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Mr. P distorts American law and history - again


Guest Melanie
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Guest Melanie

On a blog that apparently is open only to people who agree with a certain narrow point of view, Kearny’s most notorious teacher has lifted a single paragraph from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address to argue that American law is built on the idea of “natural rights.” Here is the paragraph.

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”

Well now, he wouldn’t be Mr. P if he didn’t omit everything that didn’t suit him. Here is the statement in context.

“We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom--symbolizing an end as well as a beginning--signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

“We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”

Kennedy was making the case for opposing Communism. Understandably, he was using every tool at his disposal to make that case, and to gain the confidence of a nation that had elected him by the narrowest of margins. He was a new president, the youngest ever elected and the first Roman Catholic. He had to overcome considerable religious prejudice and bigotry to win the office. His biographer, Theodore White, estimated that Kennedy lost seven to eight million votes, net, solely because he was Catholic. This wouldn’t be the first time an elected official pandered to prevailing sentiment.

So to understand what Kennedy meant by that one paragraph, we must understand the context of his remarks, and we must also look at what else he had to say about the relationship between the state and religion. This is from his famous address on September 12, 1960, where he sought to assure the American electorate that he would not be the Pope’s puppet. Note, and weep, how far we have fallen from the noble ideal expressed in the first paragraph.

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

“I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

“For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

“Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.”

Well, OK, but what about this statement, at the end of the first paragraph of Kennedy’s inaugural address: “For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.” That should settle it, right? The Constitution prescribes the oath of office, where the president is required to swear to God. Problem is, the Constitution does not say that. Article II stipulates the language of the Preisdent’s oath or affirmation: “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’"

In other words, the framers specifically provided that the President of the United States need not swear an oath. He may affirm, just like any humanist, atheist, agnostic or secularist of any stripe would do. They were specifically envisioning that a person who did not believe in “God” might become president.

There can be no mistaking this fact. The framers were very specific: “Oath or Affirmation”, “swear (or affirm)”. The framers thought this was very important, so in Article VI of the United States Constitution, they wrote no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

This is what is under direct attack today, with politicians all but forced to say “God bless America” at the end of every political speech, and with the religious right voting for candidates specifically because of their religious beliefs and practices. This is exactly what John Kennedy warned against in his historic address of September 12, 1960. In referencing "the people who might elect him," Kennedy was observing that the Constitution cannot be safeguarded if the people do not understand what it means, or choose to cast it aside.

If this continues, the grand and noble experiment that is the United States of America will end. The religious right, including those who insist despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary that the United States is legally a Christian nation, will have undone it.

It’s endlessly fascinating to me that Mr. P wants to promote his views, but he doesn’t really want to discuss them, certainly not with an adult, or for that matter with anyone who can effectively talk back. If he changes his mind, I have no doubt there are plenty of people who would rise to the “challenge.”

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Well now, he wouldn’t be Mr. P if he didn’t omit everything that didn’t suit him. Here is the statement in context.

Melanie, since when context started to matter to you?

Context did not matter to you or all the others when Mr. Ps words was taken out of context.

I guess its only ok when you and the LaClair followers do it. Right? :)

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Well now, he wouldn’t be Mr. P if he didn’t omit everything that didn’t suit him. Here is the statement in context.

Melanie, since when context started to matter to you?

Context did not matter to you or all the others when Mr. Ps words was taken out of context.

I guess its only ok when you and the LaClair followers do it. Right?

Are we going to start that again? His words are recorded. Nothing was taken out of context.

As to his latest comments, he just picks and chooses whatever he thinks suits his purposes. He shouldn't be teaching history if he can't be objective about it.

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Guest Keith
On a blog that apparently is open only to people who agree with a certain narrow point of view, Kearny’s most notorious teacher has lifted a single paragraph from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address to argue that American law is built on the idea of “natural rights.” Here is the paragraph.

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”

Well now, he wouldn’t be Mr. P if he didn’t omit everything that didn’t suit him. Here is the statement in context.

“We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom--symbolizing an end as well as a beginning--signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

“We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.”

Kennedy was making the case for opposing Communism. Understandably, he was using every tool at his disposal to make that case, and to gain the confidence of a nation that had elected him by the narrowest of margins. He was a new president, the youngest ever elected and the first Roman Catholic. He had to overcome considerable religious prejudice and bigotry to win the office. His biographer, Theodore White, estimated that Kennedy lost seven to eight million votes, net, solely because he was Catholic. This wouldn’t be the first time an elected official pandered to prevailing sentiment.

So to understand what Kennedy meant by that one paragraph, we must understand the context of his remarks, and we must also look at what else he had to say about the relationship between the state and religion. This is from his famous address on September 12, 1960, where he sought to assure the American electorate that he would not be the Pope’s puppet. Note, and weep, how far we have fallen from the noble ideal expressed in the first paragraph.

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

“I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

“For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew— or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

“Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.”

