Dan Mitchell on BLACKS, TRUMP AND MEDIA BIAS

______________—_

Blacks, Trump, and Media Bias

I rarely write about media bias, but I sometimes come across stories that cry out for correction because of blatant inaccuracies.

We’re going to add to the list today.

In a story for the Washington Post, Tracy Jan (aided by Seung Min Kim and Emily Guskin) argue that the Trump’s policies were bad news for African Americans.

Black voters overwhelmingly chose Biden, with 87 percent casting their ballots for him… Trump presided over the most unequal recessionin modern American history because of his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. …Economists say that rather than champion economic policies targeting average Black Americans, who are more likely to work low-wage jobs without health and retirement benefits, Trump’s annual budgets proposed eviscerating the social safety net, with cuts to housing, food stamps and health care.

I have two minor comments and one major comment.

The first minor comment is that Trump never proposed to eviscerate the so-called social safety net. Indeed, he increased domestic spending faster than Obama.

The second minor comment is that the recession was caused by the coronavirus, not by Trump’s policies.

The major comment is that Ms. Jan and her two colleagues wrote a lengthy story (more than 2,000 words) and never once mentioned or acknowledged that the black poverty rate fell to a record low during the Trump years.

Or that median household income for blacks rose to a record high.

This is a shocking level of journalistic malpractice. Sort of like writing about the Cold War without ever mentioning the Soviet Union.

By the way, I’m not saying that a pro-Trump spin was needed. They could have written about the poverty and income data and offered alternative explanations for why there were good numbers.

Heck, that’s what I did.

To be fair, the article does acknowledge that unemployment rate for African Americans fell to a record low during the Trump years.

…the Black unemployment rate’s record low average of 6.1 percent over 2019 — a steady improvement that had begun during the Obama administration — remained double that of Whites.

Though the obvious implication is that Trump doesn’t deserve any credit for a trend that started under Obama.

Which is certainly a legitimate argument, though honest journalists would have cited some people making the counter argument that his policies did make a difference (for what it’s worth, I think it’s a combination of both).

P.S. I’ll add another minor comment. The story quotes several people (all on the left side of the political spectrum) on how African Americans ostensibly will benefit if there is a bigger welfare state and more redistribution.

It’s certainly appropriate to write about that perspective, but why didn’t the three journalists bother to cite at least one person who could have pointed out the inverse relationship between social-welfare spending and the poverty rate?

Or cite at least one person who could have pointed out that low-income people in the United States enjoy higher living standardsthan middle class people in nations with bigger welfare states?

Ranking Presidents: Trump’s Mixed Economic Record

Since both political parties have sent good and bad people to the White House, I don’t think it makes much sense to compare all Democratic presidents vs all Republican presidents.

But we can learn a lot by looking at the track record of specific presidents. I’ve done that with several past chief executives (Wilson, Hoover, FDR, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama), and today we’re going to assess Trump’s performance.

The bottom line, as you can see from the chart, is that he did really well in some areas and really poorly in other areas, so his overall record was flat. Or perhaps slightly negative.

The bottom line is that Trump was good on taxes and bad on spending and trade.

And there were some very positive moves on regulation, but they were partly offset by areas where Trump increased intervention (coal subsidies, property rights, Fannie/Freddie, and international tax rules, for instance).

By the way, I’d like to give Trump a negative grade for his failure to address entitlements, but, in the interest of fairness, I only include actual policy changes.

Having given my big-picture assessment, here are some columns and articles that offer interesting insights.

We’ll start with some pro-Trump analysis. Professor Casey Mulligan opined in the Wall Street Journal that he restored growth (until the coronavirus, of course).

The Obama administration promulgated hundreds of new federal regulations that protected certain special interests from market competition. The beneficiaries included large banks, trial lawyers, big tech, major health-insurance companies, labor unions and foreign drug manufacturers. President Trump promised to undo all that, and in many cases succeeded, sometimes with the help of a Republican Congress. …Mr. Trump also helped remove government obstacles to innovation and competition in health care. Democrats will tell you that the first calendar-year drop in retail prescription drug prices in 46 years was mere coincidence, not the result of deregulation. …The Fed and the Obama economic team overpredicted growth almost every year from 2010-16. When growth failed to meet their rosy predictions, Mr. Obama’s advisers blamed the poor economic performance on America itself. …No one in Washington predicted that small business optimism would skyrocket to record levels when Mr. Trump was elected, that real wages would grow again (especially for blue-collar workers), that business formation would hit 20th-century highs, or that poverty and unemployment rates would quickly fall to record lows for Hispanics and African-Americans.  …Although Mr. Trump’s economic policy was imperfect, it was preferable by a long shot to Mr. Obama’s, which punished work, hiring and success rather than rewarding them.

And here’s a chart that definitely makes Trump look good compared to Obama.

Those numbers will look much worse once 2020 numbers are included, but I won’t blame Trump for coronavirus-caused economic havoc (though I also don’t give him full credit for the good data in 2019).

Now let’s look at some less-than-flattering analysis.

Jeffrey Tucker of the American Institute for Economic Research lists some of Trump’s statist policies.

