Part 1 David Barton: Were the Founding Fathers Deists?
Religious holidays, Court cases, punishing kids in school for praying in Jesus name
In the next few weeks I will be looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding Fathers actually said and the historical evidence concerning them. David Barton has collected these quotes and tried to confirm them over the last 20 years. These unconfirmed quotes are used every single day and unfortunately my group of conservatives have been guilty of using them more than the liberals have. This website HALT (HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com) includes the T for the word ‘truth.” I want to always tell it like it is and that includes this fact: Conservative Republicans will be more likely than their liberal counterparts to stand up today in state legislatures all across the country and use quotes that have not been confirmed with original sources linking them to the Founding Fathers.
I hear this quote below used quite often by conservative lawmakers.
13. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great. – Alexis de Tocqueville (unconfirmed)
Alexis de Tocqueville’s work, Democracy in America, should be required reading for all involved in the Church/state debates. He devoted a significant portion of his work to the religious element of American life, as the following thoughts indicate:
Moreover, almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.In the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.
There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and their debasement, while in America one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world fulfills all the outward duties of religion with fervor.
Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country.
While the Tocqueville quote is not in this book, it may be in some other writings of which we are unaware. The fact that there is no primary source for someone quoted so often causes us to view the words as unconfirmed.