Well, OK, but what about this statement, at the end of the first paragraph of Kennedy’s inaugural address: “For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.” That should settle it, right? The Constitution prescribes the oath of office, where the president is required to swear to God. Problem is, the Constitution does not say that. Article II stipulates the language of the Preisdent’s oath or affirmation: “Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’"

In other words, the framers specifically provided that the President of the United States need not swear an oath. He may affirm, just like any humanist, atheist, agnostic or secularist of any stripe would do. They were specifically envisioning that a person who did not believe in “God” might become president.

There can be no mistaking this fact. The framers were very specific: “Oath or Affirmation”, “swear (or affirm)”. The framers thought this was very important, so in Article VI of the United States Constitution, they wrote no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

This is what is under direct attack today, with politicians all but forced to say “God bless America” at the end of every political speech, and with the religious right voting for candidates specifically because of their religious beliefs and practices. This is exactly what John Kennedy warned against in his historic address of September 12, 1960. In referencing "the people who might elect him," Kennedy was observing that the Constitution cannot be safeguarded if the people do not understand what it means, or choose to cast it aside.

If this continues, the grand and noble experiment that is the United States of America will end. The religious right, including those who insist despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary that the United States is legally a Christian nation, will have undone it.

It’s endlessly fascinating to me that Mr. P wants to promote his views, but he doesn’t really want to discuss them, certainly not with an adult, or for that matter with anyone who can effectively talk back. If he changes his mind, I have no doubt there are plenty of people who would rise to the “challenge.”

Melanie,

Excellent post! No doubt you will be attacked an harassed by those who do not wish to hear the truth. There seems to be alot of that going around. What I find most disturbing is that those same religious zealots, while much less perverted in thier methods, are no less ridgid in thier beliefs as the Isalmic terrosist that we are supposed to be fighting. If they are not willing to examine themselves and the rabidity of thier religious beliefs, how do they ever expect those of other beliefs to be any less rabid? Great post!

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Melanie,

Excellent post! No doubt you will be attacked an harassed by those who do not wish to hear the truth. There seems to be alot of that going around. What I find most disturbing is that those same religious zealots, while much less perverted in thier methods, are no less ridgid in thier beliefs as the Isalmic terrosist that we are supposed to be fighting. If they are not willing to examine themselves and the rabidity of thier religious beliefs, how do they ever expect those of other beliefs to be any less rabid? Great post!

Keith, I agree. The religious zealots used to argue that the greatest threat to civilization was "godless Communism." Now, with Communism essentially dead, what is the greatest threat to civilization? Islamic fundamentalism would be a good candidate, and Christian fundamentalism would be on the short list. So far, the Christian zealots are not as violent, but they are every bit as rigid. And what is their common feature: they are both rigid, dogmatic theologies.

What people like Paszkiewicz don't realize is that if they got what they say they want, they would be finished. Americans have always tried to have it both ways: to say we are all about religious freedom, yet at the same time to give lip service to a magical idea like natural rights. Paszkiewicz thinks one or the other has to give. I hope he's right, because if he is, his religion will fall apart as a cultural force so fast he won't know what hit him.

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Well now, he wouldn’t be Mr. P if he didn’t omit everything that didn’t suit him. Here is the statement in context.

Melanie, since when context started to matter to you?

Context did not matter to you or all the others when Mr. Ps words was taken out of context.

That's because that never happened, liar.

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That's because that never happened, liar.

Oh, it most certainly did happen.

Among the many examples, Paul LaClair tried to spin Paszkiewicz's statement (in part) "you got the big fish" into a confession. Listening to the office conversation in context the reasonable person should have absolutely no doubt that Paszkiewicz was referring only to Matthew LaClair's attitude toward the matter. Only one blinded by bias due to a son's involvement or a blatant liar would have made that claim.

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Come to think of it, I demand a sincere apology from Paul LaClair for his "big fish" misrepresentation, and that Kearny Baptist Church be contracted to hold ethics seminars in the LaClair household (with mandatory attendance for all living immediate family members) on an annual basis for the next 10 years.

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On a blog that apparently is open only to people who agree with a certain narrow point of view, Kearny’s most notorious teacher has lifted a single paragraph from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address to argue that American law is built on the idea of “natural rights.” Here is the paragraph.

Dear Melanie you little liar,

Where is the supposed argument presented, please?

Or is my viewpoint not narrow enough to allow me to view it? :)

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Oh, it most certainly did happen.

Nope.

Just go away, Bryan. No one cares about the opinions of a man who sincerely believes that doing what David Paszkiewicz did in class isn't violative of the Constitution.

Not a single person is agreeing with you other than the trolls. Give it up. You're wrong.

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Nope.

Just go away, Bryan. No one cares about the opinions of a man who sincerely believes that doing what David Paszkiewicz did in class isn't violative of the Constitution.

Not a single person is agreeing with you other than the trolls. Give it up. You're wrong.

I love the way you deal with the example (ignore it).

Your intellectual dishonesty shames you.

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