From 2015, even from his first public speeches following his presidential run, it was clear that Donald Trump was not a conservative in the Reagan tradition… This is not an American ideal. It’s not about freedom, rights, the rule of law, much less the limits on government.…Trump’s first year began with a more traditional Republican agenda of tax cuts, deregulation, and non-progressive court appointments. …That all changed on January 22, 2018. …This was the beginning of the trade war that would expand to Europe, Canada, Mexico, most of Asia, and ultimately the entire world. …What he ended up seeking was nothing short of trade autarky. …In addition to this calamity, US government spending soared 47% while the money supply registered record increases as measured by M1. The effects of this debt and money printing will be felt through next year.

Rick Newman wrote for Yahoo that Trump’s fiscal performance makes him an honorary Democrat.

Trump’s last-second objection to the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill Congress approved after eight months of negotiation is an unexpected Christmas gift for Democrats. Trump says the $600 direct payment to most Americans contained in the bill is too small.He wants $2,000. Trump could have insisted on this while Congress was drafting the bill… Democrats are gleeful. They’d happily accept a supersized stimulus payment, and even better, they now get to watch Republicans battle each other as they try to figure out what to do about Trump. Some Congressional Republicans think $2,000 is too generous, and there’s no chance of that getting into the bill unless other provisions come out.

Newman was focusing on Trump’s spending proclivities during the pandemic, but the assertion that “maybe Trump’s a Democrat” applies to his fiscal record during his first three years as well.

P.S. I didn’t rank Trump on monetary policy for the same reason I didn’t rank Obama on that issue. Simply stated, I think both of them pursued a misguided Keynesian approach of easy moneyand artificially low interest rates, but we don’t have firm evidence (yet) of negative consequences.

P.P.S. I also didn’t give Trump a grade, positive or negative, regarding coronavirus. The federal government failed, but those failures largely were independent of the White House.

P.P.P.S. I generally approved of Trump’s judicial appointments, but don’t includes judges in my assessments of economic policy (though I may have to change my mind if they restore the Constitution’s protections of economic liberty and limits on the power of Washington).

Trump’s 1776 Commission Releases ‘Definitive’ Founding of America

the constitution of the u.s. against a flag(Dreamstime)

By Charlie McCarthy
Monday, 18 Jan 2021 8:14 PM


A commission formed by President Donald Trump to promote “patriotic education” issued its final report, criticizing how American students are taught about the country’s formation, as well as the history of slavery and racial discrimination.

The 1776 Commission released a 45-page report Monday that offered “a definitive chronicle of the American founding,” according to the White House.

“States and school districts should reject any curriculum that promotes one-sided partisan opinions, activist propaganda, or factional ideologies that demean America’s heritage, dishonor our heroes, or deny our principles,” the report said per the New York Post.

Trump established the commission last year partly in response to a national movement in which statues of slaveholders or colonial figures were removed or defaced. The statues involved Founding Fathers and people long admired for their accomplishments.

In its report, the commission said students should not be taught that slavery is a haunting sin of the founders.

“The most common charge leveled against the founders, and hence against our country itself, is that they were hypocrites who didn’t believe in their stated principles, and therefore the country they built rests on a lie,” the report said. “This charge is untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric.”

In fact, the “foundation of our Republic planted the seeds of the death of slavery in America,” the report said.

The commission said the creation of the U.S. could not have happened without  compromise on the issue of slavery.

“Is it reasonable to believe that slavery could have been abolished sooner had the slave states not been in a union with the free? Perhaps,” the report said. “But what is momentous is that a people that included slaveholders founded their nation on the proposition that ‘all men are created equal.'”

The report further explained the Founding Fathers did not abolish slavery at the birth of the nation so that the principle of consent would become a basis of “all political legitimacy.”

“Patriotic education must have at its center a respect for the rule of law, including the Declaration and the Constitution, so that we have what John Adams called ‘a government of laws, and not of men,'” the report said.

The report blamed the education system for adversely affecting society.

“Deliberately destructive scholarship shatters the civic bonds that unite all Americans,” the report said. “It silences the discourse essential to a free society by breeding division, distrust, and hatred among citizens.

“And it is the intellectual force behind so much of the violence in our cities, suppression of free speech in our universities, and defamation of our treasured national statues and symbols.”

Read Newsmax: Trump’s 1776 Commission Releases ‘Definitive’ Founding of America
Urgent: Do you approve of Pres. Trump’s job performance? Vote Here Now!

Read Newsmax: Trump’s 1776 Commission Releases ‘Definitive’ Founding of America
Urgent: Do you approve of Pres. Trump’s job performance? Vote Here Now!

Read Newsmax: Trump’s 1776 Commission Releases ‘Definitive’ Founding of America
Urgent: Do you approve of Pres. Trump’s job performance? Vote Here Now!
____________________

1 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton

2 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton

3 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American

Heritage Series / David Barton

4 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton

5 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton

__________________________________________

3 Of 3 / Faith Of The Founding Fathers / American Heritage Series / David Barton

__________________________

David Barton on Glenn Beck – Part 1 of 5

Uploaded by on Apr 9, 2010

Wallbuilders’ Founder and President David Barton joins Glenn Beck on the Fox News Channel for the full hour to discuss our Godly heritage and how faith was the foundational principle upon which America was built.

___________

David Barton on Glenn Beck – Part 2 of 5

Uploaded by on Apr 9, 2010

Wallbuilders’ Founder and President David Barton joins Glenn Beck on the Fox News Channel for the full hour to discuss our Godly heritage and how faith was the foundational principle upon which America was built.

