Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Things that make you go hmmmm. . .

Did you catch Rep. Betty Brown's suggestion during the Elections Committee hearing in the Texas House of Representatives last week?

When confronted with witness testimony on the problems Chinese-American Texans currently face at the polls and the increased difficulties they could expect to encounter under a voter ID law now being debated, Rep. Brown said, "Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese - I understand it's a rather difficult language - do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?"

Media outlets across the country have picked up on this story, Asian American groups have spoken out against her and still, Rep. Brown continues to stand by her statement.

Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish quotes from the U. S. Senate ratified Treaty of Tripoli (1796-1797).

Interesting stuff.

Here are a few lines from Article 11 of the treaty:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Check out Sullivan's post here.


Quote without comment: It is important for you to control your own drawbridge. There must be times when you keep your bridge drawn and have the opportunity to be alone or only with those to whom you feel close. Never allow yourself to become public property, where anyone can walk in and out at will. You might think that you are being generous in giving access to anyone who wants to enter or leave, but you will soon find yourself losing your soul. - Henri Nouwen (as posted by my good friend, Mike Cope)



Amanda said...

Wow. I've heard many people comment about how immigrant and minority groups should learn english, but this is the first I've heard anyone say they should replace their given names with Americanized ones. What arrogance!

Chris said...

Our legal system is indeed based on the Jewish/Christian Bible as opposed to the Koran or any other "holy book." Easter and Christmas still have a special place in the holiday lexicon. The 10 commandments are still on the wall behind the Supreme Court justices when they take the bench. Our coins still have the motto "In God We Trust."

Alexis de Tocqueville observed more than a century and a half ago, "There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of man than in America." That is still true today (except for some far left liberals) We live, not under a Christian government, but in a nation where all are free to practice their particular religion in accordance with the basic principles of the nation, which are Christian in origin. It is in this sense that America may properly be referred to as a Christian nation.

Carl Pearlston

I tried to count all the references to God from the Founding Fathers but there were so many I lost count. Of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 29 were Anglican, 16-18 Calvinists, 2 Methodists, 2 Lutherans, 2 Catholics, 1 Quaker and only one open Deist--Benjamin Franklin, who attended public worship and called for public prayer.

I think it would be safe to say that Andrew Sullivan didn't know what he was talking about.

Steve said...


I think all Andrew Sullivan did was cut and paste what was said by our government right about the time, or earlier, than de Tocqueville's exuberance.

Regarding the 10 commandments; How many U.S. laws would you break if you broke all 10?

TwoCents said...


I see no reference to Christ or Christianity in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Quite the opposite - it's conspicuously absent. "God," yes, but few (and almost no one at the time) would have objected to that. Nor would a Muslim or Jew or most other even nominally religious people be offended.

This is actually striking given that all the founders were (at least nominally) Christian, as you point out. What I do see is a prohibition on the establishment of religion. I'm a Christian myself, but I'm glad the founders got to decide how to handle this issue and not you. I prefer my country to be decidedly secular. The notion that the US is a Christian Nation is a Twentieth Century right wing figment of imagination.

Chris said...

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are based on Judeo-Christian teachings. There was a Christian consensus in all our founding documents, laws, moral codes and institutions based on Christian principles from the Bible. Perhaps you should read our history a little more. This does not mean we have a state religion. Just as the Muslum religion has shaped the Middle East, the Hindu religion has shaped India, so Christianity has shaped our country.