My co-blogger at Positive Liberty, D.A. Ridgely, was on top of this first.
Here is the New York Times story.
And here is Ed Brayton's post with links to the Texas Freedom Network's live blogging.
And here is John Fea's post.
From the New York Times:
Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)
“The Enlightenment was not the only philosophy on which these revolutions were based,” Ms. Dunbar said.
I'd like to get more to the bottom of the Jefferson erasure. I understand that the American Founding was more than just Jefferson. But, at the same time, you can't erase his monumental influence from the Founding. He was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States.
Aquinas was virtually never cited by the Founders (though there a story to be told on his silent influence). Blackstone, though important as a "common law" authority, was a Tory and a supporter of British absolutism. And Calvin likewise, in no uncertain terms, taught Romans 13 means submission to tyrants is obedience to God.
Though there is a story in how Calvinists-Presbyterians came to support revolt, even though Calvin, were he alive and applying his principles, would have supported the British and termed the American Revolution a sinful violation of Romans 13.
That story, however, is too nuanced for K-12 students (you can, by the way, study that story with Mark Noll at the Witherspoon Institute this summer).
One of the problems with tracing the Founding to men who anticipated their ideas is we are left with literally hundreds from which to choose. The men they most often cited, however, were figures from the Enlightenment and the British Whigs. And those two categories overlap, with John Locke being the quintessential "Enlightenment" and "British Whig" figure. Others include Algernon Sidney, Montesquieu, John Milton, Samuel Clarke, Isaac Newton, Joseph Priestley, Richard Price, James Burgh, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon and on and on.