David Barton Uses Dubious George Orwell Quote

This is so Orwellian.
On his Facebook page, self-styled “America’s premiere historian” posted this quote attributed to George Orwell.

The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.

From Barton’s Facebook page:

I searched preview copies of Orwell’s diaries, a book of letters, and 1984 on Google and Amazon. I have a digital copy of 1984. Most of the time, if the quote is sourced, 1984 is the source. The quote is not in there. Otherwise, the quote is simply attributed to Orwell without a source.
I then wrote the Orwell Society for their opinion. Neil Smith, Secretary of the Society wrote back to say:

We do not believe this is an Orwell quote, although the argument is one roughly used in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
It seems that there are lots of quotes circulated without reference that are picked up by others without them checking independently so thanks again for checking.

Thank you Neil.
To be fair, this quote is all over the place with no questions asked as far as I can see. Barton joins a long list of people who have used it without a source. And perhaps, Orwell did say or write it but there is no evidence he did, and the source most often given doesn’t have the quote. My guess is that this is like the fake Bonhoeffer attribution frequently used by Eric Metaxas.

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

This quote isn’t in Bonhoeffer’s works and all major Bonhoeffer scholars say he didn’t say or write it. However, it sounds like it fits him so it refuses to die.
If readers have evidence or a source for the quote, please contact me. I will correct my post and beg forgiveness if an Orwell source can be found.

Orwellian Doublethink Lives at Wallbuilders

There is something Orwellian about “America’s premiere historian” criticizing academic historians for not using primary sources when he spreads a quote without a primary source.  It is doubly Orwellian that Barton misattributes the quote to Orwell and, if history is any measure, will leave it up on his page with Orwell’s name attached without acknowledgement that he doesn’t have a primary Orwell source for the quote. We could go full triple Orwellian because much of Barton’s work often proves the quote, just not in the manner Barton believes it does.

AACC Defends Choice of Trump Lawyer Jay Sekulow as Plenary Speaker

The American Association of Christian Counselors continues to indirectly respond to charges that the organization owned by Tim Clinton has become politicized. One focus of criticism has been AACC’s choice to feature one of President Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow (see the AACC petition here). Yesterday, the AACC amended a promotional email by changing Jay Sekulow’s bio to include a statement about why he is speaking at a conference of counselors.
Sekulow AACC bio 2
Compare this to the prior bio:
Jay Sekulow AACC
As a lawyer, Sekulow can speak to these legal issues. However, I don’t believe he could make a good case that his organization is on the cutting edge of mental health and counseling issues. Most of the important cases relating to what religious counselors can and can’t do have been litigated by Alliance Defending Freedom. A search of Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice doesn’t show any cases or news items involving counselors over the past two years, and that was a pro-life “sidewalk counselor” case. The ACLJ has focused on politics, opposition to abortion, and immigration.
“Getting involved in public policy discussions” is not the primary objection in the Change.org petition to remove politics from the AACC. The issue relates to one-sided partisan politics and the perception that the AACC has been silent in the face of statements and actions from the president which make the work of counselors more difficult. Sekulow isn’t known right now as an expert on the intersection of religious liberty and mental health. He is known as a defender of Trump’s actions and statements.
If Tim Clinton wanted to address these concerns, he could diversify the ideological offerings at the Conference. For instance, host a forum on healthcare and invite speakers of all ideologies to address counselors. Have single-payer advocates, Obama care advocates, and radical free market advocates address the paying customers. AACC right now is incredibly one-sided and heavily weighted with ideological mates of owner Tim Clinton.
See all articles regarding the American Association of Christian Counselors here: AACC

David Barton Just Can't Stop Using Dubious Quotes

The allure of attributing ideologically friendly quotes to popular historical figures must be so great for David Barton that it is like an addiction. If that’s true, Barton needs a support group.
On his Wallbuilders Facebook page, Barton again uses a quote oft attributed incorrectly to Abraham Lincoln.

As I have noted in the past, this quote can’t be found in Lincoln’s works or speeches. Barton has attributed it to Lincoln before, and he has contested it before. This time he labels the quote with the phrase  “attributed to Abraham Lincoln.”
I don’t think it helps to pass the buck and say the quote was attributed to Lincoln. Who did that? What is the source of the quote? Barton constantly faults academic historians with revisionism and failure to use primary sources, but a case can be made that he is the biggest offender. In fact, that is why I point this out. His complaints about academic historians ring very hollow when he does exactly what he accuses them of doing.
If he likes the quote, why not just use it and tag it with anonymous or unknown? The only reason I can think of is that it wouldn’t have as much impact on readers. However, isn’t that misleading?

