At the risk of being redundant before I even complete my first sentence the senior Republican Senator from the now hopelessly MAGAed up state of Missouri is an absolute and thorough idiot.

If he is not an idiot for actually believing his recent misquotations attributing to Patrick Henry a desire to create a Christian nationalist republic despite all evidence to the contrary, which Hawley is too well educated not to know, but is simply trying to endear himself further to Trump’s MAGA base … in which case he is still an idiot for trying to ride that particular drunken tiger.

Conservatives love to cozy up to Henry, whose most famous words look so menacing crudely tatted onto a Gadsden Flag, and who, while being a prodigious speech-maker, did not bother to write much down for the record… they can mischaracterize him with relative impunity.

So, when Lord Haw Haw of the Ozarks either idiotically, or maliciously -I haven’t quite decide which- Tweeted out the following misattributed but purported Patrick Henry quote that he lifted from one right wing tract or another…

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” “For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

And then proceeded to guild that particular lie with his own a few days later when he uttered these words, which sound stylistically much the same as the half-a-Nazi misquoting Henry…

“There is not one square inch of all creation over which Jesus Christ is not Lord, the time for Christians to rise is now.”

Well, you just knew Professor Kruse wasn’t gonna let that lie fly.

Raw Story

“While Hawley’s proven to be especially inept at this game, this is a familiar routine by now,” wrote Kruse on his personal Substack. “Someone linked to the Religious Right claims that America really is, or should be, a ‘Christian nation’ and we’re off on a thrilling game of Quote/Counterquote as conservatives and liberals go on a scavenger hunt looking for lines from letters and speeches to justify their own position on the role of religion in American government. The wide range of opinions trotted out in these debates never leads to any consensus, which, of course, is why we play this dumb game over and over again.”

In reality, several founding fathers at all ends of the spectrum, from John Adams in the Treaty of Tripoli to Thomas Jefferson in the letter to the Danbury Baptists, made clear the laws of the country were not based on Christian theocracy and the law was entirely secular — but you don’t even have to look at them, Kruse said.

You can just go to the Constitution itself.“…

…”For the last two days, Senator Josh Hawley has been busy stepping on one rake after another, trying to find some quotation from the founding generation that supports a Christian nationalist vision of America,” wrote Kruse, concluding that there is no need to parse this or that quote to prove theocrats like Hawley wrong. “Show them the Constitution,” he said.

Quite right, Prof Cruse, and as we know all the MAGhats carry one in their pocket at all times.

Hawley is probably banking on their not being able to read it.

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  1. Yep. Also, in case the Jeebus Freaks didn’t get the message in the 1st Amendment, the main body of the Constitution quite specifically states their can’t be ANY religious qualification as a requirement hold any position or Office of Trust in government. We are, as Adams and others envisioned have been from the beginning a Naton of Laws. Not men (or women) and not from any “Savior Jeebus” or his daddy “God” up there in the sky either.

    Yes, I’ve been agnostic for decades but I remember what I was taught and the lessons those teachings of Jesus said I should try to live by. I don’t recall passages in the gospels about Jesus railing against Ceasar’s/Roman rule and trying to incite Jews to drive out the Romans or storm Pilate’s palace. Hell, he even told them to pay their freaking taxes to Rome – “Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and to God what is God’s. Pilate was quite willing to let Jesus off the hook, and even tried to broker that result rather than risk a potentially bloody uprising. It was instead Jewish leaders, threatened by Jesus’ message that felt threatened and engineered his downfall with the populace and ensured his execution. Jesus taught that the kingdom of God was within all and that to enter the Kingdome of Heaven people needed to love one another. to forgive, to as much possible help others no matter other’s station in life. That by following those rules, instead of the insane list of rules the elders had cooked up over so long a period of time was what God wanted. And cutting the fact cats out of the equation simply wouldn’t do as far as they were concenred.

    I think it’s fair to say that one thing the gospels teach us is that faith and government/rule are two different things. I’m quite sure today Jesus would meet the same hands and at the instigation of now Christian (rather ironic Christianity didn’t become a religion until after Jesus was long dead!) leaders because preaching the same message, including the “rendering unto Ceasar” part and yes, keep govt. and religion separate would mightily offend not God but faux Christian leaders.

