One of my political detractors called me a “right-wing religious wing nut” this past week. It seems that my conservative views on everything from the right to life to the right to bear arms and the right to self-governance warranted his opprobrium. Implicit in his condemnation was this: “Piper, and his ilk, are ‘nut jobs.’ These conservative rubes are the bane of our existence. They are to blame for all that ails us. How could anyone even think of voting for them?”
If believing that we have no king in America but rather all authority rests in “we the people” (Gouverneur Morris, author of the preamble of the United States Constitution) makes me right-wing, I guess I’m guilty as charged.
If holding that our government is uniquely “of the people, by the people and for the people” (Abraham Lincoln) makes me too conservative, then I stand condemned.
If arguing that, in our country, no politician or bureaucrat ever has the legal or moral authority to tell us what to inject into our bodies, what to wear on our face, when we can go shopping, and whether or not we can go to church, makes me “a wing nut,” then so be it.
If believing that our Republic is anchored in the premise that “no unjust authority bears any obligation to obedience” (Alexander Hamilton, coauthor of the Federalist Papers) and that it is “self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, [and] that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness [and] that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, [and finally] that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it” (Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, et al.) puts me on the “right” rather than the wrong side of the present political debate, then I guess that’s me.
If believing that God defines life and that you don’t, that marriage is a sacrament of the church and not the business of the state, that being female is a biological fact and not the fabrication of a dysphoric male, that children should be protected and not indoctrinated with kiddy porn, and that it is immanently better to judge people by the “content of their character rather than the color of their skin” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) makes me a religious zealot, then I wear the label with pride!
If believing that “the Bible is best of all books, for it is the Word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and the next” (John Jay, president of the Continental Congress) and that “the Holy Scriptures … can alone secure to society order and peace, and to our courts of justice and our constitutions of government purity [and] stability” (James McHenry, signer of the Constitution) makes me a nut job, then I guess that’s what I am.
Perhaps my critics would do well to read a bit before they venture further down this path of ad hominem attacks. I’d recommend they start with the following:
“The teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure to ourselves what life would be if these teachings were removed. We should lose almost all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals. Almost every man who has added to the sum of human achievement of which the [human] race is proud has based his life-work largely upon the teachings of the Bible.” (Teddy Roosevelt) Or, maybe this: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (John Adams)
My dissenter might do well also to add this in his reading list: “How long … will [the] simple-minded delight in scoffing? [How long will] fools hate knowledge?” (King Solomon) Or perhaps this, “There will be grumblers, finding fault … for the sake of gaining an advantage … mockers … who cause division.” (James the apostle of Christ)
Mom always said, “you’re known by the company ya keep.” If keeping company with the likes of all Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and King Solomon makes me a “right-wing religious wing nut,” then I guess I’ll wear that badge with honor.
• Everett Piper (dreverettpiper.com, @dreverettpiper), a columnist for The Washington Times, is a former university president and radio host. He is the author of “Not a Daycare: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery) and, most recently, “Grow Up: Life Isn’t Safe, But It’s Good.”