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The Senate

photo-1467912407355-245f30185020_optAugust 9, 1787 (click the link to read Madison’s notes on the day)

Summary

The delegates debated various aspects of the workings and structure of the Senate.

Influences on the Delegates

South Carolina’s Charles Pinckney invokes Athens to support a long duration of citizenship for Senators.

Mr. PINCKNEY. As the Senate is to have the power of making treaties and managing our foreign affairs, there is peculiar danger and impropriety in opening its door to those who have foreign attachments. He quoted the jealousy of the Athenians on this subject, who made it death for any stranger to intrude his voice into their legislative proceedings.

The delegates disagreed about this issue with Madison and Franklin viewing long citizenship requirements as “illiberal.”

Mr. MADISON was not averse to some restrictions on this subject, but could never agree to the proposed amendment. He thought any restriction, however, in the Constitution unnecessary and improper; — unnecessary, because the National Legislature is to have the right of regulating naturalization, and can by virtue thereof fix different periods of residence, as conditions of enjoying different privileges of citizenship; — improper, because it will give a tincture of illiberality to the Constitution; because it will put it out of the power of the National Legislature, even by special acts of naturalization, to confer the full rank of citizens on meritorious strangers; and because it will discourage the most desirable class of people from emigrating to the United States. Should the proposed Constitution have the intended effect of giving stability and reputation to our Government, great numbers of respectable Europeans, men who love liberty, and wish to partake its blessings, will be ready to transfer their fortunes hither. All such would feel the mortification of being marked with suspicious incapacitations, though they should not covet the public honors. He was not apprehensive that any dangerous number of strangers would be appointed by the State Legislatures, if they were left at liberty to do so: nor that foreign powers would make use of strangers, as instruments for their purposes. Their bribes would be expended on men whose circumstances would rather stifle, than excite jealousy and watchfulness in the public.
Mr. BUTLER was decidedly opposed to the admission of foreigners without a long residence in the country. They bring with them, not only attachments to other countries, but ideas of government so distinct from ours, that in every point of view they are dangerous. He acknowledged that if he himself had been called into public life within a short time after his coming to America, his foreign habits, opinions, and attachments would have rendered him an improper agent in public affairs. He mentioned the great strictness observed in Great Britain on this subject.
Doctor FRANKLIN was not against a reasonable time, but should be very sorry to see any thing like illiberality inserted in the Constitution. The people in Europe are friendly to this country. Even in the country with which we have been lately at war, we have now, and had during the war, a great many friends, not only among the people at large, but in both Houses of Parliament. In every other country in Europe, all the people are our friends. We found in the course of the Revolution, that many strangers served us faithfully, and that many natives took part against their country. When foreigners after looking about for some other country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours, it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection.

David Barton often says that the delegates consulted Deuteronomy to arrive at the requirement that the executive be a natural born citizen. In this debate and others, the delegates referenced Athens, Britain, etc., but not the Bible.
 

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
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To Christian Today, Tim Clinton and AACC Deny Being Politicized

BBB AACC
In today’s edition of Christian Today, owner of the American Association of Christian Counselors Tim Clinton and advisory board member Ron Hawkins both deny the AACC has become politicized. Although they do not mention Trump, neither express regret for past support for Trump.
About politics, Clinton told CT, “[W]e do care about, speak to and advocate for certain policies that effect our members’ ability to integrate their faith with their respective, professional disciplines.” Specifically mentioned by Clinton include issues relating to “religious liberty, ethical standards and certain regulatory considerations as it relates to training, practice, accreditation, and licensure as Christian practitioners.” He added that he was interested in “…government policies and programs effecting suicide prevention, the opioid crisis, support for military families, trauma recovery, managed care, mental health benefits, client rights and self determination in mental and relational healthcare and more.”
On behalf of AACC, Hawkins said the executive board expects AACC leadership to engage national leaders in order to benefit members. However, like Clinton, Hawkins did not specify what policies were being advocated via the obvious access to the Oval Office Clinton now enjoys.
After these statements, we still don’t know what Clinton supports when it comes to mental health care in health insurance reform. Clinton didn’t address one of the key concerns expressed in Dr. New’s letter and some signers of the Change.org petition – that of Donald Trump’s rhetoric involving women and those with disabilities.
I assumed AACC spokespeople would eventually deny the observations of the current and former members, but I had hoped they might be a little more specific regarding what the organization supports. Now, we know the leaders are “interested” but we don’t know what that means in practice.
For more on AACC, see this post.

