Tag Archives: Rob Boston

Misquotes, Fake Quotes, and Disputed Quotes of the Founders

 

Many inauthentic quotes attributed to the Founding Fathers have been in circulation for much of the 20th century. These are still being used frequently, especially by those in the religious right.

Fortunately we have many of the letters, diaries, and notes written by the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote many letters daily. John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary every day for 18 years straight. During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, James Madison wrote notes in shorthand which he converted into longhand every night. Newspapers of the day are also a good source. Actually, George Washington’s farewell Presidential Address in 1796 was only a newspaper article. In sum, our prolific Founders left us with many sources of material.

Misquotes

If one quotes the actual words of a Founding Father but does not give the context, then he is guilty of misquoting.

John Adams (1735-1826) “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.”

John George and Paul Boller, Jr. in their book They Never Said It set the record straight:

Adams did indeed make the statement, but only to repudiate it. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson about religion on April 19, 1817, he mentioned reading some polemical books that reminded him of the way his boyhood minister, Lemuel Bryant, and his Latin schoolmaster, Joseph Cleverly, used to argue ad nausea about religion, and he told Jefferson: “Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company–I mean hell.”

 Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) “I therefore beg leave to move–that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that article.”

This is exactly what Franklin said at the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. However, many in the religious right ignore that fact that his motion was tabled and never voted on. For instance, Tal Brooke comments, “It was Benjamin Franklin who called the Constitutional Convention to prayer with a powerful statement of their debt to God. As mere men, they could not presume to undertake so great a task without petitioning Him for guidance. America abounds with Christian evidences from its earliest days.”

Actually this version of the Franklin prayer motion originated with a letter written in September of 1825 from William Steele to his son, Jonathan. The letter told about William’s recollection of a conversation with General Jonathan Dayton, a member of the Constitutional Convention. This incorrect account later appeared in the National Intelligencer, and other sources as well. According to Steele, Dayton recalled that “the motion for appointing a chaplain was instantly seconded and carried.” However, James Madison in a letter to Thomas S. Grimke (January 6, 1834) stated that Franklin’s “proposition was received and treated with the respect due to it; but the lapse of time which had preceded, with consternations growing out of it, had the effect of limiting what was done, to a reference of the proposition to a highly respectable Committee… That the communication [Steele’s account of Dayton testimony] was erroneous is certain; whether from misapprehension or misrecollection, uncertain.”

We should learn a lesson from James Madison. It is one thing to correct a person who is mistaken about historical details, but it is quite another to accuse someone of intentionally fabricating a story. Note that Madison stopped short of doing the latter.

Fake Quotes

A fake quote is an inauthentic quote attributed to a Founding Father. The late Robert S. Alley, former professor at the University of Richmond has rightly stated that “proving that a quotation does not exist is a daunting task…” However, evidence exists that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the following quote is not authentic.

James Madison (1751-1836) “Religion …[is] the basis and foundation of government.”

This fake quote is taken from Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance. The subject in this sentence is not “Religion,” but actually the “Declaration of those rights ‘which pertain to the good people of Virginia.'” Nevertheless, this inauthentic quote has been circulated for many years.

Disputed Quotes

A disputed quote may actually be authentic, but no primary source has been found. Some scholars would put the following two quotes in the previous category of “Fake Quotes” while other scholars may hold out hope that a primary source will be found.

James Madison (1751-1836) “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.”

Possibly this quote was originally given by Bishop James Madison (a cousin) or from James Madison’s father, James Madison, Sr., but this is pure speculation. There is always a distant chance that a quote could turn up from a primary source that was found in someone’s attic. In fact, a primary document from James Madison surfaced as late as 1946, but don’t hold your breath till that happens again. The fact remains that there is not a shred of evidence that links James Madison to this quote. Moreover, Paul F. Boller, Jr. in a personal letter to me stated, “The Madison quote about the Ten Commandments sounds un-Madisonian. I’ve read a lot of Madison, and I know he didn’t express himself that way…Sometimes the questionable quote can’t be found in any of the writings that have survived of the person who is supposed to have made the statement. The Madison quote doesn’t appear in any of Madison’s writings.”

