David Barton on Thomas Jefferson – United Brethren and the Christian Indians

Yesterday, David Barton and I were on the Paul Edwards radio program, although at different times. Mr. Barton did not want to be on the show at the same time, so he went first and responded to my series on Jefferson and then I followed.

The podcast is here (April 20 show) which contains the entire program (start at about 1:23:23 for both segments).

During the program, Barton said that the difference in our views on the Kaskaskia tribe treaty was related to semantics. He believed that federal funds being used for the subsidy of a priest was significant even though the funds were given to a sovereign nation. However, I maintain that it is simply misleading to say that Jefferson approved funds to evangelize the tribe when the tribe was already predominantly Catholic.

Then Barton said that I might be unaware that Jefferson also approved assistance to the Moravians “to propagate the Gospel among the Heathen.” I was aware of this situation and want to report some of what I found.

The story of the Christian Indians in Ohio is a long one and quite involved. I am going to describe the situation as briefly as possible. Let me start at the end. In 1823, Indian converts to Christianity affiliated with the United Brethren church ceded three tracts of land to the government. You can see a copy of the Schedule of Indian Land Cessions here. Note the information regarding the “Moravian or Christian Indians.” The information is also archived on the Library of Congress website.

Date: March 3, 1823

Where or how concluded: Act of Congress.

Reference: Statutes at Large, Volume III, page 749.

Tribe: Moravian or Christian Indians.

Description of cession or reservation: Congress, by the provisions of this act, appropriated $1,000 with which to purchase and extinguish the Indian title to three tracts of land, containing 4,000 acres each, lying on Muskingum river, in Tuscarawas county, Ohio. These tracts were as follows:

1. One tract of 4,000 acres at Shoenbrun

2. One tract of 4,000 acres at Gnadenhutten

3. One tract of 4,000 acres at Salem

Historical data and remarks: An ordinance of Congress of Sept. 3, 1788, set apart three tracts of 4,000 acres each at Shoenbrun, Gnadenhutten, and Salem, on Muskingum river, for the Society of United Brethren, to be used in propagating the gospel among the heathen. By act of Congress approved June 1, 1796, provision was made for surveying and patenting these tracts to the society in question, in trust for the benefit of the Christian Indians. Under the provisions of the act of Mar. 3, 1823, Lewis Cass was appointed to negotiate for the relinquishment of the title to the U. S. This he secured and transmitted the relinquishment of both the society and the Indians to the War Department, under date of Nov. 19, 1823, and by act of May 26, 1824, Congress made provision for the disposition of the lands.

At first glance, it does appear that the government in 1788 set apart land in Ohio “to be used in propagating the gospel among the heathen” by the Society of United Brethren. Indeed, the government did authorize land to Indian converts of missionaries from the United Brethren church. However, this initially was done for the purpose of returning them to land which rightfully belonged to them.

One can read the full history of the Delaware tribe converts here. Essentially, the United Brethren church had a long history of mission work among various tribes in Pennsylvania, much of it conducted by David Zeisberger. Facing a need to move his work westward, Zeisberger and some of his converts traveled to what is now eastern Ohio, near New Philadelphia in 1772. The Brethren mission was successful in that other settlements of native converts were established. However, they soon became embroiled in conflicts with the Americans and the British during the Revolutionary War. While the mission communities wanted to remain neutral, both sides along with other Indian tribes distrusted the “Christian Indians” as they came to be called. The situation was so bad that by 1781, the settlers were relocated near Sandusky.

In 1782, some of the Indians returned to Gnadenhutten, Then, in March, a group of Pennsylvania militiamen attacked the mission at Gnadenhutton, killing all men, women and children. The residents of the mission were unarmed and taken captive by stealth, in a particularly gruesome atrocity.

United Brethren John Ettwein wrote Congress in 1783, just after the Revolutionary War ended asking for an investigation into the massacre and for assistance in securing the Indian survivors rights to their land near Gnadenhutten. There were several letters between Ettwein and Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson. Here is a 1784 letter from Thomson to Ettwein:

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 21 October 1, 1783 – October 31, 1784

Charles Thomson to John Ettwein

Sir, Annapolis 7 April 1784

I received by last post your letter of the 4 of March, and have to inform you that agreeably to my promise I laid your Memorial before Congress on the first of November last. It was then read and referred to a Committee, who reported thereon the 31 of March.(1) I presume the unsettled state of Congress and the want of a full representation rendered it in their opinion unnecessary to report sooner. The report is favourable. It has been read and now lies before Congress for their determination but at what time they will take it up I cannot say. It might not be amiss to write to some of the delegates of Pensylvania or of any other state you may be acquainted with and engage them to bring it forward.(2) You may rest assured I shall as far as in my power favour the cause of those unhappy people and most heartily wish your laudable endeavours to promote their spiritual and temporal Welfare may be crowned with success. I am, Sir, Your obedt humble Servt.

Cha Thomson

RC (PBMCA: Ettwein Papers).

1 For the committee report on Ettwein’s October 31, 1783, memorial to Congress on the plight of the Moravian Indians in the aftermath of the Gnadenhutten massacre of March 1782, see Committee of Congress Draft Resolve, March 31, 1784. Ettwein’s.

It is clear that the United Brethren petitioned Congress to repair the situation and provide relief to the Christian converts of these settlements. Eventually, that is exactly what Congress did. On July 27 1787, Congress resolved to set aside 10,000 acres along the Muskingum River for them and named the Brethren as those who would hold the trust (Congress finally made the trust law in 1796). In July of 1787, the Brethren had not organized in such a way that they could manage the trust, so the document referred to a society which had already been engaged in promoting Christianity among the natives. The document stated

Whereas the United States in Congress Assembled have by their ordinance passed the 20th May 1785 among other things Ordained “that the Towns Gnadenhutten, Schoenbrun and Salem on the Muskingum and so much of the lands adjoining to the said Towns with the buildings and improvements thereon shall be reserved for the sole use of the Christian Indians who were formerly settled there, or the remains of that society, as may in the judgement of the Geographer be sufficient for them to cultivate”.

