Glenn Beck: “It is God’s finger that wrote Declaration, Constitution”

In his commencement speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University Saturday (May 15, 2010), Glenn Beck gave a preview of what history teaching might someday look like if the current majority (including some lame ducks) of the Texas State Board of Education gets its way.

Beck proclaimed, for example, that

It is God’s finger that wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This is God’s country; these are God’s rights. I have no idea what he wants us to do with them, other than protect them, and stand with Him.

Yes, that is a direct, verbatim, quote. If you don’t believe it, you can see it for yourself, in this brief video clip (1 min., 20 sec.):

If that’s not enough for you, here’s the whole thing (about 30 min.):

Note Beck’s tearful (of course) lament that, like Ezekiel, he does not want to be the prophet bringing us the news that God bids him to deliver.

Note also Beck’s report of his own conduct in (apparently) the only college course that he attended (for awhile). This suggests how the anti-science and anti-history crusaders want students to behave in classes — i.e., injecting talking points from their tendentious literatures.

Just before the speech, an honorary doctorate was bestowed upon the newly doctored Beck by Liberty University which, we must note, is where the lame-duck (but still voting) Texas school board member Cynthia Dunbar teaches classes on Constitutional Law.  Russell Shorto saw her lecture in one class last January, and reported in the NY Times Magazine that

[Dunbar] discussed a legal practice called “incorporation by reference.” “When you have in one legal document reference to another, it pulls them together, so that they can’t be viewed as separate and distinct,” she said. “So you cannot read the Constitution distinct from the Declaration.” And the Declaration famously refers to a Creator and grounds itself in “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Therefore, she said, the religiosity of the founders is not only established and rooted in a foundational document but linked to the Constitution. From there she moved to “judicial construction and how you should go forward with that,” i.e., how these soon-to-be lawyers might work to overturn rulings like that against prayer in schools by using the founding documents.

Coming soon to a Texas social studies classroom near you …

The final round of hearings on new Social Studies textbooks begins tomorrow (Wed.) in Austin, with the final votes scheduled for Friday (May 21).

Click here for previous posts here at Curricublog on the Texas travesties.



  1. Posted May 18, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    And your point is what exactly? Beck merely paraphrased what the Founders said and intended.

    • Bluwrayne
      Posted July 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      If God wrote the declaration and the constitution, then even he knows how important the separation of church and state is! (Also God seems to know about religious tolerance…too bad his followers cant catch on to any of this)

      • Posted July 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Separation of church and state plays a key role in the story of Saul, in the books of Samuel, in scripture. When Saul violated the separation of church and state, God arranged for him to be killed in battle.

        That’s one of those punishments they always forget about when they say they want to “go back” to “Biblical morality.”

        A public official praying in a public place? Death penalty.

    • robert
      Posted July 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Jonolan, You are as wrong as Glenn Beck. Your belief in fairy tales clouds your mind and makes you exactly the point. People like you have existed for centuries and you will use your faith as an excuse to form a bias that creates great injustices in the world today.

      • Scott Steiner
        Posted July 29, 2010 at 2:39 am | Permalink

        That was well said Robert. People can believe in Religion or nothing at all. But we have to respect and act civil to each other. We have to create equality and justice for all people no matter what color, religion, sex or sexual preference. We are only control our own thoughts and actions but our daily decisions have far reaching effects. So we must be brave and accept responsibility for our happiness, mistakes and our continued quest for knowledge that will unite people not perpetuate hatred.

        Do you see O my brothers and sisters? It is not chaos or death….it is form and union and plan it is eternal life….it is happiness. – Walt Whitman “Song of Myself”

  2. Posted May 20, 2010 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Mormon theology holds that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were divinely inspired. Mormons hold as part of their theology the better parts of the “American exceptionalism” idea that the Texas Taliban wish to impose on Texas kids. Beck is a convert to Mormonism.

    But don’t you wonder how it would go over at Liberty University were Beck to preach that as Mormon theology they ought to follow? Dunbar would lay more eggs.

    The problem with Beck, maybe, is that he doesn’t bother to cite his sources well enough.

  3. Posted May 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    You will find that, if you ask, most actual Americans believe that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were divinely inspired, Ed.

    As for American Exceptionalism – that is a fact and a responsibility that all true Americans accept. Sadly, there are many who have fallen from grace – I assume to their souls’ detriment – and either no longer believe in America’s Divinely ordained role or choose to enjoy the privileges thereof but ignore the responsibilities that come with them.