Christian apologist Gary DeMar wrote concerning his research concerning the quote:

I credited this quotation to Madison in the first edition of the first volume of God and Government. Nearly every book written by a Christian author to support the Christian America thesis claims Madison as the quotation’s author. I have searched in vain for the quotation’s original source. American Vision even contacted a Madison scholar for help. He was not familiar with the quotation. Further study led me to the January 1958 calendar published by Spiritual Mobilization. What was Spiritual Mobilization’s source for the quotation? None was listed. Additional detective work led me to another James Madison, a cousin of President Madison. Madison served as president of William and Mary College and was the first Protestant Episcopal bishop of Virginia. Is he the source of the quotation? Very possibly. Christians should stop attributing of the quotation to President James Madison until we find out.

 It is my opinion that this disputed quote attributed to Madison has been the one used more than any other by the religious right. This is probably due to the fact that the Supreme Court banned the display of the Ten Commandments in the public school rooms in the case Stone v. Graham in 1980.

George Washington (1732-1799) “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Several years ago, I was guilty of using this disputed quote, and the late Professor John George of the University of Central Oklahoma, Political Science Department, told me that there is not a shred of evidence to link Washington to this quote. Professor George was a leading expert on this subject, and he co-authored They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions with Paul F. Boller, Jr. of Texas Christian University.

I had copied this disputed quote off of a bumper sticker that my friend from church had on his truck. However, I was surprised at my friend’s reaction when I told him he should remove his sticker. He said,  “Is Professor George a Christian? If not then he probably has an axe to grind.” I later discovered that Professor George had corrected many atheists too. Nevertheless, I tried to find someone in the religious right who also had some knowledge on the subject.

So I called up the company that specialized at putting out bumper stickers with quotes from the  Founding Fathers dealing with God. The owner of the company actually spent a whole year researching the Washington quote and he said he concluded that Washington did not say it. He commented, “Washington did not talk that way. He did not use the word ‘Bible’ any that I can remember, and I believe, I have read everything available that Washington wrote.”

This fellow was a Christian lawyer, and he said he could no longer sell the Washington bumper sticker even though it made up 90% of his sales. Again I went back to my friend, but he replied, “That fellow is not a historian. David Barton has studied the history of the founding fathers for over 20 years. I have a lot of respect for Barton.”

Then I contacted Barton’s organization, Wallbuilders Inc of Aledo, Texas. They mailed me the “Unconfirmed or Questionable Quote” list and it featured the Washington quote. Furthermore, it recommended not using this quote until it is authenticated.

When confronted with this opinion from Barton my friend responded, “I am not going to take my bumper sticker off until I have an explanation of how the quote could have possibly been mistakenly attributed to Washington in the first place.”

Then I received a few weeks later an updated “Unconfirmed Quote” list from Wallbuilders, and under the Washington disputed quote is this explanation:

There is a very real possibility that the quotation has its origin in an 1835 biography by James K. Paulding. In a description of Washington’s character, with supporting quotations, Paulding declares Washington to have said, “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.” The similarities are obvious; a paraphrase of these quotes could have easily generated the words in question. However, we have not been able to trace Paulding’s cite to a more scholarly reference. He offers no footnotes.

I thought my friend would finally back down when I showed him this evidence, but I was about to learn something about human nature. I explained to him that this quote originated around 1835 when someone read Paulding’s book A Life of Washington. This is because it contained another unconfirmed quote of Washington which also had the words “impossible” and “govern.” Obviously a paraphrase took place at that time. My friend replied, “Are you 100% sure it is a bad quote? If not then I am going to continue to use it!”

