Barber: It’s a Secular Tyranny! »« Poker, Psychology and the Science of Tells

Fischer: Christmas is In the Constitution

Here’s an amusing blog post by Bryan Fischer arguing that Christmas is actually in the Constitution. I’m sure you missed it, as did most of us. It’s in there, he argues, because of the entirely perfunctory and irrelevant dating of the document “in the year of our Lord,” which was the norm on all official documents at the time.

Well, they can save their breath, for Christmas is clearly, flatly, unequivocally and unambiguously constitutional.

Uh, who claims that Christmas is unconstitutional?

In fact, Christmas itself is in the Constitution.

This is not even a matter for debate, for the Framers themselves dated this document, one of the two most important political documents in human history (along with the Declaration of Independence) from the very first Christmas. You could look it up.

In fact, I’ll look it up for you. Here’s how the Framers concluded:

“…done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names…” (Emphasis mine.)

By dating the foundational document of the greatest nation in history to the birth of Jesus Christ, the Founders essentially celebrated Christmas as they signed their names. Since the Declaration was also dated from the first Christmas, you can even say that the two most important political documents in history are in the nature of Christmas cards from the Founders to us.

Seriously? As Chris Rodda has pointed out, Thomas Jefferson signed documents all the time that contained the date in that same manner, yet he rejected completely the idea that Jesus was the lord of anything, saying he was nothing but a man and that the gospel writers were a “band of dupes and impostors.” It was just a standard way to end a document, just as we still often write dates as a certain year “A.D.” which means “anno domini” or — yes — in the year of our lord. Even atheists frequently use such dating. It says absolutely nothing about what someone believes.

It’s worth noting how deliberate and how majestic this all is. Jesus is referred to as “Lord.” They were acknowledging Jesus Christ as the true and rightful sovereign of this fledgling nation.

And they did not identify Jesus as “the” Lord, but rather as “our” Lord, each signer acknowledging his own submission to him as master over their own lives. And since they were acting on behalf of the whole American people, the Founders in essence were entering into a covenant with Jesus Christ as our rightful lord and liege.

Really? Even the ones who did not believe that he was anyone’s rightful lord and liege? And why didn’t they say anything remotely like that in the documents themselves? They left this “flatly, unequivocally and unambiguously” true fact to a cryptic interpretation of a single perfunctory line? Seems an odd thing to do. And why didn’t they bother to mention this in the Federalist Papers when explaining and defending the Constitution to urge its ratification?

Comments

  1. raven says

    “in the year of our Lord,”

    Which god?

    There are thousands of gods.

    These days, I’m going with Athena, Freya, Isis, Gaia, Estre, and Thor.

    They are a lot more appealing than the old xian Sky Monster gods.

  2. says

    Since they called it “September” they clearly entered in to a covenant with the Roman pantheon of Julius Caesar’s, pre-Jesus, era.

    And they, and I can’t stress this enough, used Arabic numerals. Think about it.

  3. John Pieret says

    Wasn’t the Declaration of Independence dated July Fourth? July was named by the Roman Senate for Julius Caesar becaue it was the month of his birth.

    Ergo, by Fischer’s “logic” the Founding Fathers endorsed a military overthrow of (at least nominally) a republican government and the eventual establishment of emperorships.

    Actually, I doubt Fischer would disagree … as long as the emperor was his kind of Christian.

  4. Moggie says

    You know who else used “in the year of our Lord” in official documents? The Puritans, who, both in England (during the Interregnum) and in New England, effectively banned the celebration of Christmas.

  5. rabbitscribe says

    “Uh, who claims that Christmas is unconstitutional?”

    I’m up for it, if it will make him gibber and froth more.

  6. blf says

    [The USAlienstani Constitution is] one of the two most important political documents in human history (along with the Declaration of Independence)

    Wow. Those are the “two most important documents in human history” ? What happened to, say, the usual wingnut favourite, teh wholey babble, or some plausible choices, such as Euclid’s Elements, Newton’s Principla, the Magna Carta, Terry Prachatt’s Discworld series, or so on…? (I apologize for the Eurocentric list of examples.)

