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COUP WATCH: John Ashcroft's speech at Bob Jones University -- From Red Rock Eat

by Phil Agre Sunday, Jan. 14, 2001 at 12:55 AM

When the Constitution was written, religious conservatives opposed it because, as everyone perfectly well understood, it did not create a Christian nation. Their arguments sound more or less identical to the arguments that their descendants make today, as for example in John Ashcroft's speech at Bob Jones University, enclosed.

COUP WATCH: COUP WATCH:  John Ashcroft's speech at Bob Jones University -- From Red Rock Eater News Service  
COUP WATCH:  John Ashcroft's speech at Bob Jones University -- From Red Rock Eater News Service

By Phil Agre

Fri, 12 Jan 2001 16:41:13 -0800

[When the Constitution was written, religious conservatives opposed it because, as everyone perfectly well understood, it did not create a Christian nation.  Their arguments sound more or less identical to the arguments that their descendants make today, as for example in John Ashcroft's speech at Bob Jones University, enclosed.  (On the depth of religious conservative opposition to the Constitution, see Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness, Norton, 1996.)  Having lost that fight, the opponents of the Constitution now take a different approach: they claim to have invented it.  The evidence being so overwhelmingly against them, they use bits and pieces of quotations to dance around the Constitution's straightforward assertion that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.  It's okay for them to hold these opinions.  That's what we're here for.  What's not okay is for them to be placed in charge of enforcing the laws.  Lately they have taken to accusing John Ashcroft's opponents of opposing him because he believes in God.  This is going to get worse before it gets better.

And let's Let's remember what "personal destruction" really means. It means circulating a videotape accusing a candidate of numerous felonies including murder.  It means bankrupting innocent people with bogus indictments and endless abusive investigations.  It means spreading dozens of factually false attacks on their character. That's what "personal destruction" means.  Telling the truth about a person's record is not personal destruction -- particularly when, as in the case of John Ashcroft, that person is a hardened practitioner of the arts of personal destruction himself.

AP article on Ashcroft's speech
   http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/politics/AP-Bush-Ashcroft.html

The Proper Standard for Ashcroft's Confirmation Fight
   http://writ.news.findlaw.com/lazarus/20010109.html

Conservatives Flex Muscles over Ashcroft
   http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2001/01/11/conservatives/

Conservatives Rally Around Ashcroft
   http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A49968-2001Jan11.html

Thanks to everyone who contributed.]

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Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 18:27:16 -0500
From: rachael.sunbarger@bushcheney.gov

Bob Jones University
May 8, 1999

Transcript of John Ashcroft's Remarks

Thank you very much, Dr. Bob.  I want to thank each of you for investing yourselves in the mission of Christ -- in redemption and forgiveness, and for preparing yourselves in the way that you have.

A slogan of the American revolution which was so distressing to the emissaries of the king that it was found in correspondence sent back to England, was the line, "We have no king but Jesus".  Tax collectors came, asking for that which belonged to the king, and colonists frequently said, "We have no king but Jesus".  It found its way into the fundamental documents of this great country.  You could quote the Declaration with me, "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights".  Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal.  And because we have understood that our source is eternal, America has been different.  We have no king but Jesus.

My mind thinking about that once raced back a couple of thousand years when Pilate stepped before the people in Jerusalem and said, "Whom would ye that I release unto you?  Barabas?  Or Jesus, which is called the Christ?"  And when they said "Barabas," he said, "But what about Jesus?  King of the Jews?"  And the outcry was, "We have no king but Caesar".

There's a difference between a culture that has no king but Caesar, no standard but the civil authority, and a culture that has no king but Jesus, no standard but the eternal authority.  When you have no king but Caesar, you release Barabas -- criminality, destruction, thievery, the lowest and least.  When you have no king but Jesus, you release the eternal, you release the highest and best, you release virtue, you release potential.

It is not accidental that America has been the home of the brave and the land of the free, the place where mankind has had the greatest of all opportunities, to approach the potential that God has placed within us.  It has been because we knew that we were endowed not by the king, but by the Creator, with certain unalienable rights. If America is to be great in the future, it will be if we understand that our source is not civic and temporal, but our source is godly and eternal.  Endowed by the Creator with rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I thank God for this institution and for you, who recognize and commit yourselves to the proposition that we were so created, and that to live with respect to the Creator promises us the greatest potential as a nation and as individuals.  And for such we must reacquaint ourselves daily with His call upon our lives.

Thank you.  God bless you, and thank you for honoring me by allowing me to stand with Asa [Hutchinson], Lindsey [Graham] and a great Governor.

(Applause)
 
 

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