America for Jesus — and Lying About History

Back in 1980, I attended one of the original America for Jesus rallies, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I was 13 at the time, so I wasn’t yet capable of recognizing the lies I was being fed. This year they’re holding the same event again and they’re making those lies plain for all to see on the flier for it. The first fake quote is from Washington:

George Washington, in his farewell speech on September 19, 1796: “It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Part of that is indeed from the farewell address, but the first line is utterly fake. Washington never said it or anything like it, in that speech or at any other time. It first appeared in 1867 but came into modern usage with David Barton (of course). The second fake quote is from James Madison:

James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: “We have staked the whole future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”

Again, completely fake. And again, it came into modern popularity because of David Barton. Barton has admitted that both of those quotes are fake, but his allies and friends continue to use them constantly. In fact, Barton is listed as one of the supporters of the America for Jesus event, yet he doesn’t bother to correct their use of fake quotes that he claims are no longer his responsibility since he admitted they were fake.

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