Following the Republican defeat in Colorado and across the nation, Mark Hillman, a leading Republican voice in Colorado, took Thanksgiving as an opportunity to remind his party of its Christian allegiance, despite the fact that the party’s faith-based politics has been its downfall.
Hillman notes that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution, yet he neglects to mention that the phrase appears in the letters of Jefferson, who might be taken as an authority on the nation’s founding.
Hillman argues that government is not and ought not be “insulated from faith” and that that various founders and political leaders referenced God and praised Christianity. But that’s hardly the same thing as proving that America was founded on Christian principles. Christianity gave the world centuries of religious oppression. It took the Enlightenment and its commitment to human reason to give us 1776 and the ensuing economic prosperity. Whether the the “Creator” of the Declaration is taken to be some distant God or the natural order, our nature as human beings grants us “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
“Liberty, equality and freedom have certain biblical roots,” Hillman proclaims — without offering a shred of evidence. Yet for every biblical passage that Hillman might reference endorsing such principles, I can point to ten antithetical to liberty. (Diana Hsieh recently cited a few examples.)
Hillman offers the following false contrast:
Despite our collective and individual shortcomings, Americans have prospered like no other people, but we are foolishly misguided if we believe that our freedom and longevity is the result of mere chance or that it can persevere without demanding sacrifice, humility and resolve from each of us.
It is obviously true that our freedom and longevity have nothing to do with chance. Instead, they owe their debt to a philosophy of reason and individual rights. If we wish to preserve our heritage of liberty, we must look to reality, not ancient mythologies of supernaturalism and their modern interpreters.