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 PageThis 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 Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
Tuffs Not Enuff PageThe tools of economics, science and law applied to well-known public policy issues. Where the Alt-Right and other interests sell doubt, we do what we can to construct sharp problem definitions and reach equally sharp conclusions. Evidence matters.
tuffsnotenuff
14 hours, 5 minutes ago
Views: 82 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
No, My Right to Abortion Did Not Cost Hillary the Election Yesterday, New York Times op-ed contributor and religious professor Thomas Groome popped up as the latest in a long line of bros getting it wrong at our newspaper of record about what cost Hillary the election. His take? Trump ...
Birth Control Works
17 hours, 32 minutes ago
Views: 155 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Fred Rogers Company Statement Regarding Federal Funding for Public Broadcasting For more than two generations of Americans, The Fred Rogers Company has partnered with CPB and PBS to share what Fred Rogers called an “expression of care” for children and families through broadcast and digital media as well as ...
Birth Control Works
17 hours, 51 minutes ago
Views: 128 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
What’s Missing in Our Coverage of South Sudan’s Civil War In South Sudan, a civil war has now entered its fourth year of tearing open ethnic divisions and displacing millions. Since its onset in 2013, the conflict has threatened to pave a path to genocide and has led to ...
Birth Control Works
19 hours, 29 minutes ago
Views: 135 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Faux-Science- -Inside the Academic Journal That Corporations Love - Pacific Standard A recent lawsuit against Monsanto offers a clear and troubling view into industry strategies that warp research for corporate gain. In a lawsuit regarding the possible carcinogenicity of the pesticide Roundup, plaintiffs’ lawyers suing Monsanto charge the company with ...
Birth Control Works
19 hours, 33 minutes ago
Views: 142 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
Cowboy Cookies Recipe - NYT Cooking Ingredients 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 tablespoon baking soda 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature 1 ½ cups granulated sugar 1 ½ cups packed light-brown ...
The Vicious Babushka
23 hours, 53 minutes ago
Views: 147 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Foreigners Behind California Breakup Effortssalon.com Two Brexit British operators hired to promote Cali-Divorce, Russia behind efforts on both Left and Right to break apart California. This is consistent with higher ups in the Russian Government and Military publicly stating their desire to break apart ...
Rocky-in-Connecticut
1 day ago
Views: 115 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Timothy Caughman’s Murder Was a Lynching in Trump’s America. Just another day in Trumpmerica. The first thread that binds this killing to past lynchings is Jackson’s motivation. The self-proclaimed white supremacist told police that he hated black men in particular for their relationships with white women, a harkening ...
Tarkloon
2 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 424 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
OneRepublic - A.I. (Audio) Ft. Peter GabrielGet OneRepublic’s new album ‘Oh My My,’ featuring ‘Kids,' 'Wherever I Go' and 'Let’s Hurt Tonight:’ smarturl.itListen to the Best of OneRepublic on Spotify: smarturl.it Music video by OneRepublic performing A.I.. (C) 2016 Mosley Music/Interscope Records vevo.ly
Tarkloon
2 days, 18 hours ago
Views: 311 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
While Gorsuch Was Testifying, the Supreme Court Unanimously Said He Was Wrong About 40 minutes after Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch began his second day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, all eight of the justices he hopes to join said a major disability decision Gorsuch wrote in 2008 was ...
Birth Control Works
4 days, 6 hours ago
Views: 432 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0