Young Turks host Cenk Uygur blasted Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Thursday, saying Scalia’s recent remarks about secularism and the U.S. flew in the face of the writings of the Founding Fathers he claims to emulate.
“The Founding Fathers would be repulsed by people like Antonin Scalia,” Uygur said. “It’s not a theory — they already said they were repulsed by people like Antonin Scalia, who want to put their religion above all of us. They set up this country to avoid people like Antonin Scalia ruling us. Don’t let them do it. He’s nothing but an utter fraud.”
Uygur specifically cited Thomas Jefferson’s writing in Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797.
“As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries,” Jefferson stated in the treaty.
On Wednesday, Scalia told an audience at Colorado Christian University that conservatives’ primary fight was “to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over non-religion.”
But Uygur countered with remarks from Jefferson’s 1808 letter to Virginia Baptists, in which Jefferson asserted that “religious belief, or non-belief” was an important part of every American’s life.
“State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights,” Jefferson stated. “Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”
Watch Uygur’s commentary, as posted online on Thursday, below.