Posted: June 2, 2010
HEIL THOMAS JEFFERSON
By Celia Cohen
There is a curious new YouTube video showing Glen Urquhart, one of the Republican candidates for Delaware's congressional seat, transforming Thomas Jefferson into Adolf Hitler.
This is not a spoof. Urquhart, a Sussex County developer, is seen at a Republican candidates forum in April in Greenwood. He is discussing how the phrase "separation of church and state" came to be.
Urquhart contradicts an unseen speaker trying to say -- correctly -- that Jefferson used the wording in a famous letter he wrote in 1802 to the Danbury Baptists in Connecticut.
"That exact phrase was not in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists," Urquhart says.
"The exact phrase 'separation of church and state' came out of Adolf Hitler's mouth. That's where it comes from. The next time your liberal friends talk about separation of church and state, ask them why they're Nazis."
So that would explain why George Washington had to talk Betsy Ross out of designing the Stars & Stripes with a field of blue decorated with 13 little swastikas.
Whatever Urquhart meant then, he is not elaborating now. He did not respond to requests for an interview left Tuesday and Wednesday by telephone and e-mail with his campaign.
It will have to wait for another day for Urquhart to answer where he thinks Hitler issued his declaration of separation. Maybe while camping at Valley Forge?
The YouTube clip, which lasts for 39 seconds, was posted Monday as "Urquhart's Gaffe." How it got there is unknown.
Urquhart has had trouble with Thomas Jefferson before. Judging by the campaign Web site, Urquhart seems to think Jefferson included "life" in the unalienable rights of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" in the Declaration of Independence because he was against abortion.
Just like Thomas Paine thought a "sunshine patriot" should spend July the Fourth at the beach.
By the way, the unseen speaker in the YouTube video is John Davis, who used to be the Kent County Republican chair.
Davis is working with the campaign of Kevin Wade, another Republican congressional candidate who, along with Urquhart, lost the party endorsement at the state convention last month to Michele Rollins. The three candidates are pointed toward a primary Sept. 14 to decide who will run against John Carney, the former lieutenant governor, on the Democratic ticket.
Partisan or otherwise, Davis was a high school history teacher, familiar with Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. Jefferson wrote of the First Amendment "building a wall of separation between Church & State."
Jefferson composed the letter while he was president, or as he preferred to be called, "der Fuhrer."
"He [Urquhart] got the history wrong. Hitler in fact wanted the establishment of a quasi-state religion. He saw the advantage of control," Davis said.
"He [Urquhart] is basically saying that people who believe in the separation of church and state are following Nazism. Adolf Hitler liked dogs and was very good to dogs. If you like dogs, does that make you a Nazi? Mussolini made the trains run on time. Does it mean someone who wants to get the trains running on time is a fascist?"
Davis said Wade's campaign did not post the YouTube video, but Wade himself wanted to make clear the video illustrated a wall of separation between the two campaigns.
"The separation of church and state is as American as apple pie," Wade said.
"The debate through the centuries is how high is that wall and how wide is that wall, and God willing, we'll have several more centuries of that debate."
The record is certain that Jefferson was the one to come up with "separation of church and state." It was Hitler who came up with the "Big Lie."