The myth of a prayer meeting at the Constitutional Convention just refuses to die.
Earlier this week, the American Family Association’s Reason and Company show opined favorably on Melania Trump’s reading of the Lord’s Prayer. In the process, Abraham Hamilton III said starting at 40 seconds in that Franklin’s effort “led to a three day prayer meeting at the Constitutional Convention.” He added, “So we have a long history of recognizing the God of the Bible in our country.” Watch
No. Franklin made a motion to have daily prayers but the Convention never acted on it and daily prayers were not held. In fact, Franklin later recorded that only three or four delegates thought prayers were needed. Even if Franklin’s request had been acted on favorably, it doesn’t follow that the delegates all prayed to the God of the Bible. Among the delegates, there was significant disagreement about God and the Bible. Some hardly believed, some scoffed at the Bible’s miracles while accepting the moral teachings of Jesus and still others were more orthodox.
For a detailed account of the Franklin proposal and how it grew to be an oft-repeated myth, see this article by Louis Sirico on the website of the Association of Legal Writing Directors. The last paragraph of his article is a fitting end to this post:
With respect to Franklin’s proposal, advocates have invoked it both as a solvent for specific disputes and as support for a general accommodationist policy. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the incompleteness of the historical record led many to accept the false history that Franklin had rescued the Constitutional Convention from collapse. Since then, although some writers have clung to that story, legitimate historians have endorsed an accurate story that most respected advocates have accepted and used to fashion their arguments. True history, then, has prevailed over false history. But false history continues to linger. In any event, the Franklin proposal demonstrates how history can prove a powerful force in effective advocacy. Whether accurate or mystical, stories of the past will continue to shape the present and the future.
In the case of the AFA and many religious right organization who use David Barton’s history, “false history continues to linger.”
No. Just. No.
Writing on OneNewsNow, Bryan Fischer says Japan has no terrorism because the nation has no Muslims.
Fischer relies on one Jewish Press article which takes him far away from the facts.
Fischer says Muslims can’t proselytize and there are no Muslim organizations. He says a lot of things that aren’t true.
For the facts, see this Politifacts article. The writers there evaluated similar claims back in November and rated them “pants on fire” which mean blatantly false.
See also this article on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and then this list of Muslim worship centers in Japan.
One of the most popular posts ever is this one about the Trail of Tears. It showed up on the top ten most popular posts for the years 2011, 2012, and 2013. I wrote about the Trail of Tears in response to the American Family Association’s spokesman Bryan Fischer’s incendiary comments about Native Americans. Fischer said English settlers were morally superior to Native Americans which justified cruel and dishonest treatment of native people by whites. Later, David Barton made similar arguments. Below is the first part of the article; to read the whole thing, click through to the 2011 post.
The Trail of Tears was a low point in American history when the United States government brutally carried out a systematic removal of Native Americans from locations throughout the South to the Indian Territory (now eastern Oklahoma). Broadly the forced removal began in 1830 with the signing of the Indian Removal Act and culminated in the forced death march of the Cherokee in 1838 and 1839 where 4,000 of an estimated 17,000 travelers died. The last Cherokees arrived in present day Oklahoma in March, 1839.
The Trail of Tears has been obscured in the retelling of American history. It seems obvious that the American Family Association does not grasp the significance of the event and has spread misinformation to their millions of listeners and readers about the relationship of the United States and native peoples.
This is not a partisan issue. In 2004, conservative Senator Sam Brownback authored a resolution apologizing to the Cherokee and other native people for the Trail of Tears. It was not passed until 2009 and signed by President Obama on December 19, 2009. According to the American Family Association and Bryan Fischer, the US had nothing to apologize for.
To read the rest of this post, click here.
No, this is not a post about a tea party conspiracy theory involving immigration.
Rather, watch this video about Native American dispossession.
Two of our favorite Christian nation proponents, David Barton and Bryan Fischer, believe the native people got what was coming to them. The history cannot be undone, but we should never forget.
(hat tip to John Fea)
Politico’s Ben Schreckinger reports tonight that the Anti-Defamation League privately discouraged the Republican National Committee from participating in a trip to Israel paid for by the American Family Association. I wrote about this trip last week.
In addition, more details about the trip are given (they apparently went despite the concerns) and Christ and Pop Culture editor Alan Noble and I are quoted.
The RNC really should acknowledge this mistake, especially in light of other efforts to field a better primary season this time around.