    • Pilate was actually well-known to be a cruel and oppressive governor. If he hesitated to charge Yeshua, it was,a purely political move.And the carpenter was charged and tortured and executed under Roman law (Pilate was notorious for preferring crucifixion because it was a brutal death that took hours before the victim suffocated ago agonizingly). Blaming Jewish leaders tends to lead to Anti-Semitism.
      Most of the persecution of early Christians was under Roman law and differed greatly from emperor to emperor. Trajan was relatively benign. When asked by Point. the then above this of Judea, about how to handle recalcitrant Christians refusing to worship the emperor as required by law, told hi.They could pray to whatever god they chosr, just toss the incense and pdo.performative worship. I had to translate their correspondence in my third gear of Latin. Then you had Nero and Caligula who were imperial safdists

      • Well, I think we agree on the point that Pilate wanted the whole problem to go away, and likely hoped that Jeuse would if spared head off out of the city and not generate huge crowds that might get out of hand. Basically, he didn’t want to attract Rome’s attention by having to put down a large revolt with force. But yes, Rome ruled in a brutal manner in a lot of places. As for crucifixion it was used before Romans took it up as a form of execution that would get the message across to folks to stay in line. They worked to refine the technique to make it as cruel and painful as possible. Whipping someone wasn’t just for the “sport” of it but to open painful wounds on the back, which because the victim’s knees would be bent would cause them to involuntarily try to straighten up on the cross, rubbing those wounds along rough wood and keeping them open and seeping blood or ripping off scabs. I should also note they were good at keeping victims alive for days during a crucifixion. Forcing fluids into their mouths if they wouldn’t drink voluntarily. For someone to die in only five or six hours would have been rara and that either they had a physical condition that wasn’t readily apparent or those who “tended” to the condemned leading up to their suspension on a cross had messed up. Overdid the whipping and other beatings for example. Or, if accounts of Jesus having to drag his own cross through the streets (it wouldn’t have been an entire cross, just the cross beam that would have been hosted on a post set in teh ground and used over and over) can be believed he fell, and was helped up. One theory I saw (from a doctors who wrote a case study) suggested what seemed plausible – that given his condition after the floogina and beating and trying to keep that heavy wooden beam balanced on his shoulders he’d have hit the stones in the road face/chest first without being able to break his fall. The added weight of the beam would could have in turn cause a slight weakening or even very tiny tear in his heart which would have wound up failing and filling the pericardum (that sack around the heart. It would eventually burst at which point death would come very quickly. And a person who was still conscious would be fully aware something really bad had happened inside their chest and that all was over for them. Hence, according to scripture that final exclamation of It is finished, into your hand I commit by spirit.”

        Other than the bible actual credible written records made at the time are fairly sparse. But we have enough to have a sense of things in general and when folks were in trouble with authorities or cast off by society how cruel things could be. And that while sometimes people and groups of people were good to each other, sometimes they weren’t and in the latter case again the cruelty seems schocking. That I actually find surprising because I for one don’t think we’d gotten any better. Yes, there are now as then good people doing good things for others, but also bad people doing bad things too and the cruelty inflicted now is every bit as bad now as then. The only difference being it’s now possible to inflict it on a much wider scale.

        • Gillian probably had the same knee-jerk reaction that I did – and I’m not saying yo were suggesting anything like this, only that your words could be twisted that way (as has been proven for 2000 years, give or take a decade) – “O, dear God, don’t blame it on ‘the Jews’! The Jewish Leaders probably had about as much to do with the Jews as a group as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg (and Charles Koch and the Sacklers) have to do with regular Americans today!” I’m afraid I tend to over-react when anything that can be distorted, no matter how tortuously, into blaming Jews as a group for the crucifixion is said or written. And I’m quite confident you had no such intention.

          • Thank you for the vote of confidence. History teaches us crowds can be turned into mobs all too easily and incited to some things they later regret. I think that was the case here. After all, Jesus’ teachings did wind up resonating after his death and the Apostles kept spreading it. Enough that it took root, and a new religion was born. It should also be noted that for Jewish people Jesus is considered a great prophet, albeit not the Messiah on whom they still wait. From the time I was quite young, a quite patient lady (the mother of my oldest sister’s best friend – they lived a half block away) taught me some basic things about her faith. It was only when I got into my teens I realized the reputation and invluencee that family had in southern Illinois. They were such great people, yet so humble. I was truly honored when she (and her daughter) wanted to ensure that I would be the one to deliver Louis’ Masonic Rites (it was never really a question but they still inquired of Bill when making arrangments and she also separately asked me directly) when he died. I helped carry him to his final resting place, and again was honored to have been able to do so.

