Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throckmorton: "David Barton’s Biblical Constitution: What If The Constitution Really Quoted The Bible?"

Here. A taste:
If the Constitution included such language, immigrants would have rights they don’t have now and there would no need for immigration reform. Rather, the Constitution invests Congress with the powers to make laws and establish policies (which could do what this verse suggests if the political process leads to that end). 
If the Constitution quoted Deuteronomy 17:15, the nation would need to discern somehow who God had chosen to be king. Also, in Deut. 17:20, the Bible notes that the chosen king’s descendants will rule a long time if the king follows God’s instructions. Clearly, our Constitution does not reflect those Bible verses. Furthermore, one does not need the Bible to see the reasonableness of requiring citizenship as a condition of political leadership.


Anonymous said...

We can have moral government without quoting literally from the Bible.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Dr. Warren Throckmorton, psychologist, arguing the meaning of Scripture with David Barton, unaccredited history writer, is a matter of grand indifference to students of history.

Even if either one were a theologian of some stature, it would still be above [or below] the pay grade of a history blog.

FTR, as I commented at the Throckmorton blog:
Re Leviticus 19:34, Barton appears to be making a form of this argument:

"For people of biblical faith, the command is clear: "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). The question is, "Who is my neighbor?" The answer is found a few verses later. "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God" (19:34).

The command to love the "stranger," however, is not open ended. The Hebrew language of the Old Testament uses three words to describe strangers, aliens, or immigrants. Two words basically mean the same thing: nekhar and zar refer to foreigners whose allegiance remained with their native country. These people were denied the benefits of citizenship in Israel, and are not in view in Leviticus 19:34.

On the other hand, the Hebrew word ger, often translated "sojourner" or "stranger," as in Leviticus 19:34, is a person who had immigrated to Israel legally with the intention of becoming a citizen. Israel was to treat these immigrants as if "native" born, granting them benefits of citizenship, including the right to glean fields (Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 24:19–22), to receive a portion of the special tithe collected every three years for the poor (14:28–29; 26:12–13), to be paid in a timely manner (24:15), allowed to rest on the Sabbath (5:14), and to receive fair treatment in legal cases, without discrimination (1:16–17) or being taken advantage of (24:17–18; 27:19)."

These grenade-toss critiques tell the reader little. Barton is usually regenerating an argument he heard elsewhere, and the critic--or reader--will not know what he's talking about merely by flipping open a Bible.

This is an exchange of ignorances, another occasion where the reader knows less than when he started.

I don't find Barton's argument compelling, but it's not the non sequitur the Throckmorton post might make it appear to be. [See the comments--several of Warren's smug fans accuse Barton of just that.]