Needless to say I have learned a lot about people’s tendency to ignore evidence when it goes against their presuppositions. Furthermore, I have quit trying to convince my friend that a disputed quote should be shelved until it is authenticated. He truly believes if Washington were here today he would say it now even if he didn’t say it the first time.

  Everette Hatcher is a businessman in Little Rock, and his blog is www.thedailyhatch.org . He is a conservative Republican and he has confronted over 30 religious right authors over their misuse of disputed quotes. (The article above has been recommended by unlikely advocates such as the atheist Farrell Till of the Skepitcal Review.)

(Update: You will notice above in the section labeled “Fake Quotes” that I linked a comment by the late Dr. Robert Alley to an article by Rob Boston of Americans United published in 1996. I posted earlier how I was the source for the two articles that Rob Boston wrote on David Barton but unfortunately he implied that Barton made up these quotes. Fortunately I was given the opportunity to set the record straight in The Freedom Writer.

Later I got several board members of Americans United to contact Boston on my behalf and voice their opinion of how unfair Boston had been to Barton in his article  “Consumer Alert”. On March 7, 1997, I spoke with Barry Lynn the executive director of Americans United. Lynn was very gracious on the phone and  promised to consider an article from me in response to the slanted  “Consumer Alert” article Boston had written earlier. Americans United board member Dr. Paul Simmons of Louisville helped me write the aritcle, but ultimately it was never published until today.)

George Washington (Lansdowne portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 1796

George Washington (Lansdowne portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 1796
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired as a gift to the nation through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.


Advertisements

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

Uploaded by 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 to force the catholic institutions to provide free abortions under Obamacare. (By the way we have seen rudeness from Rob Boston before and he spread misinformation too before.)

Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times Blog and his liberal friends believe “Cries of religious discrimination are drowning out the facts, law and reality…”, but that is not the way that I see it.

Al  Mohler’s excellent article takes on President Obama:

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

 
Posted on Feb 6, 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — In 1808, President Thomas Jefferson stated the matter bluntly: “I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.”

Fast forward 204 years and President Barack Obama has reversed that logic, ordering religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for employees that must include contraceptives, including those that may induce an abortion.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement Jan. 20, stating: “Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA-approved forms of contraception.”

The ruling had been much anticipated as a consequence of President Obama’s health care reform. The new law required the administration to determine what elements would be included in the mandated coverage. The administration first determined that the preventative care provision would include coverage of contraceptives. The second step was determining that this contraceptive coverage would include, as Secretary Sebelius restated it, “all FDA-approved forms of contraception.” These include drugs known as Plan B, which is taken after the possibility of fertilization, thus functioning as an inducer of abortion. The plans must also provide sterilization procedures for women without deductibles or co-payments.

The final step in the process was the decision to require all employers to provide this coverage, including church-affiliated institutions and organizations. The only exemption is offered to churches and religious bodies that neither employ nor serve any significant number of people who do not share their faith. As one church leader commented, this would not allow an exemption even for the ministry of Jesus and his disciples, who ministered to those outside the faith.

Nonetheless, Secretary Sebelius had the temerity to claim, in her statement: “This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services. The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, which promote healthy communities and serve the common good.”

In actuality, the Obama administration trampled religious liberty under the feet of the leviathan state, forcing religious employers to do what conscience will not allow. Religious organizations such as schools, colleges and hospitals will be required to pay for services that they believe to be immoral and disobedient to God.

In a final insult, the administration allowed that religious employers could, if qualified, have an extra year to comply with the decision. As Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah made clear, this intentionally evades the point. “The problem is not that religious institutions do not have time enough to comply,” he said, “It’s that they are forced to comply at all.”

Roman Catholic authorities were among the first to respond with outrage. Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York City, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who had personally made the case to President Obama for a broader exemption, said simply: “We are unable to live with this.”

This last Sunday, Catholics around the nation heard letters from their local bishops with the same message. The bishop of Marquette, for example, put the matter with severe simplicity: “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law.”