            We had some frank discussions about Israel and policy starting when I was still a kid in the latter 1960s. On some things we agreed and others not so much but the respect, and even some level of love was mutual. Oh, and as I grew up and towered over her even when in Jr. High (she was tiny) I was sometimes amused when her sons were acting up and she “got their attention.” Like any good mom she’d put up with a certain amount of nonsense but when she said to knock it off and they didn’t listen? My (for a male) equally dimunitive Senior Drill Instructor was the only other person I’ve ever known that was physically so short and slight of build who could in a second turn into version of the Incredible Hulk!

            I’ve never had issues with or prejudice towards Jewish people overall. I have however had strong issues with the Israeli govt. numerous times, and Israel’s version of RWNJ types. Speaking out with criticism is a recipe for being accused of being anti-Semitic. Coming across that way, however unintentional my original comment might have seemed stings some. But I don’t take offense at Gillian for taking me to task. She raised reasonable points in her measured criticism so I think even she thought perhaps her take might not have been what I intended. If her criticism was made in that spirit (and I believe it was) then I both accept it and will try in the future to be more clear in making a point that could be misconstrued.

    • Denis, it isn’t just the constitution or the various statements of some founders that attest to the concept if secularization of government. The entire era of the revolution provided a small window of opportunity to justify this act. First, the experience with established religions in most European countries, including the oppression of the Catholic bishops in Spain, France, etc, and the resultant oppression of dissenters gives amotivation, and then the whole Age of Enlightenment (or Reason), which many of the founders espoused, provided the impetus. The likes of Locke, Voltaire, Schiller, Hobbes, and other Europeans and among the founders, Jefferson, Franklin, Paine, Madison, Washington, and numerous others, while not rejecting the concept of God, did rejct established religions, mostly of the Christian variety in the colonies. They used reason to determine that as far back as DaVinci, the concept of traditional Christianity, with its hard to explain trinitarianism and the desire of leaders to impose “christian” standards on the entire population, actually went against the teachings of Jesus, and was, therefore, corrupt ant not fit for a reasonable society. Moral principles did not need priest to enforce them. They did reason out that the universe had obviously not come into existence by chance, but that as an intricate clock functioned accurately it was because of the existence of a clockmaker. Ergo, a creator to them had obviously been in charge of creating the world and its order, but then had withdrawn to allow the inhabitants to make use of it and keep it running, if they only would. Just as the clockmaker leaves his work in the hands of the owner to wind and oil and maintain he clock, once ser t in motion. And so, why would these men, after years of experience, and study of history, reimpose by constitution and law the very culprits they viewed as having impeded just and egalitarian social treatment of the ciizens within the country’s borders.
      Much of the constitutional frameork, and, sadly, its resulting difficulty in a fair interpretation, are mired in context. but that is also the beauty of it. Freedin of religion, speech and press, were guaranteed because if a long history of punishment of those who had the nerve to speak their minds in the face of officially opposiong views and policies. The right to bear arms in the form of organized militias for mutual protedction resulted from the parliamentary prohibition of such colonial organizations by Parliament, to keep the chance of insurrection in the face of unjust laws made thousands of miles away bu people who had no clue about the daily colonial life. And the list goes on, based on human liberties that were regularly trod upon by power hungry politicians in Britain and other countries. The founders saw these protections as a means to avoid the abuses of government officials. As a result, of their understanding of these principles, some of the provisions are too vague for our complex world and, therefore, open to extreme interpretation by politicians with an agenda. It is these special interests that Madison and Jefferson later warned us to control. However, with the powerful deliberately using these vague constitutional references to force their own interpretations, we have arrived at the current historical moment, with cooler heads quite hesitant to enter the fray, lest they be cut off. And so, our dilemma continues until some brave people who are not solely self-interested, come along in numbers and influence sufficient to change the worst excesses we now experience. We can only hope.

    • The problem is that we humans are short sighted. We think in terms of our own relief from current oppression. That is why John tells us, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament to come and save his people, not from current burden, but on the larger scale of eternity. That is why the Jews rejected him. They had no vision but for their immediate dilemma. But the history of the children of Israel is littered with similat situations. Th Bible is replete with stories of deception and petty squabbles among families, tribes, and countries. So there is nothing new when Jesus doesn’t “fix” everything by driving out the Romans. Someone else would be bound to come along and the cycle would begin once more. They whined about being slaves, they whined after they left, they whined about not having food, and they whined after God replaced manna with quails. And on and on. They simply neve got the message that the mission of Jesus was a whole different ball game, but the stadium was too big for them to notice details at a distance. It’s why so many people become agnostic or atheistic. Th big picture is difficult to grasp with our finite minds, and so we reject God because he/she is not taking care of our immediate problems or is letting us suffer woes of mortality. Maybe if we took time to realize that there are lessons to be learned that might carry into some other dimension of existence we only have a dim understanding of, we might work harder to find some joy in living and also the compassion to treat others as we want to be treated. It might also give perspective to why we go through the same historical cycles every few years of decades without profiting from the experiences of our ancestors.