___________________________

David Barton on Glenn Beck – Part 3 of 5

Uploaded by on Apr 9, 2010

Wallbuilders’ Founder and President David Barton joins Glenn Beck on the Fox News Channel for the full hour to discuss our Godly heritage and how faith was the foundational principle upon which America was built.

___________________________

David Barton on Glenn Beck – Part 4 of 5

Uploaded by on Apr 9, 2010

Wallbuilders’ Founder and President David Barton joins Glenn Beck on the Fox News Channel for the full hour to discuss our Godly heritage and how faith was the foundational principle upon which America was built.

______________________

David Barton on Glenn Beck – Part 5 of 5

Uploaded by on Apr 9, 2010

Wallbuilders’ Founder and President David Barton joins Glenn Beck on the Fox News Channel for the full hour to discuss our Godly heritage and how faith was the foundational principle upon which America was built.

Here is an update on David Barton’s Unconfirmed Quote list:

Email this Article
Share this Article
Unconfirmed Quotations
David Barton – 02/19/2013
                         

Unconfirmed Quotations

In his 1989 book Myth of Separation, WallBuilders’ founder David Barton argued that the Founding Fathers would be appalled by the government-enforced secularization of the public square that became widespread in the latter half of the twentieth-century. In the course of making his argument, he utilized a number of quotations from America’s Founders that he found in secondary sources on the subject. He carefully cited each quotation. However, he subsequently realized that some of the quotations he used for Myth of Separation came from sources other than original ones.

Scholars and popular historians routinely utilize secondary sources or take quotations from these sources, 1 but when David returned to this subject for his 1996 book Original Intent, he decided to only rely on quotations that could be found in original primary source material. In an effort to be thoroughly transparent, he placed the handful of secondary quotations from Myth of Separation on an “Unconfirmed Quotations” list which he posted on WallBuilders’ website. At that time, he challenged writers on all sides of the debate over religion in the Founding Era to stop relying on secondary sources and quotations from later eras and instead to utilize original sources.

Although many people, including several respected academics, have told David that they admire his honesty and transparency, others have attempted to use this practice against him. For instance, in a recent critique of David’s work, Professor Gregg Frazer of The Master’s College writes:

Having been confronted over the use of false quotes, Barton was forced to acknowledge their illegitimacy in some way on his website. There, he describes them as “unconfirmed” – as if there is some doubt about their legitimacy. In a computer age with search capabilities, we know that these quotes are false – the fact that they are listed as “unconfirmed” reflects a stubborn attempt to hold onto them and to suggest to followers that they might be true. That is made worse by the fact that under these “unconfirmed” quotes are paragraphs maintaining that the bogus quote is something that the person might have said. 2

What an interesting reward for trying to be honest and transparent.

As stated in the piece “Taking on the Critics,” David was not confronted by any individual or group about these quotes. To the contrary, he was the first to step forward and challenge all sides in the historical debate over religion in the Founding to “raise the bar” and use only quotations that could be verified by primary sources.

Calling these unconfirmed quotes “bogus” implies that they were simply made up by David. Yet each and every one of them can be found in secondary sources, which David cited in his earlier works; and many academics, especially on the secularist side, continue to rely on secondary sources for their authorities. But Frazer and others suggest that David and WallBuilders live in a fantasy world where they stubbornly engage in wishful thinking that these unconfirmed quotations are accurate. However, Frazer ignores the fact that WallBuilders has been able to confirm some quotations on our original list. The now Confirmed Quotations are listed below, followed by those that remain unconfirmed in original documents. Original sources for these latter quotes may yet be found. After all, James Madison’s detached memoranda, much beloved by secularists, did not surface until 1946. And original letters and documents from Founders are still being discovered today in dusty archives, private estates, and other uncatalogued sources. Additionally, existing collections are still being digitized and regularly added to the web, thus steadily increasing the field of searchable materials for these unconfirmed quotes. While WallBuilders has now located original sources for several of the quotes (see below), we continue to recommend that individuals refrain from using those that still remain on the Unconfirmed list until such time that an original primary source may be found; or if using these quotes, clearly identify that they come from a secondary and not a primary source.

Confirmed Quotations
#1: Benjamin Franklin

“Whosoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.”
Benjamin Franklin

This particular quote has been used in many works since the 1970s that seek to remind Americans of our religious heritage. 3 It originally appeared on WallBuilders’ “Unconfirmed” list, but we are now able to report that we have found an early primary source that attributes this message to Franklin.

In initial attempts to document this quote, David found it in George Bancroft’s 1866 History of the United States, which stated:

He [Franklin] remarked to those in Paris who learned of him the secret of statesmanship: “He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.” 4

This is no insignificant source, for Bancroft is considered “The Father of American History.” He is most famous for his thorough, systematic history of the nation published in ten volumes from 1854-1878. Contrary to the claims of Gregg Frazer and other critics, David did not simply invent this quote. It appeared in one of the greatest histories of the United States ever written! But adhering to his own standards, David stopped using this quote until it could be confirmed in an original source. However, such a source was recently discovered.

