"Christian conservative activists...hold that the United States was founded by devout Christians and according to biblical precepts. This belief provides what they consider not only a theological but also, ultimately, a judicial grounding to their positions on social questions." - The New York TimesAmongst the historical and biblical precepts they cite:
* The Ten Commandments were originally Eleven, the last being "Thou shalt drive a car that is overlarge for thy needs, because it just maketh thou feel safer, fueled only by the liquefied remains of animals which may appear to have lived in the distant past, but which I have in fact planted as red herrings in the earth's crust to test thy faith, because, dammit, it is thy right as a God-fearing man, and if anyone wants to yap at thee about 'warming of the globe,' they hath only to look at the amount of snow thou hast shoveled this year."
During consultation with God, however, Moses opted to leave this last off the tablets, as the chiseling required would leave the Israelites in the desert way longer than they'd planned for, and he and God both agreed it was the only possible conclusion on the issue given the rest of the commandments.
The founders modeled their conventions upon this precept, refusing to travel by anything other than a coach-and-four equipped with a small corner stove, fueled by trees they hacked at from the roads while they traveled. Jefferson noted in an epistle to Adams that while it was "truly less convenient than a barouche landau, still, it is the only way to know that God goes with us."
* Many people know that the shortest verse in the bible reads simply "Jesus wept." Fewer people remember the verse following: "thinking about how he'd have to send someone as nice as that Ellen DeGeneres to hell for her choice of a heathen lifestyle"
* In one famous biblical story, Zacchaeus, a Jewish tax collector, climbs into a sycamore tree solely for a glimpse of Jesus. Jesus then stuns the inhabitants of the town by choosing to visit the corrupt Zacchaeus's home, a choice which results in Zacchaeus's conversion.
Transcripts of that visit have finally been deciphered from the Gospel of Thomas, confirming what many biblical scholars have long suspected: that Jesus's visit with Zacchaeus was the first Tea Party.
The founders used this story as a model for their progressive treatment of Jews and other minority groups in America.
* If he really came from a monkey, do you think Benjamin Franklin could have discovered electricity, invented the pot-belly stove, bifocals, the odometer, and catheters, and convinced really attractive French ladies to hit that, even though he was past 70 and sporting a skullet? I mean, he probably could have managed the catheter, electricity, and lady-killing as an ape - we're talking about France here - but there's no way he could have managed all of it.
* Anyone still in doubt about certain women's issues need only look to the parable of slutty Mary and the third-trimester abortion, and its famous last lines, "if only she had but known that all premarital sex will lead to pregnancy and/or full-blown AIDS, even when one useth the intestine of a beast as shield between the bodies of man and woman, she would have lived forever in heaven, and a lot longer on earth."
This was the exact story James Madison used to persuade a straw-covered, slightly tipsy Dolly to finally accept his continual offers of marriage.
* In both theological and foundational American texts, slaves are A-OK. Just sayin' -- those six-packs of tube socks may not always be $2 if we don't learn how to compete globally, the Christian way.
Follow Jilly Gagnon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jillygagnon