One Thing Americans Need – better history education

This post is a comment I made on another WordPress blog,
A Father’s Apocalypse
with a few edits to clarify the points I was trying to make.

Go and read the post there to understand what I have written here. My first clue as to the blogger’s take on things was found in his blogroll where he includes Glenn Beck, Drudge and David Barton.

The years leading up to the creation of the Constitution with the influence of the various churches upon the governance of the colonies were exactly why the men who wrote that document intended to keep religion, of any nature, out of the government, not out of civil society but certainly away from the halls of legislation.

Thomas Jefferson was justly proud of three actions he had undertaken during his political career, so proud of them that he had those three acts placed on his tombstone:

“Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.”

from Jefferson’s autobiography, writing about the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom

Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.” The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination.

When Jefferson wrote, “priest-ridden people” he was not writing about the Roman Catholic Church as some revisionists would have you believe, but of all religions that demand the presence of a person with ‘special knowledge’ to lead any group of “believers”. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Alexander von Humboldt (6 December 1813)

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

Explaining to John Adams as to why and how he came to create what we know today as the “Jefferson Bible”, Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, on Christian scriptures (24 January 1814)

The whole history of these books is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.

Were the Founding Fathers as religious as David Barton and others would like you to believe? Certainly those who were lived closer to their time didn’t think so –

…the proceedings as published by Thompson, the secretary, show, that the question was gravely debated in Congress whether God should in the Constitution or not, and after solemn debate he was deliberately voted out of it: … the men whose arguments swayed to vote God out of the Constitution, to declare that there should be no religious test, and that Congress should make no law to establish religion, were atheists in principle; that among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was professor of religion, at least not of more than unitarianism;

a quote from a sermon given by Rev. Bird Wilson in 1831, to be found in Discussion on the existence of God and the authenticity of the Bible by Origen Bacheler, pgs 230-231

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