Saturday, July 11, 2009

The "Unconfirmed Quotations" Persist:

Readers know that Ed Brayton and I have spent much time over the past few years taking note of the persistent dissemination of a dozen or so phony quotations that "prove" America was founded to be a "Christian Nation." It's a Sisyphusian task; it's 2009 and they are STILL being disseminated. Brayton, myself and others will shut up about it when the quotes stop being recited. Until then, it's game on.

With that, here is an email I sent to Joe Farah the editor in chief of WorldNetDaily:

Mr. Farah,

If you remember anything about me, you'll know that my friend Ed Brayton and I 1) debunk "Christian Nation" arguments, and 2) commonly read WND for content to debunk. Some of my more serious scholarly friends are getting sick of me constantly turning to this site to knock down straw arguments.

There are about a dozen false quotations from the FFs that sound like "proof texts" that settle the question and they are CONSTANTLY being repeated no matter how many times skeptical scholars like me (and Brayton) point this out. Greg Laurie recites two of them today in his column.

You can find them all sourced by one of the earliest disseminators of them -- David Barton -- where he ADMITS they are "unconfirmed" (a euphemism if you ask me). It would be wise if you or Mr. Kupelian or whoever is responsible for editing content keeps this resource in mind when these "Christian Nation" op eds come in.


Jon Rowe

This is today's article that Laurie wrote to which I referred. The offending passage:

We are a country that was clearly founded on the teachings of one book, and that book is the Bible.

Of course, some would say that I am wrong, that we are a pluralistic society and these origins are not as I have explained them. But all revisionism aside, if you honestly look at history, you will see that our founding fathers had a firm belief in the words of the Bible.

Thomas Jefferson said, "The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty ... ." George Washington concluded, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." And Andrew Jackson said the Bible is "the rock on which our republic rests."

The first two quotes are phony. I'm not sure about the Andrew Jackson one. It's funny when doing a bit of google research today I came across this article from the Alliance Defense Fund which spreads these phony quotes.

Of recent note Ed Brayton blogged about Sally Kern's spreading the phony quotes. Also see this post by Rational Rant spotting an uninformed op ed that passes these quotes on.

Again folks, if you want to get Ed Brayton, myself and other skeptical minded scholars off your backs, STOP PASSING ON THE PHONY QUOTATIONS.

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