    • ben
      Posted July 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      You will find, if you ask, most actual Americans will make up information to help prove their point. No imaginary being wrote anything. Men using thought and reason did.

      • lynn
        Posted July 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        jonolan, “with great power comes great responsibility”. spiderman, not god. you have your ficitonal characters mixed up.

    • robert
      Posted July 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      You are riding on the coat tails of industrial kingpins that made this country rich. The “world” is rich and exceptional humans live everywhere not just the US. By your standards China will soon be the exceptional nation with the most money that produces everything. But you will deny that too.

    • James
      Posted July 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Who cares what the majority of Americans believe! The constitution was written by a bunch of slaveholding, blockade running, agnostic, french admiring aristocrats. You can believe what you want, but that’s the truth.

    • Posted July 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      American exceptionalism is a duty, noblesse oblige.

      It does not mean, as you seem to imply, that your excrement is not odiferous.

    • JD
      Posted July 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Please quote your sources before making a statement “most people…”. No one in my large extended family believes that rubbish. Men, working very hard and risking everything wrote those documents. For any of us, who never met those guys, to conjecture exactly what inspired them makes you look like an ass.

    • Posted July 31, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      You really need to widen your sphere of influence. Not only do I think you are wrong, even if you were right we live in a Republic, not a democracy. Only the constitution and the rule of law are binding, what all the right wingnut christians in the world can’t change that.

  4. Posted May 21, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    So, Jonolan, why not just come out and confess that the Mormons have it right? Shouldn’t Liberty University be happy to put out a press release giving credit to the Mormons?

    Don’t point that forked tongue at me . . .

  5. Posted May 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    In this instance, as pertaining to Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and to the basic concept of American Exceptionalism, I do think that the Mormons were on the right track. I am, however, not Christian or Mormon and so am not willing to concede the point that their God was the inspiration. ;-)

    I also seem to have a more fair and balanced view (pun intended) of what American Exceptionalism means than many people do insofar as I believe that America has a special place in the world that grants us great privileges but also carries an equally great burden of responsibility.

    • Posted May 21, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      I believe that America has a special place in the world that grants us great privileges but also carries an equally great burden of responsibility.

      Then you’re not on board with the conservative nuts on the Texas SBOE. See Cynthia Dunbar’s offensive prayer from this morning, for an example.

      Very offensive.

      • Posted May 22, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        How does Dunbar’s belief – not entirely unfounded or spurious – that the founders created a nation based on Christian values (the only ones they knew and the ones they’d been raised in)relate to whether or not American Exceptionalism carries both privileges and responsibilities?

        Let me guess, Ed; you’re one the Godless and prayer just offends you.

        • Mike
          Posted July 28, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          “Let me guess, Ed; you’re one of the Godless and prayer just offends you.”

          I can’t speak for Ed, but I can speak for myself that I find INDOCTRINATION offensive. So who’s prayers are we going to honor in the schools, Christian ones? What kind of Christian ones: Protestant, Catholic, Lutheran? Which denomination of the preferred one? Which one of the 10,000 versions of Christianity will be promoted?

          What about the kids that come from Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist families? Should their children be subjected constantly by their school to ‘pray to Jesus’?

          While the Declaration certainly mentions, “endowed by their Creator,” it is by no means a legal document, and the First Amendment makes great strides to prevent the establishment of Government religion.

          I find Beck’s implications insulting, and your own just as much.

        • grokagain
          Posted July 28, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          the principles of the u.s. were exceptional. the only exceptionalism today is the level of stupidity of our people.

      • Posted May 24, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Here’s a link to a blog post with video of the “prayer” that Ed’s referring to.

        I was listening to the feed while she delivered this “invocation,” and I was shocked. It was not even in the form of an invocation — with all the “I believe this”s and “I believe that”s. Turns out, it’s from a 1954 Prayer Breakfast speech by Earl Warren.

        This was not a prayer, but a political stunt in the form of prayer. Mrs. Dunbar pressed God into her service as a tool for her political chicanery. This is a form of blasphemy.

  6. Posted May 24, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I found the prayer offensive to Christians. God is not to be used as a cudgel. Lincoln probably said it best: The question is not whether God is on our side, but whether we are on God’s side. Dunbar hasn’t stopped to puzzle that out, but she’s demanding others kowtow to her beliefs.

    What do you have against the First Amendment anyway?

