30 November 2011

The Second Advent

Now that Thanksgiving is safely passed (here in the good old USA anyway) the Yuletide is officially upon us, and its peculiarities and observances in full swing. Today, for example, is Mark Twain’s birthday—or, to be more accurate, his creator’s (Samuel Clemens’) birthday. He is one hundred seventy-six and still going strong, to judge from his literary output—the first volume of his autobiography came out this past year, with more to come soon.

Mark Twain had a jaundiced view of religion—though to be fair, there wasn’t much he didn’t have a jaundiced view of. Politics (The Gilded Age), morality (The $30,000 Bequest), imperialism (“To the Person Sitting in Darkness”), history (The Secret History of Eddypus), the French (“The French and the Comanche”), the afterlife (Letters from the Earth), literature (Is Shakespeare Dead?), supernatural beings (The Chronicle of Young Satan), big business (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court), free will (What is Man?) and gender rôles (Hellfire Hotchkiss) all came under his fire at one point or another.

It seems to me that in some respects at least he just had trouble taking it seriously. A case in point would be a story he wrote in 1881 called “The Second Advent.” In it a young Arkansas girl, Nancy Hopkins, who is betrothed to a local blacksmith, Jackson Barnes, becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Jackson is not upset, however, as Nancy explains to him that God is the father. How does she know this? It seems an angel told her—an angel wearing a straw hat, jeans, and cowhide boots. How did she know he was an angel? He told her he was, and angels don’t lie. And further, Jackson had a dream in which God told him that Nancy was still a virgin and everything she had said was true.

Convincing as this evidence is, some of the townspeople are unconvinced: “To be frank with you, we do not believe a word of this flimsy nonsense you are talking. Nancy Hopkins has gone astray; she is a disgraced girl, and she knows it and you know it and we all know it. She must not venture to show her face among our virtuous daughters…”

Things look bleak for the young couple. Fortunately, however, the news spread, and wise men from the east (the presidents of Yale, Princeton and Andover) follow a star (okay, it’s the planet Venus) to Arkansas, where they deliberate and conclude that the newborn child is in fact the son of God on the basis of the testimony of the angel (according to Nancy), of Nancy, and of God (according to Jackson). They therefore leave gifts for the child, including “a little Holy Bible with the decent passages printed in red ink.”

Horace Greeley remains unconvinced.
We have hearsay evidence that an angel appeared; none has seen that angel but one individual, and she an interested person. We have hearsay evidence that an angel delivered a certain message; whether it has come to us untampered with or not, we can never know, there being none to convey it to us but a party interested in having it take a certain form. … “Evidence” like this could not affect even a dog’s case, in any court in Christendom. It is rubbish, it is foolishness.
In reply a fellow named Talmage—the reference is to a clergyman of the day whose opinions Mark Twain found distasteful—retorts:
Here is divine evidence, evidence from the lips of very God Himself, and it is scoffed at! here is evidence from an angel of God, coming fresh from the fields of heaven, from the shadow of the Throne, with the odors of Eternal Land upon his raiment, and it is derided! here is evidence from God’s own chosen handmaid, holy and pure, whom He has fructified without sin, and it is mocked at! here is evidence of one who has spoken face to face with the Most High in a dream, and even his evidence is called lies and foolishness! … If men cannot believe these evidences, taken together, and piled, Pelion on Ossa, mountains high, what can they believe!
This exchange is familiar territory, and reminds me of so many exchanges I’ve seen with True Believers of one stripe or another—Young Earth Creationists, the autism-is-caused-by-vaccines crowd, Presuppositionalists, quacks with generic cancer cures. The folks that insist we coulda wiped out malaria by unleashing DDT if it weren’t for that pesky Rachel Carson. The nuts that think Edward de Vere could somehow have written the works of William Shakespeare (the guy would have been hard-pressed to write Sir Clyomen and Sir Clamydes, let alone King Lear). Canonical critics—no, I take it back. There are some depths to which even canonical critics wouldn’t stoop.

Mark Twain’s target, of course, was not this fictitious second advent, but the first. Evidence that wouldn’t fly in nineteenth-century Arkansas is supposed to be accepted in a reverent and uncritical fashion when presented in first-century Palestine. If it’s hard to take Nancy’s claim seriously, why should we take Mary’s? Of course the Church (or Temple or Mosque) has always had an answer for that. I think it was in one of Max Shulman’s novels that the immortal line, “’Shut up,’ he explained,” occurs. Exactly. That’s what that stake with a large pile of wood around it is for—or those cease-and-desist orders from some crank with delusions of grandeur. Fortunately for us Mark Twain lived in more civilized times. That’s why “The Second Advent” could be published—in 1972, fifty-two years after Samuel Clemens died.