  7. Sastra says

    Christians who stretch this far out to make a case regarding the relationship between church and state are probably the same folks who use really those bad ‘gotcha’ arguments against atheists.

    You know the ones I mean. Oh, right — you SAY you don’t believe in God … BUT you just used a dollar bill with “In God We Trust” on it. Gotcha! You SAY you don’t believe in God … BUT you just said “God bless you” to me when I sneezed. Gotcha! You SAY you don’t believe in God … but look, here again, you just now rolled your eyes and muttered “Jesus F. Christ Almighty.”

    Checkmate, atheist!

    The devil is in the details.

  8. blf says

    colnago80@9, Yes, I thought of Darwin’s Origin when hastily-composing my partial list of more-plausible examples, but excluded it because I was quite uncomfortable already with the British(mostly) Eurocentricism. That does not mean it is not a candidate (it certainly is!), but for the purposes of the point I was making, I’m more interested in examples / candidates from, say, the Arabic world. They had (and unfortunately, had is the correct word) fantastic centres of learning and preserved many of the still-known ancient (Indic as well as European) texts, but I myself am not sufficiently familiar with the texts from that area (or indeed, most areas) to enumerate any specific examples.

  9. Mr Ed says

    I looked over the whole constitution and I hate to say it he is right but his point is moot. Clearly the dating establishes Christian privilege but because the framers used Roman numerals that privilege only applies to citizens of the Roman Republic (citizens of the empire need not apply.) The right to pray at will, imprison gays and ban women’s healthcare is guaranteed to those born in Rome, before Augustus of a certain class.

  10. cgm3 says

    So if they’d just dated it “the Seventeenth Day of September in the Twelfth Year of the Independence of the United States of America”, the wingnuts would acknowledge that this was meant to be a secular nation? Darn, looks like the Founding Fathers fumbled the ball on that one.

  11. blf says

    So if they’d just dated it “the Seventeenth Day of September in the Twelfth Year of the Independence of the United States of America”, the wingnuts would acknowledge that this was meant to be a secular nation?

    No. As previously pointed out they used Roman numerals, “September”, and the magic sky faeries own language, English, just like the probably mythical carpenter’s probably mythical alleged son spoke! So there. Q.E.D.

  12. samgardner says

    Fischer forgets that it’s dated that way in the body of the text of the Constitution, but that the separation of church and state we’re talking about is in the First Amendment. The Constitution does have that phrasing in it — but not so the Bill of Rights…

    As the amendments are updates, well… Fischer is incorrect regardless. Though I agree even his original premise is faulty.

    Bill of Rights

    The Bill of Rights: A Transcription

    The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

    Congress of the United States
    begun and held at the City of New-York, on
    Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

  13. Al Dente says

    Using Fischer logic I declare the U.S. Air Force to be unconstitutional. Article I gives Congress the power to raise and support armies and navies and Article II says the President is Commander in Chief of the army and navy but nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is an air force mentioned.

  14. says

    The obliviousness to human nature is really annoying. I use pounds and feet as units because they’re familiar and used by the people around me, not because I think it’s superior to metric. I use American cash because sometimes it’s more convenient or because some vendors don’t take checks or cards. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything on the money.

  15. raven says

    Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

    This was when Paganism superceded xianity and became the US state religion.

    Wednesday is named after Woden, another name for Odin. And March is named after Mars, the Roman god of war.

    And mostly these days, my currency is a square of plastic that says “Visa” on it. I’m not sure who this god Visa is though.

  16. Larry says

    I have to agree with Fischer here. I’m pretty sure that you will find all the letters that spell christmas somewhere in the Constitution. With a pair of scissors, you could cut them out and paste them onto a sheet of paper to spell it, sort of like an old-timey kidnapping letter. Clearly, the writers of the document were conveying the importance of xmas by doing this. I mean, you don’t think all those letters just appeared randomly, do you?

  17. dan4 says

    @7: Fischer is a jackass, but he wrote “political documents,” (you even quote him using that adjective), not just “documents.”

  18. Erp says

    Official documents generally used “in the year of our Lord one thousand….”. There was the more overtly Christian option of “in the year of our Lord, Jesus Christ one thousand…” which was not used in the Constitution.

