Christian Nation Nonsense on the 4th of Julyby Jonathan Rowe, July 4th, 2008
You can always count on WorldNetDaily to give us such. This year one Tom Flannery writes an article ridiculed with factual errors and unsound historical claims. Some highlights with my commentary:
First, it’s not at all clear that Adams believed in the Christian God/God of the Bible. Adams was a fervent theological unitarian (denier of the Trinity) who believed the Bible to be only a partially inspired book, and that all sorts of exotic religions, notably Hindus, worshipped the same God he did. John Adams is not a good spokesman for the “Christian America” claim.
Next, Flannery’s article discusses Christopher Columbus and then the Pilgrims as though they had anything to do with what when down in America from 1776-1800; they didn’t.
Flannery’s article continues:
My research shows that some American Christians did rally to the cry of “No King but Jesus,” but not John Adams. From what I’ve seen, this phrase is nowhere in Adams’ historical writings. Adams did consider himself a follower of Jesus, but was also, as noted, a fervent theological unitarian who utterly rejected Jesus’ Godhood or second place in the Trinity.
Regarding King George’s supposed “biblical violations,” notice that the Declaration of Independence doesn’t define them as such. You can always go back, after the fact, and read “biblical” content into any text, for instance, if you look hard enough you can probably find the “biblical content” in a warranty for a microwave. And that’s exactly what folks do when they claim America’s Declaration describes King George’s “biblical violations.”
Flannery’s article continues:
God may indeed have helped to “found” America but it is not at all apparent according to tradition biblical Christian theology why Christians should believe this. Don’t forget America rebelled against another nation of Christians who arguably had a stronger, more traditional biblical case on their behalf (see Romans 13). The very act of revolting against government was arguably a far more “biblical violation” than anything King George did!
More from Flannery:
This is an ought right lie. Though, as noted, you can try to connect, after the fact, the Bible to ideas in any text, Washington and Hamilton never said they based any texts of the Constitution on the Bible. I know this is a harsh accusation; but if I’m shown wrong, I’ll gladly concede. I challenge Mr. Flannery or anyone else to show me where Washington, Hamilton or anyone else at the Constitutional Convention directly cited these verses and chapters of scripture for those sections of the Constitution.
Flannery’s article only gets worse:
Another lie. This refers to a study done by Donald S. Lutz, et al. which purported to find lots of quotations to the Bible during the Founding era, particularly drawn from the pulpit. I’ve read the study and it most certainly does not claim that the men who framed the Constitution oft-cited the Bible for its propositions, because they didn’t. In fact, the Lutz study admits this! The following is from the Lutz study, discussing the Bible’s prominence when it came time to framing the Constitution:
“The Bible’s prominence disappears, which is not surprising since the debate centered upon specific institutions about which the Bible has little to say. The Anti-Federalists do drag it in with respect to basic principles of government, but the Federalist’s inclination to Enlightenment rationalism is most evident here in their failure to consider the Bible relevant.”
If that weren’t bad enough, Flannery’s article gets worse:
The quotation from Franklin is accurate. What’s inaccurate is Flannery’s assertion that the motion for daily prayer was “quickly adopted.” Actually Madison’s notes from the Convention and other contemporaneous sources inform that Franklin’s call for prayer was not even voted on, that they didn’t pray but moved on with their secular business.
Alas, the article I’ve just deconstructed is typical of the “Christian America” claim. This thesis relies on utter untruths and it’s time honest, bible believing Christians close ranks and move on.