Monday, May 10, 2010

Americans...what's the difference?

I thought I'd start the week with a bang: Why do some of us love this country so much we'd die for her? Why do some of us love this country so much that we can't stop blogging in our hopes that something we say or do or something we point out will make a difference?

Why do some of us look for the BEST IN AMERICA?


And why do some Americans look for the worst in her?

I've been pondering the type of teachers who teach the worst of our founding fathers to our children. I question PBS documentaries which go out of their way to slam US in (I can only guess?) attempts to be 'truthful.' I wonder at liberals so eager to appear open minded, but who slam and insult the faith and values of over half of America so eagerly and willingly? I could go on and on here..........

But, my question is : Why do some Americans adore this country and others can't wait to expose and demean any slightest negative thing about her?

What do you think?


z

185 comments:

beamish said...

"From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia...could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide." - Abraham Lincoln

Always On Watch said...

Why do some Americans adore this country and others can't wait to expose and demean any slightest negative thing about her?

One of several reasons: our educational system, particularly in large metropolitan areas, teach the students to look at the worst more than to look at the best.

This negativity begins even in elementary schools -- in the name of critical thinking.

Mark said...

My opinion:

Liberals are kind of like the father who is asked to umpire his own kid's baseball game.

He wants to be fair, and he doesn't want to it to appear that he is favoring his own child's team over the others. So, he unconsciously makes calls against his own child's team.

Kind of like that, except...Liberals are umpiring a game between us and the rest of the world.

Oh, and they aren't favoring our enemies unconsciously. They know what they're doing.

Beth said...

Maybe they feel guilty that we live in the best country ever, so they try to tear us down.

Elmers Brother said...

Frankly, AoW's and Beamish's comment ring true to me, especially after this seeing frist hand what's taught in rhetoric courses and on our college campuses.

the influence of cultural marxism I believe also has made a difference.

The Church as a whole has gotten too comfortable and let this happen. It's gotten fat dumb and happy.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"What do you think?"

What I think is that if you really love this country and you have reservations about the direction it is and has been moving, then for God's sake quit blogging about it and putting your faith into some belief that it's going to somehow magically re-root itself in the tradition it was established.

Quit blogging about news that has already happened and instead MAKE news. Go to your BPOU/Precinct caucus meetings, support a local candidate that holds your values and beliefs or run yourself.

In the spirit of NIKE just DO something. Level UP!!!Going to Tea Party rallies and blogging and calling your Senators and Representatives is, to be perfectly blunt about it, no a strategy to reverse this trend.

I got active in 2006 at the BPOU/Precinct level. I've been a delegate to 3 state conventions and a delegate to the 2008 National convention. I now am an Assistant Director of Communications for the gubernatorial candidate that we just endorsed last weekend in a hard fought battle against 3 other candidates.

Nothing against blogging, I have a blog (though it doesn't get the attention it once did) but if you're not active in the political process, then you can't very well be surprised if the cycle washes, rinses, and repeats itself.

RealizeFirst said...

It’s been said that the U.S. Senate is where good men go to die. The media had anointed the Democrat as the future figurehead of the Progressive movement. However, Obama gets my Asshole of the Month award .
Obama has repeatedly waffled on the Iraq war. Obama voted against the Coburn Amendment, which would have provided funds for rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He supports a preemptive nuclear strike against Iran. He does not support universal healthcare.
Although recognizing that Bush has broken U.S. law, the “Progressive” politician refused to cosponsor a resolution by Russ Feingold to censure the President. Obama is working hard, albeit quietly, to block the Progressive movement. If you haven’t guessed yet, Obama is a conservative wearing a liberal’s suit. On top of it all, this wolf in sheep’s clothing is a liar and a fraud—a political abomination conning America.Speaking at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama brought forth a claim he would later use repeatedly to drum up public support. “My father… grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack.” In fact, Obama’s sob story about being the son of a goat-herder is complete bullshit. Obama writes that his grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was a prominent and wealthy farmer who emigrated from Kenya.Obama’s father was actually born into a privileged life, not one of “tin-shack” poverty. Obama was a well-rounded student with a scholarship at a college in Hawaii when his future-senator-son was born in 1961. The goat herder myth exposes Obama as a charlatan trying to gain public empathy by portraying his family as poor. Don’t buy it, folks!
As a matter of fact, Obama’s lies are rampant. “My parents,” Obama said in his famous convention speech, “would give me an African name, Barack, or ‘blessed,’ believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.”

RealizeFirst said...

As it turns out, both his father and grandfather were Muslims, and the name Barack has an Arabic origin.
Ultimately, Barack Obama would join the Trinity United Church of Christ, leaving his family’s Muslim roots in the dust.
So why did Obama lie about his name? Why is he covering up his family’s religious history? Why has he concealed the truth about his Muslim heritage as if it were some evil secret? Most importantly, what other issues has this deceiver been untruthful about?
You’d think Obama would be happy to stand up for his Muslim lineage. Apparently not, especially if it means losing the strong support the Senator has received from the Jewish community. Instead of being forthcoming about his roots, Obama continually lies through his teeth, all the while hoping that nobody will notice. Well, we noticed, and now it’s our duty to expose the sneaky bastard.
By trying to be Mr. Liberal while appeasing the right-wing power elite, Obama has helped shore up the Unitary Presidency. This is not what the Democratic Party needs. By ignoring the will of the people, Obama plays lapdog to the Bush Administration.
Screw you, Obama, you coward. Your refusal to act on the behalf of America is unforgivable

Faith said...

I think Bringing Down America began as a Communist project that reached its pinnacle in the radicals of the 60s. It was and is mostly a propaganda campaign that has utterly changed the moral character of America since then. Undermining our Christian heritage both directly by revisionist history and indirectly by attacks on morality, calling America "imperialist" -- and a lot more -- were the work of that evil crew, and today's America-haters are their legacy.

christian soldier said...

some of us in the US found the TRUTH about our Founding - studied the original documents-overcame our propagandized education-and became passionate for FREEDOM!!!!
C-CS

Steve Harkonnen said...

Why do some Americans adore this country?

Before we came to America, I loved it. I had been here in 1966 on a three week vacation and loved everything about America.

But in 1970 we came here for good. Americans acted like they hated us because we had no family members in Vietnam and we talked funny. I was forced to assimilate into talking the same way they did. The problems went away even further when I nearly killed the neighborhood bully with a broomstick.

You'd all might think that would translate to me hating America - but you're wrong. I came to realize that it was only the "tolerant" and "diversity loving" Democrats on our street that behaved negatively back in 1970 toward our family.

So it was either us staying in the UK and my brother and I moving on to secondary school and eventually becoming factory workers, or coming to America to excel in high school and moving on to go and help to defend our new country by signing up in the US Navy.

Through learning to beat the living crap out of an American bully, and learning how Democrats really were back then, I realized that they were enemies of this great nation.

That's how I came to love America.

Z said...

Beamish, looks like Abe was a prophet. We're certainly letting the left push us into suicide..

Always, but that's Chicken before the Egg......you watch old black/white movies (or Hallmark films with traditional values, for example) and the teachers are standing UP for this country and teaching small children the GREATNESS of our forefathers ....it's only much later that older kids should be taught also the less flattering points...but I'd say in college, not before; this is what other countries I'm familiar with do.......there's NEVER this constant demeaning of everything in European countries. They realize their identity is important and they teach a positive identity.

Mark, sometimes I think that, too....your analogy is a good one. But, as you suggest, it's getting serious and dangerous when the WORLD we're giving in to.

Beth, what made them feel GUILTY? We used to be so proud of what we did and who we are it wouldn't occur to feel guilty because we helped so much.

Elbro, do you think the church has influenced Americans' attitudes toward America?
How did Marxism seep so happily and easily into this country? My guess is McCarthy was SO demeaned that ANYTHING anybody said against Communism, Marxism, etc., was quickly laughed at by the Left with "Oh, that's like McCarthy, how STUPID, how UNKIND!"
I think he might have been the end of America with the method in which he tried to bring to America's attention some of the types of people writing and directing our films..nobody could criticize anyone anymore because "you were like McCARTHY!"
even when you weren't that type of personality.

Faith, I think you're right about the concerted effort of the Commm party back then, but I think it started before that.

CS...not teaching the Constitution or about the founding fathers is a HUGE aspect of this, yes.

Steve...what a story, thanks for telling us that. I personally love a good British accent :-)
And I'm glad you did come to love America!

Realize...I think maybe you thought I was touting those who don't love America? And I sure wish I was as confident as you that Obama wsupports a preemptive strike against Iran because you don't hear US sabre rattling and threatening every chance we get like Iran has been. They'll have NO compunction about hitting us first and then we'll be wondering HOW COULD THEY HAVE DONE THAT?

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

That's an excellent question and I'm not convinced it's one central answer. With the Hollywood elite, I truly believe it's a matter of unconscious guilt. They want to deflect the massive amounts of cash they make at the behest of the country they couldn't care for. Sometimes that comes back to bite them, such as the recent booing Danny Glover received.

With educators, it's a feeling of superiority and arrogance, wanting to stand, I believe, aside from the great unwashed and uneducated masses who hold God dear, believe in family and those ancient "core values." One is truly uneducated and ignorant if one believes in ANY central being.

There are other factors too numerous to mention here.

BZ

Brooke said...

Some people are just full so full of self- hate they project it onto this country, IMO.

Z said...

BZ, thanks for that link; I hadn't heard about that. Why would anybody ask Glover to address students? An actor who takes the opportunity to give his opinions? He didn't cover his heart during the national anthem and that's okay? Well, Obama hasn't, either, so....
brother.
Your comment about much of the left's feelings about God makes a lot of sense, thanks for that insight.

Brooke...you could have a point there. Maybe liberalism IS a mental disorder, as some say :-)

Dave Miller said...

Perhaps the answer can be found in people's perspectives.

If you like the direction of the country and where our leaders are taking us, you find very little to dislike.

If you are unhappy with that direction, you are very likely to negative about the country and her leaders.

Witness some of the comments on this page, they do not seem very positive, and certainly do tend to look at the worst first in Obama and the current government, as opposed to the best.

So perhaps AOW is partly correct, but we only see it when it is practiced by the other side.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Z, this is a challenging post to say the least. You are right, you're starting off the week with a bang.

I believe that this utopian idea of world government began at the turn of the last century. First with the formation of the League of Nations, which ultimately failed, and then the United Nations.

The world powers, and movers and shakers, began early on, I believe, to create a one world overview, forming international organizations and councils made up of politicians, educators, media moguls, and all manner of influential people.

The left has been around much longer than the 1960s, that was just a period of time in America, when the left here became known to the average person in a way that couldn't be dismissed or ignored.

Even then, when things seemed to settle down they went back under the radar, but, never gone. They went into education, politics, and community organizing, to name three.

When America formally entered into this interdependent global economy, it was a wake up call to me even then. Those of us who were opposed, were called paranoid, but to me, it was obvious that if you choose to redistribute your wealth, become interdependent, and comply with a world body, you must compromise your sovereignty. In other words, you lose.

I do believe that too many in positions of leadership embraced and still do, a one world government, and to create a perceived wordwide level playing field. The most powerful and wealthy nations must sacrifice their wealth and standing in the world. Their citizens must accept lowering their standard of living, and IMO, mediocrity.

To accomplish this, the populations of the West must be brought into line gradually, and that required a dumbing down of the citizens, and central control of the population. Freedom loses.

So here we are, the frogs that began in that jar filled with nice cold water, with hot drops added one at a time.

I think the difference, to address Z's question is, many either didn't notice for too long, couldn't see the big picture or denied it. Then, there were those who did, but not enough listened to them.

Perhaps another factor, is simply, if you've bought into the liberal or far left agenda of "fairness", you don't want to admit you couldn't see the forest for the trees. So you argue and stamp your feet that you're right.

Those of us who love our country, and are willing to sacrifice personally for whatever gains we may achieve in order to remain free, are not dreamers of a perfect life. We are dreamers of a free life, and can see how fragile it can be.

We know it's ours to live in a free nation, no matter the personal outcome.

The other side believes I think, that central control of people can force human beings to be what they want us to be. They can't, and it's unworkable as has been proven over and over again. This time would be no different.

Pris

Anonymous said...

PART ONE

Z: Why do some of us love this country so much we'd die for her?

FT: I honestly don’t know. I loved the country into which I was born, but not the one it has become. I certainly would not put myself in harm’s way for the Obama administration, unless I were doing my level best to stop it dead in its tracks.

Z: Why do some of us love this country so much that we can't stop blogging in our hopes that something we say or do or something we point out will make a difference?

FT: My honest answer is that blogging is very possibly one of the easier ways to ask questions, to vent frustration and rage -- and also to express hopeful, constructive thoughts. In trying to articulate meaningful responses to difficult questions we may at least sort out in our own minds what may and or may not true. I hope to share what I think, and to learn from others at the same time.

Z: Why do some of us look for the BEST IN AMERICA?

FT: Some of us believe in taking the hopeful, constructive approach, and may even think it wicked to denigrate and complain -- even when it appears justifiable. It’s hard to be optimistic, but it’s better for our souls to cultivate trust in God -- even -- or especially -- as we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”

Z: And why do some Americans look for the worst in her?

FT: The pessimistic, captious, hyper-critical factions among us either suffer from a naturally bilious disposition, or they have been brainwashed by the proponents of Critical Theory [Please look up Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School]. When one puts faith in militant secularism -- which is predicated on the abandonment of religious faith -- one is bound to become increasingly discontent, disputatious, disagreeable, depressing and destructive.

Anonymous said...

PART TWO

Z: I've been pondering the type of teachers who teach the worst of our founding fathers to our children. I question PBS documentaries which go out of their way to slam US in (I can only guess?) attempts to be 'truthful.' I wonder at liberals so eager to appear open minded, but who slam and insult the faith and values of over half of America so eagerly and willingly? I could go on and on here..........

FT: I’ve always appreciated your keen perception in this area, Z, and have said many times it ought to have been formally catalogued. I see and sense the same thing and have for many years. When the avowedly, aggressively Liberal Media Establishment insists it is no such thing when questioned, I have a hard time to keep from going ballistic, because they are such incredible, bald-faced liars, but then deception is part and parcel of the “revolutionary’s” creed. The Frankfurt School and those who followed in its wake freely admit they could get nowhere without first seducing the populace with palpably dishonest blandishments. They could only hope to win by persuading the majority that the Truth is a Lie and vice versa

Did anyone see Masterpiece Mystery last night? Very skillfully produced and performed, of course, but it was a deliberate, calculated slap-in-the-face to American whites, and intended to arouse ire over insults and violence purportedly visited on Negroes by American troops stationed in Britain during WWII. Naturally the British are portrayed as indignant and appalled at the “institutionalized racism” in America -- as if Britons never exhibited behavior of this kind, themselves. I got disgust at the agenda-driven bias, and turned it off.


Z: But, my question is : Why do some Americans adore this country and others can't wait to expose and demean any slightest negative thing about her?

FT: I think I already answered that as well as I could above. The huge, ever-widening gulf between Right and Left is the result of two fundamentally different, bitterly opposed points of view. You could say it’s a natural division between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots.” It may have started out that way, but, as we know, it’s a division deliberately cultivated by enormously wealthy, influential people who seek power more than anything even faintly resembling justice.

Anonymous said...

Soapy, you make the mistake of thinking we all live here. That we aren't engaged in other more active roles besides blogging. How would you know that, pray tell?

Furthermore, the Tea Party grassroots movement is more than rallies. In a sense, it is a solidarity movement. It too is active in supporting certain candidates and raising funds to do so.

I'm happy your happy with your participation and activism, bully for you, but don't assume what you couldn't possibly know about others.

Pris

Z said...

Dave Miller, you said "Witness some of the comments on this page, they do not seem very positive, and certainly do tend to look at the worst first in Obama and the current government, as opposed to the best."

People don't like this administration of its antics, not because we're LOOKING for the worst in Obama! Who doesn't want a good president who supports the constitution and the capitalistic society we've thrived under before we lost our moral compass?

There are administrations and administrations...this one is actually doing things against the constitution, even suggesting that the SCOTUS nominees should rule per the desires of Congress and the people. We've never had a president who buys companies and tells execs how much salary they can make, etc etc etc etc.

Also, we've never had a president who actually lied so bold facedly about so much before and after his election and never had a media which ignores it! Those of us not keeping up are woefully ignorant and still adoring..that's hard for others of us to see in Americans.

I never find it easy to slam ANY sitting American president and I don't like people because of their politics, I like them because of character and love for this country...Tip O'Neil and Pat Moynihan certainly weren't of my political persuasion but they loved this country and its Constitution and did little to degrade it..they always were patriotic and put OUR country first, not appeasing enemies, apologizing for our greatness, suggesting our faith is not important to this country, etc etc

I have to go now and can't respond more, nor can I respond to my other commenters yet today, but I appreciate you all for coming by.

Ducky's here said...

First of all, z, you commit a serious logical fallacy of the excluded middle. Typical of what passes for discussion these days.

In the case of many of your regular right wingers I believe your so uncritical attitude comes from a combination of a belief in absolute revealed truth and a belief that America is a "chosen" nation.

That latter is a particular nasty belief and allows you to hide a lot of dirt under the rug.

The former prevents critical thought.

So we get this stupidity that it's America against the rest of the world. Utter silliness.

There's more to it. The far rights believe n aphorisms and myths rather than firm history. Their utter ignorance in the role of the left in forming this nation and their belief in the ultimate effectiveness and divine justice of military force.

But you can home school your first graders so the nasty public school teachers to promote Mao and deny there were dinosaurs on the ark. It wil be the abject ignorance of the right which sinks us.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Z: I got your message in my comment box but, sorry, I can't publish your comment without publishing all of it; Blogger won't let me do that. If you'd like to comment again, just leave out the rest of the message. I'll send you an e-mail.

BZ

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Ducky: America isn't "chosen," it's just better. What might account for the destitution of countries sitting on vast and exploitable natural resources, for example? Why is it that Israel manages to be an amazingly forward-thinking and profitable country in the midst of such surrounding squalor -- absent those nations whose oil was tapped by American knowledge and profits from same?

BZ

Anonymous said...

BZ:

A helpful hint:

Copy and paste whatever into Word, then edit as you choose. Recopy the edited version and paste it wherever. I've never known this process to fail.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Our gadfly friend, Ducky, is of course, a prime exponent of the Critical Theory mentioned in my first post.

I agree that no one takes heed of "The Middle" anymore, but where IS The Middle?

