A long time ago, even before Ronald Reagan was born, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter:
Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. The passage reads, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."
That seems clear enough, does it not?
I mean the darling of the repubs is now (supposedly) Thomas Jefferson instead of Abraham Lincoln and here is one of Jefferson’s letters. This particular letter was sent to the elders of this small Baptist Church in direct response to a letter those elders sent to Thomas Jefferson. I mean old Tom did not wake up one day and think:
Maybe I should bother some Baptists today?
I suppose you could just challenge the provenance of the letter.
You could spend a lot of money researching the chain of custody of this letter low these years.
You could buy some handwriting experts and have them render their professional expert opinions that the letter is a forgery. It would be even better if the experts could somehow link the real author to atheism or murder or New York politics.
But the letter, regardless of parsing talks about building a wall of separation between Church & State. And the letter was sent by Thomas Jefferson to a church in Danbury.
So our third President was not making some side statement to reel in some votes.
He straight out wrote a church that there must be a wall built metaphorically between government and religion. People should have the opportunity to worship as they desire and the government should not interfere with that worship.
On the other hand, government should function without interference from various and sundry churches.
So I was scanning TPM today and found this gem:
…a GOP candidate (for a Delaware Congressional Seat), Glen Urquhart, appeared in a video yesterday in which he says that Thomas Jefferson was not the origin of the concept of "separation of Church and State." Urquhart says Hitler originated the idea.
"Do you know, where does this phrase separation of Church and State come from? Does anybody know? ... Actually, that's exactly, it was not in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. He was reassuring that the federal government wouldn't trample on their religion. The exact phrase 'separation of Church and State' came out of Adolph Hitler's mouth, that's where it comes from. Next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of Church and State ask them why they're Nazis."
How is anyone going to argue with this Urquhart or people like him? I mean you cannot send him to Wiki where there is a discussion of the Danbury Letter. He would just tell you that communists are in charge of wikipedia.
You could tell him to Google the Danbury Letter…and get hundreds of results; most sending you to articles discussing and reprinting the letter.
It seems like a small point but Gary Bauer, Glenn Beck, Michele Bachman, Sarah Palin, and countless others who compose the tea baggers and repubs will tell you that there is no Constitutional Wall separating Church and State.
And actually I have heard Beck within the last couple of years state that the separation of church and state is an invention of Adolph Hitler.
I think it is possible to have a sane discussion of First Amendment Guaranties. For heavens sake the Amendment attempts to present a balancing act between the power of the clergy and government in general. And so the courts over the last couple of centuries come across individual instances where freedom of expression might conflict with a demand that the government not establish a religion.
But when you straight out say that Hitler had this wall of separation idea before anyone else, when you deny that Jefferson wrote the letter to the Danbury Baptists, when you deny that discussions were held between Madison and Jefferson regarding this separation…I really have nothing at all to talk with you about. There is no common ground so debate would be impossible.
Then it occurred to me that this Beck and Urquhart focus on Hitler is somehow related to National Healthcare.
I read this in the Guardian today:
The worldwide cost of dementia this year will be £388bn in social care, unpaid care by relatives and medical bills, according to a report published today.There are 41 Republican Senators in the United States Senate. Every state is entitled to 2 Senators.
The organisation that commissioned it said dementia would be "the most significant health and social crisis of the 21st century".
The estimate in the World Alzheimer Report 2010 equates to more than 1% of global GDP. If dementia care were a country, it would be the world's 18th largest economy, and if it were a company, it would be the world's biggest by revenue, outstripping Walmart (£267bn) and Exxon Mobil (£200bn).
The authors of the report – academics at King's College, London, and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm – say governments worldwide must follow the example of countries such as England, France and Australia in developing national plans to tackle the problem. Research funders must dramatically boost support to match that provided for heart disease and cancer.
The report was commissioned by Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), an umbrella organisation of 73 associations, and follows a similar report last year that suggested there were 35.6 million people with dementia worldwide, and that this figure would increase to 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050.
So you begin a conversation with someone about Senate rules and protocols and your compadre says something like:
What is the name of the Senator who represents Guam?
Well, I mean it might be a good time to order a couple more drinks and discuss the fur business or the most recent entries on the porno sites.
How on earth can you argue with someone who is mentally ill? Especially when that someone is running for a seat in the U.S. Congress?
Dementia must be diagnosed early.
I think they should set up public establishments where individuals teach basic history and such to children before they grow up to run for Congress.
We could call them ‘instruction locales’ or something. Children would be required to appear at their local instruction locales five or six days a week for six hours or so and educated people could be hired to instruct these children on a variety of subjects including arithmetic and history.
That’s all I got.