  7. ProfJ
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Quote from jonolan:

    “the founders created a nation based on Christian values (the only ones they knew and the ones they’d been raised in)”

    That’s just a blatant falsehood. “The Founders” were, first of all, not a single entity of like-minded Christian thinkers — they came from very diverse backgrounds, educations, and philosophies, not to mention religious denominations. Secondly, Christian values were not “the only ones they knew” or “the ones they had been raised in.” In fact, most of these men were quite conversant in other religious traditions, classical philosophies, and Enlightenment values, many of which challenge the basic claims of Christianity. Finally, they did not base their new concept of government or society on “Christian values”, except insofar as those values were consistent with a secular notion of constitutional authority and social contract — ideas advocated by Enlightenment thinkers of many religious stripes.

    The idea that Glenn Beck “merely paraphrased what the Founders said and intended” is the kind of misinformed or purposely misleading claim that Beck himself keeps using to promote his blatantly theocratic vision of America. It’s something that most of the actual Founders would find repulsive and dangerous.

  8. Terrie Bittner
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    As a Mormon, I’d like to clarify:
    Although Beck is a Mormon, he is a fairly recent convert and does not speak for the church, nor, actually, does he always get Mormon doctrine right. He tends to latch on to things some Mormons believe that are cultural, not doctrinal, or to misinterpret doctrine.

    Yes, Mormons believe the Constitution is divinely inspired, but not every word of it. It was inspired so as to create a nation that allowed freedom of religion to exist. Here is one explanation from a true Mormon leader:

    “It was a miracle that the Constitution could be drafted and ratified. But what is there in the text of the Constitution that is divinely inspired?

    Reverence for the United States Constitution is so great that sometimes individuals speak as if its every word and phrase had the same standing as scripture. Personally, I have never considered it necessary to defend every line of the Constitution as scriptural. For example, I find nothing scriptural in the compromise on slavery or the minimum age or years of citizenship for congressmen, senators, or the president. President J. Reuben Clark, who referred to the Constitution as “part of my religion,” also said that it was not part of his belief or the doctrine of the Church that the Constitution was a “fully grown document.” “On the contrary,” he said, “We believe it must grow and develop to meet the changing needs of an advancing world.” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Divinely Inspired Constitution,” Ensign, Feb 1992, 68) Elder Oaks holds the position of apostle, making him one of the highest ranking Mormon officials. He was a lawyer in his secular career.

    Remember, Beck speaks only for himself and much of the time his teachings directly contradict official church doctrine, although I’m sure he means well and does not yet understand that he is contradicting doctrine. As a convert myself (but of decades ago) I can tell you that you hear a great many things that are presented as doctrine but which are not. It takes time and desire to learn in order to find out what is truly doctrine and what is just the personal belief of some members. Even the top church leaders warn that not every word they speak is official doctrine. Apostles and prophets have opinions, too. Only cananized doctrine and those things given in official statements become doctrine.

  9. Die Beck
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Glenn Beck is Satan.

  10. Phillip W. Serna
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Belief and faith are different than facts. The assertion that “It is God’s finger that wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.” is a laughable assertion not based on reality but at worst mythology. If you believe that faith in the Christian God inspired or influenced the founders, that is one thing, but what degree can be easily researched in the philosophical writings of the framers of these documents such as Thomas Jefferson and others. The blanket idea that “Christian faith” is a universal constant and one thing in this country is a gross distortion, and being directly connected to the founding fathers is also an insult to what they accomplished for this country. This often has led to ideas that this makes the United States of America a Christian Country to the detriment of other faiths that are practiced here – religious freedom was a central core value in the Constitution. To treat these documents as religious doctrine, it diminishes and corrupts both the intent of the framers and the religious beliefs of those who would annex. Careful study of the difference of language in the 1700s versus 2010 would show that these documents are fluid in their interpretation to modern readers versus a fixed text. Religious works such as the bible were written in Hebrew (Old Testament), Greek (New Testament and were later translated (by people, not GOD) filled with political intent to corrupt the original text through retaining rhyme in the new language such as the King James Bible. If people hold these texts as fixed points, faith trumps reason…and trumps the actual religious text. Sorry.

  11. Wolfgirl
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Many of the founding fathers were Deist, NOT Christian. That is why it reads “natural law”. That is also why we have Separation of Church and State and Religious Freedom. I wish people would learn Religious history and American history. Glen Beck should learn to read before he speaks.

