Curtis Dahlgren
"WE THE PEOPLE": A patriotic play in a public school!
By Curtis Dahlgren
April 26, 2017

"Only one in four can actually name one fundamental freedom protected by the First Amendment, and just 1 in 1000 can name all five freedoms protected by it." – David Barton, "The Jefferson Lies" ("Simpsons Outpace U.S. Constitution"; CBS News, March 1, 2006)

"I HAVE A DREAM": Barack O'Bama joins Franklin Graham and a Seventh Dayer at a "Renew America" revival meeting on the south side of Chicago near Hyde Park. "It is easier to believe that what has happened before can happen again than to believe what has never happened will happen," and America has seen Great Awakenings before, even in high-crime neighborhoods (last weekend, Chicago's "30-years war" by gang-bangers resulted in another seven deaths and 30-some injuries). Meanwhile, the media obsess about a few people getting ejected from airliners, like so many sports journalists over-analyzing an NFL game or the draft.

The same weekend, last, I attended a local theater group's musical which it held in the local high school. I had been thinking I'd never see such a display of patriotism by young people anymore in this lifetime. The play focused on the preamble to the Constitution and its clauses, such as "Provide for the common defense." I ran out of tissue for my tears. More such "theater" could fill a dire need in this country, unless anti-religion organizations sue to keep them out of public school buildings (the word "God" was used).

A day or two later, a federal judge on the Left coast issued an injunction against the President's executive order on "sanctuary" cities. Based on what? I'm also reading a book by Peter Marshall, Jr. and David Manuel, "From Sea to Shining Sea; God's plan for America unfolds." One of the most interesting chapters is about Chief Justice John Marshall, who was a cousin of Thomas Jefferson. The two men held diametrically opposing views on federalism and states' rights, but in the end both of their views became established precedent in part.

As for that judge in San Francisco, I wonder if he has ever read "From Sea to Shining Sea." In the early 1800s, the state of Maryland tried to impose a $15,000 annual tax on the Second Bank of the United States, which refused to pay it. The case ended up before Marshall's Supreme Court and the issue was "the supremacy of the National government, as against the dominance of State Governments." Daniel Webster defended the Fed bank. The decision on March 6, 1819 by the Court said, in the words of David Barton:

"In this case, Marshall directly confronted the disunionist sentiment growing among sectors of southern slaveholders. No section of America could be allowed to dictate to the whole of America or decide for itself which laws it would obey and which it would ignore . . . "

In 2017 there are again people in this country ginning up for civil war, through suffocating litigation figuratively, if not literally (yet). Again the anti-federalism activists are Democrats. And border security (common defense) is a legitimate function of the central government (unlike providing food, shelter, and medical care for illegal invaders)!

As for Thomas Jefferson, Barton's conclusion says, "Our examination of historical primary source documents has proven that the picture of Jefferson's faith and morals painted by critics today is often wrong":

1. DNA evidence has not proved that Jefferson fathered any children by slaves [he opposed the mixing of the races].

2. He invited multiple Christian denomination be an active part of [UVA] life and personally directed that religious instruction and activities occur on campus.

3. Jefferson did not write a "Bible" . . [but wrote] an abridgment of the New Testament for the use of Indians . . [and] a compilation of the moral teachings of Jesus for his own personal study . . [and] was a member of the Virginia Bible Society.

4. Jefferson was not a racist who hated blacks and opposed civil rights, but rather was a lifelong advocate of emancipation [you can look it up].

5. He invoked the "wall of separation . . only to affirm that government had no authority to regulate or prohibit religious activities or expressions . . and facilitated official churches inside government buildings.

6. Jefferson was not anticlerical . . [but] opposed those who supported the legally-enforced state establishments of religions that favored one denomination over another [he even recruited clergy to run for political office].

7. He was not a secularist or an atheist. He believed that God intervened in the affairs of men and nations . . [and might punish America for slavery; Virginia laws prohibited him from freeing the slaves he had inherited].

President Donald Trump is the first one in my lifetime, as I recall, to make the explicit statement, "God will protect America." I'm sure the heavenly Justices are still out on that one, but hold the thought anyway. We've had Great Awakenings before, you know.

P.S. A few words more about that misunderstood "separation of church and the public square":

"The greatest injury of the 'wall' notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights . . no amount of repetition of historical errors in judicial opinions can make the errors true. The 'wall of separation between church and State" is a metaphor based on bad history . . It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned." – William Rehnquist, former Chief Justice of Supreme Court

PPS: For further information, try reviewing one of my first columns, "Will the real Thomas Jefferson please STAND UP?" OR- ("History revision; everything you always wanted to know")


© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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