Monday, April 28, 2014

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It's 225 Years Since April 30th, 1789

Over at American Thinker's 4/27/2014 blog there's a timely article, April 30th, The Lost Holiday, by Craig Seibert. Here's how it starts:
A little-remembered anniversary occurs this April 30 -- the 225th Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution being put into operation.
Many might remember that April 30, 1789 was the day that George Washington took the oath of office and gave his inaugural address. But lest we forget, this very act also marked the launching of the American Constitutional System. 
Continue reading here.


Ray Soller said...

At one point the author has this to say:

After repeating this [the presidential oath] oath, Washington kissed the Bible, his hand was resting upon, and purportedly said “so help me God”. [SHMG]

Although today, the cultural bullies who want to run God out of every public aspect of life debate these two claims, the actual documents of history and the nature of oath taking in New York State at that time confirm that both of these things happened.

The cultural bullies I know of, myself included, do not challenge the claim that GW held his hand on the Bible during the oath, and kissed the Bible when it was completed. As for the possibility that GW added an extra-constitutional phrase to his oath just before kissing the Bible, there's simply no firsthand account to support this notion.

Yes, for the period of 1778 to 1821, certain oaths administered according to NYS statute had the oath-taker kiss the Bible, or add SHMG. I examined the relevant NYS statute here at our American Creation blog.

When I examined what turns out to be a meaningless link to A Treatise on the Powers and Duties of Justices of the Peace and Town Officers, in the State of New York with the Revised Statutes [of 1821]; published 1836 as provided by the article, I found no references to either the Bible or "so help me God." I did find references to the phrase,in the presence of Almighty God.

Now, even if we go back to the period from 1778 to 1821, there is no indication of SHMG preceding the obligatory kissing the Bible.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Blogger Ray Soller said...
At one point the author has this to say:

After repeating this [the presidential oath] oath, Washington kissed the Bible, his hand was resting upon, and purportedly said “so help me God”. [SHMG]

Ray, he did properly cover his butt with "purportedly," which I always take as meaning "Believe it or don't."

OTOH, famous/infamous anti-SHMG agitator Michael Newdow made a whole video confidently asserting beyond a shadow of a doubt that he didn't.

while wearing an execrable costume. [Although you can tell him for me that his musicking is actually quite good. Props.]

Ray Soller said...

Here's another 225-year GW Inaugural Commemorative article, George Washington Wanted a Simple Inauguration 225 Years Ago. No One Listened

Ray Soller said...

Today, RMRF coalition member, FRC blogger, SHMG-pusher, and head scratching Pastor Robert Morrison has also offered his contribution for this current occasion. See here

Somehow, the Morrison blog promotes the same Craig Seibert's rumor that modern skeptics question whether GW kissed the Bible. Now, I need to ask just how Morrison and Seibert could come up with this novelty.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The thing is, Ray, our religious history has indeed been so minimized ["The Founders were all deists"] that these guys don't know what to believe, so they believe it all.

The germ of great truth here is in Washington's inaugural address, which is religious as hell. [So is his Farewell Address, at least re the social utility of religion.]

Unfortunately, the quote from Sen. William Maclay is completely irrelevant, as Maclay isn't talking about Washington's religious reverence.

In fact, iirc, as a matter of church-state principle, Maclay was one of the few members of Congress who refused to go over to St. Paul's Chapel for the post-inaugural benediction.

Maclay's the last guy Morrison wants to enlist for his argument!

But hell, these people aren't history scholars. They've been misled by both sides of the culture war and it's a miracle when they get ANYTHING right!

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