Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unhijacking The Founding Fathers

Usually I put up a Bill Maher final New Rule without comment but this one needs a second audio track. How about we start with...It's about time someone did this!

For too long, conservatives and libertarians have cloaked themselves in the founding fathers and the Constitution. Much like they interpret the Bible (my way or a lake of hellfire for you), their view of the formation of this country is filled with delusions. Maher points out one of these when he describes Glenn Beck's propensity to dress up like Thomas Paine. In fact, if you want to know how close Glenn Beck is to playing with his own poo, read his 'version' of Common Sense. As I mentioned the other day, events that took place in the latter half of the 18th century have an historical context. Paine's Common Sense was written from the point of view of someone taxed by a monarch. Barack Obama is not King George III. This is going to be one of my new mantras, b to the w.

The other thing that Bill points out in this commentary is yet another sad (and tragic) making of a myth. Take a look at the photo at left. Somehow this image is historically accurate for a large segment of our country. There are a couple of my regular readers who have said as much in comments. The image here is so far from reality that I can't help but call it for what it is.

It's a child's fairy tale.

Many of you will jump to the conclusion that I am being mean or snarky. Quite the contrary. That's Maher's job. Mine is one of profound frustration and great sadness. The founding fathers were products of the Age of Enlightenment and the big ones (Washington, Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Madison, Monroe) were Deists. Paine and Jefferson believed in the teachings of the morality of Christ and did not believe that he was holy nor resurrected. But somehow, through a very sad delusion, they were conservative and would've tarred and feathered any liberal or progressive. This is a sad perception that honestly causes so many problems that they are too numerous to list here.

Maher has some pretty great quotes from our founding fathers in this clip that more or less prove that, if they were around today, it's pretty clear that Sarah Palin would be accusing them of blood libel.


Anonymous said...

Who said as much?

Anonymous said...

YOU really need to read "The Real George Washington" and "The Letters of John & Abigail Adams" to see how deep their faith was. The were NOT deists. Not even close.

juris imprudent said...

The were NOT deists.

Well you see that is not a matter of fact to M - it is a matter of faith. So arguing about things like what they actually said and did in their lives doesn't matter.

Markadelphia said...

I don't doubt their faith was deep. It just doesn't jibe with the faith of an evangelical Christian.


John Adams

"President John Adams was a devout Unitarian, which was a non-trinitarian Protestant Christian denomination during the Colonial era."

"Adams was raised a Congregationalist, but ultimately rejected many fundamental doctrines of conventional Christianity, such as the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, becoming a Unitarian. In his youth, Adams' father urged him to become a minister, but Adams refused, considering the practice of law to be a more noble calling."

A lawyer? Uh oh...maybe he was a TRIAL lawyer (see: evil)

George Washington (from the first link)

"Washington attended church fairly regularly after the War and during his presidency, but very little is known about his religious beliefs. Although he didn’t write much on the subject, quite a bit is known about his actions in church at that time. He was never confirmed, and he avoided communion – two actions synonymous with Deists who attended Anglican churches."

"Washington also used a lot of Deist vocabulary in his speeches, and when his speech-writer would write the word “God”, Washington was known to substitute “Great Spirit,” or some other Deist-like words. He only rarely referred to Jesus or Christianity in general. We have no information on how Washington felt about the virgin birth, the resurrection, the miracles, or the the divinity of Christ. On his deathbed, Washington never asked for an Episcopal clergyman. His last words, “tis well” suggest little. He died peacefully and was buried after Episcopal and Masonic funeral services."

"It should be noted that much of the Washington myth began in 1800 with the Parson Weems biography of Washington using some evangelical spin. This biography, and the stories surrounding it, was disputed after its publication by people like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as well as many others. Weems was the same author who first wrote of the cherry tree story that he admitted was based on hearsay. Weems had a low standard as a historian and truth-teller even among his own Episcopal clergy. Yet Weems book remained popular well into the 1820’s and beyond. "

"Assigning Washington to a specific belief system is not easy. Some historians desperately want Washington as an orthodox Christian even if it minimizes the complexity of what we know about his background. Washington was definitely a Freemason and was very inclusive towards other religions."

So, you are wrong, Anon. Enough with Glenn Beck's bizarro history. Do some actual research that involves critical thinking and does not include confirmation bias.


Note the word "Deist" next to Jefferson and Franklin. The only 'matter of faith' going on here involves the people who people who believe the photo I have included in this post is real.

Markadelphia said...

Start with this one...

Santa said...

That is a great book, Mark. For those of you deist doubters, check out this review from Amazon...

First of all, I should point out that I am an Evangelical Christian. I suppose that some Fundamentalists might get upset over a book like this because Holmes calls a spade a spade. He comes across as not having an agenda, either from a Christian or secular humanist point of view. As he points out, many of the Founding Fathers were Deist/Unitarian. At the same time, there were important Founding Fathers whom Holmes proves should be considered Evangelical Christian (i.e. Samuel Adams, John Jay) along with a number of the Fathers' wives. Whether or not these Founding Fathers were Evangelicals, what I think is important is that this country was founded on religious principles, even if they were not conservative in their theology.

From my view point, that's what Mark has been saying.

juris imprudent said...

I don't doubt their faith was deep. It just doesn't jibe with the faith of an evangelical Christian.

So what? It does not change what they were - anymore than you being a Christian ties you to Westboro Baptist.

Then again, maybe it should. Other than a difference in the target of your rage, you are a lot like them.

James said...

I feel you need a dictionary because you obviously don't understand the term "deist." Deism is the belief that a supreme being (or Great Spirit or God or whatever) exists, but does NOT have anything to do with humankind. The real truth is that the Founding Fathers were men who had a faith or belief in a "God" who had very much to do with humankind.
I take no quarrel with those who claim that there were founding fathers who weren't Christian, but it is entirely incorrect to say that none of them were, when MOST of the founding fathers practiced some form of Christian faith, although few claimed any particular denomination.
Your apparent support of Bill Maher just shows how much you rely on truth. Mr. Maher is probably the best truth-bender around. He is a disgusting, repulsive person.