    I’m surprised they don’t use the Treaty of Paris which starts “In the name of the most Holy & undivided Trinity” as evidence.

  19. Ruana says

    Yes, as a Brit I was pretty ticked off to see two relatively recent American documents declared ‘the two most important political documents in human history’. The Magna Carta also sprang to my mind, as did the Code of Hammurabi.

    I doubt Fischer’s target audience will notice the problem, though.

  20. robert79 says

    So… Every time he writes down “Wednesday” he is acknowledging that Wodan is his lord and savior. Everytime he mentions “Thursday” he is secretly worshiping Thor, and when he goes out for drinks after work on “Friday” he is actually making sacrifices to Freya.

  21. Kimpatsu says

    “…done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven…
    September comes from the Latin for “seven”, so perhaps the Founding Fathers intended Americans to worship the Olympian gods?

  22. dingojack says

    September, October, November and December were, respectively the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth months of the Roman year (pre 43 bce). No gods involved – unless Fischer is proposing worshiping mathematics.
    Dingo

  23. barry21 says

    Ostensibly, “our lord” is Jesus. The only source for learning about Jesus is the Bible. The Bible mentions both jack AND shit about Christmas.

    Just like the Constitution!

  24. mordred says

    @18 And mostly these days, my currency is a square of plastic that says “Visa” on it. I’m not sure who this god Visa is though.

    Mine says “Master”. Damn, seems I’m in trouble, I think I know Who that is.

    @25 and when he goes out for drinks after work on “Friday” he is actually making sacrifices to Freya.

    Frigg, actually.

  25. says

    “So if they’d just dated it “the Seventeenth Day of September in the Twelfth Year of the Independence of the United States of America”, the wingnuts would aL AN 2 DE LA REPUBLIQUE FR.cknowledge that this was meant to be a secular nation?”

    No, but they could have avoided ALL controversy if they had simply borrowed the Obamatimemachine and gone forward to 1793 to get a copy of the calendar of the French Revolution. The appropriate, religio-neutral date, “Veronique, Messidor,l an 2 e la Repuplique les États-Unis.

    How could that ever be a problem?

  26. caseloweraz says

    I would be not at all surprised if someone found the word hidden that way (although mildly surprised by the correct capitalization.)

    The name “Shakespeare” is hidden in the 46th Psalm. IIRC, if you count 46 words in from the beginning, you find the word “shake” and 46 words from the end gets you to “spear.”

    Supposedly this was arranged by the Bard of Avon, who took part in the Septuagint which created the King James Bible when he was 46 years of age.

  27. cptdoom says

    Wait a minute — what does 17 September 1787 have to do with the date of Christmas?

    About as much as December 25 of any year does. The child of the carpenter Joseph of Nazareth was most likely born sometime in the spring, not in the middle of the pagan festival of the Winter Solstice. And he was most certainly not born 1,787 years before the Constitution was signed; more like 1, 791 years, because the Roman Catholic Church (whose dating Fischer is advocating using) messed up the dating a while back.

  28. Michael Heath says

    cptdoom asserts:

    The child of the carpenter Joseph of Nazareth was most likely born sometime in the spring, not in the middle of the pagan festival of the Winter Solstice.

    We don’t have any empirical evidence Jesus ever existed. Therefore it’s impossible to determine when he was born. Certainly early Christians assigned a late-December date for reasons having nothing to do with empirical evidence.

    In addition there’s no evidence the town of Nazareth even existed in the period Christians assert Jesus was born, in spite of references to it in extant NT texts. If Jesus was actually real and we can glean some facts from the New Testament about his origin, he was probably born within a Nazirite community. That’s not a location but a Jewish sect. Some of them during that period traveled around earning money as carpenters while also preaching. At least some of them were also heavily influenced in Greek cynicism, which the NT has Jesus employing in some cases.

    Studies on Quelle, aka as the Q Source, are docs that no longer exist but appear to have:
    a) existed and,
    b) were used by some of the gospel writers,
    Quelle analyses provide more information on the Nazirites within the context of the NT if you’re interested.

Leave a Reply