Here's a thought-provoking exchange from the comments on the Florida Citizens for Science site that deserves to be read by thinking people. The post to which the comments are filed has to do with the filing of SB 2396 in the state of Florida by state Senator Stephen Wise, who is already on the record as an ID-style creationist.
Wise essentially amends an existing law by making insertions at the very front of the law to add language requiring, well, this:
21 (a) A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the
22 scientific theory of evolution.
23 (b)(a) The history and content of the Declaration of
24 Independence, including national sovereignty, natural law, self
25 evident truth,
Now, this seemingly-innocuous language ('critical analysis') has been shown time and time again to be a dodge to give legal cover for science teachers to introduce unfounded and discredited creationist arguments under the guise of critical thinking. That's easy to establish for anyone who wants to research this further. The Panda's Thumb, NCSE and Florida native Wesley Elsberry all have some good stuff on this, if you're interested.
But the following exchange in the comments is really thought-provoking. Recall that Wise also adds some specific language about the Declaration of Independence, which I didn't initially notice meself. An observant fellow poses a question . . .
Patrick Henry: Strange to put so much emphasis on the Declaration, important as it is. What about the Constitution?
Glenn Branch (NCSE): Perhaps because the Declaration mentions “Nature’s God,” the “Creator,” and “divine Providence,” while the Constitution’s language is resolutely non-religious.
Patrick Henry: You’re right, Glenn, but the Declaration — although a splendid document, isn’t the law.
Dave Campbell: This is part of a continuing trend. Focus on the Family’s James Dobson was interviewed on Faux News a couple of weeks ago and quoted the, “…endowed by their Creator…” line from the “Constitution” in an attempt to support the inherently Christian nature of our government. His interviewer obviously noticed the erroneous citation (body language is wonderful) but kept his mouth shut. Creationists have been doing that a lot lately, quoting the Declaration of Independence to support their theocratic goals. Patrick Henry is (as usual) right. Great document, beautiful language, lofty ideals, and absolutely NO legal standing in the courts. It’s bad enough these people don’t understand basic biology. They can’t even cite (correctly) the nation’s foundation documents.
The appearance to which the last commenter alludes to may be this one, though Glenn Beck seems merely in a hurry to get to a commercial break to me. And it might be an error, but then it again it might be part of a deliberate strategy to reinvent our history to appeal to the 'persecuted religious minority' trope that the entire piece is invested in. But check it out for yourself, make up your own mind: the money quote, in response to a prompt from Beck, comes around 4:15 into the video. I'd embed it, but the thought of these two guys on my blog at the same time...well.....
But wait, there's more. Fresh off the presses, who should fall into the same ideological wheelrut but the country's most popular conservative radio shock jock (and some would say, most popular conservative with conservatives):
In this case, the 'money quote' occurs around 6:30 into the video. Now, this is actually a fairly well-delivered speech overall, unlike the self-indulgent style of his radio broadcasts, and I think you could make a case that Mr. Limbaugh is just confused. But, whether he knows his stuff or not, mixing up these two documents is going to be perceived for the conceptual bait-and-switch that it is. Here, of course, the minority group under siege is the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which somehow managed to control both the Executive Branch, the Supreme Court and Congress for six of the least eight years. Amazing how they became a persecuted bunch so quickly: I wonder how that happened.
Anyway, it's clarifying to see how easily all this stuff dovetails for some people. The same arguments that are used to justify creationism are the ones put forward on behalf of prayer in school and other issues to which social conservatives feel they should be privileged.