Before turning to the quotation, it may be useful to provide some context. In 1776 Franklin was sent by America as an ambassador to France, a position he held until 1785. He was beloved by the French, and he offered them many useful and friendly recommendations, including political advice for those who would listen. 5 Shortly after Franklin’s death in 1790, Jacques Mallet Du Pan, a French journalist and political leader, published his historical memoirs, in which he reported:

Franklin often told his disciples in Paris that whoever should introduce the principles of primitive Christianity into the political state would change the whole order of society. 6

While this 1793 work does not contain the word-for-word quotation regularly cited today, its similarity is obvious and it clearly communicates the main idea in the quotation. One reason for the difference may be that because the work was written in French, there are variations in how a particular translator renders that statement into English. 7

It may be objected that a second-hand account of what someone said is not as reliable as, say, a letter clearly penned by Franklin in which he writes the same quotation. We agree. And yet students of the American founding repeatedly utilize such sources. For instance, speeches made in the Federal Convention of 1787 are regularly quoted as if they were directly spoken by particular delegates, although in most (but not all) cases what is being quoted is James Madison’s notes of those speeches.

Those who wish to deny America’s Christian heritage will undoubtedly brush off Du Pan’s account of Franklin’s views. Yet those interested in an accurate account of religion in the American Founding cannot afford to be so dismissive of this important find.

Confirmed Quotations
#2: Thomas Jefferson

“I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make us better citizens.”
Thomas Jefferson

This quote, also used in numerous modern works, 8 appears in an 1869 book edited by Samuel W. Bailey; 9 but because it did not appear in Jefferson’s works or writings, and because the occasion in which it might have been spoken by him could not be identified, it was left as unconfirmed. Its source, however, has now been found: the writings of the great Daniel Webster (1782-1852).

Webster was part of the second generation of American statesmen. Born at the end of the American Revolution, he grew up with the speeches of Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison. Following his own entry into politics, he became a leading national figure, serving almost a decade in the U. S. House, nearly two decades in the U. S. Senate, and being Secretary of State for three different Presidents.

Webster gained a reputation as an exceptional orator. He was considered the greatest attorney in his generation and personally argued and won numerous cases before the U. S. Supreme Court. 10 His strong commitment to the principles of law and the Constitution earned him the title “The Defender of the Constitution.”

In 1852, Webster described a conversation he had with Thomas Jefferson, reporting:

Many years ago I spent a Sabbath with Thomas Jefferson at his residence in Virginia. It was in the month of June, and the weather was delightful. While engaged in discussing the beauties of the Bible, the sound of the bell broke upon our ears, when, turning to the sage of Monticello, I remarked, “How sweetly – how very sweetly sounds that Sabbath bell!” The distinguished statesman for a moment seemed lost in thought, and then replied: “Yes, my dear Webster; yes, it melts the heart, it calms the passions, and makes us boys again.” . . . “[British statesman Edmund] Burke,” said he, “never uttered a more important truth than when he exclaimed that a ‘religious education was the cheap defense of nations’.” “Raikes [the founder of the Sunday School movement in England],” said Mr. Jefferson, “has done more for our country than the present generation will acknowledge. Perhaps when I am cold, he will obtain his reward. I hope so – earnestly hope so. I am considered by many, Mr. Webster, to have little religion; but now is not the time to correct errors of this sort. I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.” 11

So, while the quote is not found in Thomas Jefferson’s personal writings, it was recorded by a respected eye-witness. Because this quote fits well with Jefferson’s numerous attempts to promote the study of the Bible (thoroughly documented in The Jefferson Lies), it seems reasonable to attribute it to him.

Confirmed Quotations
#3: John Quincy Adams

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”
John Quincy Adams

This quote has also had wide circulation in recent decades. 12 It appeared as early as 1860 in John Wingate Thornton’s The Pulpit of the American Revolution, which reprinted a number of sermons preached during the Revolution. In that work, Thornton stated:

Thus the church polity [form of government] of New England begat like principles in the state. The pew and the pulpit had been educated to self-government. They were accustomed “TO CONSIDER.” The highest glory of the American Revolution, said John Quincy Adams, was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. 13

Initially, this quote was not found in any of Adams’ own writings; and it seemed unlikely that Thornton was reporting what Adams had personally told him, so we therefore placed it on the Unconfirmed list. We have now found the origin of this quote. It turns out that Thornton had simply, but accurately, summarized an opening section from one of Adams’ famous published orations: his 1837 Fourth of July address at Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Adams began that discourse by observing that Christmas and the Fourth of July were America’s two most-celebrated holidays, and that the two were connected. He queried of his audience that day:

Why is it that next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day [July 4th]? . . . Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before? 14

Comparing Adams’ original 1837 quotation with Thornton’s 1860 summation of it, one immediately sees the origin of Thornton’s statement. He had accurately related the essence of Adams’ message; and while he never presented his statement as being an exact quotation from Adams, those who used Thornton’s work in subsequent generations assumed that it was. Consequently, this Unconfirmed Quotation originally attributed to Adams can now be replaced with his exact statement as delivered in his 1837 speech.

