Outrageous Outrage of the Day

The wingnut sites are all hyperventilating about President Obama’s speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, in which he ad-libbed a quote from the Declaration of Independence — and left out the words “by their Creator.”

The Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey Anderson, in a post dripping with horror, asks the all-important question: Does President Obama Think Our Rights Come from Our Creator?

On Friday evening, when President Obama addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, he quoted that passage as follows (on the clip at 22:30): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal [pause], endowed with certain unalienable rights: life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In Obama’s version, there is no “Creator.”

Only two plausible explanations spring to mind. One is that President Obama isn’t very familiar with the most famous passage in the document that founded this nation; that even when plainly reading from a teleprompter, he wasn’t able to quote it correctly. The other is that President Obama doesn’t subscribe to the Declaration’s rather central claim that our rights come from our “Creator” (also referred to in the Declaration as “Nature’s God” and “the Supreme Judge of the World”).

The religious right is kinda cute when they’re mad.

First of all, as I pointed out above, those words were not in Obama’s written speech — he ad-libbed them. It seems incredibly stupid to claim that this reveals some important fact about Obama, but hey — this is the Weekly Standard. It’s what they do.

But there’s a more important point behind this latest silly outrage, and it has to do with the constant efforts of the religious right to destroy the wall of separation between church and state.

Fundamentalists love to point to the Declaration of Independence to support their claims that the founding fathers intended the United States to be a Christian nation, because of passages like this one. But the Declaration of Independence, although it’s a stirring call to arms and a powerful statement of principle, does not carry the force of law.

When it came time for the founders to delineate those rights in an official, carefully worded legal document, they drafted the United States Constitution. And the Constitution, with deliberate intent, does not mention “God” or a “Creator” even once. It explicitly rejects the idea of an “official” US religion; makes it illegal, in fact.

The Weekly Standard seems to take it as an objective fact that our rights come from God, and wants everyone to be outraged at Obama for suggesting otherwise. But without the magnificent US Constitution, created by human beings who understood the perils of state-sanctioned religion, there would be no guarantee of rights whatsoever. And without the tools of law enforcement, also created by human beings, there would be no way to enforce these rights, or punish those who would take them away.

You may wish to believe that the rights enumerated in the Constitution were inspired by God (that’s your right, after all), but they were conceived and written down by human beings, some of whom were Deists who did not believe in the Christian idea of God at all.

This insistence that human rights can only be granted by God is one of the fronts in the religious right’s constant battle to delegitimize the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment; and that’s why they’re beating the outrage drum so hard over this.

Jump to top

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST

LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!

Recent Pages
Aye Pod
Local Birds
Some pictures taken on an outing in Paisley, camera is my new Nikon D5300 with 18-55mm kit lens. Great thing about pigeons of course is that they are practically tame and let you take their picture up close, so no ...

1 hour, 33 minutes ago
Views: 54 • Comments: 5 • Rating: 5
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
mishuga
Ted Nugent: Jew(ish Politician)s = Nazis
Ted Nugent singled out 12 Jewish-American politicians, complete with a graphic depicting each of the politicians alongside an Israeli flag, for supporting gun control and other crimes. The post, which has been shared more than 4,000 times and liked more ...

4 hours, 50 minutes ago
Views: 78 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Khal Wimpo (coatless in Vermont)
Carly Fiorina Drops Out. World Continues to Spin.
Yes, we're all so very shocked. Shocked that a pinch-faced woman whose entire soul just vibrated in the Key of Hate ... who cynically lied and misrepresented the CMP videos to try to snatch up the batshit crazy anti-abortion traffic ...

5 hours, 26 minutes ago
Views: 73 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Why We Need to Think Beyond Roe v. Wade - Pacific Standard
For the immigrant mothers—Dolores Madrigal, the lead plaintiff, and the nine others named in the suit, and countless others whose names we will not know—the story was more complex, the culpable more numerous. First, there were the doctors and ...

10 hours, 47 minutes ago
Views: 149 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
Are Pets Really Good for Us? - Pacific Standard
We just adopted a dog, meaning I'm now a pet owner, meaning I'm now responsible for another living creature. It's weird. Her name is Bella. She's a pit bull mixed with something that is not a pit bull, and ...

10 hours, 56 minutes ago
Views: 155 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 1
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 1
Thanos
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War - Big Game Spot
Choose your side with the latest preview for Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War," in theaters May 6! ► Subscribe to Marvel: bit.ly Watch more from Marvel's Captain America: Civil War now: bit.ly Follow Marvel on Twitter: ‪twitter.comLike Marvel on ...

2 days, 1 hour ago
Views: 343 • Comments: 3 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
DNA Study of First Ancient African Genome Flawed, Researchers Report
True science is often about finding errors, mistakes, and bad data and correcting it. As it turns out, the data produced by the program used to map Mota’s DNA came in a format that had to be tweaked before the ...

2 days, 1 hour ago
Views: 470 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 39 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
The NFL Wants You to Think These Things Are Illegal
The voiceover in the clip says: "This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent ...

2 days, 2 hours ago
Views: 620 • Comments: 3 • Rating: 3
Tweets: 93 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
Future Islands - the Chase
Filmed live at The Music Farm in Charleston, SC on April 14, 2015 by Allen Alcantara on a GoPro Hero4. US Tour Crew:Live Sound: Dan FromeLighting Designer: Phil WeinholtTour Manager: Allen AlcantaraKing of Shirts: Dan GaetaLive drums: Michael Lowry ...

3 days, 3 hours ago
Views: 329 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Thanos
Kimbra - ‘Goldmine’ a Day at Salvation Mountain Ft Nicholas Slick Stewart
My extremely talented friend Slick wanted to film a dance to Goldmine, a song from The Golden Echo that he was particularly inspired by. So on the day of my 25th birthday Kenny took us all to Salvation Mountain ...

3 days, 23 hours ago
Views: 398 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook

Shares: 0
Likes: 0
Comments: 0
: 0