Finding the Founding Fathers
Before I start, I would like to state, for anyone who does not know, that I am a conservative who typically votes for – and will likely continue to vote for – the republican party.
That being said, I would like to address and issue that I find often being espoused in both parties’ political agendas but is most prevalent on the conservative side. That is, getting back to the ideals of the founding fathers.
Too many churches have classes teaching congregants that the founding fathers were Christian men (or at least considerably sympathetic to Christian ideas) that set up a Christian nation with Christian ideas. And the implication of all of this is that America has seemed to so far, been a great notion, and that in order to maintain it’s greatness, Christians should continually fight to re-affirm, and re-legistlate the worldview of the founding fathers. Fine, I understand that someone might agree with the worldview of Washington and Adams and so on. But reverence for them is not really the issue at hand.
I often hear people asserting what the founding fathers did or didn’t think as arguments for how people should or shouldn’t think about America today. My question is: why are the founding fathers our perfect ideal for the way that our country should be managed? Isn’t it sort of an ad hominem to appeal to a fallible group of people regardless of what their ideas were?
It would make more sense to address the ideas, and not worry either way whether or not they came from the founding fathers. Simply put, I don’t care about what any of the founding fathers said beyond whether or not those ideas were good. Appealing to ideas on the bases of who thought them up is nonsense. What if there was a doctor who insisted on appealing to Hippocrates for all modern medical practices? Yes, he was formative in the field of medicine, but no, I don’t want him doing my appendectomy.
Likewise, I am not convinced that all of the ideas of the founding fathers were good ones. Slavery seems like a pretty good example.
It worries me that Christians like to hold up the “Christian” ideals of the founding fathers and sort of create a political canon to draw ideas from. These guys didn’t have everything right and although I am happy to consider their ideas, I am not interested in supporting them just because they were “what American was founded on.” To me, one of the best things about America is it’s ability to change.
Again, slavery seems like a pretty good example.