Rev Micah Beckwith, one of my opponents n the May 5 GOP primary for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District, has shot several videos while driving around. One such video, dated October 24, 2019, after he decided to run, is titled “The Church’s role in politics.”
In that video he claims that those who say there is a wall of separation between church and State just don’t know our history. He quotes Thomas Jefferson a couple of times for the notion that “the church” provides the morality America was founded on.
Rev Beckwith’s assertion of a monopoly on morality is amplified when he notes you cannot be moral if you are a “Hindu, an atheist or a Jew.” WARNING: We should fear our - I side with Hindus, atheists and Jews - rights being taken away.
First, I spoke, years ago, with a woman who said under the theocracy her church envisioned, I could have whatever religious belief I wanted. She clarified that hers was not a religious belief because “we believe in god.” Do non-believers go to re-education camps?
Second, Rev Beckwith is the person who does not understand history. As Jefferson states in his 1785 “Notes on Virginia,” on Virginia laws against heresy, then in effect, could result in a “father's right to the custody of his own children ... being taken away ...”
In Indiana, a Beckwith-driven DCS could claim a child abused because that child was not properly baptized. Maybe Betsy DeVos is formulating - and carrying out - such policies now.
Second, ours is a secular government. Franklin’s proposal that each session at the 1787 Constitutional Convention begin with prayer was voted down. Collier, Decision at Philadelphia, 1986 ed., p. 162. The Constitution states: “...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Art. VI.
Third, the Framers proscribed affirmation to a deity as part of the oath of office for members of Congress and the judiciary. U.S. Const., Art.VI, cl 3. The oath of office for the President, likewise, contains no avowal to a deity. U.S. Const. Art. II, sec. 1.
Fourth, the founders of this country had many beliefs. Of 55 delegates at the 1787 Convention, many were deists, which denied the Divinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement of Christ, amongst other aspects. Holmes, “The Faiths of the Founding Fathers,” 2006 ed., pp. 39-40.
The founders had to include indigenous peoples and people held in slavery, all of whom held many religious beliefs.
Fifth - by what does Rev Beckwith mean when he talks about “the church”? There are many devout Christians today who reject the trump-ian form of Christianity - and read Rev Beckwith’s campaign website; he’s a member of dt’s cult.
Rev Beckwith says he’s scared people of his faith will lose their freedom to worship. In the name of freedom of religion, he would deprive that freedom to others. Jefferson’s “Notes on the State of Virginia” describes American history of religious oppression.
Rev Beckwith’s website states: “With a deep understanding of American history” he will “defend true CONSTITUTIONAL conservative values.” ensuring that our children and grandchildren will continue to have a home where freedom and liberty reign...”
Rev Beckwith has tagged me on Twitter saying: “... I’m glad you decided to fake it in the GOP primary. I’m gonna have a lot fun dismantling the stupidity of your progressive ideology. Can’t wait to see you on the campaign trail!”
I replied: “... I'd rather a person like you, who obviously hates so many (e.g. LGBTQ folks) views me as stupid. That's a compliment to me!”
Since that exchange, I have written that I shall be glad to debate Rev Beckwith. He has not replied. There is a town hall on March 16 in Hamilton County, but its hosts have said that is not for debate.
I am confident there are neutral places that would host such a debate. There even are people who would be able to moderate in impartial fashion. Will Henry did a fine job at the Cannabis Debates.
Rev Beckwith claims he is great at debate, probably from experience in college debate at Huntington University. I certainly hope he is better at debate than he is at American history and understanding the Constitution.
I am Mark Small. I am a candidate in the GOP primary for Indiana 5th Congressional District. The ignorance and bigotry that Rev Beckwith represents should be repugnant to us all. I approve of the content of this blog - hell, I wrote it.