But at least the phony quotes seemed "real" when people like high school teacher David Barton rediscovered them. What's the secular Left's excuse?
So I'm reading the religion writer for the LA Times on the "Jefferson Bible," where the 3rd president cut out all the miracles and stuff and made his own book of Jesus' wisdom. Pretty good article. But then Louis Sahagun wrote:
Like many other upper-class, educated citizens of the new republic, including George Washington, Jefferson was a deist.
Deists differed from traditional Christians by rejecting miraculous occurrences and prophecies and embracing the notion of a well-ordered universe created by a God who withdrew into detached transcendence.
That would be an accurate description of deism, whose God resembled Aristotle's. The Cosmic Watchmaker makes a watch--that's the universe, and us---and then moves on to other things. Unfortunately for the truth, Sahagun repeats the common secular received wisdom which is no less ignorant than the Christian Nation crowd's:
See, Thomas Jefferson was no "deist." His God was no cosmic watchmaker; he was active in the affairs of men [as was Washington's, but that's another story]. On slavery, Jefferson wrote:
“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 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!” —Notes on the State of Virginia 
Possible or probable that God would punish America for slavery, for offending the natural law of individual freedom.
I wrote to Mr. Sahagun with this objection, even assuring him I was no Christian Nationist. And I mentioned that Jefferson's words weren't terribly hard to find, in fact they've been carved in stone:
I also noted that the Jefferson Bible left in The Lord's Prayer, which is probative, because when your watch breaks, you don't pray to Timex [although you might curse it].
So far---and it's been almost a week now---no reply from Mr. Sahagun. I suggested he owes a duty to his readers to investigate the matter further, but so far, he's expressed no inclination to do so.
The Christian Nationists at least have some widely-circulated fake quotes from the 19th century to make them think that their theory of the Founding is true. Smart and unbenighted folks like Mr. Sahagun have no damn excuse, and not only that, they get paid to spread their ignorance.
Jeez. I hope folks will remember the glass houses thing or the one about having a mote in your eye. At least one of them is still in the Jefferson Bible.