It has either ceased to exist with the ever-increasing partisan divide -- from the results of recent elections we show ourselves to be a nation in SCHISM -- a house divided against itself -- or the Middle is Deaf, Dumb and Blind.

"Moderates," if they exist at all anymore, have become The Great Gray Brotherhood -- the NON-COMBATANTS in American politics.

The Middle is obviously in a Muddle.

~ FreeThinke

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Ease up Pris it was a point of information. Nothing more. Nothing less. If you or anyone else herein is engaged on the BPOU level then super. If they're not, then that really is a damn shame.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, Priscilla. Thank you.

This has turned out to be a great thread so far.

Where did you find the Lincoln quotation, Beamish? I'm no longer one of his adoring, unthinking fans, but a great quote is a great quote.

Hasn't "rotting from within" been the downfall of most-if-not-all formerly great or now extinct Civilizations?

Faith gave us a succinct, and for me perfectly truthful summation.

Thank you too, Elbro, for mentioning Cultural Marxism. That may not be the only factor that has led us to our present pass, but it's certainly one of the most powerful. It has worked in a most "subtile" manner -- like the Serpent in Genesis.

I'm not sure how to respond to RealizeFirst. Let's just say for now that it's an intriguing point of view.

I, myself, believe that Obama is merely a figurehead -- the tip of a vast iceberg -- an overt symptom of a deep-seated cancer that's eating us alive.

Left and Right may not matter so much anymore. It's more a matter of Individual Sovereignty versus Internationalism.

I'm not perfectly sure it's true, by the way, but from what I've read children who've been schooled at home test on average far better than the average product of the public schools.

And whoever has said that a liberal notion of "fairness" has supplanted respect for excellence and love of freedom is dead on target.

Liberals seek "security" above all else. Shakespeare said in the opening scene of Macbeth that "Security is mortals' chiefest enemy."

Will may just be a dead white male in the eyes of Progressives, but he sure knew a helluva lot about human nature -- which never really changes despite the passage of millennia.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

What might account for the destitution of countries sitting on vast and exploitable natural resources, for example?

----------------------

The colonies send the stuff to the colonizer and we spread around a few bribes for the elites. Pretty freakin' easy to see.

Or do you have some deluded idea that Kapital is particularly effective in distributing wealth.

Now why don't you start with the fact that the world DOES NOT have the resources to provide anything like a Western lifestyle for most of the world. Couple that with our desire to accelerate consumption and you may discover that something has to give and eventually it will be us.

We can do it the hard way or an easier way but the right likes the hard way every time.

Pasadena Closet Conservative said...

I love this country so much because God entrusted our great founders to create it, and those great founders entrusted each future generation to protect the foundation upon which it was created.

Since this is no longer made meaningful in schools, it is up to the rest of us to pass the history along and entrust it to those who come along next.

We do this by talking to our own children and grandchildren around the dinner table, speaking in our communities, blogging, and a myriad of other ways.

The people who hate our country do so out of ignorance and political correctness. It's a deadly combination.

Z said...

FT....thanks for your remarks... bummer about Masterpiece Theatre...there's such an eagerness to slam America and now that we have a hate-America-First administration, I can see the rest of the world jumping on that bandwagon and even emboldening islamists in this country. (by the way, BZ's talking about emails between bloggers on moderation....I'd thought we could do that but it's impossible, but thanks for the attempt!)

Soapy, actually, Pris has a point...your comment did sound pretty angry and critical. Many of us do all we can to help this country. I'm glad you are, too.

Ducky, you said "But you can home school your first graders so the nasty public school teachers to promote Mao and deny there were dinosaurs on the ark. It wil be the abject ignorance of the right which sinks us."
Show me either case from any home schoolers and we'll talk. Your hubris is sometimes astounding and, trust me, without a country raising children to love their country, we're sinking but it's not the Right promoting that.

Pris, look at Ducky's remarks regarding the colonies and you'll see a perfect example of what you're talking about.
I've spoken to Africans while living in Europe (them and me!) who tell me "I wish we had the British back, we had food then.." or "Nigeria has never been the same since the colonials left, we're suffering terribly now"..but, it's AMERICA'S FAULT.
The brain drain doesn't help, either...we take Peace Corps and other kids there to help, meanwhile their best and brightest get the hell out of town and never come back.
Rhodesia v Zimbabwe, do the MATH, DUCKY.
Anyway, great comments, Pris...I really appreciate your thoughts and agree with you.

Pasadena, thanks So much...very good input..and I'm glad some people do remind their children what an amazing country this is, WITH faults and all.."Exceptional", of course...I keep asking Ducky what country's more exceptional (per the definition) but he just can't find one, I guess.

Dave Miller said...

Z, I've been thinking on two parts of what you said for awhile.

Mostly because I have heard a myriad of people raise both of frequently, and it seems as if they have struck a sensitive spot amongst conservatives.

You stated "... {Obama has been] apologizing for our greatness, suggesting our faith is not important to this country"

Here's a couple of thoughts.

1. Where has Barack Obama apologized, saying "We are sorry" for our actions? Isn't there a difference between pointing out where we have failed, or not done as well as we could have and apologizing?

2. I think regarding faith, he has said faith is important to the United States. And that faith can be Christian, Buddhist, Hindi, etc. Granted it is not all focused on Christianity, but we are in fact a pluralistic nation. Since Christians claim generally that Mormonism is a cult, and not Christianity, should Obama talk in a way that marginalizes Mormons?

No, he should try to be inclusive of all faiths that are represented in this country.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Soapy, actually, Pris has a point...your comment did sound pretty angry and critical."

It was intended to serve as a proverbial call to arms more than anything else.

Far far too many people who have strong opinions about this that and the other thing; individuals who in 2008 came out in droves to attend their respective caucuses but who have since largely fallen from the radar. I've seen it first hand and have talked to countless others who can affirm the same thing.

History shows that the cycle repeats itself. The Republicans will very likely regain seats and the majority at some point. The question of course becomes what precisely will we have gained? If you're not engaged at the grass roots BPOU level vetting these candidates and standing firm to oppose the endorsement of candidates who do not hold true to the platform, values, and ideas then you will continue to get the government you deserve.

I think master Yoda summed it up best when he told a young and inexperienced Luke Skywalker:

"Try? Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."

The question I want to know is how many commentators herein regularly attend their BPOU/Precinct meetings, conventions and or otherwise? How many went to their state endorsing convention as a delegate or alternate or simply to observe????

Anonymous said...

The use of the capital K in reference to the seed money needed to fuel the capitalist system is a dead giveaway.

People who talk like that must, perforce, identify strongly with Marxian dialectics. Either that or their powers of orthography are woefully inadequate.

Committed Marxists should be politely-but-firmly escorted to one of the many Socialist Workers' Paradises they extoll, and be given the opportunity to partake of the wonder and glory they are sure to find there.

After they've learned the truth, perhaps, they should be allowed to return chastened and ready to do everything in their power to support the libertarian principles on which we were founded.

If countries dominated by Marxian notions of egalitarianism and social justice are so great, why do so many vie for the privilege of coming HERE -- and millions more slip in illegally every day?

I agree by the way that "mindless consumerism" is one of the banes of our existence, but would argue that the mischief made by Cultural Marxists has been in large measure the cause of the hideous decline in public taste and the dissipation of high quality in even the dreams and aspirations of too many individuals.

No one ever said Capitalism was "perfect," it probably IS the worst economic system yet devised -- except for all the others.

[Thank you, Sir Winston! ;-]

Sadly, if the public has been conditioned by the master manipulators to worship excrement, excrement is what the producers of goods and services will produce. One must produce products that SELL -- a fact of life.

Most people are born followers -- not leaders. When their leaders are depraved, the people will soon follow suit -- and vice versa.

The Mercantilism our gadfly friend describes is the very reason our Founders decided to break away from England. Mercantilism, however, is not Capitalism. I do see great problems in what-I-see-as the NEO FEUDALISM in the structure of gigantic international corporations.

I would add that very few peoples on this earth have the faintest inkling of the blessings inherent in the kind of representative republic we are supposed to have and the economic system the West evolved. Russia, for instance, has done a poor job of handling freedom once the Soviet Union was dissolved.

Hate to be the one to say it, but there's something INHERENT in the nature of CAUCASIANS -- particularly Protestant Caucasians -- that intuitively grasps the significance of Liberty -- the unfettered right to pursue self-interest -- as long as it doesn't involve murder, mayhem, rape, theft, extortion or vandalism. Other ethnic groups just don't seem to have this deep fundamental appreciation for the rights of the individual AS an individual.

Perhaps all men long to be free, but few know HOW. And that's one of the reasons we're LOSING our freedom today.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

"In the case of many of your regular right wingers I believe your so uncritical attitude comes from a combination of a belief in absolute revealed truth and a belief that America is a "chosen" nation."

"That latter is a particular nasty belief and allows you to hide a lot of dirt under the rug."

Ducky, our founders used the words "divine providence" thoughout their wrtings, as they worked and sacrificed to form the this great country and to establish our government.

I happen to believe less and less in coincidence, and tend to believe there is something called divine providence.

In case you don't know what that means, it means God had a hand in creating this land and the amazing collection of those great men who all came together to form a government which is meant to keep us free of oppression. "Chosen", if you will.

Having been recipients of the gift of intelligence from our creator, most of us know there is always some dirt under any rug. However, we have the ability to right wrongs in accordance with the constitution.

However we don't live under the rug as you do. We know there is a foundation below that rug, and a house above it.

When you only focus on the dirt, you tend to ignore everything else, and you are obsessed by your perception of dirt to the point where you would allow the house to fall down around you, and you can lose that house, including the foundation it came with.

So Ducky, while you think you are enlightened in thought, and conservatives don't engage in critical thought, I would only say we have to realize there's a time to consider what feels good isn't necessarily what's right, and the law of unintended consequences remains in tact.

To suggest that because people believe in divine providence, does not mean lack of thought. It means we must use our gift of thought to maintain that legacy which we inherited and not allow it to be torn asunder because we have forotten our duty to protect it.

Pris

beamish said...

I used an Abe Lincoln quote because it gets to the heart of the matter - America's strength and staying power is in the unity of its peoples, and because Abe Lincoln was President during was was is easily the most divisive time in American history, when Americans actually took up arms against each other to redress their grievances with each other.

Needless to say, we now live in a nation governed by a process that has diverged greatly from its founder's intent. Senators are now elected by popular vote rather than appointed by their state's legislature, so now state governments have no voice in the legislative body of the federal government. Senators are elected to represent their party over their state government.

And Vice-Presidents are "running mates" rather than the candidate for the Presidency that came in second place. Now if a tie-breaker vote is needed in the Senate, the Vice President is a rubber stamp for the President's position on the matter, rather than a guaranteed check that nothing will hit the President's desk that isn't approved by a majority of appointed representatives of the state legislatures and the states that will be affected by passage of the measure.

It's farcical to say we live in a system governed by checks and balances while the 12th and 17th Amendments perpetuate the existence of national political parties.

Z said...

Dave:
You said 1. Where has Barack Obama apologized, saying "We are sorry" for our actions? Isn't there a difference between pointing out where we have failed, or not done as well as we could have and apologizing?

You don't have to hear "I'm SORRY" to feel someone's apologizing. And, I don't feel it's necessary to point out our failings, no...what people simply don't understand is the Arab mind, and I've avoided saying that for a long time because I don't mean this to hurt in any way and I'm talking mostly about the mentality in those countries, because I know.......it's POWER and PRIDE..that's it. When we start nailing ourselves, we're stepping down a notch and I personally don't think we need to, or that it's helpful at all.
Obama's certainly said enough about Iraq to appear to be apologizing. I think there are some thinks we can discuss in private and others we present to the world..he's our president and nothing which he says goes untold to the world (unless it makes him look bad then our media won't reveal that truth, of course)

YOu add "2. I think regarding faith, he has said faith is important to the United States. And that faith can be Christian, Buddhist, Hindi, etc. Granted it is not all focused on Christianity, but we are in fact a pluralistic nation. Since Christians claim generally that Mormonism is a cult, and not Christianity, should Obama talk in a way that marginalizes Mormons?"

I believe it's about 85% of America which professes Christianity. Any other country that full of Christians can call itself a Christian Country, why can't WE, Dave?
I have several Jewish friends who LOVE everything about the Christmas music, gifts, parties, atmosphere in the air around Christmas..they're not offended. Why is anybody?
And nobody needs to be slamming other faiths in the reminder that we are Christian as a nation! Absolutely not.

Ducky's here said...

Pris, I don't care what the founders said. The idea that America is a "chosen" nation is absurd.

Now I know that evangelical often conflate divine revealed truth and the founding documents but it is up to you to realize your error.

Z said...

Pris, as a Christian, you're simply not ALLOWED your way of thinking...or so it seems? :-)

Beamish, I believe Lincoln was talking about our staying unified and fighting interlopers in that quote......as you well know...there is the word 'was' either one too many times or not at all the correct word there so I can't quite figure out your recent comments on that quote? Obviously, we weren't unified during the Civil War but that quote still holds, doesn't it?

Also, you said "Senators are now elected by popular vote rather than appointed by their state's legislature, so now state governments have no voice in the legislative body of the federal government. Senators are elected to represent their party over their state government."

While I agree totally that Senators have become only hacks for their party, they are there supposedly representing their state's governments still...states DO have a voice through them, if the Sens were more interested in doing the right thing for their states and not just rising within the party....it's a highwire for them to please the party hacks AND look like they're pleasing their people enough to ensure their seat remains theirs..Of course, wait a minute...maybe I see your point better as I type: The PARTY is what supports that senator financially and so, if he does what the party wants, they support him, right?
hmmmmmmmmm

go back to sleep, Z, and let Beamish talk :-)

Z said...

The future and success of America is not in this Constitution but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.
James Madison

The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence, were . . . the general principles of Christianity.
John Adams

* John Dickinson said, "To my Creator, I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity."
* Gabriel Duvall, later a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and an appointee to the Supreme Court said, "I resign my soul into the hands of the Almighty who gave it in humble hopes of his mercy through our Savior Jesus Christ."
* And lastly, John Witherspoon, pastor and President of New Jersey College (Princeton University today) said, "I shall entreat ... you in the most earnest manner to believe in Jesus Christ, for there is no salvation in any other" [Acts 4:12] ... [I] f you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness, you must forever perish."

Political Science professors at the University of Houston, curious about who influenced the founders, gathered 15,000 quotes made by them. The effort took over ten years. They reduced the number to those that had a significant impact on the founding fathers and the result was 3,154 quotes. They determined that the Bible was quoted far more than any other source. Thirty-four percent of all quotes were from the Bible, and another 60% of the quotes were from men who were using the Bible to make their point. God's word was important to the nation's founders.

Z said...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Z said...

I was just thinking about the founding fathers and their Christian faith and what a comfort their faith was to them, a comfort no self-delusion about 'myths' could ever supply.

Also, I remember Mr. Z so frequently saying "Italy's had about 50 governments since the second world war and yet they're still Italy..I sometimes wonder about America when I see how divided she is".
I think he had an excellent point..Italians are still proud of their country, no matter how much infighting and how many different governments they have.
French are very proud of France...Germans are getting to be proud of Germany again (they had that taught out of them after the war, believe me), etc etc..

But, America? We've got a president taking us in such a different direction than we ever thought would happen and he even belittles those who don't come along. Quite a different day in America, to hear a president insult and call out personally those who dare to tell him he is absolutely wrong.

odd times

Anonymous said...

The Bible -- and Shakespeare -- formed the foundation for the Western Civilization we love and long for, Z.

The Bible came first, and most children learned to read through Bible study of some kind.

Until fairly recently there weren't all that many books to choose from. Mr. Jefferson had one of the largest private collections in his time -- a collection I believe that formed the basis for the Library of Congress -- but if I remember rightly, most-if-not-all of it was contained in one large breakfront bookcase.

Letters from "ordinary" people during the Civil War are beautifully phrased. They put the products of modern public education to shame, believe me.

Using the Bible as the basis for literacy and understanding was a darned good idea. Now we cannot even MENTION it in our schools!

The Hand of Fate swats at us from so many different directions. No wonder our heads are spinning.

Great threads lately! You certainly know how to pick good topics.

Thanks.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

"I don't care what the founders said. The idea that America is a "chosen" nation is absurd."

Ah Ducky, I know you don't care. I know. I also know I would not be considered an evangelical. I have no church. Yet I presume you attend your church, yet you have so little faith, and I have deep faith.

How does that happen? You are a hypocrite. You put your faith in men. In a political dogma. That is your religion.

When it comes to that I don't care what you think. It's up to you to realize your error.

Pris

Z said...

thanks, FT, I certainly do like to read my reader's comments...I agree re the Bible..xx

Pris, it is a religion, isn't it? I guess it gets down to 'what do we care what people believe, really?'...someone like Ducky's not going to change and that's FINE...why's he have to blast US?

As for Christians in America...what, 84% or so? Mostly "christmas tree Christians", I have to admit; people who give it little thought until they're thinking about what to get their mom for Christmas, but....they still avow Christianity and, hey, who are we to judge? Anyway, they say they are Christians, but we're kowtowing to the tiny minority who AREn"T, most of whom are decent people and don't care what Christians believe and let us to it? But the MEDIA and HOLLYWOOD, all the big leftists CARE, that's obvious! (how can we turn to Communism until the faith that gave us freedom is shut down once and for all?!)

Of course, this kind of push against CHristianity really only came when the obvious attempts at demeaning it started.......attempts at overturning things so important to the country for 200 years. Who'd have thought we'd be arguing if a woman could kill her unborn child or if two men could legally marry? I know films where any Christian references are people with pitchforks, or the very evil sunday school stepmother, or the retarded kid.....

Boy, I'd love to see the founding fathers on that stuff......
Just as my christian friends don't care other than what to buy somebody on THE DAY, my gay friends never wanted to marry and never insulted me for my marriage!, or at least they didn't tell ME they wanted to marry...they had a blast and admitted to promiscuity till they were pretty long in the tooth and no desire to change......I say GO FOR IT, what do I care? Others of my gay friends lived with one same-sex partner for forty years and had amazingly rich, happy lives...and never married.

This attack at Christians by gays and other faiths and liberals, etc etc., is about agenda, about values and traditions being turned over to justify the behavior of a few.......but it's a powerful nasty few in Hollywood, politics, the BIG mouths.........
Maybe America will wake up but I don't see our kids improving with the amount of indoctrination they're getting. Man, watch any movie and hear the line "I didn't fire you! A Republican would, but not ME, I'm not SCUM!" so so often, there are lines like that.....
and people soak it in and the Left's laughing as the state-owned entertainment business and media. :-(

Ducky's here said...

