Our country is not perfect. Our Founding Fathers were not perfect – they were human after all, and when they sat around to figure out how to build a nation unlike any other in history, they did so within the context of the culture at that time.
They recognized human beings were imperfect creatures, and so looked to God to provide the ultimate authority for our unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Yes, 14 out of the 21 Founders owned slaves – but slavery and indentured servitude were widespread at the time. (And sorry folks, but it’s estimated over 35 million people worldwide are currently enslaved, and it’s mostly brown people owning other brown people).
While some of the Founders opposed slavery, compromises were made in order to form the nation. The Declaration of Independence was signed and America was severed from British rule, but it wasn’t until January 31,1865 that the 13th Amendment was passed and slavery was officially abolished in the United States.
Does that negate everything our Founders did to establish this nation? Apparently so, according to one Democrat state representative in Louisiana.
As the Daily Mail reports, Barbara Norton, a Louisiana lawmaker, has argued against a bill requiring public school students to recite excerpts from the Declaration of Independence because ‘only Caucasians were free’ at the time it was penned.
While the Declaration of Independence states ‘all men are created equal’, it took nearly a century later before the 15th amendment allowed men regardless of ‘race, color, or previous condition of servitude’ to vote.
Barbara Norton said it was ‘unfair’ to require children to recite the founding document, given it was written when slavery was still widespread.
The bill sponsored by Republican Valerie Hodges, would have required have required students between the fourth and sixth grades to recite the passage: ‘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.
‘That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’
Norton and another representative Patricia Haynes Smith, also argued against the bill since it bears resemblance to the literacy tests used to disenfranchise black people during the Jim Crow era.
In some cases, voters would be asked to read or recite the entirety of the Declaration of Independence before they were allowed to vote.
In the end given the heated debate on the House floor, Rep. Hodges shelved the bill.
The Daily Mail included comments from some who objected to Norton’s position:
‘It is outrageous that our ELECTED OFFICIALS are unable to discern the difference between a statement of TRUTH… and past behavior!!!” a blog post on a Greater New Orleans Tea Party forum reads.
‘Guess Norton and Smith object to teaching our kids that the earth is round because, in the past, many ignored this truth and acted upon the erroneous belief that the world was flat!!!’
When will white America finally be allowed to move on from the sins committed by Americans who lived centuries ago? Not in my lifetime apparently.
[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]