Thursday, March 27, 2014

How Christian Nationalist Historical Revisionism Harms

Or George Washington's phony prayers strike again. John Fea has the details here. It really harms in the sense that it motivated a public official into civil disobedience with its inherent consequences.

On a personal note, I have nothing against civil disobedience per se; but it's not something to take lightly. Certainly, one should base one's civil disobedience on accurate facts.


Bill Fortenberry said...

Jon, do you know if the text of Samuel Provost's sermon during the inauguration of Washington is available online? It seems to me that since this sermon was conducted at the express order of Congress, it would have direct bearing on the question of whether the religious actions of the government can be done in the name of Jesus Christ. All I've been able to find online so far is this excerpt from William Federer's website:

We are occupied in the...most important business that can possibly engage the human the Hands of God, we shall be made the happy instruments of turning many from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan to the Knowledge and Love of the Truth...Lay no other foundation than that which is already laid...upon the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, and him crucified...Let us all unite our most strenuous endeavors, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may run and be glorified, till the earth be filled with the Knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Federer does not provide a footnote, so I have not been able to verify the accuracy of this quote, but if it is accurate, then it seems that Ms. Frazier was acting well within her rights regardless of the validity of the Washington Prayer Book. Do you have any other information on this sermon?

Tom Van Dyke said...

If this is "harm," our problems aren't much.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Upon further review:

She picked the wrong hill to die on,* but whether or not it's Washington's prayer [not] is irrelevant to the actual issue.

Since the issue of "Jesus Christ" will be decided this term

this political football need not have been put in play at this particular moment.

On a personal note, although I consider it bad manners to invoke Jesus Christ in the presence of those who don't accept him, the pluralist in me says it's fine, provided that Allah and Vishnu or whathaveyou isn't banned.

In my book, both those who insist on "Jesus" and those who go to the trouble of litigating him do the most harm to our polity, and can all to go to hell.

*Albeit an understandable mistake by a non-historian--the now-debunked "Washington's Prayer" has been in circulation for well over a hundred years, and according to this fellow [I can't vouch for him]

at least some of the key phrases indeed originate with Washington. The reader of the newspaper account will get the half of the story where the prayer is bogus, but not the rest of its history.