...someone like Ducky's not going to change and that's FINE...why's he have to blast US?
-------------------------

Blame you? Where did that come from.

I merely ask you to defend the perverted an dangerous idea that America is a "chosen" nation.

Ducky's here said...

... and just admit fr the purpose of full disclosure that your professed love of America is a religious dogma.

Elmers Brother said...

The colonies send the stuff to the colonizer and we spread around a few bribes for the elites. Pretty freakin' easy to see.

duhkkky's version of the dependency theory....debunked by so many.

Dave Miller said...

Free thinker, you said the bible and Shakespeare are the foundation for the Western Civilization we love and long for.

Really?

All this time I thought the Greeks had a hand in that. Maybe I am mistaken, but the Apostle Paul and the beloved disciple John were pretty well versed by the Greek intelligencia.

Z... you stated that you do not have to hear "I'm Sorry." That says to me that Obama has never said it. I know it is a sticking point with me, but words are important, as many conservative bloggers have pointed out in their critiques of Obama.

Feeling that someone is saying something is not the same as him having said that. Would anyone here approve of their kids using the non apology apology route of they had done something wrong?

Of course not. We would make them say the actual words, because without them, there is no apology.

Now if we want to say he should not point out any US short comings to others in the world, and because he did/does so, we are pissed off, that's fair game.

Regarding whether or not we are a Christian Nation, I will say this, we are a nation of mostly Christian people, founded by people obviously influenced by Christianity and certainly respectful of God.

WHether they desired us to officially be Christian is another matter.

But as others have decided to add their various quotes, as if those somehow trump ones arguments, allow me to add this:

Article 11 of the Treaty with Tripoli declared in part that "the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion..." (Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States, ed. Hunter Miller, Vol. 2, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1931, p. 365). This treaty was negotiated by the American diplomat Joel Barlow during the administration of George Washington. Washington read it and approved it, although it was not ratified by the senate until John Adams had become president. When Adams signed it, he added this statement to his signature "Now, be it known, that I, John Adams, President of the United States of America, having seen and considered the said treaty, do, by and within the consent of the Senate, accept, ratify and confirm the same, and every clause and article thereof." This document and the approval that it received from our nation's first and second presidents and the U. S. Senate as constituted in 1797 do very little to support the popular notion that the founding fathers established our country as a "Christian nation."

Anonymous said...

Here's a charitable interpretation:

Maybe people who feel the need to "blast" others repeatedly have a nagging suspicion that those others might be correct, but to admit that would disturb the world view of the blaster, so they blast?

I'm sure it's perfectly all right to let such people express themselves freely. That's one of the many good things about this blog.

Here's a favorite quote from a distinguished jurist -- and poet:

"If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought – not free thought for those that agree with us, but freedom for the thought that we hate."

~ Oliver W. Holmes (1841-1935)

I think there's room for everybody -- as long as they agree that there's room for everybody, and don't try to take over.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

David,

You make a good point. My sweeping statement was too narrow to remain unchallenged, but it's not untrue either. Most of "the people" in the past thousand years have been hardly aware of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, etc., but once literacy became a desirable and respected goal [it wasn't always, because it's generally easier to control ignorant people than informed ones -- remember it was considered a crime to teach slaves how to read] they were informed to a large extent by the Bible. If a household possessed any books at all, they were usually a Bible and the writings of Shakespeare.

I don't know when the first English translations of ancient Greek literature were published,but I doubt if they were used to instruct the young in acquiring basic literacy. If I'm wrong, I apologize.

I think most of us would concur with this statement of yours:

" ... we are a nation of mostly Christian people, founded by people obviously influenced by Christianity and certainly respectful of God."

I realize the Founders rarely invoked the name of Jesus Christ, even as they often referred to "The Creator" or "Almighty God." Exactly why this is the case I am not sure, but I am reasonably certain that were it not for the cultures of Western Europe and Britain that evolved during the rise and ascendancy of Christianity, there would be no United States of America -- or certainly not the country we once knew and loved as it was before the tragic débacle of the 1960's -- and the Face of Western Civillization would have been entirely different.

The influence of the Greeks has been most apparent in the widely imitated architectural styles they developed -- styles echoed and augmented by the ancient Romans and later adapted and modified by the splendid architecture of Palladio.

"Neo-Classicism" persisted in public and domestic architecture well into the twentieth-century.

The Greeks also gave us a good understanding of geometry.

Our musical tradition, however, developed directly from ancient Jewish chants, that were transformed into Gregorian chant, which in turn served as the basis for the contrapuntal music of the Middle Ages and eventually the system of harmony perfected by J. S. Bach which in turn was modified into what-we-call "the classical style" today.

We know about the lyre and the aulos, and we know the ancient Greeks wrote music, but we still have no real idea of what it sounded like. We can only make educated guesses, which are very unsatisfactory.

I'm not sure the extent to which ancient Greek philosophy influenced St. Paul and St. John. It would be good, iff you were to tell us something about that, or at least point to sources where we could learn more.

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

Dave, where did I say we were FOUNDED AS A CHRISTIAN NATION for all to live as Christians, that's our COUNTRY'S RELIGION? I said we're largely predominantly Christian and it's a curiosity as to the small minority's power to undermine that.

And, can't you see my few examples of I'M SORRY say that exact thing without THE WORDS!? Heck he also said he didn't know Bill Ayers, they just lived in the 'same neighborhood'..
To me, words DO count, even if they're not the exact words.

Come to think of it, my mother always said "Don't say you're sorry, SHOW ME" ...exactly, Mom.


FT:

My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ..John Adams
I . . . [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins ...Samuel Adams (no relation)
Called on the people of New Hampshire . . . to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ..Josiah Bartlett, signer of the Dec of Ind.
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see..Ben Franklin
He called on the entire state to pray “that universal happiness may be established in the world [and] that all may bow to the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole earth be filled with His glory. A. Hamilton
Being a Christian… is a character which I prize far above all this world has or can boast.. Patrick Henry
and to pardon whatever of sin hath mingled in them for the sake of Jesus Christ,..John Jay
I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. Thomas Jefferson
The Gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life. Happy they who are enabled to obey them in all situations! . . ...Benjamin Rush
You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are..Geo Washington
[T]he religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles… Noah Webster.

Newly elected members of Congress of the USA were handed a pamphlet entitled something like THE WORDS OF JESUS OF NAZARETH upon their entering Congress for the first time until the 1920's, by the way.

Trust me, two can play this 'game' secularists like to play, which I find highly offensive....and the drowning out of one side of an equation, as you know, is beguiling and most often, effective.

Anonymous said...

Those are wonderful quotations, Z. Where did you find them?

What I think I should have said to David is that direct references to Jesus are hard to find in our official founding documents meaning the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I believe that's right.

I am certainly no scholar, and should take the time and trouble to reread the founding documents and most important speeches from that era. Washington's Farewell Address might be a good place to start.

I imagine the Founders were much as we are today in that what they said "for the record" and what they said and wrote more intimately -- either to to friends and family or their diaries-- probably differs quite a bit in tone. I didn't know them, so it's entirely possible I could be wrong.

I am doing my best to support the idea that we have always been fundamentally a Christian nation, but feel I have to take into consideration evidence such as the quotation David presented from 1797, which appears -- on the surface at least -- to be at odds with the idea that we were ever "officially" designated a Christian nation.

As you must know, I am more persuaded by actions than words, and it seems very obvious to me that most of our early settlers were sustained by strong Christian faith, although from everything I've ever read the Virginia colonists were far more worldly and less observant than the New England settlers. That is not to say the early Virginians didn't have roots in Christianity, but there was a tremendous difference between the Christianity of the Anglicans and that of the Puritans.

I believe it was to reconcile these differences that the famous Establishment Clause was written -- the idea being that no particular branch of the church could or should ever predominate.

If it weren't so late, I'd look up Washington's Farewell Address and Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death speech. Maybe another time.

This is all intensely interesting to me. Thanks agin for providing such a stimulating forum. It's a privilege to be where people are genuinely concerned with these things. The country at large is far too apathetic, which is one of the reasons we're in such trouble.

~ FT

Elmers Brother said...

The colonies send the stuff to the colonizer and we spread around a few bribes for the elites. Pretty freakin' easy to see.

we shold also mention that we are the largest GIVERS in the world by sometimes as much as a factor of 7 compared to our European (socialist) counterparts...attributed to bueller? bueller?

our religious values

conservatives give more

so for all of duhkkky's whining about consumerism and 'kapitalism' the fact is that the liberals are the stingy ones

Elmers Brother said...

of course to them the 'giving' from the government in the form of confiscatory taxes and unfunded social programs (e.g. Greece)

Z said...

Elbro, exactly right about giving...

FT...You won't find Jesus in founding documents; I got those quotes to show the huge foundation of CHristianity in the sensibilities of our founding fathers...a basis one can't deny motivated their decisions, their characters, their hopes for this country, etc., its laws, its goals, etc..
I'd NEVER expect Jesus in official paperwork like the Declaration.......our founders did understand and respect, seemingly, other faiths but I'm sure they never suspected that people in this country would start to belittle their own....do you?

We were NEVER designated a Christian nation...absolutely never. That's quite another thing from having its founding created by such Godly men....and probably even more important than mere labeling "we are a Christian nation"..No, our forefathers predicated their beliefs and hopes and dreams for this country on the goodness of the 10 COmmandments, Christ's words.......
a good thing...they didn't need to designate it as Christian...

Funny, now that I think of it, they probably didn't think they NEEDED to...that's pretty much all they knew.
little did they know that people today would be so different and that our country would be so visibly plummeting down since this whole anti-God thing got started.

Anonymous said...

Ducky you know it cannot be proven that America was created through divine providence. It's a matter of belief, and acceptance of faith. That's enough for me.

Since it matters so much to you to be proven, I challenge you to prove it wasn't.

I have no need or predisposition to prove anything to you. What you believe or don't believe is up to you, I couldn't care less whether you believe it or not.

Pris

psi bond said...

A Buddhist or a good atheist is as acceptable to God as a good Catholic.
— Pat Buckley

There is no one true church.
— Pat Buckley

psi bond said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
psi bond said...

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.

— Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

psi bond said...

In a sermon of October 1831, Episcopalian minister Bird Wilson said, "Among all of our Presidents, from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism."

Elmers Brother said...

and we all know how we can trust a man named Bird.

Anonymous said...

Who is Pat Buckley -- any relation to the late Bill?

Z said...

I have to admit, this just cracks me UP :-)

Dave Miller said...

FT, regarding John and Paul, and not the Beatles, although I am sure they too were influenced, at least tangentially by the Greeks, you can see in their writings evidence of that influence.

John was writing primarily to a Greek educated audience and to be effective communicating to them, he would have to be pretty knowledgeable about all things Greek. Thus his equation of Jesus and Logos. Paul, again as we see in his writings, brings up references to Greek gods and traditions that only someone pretty familiar with that system of thinking would know.

Just to say that they did in fact have as part of their basis of knowledge, a real understanding of the Greek mind.

Here’s a good book I came across awhile back on the founding of the US and the role of faith in that founding.

“Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America” by Steven Waldman.

I found this to be a wonderful book, and pretty balanced. Lots of good info in it, like what you brought up about the Anglicans and the Puritans up north.

And Z, I don’t recall saying you said America was a Christian country and I am sorry if something I wrote gave that impression.

This has been a great discussion thread, and incredibly civil, considering the topic…

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Tom. You give every evidence of being both a gentleman and a scholar.

From my point of view this has been an extraordinarily fruitful thread.

I have bad eyesight, and can read print only with great difficulty -- except on this machine -- but I think you for the reference.

And I think we should all be thankful to Z for maintaining this blog. The world is so full of turmoil and just plain nonsense it's a great pleasure to be in a place where many are involved with a search for the fundamental truths of Existence.

If we all agreed, and there was no conflict, we'd be in Heaven, and Heaven knows we're not. ;-)

~ FreeThinke

psi bond said...

Bro: and we all know how we can trust a man named Bird.

Bird Wilson, born in 1777, a leading Episcopalian minister of the post-Founding era. was the son of James Wilson, one of the Founding Fathers, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. a major force in drafting the U.S. Constitution, and one of the original six Supreme Court justices.

Bird Wilson knew Washington and the other Founders personally. Washington's pastor, Bishop White, was also Bird Wilson's godfather and ordained Wilson as an Episcopalian minister.

In October 1831, Wilson devoted an entire sermon on the general matter of our Founders' religious beliefs, specifically George Washington's. Wilson noted "among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism."

He went on to say, "the founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity."

Wilson further said in that sermon, "Washington was a man of valor and wisdom. He was esteemed by the whole world as a great and good man; but he was not a professing Christian."

psi bond said...

Anonymous: Who is Pat Buckley -- any relation to the late Bill?

Pat Buckley was a person of conspicuous good sense.

Elmers Brother said...

George Washington was an Anglican layman.

While encamped on the banks of a river, Washington was approached by Delaware Indian chiefs who desired that their youth be trained in American schools. In Washington's response, he first told them that "Congress... will look on them as on their own children." That is, we would train their children as if they were our own. He then commended the chiefs for their decision:

You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.

According to George Washington, what students would learn in American schools "above all" was "the religion of Jesus Christ."

At the end of the Revolutionary War, when the announcement of official peace arrived in America, George Washington issued his final sentiments. In his circular letter to the States on June 8, 1783, even though Washington gratefully acknowledged that we had won the war, he urged them to recall something of much greater importance and to remember…

…the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation

William White reports of his sincere piety in 'Washington Writings':
'It seems proper to subjoin to this letter what was told to me by Mr. Robert Lewis, at Fredricksburg, in the year 1827. Being a nephew of Washington, and his private secretary during the first part of his presidency, Mr. Lewis lived with him on terms of intimacy, and had the best opportunity for observing his habits. Mr. Lewis said that he had accidentally witnessed his private devotions in his library both morning and evening; that on those occasions he had seen him in a kneeling posture with a Bible open before him, and that he believed such to have been his daily practice.'”

Washington's own contemporaries did not question his Christianity but were thoroughly convinced of his devout faith--a fact made evident in the first-ever compilation of the The Writings of George Washington, published in the 1830s.

Elmers Brother said...

Jared Sparks a contemporary of Washington wrote a book based on Washingtons own writings.

In Volume XII of these writings, Jared Sparks delved into the religious character of George Washington, and included numerous letters written by the friends, associates, and family of Washington which testified of his religious character. Based on that extensive evidence, Sparks concluded:

To say that he [George Washington] was not a Christian would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty. Of all men in the world, Washington was certainly the last whom any one would charge with dissimulation or indirectness [hypocrisies and evasiveness]; and if he was so scrupulous in avoiding even a shadow of these faults in every known act of his life, [regardless of] however unimportant, is it likely, is it credible, that in a matter of the highest and most serious importance [his religious faith, that] he should practice through a long series of years a deliberate deception upon his friends and the public? It is neither credible nor possible.

Elmers Brother said...

Sparks also communicated with Washingtons adopted daughter, who lived with him for 20 years.

Sparks, in searching for information on Washington's religious habits, dispatched a letter to Nelly, asking if she knew for sure whether George Washington indeed was a Christian. Within a week, she had replied to Sparks, and Sparks included her letter in Volume XII of Washington's writings in the lengthy section on Washington's religious habits. Of that specific letter, Jared Sparks explained:


I shall here insert a letter on this subject, written to me by a lady who lived twenty years in Washington's family and who was his adopted daughter, and the granddaughter of Mrs. Washington. The testimony it affords, and the hints it contains respecting the domestic habits of Washington, are interesting and valuable.
Woodlawn, 26 February, 1833
Sir,

I received your favor of the 20th instant last evening, and hasten to give you the information, which you desire.

Truro Parish [Episcopal] is the one in which Mount Vernon, Pohick Church [the church where George Washington served as a vestryman], and Woodlawn [the home of Nelly and Lawrence Lewis] are situated. Fairfax Parish is now Alexandria. Before the Federal District was ceded to Congress, Alexandria was in Fairfax County. General Washington had a pew in Pohick Church, and one in Christ Church at Alexandria. He was very instrumental in establishing Pohick Church, and I believe subscribed [supported and contributed to] largely. His pew was near the pulpit. I have a perfect recollection of being there, before his election to the presidency, with him and my grandmother...

Elmers Brother said...

He attended the church at Alexandria when the weather and roads permitted a ride of ten miles [a one-way journey of 2-3 hours by horse or carriage]. In New York and Philadelphia he never omitted attendance at church in the morning, unless detained by indisposition [sickness]. The afternoon was spent in his own room at home; the evening with his family, and without company. Sometimes an old and intimate friend called to see us for an hour or two; but visiting and visitors were prohibited for that day [Sunday]. No one in church attended to the services with more reverential respect. My grandmother, who was eminently pious, never deviated from her early habits. She always knelt. The General, as was then the custom, stood during the devotional parts of the service. On communion Sundays, he left the church with me, after the blessing, and returned home, and we sent the carriage back for my grandmother.

It was his custom to retire to his library at nine or ten o'clock where he remained an hour before he went to his chamber. He always rose before the sun and remained in his library until called to breakfast. I never witnessed his private devotions. I never inquired about them. I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity. His life, his writings, prove that he was a Christian. He was not one of those who act or pray, "that they may be seen of men" [Matthew 6:5]. He communed with his God in secret [Matthew 6:6].

My mother [Eleanor Calvert-Lewis] resided two years at Mount Vernon after her marriage [in 1774] with John Parke Custis, the only son of Mrs. Washington. I have heard her say that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother before the revolution. When my aunt, Miss Custis [Martha's daughter] died suddenly at Mount Vernon, before they could realize the event [before they understood she was dead], he [General Washington] knelt by her and prayed most fervently, most affectingly, for her recovery. Of this I was assured by Judge [Bushrod] Washington's mother and other witnesses.

He was a silent, thoughtful man. He spoke little generally; never of himself. I never heard him relate a single act of his life during the war. I have often seen him perfectly abstracted, his lips moving, but no sound was perceptible. I have sometimes made him laugh most heartily from sympathy with my joyous and extravagant spirits. I was, probably, one of the last persons on earth to whom he would have addressed serious conversation, particularly when he knew that I had the most perfect model of female excellence [Martha Washington] ever with me as my monitress, who acted the part of a tender and devoted parent, loving me as only a mother can love, and never extenuating [tolerating] or approving in me what she disapproved of others. She never omitted her private devotions, or her public duties; and she and her husband were so perfectly united and happy that he must have been a Christian. She had no doubts, no fears for him. After forty years of devoted affection and uninterrupted happiness, she resigned him without a murmur into the arms of his Savior and his God, with the assured hope of his eternal felicity [happiness in Heaven].

