After the last two years of half-hearted failure by Republicans to enact most of their campaign promises (Social Security Reform, letting judges get filibustered, not protecting the tax cuts), I swore I would never get excited about an election again. As I wrote on here, I was prepared to vote for the Republican candidates in my state, because they are sincerely pro-life, but without any hope of success, and not really expecting anything even if they do win.

I went to hear David Barton speak last week. Now I’m excited about voting, and more concerned than I was before about the poor prospects this year.

First: The event was at a mega-church. One ought to go to a mega-church every five years or so, just to remember why to stay away. They have a Starbucks in their lobby. Now, I ask you, is that a church? We’re supposed to be soldiers. And then they spent half an hour “worshipping” before Mr. Barton spoke. It was not worship. It was a music-and-dance party, and the words were just vaguely directed at God. Some of the other folks from my Presbyterian church were scattered around the auditorium, and the handful of us who were not up dancing and clapping our hands kept glancing at each other for moral support. Very funny. Perfectly stereotypical, on both sides. But I will say, when these folks started saying Amen to the whole lecture, especially the very sentences I liked, I felt much more kinship with them.

Next: The first half hour of David Barton’s speech was about the Christianity of the Founding Fathers. He talked about how the men whom George Washington credited with shaping the American Revolution were all ministers; how the sermons of a preacher in the 1680s, reprinted decades later, influenced the founders, and directly contributed to the language of the Declaration of Independence; how the Declaration lists restriction of religious liberty and prevention of the abolition of slavery as reasons for the colonies to separate from Britain; how black preachers participated in the war. He spent several minutes on Thomas Jefferson, who as a deist has been chosen by revisionist historians to be the most prominent Founding Father. Jefferson, two days after writing his famous “separation of church and state” letter, attended church services in the Capitol building. During his time as president, he helped arrange Sunday services to be held in both the War Department and the Treasury Department – the only two departments existing at that time. As David Barton loves to say, for an “enemy of God,” (as the ACLU bills him) he’s not doing too badly.

The second half was spent on the importance of voting. (He didn’t mention any names, for any IRS types out there. We wouldn’t have minded if he had.) At one point he said, “If the people elect Ahab and Jezebel instead of David and Solomon, the resulting laws are their own fault.” I love it that the group had enough of a similar background that he could insult the archetypal evil female politician (you know who she is) without mentioning her name.

This is what really got me excited: out of the nineteen freshmen senators elected in 2002 and 2004, 15 are pro-life. If we can just hang on this year, we can get the Supreme Court straightened out for a long while to come. Barton also mentioned the first anti-abortion laws (other than funding restrictions) to have been passed since Roe v Wade, instituted in the last two years: the Born Alive Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. I hadn’t realized how unique those were. Small steps, but in the right direction.

Also, the following religious liberty laws: The Mt. Soledad Cross Memorial being made federal, taking it out of an activist state judge’s jurisdiction; and a law protecting the right of military chaplains to pray in Jesus’ name, and say whatever else they desire without running it past a lawyer.

He said that in October, at the beginning of their new session, four members of the Supreme Court got together for two hours to pray that God would give them wisdom in their decisions. And they had a minister to speak to them. That sounds like the first meeting of the Continental Congress, where everyone got down on their knees and spent three hours studying the Bible and praying. I am sure that God will bless them – and us – for that. We all loved his description of the current constitution of the Supreme Court: four reliably good votes, four solidly bad votes, and one “squish” in the middle. <laughter> Poor Kennedy. Going with the flow is no way to get respect from either side.

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