Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm Spreads False Christian Nationalist History

A bill has been filed in the Oklahoma legislature that would require a copy of the Ten Commandments to be posted in every public school classroom. Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm appeared on “Victory News” last Thursday to defend the bill and did so by spreading false Christian nationalist propaganda.

“The Ten Commandments is not controversial,” Dahm declared. “Our entire structure of our government, our U.S. Constitution was founded by Christians on biblical principles. They’ll say that the First Amendment says that you can’t have an establishment of religion, but that’s specifically applied to the federal government. If you go back and you read the state constitutions—read the Virginia Constitution of 1776, they specifically say that people need to have moral Christian behaviors. They specifically mentioned Christianity in their state constitution.”

“This would be a state bill that would impact the state of Oklahoma,” Dahm added. “It is not establishing any specific religion, but it is relying on our Judeo-Christian principles upon which our country was founded.”

Predictably, actually reading the Virginia Constitution of 1776 reading that it makes no mention of Christianity and says nothing about the people needing to have “moral Christian behaviors.”

Virginia’s 1776 Bill of Rights, on the other hand, does mention Christianity, but only in the context of guaranteeing freedom of religion:

That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.

Interestingly, the only thing in Virginia’s 1776 Constitution that even touched on the issue of religion was a clause prohibiting members of the clergy from serving in the legislature, which was a relatively common practice during the founding era:

The two Houses of Assembly shall, by joint ballot, appoint Judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals, and General Court, Judges in Chancery, Judges of Admiralty, Secretary, and the Attorney-General, to be commissioned by the Governor, and continue in office during good behaviour. In case of death, incapacity, or resignation, the Governor, with the advice of the Privy Council, shall appoint persons to succeed in office, to be approved or displaced by both Houses. These officers shall have fixed and adequate salaries, and, together with all others, holding lucrative offices, and all ministers of the gospel, of every denomination, be incapable of being elected members of either House of Assembly or the Privy Council. (emphasis added)

As for the other claims made by Dahm, Prof. John Fea, chair of the History Department at Messiah University and author of the book “Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?” sets the record straight.

“This is just another example of the bad history emanating from the Christian Right,” Fea told Right Wing Watch. “As a Christian historian, it is embarrassing to see Christian lawmakers manipulate the past in this way to promote their political agendas in Oklahoma and elsewhere. Dahm does not seem to realize that the right of states to make their own decisions on First Amendment matters ended with the Civil War and the passing of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

“As for the idea of the Constitution founded on biblical principles,” he added. “Well, he can read my book.”

Time and again, Christian nationalists spread blatant falsehoods in defense of their ideology, leading one of wonder why, if their position is true, do they have to keep lying to try and “prove” it.

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The post Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm Spreads False Christian Nationalist History appeared first on Right Wing Watch.


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