Yes, but the phrasing is certainly awkward if that is what he meant. I think what he is more likely getting at is that the Constitution itself is a gift from God. But in appealing to a Republican Party that includes a large number of evangelicals, and being a Baptist himself, it seems like particularly poor phrasing.
Pretty impressive statement. Paragraph two is what I would expect from a Christian statesman. He has demonstrated that he lives and acts by his convictions and that is immeasurably more comforting to me than high sounding words in what he calls the “political arena”.
Why is a pass gifted to Paul for such a slip but Obama gets nailed for “we can create a Kingdom right here on earth”? I’d offer neither excuses and say it’s just more of the same, only in various shades of red and blue.
And if Paul is so “uncomfortable talking about his faith in public,” why is he doing it? And if he is going to do it, why no churchly appeal to “membership” and “being observant” instead of all the revivalist-speak with “personal” and “guidance” (or “being devout” elsewhere)? Paul can tag what he sees going on around him as “distateful” and all the rest, but I see very little difference between what he is doing and what other Evangelicals do. Pots and kettles…
I think Daniel Webster would agree with RP’s understanding of our Constitution.
“I regard it as a work of the purest patriots and wisest statesmen that ever existed, aided by the smiles of a benignant Providence, for when we regard it as a system of government growing out of the discordant opinions and conflicting interests of thirten independent States, it almost appears a Divine interposition in our behalf…The hand that destroys the Constitution rends our Union asunder forever”
Noah Webster also noted in his History of the United States of Christianity, “…to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government.”
When the church is weak, gnostic, privatized religion a man will find an outlet somewhere else for the dominion mandate. The nation-state is only too glad to fill the vacuum left by an effeminate church. Our desire to conquer is expressed in arms instead of evangelism. Our desire for camaraderie is found with fellow citizens of the temporal city instead of the New Jerusalem. We sing his songs, believe his mythic, revised story, and pay his exorbitant tithe. We give him our sons and daughters so other countries can maintain a legal fiction like ours laced with vapor words like “freedom” and “unity” and “prosperity” all without telos. The great unifying abstraction is maintained by violence and economic manipulation. A perfect parody of the New Jerusalem.
Anyone like Ron Paul, who wants to weaken the great paraChurch is questioning not economic and foreign policy but nationalism. Until we recognize as a church that we are citizens of a kingdom, sons and daughters of Abraham, serfs to one another, coheirs with Jesus, martyrs only for God, and bordered only by the sacraments- we will not be able to chain the leviathan.
Pat Robertson and many others would rather kill Iraqis than save babies. The face of America to the world is a blundering, idiotic, and viciously bloody Christian. We are the crusades without cathedrals.
In an interview with John Lofton (Christian Reconstructionist former Republican National Committee official and current Communication Director for the Constitution Party and host of The American View radio program), Ron Paul clarifies his infelicitous use of the term ‘divinely inspired’ about the Constitution.
JL: I saw a reference about you to your calling the Constitution ‘divinely inspired’. What did you mean? Was that a typo… or did God hand that to Moses on Mt. Sinai… or did I miss something here?
RP: What’s that, the Constitution?
JL: Yeah, you referred to it in one –I think it was your Statement of Faith
RP: Well, I think the Founders actually believed this. They talked about ‘Providential’ and ‘Divine Providence’
JL: I see what you mean
RP: I do believe that God’s hand was in the coming together of our nation
JL: OK, you obviously mean you think the people who gave us our Constitution were divinely ‘inspired,’ not the actual text of the Constitution itself
RP: Oh no, no, right. I think so many of them talked about Divine Providence, and I don’t think the country could have come together if it wasn’t providential –and just like it, providentially, may end. We may end too, by God’s will
JL: Well, that’s right.
In that same interview Ron Paul said that he believed the Bible was alone the Word of God, infallible and inerrant. Elsewhere, Ron Paul has said repeatedly that he does not think the U.S. Constitution is perfect. Ron Paul denies that the Constitution is either God’s Word, or infallible, or perfect, or inspired as a text.
What Ron Paul affirms is that in the United States becoming a nation and receiving its “supreme (civil) law” in the form of its Constitution, God was acting Providentially, that man is not autonomous. Of course, this is a truism. EVERYTHING that happens is guided and governed by God, providentially. But it is not therefore meaningless to acknowledge this as true in a given circumstance.
Many conversations tend to be less about the finer points on the table and more about broader concerns. I would say that the point seems to be less about those sorts of particulars and more about what might be called meta-conversations going on when anyone invokes religious language in these ways. That is, given the chance to clarify the comment, it is not one iota surprising to hear that Paul doesn’t think the Constitution is divinely inspired and invoke general Providence, etc. (He is a good Baptist, after all.) And I am sure Obama would say something like, “Oh, no, I didn’t mean America is God’s chosen Kingdom on earth.” But the real intent and meaning has already been effected.
The meta-message in either Paul’s comment or Obama’s is to engage in a sort of wink-wink in order to capture the God-vote, to softly suggest that certain politics of one Evangelical stripe or the other have more of heaven’s sanction than the other. After all, are any of us really beyond thinking our civil convictions don’t have more heavenly sanction than the other guy? Savvy politicians seem to both know and exploit this basic DNA-structure of American religionists; less-than-savvy American religionists seem to miss it.
The statement posted above is Dr. Paul’s one lone statement on his Christian faith. He doesn’t use it as campaign rhetoric, so he’s hardly trying to pander to anybody or pass along a “meta-message” related to his desire for the god-vote. The name Ron Paul and the phrase “savvy politician” don’t go together very well.