Dear Robert Jeffress: The President's Authority to Wage War Does Not Come from God

JeffressYesterday, CBN’s The Brody File posted a statement from court evangelical, Baptist pastor and Trump religious advisor Robert Jeffress regarding Trump’s authority to take out North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.  In it, Jeffress makes an extraordinary claim:

When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un.

It is likely that Jeffress is referring to the first seven verses of Romans chapter 13, where Paul wrote:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Historically, Baptists Believed in Church-State Separation

Biblically and politically, Jeffress is just wrong to insert himself as a spokesperson for God into the situation. He should turn in his Baptist card.
During the revolutionary and post-revolutionary period, Baptists were among the staunchest supporters of separation of church and state. Now the Baptist-in-name-only Jeffress advises Trump that God has given the green light for lethal action in North Korea.

Romans 13 Doesn’t Apply

First, in our non-theocratic republic, the authority for Trump’s actions comes from the Constitution, not God. America is not a new Israel where the prophets advised the King when to attack an enemy. Jeffress is not God’s mouthpiece to the president with orders from on high.
Second, the Romans passage doesn’t apply in this situation. Although rulers come and go in accord with God’s providence, the rulers do so within God’s timing and the political structure of their state. Paul does not establish a mechanism for a ruler to discern God’s plan.
Regarding citizens of a nation, they are to respect the authority of that nation’s rulers. The words are addressed to citizens of a nation, not to our president about strategy for deposing rulers of other nations. This isn’t a mandate for America to become take out evil dictators around the world. While in some cases it may further America’s interests to do so, the authority and mandate don’t come from these verses.

What Should Happen with North Korea?

The correct policy might or might not include a preemptive strike. That is a decision for those who are more knowledgeable than me. However, I can say with certainty that Trump and his advisors should not be waiting around for a prophet to speak for God.

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Morris Moved to Block Slavery Compromise

August 8, 1787

Summary

The delegates considered various details relating to suffrage and the legislature. Gouverneur Morris delivered a blistering attack on slavery.

Influences on the Delegates

John Mercer from Maryland started the day on an uplifting note.

Mr. MERCER expressed his dislike of the whole plan, and his opinion that it never could succeed.

Mercer’s comment is only one of several remarkable statements during today’s session.
On the citizenship requirement for service in the House, James Mason worried that foreign powers might attempt to infiltrate our legislature.

Colonel MASON was for opening a wide door for emigrants; but did not choose to let foreigners and adventurers make laws for us and govern us. Citizenship for three years was not enough for ensuring that local knowledge which ought to be possessed by the representative. This was the principal ground of his objection to so short a term. It might also happen, that a rich foreign nation, for example Great Britain, might send over her tools, who might bribe their way into the Legislature for insidious purposes. He moved that “seven” years, instead of “three,” be inserted.

Nathaniel Gorham from Massachusetts was not a prophet. He doubted that the U.S. would be around long. Madison worried that the legislature would grow too large if one member of the House was to be seated for every 40,000 people. Gorham retorted:

 Mr. GORHAM. It is not to be supposed that the Government will last so long as to produce this effect. Can it be supposed that this vast country, including the western territory, will, one hundred and fifty years hence, remain one nation?

Then Ellsworth from Connecticut anticipated the amendment process and at the same time took aim at future originalists.

Mr. ELLSWORTH. If the Government should continue so long, alterations may be made in the Constitution in the manner proposed in a subsequent article.

Most of the rest of the conversation was practical in nature, but one address stands out as recorded by Madison. Gouverneur Morris delivered a devastating attack on slavery in his bid to once again get the delegates to count only free people for the purposes of representation. His remarks are here in full:

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to insert “free” before the word “inhabitants.” Much, he said, would depend on this point. He never would concur in upholding domestic slavery. It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse of Heaven on the States where it prevailed. Compare the free regions of the Middle States, where a rich and noble cultivation marks the prosperity and happiness of the people, with the misery and poverty which overspread the barren wastes of Virginia, Maryland, and the other States having slaves. Travel through the whole continent, and you behold the prospect continually varying with the appearance and disappearance of slavery. The moment you leave the Eastern States, and enter New York, the effects of the institution become visible. Passing through the Jerseys and entering Pennsylvania, every criterion of superior improvement witnesses the change. Proceed southwardly, and every step you take, through the great regions of slaves, presents a desert increasing with the increasing proportion of these wretched beings. Upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed in the representation? Are they men? Then make them citizens, and let them vote. Are they property? Why, then, is no other property included? The houses in this city (Philadelphia) are worth more than all the wretched slaves who cover the rice swamps of South Carolina. The admission of slaves into the representation, when fairly explained, comes to this, — that the inhabitant of Georgia and South Carolina who goes to the coast of Africa, and, in defiance of the most sacred laws of humanity, tears away his fellow creatures from their dearest connexions, and damns them to the most cruel bondage, shall have more votes in a government instituted for protection of the rights of mankind, than the citizen of Pennsylvania or New Jersey, who views with a laudable horror so nefarious a practice. He would add, that domestic slavery is the most prominent feature in the aristocratic countenance of the proposed Constitution. The vassalage of the poor has ever been the favorite offspring of aristocracy. And what is the proposed compensation to the Northern States, for a sacrifice of every principle of right, of every impulse of humanity? They are to bind themselves to march their militia for the defence of the Southern States, for their defence against those very slaves of whom they complain. They must supply vessels and seamen, in case of foreign attack. The Legislature will have indefinite power to tax them by excises, and duties on imports; both of which will fall heavier on them than on the Southern inhabitants; for the Bohea tea used by a Northern freeman will pay more tax than the whole consumption of the miserable slave, which consists of nothing more than his physical subsistence and the rag that covers his nakedness. On the other side, the Southern States are not to be restrained from importing fresh supplies of wretched Africans, at once to increase the danger of attack, and the difficulty of defence; nay, they are to be encouraged to it, by an assurance of having their votes in the National Government increased in proportion: and are, at the same time, to have their exports and their slaves exempt from all contributions for the public service. Let it not be said, that direct taxation is to be proportioned to representation. It is idle to suppose that the General Government can stretch its hand directly into the pockets of the people, scattered over so vast a country. They can only do it through the medium of exports, imports, and excises. For what, then, are all the sacrifices to be made? He would sooner submit himself to a tax for paying for all the negroes in the United States, than saddle posterity with such a Constitution.

I am unclear what Morris meant when he said slavery was “the curse of Heaven.” Perhaps he meant that the institution would one day become Heaven’s punishment for engaging in it. In any case, this is a stirring condemnation which did not carry the day.

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
To follow on social media, click the following links:
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Better Business Bureau: The American Association of Christian Counselors Gets a D-

BBB AACC
Recently, the president and owner of the American Association of Christian Counselors Tim Clinton has come under some scrutiny from former and current AACC members due to his support for President Donald Trump. In response to the petition at Change.org, some former and current members have written to me with complaints about other aspects of the organization. One common complaint relates to poor customer service and lack of responsiveness from the organization. Looking into this a little, I found that the AACC is rated “D-” by the Better Business Bureau.
The basis for the BBB’s rating is a high volume of complaints, poor reviews, and the length of time for AACC to respond to the complaints. BBB has received 105 complaints about the AACC over the past three years. Many of the complaints have to do with unacceptably slow refunds (e.g., two years!) for a cancelled conference.
The author of the petition regarding AACC and president Tim Clinton’s move into partisan politics — Dr. Aaron New — has had almost no response to his inquiries. I have not received even a no comment to questions about AACC’s position on healthcare reform.

The AACC is a Business

To me, it is a little surprising that the AACC is unresponsive. The corporation is in the business of selling counseling services and training materials. A business that relies on satisfied customers should work hard to satisfy them. Perhaps, AACC’s leaders are unresponsive because they have a near monopoly in their field. The only other group in that space is the Christian Association for Psychological Studies which is much smaller and not as glitzy.
Unlike other mental health professional groups (e.g., APA, ACA, NASW), AACC is a for-profit business owned by Tim Clinton. According to a 2003 SEC filing, Tim Clinton is the sole shareholder of the AACC. The BBB website lists the following officers (information supplied by the AACC):

  • Mr. Tim Clinton, President
  • Mr. Ben Allison
  • Ms. Sharon Naylor, Accounting Manager
  • Mr. Jimmy D Queen, COO
  • Mr. Eric Scalise, CEO
  • Mr. Alexander Smith, CFO
  • Mr. C. L. Stewart, Bookkeeper
There is also a nonprofit AACC Foundation which, according to the AACC website:

IS OUR NON-PROFIT WORLDWIDE RESOURCE that exists to encourage the development of Christian counseling worldwide through funding of various programs that are not priorities in a for-profit, business model, but are nonetheless crucial to the comprehensive development of a Christian counseling ministry.

