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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Good and bad revisionist history

I have been interested in revisionist history ever since I read a book titled Lies My History Teacher Taught Me. I have not read the book that this author is referring to but I will be putting on my reading list.

This author makes some great observations about U.S. History textbooks. Some revisionist history is necessary, but when the revisions completely leave out classical history, it becomes destructive to the real historical record.

Great article! Enjoy!

4 Comments:

At 10:38 AM, Blogger Mike Saeger said...

I was watching Dr. D. James Kennedy's program on Sunday where he noted a conversation he had with Alan Colmes discussing a book, "Restoring America as a Christian Nation". Many people believe America was never a Christian nation, but history reveals otherwise. Washington added, "So help me God" to his inauguration and every president since has done likewise. After his inauguration he lead the entire House and Senate to his church for a 2 or 3 hour worship service. One of the first duties of Congress was to appoint chaplains for the military and for Congress -- all at taxpayer expense. A poll back in 1776 showed that well over 90% said they were Protestant Christians, around 4% Catholic Christians, 2% Jewish, etc. EVERY presidential inauguration address has included the word "God". All in all a very interesting message.

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger rxs said...

Many people believe, "Washington added, 'So help me God' to his inauguration and every president since has done likewise," but it really isn't so.

In spite of the widespread notion to the contrary, there is no contemporary historical evidence showing that George Washington added anything to his presidential oath of office. There, consequently, is no such precedent for adding the words, "So help me God," that can be attributed to George Washington. The fact is that all firsthand historical accounts describe the first twenty presidents as swearing to their oath of office exactly as prescribed by the Constitution, which means that none of Washington's successors over the next 92 years recognized adding "So help me God" as part of their inaugural ceremony.

The first President, who is known to have added those words to his presidential oath, is Chester Allen Arthur. He appended SHMG to his oath when he was sworn into office on Sept. 22, 1881 after the death of President Garfield. Later on, several other presidents during the first third of the 20th Century adopted this practice. The last President, who did not use those words, was Herbert Hoover. One may say that a President can choose to add these words to the presidential oath, but it is a clear violation of the Constitution, and surely not a good idea for a judicial official to prompt the President to succumb to a religious test of office. This, unfortunately, has been the unbroken practice since FDR's Inaugural Ceremony in 1933, and there is no record that this practice started with George Washington.

A customary place for a President to acknowledge God's role in our national affairs is the Inaugural Address. In deed all Presidents with one exception have done so. Washington's second Inaugural Ceremony, in contrast to his first (where Chancellor Livingston, a fellow Mason, most likely, requested a Bible; where Madison drafted Washington's Inaugural Address; and where Congress laid out the concluding church service), was one which Washington managed completely. There was no planned church service, or official prayer. Furthermore, there were no reports of a Bible being present, or Washington saying, "So help me God."

The practice of adding "So help me God" to federal oaths outside of the courtroom began in 1862 with the Iron-clad Test Oath during the Civil War. It was supposed to keep Confederate sympathizers from participating in the Federal Government. It may well have been a counter-measure designed to offset the psychological impact that followed when Jefferson Davis repeated "So help me God" as he took his oath of office for the Confederacy. It wasn't until President Arthur's administration that the federal oath was restored to a degree of normalcy, and stripped of its designed Civil War anti-Confederate hostilities. As you are probably well aware, Congress preferred to retain the "So help me God" anomaly.

The notion that George Washington, as the President of the Constitutional Convention, would, at any subsequent time, disregard the concerted effort of the convention delegates and spatchcock the presidential oath is an unsubstantiated Orwellian legend.

Check out www.restorethepledge.com/video/

 
At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To make the claim that the U.S.of A. is a "Christian Nation" is truly revisionist--especially the idea that the "God" word use in SHMG and therefore implies a particular monotheism that is a priori "Christian." Is this god a triune god or a "One God" (or both)? Does the Holy Spirit of this god descend from the Father, only (the original Nicene Creed of the Early Church, ie: now called the "Eastern" or Greek Orthodox Church)or does it descend from the Father AND the Son ("felioque")which is the Roman Catholic version which was "revised" in 540 AD by the Western See via the so-called Edit of Turin. This occurred, BTW, without an ascent or consultancy of the Bishops of all the other churches in the East of those times. The point is, like today, even back then the "schismatics" of the pre-Protestant Church had their own "revelation" of what was (or was not) the nature of this god so conceptually described. Later, the Protestants had there own "take" on it: predestination; baptism (full immersion, partial, or just annoiting. The only thing that the "christians" may have in common doctrinally is that they are trinitarian. So, are we to assume that we are a nation founded on trinitarianism the nature of which Believers themselves are not entirely clear on? Recall that Jefferson, characterized himself as a "unitarian" and thought if there were to be a "national church" it should be Unitarianism (Adams family was of such a melieu.

Last I looked, the Nation was founded on a rational basis by the consent of the governed. While Faith may have animated the minds of the Founders in framing the Constitution they sure weren't specific in adding a "Christian" tag. The closest they came up with is "God," "Divine Providence," "God of Nature" (the latter which sounds more materialist than transcendental)are all Faith terms. How are they specifically "Christian." It seems the role of American gov't is not to parse theology nor to define for the Faithful what Christianity includes. Ever since 1054 when the Church split between East and West it seems folks have been "making it up as they go along" in defining the God of the Christ. And by the way, if one is a "true" Christian one could not deny the Incarnation: ie: "God didn't send an agent in the form of the Historical Christ--He came himself." Therefore, if we are "One Nation Under God" by implication we are one nation under Jesus. Right? Gee, that sounds kinda weird: What would the Queen of England say who has a crown on her head topped off with a Christian (western) cross.

Once upon a time the true expression of a "Christian Nation" was that its head of state was a self-ruling autocrat (cf: Tsarist Russia--hardly a republican executive). Why can't a nation, in terms of the State (gov't) be democratic AND Christian? Because, after all, one doesn't "vote" on what this god is all about but rather how He reveals himself, supposedly (cf: Council of Nicea). Good citizens of a Christian nation under a Christian autocracy should rather attend to the teachings of "one who is anointed" and those who anoint (priests) than listen to the the tales of a sinful heart. No?

Now, today we find that a certain religious revisionism tell us that this Republic is "ruled" by the same faith that "ruled" Russia. Golly, I thought God "Was the same yesterday, today and forever" but I guess not according to the self-appointed scissor-bills of revisionism theology.

 
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