David Barton has another new coming book out in addition to The Jefferson Lies (which is, as the title suggests, packed with lies). It’s called The Founder’s Bible and it’s both an NASB Bible and a collection of articles by Barton that intend to show that America is a Christian nation. Warren Throckmorton notes that one of the leaders Barton cites as showing American to be a Christian nation was also a staunch advocate for slavery.
One of the articles that is apparently going to be included in the book says this:
Subsequent generations routinely reaffirmed what Adams had declared, including South Carolina governor James Hammond, who in 1844 publicly described America as a Christian nation. Following that pronouncement, a small group openly censured him and demanded an apology. Shocked by that reaction, Hammond responded:
“Unhappily for myself, I am not a professor of religion – nor am I attached by education or habit to any particular denomination – nor do I feel myself to be a fit and proper defender of the Christian faith. But I must say that up to this time, I have always thought it a settled matter that I lived in a Christian land and that I was the temporary chief magistrate of a Christian people! That in such a country and among such a people I should be publicly called to an account, reprimanded, and required to make amends for acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the world, I would not have believed possible if it had not come to pass.”
But as Throckmorton points out, what Hammond is actually lamenting here is that anyone could possibly doubt that America is a Christian nation — and that slavery is a Christian institution. Hammond wrote:
It is impossible therefore to suppose that slavery is contrary to the Will of God. It is equally absurd to say that American slavery differs in form or principle from that of the chosen People. We accept the Bible terms as the definition of our slavery and its precepts as the guide of our conduct. We desire nothing more. Even the right to buffet which is esteemed so shocking finds its express license in the Gospel (1 Peter ii 20). Nay what is more, God directs the Hebrews to bore holes in the ears of their brothers to mark them when under certain circumstances they become perpetual slaves (Ex. Xxi: 6). I think then I may safely conclude and I firmly believe that American slavery is not only not a sin but especially commanded by God through Moses and approved by Christ through His Apostles. And here I might close its defence for what God ordains and Christ sanctifies should surely command the respect and toleration of Man. But I fear there has grown up in our time a Transcendental Religion which is throwing even Transcendental Philosophy into the shade a Religion too pure and elevated for the Bible which seeks to erect among men a higher standard of Morals than the Almighty has revealed or our Saviour preached and which is probably destined to do more to impede the extension of God’s Kingdom on earth than all the Infidels who have ever lived.*
In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life. That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are vigor, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement. It constitutes the very mud-sill of society and of political government; and you might as well attempt to build a house in the air, as to build either the one or the other, except on this mud-sill. Fortunately for the South, she found a race adapted to that purpose to her hand. A race inferior to her own, but eminently qualified in temper, in vigor, in docility, in capacity to stand the climate, to answer all her purposes. We use them for our purpose, and call them slaves. We found them slaves by the common “consent of mankind,” which, according to Cicero, “lex naturae est.” The highest proof of what is Nature’s law. We are old-fashioned at the South yet; slave is a word discarded now by “ears polite;” I will not characterize that class at the North by that term; but you have it; it is there; it is everywhere; it is eternal.
The Senator from New York said yesterday that the whole world had abolished slavery. Aye, the name, but not the thing; all the powers of the earth cannot abolish that. God only can do it when he repeals the fiat, “the poor ye always have with you;” for the man who lives by daily labor, and scarcely lives at that, and who has to put out his labor in the market, and take the best he can get for it; in short, your whole hireling class of manual laborers and “operatives,” as you call them, are essentially slaves. The difference between us is, that our slaves are hired for life and well compensated; there is no starvation, no begging, no want of employment among our people, and not too much employment either. Yours are hired by the day, not cared for, and scantily compensated, which may be proved in the most painful manner, at any hour in any street in any of your large towns. Why, you meet more beggars in one day, in any single street of the city of New York, than you would meet in a lifetime in the whole South. We do not think that whites should be slaves either by law or necessity. Our slaves are black, of another and inferior race. The status in which we have placed them is an elevation. They are elevated from the condition in which God first created them, by being made our slaves. None of that race on the whole face of the globe can be compared with the slaves of the South. They are happy, content, unaspiring, and utterly incapable, from intellectual weakness, ever to give us any trouble by their aspirations. Yours are white, of your own race; you are brothers of one blood. They are your equals in natural endowment of intellect, and they feel galled by their degradation. Our slaves do not vote. We give them no political power. Yours do vote, and, being the majority, they are the depositories of all your political power. If they knew the tremendous secret, that the ballot-box is stronger than “an army with banners,” and could combine, where would you be? Your society would be reconstructed, your government overthrown, your property divided, not as they have mistakenly attempted to initiate such proceedings by meeting in parks, with arms in their hands, but by the quiet process of the ballot-box. You have been making war upon us to our very hearthstones. How would you like for us to send lecturers and agitators North, to teach these people this, to aid in combining, and to lead them?
Christian nation indeed.