Duncan Hunter at Values Voter Debate

14 October 2007

After expressing support of Roy Moore's proposed bill to strip Americans of their right to challenge Establishment Clause violations, Duncan Hunter made the following speech:

HUNTER: Can I use a minute on that?

FARAH: Yes, go ahead.

HUNTER: You know, Roy, it looks to me like you are ahead of all of us in the polls.

[audience cheers]

You may accept the nomination. But you know something? At the first Constitutional Convention in 1787 when they couldn't get together, and Ben Franklin moved that they began each session with a prayer with the supplication to God, and George Washington was said to have beamed and to have loved that, and James Madison seconded the motion. I guess my question to the liberals, to the liberal activist judges who say that the Constitution doesn't allow that, doesn't allow reference to God or to His direction, just what part of the U.S. Constitution and the interpretation by George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin don't those liberal judges agree with?

Actually, at the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin did suggest that the sessions begin with a prayer. However, he was not seconded by James Madison, and he was completely ignored by the convention, who thought such a proposal was totally unnecessary. According to Franklin, "The convention, except three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary." I don't know where he got that bit about George Washington "beaming," but I'd take that with a grain of salt after his other comments.

Also, even if this were so, it does not shed much light on our interpretation of the Constitution, given the fact that the Constitution (particularly the Establishment Clause from the Bill of Rights, which came later) did not even exist yet.

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