Is it necessary that any one should certify, "General Washington avowed himself to me a believer in Christianity?" As well may we question his patriotism, his heroic, disinterested devotion to his country. His mottos were, "Deeds, not Words"; and, "For God and my Country."

With sentiments of esteem,

I am, Nelly Custis-Lewis

Elmers Brother said...

George Washington was a devout Episcopalian; and although as an Episcopalian he would not be classified as an outspoken and extrovert “evangelical” Founder as were Founding Fathers like Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman, and Thomas McKean, nevertheless, being an Episcopalian makes George Washington no less of a Christian

Z said...

Elmer's brother, it's amazing, isn't it? With leftist secularists it just plain doesn't MATTER what proof you have, and there's SO MUCH proof that our forefathers were Christians, they keep hammering.

Elmers Brother said...

his own daughter, speaking about him having devotions in the morning...my guess is Washington was much more of a Christian than many of us

Z said...

Well, Elbro, one would think his daughter would know, right? Yes, I knew who that was and I'm glad you posted it....
to be fair, there's some question about his not taking communion at his church, even leaving the building during it...
I've been thinking a lot about this 'forefathers/Christians' thing and I think that some of their actions were meant to give a 'fairer' view of open mindedness when they didn't really feel that...sort of like our RINO Republicans like O'Reilly trying to LOOK like he's bipartisan, you know?
Maybe ol' George wanted to give a different impression ...maybe he felt SO convicted that he tried to go the other way on paper...? I'm not negating that he WAS a solid believer, that's too obvious for the discerning thinker to miss after reading many of his quotes, but maybe that made some of these guys feel they needed to back pedal a bit? Just thinking out loud here and throwing it out....

They definitely felt this country shouldn't be founded AS A CHRISTAN COUNTRY,on Jesus, but they sure do use His words so often between the lines......and it's almost laughable to consider they weren't believers from what they write.

Even the supposed those some label DEISTS seem to have drawn from Old and New Testament Scripture....and attended Christian churches, except the Unitarians, of course.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating testimony from GW's adopted daughter Nelly.

Thank you for supplying it, Elbro.

I just plowed through GW's Farewell Address. It's very heavy going -- almost an impenetrable thicket of verbiage. GW was not gifted as a writer the way Mr. Jefferson was.

HOWEVER, there is much superb advice in this tome once one gets into it. The prose is awfully windy though. Whew!

At any rate, paragraph 27 is the only place I could find much in the way of direct reference to religion, and he does not mention Christianity specifically. Here 'tis:

27 Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

I imagine we can take it for granted that "religion" to him meant Christianity, but I wish he had invoked the name of Jesus Christ at least once.

I am not arguing against Nelly's testimony assuming it's genuine, but I think it may be wrong to take the position that the contemporary testimony cited by David Miller and Psi Bond is pure poppycock. There does seem to be a genuine, non-agenda-driven disparity that deserves to be examined in depth without trying to "prove" anything one way or the other.

It would take an awful lot of work to read all the quotations cited here IN CONTEXT, and to research the lives and possible motives of those who originated these apparently opposite views.

I am much too old to take on a task of this magnitude, but I wish someone -- who has NO particular axe to grind -- would do so.

I'm afraid in most cases people believe what they WANT to believe.

Regards,

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

The Unitarians considered themselves Christians, Z, -- especially in the time of the Founders. John Adams certainly did.

Perhaps all these claims that this Founder and that Founder were NOT Christian stem from the often vehement competition that exists among the various branches and sects of Christianity?

We have heard many claims here at geeeZ and elsewhere that such-and-such a church is NOT Christian, and that so-and-so was NOT Christian, because the beliefs professed by such-and-such, and so-and-so don't conform to a PARTICULAR VIEW of what does and does not qualify as "Christian."

Often these disputes become heated and unpleasant.

I, personally, wouldn't DARE to say who is and who is not Christian among those who make that claim.

In many respects I envy those who have unwavering convictions. I wish I could be that sure, but I can't, which is why I have to call myself

~ FreeThinke

Z said...

FT, you say "We have heard many claims here at geeeZ and elsewhere that such-and-such a church is NOT Christian, and that so-and-so was NOT Christian, because the beliefs professed by such-and-such, and so-and-so don't conform to a PARTICULAR VIEW of what does and does not qualify as "Christian."

I have never said anything like that on my blog and, as you know, I've even said "I will never say that about any denomination" but, you're right, we have certainly had that. I ought to delete but it's all educational, isn't it..at least,to hear other points of view and the reasoning for them!? :-)

Unitarians might have been considered Christian then, and I think they consider themselves that now, too...I hate to say I kind of tease about them exactly for that reason (there's a joke that says "You never hear a Unitarian say God until he falls down some stairs" (awful, but funny!).
Unitarians believe in the moral authority, but not necessarily the divinity, of Jesus...and they don't believe in the Trinity...hard to consider that Christian, and I have to admit I use them rather rudely as fodder for jokes and probably shouldn't, but MAN, the things I hear from Unitarians just crack me up!! I'm doing a lecture series with friends right now and watching the Unitarian they interview re: God, etc., makes everybody laugh in the room and these aren't unkind people, they just can't believe what they're hearing! Anyway...I must admit that, while I never ever slam a Christian denomination, I do giggle about Unitarians who call themselves Christian and don't believe in Christ's divinity.
Still...they sure can believe whatever they want to believe and they don't slam others.......I should stop with the jokes, but.. :-)

As for Washington and Adams, etc., I hope you read my comment regarding how I think they might have bent over backwards to leave Christ out of things BECAUSE they didn't want to have A CHRISTIAN NATION by design, by edict, per se.

ALL (not some, all) use Christ in some of their writings..ALL. This isn't a bunch who wasn't secure in their own beliefs, I just think they didn't feel good deigning the country as Christian and, therefore, might have avoided using Christ too much.
As I've said, this country gave new congressmen a booklet called something like THE WISDOM OF JESUS OF NAZARETH, or THE WORDS OF JESUS OF NAZARETH their first day on the job until the 1920's..nobody seemed to mind then!

Anonymous said...

I agree pretty much with all you've said, Z. I wasn't singling you out for criticism, but felt I ought to mention that the kind of "competition" I mentioned has been going on for a long, long time. And I do think that what-I-may-call "exclusivist" or "exclusionary" thinking CAN be extremely divisive. (I'm sure you know exactly what I mean.)

I am mildly appalled at TODAY'S Unitarian Church. I think you are more indulgent towards it than I. The few Unitarians I know are more like a bunch of latter-day HIPPIES than anything I think of as Christian. I'm glad you can find their remarks humorous. The Unitarians I know are almost militantly agnostic -- really IN YOUR FACE bout the rejection of what-they-call "The Jesus Myth."

It really was very different in the 1700's, however. John Adams was many things. He was brilliant, loving towards wife and family, strong-willed, opinionated, sometimes arrogant and intolerant of those he thought foolish, sometimes he was notably cantankerous, but he was also PIOUS, bless him.

As I suggested to Elbro, SOMEONE needs to write a TRULY scholarly book on this. I wish I could read the volume David Miller mentioned.

There's so much PROPAGANDA masquerading as scholarship these days, it's very hard to know whim you can trust.

XX.

~ FT

Elmers Brother said...

As I suggested to Elbro, SOMEONE needs to write a TRULY scholarly book on this. I wish I could read the volume David Miller mentioned.

One of the reasons I chose Jared Sparks was because he used Washington's own words, he poured over his manuscripts and personal writings. In addition he contacted his daughter about this silly notion that somehow Washington was not a professing Christian.

As for who is a Christian and who isn't...

denominations stress one thing or another, some refer to them as distinctions and I often see them not as distinctions but as different parts of the Body as described in I Corinthians..(gifts of the Holy Spirit) etc.

Most orthodox Protestant denominations recognize each other as distinctive but still Christian

as an example I attended a seminary class in high that included Nazarenes, Baptist, a few Catholics, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Methodists and several other mainline Christian denominations

now granted some might consider the United Methodists a liberal denomination, individual churches might not be and SO we all got along quite famously, we had a non denominational youth pastor who taught off campus (public school) in a nearby church at all four public high schools in the city

Most of us have remained very close friends and we reunite occasionally, pray for each other etc.

So many times this notion that Protestant denominations don't get along, or define some as Christian or NOT Christian is often times more than not an academic exercise and has little practical value

there are some sects that orthodox Christianity is not afraid to label as cults, but it's not difficult to distinguish those from the 'distinctions' I mentioned earlier

I've been a member of various Baptist churches, Nazarene, Christian Missionary Alliance and Methodist churches

Elmers Brother said...

Maybe ol' George wanted to give a different impression ...maybe he felt SO convicted that he tried to go the other way on paper...? I'm not negating that he WAS a solid believer, that's too obvious for the discerning thinker to miss after reading many of his quotes, but maybe that made some of these guys feel they needed to back pedal a bit? Just thinking out loud here and throwing it out....

He may not have taken communion because he took communion very seriously

in I Corinthians it describes the attitude that many of those in Corinth had, flippantly taking the Lords supper, they didn't take it seriously

In the churches I've attended we're admonished to make ourselves right vertically with God and horizantly with our fellow man

GW could have taken an admonishment like this so seriously that he felt compelled NOT to take communion

Elmers Brother said...

whatever the reason not taking communion does not equal not a Christian

Z said...

Ft..I agree about the U's..I was trying hard to be nicer than I usually am :-)

Elbro, you could be very right about Washington and Communion and I never suggested that Communion equates with being a Christian, I'm just saying that "there's some question.." about his leaving the bldg during that time..and I've seen secularists use that as a sign he wasn't Christian. I think it's ridiculous to suggest that, myself, but then I got to thinking about why he might have done that and used that info here to explain as I did above how maybe some of the founding fathers didn't like showing their extreme piety for fear it would influence others' faith too much as they did so badly not want a CHRISTIAN NATION per se, though I think they'd be grossly disturbed to see what we are today and long for a return of how it was back then (me, too).........I have NO REASON to believe that, just occurred to me, that's all....just my own hypothesis.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Elbro, and Z too, of course, I appreciate your input very much.

When I was a child, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Dutch Reformed, Baptists were all friendly and accepting of one another. Members of the various churches belonged to the same social and service clubs, etc. It was all very pleasant, though some in latter days have called it a shallow, watered-down version of Christianity.

I don't know. People seemed less prone to be judgmental, and to raise divisive controversial subjects back then.

It might have been an illusion, but in the post-war years (1940's-50's) we seemed to be more one people. Today we're splintered into myriad factions.

The liberals (always ones to AGITATE) like to think of their fault-finding, disputatious ways as more "honest" and less "hypocritical."

I've certainly become very critical since the 1960's, and more resentful. (Agitators do tend to agitate just about everybody, don't they?)

The country as a whole seems far less Christian today than it did when people felt obliged to be gracious to one another -- and more reticent.

Thanks again.

~ FreeThinke

Elmers Brother said...

Elbro, you could be very right about Washington and Communion and I never suggested that Communion equates with being a Christian, I'm just saying that "there's some question.."

Oh no Z, I knew you weren't suggesting that, I was trying to answer the secularists, I've seen this posed before and I've thought about it and just positing my own ideas...I think you may have a point as well.

FT, I agree with you. I wouldn't suggest that we all sing kum by yah in some ecumenical free for all...don't believe in the World Council of Churches or any of that rot BUT

I do know that many of my friends are Christians, yet we attend different churches, there just isn't this animosity that non Christians seem to think there is

Elmers Brother said...

or they mistake theological discussions as extreme judgements

psi bond said...

Bro: Jared Sparks a contemporary of Washington wrote a book based on Washingtons own writings ….

and we all know how we can trust Jared Sparks. First, he was hardly a contemporary of Washington, being ten years old when Washington died (Rev. Bird Wilson was 22). Second, historians have had strong criticisms of his biography of Washington. To quote Willard Sterne Randall (George Washington: A Life, 1997, pp. 14-15):

In the early nineteenth century, early Washington biographer and Methodist clergyman Mason Weems invented the story that young Washington could not tell a lie after he cut down a cherry tree. The Reverend Jared Sparks [a Unitarian minister], president of Harvard College and biographer of the Founding Fathers, sanitized Washington by bowdlerizing his letters (those that he didn’t give away to autograph collectors). Both men busily grafted and pruned facts to form a Washington myth. Parson Weems and Jared Sparks deified Mary Ball Washington, or at least made her the mother of a god.

As Richard Brookhiser observed, “Washington has been a screen on which Americans have projected their religious wishes and aversions.” In the nineteenth century, Catholics claimed that Washington secretly converted to their faith before his death. Some Mormons go one better and claim that Washington made a posthumous conversion to their faith. Presbyterians claim he took communion with them. Baptists claim him as one of their champions. Currently, no group is more eager to claim George Washington as one of their own than evangelical Christians.

psi bond said...

As the renowned Washington scholar Marcus Cunliffe noted over fifty years ago, “A prodigious amount of nonsense has been written about Washington in the 200 years since his death, and much of this nonsense has had to do with his religion.

— Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, 2006, p. 168

psi bond said...

Another example of General Washington’s lack of doctrinaire approach was confirming the appointment of John Murray, a universalist who denied the existence of hell, as an army chaplain despite the fact that the other chaplains petitioned for his dismissal. Additionally, there is no evidence that Washington provided any religious education for his slaves. Ora Judge, Martha’s seamstress who successfully ran away from the Washingtons in the 1790s, averred in an interview in the 1840s that there was none: “She never received the least mental or moral instruction of any kind while she remained in Washington’s family …. The story of Washington’s piety and prayers, so far as she ever saw or heard while she was his slave, have no foundation. Card-playing and wine-drinking were the business at his parties, and he had more of such company Sundays than on any other day.”

George Washington’s last will and testament contains no money for any religious purposes and shows no concern with any aspect of theology after the traditional opening phrase, “In the name of God, amen.” A nineteenth-century clergyman, Moncure Conway, noted, “In his many letters to his adopted nephew and young relatives, he admonishes them about their morals, but in no case have I been able to discover any suggestion that they should read the Bible, keep the Sabbath, or go to church.” (Washington did urge his nephew, Bushrod, “to do your duty to God and man”) Several clergymen who knew him admitted his religious beliefs were not all they wished them to be. The Reverend Dr. Bird Wilson averred that George Washington “was esteemed by the whole world as a great man and good man; but he was not a professing Christian.” Washington’s clergyman at one time, Bishop William White admitted. “I do not believe that any degree of recollection will bring to my mind any fact which would prove General Washington to have been a believer in the Christian revelation.”

Washington’s correspondence gives credence to this assertion. Nowhere is Washington franker in expressing his beliefs than in his letters to Lafayette, whose love and admiration for the General were boundless. They seem to have shared a traditional skepticism about certain religious activities. In a little-known reference, Lafayette, a deist in belief, reminisced with the General at how they laughed together at a man who claimed that he could communicate with the Devil. In a particularly revealing letter to Lafayette, Washington wrote about Christianity as if he was an outsider to the faith: “Being no bigot myself to any mode or worship, I am disposed to indulge professors of Christianity … that road to Heaven which to them shall seem the most direct plainest easiest and least liable to exception.” Washington’s views about
”Heaven” and the afterlife also put him squarely at odds with evangelical Christianity.


— Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, 2006, pp.. 176-177

Anonymous said...

Who could deny the existence of hell?


Most of us live in it much of the time.

Elmers Brother said...

and we all know how we can trust Jared Sparks.

why, was he an Episcopalian too?

He was most familiar with Washingtons own words and his family.

Elmers Brother said...

contemporary wasn't the right word

denying a fellow a post doesn't negate ones Chrisitanity, nor does not leaving money to a church

and I did find information about this communion thing and it appears that what I suggested might be closer to what Washington thought

His adopted daughter, Nelly Custis Lewis, stated: "I have heard her [Nelly's mother, Eleanor Calvert Custis, who resided in Mount Vernon for two years] say that General Washington always received the sacrament with my grandmother [Martha Washington] before the revolution."[84] Washington frequently accompanied his wife to Christian church services; however, there is no record of his ever taking communion, and he would regularly leave services before communion—with the other non-communicants (as was the custom of the day), until, after being admonished by a rector, he ceased attending at all on communion Sundays. Before communion, believers are admonished to take stock of their spiritual lives and not to participate in the ceremony unless he finds himself in the will of God.

No one wishes to separate Washington from his Christianity more than the secular humanists and atheists.

Elmers Brother 2010

Elmers Brother said...

Besides Peter R. Henriques claims that born again Christians wish to claim him as an evangelical. Hardly, they just don't won't his Chrisitianity denied.

Elmers Brother said...

Henriques himself called his book "informed speculation."

Anonymous said...

Definitions of Evangelical from three online dictionaries:

Evangelical: \ˌē-ˌvan-ˈje-li-kəl

1 : of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels
2 : Protestant
3 : emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual
4 : of or relating to the Evangelical Church in Germany boften capitalized : of, adhering to, or marked by fundamentalism :fundamentalist c often capitalized : low church
5 : marked by militant or crusading zeal : evangelistic (the evangelical ardor of the movement's leaders — Amos Vogel)

Evangelical (ē′van jel′i kəl)

1. Of, relating to, or in accordance with the Christian gospel, especially one of the four gospel books of the New Testament.

2. Of, relating to, or being a Protestant church that founds its teaching on the gospel.

3. Of, relating to, or being a Christian church believing in the sole authority and inerrancy of the Bible, in salvation only through regeneration, and in a spiritually transformed personal life.

4. Of or relating to the Lutheran churches in Germany and Switzerland.

5. Of or relating to all Protestant churches in Germany.

6. Of or relating to the group in the Church of England that stresses personal conversion and salvation by faith.

7. Characterized by ardent or crusading enthusiasm; zealous:an evangelical liberal.

Evan·geli·cal (ē′van jel′i kəl)

1. in, of, or according to the Gospels or the teaching of the New Testament

2. of those Protestant churches, as the Methodist and Baptist, that emphasize salvation by faith and reject the efficacy of the sacraments and good works alone

3. designating or of a number of Protestant sects with this belief

4. of the Low Church party in the Church of England

5. of or promoting evangelism; evangelistic

The meanings may be interrelated, but have differences among them, so it might be important to know for certain which one of these meanings has been applied to GW.

We can probably say with safety that Washington was not possessed of "militant crusading zeal" and the fierce desire to convert all who crossed his path to a particular version of Christianity. He was not a preacher; he was a military strategist.