Oh well—happy birthday, Mark Twain. And keep ‘em coming, guy.

14 November 2011

David Barton’s “Unconfirmed” Quotations—The Current Score

As yesterday's observations moved one of David Barton’s “unconfirmed” quotations from the Fake to the Slightly Mangled column, I thought it might be fun to see how the entire group stacks up so far. Here they are, in his order:
1. It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!—Patrick Henry
Fake. This one has been done to death; it’s an obvious fake—actually written in 1956, and misattributed to Henry in the 1980s.
2. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.—George Washington
Fake. This is a misquotation of a saying attributed to Washington by James K. Paulding in a children’s biography of Washington: “It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being”. Paulding insisted in his preface that he got his material from people who had known Washington, and maybe he did, but as he chose not to give his sources, it remains an unverified claim. In any case this rewritten version is manifestly fake.
3. Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. In this sense and to this extent, our civilizations and our institutions are emphatically Christian.—Holy Trinity v. U. S. (Supreme Court)
Fake. The actual author of this quotation is not the United States Supreme Court, but the Illinois Supreme Court (Richmond v. Moore, 1883): “Although it is no part of the functions of our system of government to propagate religion, and to enforce its tenets, when the great body of the people are Christians, in fact or sentiment, our laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. And in this sense, and to this extent, our civilization and institutions are emphatically Christian, but not for the purpose of compelling men to embrace particular doctrines or creeds of any church, or to support one or another denomination by public burthens, but simply to afford protection to all in the enjoyment of their belief or unbelief.”

Barton’s response on learning this shows that he is still far from embracing scholarly standards on evidence, in spite of his claims—he moved the quotation from the unconfirmed to the confirmed column, apparently on the ground that somebody somewhere had said it, or something like it. If that’s his standard, then all of these quotations should be moved to the confirmed column forthwith, since every one of them was said by somebody on some occasion. The issue, of course, is whether they were said by the person (or in this case court) to which they are attributed. This one isn’t. EOD.
4. We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves . . . according to the Ten Commandments of God.—James Madison
Fake. The only genuine portion of this passage were the words “the capacity of mankind for self-government”—and Barton left them out of his mangled version of the pseudo-quotation. The quotation appears to have originated around 1958 and may be based on Dean Clarence Manion’s exposition of this Madison phrase in The Key to Peace. In any case, it’s not Madison’s.
5. Religion . . . [is] the basis and foundation of government.—James Madison
Fake. Barton prefers to call this one “inaccurate” for some reason, but it’s a fake pure and simple. The word “religion” comes from a passage Madison was quoting, and the words “the basis and foundation of government” are from the title of the piece being quoted. They aren’t Madison’s, and they don’t belong together. EOD.
6. Whosoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.—Benjamin Franklin
Fake. The words are Jacques Mallet du Pan’s, not Franklin’s, though du Pan claims they represent Franklin’s sentiment. He didn’t say where he got this idea.
7. The principles of all genuine liberty, and of wise laws and administrations are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man therefore who weakens or destroys the divine authority of that book may be assessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer.—Noah Webster
Unconfirmed—probably genuine. The passage supposedly comes from a letter Noah Webster wrote to an unnamed New York newspaper around 1837.
8. There are two powers only which are sufficient to control men, and secure the rights of individuals and a peaceable administration; these are the combined force of religion and law, and the force or fear of the bayonet.—Noah Webster
Likewise unconfirmed—probably genuine. It is the next paragraph from the same supposed letter, minus the introductory phrase “In my view”.
9. The only assurance of our nation’s safety is to lay our foundation in morality and religion.—Abraham Lincoln
Unconfirmed—likely fake. It can’t be traced earlier than the mid-1970s.
10. The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.—Abraham Lincoln
Unconfirmed—likely fake. This one also can’t be traced earlier than the late twentieth century.
11. A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.—Samuel Adams
Genuine. Samuel Adams wrote to James Warren on 12 February 1779, “A general Dissolution of Principles & Manners will more surely overthrow the Liberties of America than the whole Force of the Common Enemy. While the People are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their Virtue they will be ready to surrender their Liberties to the first external or internal Invader.”
12. I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make us better citizens.—Thomas Jefferson
Attributed. On 15 June 1852 Daniel Webster wrote a letter to “Professor Pease” concerning the sabbath-school movement in which he recalled an afternoon spent with Thomas Jefferson a quarter of a century or so before. In it he quotes Thomas Jefferson as having said to him “I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands.” This letter was published in 1858 and these lines have been quoted from it ever since.
13. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.—Alexis de Tocqueville
Fake. This line is a misquotation from another foreign visitor to the United States, Andrew Reed, who along with James Matheson visited the United States from Great Britain during the Jackson administration. In one of his letters he wrote back home “Universal suffrage, whatever may be its abstract merits or demerits, is neither desirable nor possible, except the people are the subjects of universal education and universal piety. America will be great if America is good. If not, her greatness will vanish away like a morning cloud.” Quoted a number of times during the nineteenth century, it was garbled early in the twentieth and misattributed to Alexis de Tocqueville.
14. The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.—John Quincy Adams
Genuine. Almost. What John Quincy Adams wrote to an autograph collector on 27 April 1837 was “The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts of Christianity. If it has never been considered in that light, it is because its compass has not been perceived.” John Wingate Thornton attributed the version above, sans quotation marks, to John Quincy Adams, making a couple of trivial changes. Perhaps he was quoting from memory, as the changes seem pointless. In any case it has been quoted in the Thornton version ever since.