Resolved That the board of treasury except and reserve out of any Contract they may make for the tract described in the report of the Committee which on the 23d instant was referred to the said board to take order, a quantity of land around and adjoining each of the before mentioned Towns amounting in the whole to ten thousand acres, and that the property of the said reserved land be vested in the Moravian Brethern at Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, or a society of the said Brethern for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity, in trust, and for the uses expressed as above in the said Ordinance, including Killbuck and his descendants, and the Nephew and descendants of the late Captain white Eyes, Delaware Chiefs who have distinguished themselves as friends to the cause of America.

Later that same year, in September, The Society of the United Brethren for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen was organized in order to further their mission and to act as the holder of the trust. From a history of the society:

In the year 1787 an event took place, which seems to promise much for the future service of the mission among the Indians.  A society called The Society of the United Brethren for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen, in imitation of the Society for the furtherance of the Gospel established by the Brethren in England forty-six years ago. This society consists of all the elders and ministers of the congregations of the United Brethren ia North America and many other members chosen at their request and with the consent of the Society. They held their first meeting on the 21st of September 1787 at Bethlehem inPennsylvania, and February 27,1788, this society was declared and constituted a body politic and corporate by the state of Pennsylvania.

What about Jefferson?

The Society was referred to in future legislation which makes it seem as though the federal government continued to support evangelization of the Delaware. As I demonstrated, however, the actual purpose of the government intervention was to protect the property rights of the Bethren converts, a group which had been brutalized by the Pennsylvania militia. The Gnadenhutten massacre required a just and reparative response.

Eventually, Thomas Jefferson signed reauthorizations of this act (which also included regulations for military land) which is source of the claims that Jefferson authorized Christian evangelization of the Indians. For instance, he signed this bill which contained the Society’s name and for all the world makes it seem as though Jefferson was supporting the Brethren’s evangelism. However, if you review the bill, there is nothing in it about Indians or religion, beyond the title of the bill. The first bill accomplished two purposes, one relating to military land, the other relating to the Delaware tribe. Once the reparations were accomplished, the bill retained the same name but the content was about the military land tracts. Read it and see. The title of the bill retained the reference to the Society but no additional funds were authorized for religious purposes.

So when Barton says that Jefferson signed bills authorizing the “propagation of the gospel to the heathen,” he is not telling the whole story. Some might think this is a minor point. However, I am really troubled that Barton did not tell the whole story of the Gnadenhutten massacre and the real purpose of the involvement of the federal government with the United Brethren and the Christian Indians. By making these bills about Jefferson and his alleged support for religion, Barton minimizes an atrocity committed against native people.  When one examines this episode in context, it is clear that the federal government did not simply decide to give money to the United Brethren in order for them to “propagate the gospel among the heathen.” The federal government gave a trust to a group of people who organized as “The Society of the United Brethren for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen” for the purpose of helping the brutalized Indians return and keep rights to their lands. If there had not been a displacement, or an atrocity, there would have been no need for federal involvement in this case.

For an even more detailed account of the story see Chris Rodda’s book, Liars for Jesus. Since I started this series, several readers have referred me to her book. I resisted reviewing it until today because I wanted to do my own research. I did however, consult her chapter on the Brethren and found it corresponds to what I found but reports much more detail and background.

You can also catch the audio in a blog post at Right Wing Watch which reported on the Paul Edwards program as well.

Next (probably next week), what was Jefferson’s role in church services at the US Capitol?

Previously:

David Barton on Thomas Jefferson – In the Year of Our Lord Christ

David Barton on Thomas Jefferson: The Kaskaskia Indians

Was the Jefferson Bible an evangelism tool?

More on Thomas Jefferson and Christianity

David Barton: Pluralism not the goal of the First Amendment

Related:

Did the First Amendment Create a Christian Nation?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • hazemyth

    Impressive work. Very informative. Thanks!

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Rather than see this as money given for evangelism, it might be a bit more accurate to see this as money owed to Indians and given to their White missionaries. Because, of course, Indians needed someone White to make decisions for them.

    (And no, my mother’s family were not Delaware; they were Cherokee)

  • OneOfTheWatchers

    Listened to the broadcast, and I must say, Dr Throckmorton conveys an assured coherence to his argument, substantiated with facts.

    I listened to Mr Barton speak, and I must say, now I understand how when he whips out quotes from the Bible to support his argument, one must read those quotes to see if they truly support his argument.

  • http://www.debbiethurman.com Debbie Thurman

    I very much enjoy history when it is portrayed as accurately as possible from extant documents. Thank you for your hard work here, Warren.

    Why must some insist on casting us as a Christian nation? Yes, we have strong Judeo-Christian underpinnings. But we are also noted for our championing of freedoms, including freedom of conscience and of religion. The most Christian thing we have done, perhaps, is to allow immigrants to assimilate into our culture, but believe as they choose to so long as they abide by our laws.

  • Pete

    Thank you for doing this. With all the talk about David Barton lately, there is great value in having his theories challenged by an Evangelical. I only wish more mainstream Christian thinkers and publications would give Barton the same scrutiny you do.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    However, I maintain that it is simply misleading to say that Jefferson approved funds to evangelize the tribe when the tribe was already predominantly Catholic.>>>>

    That most of these Indians were catholics is irrelevant. Jefferson gave money to a govt to support the established religion. That is heresy to modern day secularists.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    Jefferson did not give any government money to support religion.