Confirmed Quotations
#4: Supreme Court

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. In this sense and to this extent, our civilizations and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”
Supreme Court

This quotation, too, appeared in numerous modern works 15 and was identified as being a quote from the “Supreme Court.” Those who used the quote assumed that it was from the U. S. Supreme Court, but when searching the Court’s opinions, it was not found, even though it was consistent with the tone and rhetoric of the U. S. Supreme Court’s “Christian nation” decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States (1892). 16 Not finding the quote in that case, the next thought was that it perhaps appeared in Supreme Court Justice David Brewer’s book subsequently written on the same subject after he had penned the language in the Court’s unanimous decision in the Holy Trinity case. While he definitely used phrases similar to this quotation, 17 it did not appear in his work. But after more than a decade of searching, this quote was finally found; and it definitely was from a ruling by a “Supreme Court” – the 1883 Illinois Supreme Court! 18 This quote is now authenticated and can be cited, providing that it is attributed to the proper court.

Confirmed Quotations
#5: Samuel Adams

“A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”
Samuel Adams

This quote was found in multiple modern works about the Founding Fathers and the Founding Era. 19 But because it lacked primary source documentation, this statement was held as suspect. But eventually this exact quote was found in a letter from Samuel Adams to fellow patriot James Warren on February 12, 1779, 20 and thus it has been removed from the Unconfirmed list and placed it on the Confirmed list.

Unconfirmed Quotations
#1: George Washington

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
George Washington

This quotation, used in numerous modern works, 21 also appeared in a number of books in the 1800s and early 1900s. 22 It is not found in any modern, critical edition of Washington’s writings, but it appears as early as 1835, when James K. Paulding (a Secretary of the Navy) reports Washington as saying:

It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. 23

The similarity between this and the unconfirmed quotation is obvious, and a subsequent paraphrase of these words could have generated the quote in question. It is unlikely that Paulding actually heard Washington say these words, but this early record should not be lightly dismissed. And the tone and rhetoric of this currently unconfirmed quotation is consistent with Washington’s numerous statements on religion. For an extensive selection of his religious sayings, see:

  • Maxims of Washington: Political, Social, Moral, and Religious, John F. Schroeder, editor (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1855). This work has been reprinted multiple times since 1855, including by The Mount Vernon Ladies Association in 1942. However, due to unwise editorial changes made by the modern editor, John Riley, in the most recent edition, the current version is considered unreliable. We therefore highly recommend older versions.
  • William J. Johnson, George Washington The Christian (New York: The Abingdon Press, 1919; reprinted in 1976 by Mott Media, and in 1992 by Christian Liberty Press).
  • George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Co., 1837), Vol. 12, pp. 399-411, “The Religious Opinions and Habits of Washington.”

There are numerous indications of Washington’s lifelong conviction concerning the inseparability of God, and specifically Christianity, from both private and public life. Notice some of the many examples in which he expressed this belief:

To his brother-in-law:

I was favored with your epistle [letter] wrote on a certain 25th of July when you ought to have been at church, praying as becomes every good Christian man who has as much to answer for as you have. Strange it is that you will be so blind to truth that the enlightening sounds of the Gospel cannot reach your ear, nor no examples awaken you to a sense of goodness. Could you but behold with what religious zeal I hye [i.e., hie – that is, hasten] me to church on every Lord’s Day, it would do your heart good, and fill it, I hope, with equal fervency. 24

To his military troops:

While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian. 25

To a church:

I readily join with you, that “while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.” 26

To the nation:

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 man and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. 27

There is certainly abundant evidence to support thesis of the quotation in question as generally consistent with Washington’s beliefs, although the exact wording of this quotation currently remains unconfirmed.

Unconfirmed Quotations
#2: Patrick Henry

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”
Patrick Henry

This quote, which has been utilized in numerous works over recent decades; 28 seems to have first appeared in The Virginia magazine in 1956. 29 Few could dispute that this quotation is consistent with Henry’s life and character.

Henry’s dedication to the Christian faith, and even his use of what today would be considered evangelical rhetoric, is seen repeatedly throughout his life. For example, on one occasion when attacked by critics who attempted to weaken his standing by publicly diminishing his religiosity, he told his daughter:

Amongt other strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and, indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me much more pain than the appellation of Tory [i.e., being called a traitor]; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long and have given no decided and public proofs of my being a Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character which I prize far above all this world has, or can boast. 30

Henry repeatedly demonstrated his firm commitment to Christianity. For example, not only did he distribute Soame Jennings’ 1776 book, View of the Internal Evidence of Christianity 31 but he also made clear that he “looked to the restraining and elevating principles of Christianity as the hope of his country’s institutions.” 32 And when Thomas Paine penned his Age of Reason attacking religion in general and Christianity and the Bible in particular, Henry wrote a refutation of what he described as “the puny efforts of Paine.” 33 But after reading Bishop Richard Watson’s Apology for the Bible written against Paine, Henry deemed that work sufficient and decided not to publish his own. 34

When Henry passed away in 1799, his personal legal documents and his will were opened and publicly read by his executors. Included with his will was an original copy of the 1765 Stamp Act Resolutions (early precursors to the American Revolution) passed by the Virginia Legislature, of which Henry had been a member. On the back of those resolutions Henry penned a handwritten message, knowing it would be read at his death. He recounted the early colonial resistance to British policy that eventually resulted in the American Revolution, and then concluded with this warning:

Whether this [the American War for Independence] will prove a blessing or a curse will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation [Proverbs 14:34]. Reader! – whoever thou art, remember this! – and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself and encourage it in others. P. Henry 35

And in his will, after having dispersed his earthy possessions to his family, he told them:

This is all the inheritance I can give my dear family. The religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich indeed. 36

There are many similar quotes; so while the specific statement above is currently unconfirmed, it is certainly consistent with the tone and rhetoric of other of Henry’s declarations about Christianity.

