Ben Carson’s Christian Heritage Of America: Death For Free Speech
The first significant Republican presidential campaign of the 2016 season has emerged under the banner of former doctor and political commentator Ben Carson. Carson has gained attention for himself by advocating a stronger Christian dominion over the U.S. federal government. Speaking recently to televangelist Pat Robertson, Carson said, “returning to our Judeo-Christian values can make an incredible difference. You look at how mean-spirited people have gotten, how they get in their little corners and throw bombs at each other, just call each other names and act like enlarged third graders.”
Calling people names sounds serious… as a third grade transgression. In the world of adults, there are more serious problems, matters of life and death. So, what do the Christian values of the colonial days of America have to say about life and death?
The Book of the General Lawes and Libertyes Concerning the Inhabitants of the Massachusets, published in 1648, declares that: “If any person within this Jurisdiction whether Christian or Pagan shall wittingly and willingly presume to BLASPHEME the holy Name of God, Father, Son or Holy-Ghost, with direct, expresse, presumptuous, or high-handed blasphemy, either by wilfull or obstinate denying the true God, or his Creation, or Government of the world: or shall curse God in like manner, or reproach the holy Religion of God as if it were but a politick device to keep ignorant men in awe; or shal utter any other kinde of Blasphemy of the like nature & degree they shall be put to death.”
When politicians like Ben Carson invoke the Christian roots of the United States, they’re invoking laws like those of colonial Massachusetts, where religious dissent was literally a capital offense. Back then, the discovery of a non-Christian neighbor led not to civil discussion of differences of opinion, but to a lynching. The very first capital crime listed by the Massachusetts Colony was this: “If any man after legal conviction shall HAVE OR WORSHIP any other God, but the LORD GOD: he shall be put to death.”
Killing people for their religious beliefs seems much more serious to me than the name calling that Ben Carson complains about. I’d rather have blasphemy all around me than to have a return to the history of government-sponsored religious killings that Ben Carson celebrates.