Any number of individuals would be happy to classify me as an infidel or a non-confessing Christian according to their lights. That does not make it so.

In the end all we have are the sentiments of contemporaries, near contemporaries and the opinions or educated guesses of historians and modern historical revisionists (most of whom are agenda-driven in one way or another).

It would be exciting -- and possibly profitable -- to learn more about the lives and possible motivations of Bird Wilson and Jared Sparks -- and how the testimony of Washington's adopted daughter was collected.

As I said before, I think most people believe what they want to believe. I believe GW was informed and motivated by the pervasive Christian culture into which he was born.

FYI: Thomas Paine, whose writings were influential in spurring the Revolution, was definitely a profound atheist. He was later disowned by GW, though they had been friends. Why the friendship dissolved, I do not know.

~ FreeThinke

Elmers Brother said...

He draws heavily on secondary works (including his own) and weaves them together in chapters on Washington's military career and presidency, his relationships with his wife, Martha, and his friend Sally Cary Fairfax, his political relationships with Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, his thoughts about religion and slavery, and his death. The result is less a new synthesis of Washington than a series of interconnected sketches, ....

Elmers Brother said...

It would be exciting -- and possibly profitable -- to learn more about the lives and possible motivations of Bird Wilson and Jared Sparks -- and how the testimony of Washington's adopted daughter was collected.

Sparks wrote a letter and asked her directly.

Elmers Brother said...

well, not being too familiar with Episcopalian history, I don't believe anyone would consider them evangelical today, at least not in the traditional sense

...the Episcopal Church considers itself "Protestant, yet Catholic...

the denomination is liberal theologically

Elmers Brother said...

and it would be much more interesting to hear Bird Wilson's fathers take on Wasington.

Z said...

Elbro, my Episcopalian friends are SO sad at what's happened to their church and refer to themselves only as Anglican now...though the BRITISH ANglicans are even farther 'out there' than the lib Episcopalians here.

Funny that, apparently, we're to drop the tons of info that's been known through the years pointing to the Christianity of our forefathers which is undeniable even if you only read the quotes I posted earlier on this thread and believe, suddenly, that because one person said differently, WE"RE WRONG :-) Quite some hubris, isn't it.....it's almost laughable when you think of it.

Elmers Brother said...

right Z.

Let's compare what's been brought up here.

a 20th century historian who relies on his own works and a quote from one minister whom we seem to know very little about his relationship to Washington, construing a lack of capital gains to a church after his death and a non appointment as an indication that GW wasn't a Christian

vs

a man who gathers all of GW's papers and manuscripts and personal knowledge from someone who lived with GW for twenty years

which seems more credible?

well Episcopalians aren't the only ones who have suffered from liberal theology, but my judgement of these things only go so far as the church itself and not individuals

Anonymous said...

SPARKS - WILSON - WEEMS

Information that might prove helpful:

http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/HVDpresidents/sparks.php

Jared Sparks (1849-1853)

From Papers of Jared Sparks, Harvard University

Jared Sparks (1789-1866) was the President of Harvard University from February 1, 1849 to February 10, 1853. He was also a Unitarian minister, editor, and historian.
Early Life

Jared Sparks was born to Joseph Sparks and Elinor (Orcut) Sparks on May 10, 1789, in Willington, Connecticut. Sparks was one of nine children and came from a family of modest means. When he turned six years old, Sparks went to live with an aunt and uncle in Camden, New York, to help relieve the family of a mouth to feed. Although Sparks was a bright and intelligent young boy, there was little time for schooling with his relatives, and in 1805 he returned to his parent

Sparks displayed an interest in literary and historical pursuits in grammar school, becoming known as the “genius.”Interested in astronomy, in 1807, Sparks observed a comet with a homemade cross-staff. At 18 he worked as a journeyman carpenter and school teacher. His study of mathematics and Latin began at the age of 20. With the aid of a local pastor, Sparks obtained a scholarship to the Phillips Exeter Academy. At Exeter, Sparks wrote articles on education and astronomy for the local newspaper.

In 1811, Sparks was admitted to Harvard University. He dropped out of college in 1812 for financial reasons and tutored a family in Havre de Grace, Maryland, where he witnessed a British naval bombardment during the War of 1812. Sparks later published an account of this event in the North American Review. Returning to Harvard University, Sparks (A.B. 1815) became a leader in his class. He won the Bowdoin prize with aessay on Isaac Newton, joined the Phi Beta Kappa, and delivered a commencement part at graduation.

From 1817 to 1819, while studying at the Harvard Divinity School, Sparks served as a tutor of geometry, astronomy, and natural history.

After leaving Harvard University, Sparks became a minister at the First Independent Church (Unitarian) in Baltimore, Maryland, an occation noteworthy because here William Ellery Channing delivered his address on Unitarian Christianity.

For one year Sparks was the chaplain of the United States Congress. He was a popular preacher and was invited to speak throughout the southern United States. Nevertheless, Sparks, whose feelings for the ministry were at best lukewarm, resigned his position in April 1823.

He returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and embarked on a new career as the owner and editor of the North American Review. ... (Complete article at link above)

http://www.supremecourthistory.org/history/supremecourthistory_history_assoc_001wilson

James Wilson, 1789-1798 (Father of Bird Wilson)

JAMES WILSON was born in Caskardy, Scotland, on September 14, 1742. He entered St. Andrews University in 1757 and emigrated to America in 1765 to take a teaching position at the College of Philadelphia. He read law with an attorney and in 1768 began a private law practice in Reading, Pennsylvania. Wilson was elected a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1775 and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

He also served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress. As a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Wilson was a member of the committee that produced the first draft of the Constitution. ... (Complete article at link above)

There is little or no biographical data on Bird Wilson, himself, only a good deal of material (much of it redundant) on his debunking the idea that George Washington was a pious Christian.

Bird Wilson was an Episcopal minister who is noted mainly for his vigorous opposition to the hagiography of Mason Locke Weems (October 11, 1756 – May 23, 1825), generally known as Parson Weems, who originated extravagant legends extolling the virtue and piety of George Washington -- legends which have been proved false.

Z said...

Elbro, great comparison and you're right...saying better what I tried to say, good job :-)
As for Episcopalians, I also agree re individuals vs the church.

Sadly, here in LA, the Episcopalian church owns ALL the churches (Lutherans are completely autonomous, which has its ups and down sides $$)..So, those E's I know and love are desperate because the church is literally taking over with their own pastors, taking churches away, etc....leaving my friends in the cold to go renting small churches where their own sort of biblical pastors can preach! it's a very sad situation.."Put up or shut up" is what the official E church here is saying to their non-lib E's.

psi bond said...

and we all know how we can trust Jared Sparks.

Bro: why, was he an Episcopalian too?

He was most familiar with Washingtons own words and his family
.

Jared Sparks is known to historians as a fabricator of the Washington myth, along with Parson Weems. Unlike Rev. Bird Wilson, he had no firsthand knowledge of Washington's words. He read his letters, secondhand sources most of which are available to all. What his religion was is a red herring — there is nothing about religion per se that renders a person untrustworthy. By the way, he was minister of a Unitarian church from 1819 to 1823, according to Wikipedia and the Encyclopædia Britannica.

According to the Britannica, "Sparks believed that patriotism obliged him, when editing source materials, to omit passages likely to cause international ill will, and he sometimes embellished what the Founding Fathers had actually written. The exacting scholarly standards of a later age rendered much of his work obsolete."

psi bond said...

Bro: Besides Peter R. Henriques claims that born again Christians wish to claim him as an evangelical. Hardly, they just don't won't [want?] his Chrisitianity denied.

Born-again Christians hand out copies of William Johnson’s book George Washington the Christian, one of over thirty books of a similar title listed in the catalog of the Library of Congress. In one of his sermons, the popular televangelist the Reverend Dr. James Kennedy urged his listeners to follow the example of the first president and accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. “George Washington came to a living faith in the Divine Savior. He came to trust in the shed blood of Christ, the perfect life of Jesus Christ, in which he was robed and in which he stood before God ….. He prayed that the blood of Christ would cleanse him from all of his sins; that he might be accepted because of the merits, the perfect character of Jesus Christ, and not himself.” Tim LaHaye, one of the most famous evangelists in America and coauthor of the remarkably popular series of novels, Left Behind, writes, “That President George Washington was a devout believer in Jesus Christ and had accepted Him as his Lord and Savior is easily demonstrated by a reading of his personal prayer book, written in his own handwriting [scholars have determined that it isn’t Washington’s handwriting and was written later] An objective reading of these beautiful prayers verifies that were George Washington living today, he would freely identify with the Bible-believing branch of evangelical Christianity that is having such a positive influence in our nation.”

In my view, such views so distort George Washington’s religious beliefs that one must question either the scholarship or candor of those making them
.

— Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, 2006, pp. 167-168

psi bond said...

Bro: Henriques [Professor of History Emeritus at George Mason University] himself called his book "informed speculation."

Most fine historical writing is informed speculation founded on documentation.

The chapters of his book Realistic Visionary are based on a series of lectures he gave at historic Gadsby’s Tavern in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

psi bond said...

Bro: Let's compare what's been brought up here.

a 20th century historian who relies on his own works and a quote from one minister whom we seem to know very little about his relationship to Washington, construing a lack of capital gains to a church after his death and a non appointment as an indication that GW wasn't a Christian


He is a 21st century historian who has made a scholarly appraisal of all the documented evidence, not just the two items you allude to, and found that, despite the passionate agenda of evangelicals and Washington’s kin, it is not justifiable to conclude that Washington was a professed Christian. It was not, as you claim, just one minister who knew Washington personally, but two. Washington’s clergyman at one time, Bishop William White admitted. “I do not believe that any degree of recollection will bring to my mind any fact which would prove General Washington to have been a believer in the Christian revelation.”

vs

a man who gathers all of GW's papers and manuscripts and personal knowledge from someone who lived with GW for twenty years

Sparks was a man who believed in altering documents in publication to support his beliefs. He wrote to Nelly Custis Lewis, Washington’s granddaughter, that, “To say that he was not a Christian, or at least that he did not believe himself a Christian, would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty.”

which seems more credible?

The one whose work is not rendered mostly obsolete by the exacting scholarly standards of a later age.

That is to say, Henriques is more reliable and credible. Although he has a lot of admiration for Washington, he has no aggressive agenda to avoid anything that may be seen “to impeach his sincerity and honesty.” Henriques wrote in the preface to his book, “The following chapters, avoiding both cynicism and sentimentality, endeavor to humanize Washington without diminishing him. Despite his flaws, he was clearly the greatest man of his age and is ultimately an inspirational figure worthy of both admiration and affection.”

psi bond said...

If one were forced to place a label on Washington’s religious belief, he might be more accurately described as a “theistic rationalist” rather than either as a “Christian” or a “”deist”. Theistic rationalism refers to a hybrid belief system mixing elements of natural religion, Christianity, and rationalism, with rationalism being the predominant element.

— Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, 2006, p. 185.

Elmers Brother said...

The one whose work is not rendered mostly obsolete by the exacting scholarly standards of a later age.

what a bunch of gobblety gook...'informed speculation' just bacame exacting scholarly standards LOL!

'best guess'....'best fit'...regression models and estimations

ever seen the the UN's numbers on the Millenium Development Goals? Especially when it comes to maternal mortality?


LOL...talk about exacting standards...bwahahaha

anyway

yeah trustworthy...LOL


Sparks was a man who believed in altering documents in publication to support his beliefs. He wrote to Nelly Custis Lewis, Washington’s granddaughter, that, “To say that he was not a Christian, or at least that he did not believe himself a Christian, would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty.”

that's funny considering most history is considered 'MORE' exact the closer one is to it and

Considering that the letter from his daughter was an 'exact' quote I'm not sure how this could be considered an axe to grind.

funny, nothing in his biography suggests he was a non fiction writer

Jared Sparks 1789-1866, American historian and educator, b. Willington, Conn. He studied theology, mathematics, and natural philosophy at Harvard (1817-19). He was pastor of a Unitarian church in Baltimore (1819-23), founded and edited (1821-22) the Unitarian Miscellany, and was chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives (1821-23). Returning to Boston, he bought and edited the North American Review (1824-30), of which he had previously (1817-18) served as editor, and founded and edited (1830) The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge. From 1838 to 1849 he was McLean professor of history at Harvard and then was president of the university (1849-53). Among the many works he wrote or edited are The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (12 vol., 1829-30), The Writings of George Washington (12 vol., 1834-37), and The Works of Benjamin Franklin (10 vol., 1836-40).

He wrote two volumes on Washington and was criticized by Lord Stanhopefor the claim you make, of which he gave a defense.

The work was for the most part favorably received, but Sparks was severely criticized by Lord Mahon (in the sixth volume of his History of England) and others for altering the text of some of Washingtons writings. Sparks defended his methods in A Reply to the Strictures of Lord Mahon and Others (1852). The charges were not wholly justifiable, and later Lord Mahon (Stanhope) modified them.

Elmers Brother said...

perhaps it was Sparks' 'informed speculation' that got him in trouble

Elmers Brother said...

Sparks filled vast gaps in American historiography, but his weaknesses were many. He was uncritical in depicting his subjects, whom he was inclined to portray without blemish. He lacked the literary gifts of other contemporary historians. As editor, he altered documents or omitted them if unfavorable to the image he wished to project. Yet the sheer volume of his productivity transformed the character of American historical writing.

Though there are critics of Sparks I haven't found anything to suggest he altered the letter from Miss Custis, nor that anything he wrote suggested that he wanted to portray GW as a Christian when others such as his daughter knew otherwise. If this had been the case she could have easily refuted her letter by simply saying...Sparks altered what she said. Sparks was not a historian this is true, but he defended what he did by arguing that GW had written some things in haste, that they included bad grammar or things not meant for publication.

The conclusion I've heard most about Henriques and GW's religion is from a review on the NYT...

claiming Christians are trying to make him an evangelical...which I find odd but even odder is this notion that one can separate GW from his Christianity altogether

Henriques said he was perfuntory in his Christianity yet he had daily devotions...I dare say most Christians would not consider that perfunctory Christianity

Sparks was criticized for not being critical of GW yet Henriques seems acclaimed for his lack of criticism of GW and slavery.

Henriques is extremely generous when describing his subject's attitudes toward slavery. While acknowledging that Washington owned slaves all his life, Henriques emphasizes the ways Washington's views on slavery evolved and insists that the master of Mount Vernon "be judged against the standards of his day, not ours."

Again no one is claiming that GW was a Billy Graham or possessed the fervency of a modern day evangelical but it's difficult to separate him from Christianity.

Elmers Brother said...

let's go to the source GW himself:

When you speak of God, or His attributes, let it be seriously and with reverence. Honor and obey our natural parents although they be poor." - 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, 1737

Most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ, my merciful and loving Father; I acknowledge and confess my guilt in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of my sins, but so coldly and carelessly that my prayers are become my sin, and they stand in need of pardon. I have sinned against heaven and before Thee in thought, word, and deed. I have contemned Thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against the light, despising Thy mercies and judgment, and broken my vows and promise. I have neglected the better things. My iniquities are multiplied and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing and desire to be vile in my own eyes as I have rendered myself vile in Thine. I humbly beseech Thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins for the sake of Thy dear Son and only Savior Jesus Christ who came to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me. Make me to know what is acceptable in Thy sight, and therein to delight, open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith, and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life." - Authentic handwritten manuscript book, April 23, 1752


"By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability and expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, altho' death was levelling my companions on every side." - Letter to John A. Washington, July 18, 1755

(Note: 3. The care, guardianship, and control exercised by a deity; divine direction: "Some sought the key to history in the working of divine providence" (William Ebenstein).
4. Providence God.)

What may have been the ministerial views which have precipitated the present crisis, Lexington, Concord and Charlestown can best declare. May that God to whom you, too, appeal, judge between America and you. Under his providence, those who influence the councils of America, and all the other inhabitants of the united colonies, at the hazard of their lives are determined to hand down to posterity those just and invaluable privileges which they received from their ancestors." - Letter to General Thomas Gage, August 20, 1775

"While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to him only in this case they are answerable." - Letter to Benedict Arnold, September 14, 1775

"The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die." - Address to the Continental Army before the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776

of course this in not a comprehensive list but the man attended a Christian church, (albeit he may have had an issue with spotty attendance), had daily devotions, invoked Christ, God and Providence and yet

he's not a Christian...please

Z said...

Boy, if GW wasn't a Christian, who was he trying so hard to prove that he WAS to?? :-)

Anonymous said...

Elbro,

I wish you'd look into this blog (below). You'd have a lot to say to it's owner, and the discussion might prove fruitful to you both.

HINT: He apparently subscribes to Bird Wilson's views, and leans rather heavily upon them, but Rowe is a decent guy. Faith and I used to know him via FPM many years ago..

jonrowe.blogspot.com (Sorry. this link is not "hot.")

Yet another social commentary blog by a libertarian lawyer and college professor. This blog focuses on religion, history, constitutional law, government policy, philosophy, sexuality, and the American Founding. Everything is fair game though. Over the past few years, I've done much historical research on the America's Founding and Religion. Email your questions or comments to rowjonathan@aol.com

~ FreeThinke

Elmers Brother said...

FT, I'll try and find time but one running discussion is about all I have time for.

I just look at it this way. The man attends church, has daily devotions, prays and thanks Providence for his survival etc.

He was more a Christian than most people today who call themselves Christians

I'm not interested in making the man more than he was either, he isn't divine BUT he was a great man who happened to be a Christian

psi bond said...

The one whose work is not rendered mostly obsolete by the exacting scholarly standards of a later age.

what a bunch of gobblety gook...'informed speculation' just bacame exacting scholarly standards LOL!.

It means Jared Sparks had loose scholarly standards, choosing to busy himself creating a myth around Washington with the help of his kin. Henriques, on the other hand, was concerned about portraying the great man realistically. When subjected to rigorous professional discipline, informed speculation helps us to have some insight where evidence is fragmentary.

Washington was notoriously reticent about his religious beliefs. So any conclusions about his religion must be speculative. However, informed speculation derived from rigorous discipline is preferable to uninformed speculation derived from the evangelical needs of preachers, Tim LaHaye, and other passionate folks with an agenda.

'best guess'....'best fit'...regression models and estimations

Writing history is never not cut and dried or amenable to exact measurement. History is not one of the exact sciences. Hence the need for scholarly standards.

ever seen the the UN's numbers on the Millenium Development Goals? Especially when it comes to maternal mortality?

Writing history is not about setting global public policy goals.