In other words, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops have signaled their clear intention to defy the law rather than to violate their conscience. Will evangelical Christians demonstrate the same courage and conviction?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches against the use of any artificial birth control and considers these to be assaults upon the dignity of all human life. In more recent years, evangelicals have had to rethink the contraception issue. At the very least, the issue of abortion has required evangelicals to realize that any form of birth control is a matter of great moral significance and thus of moral conscience.

The inclusion of Plan B and other forms of “emergency contraception” raises the stakes considerably, since the issue of abortion is now unavoidable. Will evangelical colleges and institutions now comply with a law we know to be both unjust and unconscionable?

The National Association of Evangelicals made a statement that described the situation well, but promised no particular action: “Employers with religious objections to contraception will be forced to pay for services and procedures they believe are morally wrong.”

The Obama administration knew exactly what it was doing. It had received no shortage of advice on this question, and advocates for a broader exemption were vocal even within the administration. Members of the President’s own party shared the disappointment in the decision. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania lamented the administration’s “bad decision.”

Others wondered aloud why President Obama had, in the words of Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, thrown those with religious objections “under the bus.” The editors of that paper made their own disappointment clear as well:

“The best approach would have been for HHS to stick to its original conclusion that contraception coverage should generally be required but to expand the scope of its proposed exemption for religiously affiliated employers who claim covering contraception would violate their religious views. The administration’s feint at a compromise — giving such employers another year to figure out how to comply with the requirement — is unproductive can-kicking that fails to address the fundamental problem of requiring religiously affiliated entities to spend their own money in a way that contradicts the tenets of their faith.”

The one-year extension is indeed “unproductive can-kicking,” but the far larger issue is “the fundamental problem of requiring religiously affiliated entities to spend their own money in a way that contradicts the tenets of their faith.”

Every president faces decisions that test his character and principles. President Obama has failed this test, and the results will be tragic. He has trampled religious liberty underfoot and has announced his intention to force religious institutions to violate their consciences or go out of business.

This decision will lead to nothing less than the secularization of the good work undertaken by these religious institutions. Faith-based adoption agencies, hospitals and educational institutions are being forced to secularize or cease operations already. This decision will add tragic momentum to that process.

Religious organizations are being told to comply with the government’s order, or face the consequences. A Roman Catholic college in North Carolina has challenged the Obama administration in court, an action now also taken by Colorado Christian University, an evangelical college. Concerted calls for a legislative rescue from Congress are being made.

And yet, the decision of the Obama administration is clear. The edict from President Obama to religious institutions is this — violate conscience and bend the knee to the government, or face the consequences.

We will soon learn just how much faith is left in faith-based institutions.
–30–
R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. This column first appeared at AlbertMohler.com. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email(baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Related posts:

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. _________________ 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 to […]

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 […]

What the Sam Hill is going on? (Phrase came out of Hatfield-McCoy feud)

  Wikipedia informs us that probably

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 would think people like Max would call Boston out on this. An apology should have been issued by Boston years ago.

Hopefully today when you google that phrase you will be taken to my website, www.thedailyhatch.org, and you will not have to read all those lies that were prompted by Rob Boston about David Barton.

If you go to http://www.youtube.com and type in “Rob Boston Fake Quotes” you will get a 6 min, 47 sec clip with Rob Boston being interview on February 10, 2010 on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The origin of this “fake quote scandal” was my 1996 encounter with Rob Boston. Looking back I think it was my trusting nature that got me in trouble.  (I should have known that Boston could be quite rude at times and that should tipped me off to a character flaw.)

It all started because I was involved in a series of correspondence with  Boston who is the senior policy analyst at the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) and a board member of the American Humanist Society.

(Portions of this below appeared in an article I did for the Freedom Writer in May/June 1997 issue which is a publication friendly to Boston and not to me but they felt the record should be set straight concerning the misleading article that Boston had written in 1996 in Church & State titled “Consumer Alert.”.)

