Confirmed: David Barton’s Founders’ Bible Cites Pro-Slavery James Hammond as Proponent of America as Christian Nation

I first pointed out here and here that an early draft of the Founders’ Bible contained a positive and substantial reference to South Carolina pro-slavery leader James Hammond.  I wondered over the months since then whether or not the reference stayed in the Bible since Hammond is such an unsavory character in American history. Indeed, Hammond’s endorsement of America as a Christian nation remained in the Founders’ Bible on pages 2091-2092:

To me, it seems wrong to elevate Hammond in a study Bible or for any purpose. Senator Hammond was one of the most articulate defenders of slavery as a Christian institution and social good in the pre-Civil War era. Hammond was also a child molester according to his own diaries. And yet the authors of the Founders’ Bible laud him as a non-Christian American leader who is fit to defend their view of America as a Christian nation.

The context for Barton’s use of Hammond is an article titled America: A Christian Nation. In one of the previous posts I provided most of that article. For now, I want to point out again why Hammond made his statement about America as a Christian nation. In September, 1844, Hammond issued a day of thanksgiving proclamation (read the entire proclamation here) that was overtly Christian calling on all citizens to

assemble at their respective places of worship, to offer up their devotions to God their Creator, and his Son Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world.

Understandably, the Jewish citizens of South Carolina felt excluded by this proclamation. In the Founders’ Bible, Barton dismisses their concerns by saying “a small group openly censured him and demanded an apology.” Clearly, the Jewish citizens who stood up to Hammond are not the heroes of the Founders’ Bible article. They don’t even deserve mention. Instead, Hammond’s arrogant and hypocritical reply is what merits inclusion in the Founders’ Bible.

Beyond the insensitive inclusion of Hammond in a study Bible as a positive voice, this article raises important questions about what Barton and the publishers of the Founders’ Bible want to promote. I ended an earlier post on this subject by raising similar issues.

Those who are about to publish the Founders’ Bible have reached into history to  bring us face to face with a racist, pro-slavery advocate who used his office to privilege his view of Christianity. His vision was of a Christian nation that included slavery as a blessing and moral good. When the Jewish community understandably felt excluded by the proclamation, he disregarded their call for a pluralistic response.

Is this the kind of government the publishers of the Founders Bible wish for the nation?

There are other historical problems with the Founders’ Bible which will come to light over the coming weeks.

I invite you to read the former posts:

Founders’ Bible Cites Pro-Slavery Leader as Proponent of America as a Christian Nation

Founders’ Bible Cites Pro-Slavery Leader as Proponent of America as a Christian Nation, Part Two

See also: Founders’ Bible Rewrites Exodus 18 to Fit Christian Nation Narrative

 

  • Bernie

    Wow! A character worthy of emulation for sure! *chortle*

  • James Ferguson

    Whatever or whoever supports your case, I guess. Great to have you back, Warren!

  • Timothy Kincaid

    I’m still a bit uncertain why an 1844 politician would be considered a “Founder”

  • News4themasses

    Bravo. Good post. Barton is a liar, false teacher. He’s been promoted by other false teachers in the Calvary Chapel movement. He’s a comrade to Glenn Beck, Chuck Missler, and a slew of other false promoters of misinformation. Christians especially beware of Barton.

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  • Krista Vessell

    Funny how people like Barton will go on and on about America’s role in standing strong with Israel and how Christians and Jews are apparently the only “righteous” people on the planet…until the Jewish community speaks up about religious intolerance. Then they’re no better than the Muslims! LOL What hypocrites!

  • http://am-perspectives.blogspot.com/ James Ferguson

    Didn’t know where to share this, Warren, but here is a great interview with Daniel Boorstin on Jefferson,

    http://www.pbs.org/jefferson/archives/interviews/Boorstin.htm

    in relation to his book, The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson. I’ve been reading Boorstin’s The Americans: The Colonial Experience. Fascinating section on Colonial Virginia in the 18th century.

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  • Dan

    Throckmorton’s criticism really makes no sense. He questions how an advocate of slavery could be elevated and lauded while a group of Jewish contemporaries is not. But why should it be otherwise? The Bible condones slavery and condemns unconverted Jews, such as Hammond’s critics, to eternal damnation. If Biblical Christianity is true, then slave owners will go to a glorious reward in Heaven and Jews will be tormented and/or tortured forever and this will be a perfect and just outcome. The Founders’ Bible is simply reflecting those values, giving glory to the saved and the back of his hand to the damned.