Unconfirmed Quotations
#3: James Madison

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves . . . according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
James Madison

This quotation, like the others in this list, has been used in numerous modern works as well as works dating back to 1939. 37 These words have not been found in any of Madison’s writings. However, the key thought of the necessity of individual self-government according to a Biblical standard is reflective of Madison’s expressed beliefs.

For example, in Federalist #39, Madison speaks of “that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” 38 He also spoke of Christianity as “the religion which we believe to be of Divine origin” 39 and as “the best and purest religion.” 40 It is consistent that he would favorably view God’s standards as the measure for the governance and guidance of society. In fact, he declared:

[T]he belief in a God All-Powerful, wise, and good is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities to be impressed with it. 41

Despite other quotations consistent with the emphasis of the one in question above, this specific quotation remains unconfirmed, and it should not be used unless it can be verified in an original primary source document.

Summary

Christians, of all people, should be known for their honesty. In David’s early works on religion and the Founders, he used quotations that he had every reason to believe were accurate. When he began to have questions about the validity of a few of these quotations, he publically acknowledged that they may not be accurate. Since 1996 he has been able to confirm some of these quotations, and has ceased to use those that he has not been able to confirm.

As the historical debates continue over the relation of church and state and the faith of the Founding Fathers, all involved should pursue the highest standard of scholarship. Anyone writing on this subject is encouraged to document their sources, and to always take quotations from primary rather than secondary sources.


Endnotes

1. See, for instance, Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, and George M. Marsden, The Search for Christian America (Westchester: Crossway Books, 1983), passim and especially p. 73 (citing various secondary source to support the profoundly erroneous assertion that “The God of the founding fathers was a benevolent deity, not far removed from the God of eighteenth-century Deists or nineteenth century Unitarians.”); John Fea, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011),118-19, 258 (quoting John Calvin from Gregg Frazer’s 2004 doctoral dissertation rather than the readily available Institutes of the Christian Religion); and, worst of all, Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness (New York: W.W. Norton, 1996) (within which the authors do not feel compelled to cite any sources whatsoever!). (Return)

2. From a hostile written review of David Barton and WallBuilders written by Gregg Frazer at the request of Jay Richards. That written critique was subsequently passed on to David Barton on August 13, 2012, by the Rev. James Robison, to whom Jay Richards had distributed it. (Return)

3. See, for example, Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory (NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1977), p. 370; Stephen McDowell, America’s Providential History (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Foundation, 1989), p. 1;William Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, TX: Fame Publishing, Inc., 1994), p. 246; Martin H. Manser, Westminster Collection of Christian Quotations (Westminster: John Knox Press, 2001), p. 151; Classics of American Political and Constitutional Thought, Scott J. Hammond, Kevin R. Hardwick, Howard L. Lubert, editors (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2007), Vol. II, p. 228. (Return)

4. George Bancroft, History of the United States, From the Discovery of the American Continent (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1866), Vol. IX, p. 492. (Return)

5. See, for example, Benjamin Franklin, Two Tracts: Information to Those Who Would Remove to America. And, Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America (London: 1784), pp. 3-24, “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America.” (Return)

6. M. Mallet Du Pan, Considerations on the Nature of the French Revolution, and on the Causes which Prolong its Duration Translated from the French (London: J. Owen, 1793), p. 31. (Return)

7. The original reads: “Francklin répéta plus d’une fois à ses éleves de Paris, que celui qui transporteroit dans l’état politique les principes du christianisme primitif, changeroit la face de la société.” Jacques Mallet du Pan, Considerations Sur La Nature De La Révolution De France (Londres: Chez Emm. Flon, 1793), 28. (Return)

8. See, for example, Stephen McDowell, America’s Providential History (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Foundation, 1989), p. 178; John Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1991; originally printed in 1975), no page number; Dag Heward-Mills, BASIC Theology (Florida: Xulon Press, 2011), p. 29. (Return)

9. Homage of Eminent Persons to The Book, Samuel W. Bailey, editor (New York: Rand, Avery, & Frye, 1869), p. 67. (Return)

10. See, for example, Joseph Banvard, Daniel Webster: His Life and Public Services (Chicago: The Werner Co, 1895), pp. 131-132. (Return)

11. Daniel Webster, The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster Hitherto Uncollected (Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1903), Vol. IV, pp. 656-657, to Professor Pease on June 15, 1852; originally appearing in The National Magazine: Devoted to Literature, Art, and Religion. July to December, 1858, James Floy, editor (New York: Carolton & Porter, 1858), Vol. XIII, August, 1858, pp. 178-179. (Return)

12. See, for example, Stephen McDowell, America’s Providential History (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Foundation, 1989), p. 146; William Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, TX: Fame Publishing, Inc., 1994), p. 18; William Federer, Treasury of Presidential Quotes (St. Louis, MO: Amerisearch, 2004), p. 459; D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, How Would Jesus Vote? A Christian Perspective on the Issues (New York: Random House, 2010), p. 28. (Return)

13. John Wingate Thornton, The Pulpit of the American Revolution (Boston: Gould And Lincoln, 1860), p. xxix. (Return)

14. John Quincy Adams, An Oration Delivered Before the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport, at Their Request, on the Sixty-first Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1837 (Newburyport: Charles Whipple, 1837), pp. 5-6. (Return)

