Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Repeat After Me

The Bible is NOT the Constitution.

I ran across this Sinclair Lewis quote on
Water Weaving and decided I wanted to play around with my own design.
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

Bumpersticker available here.

Over at Howard Empowered People, there was a discussion about Law Professor Jamie Raskin's testimony before the Maryland Legislature. As reported in the Baltimore Sun:

The marriage debate dominated the opening weeks of the legislature after a Baltimore judge sided with 19 gay men and women, ruling that Maryland's 33-year-old law defining marriage between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. The discussion shows few signs of dying down.

Sen. Nancy Jacobs, a Republican who represents Harford and Cecil counties, engaged in an impassioned debate with Jamie Raskin, a constitutional law professor from American University, over the influence of the Bible on modern law.

"As I read Biblical principles, marriage was intended, ordained and started by God - that is my belief," she said. "For me, this is an issue solely based on religious principals."

Raskin shot back that the Bible was also used to uphold now-outlawed statutes banning interracial marriage, and that the constitution should instead be lawmakers' guiding principle.

"People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible," he said.

Some in the room applauded, which led committee chairman Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Democrat from Montgomery County, to call for order. "This isn't a football game," he said.

(Speaking of football . . . )

Bumpersticker available here.

Because I found variations of Raskin's quote, and it had a familiar ring to it, I looked around to see if I could verify the wording and source. I then ran across this on, where research followed similar quotes back through Bill Maher, with the earliest cited as originating from Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL):

"When I came here, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. I didn't put my hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

So, I did my sticker with Jesse's quote.

Bumpersticker available here.


O Ceallaigh said...

I wonder if Robert Heinlein had seen that Sinclair Lewis quote ... Scudder was elected in 2012? [shudder]

And I think the Founding Fathers would have been most unhappy to find that folk were swearing oaths on a Bible - that custom might have only come into force in the early 19th century. I wonder if Richard T. Hughes's recent book Myths America Lives By addresses that point ...

Karen said...

More great material, jc! ... as long as we have rethugs, there's a plentiful supply, eh!?!

jc said...

Thanks, karen.

o ceallaigh, I worked many years in a court system. The oath on the bible always bothered me, from the standpoint of separation of church and state. Occasionally, someone would ask to affirm instead, which is legal, but I suspect some people don't want to stand out and be different, so just go along with something they don't believe in.