By my count we have seven fakes, two probable fakes, two possibly genuine items, one attribution, and two legitimate quotations. It could be worse, I suppose. Some of them are plausible, anyway. But at least three of the fakes (the Patrick Henry and the two James Madisons) are so egregious as to make you wonder how anybody could have been deceived by them. And the Illinois Supreme Court decision is grotesque, an out-of-context quotation at its worst. (And three guesses as to why he didn’t quote this line from the same decision: “a total severance of church and State is one of the great controlling foundation principles of our system of government.”) The Washington strikes me as iffy at best, especially in Barton’s form (which goes back to 1893 at any rate), but there’s nothing impossible about it, as there is with the Henry, for example.

With the remaining unconfirmed items keep in mind that the burden of proof is always on the person citing the quotation as genuine. Once again let me invoke Martin Porter’s first principle of quotation: “Whenever you see a quotation given with an author but no source assume that it is probably bogus.” It’s not a bad basis to work from.

13 November 2011

The Indissoluble Bond Revisited

The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts of Christianity. If it has never been considered in that light, it is because its compass has not been perceived.—John Quincy Adams, 27 April 1837
All right, I’m going to skip the obvious question—are you nuts? Didn’t you just say the other day that this quotation (or something close to it) was a fake, the words of John Wingate Thornton? Well, yes I did, and as it turns out, I was wrong.

This quotation, in the form “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this—that it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity”, has been very popular in Christian Nation circles, and has circulated widely on the internet. It can be traced back fairly readily. We find it, for instance, in Daniel Dorchester’s Christianity in the United States from the First Settlement Down to the Present Time (Hunt & Eaton, 1888), pp. 262-3, and on the title page of B. F. Morris’s Christian Life and Character of the Institutions of the United States (Philadelphia, 1864), and ultimately in the introduction to John Wingate Thornton’s 1860 The Pulpit of the American Revolution, p. xxix. Thornton, however, does not present it as a quotation, but rather as a paraphrase or summary of John Quincy Adams’ views. The obvious question then is, what was the original that Thornton had in mind?

Evangelist David Barton thought he’d found the answer in an 1837 oration in honor of Independence Day, in which Adams drew extensive parallels between Independence Day and Christmas. On this one I agreed with him, and as it turns out, he was on the right track. Wrong, but on the right track nonetheless. Because earlier that year, on 27 April, Adams had written the words quoted above to an autograph hunter in a cover-letter for a couple of notes, one from his father and the other from Thomas Jefferson. Comparing the genuine version to the Thornton version we find (omitted words in bold, added words struck out)
The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts principles of Christianity. If it has never been considered in that light, it is because its compass has not been perceived.
So where did Thornton get the letter? Well, he could have found it (and probably did find it) in the July 1860 issue of The Historical Magazine (pp. 193-194), where the letter in question was published in full. As far as I can tell none of the other crack researchers who quoted this (Morris, Dorchester et. al.) ever looked at it, as shown by their version being lightly mangled the same way as Thornton’s (omission of transcendent sans ellipsis, principles for precepts). I would have thought Thornton’s lack of quotation marks might have given them pause—but apparently not.