    First of all, Jefferson had absolutely nothing to do with this land trust. The land was just included in the same 1796 act for surveying the military land grants because it was in the same area as the military land grants. This is why the United Brethren’s name is in the title of that act. And, when that act was extended under Jefferson, the United Brethren’s organization’s name was just still in the acts title because it was an extension of the original military land grant act, even though nothing in the acts Jefferson signed had anything to do with with the United Brethren land trust (which had been surveyed by 1798).

    Second, the land trust was simply a business transaction in the first place, and the only purpose of the trust was to protect the Indians’ land. The Indians were guaranteed the title to their land by the Continental Congress because they didn’t side with the British during the Revolutionary War, but when the time came that someone had to formally claim the land in order to keep it off limits from the land being sold in the Northwest Territory, these Indians were in Canada and afraid to come back to claim their land for themselves. Congress had to find someone whose name they could put the land in, and their friends the Moravians stepped up to the plate and formed a corporation so that they could hold the property in trust so that the Indians could return to it in the future if they wanted to. This had nothing whatsoever to do with religion. It was simply to make it impossible for anyone else to try to purchase these tracts of land that belonged to the Indians.

    But, the most indisputable proof that this land trust was absolutely not intended for the purpose of promoting religion is that in the early 1820s, when the United Brethren were accused by a senator of mismanaging the Indians’ land trust, one of the things they had to prove to the Senate in the hearing on these accusations was that they WEREN’T using any proceeds of the land for their evangelizing activities. I’d like to see David Barton try to argue with that.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Chris – Thanks for contributing. Your work on this matter is clear and illuminating.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    Warren … this was just such an interesting story, beyond just the stuff debunking Barton’s lies. That’s why I ended up devoting an entire chapter to it in my book, covering the whole four decade history surrounding these Indians and the land trust, instead of lumping it into the chapter on the Indian Treaties or the chapter on the Northwest Ordinance. One of the things I hate about the revisionist history books (besides the lies) is that they only pick the little bits and pieces of stories that they can distort for their purposes, and completely ignore the very interesting history of things like this. But, of course, the revisionists don’t really care about teaching their readers about history, which is why it’s so disturbing that their books are used by homeschoolers as “history” texts.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    And a good chapter it is. I agree, the real story is so much more interesting with much to glean. I followed up on this post with one just up that expresses some of those thoughts.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    What I don’t get is that if people like Barton really wanted to teach about Christians who had an impact in American history, why would they ignore the true stories of Christians like the United Brethren. You’d think this story could be used to teach about how these Christians showed true Christian values by becoming advocates for these Indians in Congress to protect their land and their rights, and how their influence kept these Indians out of the Revolutionary War, including having the Indians write their own constitution and rules for their settlements.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren,

    Secularists make it their business to harp on non essentials such as the United Brethren details, which has nothing to do with whether we WERE formed a Christian Nation. Yes, Barton makes mistakes in his presentation, however, secularists are far more disingenious on the main issue; whether the framers formed a Christian Nation. It is more clear they formed a Christian Nation than the earth is round because they wrote it themselves. For instance:

    [W]ith humble reverence, I feel it to be my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of a people who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service, can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.

    –John Adams, First Inaugural, In the City of Philadelphia, Saturday, March 4, 1797.

    Notice Adams says religiously we are a Christian Nation, and POLITICALLY we are a Christian Nation. Adams says exalts respecting Christianity in public service.

    James Madison believed we were a Christian Nation as well:

    “If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to whom it is addressed, it must be that in which those who join in it are guided only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts and the dictates of their consciences; and such a spectacle must be interesting to all Christian nations as proving that religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man, freed from all coercive edicts, from that unhallowed connection with the powers of this world which corrupts religion into an instrument or an usurper of the policy of the state…Upon these principles and with these views the good people of the United States are invited, in conformity with the resolution aforesaid, to dedicate the day above named to the religious solemnities therein recommended.”

    –Given at Washington, this 23d day of July, A. D. 1813.[seal.] JAMES MADISON

    That we were formed a Christian Nation proves the Establishment clause refers ONLY to a Christian Church. The capacity to establish a buddhist church is beyond absurd.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    I think you are misreading that Madison quote there, OFT. Madison wasn’t saying that America was a Christian Nation. He was saying that America would be an example to the nations in the rest of the world that actually were Christian nations, showing these nations that the separation of religion from the government was better for both religion and government. What do you think he meant by “that unhallowed connection with the powers of this world which corrupts religion into an instrument or an usurper of the policy of the state”?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris said: Jefferson did not give any government money to support religion.

    You may be correct as to the details in the United Brethren case, however your above statement is incorrect. Jefferson gave money to a govt. to support religion to the Kaskaskia Indians:

    Article 3 “And whereas, The greater part of the said tribe have been baptised and received into the Catholic church to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually for seven years one hundred dollars towards the support of a priest of that religion, who will engage to perform for the said tribe the duties of his office and also to instruct as many of their children as possible in the rudiments of literature. And the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church.”

    As to the United Brethren, the treaty text says “for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity.”

    Promoting Christianity? Of course. The other aspects you mention, that Barton neglects, is mutually exclusive to the aforementioned statement.

  • ken

    oft# ~ Apr 26, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    “That we were formed a Christian Nation proves the Establishment clause refers ONLY to a Christian Church. The capacity to establish a buddhist church is beyond absurd.”

    Are you claiming buddist temples were not allow in the US when the constitution was ratified?

    What exactly does it mean to be a “Christian Nation”?

    Are only christians allowed to be citizens? can only christians vote?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris,

    From the context, Madison is referring to our nation as the example given we were the only nation exhibiting the attributes he mentions.

    Moreover, France was in turmoil, England, and the other catholic nations had no separation of church and state. Your quoting of “that unhallowed connection with the powers of this world which corrupts religion into an instrument or an usurper of the policy of the state” supports he is showing we are an example to Catholic nations.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    What treaty text, OFT? There was no treaty with the Indians that the United Brethren secured the land trust for. Congress was just making good on its promise to give them the title to their land since they had kept up their end of the bargain by not getting into the Revolutionary War.

    And, as far as the Kaskaskia go, they were a sovereign nation and not subject to our Bill of Rights, so the treaty negotiators were free to give them the religious provisions that they wanted in their treaty. It was clearly decided in the House of Representatives debate on the Jay Treaty in 1796 that religious provisions in a treaty with a sovereign nation did not violate the establishment clause, as long as these provisions didn’t affect the citizens of the United States, which the church and the priest for the Kaskaskia obviously didn’t.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Ken,

    The answer to your first question is no. Your second question can be answered in the religious and political establishment of the states; Christianity. Given Federalism mandates Religion is left to the States, all government departments are to exalt Christianity–which they did–as John Adams proclaims in his inaugural address.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    Moreover, France was in turmoil, England, and the other catholic nations had no separation of church and state.

    England was a catholic nation?!

    And is it your contention, oft, that some non-catholic nations in Europe did have separation of church and state?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris,

    I was referring to the United States in Congress Assembled.

    The issue is did Thomas Jefferson give money to another government to respect an establishment of religion? Yes, he did. Did Jefferson believe giving money to a sovereign nation to support religion was a universal principle not limited to our jurisdiction under the Bill of Rights? Yes, he did.

    “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences.”

    –-Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. Papers, 12:440

    First, TJ believed the Bill or Rights were unalienable and applied to all human beings, and every government, so TJ says NO JUST GOVERNMENT in the context of every govt. on earth–not just ours. If our people should have a bill of rights against every govt. on earth, no just government on earth would include the Indian nations, but TJ gave money to the Indians., contradicting himself, proving that giving money to support religion–for TJ–included any govt on the planet, and did not establish religion, nor was a violation of separation of church and state.

    It is the principle that Jefferson is against. No doubt, the money would be used to evangelize some who weren’t adherents or those in the future, to the Catholic faith.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Throbert McGee,

    Holland and Austria may have had separation of church/state, but that isn’t mentioned and would be meaningless to the Americans.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    OFT …

    The only reason that the words “for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity” were in the 1787 resolution was that the Congress wasn’t sure what the United Brethren were going to call their society when they incorporated, which they were in the process of doing when the Congress was writing this resolution. Congress had to call the society something in this resolution, so they described the society in the words that similar societies of the time typically called themselves — societies “for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity.” Once Congress knew what the United Brethren’s official name was going to be, they started using that — “The Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen.” So, once again, we’re just talking about the name of the organization, not the purpose of the act or resolution of Congress.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Debbie Thurman# ~ Apr 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

    You might even say that one of the results of Christian influence on a nation is that it less religiously structured. Ironic, but fitting.

    In Christendom’s history, whenever it sought most to impose faith on a nation is when it become least Christian.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    OFT …

    Jefferson believed that every nation should have A bill of rights decided on by THEIR people, not that they should be subject to OUR Bill of Rights. The Kaskaskia Indians, who only numbered about 250 by the time of the 1803 treaty, were Catholic, and THEY wanted the U.S. government to pay for their church and priest as part of the payment for the land they were ceding. Jefferson would certainly have thought the leaders of this sovereign nation had the “right” to ask for this in the treaty if this is what THEIR people wanted.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    [W]ith humble reverence, I feel it to be my duty to add, if a veneration for the religion of a people who profess and call themselves Christians, and a fixed resolution to consider a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service, can enable me in any degree to comply with your wishes, it shall be my strenuous endeavor that this sagacious injunction of the two Houses shall not be without effect.

    –John Adams, First Inaugural, In the City of Philadelphia, Saturday, March 4, 1797.

    With humble reverence may I note that Sen. Joe Lieberman has “a veneration for the religion of a people who profess and call themselves Christians” and without doubt “a decent respect for Christianity.”

    I doubt that Lieberman would either consider us a “Christian Nation” or claim that the first amendment only covers Christians. But I’m only guessing.

    😉

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris,

    What society used these exact words?

    “be vested in the Moravian Brethern at Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, or a society of the said Brethern for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity, in trust, and for the uses expressed as above in the said Ordinance”

    This doesn’t sound like words describing a society such as “The Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen.” But you could be right.

    I was only pointing out “promoting Christianity” But if that is a specific phrase such as the latter, then so be it.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris said: Jefferson believed that every nation should have A bill of rights decided on by THEIR people, not that they should be subject to OUR Bill of Rights. >>>>

    I disagree. Those rights were universal and applied to every human being, which everyone–including the Indians–should recognize through Natural Law. Natural Law is the same everywhere at all times. The context of TJ’s quote is “every government on earth.” It is irrelevant what the Indians thought. It is TJ’s thought that concerns us.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Oft – Please re-read the post and the newest one on the United Brethren. The initial reference to the society was prior to the formation of the organization but the point was to identify it for what it was doing as opposed to another Brethren society doing something else. After the initial resolution and the formation of the organization, “The Society of the United Brethren for Propagating the Gospel Among the Heathen” the society is not referred to any other way in statute or in any other reference I can find.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    So, OFT, what you are saying is that Thomas Jefferson didn’t think that the people of another nation had the right to decide for themselves what rights they wanted their own government to guarantee them. Do you not see why this makes absolutely no sense?

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    OFT … Congress had to describe the United Brethren’s society in such a way that there could be no question as to what organization they were talking about, but didn’t know what the name of the organization was going to be once it was incorporated. What about this is so hard to understand?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris,

    I think you are missing the point. TJ is not speaking for any other nation other than ours. However he is saying Natural Rights are the same everywhere. They are from God and they don’t vary from nation to nation. “That all men..are endowed from their creator with certain unalienable rights; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris,

    You said “so they described the society in the words that similar societies of the time typically called themselves”

    What other societies used these words, or were even similar to these:

    “be vested in the Moravian Brethern at Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, or a society of the said Brethern for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity, in trust, and for the uses expressed as above in the said Ordinance”

    I’m not denying what your saying. Show me a similiar society at that time similiar to the above?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris,

    If the Congress is making a hypothetical that’s fine. I only wanted the clarification.

  • http://www.liarsforjesus.com Chris Rodda

    As “debates” with OFT always do on other blogs where he (or she) shows up, this has gotten a bit too ridiculous for me, and I have some writing to do about the latest from David Barton and his pal Randy Forbes, so ta-ta for now, but I’ll be back to read more posts here.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Chris,

    As a Christian, I will leave the personal insults to you, or the trivialization of no less important a concept as unalienable rights from God unto mankind.

  • ken

    oft# ~ Apr 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    “Your second question can be answered in the religious and political establishment of the states; Christianity. Given Federalism mandates Religion is left to the States, all government departments are to exalt Christianity–which they did–as John Adams proclaims in his inaugural address.”

    I still don’t understand what you mean by a “christian nation.” Are you claiming christians have more rights (if so what rights)? and who determines whether someone is a christian or not (keep in mind there have always been different sects of christianity many claiming they are the “true” christians while the others sects are not christian).

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Ken,

    Christians were to have no more rights than anyone. However, it means the Establishment clause referred only to a Christian Church, not including “Congress shall make a law respecting an establishment of buddhism or pagan religion or “any ism.” The free exercise clause allows any worship, that which does not subvert public order. Obviously anyone can form a Christian church no matter what they believe, but the New Testament is the standard if it’s legitimate.

  • Emily K

    If people like “oft” can revise history to make the Founding Fathers retroactively believe and endorse things they never in life believed or endorsed, even when we have clear original 1st-hand sources to the contrary, it makes me really question how people can think scriptures as we have them are the absolute accurate words, deeds, beliefs, and dogmas of the people they claim to represent.

  • ken

    oft# ~ Apr 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    “Christians were to have no more rights than anyone. However, it means the Establishment clause referred only to a Christian Church, not including “Congress shall make a law respecting an establishment of buddhism or pagan religion or “any ism.”

    If the authors of the bill of rights wanted the 1st amendment to refer only to christianity (rather than all religions) they would have said ‘christianity” rather than ‘religion.’

    Further, if 1st amendment protections only extend to christianity rather than all religions, then that would indicate significant rights granted to christians but not other people.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Ken,

    The leaders and the people had already established Christianity as the government of the States. They didn’t need to mention Christianity in the 1st Amendment. James Madison said the context of the First Amendment is clearly that of the States:

    “However desirable it be that they should be preserved as a gratification to the laudable curiosity felt by every people to trace the origin and progress of their political Institutions, & as a source perhaps of some lights on the Science of Govt. the legitimate meaning of the Instrument must be derived from the text itself; or if a key is to be sought elsewhere, it must be not in the opinions or intentions of the Body which planned & proposed the Constitution, but in the sense attached to it by the people in their respective State Conventions where it recd. all the authority which it possesses.”

    —James Madison to Thomas Ritchie, September 15, 1821

    Further, if 1st amendment protections only extend to christianity rather than all religions, then that would indicate significant rights granted to christians but not other people.>>>>>

    There are two aspects of the First Amendment; the Establishment Clause and Free exercise clause. The establishment clause refers only to a Christian Church, like the Church of England. The second grants freedom of conscience, except if that worship subverts public order.

  • Teresa

    The establishment clause refers only to a Christian Church, like the Church of England.

    Oft, if you know anything about history you will realize that there was no real definition of Christianity, as we now know it. At the time of this Country’s founding, most people were fleeing persecution of what we’d call today, Christianity.

    Catholics were not considered Christian; and, classical Catholicism avoided using that term, since they felt the term only applied to them. ‘Papists’ were very reluctantly, and over time, allowed to be part of the Big Tent: what you call today, Oft, Christianity.

    Also, classical Catholicism did not, and still does not, see The French Revolution as being of any help to man. Actually, The French Revolution to traditional Catholics is a violation of God’s Will … placing man at the center of everything, and not God. So, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity end up being (to them): slavery, elitism, and hatred of others. Classical Catholicism, also, has a big beef with our Founding Documents; because, they see in those Documents the enshrinement of an ‘anthropocentric’ way of living.

    It was not until the mid-19th century, when the Irish Catholics arrived in significant numbers, and the early part of the 20th century when the Italians arrived that accommodation was made for a bigger tent.

    The Nativist Political Parties of the mid-to-late 19th century were adamantly opposed to Catholic immigrants, for a variety of reasons.

    It’s interesting how all our ‘Christian’ religions try to vie for there religion being the one our Country was founded on. It’s no unheard of in small segments of Catholicism to hear that our Country was founded on Catholicism: ala, the settling of the Southwest, and the missionary movement up from Mexico. All that territory that some Mexicans are alluding to as the Reconquista.