LOL...talk about exacting standards...bwahahaha

Scorn for scholarly professional standards is a laughable evasion. LOL

anyway

yeah trustworthy...LOL


LOL, Bro. It seems evangelicals are deeply offended that GW may not have been a professed Christian. When in the late 1820s a lecturer informed her audiences that George Washington was not a Christian, pandemonium ensued. People shouted, waved their fists, and threw things at the heretic..

Sparks was a man who believed in altering documents in publication to support his beliefs. He wrote to Nelly Custis Lewis, Washington’s granddaughter, that, “To say that he was not a Christian, or at least that he did not believe himself a Christian, would be to impeach his sincerity and honesty.”

that's funny considering most history is considered 'MORE' exact the closer one is to it and

History the closer one is to it is not considered necessarily more trustworthy than later histories, when a more disinterested and more comprehensive perspective is possible. Sparks, a self-made man, was a hagiographer, of which there are many. If closeness is an indicator for you of trustworthiness, then you should believe the Rev. Bird Wilson and the Bishop William White, both of whom knew him and stated that Washington was not a Christian.

Considering that the letter from his daughter was an 'exact' quote I'm not sure how this could be considered an axe to grind.

As with the family and heirs of most great men, his daughter would naturally have an intense interest in carefully managing the myth of the man from whom her fortunes and respect were derived. In fact, in some famous families, letters and manuscripts were destroyed to protect the image of the man that they wanted promoted. The unpublished books and poems of many great writers have been lost in this way.

funny, nothing in his biography suggests he was a non fiction writer

Lord Mahon modified his objections to Sparks’ scholarship, but he did not withdraw them, which may mean Sparks was to some degree a fiction writer engaged like Parson Weems in creating a good story.

Two contemporaries of Washington, clergymen who were familiar with his religious sentiments, said that he was not a believer in the Christian revelation.

psi bond said...

Bro: perhaps it was Sparks' 'informed speculation' that got him in trouble

more likely it was his wishful speculation that got him in trouble with professional historians.

psi bond said...

Bro: Sparks filled vast gaps in American historiography, but his weaknesses were many. He was uncritical in depicting his subjects, whom he was inclined to portray without blemish. He lacked the literary gifts of other contemporary historians. As editor, he altered documents or omitted them if unfavorable to the image he wished to project. Yet the sheer volume of his productivity transformed the character of American historical writing.

This quote from the Columbia Encyclopedia explains why his voluminous historical writings are not useful to modern scholars.

Though there are critics of Sparks I haven't found anything to suggest he altered the letter from Miss Custis, nor that anything he wrote suggested that he wanted to portray GW as a Christian when others such as his daughter knew otherwise. If this had been the case she could have easily refuted her letter by simply saying...Sparks altered what she said. Sparks was not a historian this is true, but he defended what he did by arguing that GW had written some things in haste, that they included bad grammar or things not meant for publication.

Washington’s relatives should be expected to have a conflict of interest. Sparks can be expected to have had an interest in playing to the myth around Washington.

The conclusion I've heard most about Henriques and GW's religion is from a review on the NYT...

claiming Christians are trying to make him an evangelical...which I find odd but even odder is this notion that one can separate GW from his Christianity altogether


There is an abundance of evidence that evangelicals want to make Washington one of them. I cited some clear examples of it yesterday, and cite some more today down below. What is odd is the notion that he was a Christian when there is no legitimate evidence to indicate it.

Henriques said he was perfuntory in his Christianity yet he had daily devotions...I dare say most Christians would not consider that perfunctory Christianity.

I dare say that reports of unthinking perfunctory daily routines do not reveal the inner man.

Sparks was criticized for not being critical of GW yet Henriques seems acclaimed for his lack of criticism of GW and slavery.

Henriques is critical of modern moralists saying, “We feel good and morally superior by condemning the moral failings of others, past and present.”

That is, imposing current mores on people living in other centuries can be an emotionally rewarding game.

Henriques is extremely generous when describing his subject's attitudes toward slavery. While acknowledging that Washington owned slaves all his life, Henriques emphasizes the ways Washington's views on slavery evolved and insists that the master of Mount Vernon "be judged against the standards of his day, not ours." .

“For reasons of state, Washington chose not to use his great prestige to attack the institution of slavery, but he used the same prestige to firmly establish a permanent union for the United States based on a government dedicated to human freedom.” Henriques wrote. As we know, in the fullness of time, this led to freedom for the slaves. But there is no relation here that allows one to conclude anything on the issue of his religious beliefs.

Again no one is claiming that GW was a Billy Graham or possessed the fervency of a modern day evangelical but it's difficult to separate him from Christianity.

The evangelicals are saying things like, “He came to trust in the shed blood of Christ, the perfect life of Jesus Christ, in which he was robed and in which he stood before God.” The Billy Graham reference is another red herring. Evangelicals apparently believe that to say Washington was not a Christian is to impeach his integrity and his patriotism, as well as to demean their faith.

psi bond said...

Recently, at the end of a conference where I was presenter, an evangelical Christian approached me and gave me a book entitled, George Washington: Christian by William Johnson. The young man saw Washington as a fellow believer and wanted to enlist his testimony to spread the Gospel. This is not at all unusual.

I would like to begin with four different quotes but all with a similar focus.

Excerpt from Word of God newsletter [at MV]

"It is becoming increasingly popular by the humanist philosophy of our day, to adamantly affirm that all of our founding fathers were deists and rejected Christianity! Contrary to what modern skeptics say, George Washington was not a deist. He was a firm believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work. We invite any doubter to check the records at Washington's native county, West Moreland, Va., where his last will and testament contains the testimony written by him: Being heartily sorry from the bottom of my heart for my sins past, most humbly desiring forgiveness of the same from Almighty God, my Savior and Redeemer in Whom and bye the merits of Jesus Christ, I trust and believe assuredly to be saved and to have full remission and forgiveness of all my sins."

While I was a guest on a conservative radio talk show and raised some question about the depth of Washington's Christian faith, one caller berated me. Emphasizing how thoroughly GW was in record keeping she argued that George Washington's Christian faith is made clear in the inscription he had put over his tomb from John XI, 25-26. "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord. He that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

Conservative author, Tim LaHaye, writes, "That President George Washington was a devout believer in Jesus Christ and had accepted Him as His Lord and Saviour is easily demonstrated by a reading of his personal prayer book, written in his own handwriting." He ends his treatment of Washington in his book,
Faith of the Founding Fathers (1990), with the assertion, "An objective reading of these beautiful prayers verifies that were George Washington living today, he would freely identify with the Bible-believing branch of evangelical Christianity that is having such a positive influence on our nation." (p. 113).
The Reverend Dr. James Kennedy, the famous television evangelist, devoted a sermon to the Faith of George Washington, which you were given to read for the institute. Kennedy declares, "George Washington came to a living faith in the Divine Savior. He came to trust in the shed blood of Christ, the perfect life of Jesus Christ, in which he was robed and in which he stood before God…. He prayed that the blood of Christ would cleanse him from all of his sins; that he might be accepted because of the merits, the perfect character of Jesus Christ, and not himself."

psi bond said...

Concluded

Such examples could be multiplied many times over [the number of books and articles on GW as a Christian is large indeed], but I think it well to remember "repetition may create certainty in the minds of the hearers and readers, but it does not create truth." [Hughes]

While the nature of George Washington's religion is a difficult subject and a legitimately debatable issue, I can confidently say the assertions quoted above that Washington was a born again evangelical Christian have absolutely no foundation based on the historical record. The quotation from his will is completely made up [although Martha Washington's will has specific Christian emphasis]. Washington's will simply begins, "In the name of God, amen, I George Washington, citizen of the United States…. The quote from John is in fact over Washington's tomb but it was added over 30 years after he died and is not connected with his wishes or instructions in any way whatsoever. The assertions of LaHaye and Kennedy are based on the so-called Washington Prayer book which was "discovered" nearly a century after his death and claimed to be in his handwriting as a young man. They are not, and while they might be connected to some family member, they are almost certainly not related in any way to George Washington. Claiming the validity of the prayers as those of GW and then making the leap that these prayers copied when he was a young man expressed Washington's mature faith is essential, because of the undeniable fact that you cannot find anything even vaguely along this line of expression in his mature correspondence.

— Peter R. Henriques, from a talk at Teachers' Institute at Mount Vernon. July, 1999

psi bond said...

Like most of his colleagues on the religious right, Tim LaHaye, a co-author of the best-selling "Left Behind" series, insists that "those who founded this nation" were "citizens who had a personal and abiding faith in the God of the Bible." If LaHaye means only to say that religion has played an important role in American history, he is surely correct. But if he is taken literally (as a believer in the inerrancy of the Bible should be), he is decidedly wrong. It is one of the oddities of our history that this very religious country was created by men who, for one brief but significant moment, had serious reservations about religion in general and Christianity in particular.

According to David L. Holmes's "Faiths of the Founding Fathers," none of the first five presidents were conventional Christians. All were influenced to one degree or another by Deism, the once-popular view that God set the world in motion and then abstained from human affairs. John Adams, a Unitarian, did not accept such Christian basics as "the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, total depravity and predestination." Thomas Jefferson cut and pasted his own Bible. Before he became president, James Madison wrote the "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments," a classic text in the history of religious liberty. Our fifth president, James Monroe, gave his name to a doctrine, but it had nothing to do with faith; in fact, Monroe may have been the least religious of all our early presidents.

And then there was the first one. "Were George Washington living today," LaHaye has said, "he would freely identify with the Bible-believing branch of evangelical Christianity that is having such a positive influence on our nation." Yet as Peter R. Henriques documents in "Realistic Visionary," Washington never referred to Jesus in any of his letters. Not once during his death ordeal did he call for a minister, ask for forgiveness or express belief in an afterlife. Washington "is better understood as a man of honor than as a man of religion," Henriques concludes.
This is not to suggest that religion was absent from the founding. Seven of the 10 wives and female children of our first five presidents were devout Christians. (Holmes offers two possible explanations: unlike the men, the women never attended college, where Deism was commonly propagated, and they were not welcome in the Masonic lodges so popular among 18th-century Deists.) Sam Adams may have been a political revolutionary, but he was also a religious conservative convinced that his countrymen were on the road to perdition. John Jay, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, was considered almost too religious by the devout John Adams. And then there is perhaps the most religious of all our early leaders, Elias Boudinot, a descendant of French Huguenots. President of the Continental Congress, Boudinot wrote "The Age of Revelation" to counter Tom Paine's "Age of Reason." It says volumes about our country that Paine is as remembered as Boudinot is forgotten.

Because today's religious right is determined to read the present back into the past, historians who write about faith and the founding find themselves on disputed ground. Nonetheless, both Henriques and Holmes are trustworthy guides. Henriques deals with Washington's life as a whole and spends only one chapter on religion. But he is fair-minded and thoughtful, and because he possesses no other agenda than a desire to uncover the real man, he is convincing when he concludes that "if one defines 'Christian' as the evangelicals do . . . George Washington cannot be properly referred to as a Christian."


—— Alan Wolfe, Keeping the Faith at Arm's Length. New York Times, May 7, 2006

Elmers Brother said...

I'm familiar with what Lahaye and other evangelicals have said.

I was referring to the commenters here.

Again, does it change the fact that he attended church, had daily devtions etc. nope.

I'm aware that writing about history can be speculative, you're the one whe drew the line from informed speculation to the exacting scholarly standards of today.

I take issue with those who portray and project exactness on regression modeling, interpolations and estimations and I think it's fair to mock them.

Scorn...no. Skepticism, criticism yes. This is how new inventions, new scientific methods etc are discovered. Reliance on so called experts is modern fallacy. Especially in this area of history. Anyone it seems can be declared an expert and as long as they don't monopolize control over decisions, resources, and information I suppose it's ok, but I'm sure the prisons are filled with innocent people who were convicted on the basis of 'experts'. Experts - people with special skills, a lot of experience, and/or who have thought a lot about an issue - should be an important part of any decision-making or resource-allocation process. Doesn't mean we can't question methods, motives etc., including Henriques and Sparks.

I'm sure Wolfe is a fine man, but declaring Henriques trustworthy doesn't make it so, unless Wolfe is an expert on trustwothiness.

As far as Sparks, Lord Stanhope amended his remarks and though skepticism of Sparks may be warranted, could you please tell me what part of Washingtons papers he altered in order to portray him as a Christian when it was 'clear' from his writings that he wasn't?

As for Washingtons writings, I'm afraid we're just guilty of not
'interpolatin' his remarks. We just see them as straightforward comments from a man who exhibited all the behaviors, attitudes and writings of a man who would otherwise be called a Christian.

Elmers Brother said...

Considering Washingtons life, writings, it seems clear to me.

Tobias Lear, President Washington’s secretary notes: “While President, Washington followed an invariable routine on Sundays. The day was passed very quietly, no company being invited to the house. After breakfast, the President read aloud a chapter from the Bible, then the whole family attended church together.” In the afternoon Washington tended to his personal correspondence, “while Mrs. Washington frequently went to church again, often taking the children with her. In the evening, Lear read aloud to the family some sermon or extracts from a book of a religious nature and everyone went to bed at an early hour.”

Boller was the first so I've read to suggest that our Founders were Deists. Deists do not believe in revelation.

Noah Webster’s original 1828 American dictionary: “one who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion.” Deists emphatically rejected the divinity of Jesus Christ, the authority and inspiration of Holy Scripture, and the personal nature of God, among other things. They believed that God created the world but then wandered off and ignored it, and has never been heard from since.

So calling GW a deist appears a stretch.

Anonymous said...

Once again, ELbro,

I would urge you to check this out, please:

jonrowe.blogspot.com (Sorry. this link is not "hot.")

Email your questions or comments to rowjonathan@aol.com

Your powers of argumentation might be spent more profitably confronting Mr. Rowe. I think his site may reach a wider audience as well.

You're a powerful spokesman for a point of view under attack, Elbro. Most of these modern modern scholars think it their duty to act the role of iconoclast.

There are many sources at Google on Jared Sparks, but very few on Bird Wilson. That alone seems to tell us something of the relative importance of the two. I barely looked into it, but skimmed several of the articles on Sparks and quoted one fairly extensively. Ironically Spakrs was a UNITARIAN while Bird Wilson was an ANGLICAN. Sparks was president of Harvard, while Bird Wilson was an Episcopal Parish Priest.

To compare Sparks with Mason Locke Weems, whose writings on George Washington are notably fatuous, seems unfair, but I'd need to know a lot more about it before I could pass any kind of judgment..

Psi Bond is arguing fairly and very articulately from his perspective. His offerings have enriched the discussion and made it more stimulating.

I have no idea of Henriques' background or what his motivation might be. To assume that ANY writer is involved solely in the sincere pursuit of absolute truth -- wherever that might lead is probably naive.

Rowe is "a man on a mission" and nobody's fool. I wish you would confront him. He's very sincere, but definitely agenda-driven. I would hope he might learn something from you, Elbro.

~ FreeThinke

Elmers Brother said...

FT- I've read some other articles by Rowe, I'm not interested in changing his mind.

But I thank you for the compliment.

Psi Bond has made an interesting argument and has been honorable (I hope I have been too), the funny thing is I don't really doubt that Henriques was and is a fair historian, but frankly part of my rhetorical methodology entails finding out the other side and how attached one is to a certain source. Sometimes that involves discussing the credibility of said source. Sparks' credibility issues are well known. So I wanted to find out if PB was aware of those and in doing so I learned more about him and his point of view.

I find discussions like this more academic and even if I 'lose' I learn, that's much more important to me. I'm not interested in making myself a sophist. What I mean by that is anyone can learn the art of rhetoric and make a good argument (look at all the lawyers) I just find the back and forth mentally stimulating, it keeps me on my toes.

Needless to say no one is going to 'win' the argument here.

Elmers Brother said...

and I agree with you FT, to assume one can be objective and unbiased in any matter, I find difficult.

Elmers Brother said...

I believe Sparks was President of Harvard after the questions concerning his writings on Washington, so it makes one wonder about the seriousness of his error.

How could he be appointed/hired to such an office at a school of higher learning if his credibility was in serious question?

Did Nelly Custis ever suggest that Sparks misrepresented what she wrote?

Is her original letter available outside of the writings of Sparks and if so does this not add weight to the idea that GW was indeed a practicing Christian?

What do we call a person today that attends a Protestant church, has daily devotions, reads the Bible aloud to his family, may have written a prayer book, invokes God and alludes to the Bible in his writings if not a Christian?

(today the other side would call him a religious nut)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Elbro.

I've found this thread particularly stimulating, myself. At the very least it's good not merely to be calling each other names when we disagree. That's an accomplishment. Name calling is no substitute for thoughtful, well-informed argument.

And thank you too, Psi Bond.

If it weren't so much work, taking what-might-be-called A War of Opposing Quotations to the level of A War Among Various Contexts might prove useful.

Wish I were 20 years younger! ;-)

~ FT

Anonymous said...

Hi again, Elbro,

I didn't imagine you'd be able to change Jon Rowe's mind, but I'd be sincerely interested in reading what you might have to say to each were the suggested confrontation to take place.

If Nelly's testimony is available in her own hand, it would be invaluable to see it at least in photo facsimile -- or a good look at her diary, if she kept one. I wonder what writings of Martha Washington are extant?

Anything written for "official" publication is going to have a different tone -- and tell a different story -- than personal correspondence or daily journals. There may be more truth in "pillow talk" (if it were available to us) than in the recorded orations of public figures.

Thanks again.

~ FT

Elmers Brother said...

gotcha...about Rowe

I think the answer to those questions could be found if the academics and some on the left would just admit that the Christians aren't the only ones with an agenda.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Elbro. AMEN!

~ FT

psi bond said...

Bro: I'm familiar with what Lahaye and other evangelicals have said.

From the provided quotes of the evangelical writers, it is clear that they share a radical agenda to make of Washington a believer in Christian revelation.

I was referring to the commenters here.

Perhaps I am more of a skeptic than you: I wouldn’t automatically assume that rightwingers commenting here do not sympathize with the radical agenda of the quoted evangelicals.

Again, does it change the fact that he attended church, had daily devtions etc. nope.\.

Does the fact that President Bill Clinton regularly attended church mean that no one has ever attacked his credentials as a believing Christian? Nope.

I'm aware that writing about history can be speculative, you're the one whe drew the line from informed speculation to the exacting scholarly standards of today.

There is no “line” to speak of. Scholarly standards are regularly imposed on responsible informed speculation about historical matters. For much of historical writing is necessarily speculative, making adherence to a set of standards essential for serious academic acceptance.

