Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Going back through American history to prepare for class provides a good opportunity to refresh the memeory, pick up new stuff, and weigh historical documents against today's wild misunderstandings of the "Founding Fathers" (mostly by right wingers too lazy to check for facts before they go off at the mouth).
Constitution of the United States, Article VI, Section 3:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
We may thank the Religious Society of Friends (aka Quakers) and Mennonites, among others -- plus Enlightenment ideals -- for this wise philosophy. An oath has overt religious overtones; an affirmation does not, but rather values civil society in its own right. The idea is to keep some separation between church and state, and to prevent the establishment of one officially sanctioned religion or sect. In Colonial British America, individual colonies tended to have an official religion (Church of England/Anglican or Puritan if they had one). The Church of England had been entirely a political creation via the dictates of King Henry VIII, thoroughly discredited in what became the USA during the American Revolution because of its direct connection to the Crown. No titles of royalty, no official religion and no official language for US Americans!
Today's Rune: The Self.