Rep. Frank Wolf: First Commandment shows shining example of American exceptionalism

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  • Centerville Mom Centerville, UT
    April 16, 2014 7:37 p.m.

    Mister J:

    I don't know for sure if the United States is NOW a Christian nation, but a person would have to be ignorant of history to claim that America's founding was not based on Christianity and Christian principles. Here is a non-binding statement made by the Supreme Court in 1892:

    "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian....This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation....we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth....These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation." (Church of the Holy Trinity V. United States)

    All one has to do is read the words of Columbus, the Pilgrims, our Founders and founding documents, state constitutions, presidential addresses, inscriptions on buildings and monuments, etc. to see the evidence.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    April 13, 2014 9:53 p.m.

    American exceptionalism is rooted in the fact that we are, as President Kimball noted, an idolatrous people. Exceptionalism also is a cornerstone of American hegemony.

    No, courts don't threaten "the ability to display the Ten Commandments." What courts threaten is efforts to display the Ten Commandments to the exclusion of other viewpoints.

    re: "Any faithful student of American history should be able to point to countless examples when a simple turn of events would have resulted in a drastically different outcome"

    Here's an example: The support by so-called Christian nations of extremely harsh terms on Germany after World War I provided fertile soil for the rise of Hitler that led to World War II.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 13, 2014 8:33 p.m.

    Having surveyed the destruction in the rust belt, I propose an 11th commandment "thou shalt not export thy loyal employee's job." Maybe the commandments need some updating.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 13, 2014 5:12 p.m.

    JoeCapitalist I would say to you what I said to bandersen, " there is a difference between acknowledging our shortcomings as relevant history and proclaiming America as a horrible place."

    However I would massively disagree with your assertion that what I mentioned slavery, Native American genocide, and mass discrimination against anyone who wasn't white, male, heterosexual are " a few negative events in its 240 year history"

    These things were foundational to the formation of America not simple missteps, but then again reality isn't a conservative strong point.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 13, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    bandersen, there is a difference between acknowledging our shortcomings as relevant history and proclaiming America as a horrible place.

    Recognizing our past as it is disallows one from creating a fictional past and aggrandizing a morality that doesn't exist. But, then reality isn't the strong suit of conservatives.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    April 13, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    Per Rep. Wolf... "Any faithful student of American history should be able to point to countless examples when a simple turn of events would have resulted in a drastically different outcome"

    Use of the word faithful is interesting. Its a shoutout to the religious right to continue the charade that the US is a christian nation.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    April 13, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    Irony. He complains that the Ten Commandments have been removed from the square, while ignoring the reason - the written law of the United States that says government can't favor one religion over another, the First Amendment.

    That being said, I agree with some of his sentiment. We do have a spiritual problem. We have a whole segment of society who want to selectively enforce biblical rules on others, while claiming exceptions for themselves.

    We have political-right religious who reject every effort to preserve and protect the environment as "communism" while they blithely continue to rape the land and sea.

    We have a huge segment of the political and social right influenced by the dominion theologians who would see this country turned into a theocracy in the name of "freedom."

    We have a long history in this country of religious leaders who build their flocks and fill their coffers with dire threats about the evils Mormonism, women voting, civil rights, immigration, gay rights.

    The spiritual sickness starts with groups that have the hubris to claim they are right because they are "God's special people" and everyone else is wrong.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 13, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    Macabre: Your point is thoughtful, but when I hear of American exceptionalism, I choose to think of it in terms of America being a land based on Christian values and Constitutional government, values and government that are are very much in question right now. That being said, our history is replete with advances the world has never known, all of it coming from God. For me, as our society continues to abort babies, condone immoral behavior, and redefines marriage, God's blessings slip further from our grasp and American exceptionalism becomes meaningless, except as a matter of pride and arrogance, as you said!

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    April 13, 2014 8:53 a.m.


    So we should just ignore all the good things that have come from this great country of ours because of a few negative events in its 240 year history, right? Nobody is claiming that the U.S. has always done the right thing. It is full of people who make choices every day, some right, some wrong.

    I could cite a whole bunch of liberal policies that are currently being rammed down the throats of the American people as proof that we are a "bad country", but I still wouldn't trade it for any other country's system. Yet.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    April 13, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    Oh good heavens! Blaming mudslides in Washington and knife attacks in Philadelphia on the lack of religion in the public arena. Seems to me I see a lot of pontificating in the news here and elsewhere. The Pope can get almost anything he wants said. Right wing religious leaders regularly make the news too.

    Religious tension in this country exists because right wingers draw it into every battle the take on. Obamacare has religious problems, taxes have religious problems, the low hire rates is a problem because of a loss of faith , and so on. It is a silly argument, but when you have no power in your point of view, you fall back on this sloppy logic to fall back on a loss of faith to make your point.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 13, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    It's not just the First Commandment, although I agree that we should not worship mammon. Instead, I think this says it all:

    Matthew 22:36-40 (King James Version)

    36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    38 This is the first and great commandment.

    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    If we could live up to THAT standard, a lot of problems would be solved.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 13, 2014 7:20 a.m.

    The first commandment reduces an all powerful, omnipotent god to jealousy and vanity. As for vanishing american exceptionalism, I believe it has less to do with spirituality than it does with the fact we have 17 term congressmen.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 13, 2014 6:55 a.m.

    Oh boy, here we go again. Every mistake humans have ever made in the past can now bet rooted out to make grand generalizations about how horrible America has been. let's all put our homes on fire so we can show the world how depraved America is and move back to living in caves huddled around the last berry bush! As our children starve to death, we can write a book for future generations about the nirvana achieved by rejecting all achievement and progress and how wonderful it is sitting around thinking about the good old days!

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    April 13, 2014 6:40 a.m.

    I am grateful for God's hand in human events. But I think American exceptionalism runs counter to the first commandment. To me, the idea that Americans are exceptional smacks of pride. This pride is made manifest when we use diplomatic pressure and military might to impose our values on others. To me, this seems like an example of relying on the arm of flesh rather than relying on God to order his universe. American exceptionalism can become a false god, just as pornography and gambling can.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 12, 2014 10:56 p.m.

    Well now I don't have to go to Sunday School tomorrow.

    "Any faithful student of American history should be able to point to countless examples when a simple turn of events would have resulted in a drastically different outcome"

    Yea just think what would have happened if we hadn't destroyed the native American culture..we might not have access to the oil reserves in the west whereby we can pollute and foul the climate.

    Think if we hadn't bought and sold humans we wouldn't have the grand old south today and certainly wouldn't have Alabama football.

    I have to stop I'm getting tears all over my key board just think about the "shining city on the hill".