15. See, for example, Stephen McDowell, America’s Providential History (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Foundation, 1989), p. 178; William Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, TX: Fame Publishing, Inc., 1994), p. 72; Joseph P. Hester, Ten Commandments: A Handbook of Religious, Legal and Social Issues (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2002), p. 138l. (Return)

16. For example, “These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.” Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 143 U. S. 457, 471 (1892). (Return)

17. Justice David J. Brewer, author of the 1892 Holy Trinity opinion, wrote a 1905 book, The United States: A Christian Nation. Brewer opened his work with these words: “This republic [the United States] is classified among the Christian nations of the world. It was so formally declared by the Supreme Court of the United States. . . . Nevertheless, we constantly speak of this republic as a Christian nation – in fact, as the leading Christian nation of the world.” David J. Brewer, The United States A Christian Nation (Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 1905), pp. 11-12. (Return)

18. Richmond v. Moore, 107 Ill. 429, 1883 WL 10319 (Ill.), 47 Am.Rep. 445 (Ill. 1883). (Return)

19. See, for example, Stephen McDowell, America’s Providential History (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Foundation, 1989), p. 179; Stephen McDowell and Mark Beliles, Liberating the Nations: Biblical Principles of Government, Education, Economics, & Politics (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Foundation, 1995), p. 14; William Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, TX: Fame Publishing, Inc., 1994), p. 23; Peter Marshall and David B. Manuel, Jr., The Light and the Glory: 1492-1793 (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1977; revised 2009), p. 11; Ira Stoll, Samuel Adams: A Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008), p. 203. (Return)

20. Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1905), Vol. IV, p. 124, to James Warren on February 12, 1779. (Return)

21. See, for example, William J. Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, TX: Fame Publishing Inc., 1994), p. 660; Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008; originally printed 1927), p. 18, “Notable Sayings About the Bible”; Martin H. Manser, Westminster Collection of Christian Quotations (Westminster: John Knox Press, 2001) p. 152. (Return)

22. See, for example, Howard H. Russell, A Lawyer’s Examination of the Bible (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1893), p. 40, The Bible in New York. A Quarterly Review of the New York Bible Society (New York: November 1910), Vol. III, No. 9, p. 8, “What Some Men Have Said About the Bible,” Samuel Strahl Lappin, The Training of the Church: A Series of Thirty-Five Lessons Designed to Aid Those Who Would Know More, Do More and Be More in the Services of Jesus Christ (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1911), p. 26, The Bible Champion, Jay Benson Hamilton, editor (New York: Bible League of North America, 1914), Vol. XVII, No. 2, February 1914, p. 85, Thomas M. Iden, The Upper Room Bulleton: 1920-1921 (Ann Arbor, MI: Ann Arbor Press, 1921), Vol. VII, No. 3, October 23, 1920, p. 35,”United States Presidents and the Bible,” John Calvin Leonard, Herald and Presbyter (Cincinnati: 1921), Vol. XCII, No. 38, September 21, 1921, p. 3. (Return)

23. James K. Paulding, A Life of Washington (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1835), Vol. II, p. 209. (Return)

24. George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1940), Vol. 37, p. 484, to Burwell Bassett, August 28, 1762. (Return)

25. George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1934), Vol. 11, pp. 342-343, General Orders of May 2, 1778. (Return)

26. George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1939), Vol. 30, p. 432 n., from his address to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America in October, 1789. (Return)

27. George Washington, Address of George Washington, President of the United States . . . Preparatory to His Declination (Baltimore: George and Henry S. Keatinge, 1796), pp. 22-23. (Return)

28. See, for example, Stephen McDowell, America’s Providential History (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Foundation, 1989), p. 184; William Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, TX: Fame Publishing, Inc., 1994), p. 289; Joseph P. Hester, The Ten Commandments: A Handbook of Religious, Legal and Social Issues (NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003), p. 137; Newt Gingrich, Vince Haley, A Nation Like No Other: Why American Exceptionalism Matters (Houston: Regency Publishing, 2011), p. 76. (Return)

29. See, for example, information at Snopes.com.(Return)

30. S. G. Arnold, The Life of Patrick Henry (Auburn: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1854), p. 250, to his daughter Betsy on August 20, 1796. (Return)

31. Patrick Henry, Life, Correspondence and Speeches, William Wirt Henry, editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), Vol. II, p. 490. (Return)

32. Patrick Henry, Life, Correspondence and Speeches, William Wirt Henry, editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), Vol. II, p. 621. (Return)

33. S. G. Arnold, The Life of Patrick Henry of Virginia (Auburn and Buffalo: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1854), p. 250, to his daughter Betsy on August 20, 1796. (Return)

34. George Morgan, The True Patrick Henry (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1907), p. 366 n. See also, Bishop William Meade, Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Virginia (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1857), Vol. II, p. 12. (Return)

35. Patrick Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence and Speeches, William Wirt Henry, editor (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), Vol. I, pp. 81-82, from a handwritten endorsement on the back of the paper containing the resolutions of the Virginia Assembly in 1765 concerning the Stamp Act. (Return)

36. From a copy of Henry’s Last Will and Testament, dated November 20, 1798, obtained from Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, Red Hill, Brookneal, VA. (Return)