According to the latest IRS 990 form available on Guidestar, the board of AACC Foundation consisted of Jimmy Queen and Ron Hawkins. Queen is the COO of the for-profit AACC and Hawkins is on the AACC “Executive Board.” In light of “arms length” guidelines, it seems questionable to have the same board members on the for-profit and nonprofit boards. According to the 2015 990, AACC Foundation paid the for-profit AACC, Inc. over $500,000 for employee leasing, printing and other services. If you donate to the AACC Foundation, you can get a tax deduction but it is a safe bet that much of your donation will go toward buying materials and services produced by the for-profit AACC.
On the AACC website, what is called the Executive Board has no decision making power and only advises if asked. The website gives the appearance of a professional trade association with various divisions and advisory boards but in fact, AACC is a for-profit business. The members don’t vote for officers to set policy for the practice and professionalization of Christian counseling. Tim Clinton is and will always be president.

AACC: Is This the Best Way to Organize a Trade Association?

The lack of responsiveness and transparency at AACC may lead some Christian mental health professionals to question more than the political movements there. It is a fair to ask if a for-profit model is the best way for Christian mental health professionals to organize their professional interests. Let me close with one possible conflict of interests which I hope to discuss more in a future post.
In the view of many working mental health professionals, mental health care is a necessity in any insurance plan. There are beneficial medical cost offsets when mental health concerns are properly treated. Also, it is both counter to scientific evidence and inhumane to discriminate against coverage of mental disorders in insurance plans. Furthermore, to oppose mental health parity is counter to the business interests of mental health providers who rely on third party payments for their income. However, if AACC is committed to supporting Trump’s or the GOP’s minimalist approach to health benefits because the owner is a Trump supporter, then is AACC working in the best interests of members or the owner? Members can’t vote and the leaders don’t answer legitimate questions about AACC policy and advocacy. This would not be tolerated in a member-driven nonprofit trade association. At some point, I wonder if members will ask if they should continue to labor within the current paradigm.
To sign the petition calling for removal of politics from the AACC, go to Change.org.

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The Delegates Resume Deliberations

photo-1467912407355-245f30185020_optAugust 6 & August 7, 1787 (Click links to read Madison’s notes)

Summary

On August 6, 1787, the delegates reassembled but then promptly adjourned to read the draft of the Constitution prepared by the Committee of Detail. On August 7, they agreed to the Preamble, and Articles I and II. They also took up Article III and IV on the Legislature.  Most of Article III was passed with a proposal defeated to amend Article IV with more qualifications on electors.

Influences on the Delegates

Massachusett’s delegate Gorham thought it necessary to set the time of meeting for the legislature. He earlier had made reference to MA’s procedures.

Mr. GORHAM. If the time be not fixed by the Constitution, disputes will arise in the Legislature; and the States will be at a loss to adjust thereto the times of their elections. In the New England States, the annual time of meeting had been long fixed by their charters and constitutions, and no inconvenience had resulted. He thought it necessary that there should be one meeting at least every year, as a check on the executive department.

Roger Sherman agreed and invoked the states and England in the positive.

Mr. SHERMAN was decided for fixing the time as well as for frequent meetings of the legislative body. Disputes and difficulties will arise between the two houses, and between both and the States, if the time be changeable. Frequent meetings of parliament were required at the Revolution in England, as an essential safeguard of liberty. So also are annual meetings in most of the American charters and constitutions. There will be business enough to require it. The western country, and the great extent and varying state of our affairs in general, will supply objects.

Gouverneur Morris’s words illustrate just how practical some Constitutional principles were.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to strike out “December,” and insert “May.” It might frequently happen that our measures ought to be influenced by those in Europe, which were generally planned during the winter, and of which intelligence would arrive in the spring.

Slow communication nearly influenced the Constitutionally set meeting times.

Should Those Who Don’t Own Land Vote?

