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: 2015-08-02 10:58 am PDT

LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!

Recent Pages
I Stand With Planned Parenthood
THIS Is What Institutional Racism Looks Like - Linkis.com
There has been a lot of talk about institutional racism recently with most of the focus being on the strong and important #BlackLivesMatter movement, but that's not the only way our society discriminates against people of color and sometimes ...

24 minutes ago
Views: 37 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
dharmamark
West Point Professor Calls on US Military to Target Legal Critics of War on Terror
More: West Point Professor Calls on US Military to Target Legal Critics of War on Terror

1 hour, 12 minutes ago
Views: 42 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Thanos
Alabama Flaggers Invite the League of the South to a Confederate Battle Flag Rally
The Alabama Flaggers, a "Southern heritage" organization, have invited prominent members of the League of the South (LOS) to join them this Saturday on the steps of the Alabama Capitol to demand secession from the United States, the latest ...

2 hours, 53 minutes ago
Views: 86 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
JmpMaster
Teachers as the Target in Schools and Media
As soon as you mention public education a barrage of soundbites and adages come flying from every corner at dizzying speed. Teachers are underpaid and underappreciated, teachers are all jaded cynics that don't care anymore, teachers are the cornerstone ...

22 hours, 43 minutes ago
Views: 200 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
VickieHaz
Spice Up Your Home Lighting
When many of us are in need of a new lamp, ceiling light or any other lighting application the first thing we'll do is jump in the car and head off to the nearest IKEA. This is the safest option ...

1 day, 4 hours ago
Views: 291 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 3 • Rating: 0
Bubblehead II
President Obama Remarks on Tenth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina
In case you missed the NOLA Presidents speech today. President Obama Remarks on Tenth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

1 day, 16 hours ago
Views: 282 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
Great White Snark
Burger King’s ‘McWhopper’ Dream Is Crushed, and It’s ALL McDonald’s Fault
McDonald's Snubs BK And Crushes Our 'McWhopper' Dreams It was to be the fast food deal of the century. A peace deal between hot grill rivals. But alas one side just decided no deal was good enough. Food inspectors ...

2 days, 16 hours ago
Views: 702 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 55 • Rating: 3
KiTA
Vester Lee Flanagan Guns Down News Crew on Live TV, Live Tweets and Films himself doing so.
Update: The shooter filmed himself performing the act and uploaded the content to several social media accounts. It was shared thousands of times before Twitter deleted it. Twitter auto-plays the video. Today would be a very good day to close ...

3 days ago
Views: 649 • Comments: 4
Tweets: 6 • Rating: 3
Lumberhead
Why the 2016 Republican Nomination Can’t Be Predicted Through History
This election season provides a fascinating frame to see if the polarization in politics, from Washington to the states to the public, is no different than what we have seen in the past; if the angry populism evident especially ...

1 week ago
Views: 772 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
No Country For Old Haters
Unraveling the Enigma of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, 20 Years Later
Twenty years ago, on August 21, 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy in North America. The stilt-legged tabletop gaming console, which offered a unique red stereoscopic 3D display, attempted to ride a wave of popular interest in virtual reality. ...

1 week ago
Views: 688 • Comments: 3
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 0
 Frank says:

The single-child yuppo-family that uses the child as a status object: 'A perfect child? Of course! We have one here -- he's under the coffee table. Ralph, stand up! Play the violin!'