This morning St. Senator Doug Mastriano, who has PhD in History (though it was being investigated for academic fraud back in November) posted this on his official Facebook Page this morning:
With the caption:
And now a word from our founder
I find it troubling that Sen Mastriano - again, a politician armed with a PhD in History - didn't actually research the quotation to see if it was, you know, real.
And this is how I know: In his book "Respectfully Quoted" James Billington, the Librarian of Congress wrote:
Numerous sources cite this remark but it has not been found in Penn's writings.
An actual historian would have tracked down the quotation to make sure it had been verified.
Doug did not do his homework.
But let's move past this particular scholarly sin to what the statement itself.
As stated above, Sen Mastriano posted this on his official Facebook Page. It's not his personal FB page or one of the many campaign pages that popped up during his failed campaign for PA Governor. It's the FB page most closely associated with Doug Mastriano as a Pennsylvania State Senator.
And it's a profound statement against Freedom of Religion.
First it's a false dichotomy - that the only two choices are being "governed by God" or being "ruled by tyrants." Isn't it possible to be both?
Just ask any member of the LGBTQ+ community living in an area dominated by communities of faith. Or any women in those areas impacted by the Dobbs decision.
Ask them how free they feel being governed by someone else's definition of God.
Then there's this from the Supreme Court in 1943:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.
The government simply has no authority to dictate or otherwise impose any religious tenet onto its citizens.
St Sen Mastriano, evidently, believes otherwise. And if he gets his way, that's tyranny.