Morris wanted to make suffrage related to property ownership:

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS moved to strike out the last member of the section, beginning with the words, “qualifications of Electors,” in order that some other provision might be substituted which would restrain the right of suffrage to freeholders.

He had to defend himself against significant opposition from those who invoke the policies of states.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. Such a hardship would be neither great nor novel. The people are accustomed to it, and not dissatisfied with it, in several of the States. In some, the qualifications are different for the choice of the Governor and of the Representatives; in others, for different houses of the Legislature. Another objection against the clause, as it stands, is, that it makes the qualifications of the National Legislature depend on the will of the States, which he thought not proper.
Mr. ELLSWORTH thought the qualifications of the electors stood on the most proper footing. The right of suffrage was a tender point, and strongly guarded by most of the State Constitutions. The people will not readily subscribe to the National Constitution if it should subject them to be disfranchised. The States are the best judges of the circumstances and temper of their own people.
Colonel MASON. The force of habit is certainly not attended to by those gentlemen who wish for innovations on this point. Eight or nine States have extended the right of suffrage beyond the freeholders. What will the people there say, if they should be disfranchised? A power to alter the qualifications would be a dangerous power in the hands of the Legislature.

One delegate invoked the negative experience of Holland.

Mr. BUTLER. There is no right of which the people are more jealous than that of suffrage. Abridgments of it tend to the same revolution as in Holland, where they have at length thrown all power into the hands of the Senates, who fill up vacancies themselves, and form a rank aristocracy.

Morris retorted to charges that an aristocracy might develop with this startling line of thinking.

Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS. He had long learned not to be the dupe of words. The sound of aristocracy, therefore, had no effect upon him. It was the thing, not the name, to which he was opposed; and one of his principal objections to the Constitution, as it is now before us, is, that it threatens the country with an aristocracy. The aristocracy will grow out of the House of Representatives. Give the votes to people who have no property, and they will sell them to the rich, who will be able to buy them. We should not confine our attention to the present moment. The time is not distant when this country will abound with mechanics and manufacturers, who will receive their bread from their employers. Will such men be the secure and faithful guardians of liberty? Will they be the impregnable barrier against aristocracy? He was as little duped by the association of the words, “taxation and representation.” The man who does not give his vote freely, is not represented. It is the man who dictates the vote. Children do not vote. Why? Because they want prudence; because they have no will of their own. The ignorant and the dependent can be as little trusted with the public interest. He did not conceive the difficulty of defining “freeholders” to be insuperable. Still less that the restriction could be unpopular. Nine tenths of the people are at present freeholders, and these will certainly be pleased with it. As to merchants, &c., if they have wealth, and value the right, they can acquire it. If not, they don’t deserve it.

Morris wanted to abridge the natural rights of humans by a qualification which did not eventually pass. What biblical principle was he relying on? What biblical principle did the delegates use to vote against this Christian delegates’ ideas? Which version of Christianity eventually influenced the votes? The idea of a biblical Constitution or delegates inserting biblical principles into every clause breaks down rather quickly when we pay close attention to the ideas proposed and defeated.
Virginia’s George Mason explicitly called out the influences on the discussion as being British in origin.

Colonel MASON. We all feel too strongly the remains of ancient prejudices, and view things too much through a British medium. A freehold is the qualification in England, and hence it is imagined to be the only proper one. The true idea, in his opinion, was, that every man having evidence of attachment to, and permanent common interest with, the society, ought to share in all its rights and privileges. Was this qualification restrained to freeholders? Does no other kind of property but land evidence a common interest in the proprietor? Does nothing besides property mark a permanent attachment? Ought the merchant, the moneyed man, the parent of a number of children whose fortunes are to be pursued in his own country, to be viewed as suspicious characters, and unworthy to be trusted with the common rights of their fellow citizens?

Although Madison’s disagreed with Mason’s view of the British influence, he deferred to the current trend in the states to make suffrage a broader right than via property ownership alone.

Mr. MADISON. The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental articles of republican government, and ought not to be left to be regulated by the Legislature. A gradual abridgment of this right has been the mode in which aristocracies have been built on the ruins of popular forms. Whether the constitutional qualification ought to be a freehold, would with him depend much on the probable reception such a change would meet with in the States where the right was now exercised by every description of people. In several of the States a freehold was now the qualification. Viewing the subject in its merits alone, the freeholders of the country would be the safest depositories of republican liberty. In future times, a great majority of the people will not only be without landed, but any other sort of property. These will either combine, under the influence of their common situation, — in which case the rights of property and the public liberty will not be secure in their hands, — or, what is more probable, they will become the tools of opulence and ambition; in which case, there will be equal danger on another side. The example of England has been misconceived (by Colonel MASON.) A very small proportion of the Representatives are there chosen by freeholders. The greatest part are chosen by the cities and boroughs, in many of which the qualification of suffrage is as low as it is in any one of the United States; and it was in the boroughs and cities, rather than the counties, that bribery most prevailed and the influence of the Crown on elections was most dangerously exerted.