Let me start from the very beginning. As an evangelical Christian and a member of the Christian Coalition, I felt obliged to expose a misquote of John Adams’ I found in an article entitled “America’s Unchristian Beginnings” (Los Angeles Times, August 3, 1995, p.B-9) by the self-avowed atheist Dr. Steven Morris. However, what happened next changed my focus to the use of misquotes, unconfirmed quotes, and misleading attributions by the religious right.

In the process of attempting to correct Morris, I was guilty of using several misquotes myself. Dr John George  coauthor (with Paul Boller Jr.) of the book They Never Said It! (Oxford University Press, 1989) set me straight. George pointed out that George Washington never said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” (They Never Said It! pp. 126-127). I had cited page 18 of the 1927 edition of Halley’s Bible Handbook. This quote was probably generated by a similar statement that appears in A Life of Washington (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1835) by James Paulding. Sadly, no one has been able to verify any of the quotes in Paulding’s book since no footnotes were offered.

After reading They Never Said It! I had a better understanding of how widespread the problem of misquotes is. Furthermore, I discovered that many of these had been used by the leaders of the religious right. I decided to confront some individuals concerning their misquotes. WallBuilders, the publisher of David Barton’s The Myth of Separation (published in 1989), helped me further by providing me with their “Questionable Quote” list. The list contained a dozen quotes of the founders that Barton could only confirm with secondary sources.

Proverbs 19:25 states, “…rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.” Since I was rebuking fellow Christians, I felt certain they would all gladly quit using unconfirmed or questionable quotes. The religious right leaders I contacted had three different responses.

The first was the reaction that I expected. Several thanked me for bringing these corrections to their attention. They agreed that it is wrong to use disputed quotes as if they were authentic.

The second, which was the most common response, was to claim that their critics were biased skeptics who find the truth offensive. The premise of this argument is, “We know our critics are 100% wrong all the time, so who cares what they have to say anyway. We are the only unbiased ones.”

And the third response was from one who defended his method of research and his method of confirming sources. Furthermore, he said that he pursued his graduate education in order to improve his level of scholarship. Nevertheless, that respondent never provided me with his original sources.

There are some misquotes used commonly by separationists, but evidently the religious right has a much more widespread problem. One illustration demonstrates just how widespread the problem is among religious right lay historians. When David Barton wrote The Myth of Separation he used many secondary sources for the 500 quotes that appeared in his book published in 1989. After an effort to find primary sources for these quotes, Barton complied the “Questionable Quote” list with the 12 quotes that could only had confirmation through secondary sources. None of these questionable quotes originated with Barton.

After confronting over thirty religious right authors, I turned my attention to individuals from the separationist point of view. During this time I provided Rob Boston, of Americans United, with the “questionable quote” list in the hope that he would confront some individuals on his  side of the ideological fence. I even included my correspondence from several religious right leaders such as the late D. James Kennedy. Nevertheless, based upon the “Questionable Quote” list that I provided to him, Boston wrote the slanted article for Church & State titled “Consumer Alert.” (July /August 1996). In this article he implies that Barton made up the dozen quotes on the “Questionable Quote” list.

In “Consumer Alert,” these words appeared in bold print: “Mything in action: David Barton’s ‘Questionable Quotes.'” Barton was called a “double fraud.” 

Professor Fritz Detweiler of Adrian College’s religion and philosophy department responded to this controversy in his weekly column stating that Barton “made up quotes and attributed them to James Madison, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and other leading Americans…. Barton’s fabricating quotes to serve his purpose is particularly disturbing on two fronts. First, Barton was not content to let the record speak for itself because it didn’t say quite what he wanted it to say. Second, the fraudulent construction of quotes poses a particular problem for [historians] seeking to verify their accuracy.”