  12. Ben Gleck
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    We need people like Beck to stand up for our God-given Christian American values, because they are under attack by evil secular materialists. Did you know that a leading anti-Christian figure said the following disgusting things?

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”

    “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

    “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”

    “The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and in-grafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man.”

    “I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government.”

    • Ben Gleck
      Posted July 28, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, the full URL for the website of that Jesus-hating bastard got cut off. Here’s the full address:

      • Wolfgirl
        Posted July 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
        ~ The Declaration of Independence

        Sorry, but that isn’t “God given Christian American values.”

        That is based on Deist Principles.

        I suggest you read the Bible from front to back for “God given Christian values” and don’t skip over the Old Testament. Slavery, Womens suffrage, Polygamy, that is Christian values and history has proved it out.

        • Mike
          Posted July 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          He knows he was quoting Jefferson…

          • Liam aka "Ben Gleck"
            Posted July 28, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Oh yes, he sure did know he was quoting Thomas Jefferson, and his tongue was firmly in his cheek, and when he wrote this, he was fantasizing about tricking a tea party crowd, Yes Men style, into renouncing the rhetoric of “anti-Christian bleeding-heart liberal fascist materialists” like Jefferson and the other like-minded Founders.

  13. Jen
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Ok, what some of you aren’t fully seeing or hearing is that Beck wasn’t saying that God actually wrote the DOI or the Constitution, but rather that when we say, “Under God….” it was more of a belief that they went off of and tried to make things more towards what the God would like for us to do. God did not write them, but people had the notion of the being and faith within God for what they wrote.

    • Posted July 28, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      I think you’re not giving Beck’s Latter-day Saint beliefs enough credit, or leeway, or weight, or something.

      As I understand Skousen’s writing (and it’s been years since I read it — that’s not the sort of stuff you want to keep on your shelf for fear it will contaminate other books), he holds to the Mormon belief that the founders were divinely inspired — not that they necessarily prayed for such inspiration, but that their products were very much exactly what God wanted.

      In short, not that they strove for a “Christian-friendly” government, nor that they asked the question, “What would the God of Israel who brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt do to regulate commerce?” but rather than God handed it to them on a platter they could not recognize had they tried.

      Franklin wasn’t forced to give up his odd form of deism; Madison wasn’t required to give over his pen; Hamilton and Morris didn’t stop their philandering and drinking and other randy business — but the product was a product designed and deigned by God for the American people.

      Personally, I have doubts that Beck is bright enough to fully understand the Constitution, let alone Mormon theology on how it came to be.

      His views are also at odds with those of Cynthia Dunbar, and Michelle Bachmann — but ssssssshhhhhh! — don’t tell them.

      • Posted July 28, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        I had not heard of Skousen before I saw Ed refer to him [Maybe here:] as a possible source for Beck. I didn’t know for myself if he was among Beck’s sources or not; but since then, I have heard Beck refer to Skousen as an authority.

        As for claim that

        Beck wasn’t saying that God actually wrote the DOI or the Constitution

        you might want to play the video again.

  14. Leigh
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Glen Beck is using Christian doctrine to promote his Conservative politics. Jesus cleared the temple when greed, like that of Corporate Conservatives and the religious right,invaded that holy space. Regardless of what religion we might adhere to, politics were a separate invention of man for the purposes of greed, landholding, taxes, power,and war, among other things. To think that the Christian God or anyone’s God has a part in politics denigrates the beauty and purity of the spiritual and the religious. Saying that God had a part in writing the Declaration of Independence is like saying God had a part in me washing my dishes or my walking across the street. Well, of course He did, I am alive and breathing, so God had a part in it. But if I led you to believe that God endorsed me in some way takes away from God’s endorsement of someone else. It is selfish and greedy to use God that way.

5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Glenn Beck: “It is God's finger that wrote Declaration … […]

  2. […] I previously posted in a string of comments this blog Here’s a link to a blog post with video of the “prayer” that [Ed Darrell is] […]

  3. […] Credit to Tony Whitson at CurricuBlog. […]

  4. […] what he wants us to do with them, other than protect them, and stand with Him.” (As cited in Tony’s Curricublog) While it is easy to dismiss such claims as stuff and nonsense, it is worth considering the role of […]

  5. […] I have no idea what he wants us to do with them, other than protect them, and stand with Him.” (As cited in Tony’s Curricublog) While it is easy to dismiss such claims as stuff and nonsense, it is worth considering the role of […]

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