Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Frazer Responds to Van Dyke

Gregg Frazer emails me this response to Tom Van Dyke's criticisms of his commentary:

Mr. Van Dyke: you continue to find my term idiosyncratic and unhelpful -- I suppose I shall have to try to muddle on without your approval.

Re the "religious-political landscape" issue: if you read my dissertation, you'd see evidence that it was also the political theology of the patriotic preachers and other educated elites -- not just the few key Founders.

It might also interest you to know that I did not conveniently select the eight key Founders -- they were selected by my dissertation committee chair because they were primarily responsible for the two founding documents.

Once again, speaking of begging the question, the Founders themselves never spoke of the "imago Dei" -- at least I point to what THEY claimed were their influences and sources.

Re your explanation of why they did not mention Christian sources: let me get this straight -- they did not know that they lived in an atmosphere influenced by Christian concepts, so they cannot be expected to include them in a list of multiple influences/sources?

How convenient for you that counter evidence cannot dent your view. What is the point of this entire discussion if, when faced with counter evidence, you simply reply with circular logic? We're spinning our wheels if you're going to resort to self-evident truths which cannot be dislodged by facts.

As a point of fact, Jefferson's original draft (which we have) DID include "their Creator" and "nature's God." What the Congress added was "supreme judge of the world" and "divine providence" -- both "God-words" as well, with no specific Christian or biblical content.

The fact that the Congress added non-Christian, non-biblical "God-words" to the Declaration actually supports my contention that theistic rationalism was the prevailing political theology -- and not Christianity. If they were trying to create a Christian nation, why didn't they insert Christian language/terms? Furthermore, if Jefferson and Franklin were such outliers where religion was concerned, why were they chosen to write the philosophical document? Would James Dobson and David Barton ask Barry Lynn or Madalyn Murray O'Hair to write such a document?

Again, I do not claim that the prevailing political theology undergirding the Founding was that of only a few key Founders!! On the contrary, I claim that that PREVAILING political theology can be SEEN in the writings of a few key Founders -- including the two founding documents. It would hardly be a "prevailing" political theology if it only existed in the minds of eight men.

I accept your apology, of course. I was not personally offended; I just wanted clarity.


bpabbott said...

Frazer: "Mr. Van Dyke: you continue to find my term idiosyncratic and unhelpful -- I suppose I shall have to try to muddle on without your approval."

We all come to that conclusion eventually ;-)

Frazer: "How convenient for [TVD] that counter evidence cannot dent [his] view."

... and how inconvenient for the rest of us ;-)

I realize that Frazer is a much more reputable and expert in the founding of our nation than I've ever aspired to be, or am able to be, but I must admit to ~some~ pleasure in reading his responses ;-)

We apparently share some similar opinions ;-)

Dan said...

You know something...Mr. Rowe here has quite the obsession with this Gregg Frazer character. If he is so smart then how is it I have never EVER seen one of his books? Interviews?

I think it is more than acceptable for Tom Van Dyke and Our Founding Truth to "stir the pot" as you would put it. Heaven forbid that they hold a different opinion from that of the great Gregg Frazer and Jon Rowe! Must we be so one-sided? I thought this blog was about representing ALL perspectives...at least that is what I was told when I came on board. Maybe now you will drive off Our Founding Truth and Tom Van Dyke. I sincerely hope not, since I greatly enjoy their material.

How about you give the other side a break, Jon! And get over the Frazer obsession!

Jonathan Rowe said...


I sort of view what Dr. Frazer is doing right now as guest blogging. He's sending me things via email because it's easier for him.

bpabbott said...


If you have a some substantive crique, let's hear it ... please do add your perpsective.

I find it illuminating that you demonstrate your hypocrisy so eagerly. In one paragraph you express a desire to censure one individual while implying that others are being censored. The real irony is that those your favor can post at will while the indivual you think has favored status has no such liberty.