Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Falwell's Visual Hallucinations

Apparently, Jerry Falwell has begun having visual hallucinations. In this column, he says:

Our founders were men who explicitly embraced Judeo-Christian principles in
the founding of this nation. Even those who were Deists openly recognized the
need for the citizenry to fall to their collective knees and beseech God's
favor. They understood the need to recognize God in our Constitution, in our
courts and in our schools.

As pointed out by Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars, if the Founding Fathers saw such a need to "recognize God in our Constitution," why didn't they, oh, say, recognize God in our Constitution? In fact, the word "God" does not appear anywhere in the United States Constitution. Falwell must have had a visual hallucination or something to think otherwise.

Or, rather, he might be doing what many far-right Christians like to do, to intentionally conflate two different things. You see, the Declaration of Independence does mention "God," but the Declaration has no legal power. The Constitution, as noted above, does not mention "God," but is the basis of American jurisprudence. So, by a simple sleight of hand, Falwell and others like him claim that "God is in the Constitutition" even though they very well know "God" is mentioned in the Declaration and not the Constitution. This is called "plausible deniability," you see. If challenged, Falwell can simply claim to have made a mistake. "I meant Declaration, not Constitution. It was just an error."

Yeah. Right.


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