Congress Set To Turn Founding Fathers Into "Christians"

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Republican congressman Randy Forbes, backed by thirty-one other Representatives is pushing for HR888, A resolution to turn the founding fathers from deists into Christian fundamentalists and rewrite history to claim the U.S. is officially a Christian nation.

The bill claims, "Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as "American Religious History Week" for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith."

This resolution contains a number of statements, many of which are factually incorrect and can easily be shown to be factually incorrect. However, the co-sponsors of this resolution and those citizens that the representatives are pandering to in their attempt to get it passed do not care that these claims are false. Truth, to them, is not important.

Bill's co-sponsors:

Cosponsors [as of 2007-12-19]
Rep. Todd Akin [R-MO]
Rep. James Barrett [R-SC]
Rep. John Culberson [R-TX]
Rep. John Doolittle [R-CA]
Rep. Tom Feeney [R-FL]
Rep. John Gingrey [R-GA]
Rep. Louis Gohmert [R-TX]
Rep. Robin Hayes [R-NC]
Rep. Jeb Hensarling [R-TX]
Rep. Walter Herger [R-CA]
Rep. Walter Jones [R-NC]
Rep. Patrick Mchenry [R-NC]
Rep. Mike McIntyre [D-NC]
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave [R-CO]
Rep. Steven Pearce [R-NM]
Rep. Mike Pence [R-IN]
Rep. Joseph Pitts [R-PA]
Rep. Paul Ryan [R-WI]
Rep. Jean Schmidt [R-OH]
Rep. Timothy Walberg [R-MI]
Rep. Addison Wilson [R-SC]
Rep. Frank Wolf [R-VA]
Rep. Bill Young [R-FL]

Chris Rodda writes,
This resolution, which purports to promote "education on America's history of religious faith," is packed with the same American history lies found on the Christian nationalist websites, and in the books of pseudo-historians like David Barton. It lists a total of seventy-five "Whereas's," leading up to four resolves, the third of which is particularly disturbing -- that the U.S. House of Representatives "rejects, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove, obscure, or purposely omit such history from our Nation's public buildings and educational resources," a travesty of the highest magnitude, considering that most of the "history" this resolve aims to promote in our public buildings and schools IS NOT REAL!

Thirty-one representatives have already embarrassed themselves, demonstrating their lack of knowledge of our country's history by becoming co-sponsors of this resolution. Let your representative know that if they do not oppose this resolution, they will either be demonstrating their own lack of knowledge of our country's history, or, worse yet, will be admitting that they are willing to be complicit in the perpetuation of lies in order to further the Christian nationalist agenda.

Congress will be back on January 15, and I want every representative to be aware of the numerous historical lies in this resolution before it gets a chance to come to a vote, so the action I am asking eveyone to take is to email or fax what I've written here to their representative. Given the length of what follows, and the number of pages this would fill as a fax, faxing might be more noticeable and effective than emails.

I cannot possibly address all seventy-five "Whereas's" in Mr. Forbes's ridiculously long list here, so I have chosen several, focusing mainly on those relating to our country's founding era. [More on the critique link]

"Whereas political scientists have documented that the most frequently-cited source in the political period known as The Founding Era was the Bible;"

The unnamed study referred to by Mr. Forbes in this statement was conducted by Donald S. Lutz of the University of Houston, whose findings were published in a 1984 article in The American Political Science Review. Misrepresentations of Lutz's study have been around for years, created by taking a particular figure from the study's findings, but omitting crucial parts of Lutz's explanations of these findings.

"Whereas throughout the American Founding, Congress frequently appropriated money for missionaries and for religious instruction, a practice that Congress repeated for decades after the passage of the Constitution and the First Amendment;"

I would ask Mr. Forbes to provide even a single example of such an appropriation. The best he will be able to do will be to misconstrue a few provisions from Indian treaties, as is done by the Christian nationalist history revisionists.

The revisionist version of American history is full of tales about government efforts to promote Christianity to the Indians, and these tales, which contain little truth to begin with, are often turned into vague statements, such as that in Mr. Forbes's proposed resolution, used to imply that our early Congresses funded religious education for the American people.

"Whereas upon approving the Declaration of Independence, John Adams declared that the Fourth of July `ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty';"

Like the historical revisionists, Mr. Forbes has selectively quoted from John Adams's letter, making it appear that Adams thought the Fourth of July should be a religious holiday. The following was Adams's entire statement (Adams, of course, assumed at the time that the Second of July, not the Fourth, would become Independence Day):

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

Restored to its context, it is clear that Adams's statement was merely a prediction of the various ways in which the day might be commemorated in the future, not an opinion that it should be a religious celebration.

"Whereas 4 days after approving the Declaration, the Liberty Bell was rung;"

In reality, the Liberty Bell was never rung in conjunction with the reading of the Declaration of Independence. The belfry of the State House had deteriorated so much by 1776 that ringing the bell was impossible.

"Whereas the Liberty Bell was named for the Biblical inscription from Leviticus 25:10 emblazoned around it: `Proclaim liberty throughout the land, to all the inhabitants thereof';"

In order to associate the Liberty Bell, and particularly its biblical inscription, with the American Revolution, revisionists must disregard its real history. The only connection between the Liberty Bell and the Revolution is that it happened to be the bell that hung in the building where the Continental Congress met. The inscription, which is preceded in the Bible by a reference to "the fiftieth year," was chosen a generation before the Revolution by a now obscure Quaker, Isaac Norris, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Governor William Penn's Charter of Privileges, the 1701 document that secured the religious freedom and other rights of the colonists and formally gave the Pennsylvania Assembly the expanded legislative powers that it had already begun to exercise.

At the time of the Revolution, and for many years after, the bell was simply called the State House bell. The majority of the signers of the Declaration probably had no idea what was inscribed on it.


additional critique


Posted by George Wilkerson on 2008-01-17 04:24:10
Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the single greatest American of all-time, was a non-Christian deist. He did not accept Jesus Christ as his savior. He says so in his autobiography.


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