In any case, here is the original quotation, in context, in all its transcendent glory.

11 November 2011

05 November 2011

Old Fakes Resurface; Film at Eleven

Jon Rowe calls my attention to new sightings of old fakes … fake quotations, that is. A certain Larry Klayman (“Occupy Washington with God”) cites the Founders, or what he takes to be the Founders, in support of his nebulous position on the place of religion in government. But did the Founders actually say the things he attributes to them? Well, yes—and no. Let’s have a rundown, shall we?

He starts by alluding to, but not quoting from, a genuine letter of John Adams, and follows that up with a genuine quotation that quickly turns awry:
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. … We have no constitution which functions in the absence of a moral people.
This comes from a letter Adams wrote on 11 October 1798 to the officers of the First Brigade, Third Division, of the Massachusetts Militia. The relevant text reads:
But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candor, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world; because we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
(The portions quoted are given in bold.) The sentence “We have no constitution which functions in the absence of a moral people” is not part of this letter, and is not Adams. The oldest reference Google Books comes up with is from 2001. It seems to be a paraphrase of the genuine letter.

Klayman goes on to Adams’ son, John Quincy, whom he describes as “an even greater president than his father”, and there fails miserably. His quotation:
Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet. … The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity (July 4, 1821).
None of this is John Quincy’s. The first part comes from an 1849 address by Charles Robert Winthrop to the Massachusetts Bible Society, and the second from an 1860 introduction to a volume of sermons edited by John Wingate Thornton.

Klayman does no better with Patrick Henry. His one example is the familiar “religionists” quotation debunked many times before. It is not, of course, by Henry, but by a writer for the Virginian; the words were written in 1956 and first attributed to Henry at some time in the 1980s. They are manifestly fake in any case.

Moving on to Jefferson Klayman does a little better—he presents what he thinks are two quotations from him, but in fact are five fragments oddly joined to one another. Klayman presents them in this form:
God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the mind of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God?
Deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support…. I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator.
Here are the originals, in the order Klayman presented them. First, from the conclusion of A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774), we have
Let them name their terms, but let them be just. Accept of every commercial preference it is in our power to give for such things as we can raise for their use, or they make for ours. But let them not think to exclude us from going to other markets to dispose of those commodities which they cannot use, or to supply those wants which they cannot supply. Still less let it be proposed that our properties within our own territories shall be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own. The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. This, sire, is our last, our determined resolution; and that you will be pleased to interpose with that efficacy which your earnest endeavors may ensure to procure redress of these our great grievances to quiet the minds of your subjects in British America, against any apprehensions of future encroachment, to establish fraternal love and harmony through the whole empire, and that these may continue to the latest ages of time, is the fervent prayer of all British America.
Joined to it, with no indication that the one sentence did not originally follow the other, we have from the anti-slavery section of Notes on the State of Virginia this passage:
For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.
So much for Klayman’s first “quotation”, a very questionable piece of work. It’s not original with him, however, being found on panel three of the Jefferson Memorial. The second “quotation” is even more questionable, being made up of no less than three dismembered fragments of genuine material. First, from a reply to Captain John Thomas (18 November 1807):
Among the most inestimable of our blessings, also, is that you so justly particularize, of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government, and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.
Notice here that it is not religion (as Klayman lets us suppose) that is “deemed in other countries incompatible with good government,” but religious freedom—a serious distortion of the original. The other two are even worse, as they get into Jefferson’s objections to orthodox Christianity. The first fragment comes from a letter to Charles Thomson, who had recently put together a harmony of the four gospels. Jefferson wrote about it to him on 9 January 1816, and went on to describe his own project in that line:
I, too, have made a wee-little book from the same materials, which I call the Philosophy of Jesus; it is a paradigma of His doctrines, made by cutting the texts out of the book, and arranging them on the pages of a blank book, in a certain order of time or subject. A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen; it is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its Author never said nor saw. They have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man, of which the great Reformer of the vicious ethics and deism of the Jews, were He to return on earth, would not recognize one feature.
Note, by the way, that Jefferson described himself as a “disciple of the doctrines of Jesus” rather than a “disciple of Jesus”; a not insignificant distinction. Also that this fragment has been taken badly out of context, and has nothing to do with christianizing government in any respect. The other fragment is equally misleading, being ripped from its context and juxtaposed with extraneous material. Jefferson was writing on 27 February 1821 to Timothy Pickering about his beliefs—specifically that the pure doctrines of Jesus had been adulterated with mystical concepts, particularly that of the trinity.
The religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, as to shock reasonable thinkers, to revolt them against the whole, and drive them rashly to pronounce its Founder an impostor. Had there never been a commentator, there never would have been an infidel. In the present advance of truth, which we both approve, I do not know that you and I may think alike on all points. As the Creator has made no two faces alike, so no two minds, and probably no two creeds. We well know that among Unitarians themselves there are strong shades of difference, as between Doctors Price and Priestley, for example. So there may be peculiarities in your creed and in mine. They are honestly formed without doubt. I do not wish to trouble the world with mine, nor to be troubled for them. These accounts are to be settled only with Him who made us; and to Him we leave it, with charity for all others, of whom, also, He is the only rightful and competent Judge. I have little doubt that the whole of our country will soon be rallied to the unity of the Creator, and, I hope, to the pure doctrines of Jesus also.
In other words, Jefferson thought (incorrectly) that the country as a whole was moving in the direction of unitarianism. There is nothing in this to suggest that he thought the intermingling of religion and government was a good thing—not even to promote “the pure doctrines of Jesus” or “the unity of the Creator”.