37. See, for example, Harold K. Lane, Liberty! Cry Liberty! (Boston: Lamb and Lamb Tractarian Society, 1939), pp. 32-33; Frederick Nyneyer, First Principles in Morality and Economics: Neighborly Love and Ricardo’s Law of Association (South Holland; Libertarian Press, 1958), p. 31; Rus Walton, Biblical Principles of Importance to Godly Christians (New Hampshire: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1984), p. 361; Stephen McDowell and Mark Beliles, Principles for the Reformation of the Nations (Charlottesville: Providence Press, 1988), p. 102; Stephen McDowell and Mark Beliles, The Spirit of the Constitution (Charlottesville: Providence Press, n.d.); Stephen McDowell and Mark Beliles, America’s Providential History (Charlottesville: Providence Press, 1989), pp. 263-264; William Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations (Coppell, TX: Fame Publishing, Inc., 1994), p. 411; Gary DeMar, God and Government: A Biblical and Historical Study (Atlanta: American Vision Press, 1982), Vol. 1, pp. 137-138. (Return)

38. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, The Federalist, on the New Constitution Written in 1788 (Philadelphia: Benjamin Warner, 1818), pp. 203-204, James Madison, Number 39. (Return)

39. James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance, on the Religious Rights of Man; Written in 1784-5, At the Request of the Religious Society of Baptists in Virginia (Washington City: S. C Ustick, 1828), pp. 5-6. (Return)

40. Religion and Politics in the Early Republic: Jasper Adams and the Church-State Debate, Daniel L. Dreisbach, editor (Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 1996), p. 117, letter from James Madison, September, 1833. (Return)

41. James Madison, “The James Madison Papers,” Library of Congress, to Rev. Frederick Beasley on November 20, 1825.(Return)

Related posts:

Richard Dawkins, Alister McGrath, D. James Kennedy. Francis Schaeffer and Ravi Zacharias discuss the problem of evil!!!

______ 115. Filosofia: Richard Dawkins Vs Alister McGrath Published on Dec 21, 2012 Neste vídeo: Richard Dawkins Vs Alister McGrath Curta nossa página no facebook: https://www.facebook.com/multiversosp… ____________________ At the 40 minute mark Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath discuss Deena Burnett’s assertion that her husband Tom was an instrument carrying out God’s will in stopping the plane […]

President Obama:“do not consider ourselves a Christian nation” (Part 4 of David Barton’s response)

America’s Founding Fathers Deist or Christian? – David Barton 4/6 David Barton provided an excellent response to President Obama’s assertion: “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.” Here it is: Is President Obama Correct: Is America No Longer a Christian Nation? Over the past several years, President Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed that America […]

President Obama:“do not consider ourselves a Christian nation” (Part 2 of David Barton’s response)

America’s Founding Fathers Deist or Christian? – David Barton 2/6 Is President Obama Correct: Is America No Longer a Christian Nation? Over the past several years, President Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed that America is not a Christian nation. He asserted that while a U. S. Senator, 1 repeated it as a presidential candidate, 2 and on a recent […]

Rude Rob Boston favored Notre Dame giving Obama honorary degree but what came of that?

Uploaded by audotorg on May 13, 2009 Rob Boston of AU debates and defeats Bill Donahue on Obama’s invitation to speak at Notre Dame University. _________________ Rude Rob Boston favored President Obama speaking at Notre Dame but it turned out that after President Obama got the honorary degree he went out and now is going […]

Did David Barton fabricate quotes and attribute them to the founding fathers?

On the Arkansas Times Blog on June 17, 2012 I noted: Google the phrase ” David Barton fabricated quotes” and you will get many websites that claim this is true and Rob Boston’s 1996 article “consumer alert” in the Church and State Magazine is what prompted this reaction throughout the country. As a journalist you […]

Rob Boston is not very courteous while being interviewed on CNN

Uploaded by audotorg on Aug 16, 2007 Rob Boston of Americans United debates the Family Research Council’s Sharmane Yost over teaching creationism in public school science courses on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” _______________ I saw this interview a few years ago and it reminded me of my run in with Rob Boston and how rude […]

David Barton: In their words, did the Founding Fathers put their faith in Christ? (Part 3)

America’s Founding Fathers Deist or Christian? – DavidBarton 3/6 There have been many articles written by evangelicals like me who fear that our founding fathers would not recognize our country today because secular humanism has rid our nation of spiritual roots. I am deeply troubled by the secular agenda of those who are at war […]

David Barton: Was John Adams really an enemy of Christians? (Part 7)

3 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton Evangelical leader Ken Ham rightly has noted, “Most of the founding fathers of this nation … built the worldview of this nation on the authority of the Word of God.” I strongly agree with this statement by Ham. Dr. […]

David Barton: Was John Adams really an enemy of Christians? (Part 5)

1 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton Evangelical leader Ken Ham rightly has noted, “Most of the founding fathers of this nation … built the worldview of this nation on the authority of the Word of God.” I strongly agree with this statement by Ham. Dr. […]

David Barton: Was John Adams really an enemy of Christians? (Part 4)

4 Of 5 / The Bible’s Influence In America / American Heritage Series / David Barton Evangelical leader Ken Ham rightly has noted, “Most of the founding fathers of this nation … built the worldview of this nation on the authority of the Word of God.” I strongly agree with this statement by Ham. Dr. […]

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: