Tuesday, July 5, 2011

So is Michele Bachmann running for president as a Republican or as a Christian?

On Sunday, Michele Bachmann spoke during worship services at the Point Of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa. She mentioned the church had the same painting of George Washington praying at Valley Forge that she has hanging in her office. The historical fact that this didn't happen is, I think, emblematic of the disconnect between the Congresswoman and the concept of the separation of church and state. The painting was done by Arnold Friberg in 1975, as part of the run-up to our America's bicentennial. The myth was an old one: in 1918 the Valley Forge Park Commission denied a request by a patriotic organization to put a marker on the spot where General Washington supposedly was seen in prayer. After extensively investigating diaries, papers, reports and letters, the Commission found "in none of these were found a single paragraph that will substantiate the tradition of the 'Prayer at Valley Forge.'"
Now, should she have known that? Maybe not. Should it matter to her? I think so. Especially when she said this, during the worship service: "We too are at a crucial time today. And I think it is for us to remember, that if we do as Chronicles tells us, if we humble ourselves, and pray and confess our sins, and turn away from our wicked ways, and ask an almighty God to come and protect us and fight the battle for us, we know from his word, his promise is sure. He will come. He will heal our land. And we will have a new day. What he will do for one, he will do for all. And it is the same with nations as well. And as we seek him, he's there for us. I have seen it. I have lived that in my own life since I came to him, out of his grace, in his mercy, back on November first of 1972. He is not partial. ... He will do for you, and he will do for our nation."
Can I get an "Amen?" How about a, "Hey, woman, church or state. Pick one. It should be an easy choice. It's not a hard question. Roger Williams, pastor of the first Baptist congregation in the British New World, first used the phrase "separation of church and state" in 1644. Williams wrote, ""The church of the Jews under the Old Testament in the type and the church of the Christians under the New Testament in the antitype were both separate from the world; and when they have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the candlestick, and made his garden a wilderness."
Writing on The Atlantic website June 15, 2011, Garrett Epps (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/06/constitutional-myth-4-the-constitution-doesnt-separate-church-and-state/240481/) speaks at length about the right's inability to see a clear line.
If Bachmann truly believes she is the "chosen one," then get thee to a nunnery and devote your life to God. Otherwise,  brush up on your Constitution.

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