Tuesday, May 15, 2007

That Pig Had Powerful Friends

It's no secret that I still have to write a paper to truly graduate. In the course of researching for this paper (on Gouverneur Morris), I came across this gem.

"Mr. Madison and Mr. Pinkney then moved to insert in the list of powers vested in Congress a power -- 'to establish an University, in which no preference or distinctions should be allowed on account of religion.'

Mr. Govr Morris. It is not necessary. The exclusive power at the Seat of Government, will reach the object."

Simply amazing. There are too many torrents of thought going through my head, so I can't really parse through this, but think about the implications.

1. A NATIONAL public university. Cool. America U or America State?

2. No less than someone of James Madison's stature, who incidentally was at the convention, and in Congress when the Bill of Rights passed, felt the need for a university that was blind as to religion. First off, this is Madison, who graduated from Princeton in 2 years (then had a burn out). This is just one example of how religious nutcases are full of it when they argue that this country "is a Christian nation." Clearly, a lot of our founders took great care to separate religion from government (and now it looks like education). Kansas School Board, I'm looking at you.

3. Morris thinks this clause is not necessary because Congress' power to do whatever it wants in D.C. will take care of it. Do the readers know of any other instance where Congress has used this power to create something that would otherwise probably not be permitted. I guess the Smithsonian comes to mind.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What?!!? You mean I worked my ass off to get everything in on time...and it turns out that I didn't really have to? I hate administrative discretion.

5/15/2007 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"that" pig....what about this pig?

5/15/2007 9:28 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

Oh, you'll pay. Don't think you won't pay!

5/15/2007 9:41 AM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...


I'm with you on that paper... ugh. In re: to your point re: Madison; Madison was mainly paranoid about the Church of England encroaching and reattaining control. It's all laid out in a book about John Witherspoon that I checked out for the class. Let me know if you want to borrow it. But it was most definitely a Christian nation. However, the reasons WHY it was a Christian nation (not wishing to impose viewpoints or commingle political and religious power) are the reasons why we should now consider it more than just a Chirstian nation.

5/15/2007 12:11 PM  
Blogger PG said...

I don't think Congress has established a church except for the National Cathedral.

If the paranoia was only about the CoE, why wouldn't they say, 'to establish an University, in which no preference or distinctions should be allowed on account of *denomination*'?

Jefferson founded the University of Virginia with an express prohibition on having any professors of divinity or religious requirements for the students. (He'd already somewhat tied his hands on the latter with that other tombstone-worthy accomplishment, the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom.)

5/15/2007 5:40 PM  

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