Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

Fun debate Tuesday at 8: separation of church and State

Short-term it is easier to ignore people who hold abhorrent views than to engage with them. We like to remain in “bubbles.” I ask that people please watch the FB podcast “Mouthwash,” hosted by John Schmitz, Tuesday at 8 p.m., for a debate about separation of church and State.

My opponent will be Hamilton County minister Micah Beckwith. When Mr Beckwith ran for the 2020 GOP nomination for INCD5, his website noted his (1) “deep understanding” of U.S. history” and (2) how he wanted to “defend true CONSTITUTIONAL conservative values.”

As for history, his understanding does not seem very deep. He speaks of GOP leaders as having abandoned GOP “core values.” He means, as he said on a local radio show on March 29, the core values of “faith and family.” Undergirding it all is “conservatism.”

First, the GOP “was founded upon the sole issue of the non-extension of slavery.” Gilman, “The Origin of the Republican Party,” Wisc Hist Society, 1914, pp. 12-13. The GOP’s origins, as well as many of the policies it pursued for over a century, were progressive.

On 4/7/21, Mr Beckwith, on the same radio program, spoke of progressives posing a threat and a “mob” mentality. He said that, in the face of dictators Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini, FDR said we “have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Sorry Micah: wrong “fear”.

FDR’s inaugural address, given 3/4/33, was aimed at fear caused by the privations of what we call The Great Depression. Hitler, Chancellor of Germany for 34 days, had a military limited by the Treaty of Versailles. (That, Micah, was the treaty that ended World War I.)

Second, Mr Beckwith is enamored of the word “constitutionalism.” That is a belief close to, if not the same as, originalism, a philosophy under which judges should look only to the “plain wording” of The Constitution and “original intent” of the Framers.

If Mr Beckwith believes his supreme deity should control our government, he will have to cite something more than the “plain wording” of The Constitution. “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office...” Art. VI, cl 3.

The oath of office for the President contains no avowal to a deity. U.S. Const. Art. II, sec. 1. The House of Representatives “is open to merit of every description ... and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith.” Federalist, No. 52.

When Hamilton was asked why members of the Convention had not recognized “God” in The Constitution, he “allegedly replied, speaking for many of his liberal colleagues, ‘We forgot.’” Holmes, “The Faiths of the Founding Fathers,” 2006 ed., p. 133.

This debate should be fun. Mr Beckwith does not like progressive communists who seek to turn the GOP “blue.” I am a follower of Marx (Groucho was the smartest of Minnie’s boys) and John Lennon (see Tom Robbins, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”).

A matter of belief about our place in the cosmos is personal, and not to be propounded as a matter of State. The Framers had opportunity to create a theocracy. They did not and neither should Mr Beckwith.

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