I take issue with those who portray and project exactness on regression modeling, interpolations and estimations and I think it's fair to mock them.

Regression modeling is properly applied to random variables representing quantifiable data. History is not a discipline that lends itself readily to statistical methods. It is not fair to mock history for what it inherently is not.

Scorn...no. Skepticism, criticism yes.
-
A healthy skepticism is not scornful of necessary standards.

This is how new inventions, new scientific methods etc are discovered.

Inventions and useful discoveries are often products of serendipity. And inventions and discoveries to be useful must satisfy standards.

Reliance on so called experts is modern fallacy. Especially in this area of history. Anyone it seems can be declared an expert and as long as they don't monopolize control over decisions, resources, and information I suppose it's ok,

On disputed matters of history, everyone, including ardent evangelicals, can, of course, come to his own conclusion. However, rational people generally recognize as most trustworthy the conclusions of disinterested professional historians who have devoted years to diligently studying and evaluating the available evidence and related material.

But, of course, monopoly over access to important documents is never sound practice, as was done for many decades with the Dead Sea Scrolls, and as is still done with the papers of Sigmund Freud.

but I'm sure the prisons are filled with innocent people who were convicted on the basis of 'experts'. Experts - people with special skills, a lot of experience, and/or who have thought a lot about an issue - should be an important part of any decision-making or resource-allocation process. Doesn't mean we can't question methods, motives etc., including Henriques and Sparks.

The prisons may well be filled with innocent people who were convicted because of a lack of expertise or diligence or conscientiousness on the part of court-appointed lawyers, rather than because of any great expertise on the part of the prosecution. Nonetheless, that has little bearing on academic matters of history; it does not impugn the credentials of a reputable historian, and it doesn’t provide a rational basis for distrusting a particular ‘expert’.

psi bond said...

Concluded

The deficiencies in the methods of Sparks are well known to historians and to those poring over the Internet. Henriques is frank about his own limitations. He writes in his preface, “Since my assessments contain a significant amount of informed speculation, some readers will inevitably disagree with my conclusions.” And again, “I imagine some readers will think I have been too kind to Washington as a slaveholder, while perhaps even more will think I have been too harsh. Probably the most controversial chapter of my book will be the one focusing on Washington and religion, and especially on the question of his Christian beliefs … The following chapters, avoiding both cynicism and semtimentality, endeaver to humanize Washington without diminishing him.”

I'm sure Wolfe is a fine man, but declaring Henriques trustworthy doesn't make it so, unless Wolfe is an expert on trustwothiness.

Alan Wolfe is a respected academic, a professor on the faculty of Boston College, whose disciplined judgments on academic matters can reasonably be expected to be more trustworthy than those of less-informed laymen.

As far as Sparks, Lord Stanhope amended his remarks and though skepticism of Sparks may be warranted, could you please tell me what part of Washingtons papers he altered in order to portray him as a Christian when it was 'clear' from his writings that he wasn't?

I have neither read Sparks’ twelve octavo volumes of Washington’s life and writings (published between 1834 and 1837 at a price of $100,000) nor his two-volume abridgement. However, I have Washington’s collected correspondence and other writings, and have read through much of that, finding no profession of orthodox Christian faith. But, ultimately, I have only the word of highly regarded historians that Sparks cultivated the Washington myth, by which it is heresy most foul to say, as both Rev. Bird Wilson and Bishop William White, who knew him, did, that he is not a Christian. “I should have thought it the greatest heresy to doubt his firm belief in Christianity,” Nelly Custis wrote.

Usually, as is true of the still-active controversy over Darwinian evolution, deep skepticism of well-established scholarly conclusions is driven by strong attachment to a radical agenda. Excessive scrutiny of the possible motivations of scholars is often a concomitant characteristic of such an agenda.

As for Washingtons writings, I'm afraid we're just guilty of not
'interpolatin' his remarks. We just see them as straightforward comments from a man who exhibited all the behaviors, attitudes and writings of a man who would otherwise be called a Christian.


No, on the contrary, you and others are guilty of interpolating into Washington’s writings the words of revealed Christian faith that are just not there. The words of Washington written in his own hand are entirely consistent with what would be expected from a deist or more likely a theistic rationalist than from a professed Christian who has accepted Jesus as his personal savior.

psi bond said...

Noah Webster’s original 1828 American dictionary: “one who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion.” Deists emphatically rejected the divinity of Jesus Christ, the authority and inspiration of Holy Scripture, and the personal nature of God, among other things. They believed that God created the world but then wandered off and ignored it, and has never been heard from since.

So calling GW a deist appears a stretch.

David L. Holmes writes, “Though he [Washington] sometimes appeared to have difficulty differentiating Providence from destiny, he seemed to view Providence as the actions of a benevolent, prescient, all-powerful God who created life and guided its development, but who remained at least partially distant and impersonal.

Like Deists, Washington was more concerned with morality and ethics than with adhering to the doctrines of a particular church.”

Although he attended church, he refused communion. His wife did not.

psi bond said...

Henriques does not say Washington is a deist; he is more likely a theistic rationalist, which is not a deist or a Christian, but mostly a rationalist.

psi bond said...

Bro: I think the answer to those questions could be found if the academics and some on the left would just admit that the Christians aren't the only ones with an agenda.

Those [of the founders] best remembered by history — Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson, for example — were Deists of varying degrees. In recent decades evangelical writers, decrying a secular bias among academic historians, have argued that all but a few of the founders genuinely adhered to Christian belief.

— David L. Holmes, Faiths of the Founding Fathers, 2006

psi bond said...

Recent decades have seen a number of works by evangelical writers reasserting the arguments that Washington (as well as many of the other founding fathers) was in reality an orthodox Christian.

When these pious stories began to appear shortly after Washington’s death, many of the general’s contemporaries — including Jefferson, Madison, and Bishop White — disputed the depictions. “Sir, he was a Deist,” one of Washington’s pastors declared in a discussion of the question. Since then, disagreements over Washington’s religious have periodically broken into public print. Early in the twentieth century, letters arguing for and against Washington’s belief in the divinity of Christ occupied pages of a leading New York newspaper [
New York Herald Tribune, 26 May 1902]. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was among those who argued for Washington’s orthodoxy. Unlike Washington’s pastor or contemporaries, of course, none of the writers had known Washington or observed his religious practices.

In such disputes evangelical and patriotic authors tend to find orthodoxy and zeal in Washington’s religion. Professional historians, however, find the chain of evidence supporting the stories of Washington’s exemplary piety weak. One author, for example, said that the “
Rev. D.D. Field told her that a Mrs. Watkins told him that when she was a girl, Washington …” Such hearsay evidence (italicized in the quotation)is not valid historical proof.

— David L. Holmes, Faiths of the Founding Fathers, 2006

psi bond said...

Today many Americans are concerned that their presidents be sincere men and women of faith. These founding men and women were often sincere believers. But their faith differed — often markedly — from that which many Americans have held in later centuries. Writers need not revise history to align the founders’ beliefs with their own. Americans can tell their story unhesitantly, warts and all. To do otherwise is to be untrue not only to history but also to the founders themselves. “The past is a foreign country,” a twentieth-century writer [L. P. Hartley] accurately observed in words that apply to the religion of the eighteenth century. “They do things differently there.”

— David L. Holmes, Faiths of the Founding Fathers, 2006

Mark said...

Was George Washington a Christian? It's not for us to judge, but Matthew 7:15-20 tells us more than any biographer:

15 ¶ Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

If George Washington was not a Christian, he must have been the greatest deceiver since Satan himself.

Z said...

Mark, what an excellent comment...Also, I believe Washington and the few founding fathers who (though mentioning Jesus many times in their writings) some look at as Deists, wasn't tied to any definitive doctrine of a 'church' per se, which I think is fairly typical of MANY Christians.. He was concerned with the words of Christ, not sucking up to a pastor and doing what that church's 'rules' said........like many Christians today. A CHURCH isn't Christianity, a man's heart and soul and fruit are.
His fruits certainly to show his goodness and intelligence.

Anonymous said...

A CHURCH isn't Christianity, a man's heart and soul and fruit are.

BRAVO, Z! A wonderful summation, I think. I certainly agree.

~ FT

psi bond said...

He talked about death with resignation and stoicism and referred to what lay beyond the grave as “the world of the spirits.” While on his deathbed — with Martha sitting close by, his personal servant near, his physician James Craik staring helplessly into the fire, his other physicians waiting downstairs, and a group of his house servants standing anxiously by the bedroom door — Washington never asked for an Episcopal clergyman. After uttering his last words of “’Tis well” and taking his own pulse, he died peacefully on the night of December 14, 1799.

— David L. Holmes, Faiths of the Founding Fathers, 2006

psi bond said...

For reasons of state, George Washington, without compromising his beliefs, worked hard to cooperate with religious leaders and to project an image of himself that would be acceptable to them. (To antagonize the clergy would have undermined his goal of unifying the nation.) It is a sign of Washington’s remarkable astuteness that he could achieve widespread support among the religious leaders while someone like Thomas Jefferson could not. Jefferson was rather widely viewed as the avowed enemy of Christianity, although in many ways he was more religious than Washington. (The image of a sly fox has its merits.) Nevertheless, Washington, like Jefferson, was a man of the Enlightenment, and while he perceived value in organized religion, he was very sensitive to the dangers of sectarian conflict for the peace and safety of society.

— Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, 2006, pp. 183-184

psi bond said...

It is wholly apparent that evangelicals here have a voracious need to claim Washington as a Christian in any way they can. But, if professional history lends no support to making him an orthodox Christian, then they will make a Christian of him yet — a free-form Christian by virtue of his heart and soul (and his fruit), which they imagine they well understand. No doubt, doing so is absolutely vital to their doggedly held dogma of the Christian Nation. Hence, in their fervent view, history is not disinterested, meticulous scholarship; it is, rather, a cultivated story, à la Parson Weems, designed to certify and validate what one hungrily needs to believe in one’s heart and soul, by which history is an edible fruit.

Alas, professional history takes itself seriously — that is its original sin, of course.

Anonymous said...

Psi Bond quotes Henriques:

"Washington, like Jefferson, was a man of the Enlightenment, and while he perceived value in organized religion, he was very sensitive to the dangers of sectarian conflict for the peace and safety of society."

This seems an eminently fair statement. I have tried to say much the same thing, myself, on this thread more than once.

I don't quite understand why this matters so very much one way or the other, but then I am one of those nettlesome souls who believes that deeds trump doctrines every single time.

Many who believe themselves to be serious Christians cannot accept that as "Christian," because it appears to be at odds with Holy Writ or official church dogma.

The beliefs prominent individuals and others publicly endorse may be at variance with their inmost thoughts, nagging questions, and private convictions. This in my opinion does not necessarily make these figures guilty of hypocrisy. More than likely it merely shows them to be wise.

A favorite poet puts it this way:

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye --
Much sense the starkest madness.
'Tis the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent and you are sane --
Demur -- you're straightway dangerous --
And handled with a chain.


~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Few have either the courage -- or the foolhardiness -- to suffer ostracism, ruination and possible martyrdom for their beliefs.

~ FreeThinke

psi bond said...

It has been postulated here by a zealous person who has recently come out against organized religion that a CHURCH isn't Christianity; a man's heart and soul and fruit are. I am wondering whether, if I have a fair heart and a fine soul and my fruits are fresh, but, being the beneficiary of the Enlightenment and a Jewish upbringing, I don’t buy Jesus’ divinity and virgin birth — am I a Christian, too? Or, at least, is my heart Christian? Can I thus be accepted as one of the wonderful folks here?

Elmers Brother said...

From the provided quotes of the evangelical writers, it is clear that they share a radical agenda to make of Washington a believer in Christian revelation.

yes, it's radical calling a man who had devotions, attended a Protestant church, quoted parts of scripture etc. a Christian

Elmers Brother said...

Henriques does not say Washington is a deist; he is more likely a theistic rationalist, which is not a deist or a Christian, but mostly a rationalist.

no but Boller does and he could be said to have been the father of this controversy

psi bond said...

From the provided quotes of the evangelical writers, it is clear that they share a radical agenda to make of Washington a believer in Christian revelation.

Bro: yes, it's radical calling a man who had devotions, attended a Protestant church, quoted parts of scripture etc. a Christian

it’s radical to doggedly insist a man is a Christian who refused communion, who never expressed belief in the Christian revelation, who never used phrases like “eternal life”, “afterlife”,, “paradise”, “angels”, and “saints,” who employed terms that deists would use to speak of God, and who was said not to be a Christian by two pastors who personally knew him. Jefferson wrote of him, “…when the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the Government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never on any occasion said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article in their address, particularly except that, which he passed over without notice.” Jefferson also said that Washington constantly kept ministers about him for appearance’s sake but was “an unbeliever.”

psi bond said...

Henriques does not say Washington is a deist; he is more likely a theistic rationalist, which is not a deist or a Christian, but mostly a rationalist.

Bro: no but Boller does and he could be said to have been the father of this controversy

the controversy began not in the twentieth century with Boller, as promulgated on Christian websites, but almost as soon as Washington had died. When the pious stories of evangelical writers began to appear shortly after Washington’s death, many of his contemporaries — including Jefferson, Madison, and Bishop White — disputed the depictions.

Z said...

just catching up here...This cracked me up "It is wholly apparent that evangelicals here have a voracious need to claim Washington as a Christian in any way they can"
Disregard Washington's speeches with Jesus in them......keep hammering and proving he isn't! :-) MY GOSH!!!!

From George, the guy who isn't Christian: "Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, predicted all this. As God, He sees the end in advance. He had His apostle John write about it almost 2000 years ago. He gave us a warning against worshiping the soon to be revealed world-government leader and accepting the 'mark' which will allow one to buy and sell. Rev. 13-14

Take heart. Many who love God around the globe are rejecting temporary comfort offered by evil authorities requiring them to deny their faith in Jesus Christ, and to reject His Word directly to us, the Bible. Continue to stand firm. Those who seek God can find comfort in His Word Mat. 4:4 If you love Him, rejoice in the hope within us. Rom. 12:12"

Amen

psi bond said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
psi bond said...

just catching up here...This cracked me up "It is wholly apparent that evangelicals here have a voracious need to claim Washington as a Christian in any way they can"
Disregard Washington's speeches with Jesus in them......keep hammering and proving he isn't! :-) MY GOSH!!!!


geeez!!!!! just catching up on correcting the record here.

Keep hammering and prove the voracity of the fierce need evangelicals have to make of Washington a Christian.

From George, the guy who isn't Christian: "Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, predicted all this. As God, He sees the end in advance. He had His apostle John write about it almost 2000 years ago. He gave us a warning against worshiping the soon to be revealed world-government leader and accepting the 'mark' which will allow one to buy and sell. Rev. 13-14 ….

Our guy George did not write those words.

[H]ow is it possible that evangelical leaders like Dr. Franklin and Mr. LaHaye could possibly teach their followers that George Washington was an evangelical Christian? They must have some evidence on their side! Most of their assertions are based on what is known as the Washington Prayer Book. It was discovered in 1891 in a trunk found at Mount Vernon, where it had been placed at some time previously. Proponents assert that the prayers are in the handwriting of the young George Washington. Extrapolating from this assertion, supporters argue that these prayers, written when he was a young man, express Washington’s mature faith, and this claim allows them to assert Washington’s evangelical faith. This argument is simply untenable. In the first place, it is virtually certain that the so-called Washington Prayer Book has nothing whatsoever to do with George Washington. The handwriting is not his, as confirmed by numerous Washington scholars, and the Smithsonian Institution examined the book in 1913 and refused to accept it. As one of the editors of the Papers of George Washington expressed it, “Even a cursory comparison of the prayer book with a genuine Washington manuscript reveals that they are not in the same handwriting.” (It is probably the production of a later Washington family descendent.) George Washington’s handwriting did change over his lifetime, but comparing samples of his handwriting from different periods demonstrates that the writing in the prayer book does not comport with any of them. To cite one example, Washington always wrote the letters “th” at the beginning of a word in a distinctive manner at all phases of his life, but the “th” of the prayer is written differently.

Of course, even if one were to grant the authenticity of the Prayer Book it is an unjustified leap to argue that something someone copied as a youngster reflects his views as an adult, especially when there is a plethora of evidence contradicting it. If Washington wrote and believed in the theology of the prayers as a young man, it would only demonstrate that he was an apostate, for he did not believe in the theology of the prayers as a mature man
.

— Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, 2006, pp. 183-184

Peace

Elmers Brother said...

Boller said this:

Paul F. Boller, Jr. stated "Washington was no infidel, if by infidel is meant unbeliever. Washington had an unquestioning faith in Providence and, as we have seen, he voiced this faith publicly on numerous occasions. That this was no mere rhetorical flourish on his part, designed for public consumption, is apparent from his constant allusions to Providence in his personal letters. There is every reason to believe, from a careful analysis of religious references in his private correspondence, that Washington's reliance upon a Grand Designer along Deist lines was as deep-seated and meaningful for his life as, say, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s serene confidence in a Universal Spirit permeating the ever shifting appearances of the everyday world."

yep writing a prayer book is not a Christian thing to do either

Anonymous said...

Could we, perhaps, call Washington a Christo-Deist, or a Christian Agnostic or even "Hypochristical" (!), and let it go at that?

Of course not, because some of us simply love endless debate for its own sake, and others are determined to assert a position of self-professed rectitude and keep pushing it till Kingdom Come, unless someone capitulates out of sheer exhaustion if not force of argument.

We're talking about BELIEF here. Belief (or Faith, if you prefer) is by it's very nature IRRATIONAL. So why argue about something that is obviously not susceptible to Reason?

It makes about as much sense -- and is as useful -- as imagining a tree could have an intelligent conversation with a rock.

~ FreeThinke

Elmers Brother said...

I would ask just what would it take for Henriques to believe GW was a Christian?

Would GW have to have penned the exact words, "I am a Christian".

I know there is a question about the prayer book but it seems like one could just apply Occams Razor here.

If one were to say that a man attends church, invokes God, perhaps wrote a prayer book or recited a prayer, both his personal secretary and his daughter make the assertion and attest to his Christianity, (people who knew him personally), he did take communion (all the reading I have done so far on this issue makes me think that GW took communion quite seriously and that it was after the pastor chastised him for not taking it that he quit attending on communion Sundays) seriously, so seriously that he did not want to take it unworthily (I Corinthians), alluded to scripture that I question just what it would take for historians to believe he was a Christian.

well I think it's quite radical to insist that a man use a certain vocabulary for some historian to be consider him a Christian yet he exhibits all the attitudes, writings of a Christian

by this 'standard' one could hardly claim anyone a Christian

it also makes quite the mockery of Washingtons character, suggesting he was disingenuous

I hear you FT, going to church etc. does not make one a Christian, but the only way one could assert the opposite were to ask the person himself, so assuming Occam's Razor or what I would call the K.I.S.S. method one could easily assume that any reasonable person examining the writings, actions and attitudes of Washington could make the claim that he was a Christian and that it's much more radical to assume the opposite

Elmers Brother said...

