Historian Thomas Kidd on Deism During the Founding Era

This brief primer by Thomas Kidd in how deism was understood during the founding era is well worth reading.Kidd cuts through the fog often generated by Christian nationalists (e.g., David Barton) and the new atheists regarding the religious beliefs of the founders. A brief sample: So what was deism? In spite of all its diversity, deism was a strain of rationalist religion – many of its advocates, like Jefferson, would have called themselves Christians – which focused on the ethical, rat … [Read more...]

Dear David Barton: Virginia Law Allowed Manumission of Slaves After 1782

In his pulled-from-publication book, The Jefferson Lies, David Barton took the position that Virginia law did not allow Thomas Jefferson to free his slaves. In our book on Jefferson, Getting Jefferson Right, Michael Coulter and I demonstrated that slave owners were allowed to manumit (free) slaves after Virginia lawmakers passed the 1782 Law on Manumission. However, Barton keeps spreading the misinformation.In February, Barton told Charis Bible College students George Mason was not allowed to … [Read more...]

Pastor Jack Hibbs Takes Lessons from David Barton

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The third video in Jack Hibb's mini-series (see a previous post on a prior episode) with David Barton features Hibbs trying his hand at historical interpretation. Watch Hibbs talking about Washington and Jefferson as slave owners (for context, here is the complete segment).In this clip, Hibbs makes some Bartonesque statements about Washington and Jefferson. Below I give the claim and then after that what I believe to be the truth.  Hibbs said:1. George Washington was one of the ten we … [Read more...]

Note to Evangelical Culture Warriors and Pastor Tullian Tchividjian from Benjamin Rush

The Father of Psychiatry, Benjamin Rush (1746-1813), signed the Declaration of Independence  and was a delegate to the Constitutional Congress. Rush was good friends with both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Despite his universalist beliefs, he is a favorite of David Barton and other Christian Nationalists because he was a founder who articulated many Christian interests and pursuits.I thought of Rush after reading a World Net Daily article today by John Aman criticizing Coral Ridge … [Read more...]

Conference on Faith and History: Taking It To The Streets: Engaging Bad History In Public

I just returned from the Conference on Faith and History which was held at Pepperdine University from September 24-28. On Saturday, I presented a paper as part of a panel titled, Professors, Prisoners, and the Polls: Engaging the Past in the Public Square. The session was chaired by Dwight Brautigam, Huntington University. Other papers given were: "In God We Trust": Teaching Faith In and Through the U.S. Capitol, by Fred Beuttler, Carroll University and former Deputy Historian for the U.S. House … [Read more...]

Anniversary of the Deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1826; Happy Independence Day!

In addition to being Independence Day, this is the day that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826. On this day in 1826, former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who were once fellow Patriots and then adversaries, die on the same day within five hours of each other. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were friends who together served on the committee that constructed the Declaration of Independence, but later became political rivals during the … [Read more...]

Reclaim America Now Motto Is Falsely Attributed To Thomas Jefferson

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On November 19, Larry Klayman's Reclaim America Now engaged in a "second American revolution" protest. The goal of the protest was to force Obama, Reid and Boehner out of office. Obviously, they didn't succeed.Lots of tea party people attended the rally and the organizers and speakers wrapped themselves up in the founders, even employing an actor to portray George Washington (see the picture below). Also in that picture is the likeness of Thomas Jefferson on a poster with the motto: When … [Read more...]

Taskmaster of the Mountain: Michael Coulter on Henry Wiencek’s Master of the Mountain

Michael Coulter is co-author with me of Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President, and professor of political science and humanities at Grove City College. He recently penned this review of Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012) for a campus publication and gave me permission to reproduce it here..............It is almost a cliché to say that Thomas Jefferson’s life – both his word … [Read more...]


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