The problem I see with your letter, James, isn't whether your argument is correct but whether you seriously have an expectation of its being read by Glenn Beck.

Your writing at such length is especially counter the goal if you hope to reach someone as undoubtedly busy as the ostensive recipient.

Ellen

James...

Ross Elliot's picture

...just terrific. A wonderful retort.

"...contemporary political conservatives in America like yourself seem determined to drain all of the natural reasoning and natural law out of the Founders' case for natural rights."

They really have to or their entire raison d'etre becomes terminal.

I have a suspicion that Beck sees the founding of America as a unique synthesis of freedom and religion. I further suspect that his Mormonism plays a large role in that belief.

Jesus James!

Olivia's picture

Absolutely brilliant letter and sooooo relevant to Beck's lessons. I think they're a great use of media in America today, but his mistaken premise that Christianity is what guided the hand of the Founding Fathers to enshrine life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has become painful to watch.

What a letter! I think Beck is considered enough to actually ponder it too.

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