Saturday, February 25, 2012

Concerns about County-sponsored Bible-based constitutional law speaker unfounded; hardly mentioned God at all

News that the Carroll County (Maryland) commissioners had funded, and asked County employees to attend, a seminar taught by Bible-based constitutional law expert David Whitney, the pastor of a Pasadena, Maryland church and a lecturer for the Institute on the Constitution, which coincidentally happens to be based in Pasadena, raised concerns among, and protests from, the finicky folks who object to the mixing of religion and government.

Whitney, unlike other scholars who could have been asked to teach a Maryland constitutional law seminar, understands the importance of The Bible in American law and government. According to The Baltimore Sun, Whitney said before the seminar was held on February 24, "We will be looking at the language of our founding fathers who wrote they were 'grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberties' front and center on this document. The Bible is the source of the authority that they looked to."

Any concerns about the improper mixing of religion and government were obviously needless from the start, since being a constitutional law expert, Whitney knows, full well, that teaching government employees attending a government-funded seminar about how God helped write the Maryland Constitution is perfectly OK, since that's merely a factual retelling of its history, and has absolutely nothing at all to do with his or any other religious beliefs.

The Carroll County commissioners also completely understand the issue of separation of church and state, and so obviously would not mix the two. Commissioner Richard Rothschild said, "It is perfectly appropriate to teach a course which factually explains the role God plays in our constitution."

Reports after the seminar also confirmed that any concerns about violation of the principle of separation of church and state were totally unjustified. As noted in another Sun article, written after the seminar, Whitney made only "a few" religious references including his making clear that "Our rights come from God, not the government."

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