In response to that article, David Barton wrote in WallBuilders‘ summer 1996 newsletter that “the article,  “Consumer Alert”‘ is agenda driven. Our honest efforts to clear the ‘world’s rhetorical rivers,’ as we casually stated in the earlier draft, were twisted and misconstrued to sound as if we created the quotes… We regret that the unconfirmed quotations have been circulated over the last century-and-a-half, and WallBuilders acknowledges the errors of using secondary sources for primary historical figures. (These quotes have been purged from our materials wherever possible.) David Barton went on to make clear that his current level of scholarship as of the early 1990’s was not to use founders quotes unless they are documented by a primary source.

I had the opportunity to talk to Rob Boston on the phone about this on November 19, 1996. I told him that people all across this country have been writing letters to the editor of their local newspapers blasting David Barton because of Boston’s article and many more have been posting articles on the internet.) Boston said he was very glad people were on to Barton.

Then I pointed out to Boston that many of these people were accusing Barton of knowingly using bad quotes. Furthermore, one individual accused Barton of “creating quotes.” These people could be sued for libel. Boston replied, “No malice can be proved. I don’t know much about law, but I at least know that much.” Shortly after that Boston hung up on me, but not before he claimed “poetic license” and said he was glad that Barton’s reputation had been damaged. (Blair Scott, Alabama State Director, American Atheists, Inc. has since claimed, “David Barton was cornered and he admitted to fabricating the quotes, okay he actually called them “spurious,” but we all know that means he made them up.”)

Later I got several board members of Americans United to contact Boston on my behalf and voice their opinion of how unfair Boston had been to Barton in his article  “Consumer Alert”. On March 7, 1997, I spoke with Barry Lynn the executive director of Americans United. Lynn was very gracious on the phone and  promised to consider an article from me in response to the slanted  “Consumer Alert” article Boston had written earlier. Americans United board member Dr. Paul Simmons of Louisville helped me write the aritcle, but ultimately it was never published.

The real scandal is that this same lie caused by Boston’s article about Barton is still today being spread throughout the world on youtube and on TV. On Feb 10, 2010 on MSNBC’s show Countdown with Keith Olberman, Rob Boston was the guest and Olberman opened the show with these words:

“What happens if you want your audience to believe that the the founding fathers did not want the separation of church and state when obviously and clearly and repeatedly they did. Well you make up quotes defending your position and dishonestly attribute them to the likes of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson… More on Mr Barton and those quotes in a moment.”

Then Olbermann and Boston go on to criticize  Barton throughout the remainder of the program. However, in this interview Boston never says that Barton manufactured quotes, but he doesn’t stop Olbermann from telling the same old lie about Barton that came from this 1996 scandal. Boston knew that his article  “Consumer Alert” from 1996 was responsible for Olbermann’s inaccurate words about Barton, but Boston didn’t lift a finger to set the record straight. In 2009 Boston finally admitted concerning Barton “Unconfirmed Quote List”: “He didn’t make the stuff up, he just relied on bad sources.” Boston should have admitted this in 1996 and apologized and then tried to correct the record anytime he saw it on the internet.

Furthermore this youtube video clip has received over 75,000 hits. The clip was put on youtube by a person going by the username “JesusSavesAtCitibank” whoever that is. If you click on the username you will be provided several links to articles. The first link will bring you to Boston’s 1996 article  “Consumer Alert”.

David Barton has tried to raise the level of scholarship in the debate concerning the founders by committing to use only quotes that have been confirmed by primary sources. Dr. John George has commented, “While not agreeing with Barton concerning separation of church and state, I must say he has done everyone a service by circulating the ‘Questionable Quote List.’ Especially gratifying is his encouraging those in his own Religious Right camp to cite only primary sources for the quotes they utilize. Unfortunately, a sizable minority will ignore the advice.”

Many separationists like Dr. George praised Barton for challenging others to a higher level of scholarship concerning these unconfirmed quotes. Instead, of complimenting Barton when I provided this information to Boston in 1996, he chose to imply that Barton was guilty of making up quotes.

