Liberals lately have been clucking over Tea Party darling Christine O'Donnell's confession
from years ago that she had "dabbled into witchcraft" before returning with full force to conservative Christianity, and of late, to a star turn as the newest hope for a Republican takeover of the Senate.
Now conservatives are making hay, or trying to, out of Barack Obama's slip last week when he invoked the most famous line of the Declaration of Independence but left out the part about people being endowed "by their Creator" with inalienable rights.
The oversight -- or was it intentional, or a Freudian slip that reveals his true feelings? -- came during a talk
to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute on Sept. 15, when the president recited the Declaration's second line, which in the original reads:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Instead, Obama said:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
"Only two plausible explanations spring to mind," wrote The Weekly Standard's
Jeffrey Anderson, one of numerous conservative bloggers to weigh in as video of the talk went viral in recent days. "One is that President Obama isn't very familiar with the most famous passage in the document that founded this nation; that even when plainly reading from a teleprompter, he wasn't able to quote it correctly."
"The other," Anderson said, "is that President Obama doesn't subscribe to the Declaration's rather central claim that our rights come from our 'Creator'."
Anderson highlights Obama's long pause before citing the line as suspect, as if the president is "confused, disturbed, and/or in the process of making a decision" before he uses what Anderson calls "his alternate wording."
Not all conservatives were so quick to jump.
David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network noted
that the citation from the Declaration was not in Obama's prepared text and that his pause was because he was recollecting the line, and that he clearly muffed it as he ad-libbed (which is abbreviated Latin for "ad libitum," not "adoring liberal").
Obama's critics also failed to note that in the line before his ad lib the president said that what has always bound Americans together was "faith and fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear," and that he closed his talk by saying, "God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."
The White House pushed back, with a spokesman telling Brody that "The President is in full agreement with the Declaration of Independence. Any suggestion to the contrary is just silly."
"For this President's critics, they will look to anything to discredit his Christian faith. And indeed, President Obama has given them a nice tidy future YouTube clip that will probably spread like wildfire. But to say that he PURPOSELY left out the word 'Creator' is a stretch."
Given that growing numbers of Americans, largely Republicans and independents, believe Obama is a Muslim and not a Christian, or that he was not born in the United States, or is a socialist or all other sorts of things, it seems unlikely the efforts of Brody or the White House or others to stamp our the Creator-less Declaration story will succeed.
On the other hand, Brody also tried to dismiss stories
about O'Donnell and witchcraft as much ado about nothing. Good luck with that.