This cartoon is currently being shared all over the web among those antagonistic to the Tea Party, and those who are tired of religion being inserted into politics. I get it, I totally get it — and it’s got merit.
[EDIT at 12:40 p.m. PMT]The original post on Facebook said “This is awesome. Why are so many tea party supporters willing to disregard ACTUAL quotes from our Founding Fathers, and believe everything they hear on Fox News?”[end EDIT] But this was my response pointing out the errors and inaccuracy of it:
First off… do not equate Christianity with the TeaParty. It’s just not accurate. Second, there is a LONG history of religioun being used for Liberty. I don’t know if that’s a legit Thomas J. quote, but if it is he is completely wrong there. Lastly, his sentiment about the common law is true, there is plenty of examples of the early republic supporting Christianity directly, the biggest example being “The New England Way” which allowed citizens to choose which denomination they wanted their CHURCH TAX to go to. There’s way more wrong things than right things with this cartoon. I’m 100% for separation of church/state, and am 100% against the Tea Party — this is not the way to achieve either.
I’ll add just a little bit for clarity:
More specifically, the “Half-way covenant” is the particular aspect of the “New England Way” which was about church tax. The Wikipedia article doesn’t go into how this form of taxation lasted well past the Declaration of Independence, but Noah Feldman’s Divided by God retells an excellent history of the early church/state politics and includes significant primary research on the Half-Way Covenant.
I can’t reccomend Feldman’s book enough, truly excellent scholarly work. I plan to post a review here once the dust settles on this semester of work/family/study/life.