Now Barton is being attacked on the Arkansas Times Blog June 15, 2012 by the username “Deathbyinches”for making up quotes and attributing them to the founders and another blogger even provided a link to the People for the American Way website which includes many criticisms of Barton concerning these quotes. Last year when Barton was scheduled to come hold a seminar for state legislators and constitutional officers on Jan 25 and 26 in Little Rock,one liberal media person (Max Brantley) in Arkansas associated with Americans United had called him the “bogus Texas historian.” That is when I knew I had to set the record straight concerning Rob Boston’s fake quote youtube clip.

Related posts:

Unconfirmed Quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 6 David Barton:Were the Founding Fathers Deists? In 1988 only 25% of Christians voted but that doubled in 1994. Christians are the salt of the world. The last few days I have been  looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding Fathers actually said and the historical evidence […]

Two Unconfirmed quotes attributed to Noah Webster

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 5 David Barton: Were the Founding Fathers Deists? First Bible printed in USA was printed by our founding fathers for use in the public schools. 20,000 Bibles. 10 commandments hanging in our courthouses. The last few days I have been  looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding […]

Unconfirmed Quote attibuted to Patrick Henry

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 4 David Barton: Were Founding Fathers Deists? Only 5% of the original 250 founding fathers were not Christians (Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Thomas Paine, Ethan Allen, Joe Barlow, Charles Lee, Henry Dearborn, ect) In the next few weeks I will be looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think […]

Samuel Adams Unconfirmed Quote was Confirmed Eventually

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 3 David Barton: Were Founding Fathers Deists? American Bible Society filled with Founding Fathers Here is another in the series 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 […]

Unconfirmed Quote attributed to Ben Franklin

HALT:HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com Part 2 David Barton on Founding Fathers were they deists? Not James Wilson and William Samuel Johnson 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 […]

Unconfirmed Quote attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville

HALT: HaltingArkansasLiberalswithTruth.com 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 […]

Supreme Court never said It.

Halting Arkansas Liberals with Truth David Barton goes through American History and looks at some of the obscure names in our history and how prayer and Bible Study affected some of our founding fathers In the next few weeks I will be looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding […]

Lots of Fake Quotes of Founding Fathers in Circulation

HALT: HaltingArkansasLiberalswith Truth   ___ I wanted to thank Gene Lyons for bringing this issue of fake quotes of the Founding Fathers to our attention because it should be addressed. In April 8, 2010 article “Facts Drowning in Disinformation,” he rightly notes that Thomas Jefferson never said, “The democracy will cease to exist when you […]

Rob Boston is not very courteous while being interviewed on CNN

Uploaded by 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 he can be. I received a more cordial reply from Carl Sagan. He also disagreed with my view that the God of the Bible exists.

Over the years I have confronted many atheists. Here is one story below about Carl Sagan:

I really believe Hebrews 4:12 when it asserts:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

That verse prompted  me in 1992 to start sending a particular cassette tape out to these skeptics. This tape included three messages (“How I know the Bible is the Word of God,” Adrian Rogers, Sept 1972; “The Final Judgement,” Adrian Rogers,Sept 1972; “How to get a pure heart,” Bill Elliff, 1992.)

On Dec 5, 1995 Carl Sagan while suffering from cancer took time to finally answer the 4 letters I had written to him up to that point.(I don’t know if he ever listened to the tapes I had sent him.) Here is his response: 

Thanks for your recent letter about evolution and abortion. The correlation is hardly one to one; there are evolutionists who are anti-abortion and anti-evolutionists who are pro-abortion.You argue that God exists because otherwise we could not understand the world in our consciousness. But if you think God is necessary to understand the world, then why do you not ask the next question of where God came from? And if you say “God was always here,” why not say that the universe was always here? On abortion, my views are contained in the enclosed article (Sagan, Carl and Ann Druyan {1990}, “The Question of Abortion,” Parade Magazine, April 22.)