    Oft, you’re really barking up the wrong tree to think our Country was founded on ‘Christian Principles’: a term that needs a real definition. During the time of our Founding, Christians were not all “honey and sugar” to one another.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    oft – It is clear you believe the First Amendment was meant to protect the free expression of Christianity. Some of David Barton’s comments lead me to believe he thinks that too. Can you provide a reference in his work to that effect?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Emily K# ~ Apr 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Your comment reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite writers about faith, Anne Lamotte:

    “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

    folks like oft# aren’t interested in the real founding fathers or the real scriptural authors, they are much happier with the Founding Fathers which they have created in their own image.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    The leaders and the people had already established Christianity as the government of the States. They didn’t need to mention Christianity in the 1st Amendment.

    But — what about states that didn’t exist yet at the time the 1st Amendment was ratified? They would’ve been free to establish Buddhism or Judaism as the religions of their state governments, presumably.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Throbert McGee: But — what about states that didn’t exist yet at the time the 1st Amendment was ratified? They would’ve been free to establish Buddhism or Judaism as the religions of their state governments, presumably.>>>>

    That’s correct. Because Thomas Jefferson said religion is left to the States.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren,

    Barton makes mistakes like all of us do. Barton is correct, the establishment clause refers ONLY to a Christian Church. His website is wallbuiders.com

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Teresa,

    The framers believed some Catholics were Christians. It was the doctrines of the Catholicism they were against. Just as today, there are Catholics who are true Christians.

    It’s interesting how all our ‘Christian’ religions try to vie for there religion being the one our Country was founded on.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    It’s interesting how all our ‘Christian’ religions try to vie for there religion being the one our Country was founded on.>>>>

    Ooops. It automatically posted. Anyway, the framers were Orthodox Protestants. Their heirs were those of the Protestant Reformation. If the country wasn’t founded on Christian principles, why did the States establish Christian States?

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    Barton is correct, the establishment clause refers ONLY to a Christian Church.

    I’m still confused. In your view, Congress CAN make laws that establish Buddhism as a national religion, since the prohibitory effect of the 1st Amendment (“Congress shall make no laws…”) only relates to the establishment of one Christian Church over another?

    The second grants freedom of conscience, except if that worship subverts public order.

    Um, I think that if the intent had been to grant freedom of conscience, the framers would’ve used a wording like “the people shall have the right of free exercise of religion,” or something like that. (The Constitution of the USSR “granted” freedom of religion in this way.)

    Instead, the entirety of the First Amendment is couched as a negative that forbids Congress to encroach on rights that already exist.

  • Teresa

    It was the doctrines of the Catholicism they were against. Just as today, there are Catholics who are true Christians.

    Oft, what does the above mean? How does one separate the doctrines of a Christian religion from the religion? So, today, Oft, some Catholics are not true Christians?

    BTW, what makes a true Christian, Oft?

    I think the basic part of this discussion rests on Religious Liberty as a founding Principle of our Country. Unitarians were thought by many not to be Christian. Some of these men had been victims of religious persecution. Oft, you refer to the Anglican Religion … some of the Puritans left England because of religious persecution by Anglicans.

    Also, it was Deists/Unitarians among the Founding Fathers: Thomas Paine, George Washington, Ben Franklin, James Madision, Ethan Allen, et. al., who gave the Catholics a break as being Christian. Orthodox Christians (Protestants) did not see Catholics as Christian. Just a fact.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    Anyway, the framers were Orthodox Protestants.

    Many of them were. But a relative handful were orthodox Roman Catholic; a handful were “orthodox Deist,” and some larger number are probably best described as “heterodox Protestants”, in that they may have nominally belonged to an orthodox Protestant denomination, but in their personal views showed definite influences of Unitarianism and/or Deism.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Teresa,

    Read the Bible. Start at the Gospel of John to find out what real Christianity is.

    George Washington was not a deist:

    “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.”

    –SPEECH TO THE DELAWARE CHIEFS

    Head Quarters, Middle Brook, May 12, 1779.

    James Madison was not a deist. He was an Orthodox Christian fundamentalist who believed tax payer money should not support religion:

    “Mat. Ch 1st Pollution[:] Christ did by the power of his Godhead purify our nature from all the pollution of our Ancestors v. 5. &c ”

    –Madison’s “Notes on Commentary on the Bible” found in The Papers of James Madison, p. 51-59. Vol. I. 16 Mar 1751 – 16 Dec. 1779. Edited by William T. Hutchinson and William M. E. Rachal. 1962, by the University of Chicago Press.

    Ben Franklin was not a deist:

    “Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, & they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor.”

    –Franklin’s Prayer, Constitutional Convention on June 28, 1787 recorded by James Madison

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    The second grants freedom of conscience, except if that worship subverts public order.

    Can I be in charge of deciding what subverts public order? Me! Me! Please? Me!

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Throbert McGee: But a relative handful were orthodox Roman Catholic>>>>

    Besides the Carroll’s and Fitzsimmons, Who were the others?

    a handful were “orthodox Deist>>>>

    Besides Thomas Paine, who the framers hated, and Allen, Dearborn, and maybe Williamson, who else?

    The only known unitarians are: Jefferson, Franklin, John Adams, Pickering, and perhaps RT. Paine, and Monroe. Marshall became Orthodox while still Chief Justice.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      oft – Which view of God did the Founders intend to cover with the First Amendment – the trinitarian view or the unitarian view? And which one do you believe is the proper Christian position?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Throbert McGee: In your view, Congress CAN make laws that establish Buddhism as a national religion, since the prohibitory effect of the 1st Amendment (“Congress shall make no laws…”) only relates to the establishment of one Christian Church over another?>>>

    The context is that of the States. To think that Protestant Christians could allow a pagan or buddhist church as the National Church is absurd.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Timothy Kincaid: Can I be in charge of deciding what subverts public order? Me! Me! Please? Me!>>>>

    What about the Founding Fathers? They formed this nation. Why shouldn’t they determine what is public order? As a matter of fact, they didn’t really have to, since they had the Scriptures to guide them.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Warren: Which view of God did the Founders intend to cover with the First Amendment – the trinitarian view or the unitarian view? And which one do you believe is the proper Christian position?>>>>

    Great question Warren, which I want to leave for a book. However, the founders gave the clues in their writings and government proclamations. Read some of them and let me know what you think. Does the Bible specifically endorse a Trinitarian or Unitarian Godhead? Did the Christian denominations practice unitarianism or Trinitarianism?

