Well, my spirits were brightened, anyway, by this strange piece—an instance of the blind presuming to instruct the sighted on the meaning of color. Some Yakima lady named Kara L. Kraemer, it seems, was so incensed by somebody daring to observe that US law was not based on the Bible and never should be, that she set out to instruct him by delivering a few choice quotations from the Founders that she’d apparently dug up from some moldering trash heap somewhere, and—you guessed it, knowing me—she’s included a couple of familiar fakes among them. And, no surprises here either, those that aren’t fake are absolutely irrelevant to the point. Nice job, lady.
She’s got John Dickenson comparing the proposed Constitution to the Bible, in that both have come under attack; she’s got James Wilson repeating the old legal maxim (shot down by Jefferson) that Christianity is part of the common law, and James McHenry pleading for the establishment of a private Bible society in Maryland. She’s got Carroll of Carrollton arguing that people won’t be virtuous on their own without the threat of “wicked eternal misery” or the promise of “good eternal happiness” to goad them on. (He was taking a swipe at the excesses of the French Revolution, by the way.) She’s got Sam Adams comparing the American revolution to the Reformation: “Our Fore-Fathers threw off the Yoke of Popery in Religion; for you is reserved the honor of levelling the popery of Politicks” (a portion of the passage that she omits, incidentally). And she’s got two fakes and one dubious entry: the Washington “god and the bible” concoction, the Patrick Henry “religionists” misattribution, and the dubious Patrick Henry story about the Bible being worth more than all the other books put together that rests on third-hand testimony from an anonymous source. Not a good showing from somebody who pretends to be combating ignorance.
If I were to make a recommendation to Kara Kraemer, it would be that if she wants to combat ignorance she should start with the person closest to her—herself. But like St. Lucy, I’m sure she knows better.
[Update: The article linked to here has changed since I first wrote and then replied to a comment here. The original introduction read only:
In honor of National Bible Week and to combat Stiefel's statement of ignorance, I offer the following quotes from our founders in regard to the Bible:This is what I was making fun of, not the present more elaborate introduction that gives a coherent (though flawed) explanation for the quotations that follow. The author has also corrected the information about the one Patrick Henry statement, though she has incorrectly attributed the fake Washington "God and the Bible" quotation to Paulding's book (which even if correct would not be a reliable source, what with it being an undocumented children's book and all). Had I first seen the article in its present state I wouldn't have responded as I did, or indeed at all. sbh]