Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pastor Rutherford and the Star-Spangled Banner: 2.0

A few months ago, Pastor Dudley Rutherford of Shepherd of the Hills Church, posted a controversial video on youtube of the history of the Star-Spangled Banner. The original video (which has since been removed) was met with severe criticism for several historical errors (you can read our blog's original criticism of the video by clicking here).

In the weeks following, Pastor Rutherford admitted that his original video was not as historically accurate as he had hoped. In consequence, he apologized for the errors and promised to revise his presentation, taking greater care to ensure that the correct history of the Star-Spangled Banner (and the bombardment of Fort McHenry) was presented.

I am now pleased to present the new and improved history of the Star-Spangled Banner by Pastor Dudley Rutherford:

Overall, I think Pastor Rutherford did a wonderful job. Of course the video isn't meant to be for historical purposes alone, but is mainly a patriotic tribute to the people and the events behind our nation's flag and anthem, and on those merits Pastor Rutherford gets an A+.

But of course, as is the case with any presentation of history (whether it be for academic or entertainment purposes) there are always things that can be done better. My only critique for Pastor Rutherford would be that at times his video makes the bombardment of Ft. McHenry look worse than it really was. As Americans, we often overemphasize the events of Ft. McHenry (and many other events from our nation's past) makes us look and feel better. Of course this is a very mundane critique and I could easily be accused of nitpicking but hey, this is a history blog; it's what we do best!

In conclusion, kudos to Pastor Dudley Rutherford for endeavoring to get the history right. As I said before, I know professional historians, who when criticized, are unable to see past their Ph.D.'s and consider other perspectives. Yes, Pastor Rutherford's first video was no good but his final draft is excellent. And in the end, isn't this what all good historical inquiry is about?


Tom Van Dyke said...

Righteous follow-up, Brad.

jimmiraybob said...

Thanks for the follow up - what TVD said. I'd occasionally wonder what the outcome was but just didn't have the time to search.

I think the original story got some fairly wide coverage, I hope this does as well.

Avery said...

This guy is a crock. What a fraud. Rutherford is a genuine grade A asshole.

Lance said...

I viewed Rutherford's first rendition after the youtube link was forwarded by a friend who energetically asked me, "Why isn't this taught in our schools?" After viewing I replied "Because it is wholly untrue!" In my opinion the original posting was an egregious misrepresentation of the facts done to promote an agenda - connecting a political persuasion to a religion. Before reading my following comments - know: I graduated from West Point, served proudly in the military (would do so again) along side soldiers of different faiths than mine (would do so again), my father fought in WWII and my brother similarly in the Vietnam War. What I write should not question my patriotism. Arguments regarding videos (1 & 2) are not about "professional historians" and "other perspectives". Neither videos were produced, in my opinion, to serve "good historical inquiry." The pastor's original version went far beyond making "the bombardment of Ft McHenry worse than it really was." He didn't do his homework, nor did his advisors. The inaccuracies were numerous about many many other things including: calling the location "Ft Henry", placing women & children inside the fort as it's occupants (there were no women or children inside), referring to the US as "the Colonies" at the time of the fight, piles of dead bodies keeping the flag standing inside the fort after the bombardment was over, placing hundreds (if not thousands) of British ships into the frey. He changed Washington's famous "die on my feet" quote and said that Washington said - "the Christian soldier would rather die on his feet than live on his knees..." All of what was put forward by the pastor formed powerful emotional images - and according to background information available regarding the 1st video he delivered version for sermon(s) in church. The effect of all of this cannot be erased from the minds of those (thousands or more) who like my friend saw the video (or heard the sermons in church) and didn't think it through and really hear the b.s., i.e. they got fired-up and accepted this stuff as accurate and made donations and/or started spreading this stuff around. To this day they don't know of the inaccuracies - and are still probably promoting an agenda. The viewer/listener needs to ask "Why?? Why was this video produced?" It certainly was not for historical reasons. If it was created for "entertainment" then for what purpose & effect is the entertainment being produced? In short, what is Paster Rutherford's agenda for this kind of entertainment? Is it just to have people be quiet, and place their hand over their hearts and uncover their heads at ball games when the national anthem is played? (Which, by the way I think people should do!) I have thought about this The possibilities regarding other agenda disturb me - and they are not limited to this one individual pastor. He could be a really cool guy. Unfortunately, though, the possibilities include using our churches as military recruitment centers, using our military bases as religious recruitment centers, making big businesses of both the military and church, and skewing the idea that "to be a good patriotic American" one must agree with an agenda that allows these possibilities to move forward. Let's not abuse history or the memory of our founding fathers.

Kelly Barnes said...

relax man. He doesn't have an agenda any more than you do spewing anti religous propaganda about our military and military bases. This country was founded on God, whether you like it or not or believe it or not. It amazes me that when ever anyone tries to do something good, people come out of the woodwork and start to tear it down. what have you done to better this world?? I don't see your video with millions of hits on youtube. Do yourself a favor and look for the good and fight your negativity bias towards those who rise above.