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

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 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.

20 Replies to “The Founding Fathers Risked Their Lives so Pastors Could Meddle in Politics?”

  1. These people are lying. The signers of the Declaration of Independence did not want religious involvement in politics. Maybe it’s time for the IRS to collect taxes from these churches.

  2. under attack? so, here’s what they can do:

    pray anytime, anywhere they want. bow you head and have at it.
    go to any church anywhere and congregate.
    build any church they want and pray to any thing they want.
    get tv shows and buy time to spread the word if they can get sponsors.
    spread the word on radio shows and ads.
    build religious schools. yep. they can frickin build their own schools if they can get it accredited.
    stand on a corner with signs galore and sermon away.

    and they’re under attack? from whom? all we ask is that you take all that freedom and be happy. stop shoving in our government and schools. stop attacking us with your religious beliefs.

    why isn’t that enough?

  3. This is an outcry from yet another sector of society that is dying a slow and agonizing death. Religion has been on the decline for decades and now has hit the slippery slope. As their parishioners become fewer the more desperate they become.

    Our founding fathers were very clear that there should be a separation of church and state. They were wise enough to know that a take over by religious zealots would ensue if there were not that separation.

    The funny thing is that the religious sect seem to demand their democracy. Yet democracy in and of itself promotes the destruction of religion. People in a democratic society can vote along lines that are similar despite their religious differences. Democratic societies tend to be higher educated which promotes loss of religion.

    Case in point the millennial generation. The least religious of all yet, intelligent and public service oriented. Wanting a better and equal society for all. Environmentally active.

  4. It amazes me – although it shouldn’t by now – that the people who talk so much about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, have so little real knowledge about either.

    They wanted religious freedom. It is so obvious what their true intentions were and these people who try to say otherwise are either misreading their words – or outright lying.

    Either way, this country was not built on religion. It was build on freedom.

  5. Joseph Goebbels was the Nazi minister of propaganda and was very effective at conducting a two pronged attack to further Nazi ideology. First attack and rewrite the past, burn books that don’t fit with the narrative, then repeat the new lies so often that people will believe them.

    Don’t kid yourself. These right wingers admire very, very much what the Nazis did. The “just beneath the surface” underbelly, Christian identity, National Alliance and Storm Front are only kept at an arms distance by these Christian Right wingers and only because their message is just too blatant for their euphemismic approach to what is basically the same message.

    When growing up I used to hear all the time from fundamentalcases that “Hitler didn’t go far enough”

    The Right Wing Christians made a pact with the devil in making an alliance with the Republican Party. It’s going to lead the US off the cliff as the Nazis lead Germany off the cliff if we let them do so.

  6. …”“the IRS knows it cannot legally revoke a church’s tax-exempt status permanently.” …

    Really? I give this a big, Johnny Carson, “I-did- not-know-that!?” Cue the laugh track with the fake look of curiosity goading the rube on to continue the cray-cray.(I know, I’m showing my age).

    What’a maroon! An old-timey, knee slapper, richly deserving corn pone status statement belonging to the annals of Wrigley’s, “Believe it or Not!”; not contemporary news media.

    I am not advocating ignoring these “turd’rific canon balls” being hurled at law abiding religious affiliations. I am advocating that our government to do as the rest of the civilized world has done with predatory groups attempting to recruit for the sake of destroying democracy; take away their money and opportunity to destroy.

  7. It’s certainly agonizing to me. I wish they would just shut up and GTFA, preferably before they turn my country into a theocracy.

  8. We need to tax the churches. If they want a voice in politics, then they need to pay taxes like everyone else.

  9. There’s a local pastor who preaches about the intrinsic role played by the “Black Robe Regiment” during the Revolutionary War. Yes, yes he’s a Beckian and by that default a Bartonite. This pastor sees himself as a modern day soldier in today’s “Black Robe Regiment” which has a crucial role in the modern day war on religion. Like others of his ilk, he has no appetite for historical accuracy, saying that our history books are flawed because they only promote the “leftist” version of our country. Needless to say, I have zero respect for this man of the cloth. IMHO, he is doing more harm than good. Perhaps one day, he will realize the depth of his brainwashing and repent his ways. I’m not holding my breath though.

  10. many of the signers were war veterans, some wanted us to remain under the king, most were wealthy slave and land owners, and most lost their shirts investing in western lands.

    What these idiots dont tell you is being a methodist at that time was severely frowned on, and being a catholic held you back from holding public office. There was little freedom of religion when the constitution was written. Of course that depended on where you lived.

    These religous creatures known as preachers are the worlds best and biggest liars

  11. Yeah I’m thinking that Jesus would have a bit of a problem holding that document seeing as how there were (allegedly) spikes hammered through his wrists. That would put the kybosh on dexterity of the digits. The founding fathers are rotating in their crypts like so many briskets on the spit.

  12. People fled Europe for the wilds of the American colonies because they were being slaughtered by their kings and churches. For ‘heresy.’

    The original “Kill them all, god will know his own” blow-off came from the Bishop of Narbonne. 10,000 people had taken refuge in his cathedral, seeking protection from Simon de Montfort’s suppression of the Albigensian Cathar heresy. He slaughtered them all – men, women and children.

    Oliver Cromwell’s Puritans brutally slaughtered people for having the wrong ‘beliefs.’

    The American rebels built the Federal government to protect citizens from religious slaughter.

    The ‘witch trials’ of Salem were shocking and appalling to American colonists. Because they thought they had escaped that sort of religious tyranny.

    History. Learn from it or repeat it.

  13. “…They want pastors to rise up to “protect and promote the rights of our churches…”

    There was one minister, Witherspoon, representative of New Jersey. Dr. Lyman Hall had a Dr. of Divinity and an M.D.

    Only in America can such fools as these get away with “promoting their imaginary interpretation of history.” If our country wasn’t formed as a secular nation but a theocracy, they would immediately be silenced and exterminated!

    Do they remember that Hitler was in seminary and justified his treatment of the Jews with the Catholic Church’s past history?

    Grow up, get the facts and stop creating your own version of American history. Be productive members of society.

  14. Ahhh geez…see? I told ya’ I was showing my age…
    thanks for the correction.

    (If I make another mistake like this, I will have to officially start wearing beige capri pants and bright red lipstick…Rey, you didn’t catch me?!).

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