Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu took part in a ceremony at the American ambassador to Israel’s residence to celebrate the 4th of July and he went full-on David Barton, making false claims about the founding fathers and their reverence for the Old Testament.
The Founding Fathers of America were inspired by the Bible, and specifically by the Book of the Exodus, by the dream of building freedom in a new Promised Land. And as you stand in the Chamber of the American Congress, you see right across you the image of one man – Moses, with a quote from the Bible.
No, it’s not the image of “one man.” It’s images of a whole lot of men, all lawgivers from history (there’s a similar frieze at the Supreme Court, but the one at the Capitol has more people in it). It includes Edward I, Gaius, Gregory IX, Hammurabi, Hugo Grotius, Justinian I, Napoleon, Papinian and many more.
And since the establishment of the United States, that’s two and a half centuries, the vision of justice and the vision of peace espoused by the Prophets of Israel served as a guiding light for Americans from Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King to many others seeking to form a more perfect union.
Really? Jefferson? The same Jefferson who wrote to William Short in 1820 that the God of the Old Testament was “a Being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust”? That Jefferson? David Barton called, he wants his act back.