The Founding Fathers Risked Their Lives so Pastors Could Meddle in Politics?

more from Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Thursday, April, 24th, 2014, 7:23 am

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Jesus Constitution

Jesus Constitution

“Pastors…Rise Up” say Pastor Nathan A. Cherry and Eric Porteous at Speak Up, a “resource” of the Alliance Defending Freedom. They want pastors to rise up to “protect and promote the rights of our churches.” The freedom, as it happens, to break the law, which is a peculiar sort of freedom, but then one comes to expect aberration from the aberrant Christians (aberrochristians) of the Religious Right.

The authors claim that “the right to act on what we believe and live out our faith are under attack” and that “with so many in our congregations misinformed or uniformed, pastors…we need you to rise up. We need you to boldly preach the Gospel in your churches.”

Like, maybe “love your enemies” and “turn the other cheek?” I asked myself hopefully.

No, not even close. They want ministers to become politically involved at the pulpit in violation of their tax exempt status because, after all, they argue, “the IRS knows it cannot legally revoke a church’s tax-exempt status permanently.” So you can afford to “boldly preach the Gospel in your churches” without wavering and without “fear of backlash, IRS codes, or threats from the government.”

Wow, that’s really some hardcore martyrdom there. I mean, that’s…underwhelming. Phew. Let me catch my breath!

Having told all the cowardly ministers out there they have nothing to fear from the Big Bad Federal Government anyway, the authors then, in a very Bartonesque move, exhort the pastors to preach “100% Biblical Truth,” a truth, by the way, composed of 100% lies:

Consider our founding fathers, many of whom had seminary and Bible degrees or were pastors themselves. They believed so strongly in the involvement of pastors and Bible teachers in political matters that they risked their lives signing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Mike Huckabee has said the same thing in 2007:

When our founding fathers put their signatures on the Declaration of Independence, those 56 brave people, most of whom, by the way, were clergymen, they said that we have certain inalienable rights given to us by our creator, and among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, life being one of them.

His campaign manager, Ed Rollins, was more precise, saying 26 of them were actually ministers.

That is some interesting…and creative…manipulation of the facts surrounding our nation’s founding! Of course, you know where they get these lies they so eagerly repeat: from the Father of Lies, David Barton, and guy Huckabee says we should be forced to listen to at gunpoint, and whose own dishonesty Chris Rodda so ably eviscerates here:

FACT: John Witherspoon of New Jersey was the only minister out of 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. William Williams of Connecticut and Robert Treat Paine of Massachusetts had studied for the ministry but ended up going into other fields (merchant and merchant/lawyer respectively), and Lyman Hall of Georgia had been a minister until a “moral indiscretion” put paid to that (he left the ministry and became a doctor instead).

Where the Constitution is concerned, the numbers are even more skewed against religion playing a role in our founding. According to the fact checking byJ.L. Bell’s Boston 1775 blog,

As for the U.S. Constitution, thirty-six men signed that document out of fifty-five who attended the Constitutional Convention. Only two ever had professional affiliations with a church:

  • Abraham Baldwin of Georgia was a Continental Army chaplain. After the war, he declined the position of Professor of Divinity atYale and instead went into the law. He was “a fervent missionary of public education,” according to a U.S. Army website. Curiously, it’s unclear to Adherents.com what Baldwin’s religious affiliation was; different sources say different things.
  • Hugh Williamson of North Carolina taught college Latin for three years, studied theology for two and “was licensed to preach the Gospel” by the Presbyterian church in Philadelphia. Instead, he became a mathematics professor for two years, then studied medicine for eight years and also went into the mercantile business.

So yes, David Barton and his wicked cohorts say half of them went to the seminary or were ministers but as Chris Rodda points out, in those days, seminary merely meant “school.”

So yes, they were educated men, unlike David Barton. They were also, it would seem, far more careful of their facts than your run of the mill Religious Right extremist.

Actually, I wish Barton was right, that half these men had been ministers, because then their belief in religious tolerance would be that more meaningful today. But the facts are what they are, despite Barton’s endless parade of lies.

The Founding Fathers Risked Their Lives so Pastors Could Meddle in Politics? was written by Hrafnkell Haraldsson for PoliticusUSA.
© PoliticusUSA, Thu, Apr 24th, 2014 — All Rights Reserved

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