Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Christian Nationalists and David Barton

I am puzzled, frustrated, amused, bumfuzzled and very confused right now. Someone please help me here.

I've a few friends who are educated, articulate and by all accounts are not the kind of people to need Tin Foil Hats, but something is just not working. They don't believe in UFOs or Big Foot or Swamp Creatures, though they will readily admit there are things for which we still don't have all the answers. However, when it comes to history, I don't know what is going on with them. These people have the idea that the United States was founded as a Christian Nation, with Christian Values and the Founders were all Christian-Right Republicans just like exists today.

And don't EVER cross them. It is like stepping on a yellow jackets nest.

One my friends recently posted on a social network the spurious quote by Patrick Henry as follows: (Wiki Link)

There is an insidious campaign of false propaganda being waged today, to the effect that our country is not a Christian country but a religious one—that it was not founded on Christianity but on freedom of religion. It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was founded, not by "religionists", but by Christians—not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here. 

The quote is not true as Henry never said it. The quote comes from pseudo-historian David Barton who took the quote from a 1956 piece about Henry, placed quotation marks around it, and proclaimed it was from the lips of Henry in a 1765 speech. Then Barton gets caught and instead of admitting he made a mistake, he starts the "academic verses legal" citation nonsense and simply says the quote is unconfirmed. Barton doesn't say it was an error he made, nor does he make a retraction. Instead, he labels the untrue statement as unconfirmed. Frankly, Barton is playing fast and loose with the truth and he knows it.

Such reckless words then get into the hands of people who don't know any better, and suddenly they think Barton is giving them an accurate history lesson. In turn, there are many well-meaning people who believe some very wrong things about our nation and its beginnings.

So when I pointed out that Patrick Henry never said such a statement, my faith and character were questioned. Go figure.

Truth. It should be what we strive for. When history is twisted to fit a political objective, we all lose.

By the way, David Barton should be ashamed.

1 comment:

Georgia Mountain Man said...

Sadly, this nut's version of history has been accepted in TX as truth and will be taught in the public schools.