Franklin returned to a negative example from Britain’s restrictions on voting to make his point in favor of relaxing the qualifications.

Doctor FRANKLIN. It is of great consequence that we should not depress the virtue and public spirit of our common people; of which they displayed a great deal during the war, and which contributed principally to the favorable issue of it. He related the honorable refusal of the American seamen, who were carried in great numbers into the British prisons during the war, to redeem themselves from misery or to seek their fortunes, by entering on board the ships of the enemies to their country; contrasting their patriotism with a contemporary instance, in which the British seamen made prisoners by the Americans readily entered on the ships of the latter, on being promised a share of the prizes that might be made out of their own country. This proceeded, he said, from the different manner in which the common people were treated in America and Great Britain. He did not think that the elected had any right in any case, to narrow the privileges of the electors. He quoted, as arbitrary, the British statute setting forth the danger of tumultuous meetings, and, under that pretext, narrowing the right of suffrage to persons having freeholds of a certain value; observing that this statute was soon followed by another, under the succeeding parliament, subjecting the people who had no votes to peculiar labors and hardships. He was persuaded, also, that such a restriction as was proposed would give great uneasiness in the populous States. The sons of a substantial farmer, not being themselves freeholders, would not be pleased at being disfranchised, and there are a great many persons of that description.

Finally, Maryland’s John Mercer spoke in favor of land ownership as a qualification for suffrage by noting how people in cities vote in a bloc while the countrymen disperse their votes among many candidates:

Mr. MERCER. The Constitution is objectionable in many points, but in none more than the present. He objected to the footing on which the qualification was put, but particularly to the mode of election by the people. The people cannot know and judge of the characters of candidates. The worst possible choice will be made. He quoted the case of the Senate in Virginia, as an example in point. The people in towns can unite their votes in favor of one favorite; and by that means always prevail over the people of the country; who being dispersed, will scatter their votes among a variety of candidates.

And we see that today, do we not? However, the delegates voted decisively not to make land ownership a limiting qualification. Women, slaves and native people had no suffrage but those discriminations were not even in their minds.

Former NewSpring Pastor Perry Noble Incorporates Second Chance Church

After NewSpring Church former pastor Perry Noble was fired by the church he founded, he went into a brief period of media silence. The firing related to alcohol use and family issues and the response was to enter rehab followed by a helping relationship with psychologist John Walker. More recently, Noble launched a consultation business called the Growth Company which targets both businesses and churches.  Even more recently, Noble has been preaching at churches as a guest speaker. Now, apparently, Noble plans to launch a new church — Second Chance Church.

According to a filing with the South Carolina Secretary of State on 7/14/17, Perry Noble incorporated the Second Chance Church as a religious organization in South Carolina.  The incorporation papers are routine for a church except that this church only requires three board members and they do not have to live within South Carolina.
Second Chance Church Screen Cap
At the end of July, Noble posted a reflection after a year of being in recovery.  He described a bit about his experience since going into rehabilitation in Tucson, AZ. Curiously, he did not mention his wife or former church. Concerning his status with his former church NewSpring, he doesn’t seem to be getting a second chance there. The feud blew up into a public debate recently between the church and Noble. Noble accused the church of misrepresenting him and the church leadership said they had attempted to support Noble’s recovery.
No doubt, his return to more formal ministry will reignite conversation about how soon is too soon to return to vocational ministry after being forced to leave it.

Related Information

There is at least one other Second Chance Church in the U.S. There is no obvious connection between the two entities.
Possible first sermon series in the new church: Get Back Up!

After the rehab experience, Noble entered the care of psychologist John Walker. From Noble’s Facebook page:

John Walker has been my therapist for around seven years now and I hold him in highest regard. In those seven years I’ve allowed him to speak into me; however, I am now humbly submitting myself to him and giving him authority over me as I believe he will serve as my pastor, my psychologist and my spiritual formations director in this next season.