Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throckmorton: "Simon & Schuster Has No Plans to Publish David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies"

Check it out here. A taste:
... The rumor that Simon and Schuster was about to publish Barton’s book has been going around since The Jefferson Lies was pulled. Today, I can announce that Simon and Schuster has no plans to publish the book....


Tom Van Dyke said...

Very stupid book, it's where Barton jumped the shark.

He should have discredited Jefferson as an outlier, rendering that "wall of separation" stuff moot.

Barton actually got nailed not because of his Christian nation thesis that drives the secularists bonkers, but because of the race card. Some liberal activist preachers raised a stink for his soft-pedalling Jefferson's slaveowning and threatened a boycott of his publisher, Thomas Nelson, which specializes in religious books.

jimmiraybob said...

TVD - "He should have discredited Jefferson as an outlier, rendering that "wall of separation" stuff moot."

You mean like that other notorious outlier, Madison? Or, the Baptists, to whom Jefferson was corresponding?

Roger Williams - "When they [the Church] have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, etc., and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day.”(1)

Reverend John Leland, Sr. - "Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny–the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. It converts religion into a principle of state policy, and the gospel into merchandise. Heaven forbids the bans of marriage between church and state; their embraces therefore, must be unlawful."(2)

1) From:

2) Independence Day oration July 5, 1802, from:

Jefferson was hardly an outlier when it came to the dangers – to both – represented by mixing religion and government.

jimmiraybob said...

I like this one too:

Reverend John Leland, Sr. (1790) - "The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever. ... Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians."

jimmitaybob said...

Well, this is interesting. St. George Tucker (1752 – 1827) was a lawyer and professor of law at the College of William and Mary. He served as a judge of the General Court of Virginia and later on the Court of Appeals and in 1831 was appointed by James Madison as the U.S. District Court judge for Virginia. Among his published works was an annotated American edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries from which the following is excerpted(1):

On the first of these subjects, our state bill of rights contains, what, if prejudice were not incapable of perceiving truth, might be deemed an axiom, concerning the human mind. That "religion, or the duty we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be dictated only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence." In vain, therefore, may the civil magistrate interpose the authority of human laws, to prescribe that belief, or produce that conviction, which human reason rejects: in vain may the secular arm be extended, the rack stretched, and the flames kindled, to realize the tortures denounced against unbelievers by all the various sects of the various denominations of fanatics and enthusiasts throughout the globe. The martyr at the stake, glories in his tortures, and proves that human laws may punish, but cannot convince. The pretext of religion, and the pretences of sanctity and humility, have been employed throughout the world, as the most direct means of gaining influence and power. Hence the numberless martyrdoms and massacres which have drenched the whole earth with blood, from the first moment that civil and religious institutions were blended together. To separate them by mounds which can never be overleaped, is the only means by which our duty to God, the peace of mankind, and the genuine fruits of charity and fraternal love, can be preserved or properly discharged. This prohibition, therefore, may be regarded as the most powerful cement of the federal government, or rather, the violation of it will prove the most powerful engine of separation. Those who prize the union of the states will never think of touching this article with unhallowed hands.

Holy moly, not even a damned atheist. He reminds me of Joseph Story.

jimmiraybob said...

1) From:

jimmiraybob said...

Speaking of Joseph Story, I wonder what he considered the purpose of separation was for? Oh yeah, so that,

"...the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship."(1)

1) Commentaries on the Constitution, Volume 3 (1833) § 1873. Found at:

Tom Van Dyke said...

TVD - "He should have discredited Jefferson as an outlier, rendering that "wall of separation" stuff moot."

You mean like that other notorious outlier, Madison?

Yes. Madison lost the chaplain issue.

jimmiraybob said...

"Yes. Madison lost the chaplain issue. "

Ouch. Wow. That changes everything. I can now see that we've been using the wrong Constitution for all these years. Just Wow. We've been bamboozled. Madison who?

[rolls eyes and heads toward coffee machine]

jimmiraybob said...

[ambling back from the coffee machine]

There’s little doubt that the legislative chaplaincy (office of), legislative prayer and funding these from the national treasury respects an establishment of religion. To conclude that Jefferson and/or Madison are outlying voices in the religious-political arena is to miss the mark – they represent a substantial constituency, then and to the present, that agrees with their positions on principle. Did their position win the political day (or the last couple of centuries) on this issue alone? No. But, it’s hard to counter momentum – 1) the momentum of incorporating a European and colonial precedent into post-Constitution practice (yeah Sam Adams wins), and 2) incorporating that initial act of momentum with the momentum of “tradition” in Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983), which, in essence, punted on principle in favor of the tradition of privilege and establishment. As Justices Brennan and Marshall wrote in their dissent in Marsh v. Chambers (1):

”The Court makes no pretense of subjecting Nebraska's practice of legislative prayer to any of the formal "tests" that have traditionally structured our inquiry under the Establishment Clause. That it fails to do so is, in a sense, a good thing, for it simply confirms that the Court is carving out an exception to the Establishment Clause, rather than reshaping Establishment Clause doctrine to accommodate legislative prayer. For my purposes, however, I must begin by demonstrating what should be obvious: that, if the Court were to judge legislative prayer through the unsentimental eye of our settled doctrine, it would have to strike it down as a clear violation of the Establishment Clause.”

” That the "purpose" of legislative prayer is preeminently religious, rather than secular, seems to me to be self-evident.”

”The ‘primary effect’ of legislative prayer is also clearly religious. As we said in the context of officially sponsored prayers in the public schools, ‘prescribing a particular form of religious worship,’ even if the individuals involved have the choice not to participate, places "indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion. . . .’ Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 431 (1962). [n5] More importantly, invocations in Nebraska's legislative halls explicitly link religious belief and observance to the power and prestige of the State.”

[cont. below]

jimmiraybob said...

Madison objected to the legislative chaplaincy on at least two grounds, religious freedom and violation of the Constitution (2):

”Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom?”

”In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation.”

The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority. To say nothing of other sects, this is the case with that of Roman Catholics & Quakers who have always had members in one or both of the Legislative branches. Could a Catholic clergyman ever hope to be appointed a Chaplain? To say that his religious principles are obnoxious or that his sect is small, is to lift the evil at once and exhibit in its naked deformity the doctrine that religious truth is to be tested by numbers. or that the major sects have a right to govern the minor.”

”If Religion consist in voluntary acts of individuals, singly, or voluntarily associated, and it be proper that public functionaries, as well as their Constituents shd discharge their religious duties, let them like their Constituents, do so at their own expence. How small a contribution from each member of Congs wd suffice for the purpose? How just wd it be in its principle? How noble in its exemplary sacrifice to the genius of the Constitution; and the divine right of conscience? Why should the expence of a religious worship be allowed for the Legislature, be paid by the public, more than that for the Ex. or Judiciary branch of the Govt”

”Were the establishment to be tried by its fruits, are not the daily devotions conducted by these legal Ecclesiastics, already degenerating into a scanty attendance, and a tiresome formality?”

I can only imagine that for some religious-political conservatives, priding themselves on adherence to principle, this is somewhere and somehow disconcerting. But hey, a win is a win. Time to move on. Nothing to see here.

1) Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983), from:

2) James Madison, Detached Memoranda (ca. 1817), from:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Yes, I know.