Last we come to an alleged quotation from George Washington. It reads:
I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine inspiration in their affairs, than those of the United States, and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten … the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them. … True religion affords to the government it surest support. Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society. … It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Most of these fragments are reasonably legitimate, but they do not actually belong together, with or without ellipses. The first is from a letter to John Armstrong, written 11 March 1792. Here it is in its entirety:
Dear Sir: I am persuaded that no one will be more ready than yourself to make the proper allowances for my not having sooner acknowledged the receipt of your friendly letter of the 23d. of December, as you there express a conviction, that the pressure of my public duties will allow me but very little time to attend to my private correspondences. This is literally the truth, and to it must be imputed the lateness as well as the brevity of this letter.

The loss of the brave Officers and men, who fell in the late unfortunate affair at the westward, is, I hope, the only one which the Public sustain on the occasion, that cannot be readily repaired. The loss of these is not only painful to their friends; but is a subject of serious regret to the Public. It is not, however, our part to despond; we must pursue such measures as appear best calculated to retrieve our misfortune, and give a happy issue to the business. I am sure there never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.

Your friendly wishes for my happiness and prosperity are received with gratitude, and are sincerely reciprocated by, dear Sir, your affectionate, &c.
The next is a misattribution, in that the words were written to George Washington, rather than by him. Here is the passage, written (9 October 1789) by the synod of the Reformed Dutch Church of North America to him:
To our constant prayers for the welfare of our country, and of the whole human race, we shall esteem it our duty and happiness to unite our most earnest endeavors to promote the pure and undefiled religion of Christ; for as this secures eternal felicity to men in a future state, so we are persuaded that good Christians will always be good citizens, and that where righteousness prevails among individuals the nation will be great and happy. Thus while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.
Next, from a reply he wrote to the Philadelphia Protestant Clergy on 3 March 1797:
Believing, as I do, that Religion and Morality are the essential pillars of civil society, I view, with unspeakable pleasure, that harmony and Brotherly Love which characterizes the clergy of different denominations—as well in this as in other parts of the United States; exhibiting to the world a new and interesting spectacle, at once the pride of our Country and the surest basis of universal Harmony.
The final portion comes from his Farewell Address, in which he emphasizes the importance of public education:
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
It’s worth noting that nothing he says there concerns religion, but rather is about “the general diffusion of knowledge”.

This is not an impressive showing. A large proportion of Klayman’s “quotations” are misattributed, taken out of context, and given new meanings by juxtaposing them with other fragments. His sources are not particularly reputable—at least one of these, the Jefferson “real christian” frankenquote, goes back to the internet document sometimes called “Forsaken Roots” and William Federer’s notorious America’s God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations appears to be another contributor, whether directly or indirectly. There really isn’t any excuse. If you’ve got a connection to the internet, you’ve got access to the papers of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson at the Library of Congress website, to various editions of the works of Patrick Henry and John Adams at Google Books and The Internet Archive, and a vast compendium of other sources that rival even the greatest print libraries of the past.

Come on people—is it really that much trouble to get these things right?
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