This book on George Washington, publicized by Townhall.com, looks to be one of the more bizarre revisionist books to come out about him in a long time. Certain members of the Christian Right, most notoriously D. James Kennedy, falsely posit the notion that Washington was a fundamentalist Christian, when in reality he was a nominal Christian and a deist-unitarian who was intimately involved with the Freemasons.
I doubt even Kennedy, who thinks the Catholic Church teaches a false doctrine, could bring himself to endorse this book:
Did you know that a heavenly visitor visited George Washington during the darkest days of Valley Forge?
In Faith of Our Founding Father, Catholic author Janice T. Connell drops this bombshell, differentiating her biography of Washington from any other. While the otherworldly being never identified herself to the Father of our Country, Connell surmises that she was likely the Virgin Mary, and compares the apparition to other Marian sightings throughout history.
However, the mysterious visitor's predictions seem to lend credibility to the tale. The first prediction, that "three great perils will come upon the Republic," seems to point to the American Revolution (in progress as the encounter took place), the Civil War (which ended shortly before the publication of the story in 1880), and the current War on Terror.
The lady warned that "the most fearful is the third, but the whole world united shall not prevail" against America, and noted that evildoers would come from three other continents. Obviously, Islamic terrorists were not seen in the 1700s and 1800s as presenting a challenge more "fearful" than the horrors experienced in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
The first review on Amazon.com is that of Publisher's Weekly. And they get it exactly right:
According to most historians, Washington's religious beliefs were private, pragmatic, and-like those of many of his compatriots-deistic. He spoke often of providence but rarely of Jesus Christ, infrequently attended religious services and did not take communion. On his deathbed, he summoned no clergy. Connell does not argue with these assessments; indeed, she seems entirely unaware of them. Her George Washington is a devout, prayerful saint of unimpeachable moral virtue, called by God to establish freedom, patriotism and private enterprise. She devotes more than 20 pages to reproducing the Rules of Civility, maxims from 16th-century French Jesuits that the 13-year-old Washington copied as a school exercise. Another 20 pages are given to "Daily Sacrifice," a collection of prayers Washington is alleged to have copied or written at age 20. (Connell does not mention that these are not included in his official papers because scholars doubt their authenticity.) With previous bestsellers such as Meetings with Mary and Angel Power, it is not surprising that Connell gives credence to a story that began circulating some 60 years after Washington's death about a Marian apparition and prophetic vision at Valley Forge, or that she tells the popular but unlikely story about a Catholic priest coming to Washington's deathbed. When she is not rehashing pious legends, the author recounts familiar stories (many of which are not faith-related); inexplicably reproduces the entire Declaration of Independence, which Washington neither wrote nor signed; and loquaciously emotes about her hero, whom she calls "America's mystical icon of heroic grace."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most of the other reviews gave it one star. Why would Townhall push such obvious twaddle?