  2. They do tend to cherry-pick (and seem to ignore the New Testament and, perversely keep misquoting the Old Testament while they decry Jews (whose book it actually IS).

    I doubt if they actually read this part from the Gospel according to John: ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from here’

    They also miss the fact that the ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ moved (via the Netherlands, back to England and then to America), not because they were being persecuted for their faith, but they simply couldn’t tolerate any religious freedom apart from their own version (which wasn’t very strong on the ‘freedom’ part. Or maybe that’s their version “Follow our teachings – or else”. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad move if they all decamped to some remote spot well clear of everyone else and set up their own colony where they wouldn’t have all those other people annoying them by NOT being religious bigots like themselves). But that’s really too much to hope for so they will keep spreading their version of the Christian message where ‘love’ is replaced by ‘hate’. Whatever happened to “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – or is that not their book?

    I come from a part of the world where religious hatred by even jellies was rampant – where you were asked, originally directly and later indirectly what religion you were: wrong answer and you didn’t get the job (the ‘indirect way was “What school did you go to?” and then “What games did you play at school?” – If you answered with a name that had a saint’s name, you were a Catholic as was playing Gaelic football or hurling where Protestants would have played soccer). They also controlled the government – to become a Unionist MP at Stormont, you had to be a member of the Orange Order (an organisation that, while proclaiming ‘religious freedom’ meant that THEY had the freedom – if you didn’t agree, tough luck)

    • The Dutch were and are very tolerant. The Pilgrims had to throw religious tantrums to get tossed out. They were anti-Semitic and bigoted about other Protestant denominations,let alone News and Cstholics.
      Thanks Gor the summary of Irish hidyory. Most Irish gamer icons know little if anything about the conflicts there. I usually have to explain Bloody Sunday to them, forget the Kilkenny statutes and 800 years of occupation One of my friends in the Society for Creative Anachronism did a persona of a Welsh archer at Aging jury. given land in Ireland for bravery. He said his persona had parents and grandparents had lived in Ireland for years and were Wells liked by the native Irish. I had to give him a quick summary. He knew nothing g of Irish history as to why he would have been heartily loathed: That land grant already had people living on it, which meant he was kicking Irish families ofc their land.

      • Actually they were never kicked out of either England nor the Netherlands – they simply couldn’t abide being surrounded by people who thought they were religious nut jobs and simply pulled stakes, leaving England for the Netherlands and then leaving there to return to England before deciding the only place they could get away from people who wouldn’t join their cult was America (and made such a mess of things that the Native Americans took pity on them, fed them and had their lands taken over as a ‘thank you’).

        Regarding ‘land grants’ in Ireland (mainly in what is now Norn Iron). This came from the ‘plantation’ of Ulster (the historical nine county province and not the six county statelet) occurred after the ‘Flight of the Earls’inb 1603 and the seizure of the lands of the Uí Niaill and Uí Dhomnaill (O Neils and O Donnells) and their distribution (about half a million acres) to Scots and English Protestants with County Coleraine (as it was then – now County Derry) being granted to the Mercers Guild of the City of London who immediately added ‘London’ to the original name. The main requirement for the settlers was they had to be Protestant and English speaking the latter being to drive a wedge beween the Irish speaking and Scots Gaelic speaking Gael).

        From there it rapidly went downhill.

        Parallels with the US? The religious bigotry has the underlying intention to force a narrow viewpoint of a supposed ‘Christianity’ on everyone who wants to remain where they are. If they don’t ‘fit’, then they are to be driven out (maybe not physically, but treated in such a manner that they have no choice and have to move to states where they are allowed to actualy exist as people until such times as the ‘moral majority’ (which is neither) take over and the process starts again. They won’t stop until the US becomes a theocracy unless enough people see what ios coming and actively oppose it

    • And these afe the same people who profess to believe hat every word in the Bible came directly from God and is inerrant. That is, unless they happen to disagree with that passage and can find one more favorable to their personal bigotry. They proclaim that Jesus is Lord, but choose the harsh Mosaic laws if they think their Lord is too kind to the folks they don’t much like in this world.

      • They even cherry pick which of the Mosaic laws and commandments they follow – tell them they aren’t allowed to eat pork or shellfish, that they can’t wear clothes made from mixed fabrics and have to be circumcised and see what happens.


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