Dueling Views of the Founding Fathers

To celebrate the Fourth, the Blogosphere had dueling Founding Fathers history lessons — both of which are well worth reading.
First, provides an interesting story of the failed efforts of Ben Frankllin to bring prayer into the first Constitutional Convention. Contrasting this with President Bush’s recent attempt to invoke the Founding Fathers to justify prayer in governmetn life, Tim sayeth:
… the historical fact, which no amount of wishing and hoping can change, is that the record is mixed at best regarding prayer by The Founders. And at the time of the drafting of the document by which we conduct our political lives, the Constitution, the choice was not to pray each and every day.
In contrast, Howard Owens at Global News Watch, reminds us that the Declaration of Independence did put God very much at the center of American life, and sees in that fact valuable context in which to frame the current Pledge debate (along the way asking some pointed questions about the future of democracy in Afghanistan and other recovering nations):
In the aftermath of the Pledge ruling, we’ve heard in various commentaries that The Declaration of Independence, which makes several references to God, is not “a legal document.”
This is a true statement. The Declaration is not law. It is more than that. It is an encapsulation of the founding principles of this nation. It is sacred text. We should not look on it for legal precepts, but we should use it in guiding all of our legal decisions. Any legal ruling that contradicts the Declaration shakes the very foundation of our land and subverts the intentions of our Founders.
The Declaration does not establish religion, but it acknowledges divinity. This tradition, so much a part of this country throughout its growth from colonial backwater to world superpower, is very much an explanation for “under God” in the Pledge. Regardless of the history of the Pledge, and when “under God” was added, the addition was very much in keeping with the Declaration’s proposition, we are protected by Divine providence.

Great stuff from both sides, and there’s more than just my little quotes. Go read the rest.