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Ya know, sometimes I just want to push for constitutional amendments that have the exact same wording as is already there.

  • Teresa

    “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.

    Dear me, Oft, Deists often referred to the religion of Jesus Christ. But, you must understand to a Deist, Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, is not Divine, and did not rise from the dead. Good grief, Lincoln, a well known Deist, had no problem citing Scriptural Quotes, but he certainly didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God. Deists felt that any religion that provided some moral structure, ‘reasoned’ moral structure, was worth noting. That’s why they didn’t care what church they might attend. Deists find the ‘reasoned’ moral law in what they call the “Natural Law” … and, as Throbert has pointed out before, this is not the Catholic version of the Natural Law.

    Also, Oft, I’m afraid you have little understanding of Catholicism. So, it’s pointless to pursue that line of argumentation with you. You have not answered my question about Catholics, some of which might be Christian. What’s that, who are they … and, if all Catholics aren’t Christian, what are they?

    Deists and Unitarian/Universalists are fond of using Jesus Christ as a model. So, was Ghandi. It seems you have a rather shallow understanding of what comprises Deism. Saying Christian terms, using the name Jesus Christ is not indicative of Christianity.

    One example: George Washington was a high-degree Mason. Masonry at its roots is not Christian. Masonry, like Deism, uses many terms that sound like they’re Christian; but, the heart of Christianity is the understanding of Jesus Christ as Divine … proved by the Resurrection.

    A good many Founding Fathers found that man’s inhumanity to man was co-existent with Orthodox Christianity … whatever, you might mean by that term, Oft. And, they rejected it for what they perceived a more ‘enlightened’ understanding of life.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Teresa,

    I should have posted Washington’s other quotes. The point I wanted to make was a Deist believed in the clockmaker god, with no involvment with the earth. None of them believed that. They all spoke of Providence.

    and, if all Catholics aren’t Christian, what are they?>>>>

    Does the Bible say you are saved by Grace through faith, or works?

  • Teresa

    They all spoke of Providence.

    Providence doesn’t make one a Christian, Oft … not by half. Providence is a very nebulous term, often meaning the Universe and how it works.

    Does the Bible say you are saved by Grace through faith, or works?

    So, I guess Catholics aren’t Christian according to your doctrine, Oft. Catholics believe in Faith and Works. Well, I guess that leaves Maryland out of the mix as a Christian State. Since Catholics make up the largest single denomination in America, they’ll have to bite the bullet when Barton, Fischer, et. al., create their Theocratic ‘Christian’ Government: along with Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    Start at the Gospel of John to find out what real Christianity is.

    FASCINATING. I just read a book called “This Tragic Gospel” which makes an excellent case for John subverting, rather than encouraging, compassionate Christianity.

    As that vile anti-Semite Martin Luther once wrote, John is the truest/highest gospel – this is what is believed among Protestants, especially Evangelicals.

    It’s the “canon among the canon.”

    It’s the one evangelicals turn to because it encourages blind faith without any question, without challenge – just follow what John says and you’re “saved.” You’re a Christian. You represent God’s elite. How comforting this must be, to be able to use John’s words to numb one’s self to the fact that Mark’s Jesus was abandoned by God both in the garden and on the cross (hence the psalm he quotes as the story ends). Mark’s Jesus challenges and questions – tells parables to confuse people – John’s Jesus is a god, not to be questioned, telling people what they are supposed to know and to unquestioningly accept. Period. He doesn’t even bother with parables.

    How fitting that “oft” say to us all that if we want to see how to be a Christian we start with John.

    Not Paul, who probably wrote more about the structure of the church than any early follower; not even with Lev. 19:18.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Teresa: Providence doesn’t make one a Christian, Oft … not by half>>>>

    I never said it did. Straw man argument.

    So, I guess Catholics aren’t Christian according to your doctrine, Oft. Catholics believe in Faith and Works.>>>>>

    You never answered the previous questions. Does the Bible say I am saved by Grace through faith or works? If by Grace, works will have nothing to do.

    •”But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). There are those catholics who believe faith saves them. You are putting words in my mouth.

    Well, I guess that leaves Maryland out of the mix as a Christian State.>>>>

    Your knowledge of history is similiar to the rest of your error-laden posts. Protestants controlled Maryland for the first three-hundred years.

  • Teresa

    Oft, I know it must be very disconcerting to realize our present Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) does not have any Christians sitting: 6 Catholics, 3 Jews.

    In the final analysis, we can each choose to “hunt the acorn” about the Founding Fathers and whether this was a Christian Nation, and whether they were really, really Christians according to the Gospel of John. Whew, probably not.

    At the end of the day, America is what it is right now, for better or for worse. No amount of waxing nostalgically over some mythic time of being a really Christian Nation has absolutely no bearing right now. Going down that path only leads to a Fascist State, similar to Nazi Germany; and, let’s incarcerate everyone who doesn’t believe in the Gospel of John the way some Evangelicals would like.

  • Teresa

    The point I wanted to make was a Deist believed in the clockmaker god, with no involvment with the earth. None of them believed that. They all spoke of Providence.

    Oft, this was your statement above. What was your point in making it, if you think it’s a straw man argument?

  • Teresa

    You never answered the previous questions. Does the Bible say I am saved by Grace through faith or works? If by Grace, works will have nothing to do.

    Oft, what happened to the Epistle of St. James … another little thing that stood in Martin Luther’s way? Short Epistle, you might want to read it, if it’s still in your Bible.

    According to you, Oft, I’m not a Christian. Thanks for altering me to this fact. It’s nice to know what’s really happening in the underworld of Evangelical Christianity. Same old stuff as at the Founding of our Nation.

  • Teresa

    Your knowledge of history is similiar to the rest of your error-laden posts. Protestants controlled Maryland for the first three-hundred years.

    Oft, you may want to review your history of Maryland, yourself. And, try to find a legitimate historical source, not some Puritan only history. Historical Revisionism seems to be alive and well among some groups.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    It was my impression that Maryland was named “Mary-land” after the Catholic Queen Mary of England. I believe that Jews living there at the time had difficulties obtaining citizenship in that colony as a result.

  • http://funfrotfacts.blogspot.com Throbert McGee

    The point I wanted to make was a Deist believed in the clockmaker god, with no involvement with the earth.

    But the point you’re missing, oft, and missing in a rather spectacular way, is that terms like “blasphemy” and “heresy” and “apostasy” were all alien to Deism, because Deism was very, very non-dogmatic. It had no litmus tests that could be grounds for kicking you out of the church of Deism if you failed it. That’s why I used scare-quotes around “orthodox Deist,” because the very idea of orthodoxy — not just Christian orthodoxy, but any orthodoxy — is somewhat at odds with Deism.

    Having said all that, I would agree that according to Deism, He Who Winds Our Sundials (© G.C. Lichtenberg) does not generally intervene in human events — it is not His habit to work miracles, or to issue Revelations. However, it is not heresy for a Deist to speculate that He Who Winds Our Sundials might occasionally look on to see what humans are doing, and that He might even be rooting for some groups of humans more than others, but without interfering.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    oft# ~ Apr 27, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Throbert McGee: But — what about states that didn’t exist yet at the time the 1st Amendment was ratified? They would’ve been free to establish Buddhism or Judaism as the religions of their state governments, presumably.>>>>

    That’s correct. Because Thomas Jefferson said religion is left to the States.

    Oft#

    Does this mean that California is free to establish Atheism the State Religion? Would this also include prohibition of such sects or denominations that are in contradiction to the State Religion?

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    It means any State could form whatever religion the majority wanted, as Governor Johnston said:

    “It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans (Muslims), pagans, etc., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, [unless] first the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves.”

    –[Elliot’s Debates, Vol. IV, pp 198-199, Governor Samuel Johnston, July 30, 1788 at the North Carolina Ratifying Convention]

    Can prohibit a sect only if it subverts public order, such as promoting immorality, etc.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Well if the State Religion is Atheism, then surely it would subvert public order to be promoting beliefs and teachings contrary to that religion.

    Obviously, obeisance to the Vatican is against public order. And teaching of myths as though they were facts is against public order. Oh, I’m sure a good atheist could come up with a dozen reasons for banning theism all together.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Or, in other words, the First Amendment was intended so as to allow states to prohibit the free exercise of religion, if they so wished. Oh, look, there’s the Caterpillar smoking a hookah.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Well if the State Religion is Atheism, then surely it would subvert public order to be promoting beliefs and teachings contrary to that religion.

    Not beliefs. They are protected by the free exercise clause. The people can throw away religion if they please.

    Obviously, obeisance to the Vatican is against public order.

    Only against those people who embraced doctrines “subversive of a free government established by the people.” such as absolute allegiance to the Pope, instead of the Constitution. Thjat was why catholics could not hold office.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Or, in other words, the First Amendment was intended so as to allow states to prohibit the free exercise of religion, if they so wished>>>>

    Go back and read what I wrote. Maybe you will understand it the second time.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    oft#,

    It isn’t that I don’ understand you, it’s that I’m amused by your desire to twist the constitution into something that means the opposite of what it says. If I thought there was a chance that thinking people would be convinced, I might be worried.

    But I suspect that your audience is pretty much the same as the Creation Museum’s exhibits on Adam riding dinosaurs.

  • http://www.ourfoundingtruth.blogspot.com oft

    Tim,

    Don’t cut yourself short. The vast majority of Americans despise the founders of this Christian nation, and are clueless as to what they wrote..

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    No way, the Founders were AWESOME!

    Ben Franklin said: “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” He screwed more chicks than I probably will in my lifetime. He was funny and clever, too. We like him a lot here in Philly in fact. 😀

    Jefferson was so disillusioned by Christianity – and he didn’t even need to deal with the 20th century revivals – that he edited his own Bible. He declared to be a man of faith while boldly denying the godman vicarious sacrifice dogma and virgin birth dogma. He also said “Question with boldness even the existence of a god.”

    John Adams said “God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.”

    Madison said: “religion & government will exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

    The founders were AWESOME.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    Only against those people who embraced doctrines “subversive of a free government established by the people.” such as absolute allegiance to the Pope, instead of the Constitution.

    Oh, my. Well that certainly put this into perspective:

    Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

  • Ron Lester

    Many splitting of hairs here, many lies here as well, and no proof that America’s founding was anything less than Christian. And that Jefferson was friend to many pastors, churches, ministries, and in no way insisted on a strict boundary between church and state. Barton’s accuracy is the same as Rush Limbaugh’s: 98.9 percent.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      Ron – Please point out the lies. On another comment you said I was not Christian for saying David Barton lied (actually I just said he was wrong). Now you are calling me (us?) liars. Bad form Ron. What are the lies?