    Throckmorton is confounded because he simply cannot come to terms with the fact that his blessed holy book, ostensibly an inspired message from an infinitely wise and loving super-being, condones, and at times mandates, the enslavement of human beings as well as an assortment of atrocities, including genocide. Similarly, it condemns over 100 billion human beings to damnation, torment and/or physical torture. He just cannot deal with these sordid facts, so he acts as if the Bible is some other book, a decent book inspired by a better, non-maniacal deity.

    But it is what it is. Barton should be applauded for reflecting true Biblical values.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Dan

    I think Warren is simply talking about the appropriateness of including mention of Hammond in the Founders’ ‘Bible’.

    On the broader point to which you allude: the suggestion that the Bible ‘justifies’ slavery is predicated on a particular understanding of the Bible (one that takes each ‘bit’ as true, rather than looks at the Canon of Scripture as a whole and draws out the fundamental themes from it – the latter is what theologically literate people are supposed themselves to do, and encourage others to do). Even in the OT, it is made clear, particularly by the prophets, that the right treatment of others (which would preclude enslaving them) is a very important factor in the working out of one’s salvation – both at an individual and a communal level.

    I think I can see what is your agenda: it looks to me like a kind of ‘anti-religious fundamentalism’. Fair enough … you have every right to present that agenda, if that is what you choose to do. Many of us who are Christian oppose ‘religious fundamentalism’, although where we perhaps differ from you is that we do not use the fact that ‘religious fundamentalism’ exists to oppose religion per se.

  • Richard Willmer

    @ Dan

    Just looking again at comment, I find it hard to understand what game it is you are playing.

    Call me a ‘simple soul’, but, given your hearty dislike of the behaviour of the likes of Barton, I find it decidedly odd that you seem minded to use a bartonesque view of Christianity to ‘get at’ Warren.

    Maybe you could explain to me just what is your agenda?

  • Dan

    @Willmer:

    I have no agenda other than to state my honest opinion, which is as follows: Warren Throckmorton belongs to a rare species: a man who honestly follows the evidence where it leads him, even when that requires him to revise or abandon previously held views. That is rare enough under optimal circumstances, but Throckmorton followed through on his commitment to honest inquiry in the context of a culture war hot button issue with which he was publicly identified, and with the full knowledge that altering his prior position would bring about the enmity of many of the people who formerly elevated him. That’s not just a man of integrity, it’s a man of heroic integrity.

    So why should that same man fail to grapple with true nature of the Bible and Christianity and pretend that it is something entirely different?

    These numerous posts of his expressing shock and bemusement at Barton, Fischer, Lively and Pastor Worley of NC (Note: no mention by Throckmorton yet of the trio of Christian state legislators from Arkansas who this week advocated for the death penalty for rebellious children and who opined that good things resulted from slavery) – they all reflect his presumption that these scoundrels do not reflect real Christianity or real Biblical values. I am trying to point out that they do, and that it is Throckmorton who, in his decency, his compassion and his humanity, has departed from Biblical Christianity. He just won’t admit it.

  • Richard Willmer

    OK, Dan.

    Perhaps Warren has decided to embrace ‘Christian’ Christianity (Christ first – everything else, Bible included, after that), rather than so-called ‘biblical’ Christianity ([a particular interpretation of] the Bible first – everything else, including Christ, after that).

    Where I think you are getting ‘muddled’ is in your tendency apparently to accept that ‘particular interpretation’ of the diverse collection of writings that makes up the Bible. I don’t accept that interpretation (and would say that it was in fact ‘UNbiblical’, citing John 1 as my first ‘port of call’); consequently, I have no problem with Warren’s position.

    I think you need to desist your apparent mental gymnastics, and work with people like Warren on practical issues, such as opposing homophobia. Don’t become obsessed by ‘intellectual disagreements’; instead, be practical and look for concrete results. That’s my advice to you, offered in good faith.

    (BTW, Warren has, in the past, addressed the issue of rebellious children … but it was some time ago, and he can’t – especially in the light of the need for him to take care of his health – deal with every single instance of fundamentalist lunacy immediately as it arises!)

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