I responded with a two page letter on Jan 10, 1996 and I never heard back again from Dr. Sagan and he died on Dec 20, 1996. His wife Ann Druyan reported that many people of faith reached out to Sagan in last few months of his life, but he never left his agnosticism. 

I have read lots of Carl Sagan’s books and written several reviews and papers on his views. I will just leave you with two thoughts. 

Sagan observed,”Plainly, there’s something within me that’s ready to believe in life after death…If some good evidence for life after death was announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere antedote”(pp 203-204, The DemonHaunted World, 1995). 

Sagan said he had taken a look at Old Testament prophecy and it did not impress him because it was too vague. He had taken a look at Christ’s life in the gospels, but said it was unrealistic for God to send a man to communicate for God. Instead, Sagan suggested that God could have written a mathematical formula in the Bible or put a cross in the sky.However, what happens at the conclusion of the movie Contact?  This is Sagan’s last message to the world in the form of the movie that appeared shortly after his death. Dr Arroway (Jodie Foster) who is a young atheistic scientist who meets with an alien and this alien takes the form of Dr. Arroway’s father. The alien tells her that they thought this would make it easier for her. In fact, he meets her on a beach that resembles a beach that she grew up near so she would also be comfortable with the surroundings. Carl Sagan when writing this script chose to put the alien in human form so Dr. Arroway could relate to the alien. Christ chose to take our form and come into our world too and still many make up excuses for not believing.

Lastly, Carl Sagan could not rid himself of the “mannishness of man.” Those who have read Francis Schaeffer’s many books know exactly what I am talking about. We are made in God’s image and we are living in God’s world. Therefore, we can not totally suppress the objective truths of our unique humanity. In my letter of Jan 10, 1996 to Dr. Sagan, I really camped out on this point a long time because I had read Sagan’s  book Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors  and in it  Sagan attempts to  totally debunk the idea that we are any way special. However, what does Dr. Sagan have Dr. Arroway say at the end of the movie Contact when she is testifying before Congress about the alien that  communicated with her? See if you can pick out the one illogical word in her statement: “I was given a vision how tiny, insignificant, rare and precious we all are. We belong to something that is greater than ourselves and none of us are alone.” 

Dr Sagan deep down knows that we are special so he could not avoid putting the word “precious” in there. Schaeffer said unbelievers are put in a place of tension when they have to live in the world that God has made because deep down they know they are special because God has put that knowledge in their hearts.We are not the result of survival of the fittest and headed back to the dirt forevermore. This is what Schaeffer calls “taking the roof off” of the unbeliever’s worldview and showing the inconsistency that exists. 

In several of my letters I quoted this passage below:

Romans 1:17-22 (Amplified Bible)

17For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.(A)

    18For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.

    19For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

    20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],(B)

    21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [a]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

    22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

_________________

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 4 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 5 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2 http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASG http://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog _______________________ I got this from a blogger in April of 2008 concerning candidate Obama’s view on evolution: Q: York County was recently in the news […]

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution)

Review of Carl Sagan book (Part 3 of series on Evolution) The Long War against God-Henry Morris, part 4 of 6 Uploaded by FLIPWORLDUPSIDEDOWN3 on Aug 30, 2010 http://www.icr.org/ http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWA2 http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=BLOWASG http://www.fliptheworldupsidedown.com/blog ______________________________________ I got this from a blogger in April of 2008 concerning candidate Obama’s view on evolution: Q: York County was recently in the news […]

 

Christopher Hitchens’ debate with Douglas Wilson (Part 8)

Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson Debate at Westminster Theological Seminary, Part 8 of 12 Douglas Wilson There are a few slight confusions that I would like deal with briefly within the scope of my first few paragraphs. Weather permitting, I would then like to take just a short space to address the central point which you […]

Carl Sagan versus RC Sproul

At the end of this post is a message by RC Sproul in which he discusses Sagan. Over the years I have confronted many atheists. Here is one story below: I really believe Hebrews 4:12 when it asserts: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the […]