Being the excellent examples of how religion makes no one a better person, we now have Pennsylvania legislators introducing yet another useless House Resolution full of intentional lies in their continued attempts to play pretend that their version of Christianity is the state religion of the United States. This resolution is HR 306 and unsurprisingly, it’s the usual band of Republicans who are pandering to the willfully ignorant.
Here are their names so you can be sure to know who goes out of their way to lie to their constituents: BAKER, HENNESSEY, MILLARD, KNOWLES, KRIEGER, CAUSER, CUTLER, CLYMER, JAMES, ROCK, DiGIROLAMO, KORTZ, KAUFFMAN, MILNE, MUSTIO, AUMENT, SONNEY, EVERETT, BARRAR,GROVE, HESS, GINGRICH, READSHAW, CALTAGIRONE AND SACCONE
Here in PA, we have one of these resolutions brought up to waste time and money by legislators who seem to desperately want a theocracy. This one is particularly good in that it can be shown to be full of misrepresentations, quotes with no source, etc. It’s almost as good as creationist screed with its utter nonsense. It’s a shame that such supposed TrueChristians feel that they must lie and also think that no one will check their claims. It takes a truly amazing amount of willfully ignorant arrogance to think that they can get away with such outrageous deceit.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has done its usual yeoman’s job of showing exactly where the lies are by this lovely groups of legislators. Indeed, if they think they can lie about their own religion, what keeps them from lying about anything they want and don’t think the citizens of Pennsylvania can handle or should know the truth about?
You can read the entire article about the lies at the FFRF blog here. For your delectation, a couple of choice quotes.
“The second Whereas is non-binding Supreme Court language from an 1892 opinion about the Alien Contract Labor Law. The idea that we are “a religious people … From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation” is offensive, exclusionary, and absurd. I am not a religious person. At least 1.5 million Pennsylvanians are not religious. One-in-three Americans under the age of 30 are not religious and more than 60 million Americans of all ages are not religious. So no, there is no “single voice making this affirmation.” Claiming otherwise is simply Christian arrogance.”
“On the 10th day of Whereas the House proclaimed to me, “President Andrew Jackson declared that the Bible ‘is the rock upon which our Republic rests.’” The House does not provide any source for this or any other quote. I can find no primary source. The earliest record I can locate is Frederic William Farrar’s History of Interpretation: eight lectures preached before the University of Oxford in the year MDCCCLXXXV on the foundation of the late Rev. John Bampton. (page xxvii (MacMillian and Co., London, 1886)). The book was in written 1886, 40 years after Jackson’s 1845 death. Farrar was 14 years old when Jackson died and not in attendance at the deathbed where the utterance was supposedly made.
Farrar is hardly an unbiased historian. He was Archdeacon and Canon of Westminster, Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen, and wrote religious books such as Life of Christ (1874), Life and Works of St. Paul (1879), and The Voice from Sinai (1892). The quote Farrar attributes to Jackson is buried in a paragraph that begins, “My main wish has been to show the true basis whereon rests the sacredness of Holy Scripture… It is because there is no Book and no Literature which can for a moment supply the place of the Bible in the moral and spiritual education of mankind that I would do my utmost to save it from the injury of false theories and impossible interpretations.” With such motives, everything that follows is seriously suspect. Farrar continues “ ‘That book sir,’ said the American President, Andrew Jackson, pointing to the family Bible during his last illness, ‘is the rock on which our Republic rests.’ ” Although Farrar cites several sources for other quotes several pages earlier and two sentences later, he provides no source for Jackson’s deathbed quote.
By the way, Jackson was a strict secularist. When asked to proclaim a national day of prayer he replied, “I am constrained to decline the designation of any period or mode as proper for the public manifestation of this reliance. I could not do otherwise without transcending the limits prescribed by the constitution for the President, nor without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion now enjoys in this country, in its complete separation from the political concerns of the general government.” A Subaltern’s Furlough : Descriptive of Scenes in Various Parts of the United States, Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia during the Summer and Autumn of 1832 (1833) by Edward Thomas Coke, Ch. 9, p.145.”
The resolution ends with ” “The House of Representatives reject, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove, obscure or purposely omit such history from our nation’s public buildings and educational resources.” This attempts to claim that all of the House of Representatives want a theocracy, no separation between church and state and that they are willing to lie to get their way. They want their “ten commandments” up, which is entirely hilarious since those commandments (far more than 10) are where we get this god saying doesn’ t like lies and liars.
And golly doesn’t that just make you want to become a Christian? Such great bedfellows you’ll have, when they try to tell you that your version of Christianity isn’t as good as theirs.