FT - but what is more irrational?

Asserting that GW wasn't a Christian or asserting that he was?

Insisting that he use a pre determined set of vocabulary or use his own writings, habits, attitudes and actions?

psi bond said...

Boller said this:

Paul F. Boller, Jr. stated "Washington was no infidel, if by infidel is meant unbeliever. Washington had an unquestioning faith in Providence and, as we have seen, he voiced this faith publicly on numerous occasions. That this was no mere rhetorical flourish on his part, designed for public consumption, is apparent from his constant allusions to Providence in his personal letters. There is every reason to believe, from a careful analysis of religious references in his private correspondence, that Washington's reliance upon a Grand Designer along Deist lines was as deep-seated and meaningful for his life as, say, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s serene confidence in a Universal Spirit permeating the ever shifting appearances of the everyday world."


In other words, diligent scholarship compels the conclusion that Washington was nearer in his beliefs to Deism than to revealed Christianity. There is no indication that he was an infidel, in the sense of one who has lacks a belief in a supreme being.

Bro: yep writing a prayer book is not a Christian thing to do either

nope, it cannot be a good Christian thing to hype as prime evidence for Washington being a Christian a counterfeit prayer book. The prayer book is a copy of an earlier English prayer book., and there is nothing remotely like it in Washington’s authentic writings. Even the Smithsonian Institution rejected the prayer book as a genuine Washington relic.

psi bond said...

I would ask just what would it take for Henriques to believe GW was a Christian?

Why is this so important to you, Bro? The religious beliefs of Washington, like those of Napoleon or Noah Webster, is an academic matter. Unless you have a voracious evangelical need to make him into a believer like you, it is a matter for scholars in universities to determine.

Would GW have to have penned the exact words, "I am a Christian".

The existence of unmistakable evidence of his faith in Jesus’ divinity would help, or declaring somewhere that Jesus is God. There is no such evidence. Instead, we have on historical record Washington’s refusal to declare he is a Christian when pushed on the question by a group of clergymen.

I know there is a question about the prayer book but it seems like one could just apply Occams Razor here.

It is clear that the prayer book is not in GW’s handwriting, and it has no proven connection with him. According to Occam’s Razor, one should not add complexity unnecessarily — that is, in this case, by hypothesizing that GW had a belief in Jesus’ divinity in the absence of any evidence that he did.

If one were to say that a man attends church, invokes God, perhaps wrote a prayer book or recited a prayer, both his personal secretary and his daughter make the assertion and attest to his Christianity, (people who knew him personally), he did take communion (all the reading I have done so far on this issue makes me think that GW took communion quite seriously and that it was after the pastor chastised him for not taking it that he quit attending on communion Sundays) seriously, so seriously that he did not want to take it unworthily (I Corinthians), alluded to scripture that I question just what it would take for historians to believe he was a Christian..

To reiterate, it would probably help if the pastors who knew him did not say, as they did, he was not a Christian. His behavior is consistent with what Henriques calls theistic rationalism, and he says that GW’s beliefs as a mature man were not those of the counterfeit prayer book.

His church attendance was perfunctory. On its own, it cannot prove that anyone is a Christian. He was not a communicant, according to the contemporary testimony, and when his pastor called him out for walking out of church when the sacraments were offered (Martha stayed behind), he responded by never again attending church on sacramental Sundays. To Deists and rational theists, communion cannot be justified by reason, and thereby is unacceptable.

well I think it's quite radical to insist that a man use a certain vocabulary for some historian to be consider him a Christian yet he exhibits all the attitudes, writings of a Christian.

It’s quite radically wrong to insist that someone has been insisting that a man use a specific vocabulary to be considered a Christian. The man’s vocabulary is supporting evidence that may suggest something important about the depth of his belief in Christianity.

by this 'standard' one could hardly claim anyone a Christian

There is no standard such as you pretend.

it also makes quite the mockery of Washingtons character, suggesting he was disingenuous

Going to church is often a matter of custom and upbringing, or of appearances. It is not heresy to believe Washington’s character commendable whether or not we can make him a Christian, as evangelicals so much want to do, and regardless of whether he conformed outwardly to expected social norms.

psi bond said...

Concluded

In early America, particularly in pre-revolutionary America, you had to belong to the dominant church if you wanted to have influence in society, as is illustrated by the following quote from Old Chruches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, by Bishop William Meade, I, p 191: "Even Mr. Jefferson, and George Wythe, who did not conceal their disbelief in Christianity, took their parts in the duties of vestrymen, the one at Williamsburg, the other at Albermarle; for they wished to be men of influence."

I hear you FT, going to church etc. dos not make one a Christian, but the only way one could assert the opposite were to ask the person himself, so assuming Occam's Razor or what I would call the K.I.S.S. method one could easily assume that any reasonable person examining the writings, actions and attitudes of Washington could make the claim that he was a Christian and that it's much more radical to assume the opposite.

The person himself was asked by a gaggle of clergy to say whether he was a Christian, and he pointedly ignored the question. Considering a scholarly examination of his writings, and the multiple testimonies of contemporary pastors and prominent figures like Madison and Jefferson, it is a contravention of Occam’s Razor to obstinately interpolate an undocumented belief in the Christian revelation.

psi bond said...

FT - but what is more irrational?

Asserting that GW wasn't a Christian or asserting that he was?


The more relevant question is which conclusion is based on better documentary support and more thorough analysis, that presented by the professional historians or the one presented by the evangelical writers like Tim LaHaye and others.

Insisting that he use a pre determined set of vocabulary or use his own writings, habits, attitudes and actions?

Again, your misrepresentation notwithstanding, that GW did not use words that Christians usually employ in speaking of religious belief is not proof but contributing evidence that he was not a Christian in his thoughts, for as a person speaketh so does he think.

psi bond said...

On page 82 of his book Washington and Religion, Boller includes a quote from a Presbyterian minister, Arthur B. Bradford, who was an associate of Ashbel Green another Presbyterian minister who had known George Washington personally. Bradford wrote that Green, "often said in my hearing, though very sorrowfully, of course, that while Washington was very deferential to religion and its ceremonies, like nearly all the founders of the Republic, he was not a Christian, but a Deist."

Z said...

I won't be coming back, so don't bother to respond, anybody, but this has been kind of a good exercise to learn from....
Here we have someone who'll ignore a man's own words and quote others about what that man feels as (pardon the expression) the gospel.

Well, I guess it's like seeing and hearing what Obama's doing and how our media will just never QUITE stop putting rose colored glasses on it from what THEY want to believe, huh? perhaps.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

It's all been said -- several times in many different ways. Personally, I've found it fascinating. I appreciate everyone's taking the time and energy to put so many quotations all on one thread.

My opinion hasn't changed, but then I am neutral on this subject and less subject to passion.

Christian people define what it means to be a Christian in different ways -- they've even gone to war over those differences in the not-so-distant past.

As Elbro has said, however, most of the mainstream Protestant sects today recognize and respect their differences, while never quite reconciling them. The chasm between Roman Catholics and Protestants remains pretty deep, but ecumenicalism has made significant inroads there, even as it serves to water down the faith, and thus make it more palatable to the dwindling masses.

The debate will never be resolved, because one side has tremendous respect for the assumed detachment, integrity and objectivity of "professional historians" and the other more in faith, itself, intuition, personal understanding of what it means to be a Christian, and writings which tend strongly to support their views.

Professional historians and scholars may -- or may not -- have an agenda -- meaning they may or may not have set out to prove a particular case.

The same is most probably true for Evangelicals as well. As in any philosophical, political or religious dispute, both sides are sure they are right.

Is "Reason but the slave of Passion," or does Passion bow to Reason when confronted by clear and convincing evidence?

I'm not sure.

I'll stand by the things I said in my last post before this, and say, "I rest my case."

God bless one and all, whether you believe in him or not, and thank you. I wish all threads could be on this high a plane.

I have learned about several important influential figures of whim I knew little or nothing before. That's great thing all by itself.

~ FreeThinke

psi bond said...

Z: I won't be coming back, so don't bother to respond, anybody, but this has been kind of a good exercise to learn from....

I’ll let “anybody” speak or not for herself, but, pardon me — these obdurate words require a response, if only for the sake of those hardy folks still reading this thread.

According to the reply above, Z petulantly believes she knows the revealed truth about Washington and will not listen to anything to the contrary; it’s abundantly clear that Z has learned nothing here.

Here we have someone who'll ignore a man's own words and quote others about what that man feels as (pardon the expression) the gospel.

I am that “someone” that Z cryptically alludes to. His words have not been ignored — they have been read and studied, and nowhere among the man’s (GW’s) words in his handwriting does he give cause to believe he accepted Jesus as his personal savior and as the son of God who died for man’s sins, which is certainly not to say he did not believe in a supreme being. I confess that I am guilty of quoting others, as others have done here, but the key figures I have quoted were not modern evangelical writers hell-bent on making him one of them, but respected contemporary pastors — three of them — who personally knew him and who all stated that Washington was not a Christian. Presumably, these pastors knew the Gospel and would not lie about so important a matter.

Well, I guess it's like seeing and hearing what Obama's doing and how our media will just never QUITE stop putting rose colored glasses on it from what THEY want to believe, huh? Perhaps.

One must guess that the rose-colored glasses are Z’s. The New York Times just exposed on page one a Democratic Senate candidate lying about Vietnam service, and has published critical articles on the Obama administration. Oddly enough, with those rose-colored glasses, she can only see things in black and white, and, evidently, historical scholars, in her view, are somehow linked up in a dreadful conspiracy with Democratic office holders to bring down America. Only a zealous person like Z would make such a bizarre diversionary connection. Her huffiness just cracks me up. LOL

Thanks

Thank her for not erasing my side of the debate, for she used to do things like that.

psi bond said...

To sum up:

Scholars base their conclusions on good evidence; evangelicals base theirs on faith. Radical Christianity superimposes its faith on history.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Psi Bond, I respect what you have shared, and learned much from it. Thank you.

However, the history of "Western Civilization" is inextricably intertwined with the history of Judaism and the hope for and consciousness of Christ's Presence that branched off from Judaism and later developed into Christendom.

Not very many have genuine faith in the redeeming power of Christ's Death and Resurrection, if they did, they wouldn't feel the pressing urge to insist others accept their views -- they'd be too overjoyed to do anything but celebrate their immense good fortune.

Nevertheless, the tenets derived from the Torah, and The Old Testament and New Testaments of the Christian Bible have been a powerful and defining influence in the development of Western Culture.

Yes, of course, the ancient Greeks gave us much, but without the Church, the entire tone and temperament of the West would have been radically different from what it was.

Whether you admire this influence or deplore it, I don't think it can easily be denied.

And I am NOT trying to "prove" that George Washington or any of the other Founders were in fact "devout Christians," because frankly, I don't really care one way or the other.

I'm only saying the Founders were informed and heavily influenced by Christianity -- whether they liked it or chose to acknowledge it or not.

If some one wants to exercise faith, I believe he or she should be encouraged to do so. What I would NOT encourage would be strident insistence from ANY sector that says, "I'm right! I'm right! I'm right!" without offering much in the way of proof or rational argument.

I happen to believe that cultivating faith has a salubrious effect on most people. That works for me, but I would never dare say that it must work for you too -- or for anyone else.

If we are secure enough in our own beliefs, we should feel no need to force them on anyone else -- or so I think.

I'm glad your remarks were not erased. Thank you for presenting them.

Sincerely,

~ FreeThinke

psi bond said...

Fauxthinker: Yes, Psi Bond, I respect what you have shared, and learned much from it. Thank you .... I'm glad your remarks were not erased. Thank you for presenting them.

It is gracious of you to say so.

For Z, it goes down the wrong way when I present facts that do not bear out what she seems to have a deep need to believe (the GW myth evangelicals promote) — facts that include three contemporary pastors who say GW was not a Christian, GW refusing to affirm he is a Christian when asked to do so by a delegation of clergy, GW adamantly declining to take communion, and a prayer book that is not in GW’s handwriting, which has no connection with GW and is rejected as a GW relic by the Smithsonian, though it is nonetheless heavily relied on by evangelical writers and Z as confirmation of GW’s commitment to revealed Christianity, something that is not to be found in his authentic writings.

If, as you declare, you don’t care about Washington’s religious belief, you may be the only rightwinger here who doesn’t. Many here are quite willing to pretend the facts are otherwise than what they are or even mock the facts in order to maintain their evangelical faith in the untenable notion of Washington’s supposed Christianity. The sensible position to take is that it is an academic matter, one that can best be resolved by careful scholarship rather than high-handed religious fanaticism. I’m sure Christianity and America will survive without making Washington into something he was not.

It is not surprising that Deism was a greater influence on Washington’s thinking than the Bible. In Virginia, the center of Deism was William and Mary College, the alma mater of Monroe and Jefferson and the institution where Washington served as chancellor.

If we are secure enough in our own beliefs, we should feel no need to force them on anyone else -- or so I think.

"The Christian right is trying to rewrite the history of the United States as part of its campaign to force its religion on others. ” declares the website of Free Inquiry — one of many sources that rejects the assertion that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. “They try to depict the founding fathers as pious Christians who wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, with laws that favored Christians and Christianity.This is patently untrue.”

Mark said...

PSI Bond, (WTH? You have two middle names?) I've been sitting here day after day reading your blather about George Washington's lack of faith and I have something to say:

Do you realize you have been quoting ad nauseum only a few (at best) authors who clearly had an axe to grind about Christianity, as do you?

Why would anyone take the word of a couple of so-called scholars over the words and actions of literally hundreds of others, many who knew George Washington personally?

There is one reason only:

You hate Christians, and want to denigrate them at every possible opportunity.

Obviously, your opinion is that everyone who calls themselves Christian is a phony. Well, tell that to your Creator when you meet Him face to face. I'm sure He'll get a chuckle from that.

I had a boss many years ago who told me, "Opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one and they all stink."

My late father often said, "This might come as a shock to you, but nobody cares about your opinion."

And PSI Bond, I say the same to you. You aren't going to convince any of us here that George Washington wasn't a Christian. There is simply way too much evidence to the contrary. Your argument, although verbose, is weak, and not convincing.

Now, let it go already. Sheeeesh!

All of you others who continue to argue with this athiest, give it up, also. You're only encouraging him.

psi bond said...

Mark: PSI Bond, (WTH? You have two middle names?) I've been sitting here day after day reading your blather about George Washington's lack of faith and I have something to say:

Thank you for your patience. I’m glad to hear your opinion, but you are mistaken, Mark — Bond is not a middle name, and psi is a first name. Do you know your screen name is the name of one of the Apostles? So what the hell? What’s the relevance? Are you in the apostolic succession?

My view by any other name would be the same.

Do you realize you have been quoting ad nauseum only a few (at best) authors who clearly had an axe to grind about Christianity, as do you?

According to a post above, at least one rightwinger learned something from my contributions here.

The historical scholars have a partiality to understanding the man who was Washington — that is the ax they have to grind. That they or even I have an ax to grind against Christianity is not true, which, of course, is no reason for opponents not to high-handedly claim it as a last-ditch tactic.

Why would anyone take the word of a couple of so-called scholars over the words and actions of literally hundreds of others, many who knew George Washington personally?

Who are the many who knew Washington as his pastor who said he was a Christian? There is none quoted here and none known to history. Those pastors who knew him and talked to him avow that he was not a Christian. And this is confirmed by his authentic writings, in which nothing hec wrotevsuggests he was a believer in revealed Christianity.

There is one reason only: You hate Christians, and want to denigrate them at every possible opportunity.

I am tolerant of all religions. No, Mark, I honestly don’t hate Christians. It is paranoid to characterize a concern for historical truth based on empirical evidence as an attack on Christianity. I have no animosity for Christianity per se and have shown none.

Obviously, your opinion is that everyone who calls themselves Christian is a phony. Well, tell that to your Creator when you meet Him face to face. I'm sure He'll get a chuckle from that.

That is not true. You are telling and spreading a lie about me — tell that to your maker.

I had a boss many years ago who told me, "Opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one and they all stink."

He was quoting someone else.

My late father often said, "This might come as a shock to you, but nobody cares about your opinion."

Funny, that has never stopped anyone from posting his here.

And PSI Bond, I say the same to you. You aren't going to convince any of us here that George Washington wasn't a Christian. There is simply way too much evidence to the contrary. Your argument, although verbose, is weak, and not convincing.

One sincere person here thanked me for my postings. You have condemned me for them. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about their value. There is no convincing evidence that George Washington was a Christian, and none has been posted here that was not clearly refuted. Similarly, no documented evidence supports your vehement argument, full of sound and fury though it is — such passionate but empty declarations are weak.

Now, let it go already. Sheeeesh!

I am willing to let it go when others do.

All of you others who continue to argue [there is no one but you continuing to argue] with this athiest [sic], give it up, also. You're only encouraging him.

Mark, I need no encouragement to expose blatant lies — of which your declaring that I am an atheist is one. Yet I accept your apology in advance of its being offered.

Anonymous said...

DING-a-LING!

psi bond said...

Opinions are like egos — everyone has one and thinks his matters.

Hence, a parent will mark his child with psychological damage who often tells him, “This might come as a shock to you, but nobody cares about your opinion."

Anonymous said...

There's a sickness on this board. Too bad! It was interesting for a long time.

psi bond said...

Everyone’s opinion ought to be welcome here.

Those who want to see only one species of opinion expressed should try living in places like Cuba, North Korea, or maybe Arizona.

Anonymous said...

Blip!

psi bond said...

Every man is a fool in some man's opinion.

Anonymous said...

Carry on, carrion.

psi bond said...

In all matters of opinion, extremists believe, adversaries are insane.

Anonymous said...

Psychopathia pomposaurus!

Anonymous said...

Diddle diddle dee and the milk went sour, and nobody knows quite why but me ...

psi bond said...

Extreme opinions have caused more trouble on this earth than milk gone sour or even deadly plagues.

Anonymous said...

Hasten, Jason, get the basin

Anonymous said...

Whoops! Slop!
Get the mop!

psi bond said...

Hasten, Jason
Hasten, Jason
Bring the basin,
Oops, stop, bring the mop,
Alas, alack it’s all in vain
The dog has licked it up again

— camp song