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Lying for the Lord – again!

WHAT’S with Christian fundies and their addiction to lies?

Is it that, deep down, they know that Christianity hasn’t a factual leg to stand on, and that the only way they feel they can defend and perpetuate the religion is by adding to the foundation of lies on which it rests?

One of the 10 Florida billboards

One of the ten Florida billboards

Here’s the latest example: A Florida fundamentalist group has decided to wage war on church-state separation in the US by posting ten billboard advertisements that send the message that:

America’s government was made only for people who are moral and religious.

The billboards highlight quotes from the US’s founding fathers that are misleading, false or taken out of context.

For example, one of the messages attributes this quote to George Washington:

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.

Washington never ever said that! Even David Barton, a Religious Right propagandist who for years has pushed a fundamentalist “Christian nation” view of American history, admits that quote can’t be documented.

In 1996, after years of using similar quotes from the founding fathers, Barton issued a list of 12 quotations he admitted were “questionable,” and advised his followers to stop using them.

TheWashington quote is one of them.

Writing for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Sandhya Bathija says:

It’s clear the truth seems to be lost on Community Issues Council (CIC), the group behind these billboards. CIC seeks to “promote and protect Judeo-Christian values” and first came onto the scene in 2005 when its members worked to shut down a strip club in Valrico, Florida.

A retired businessman, Gregg Smith, brought the idea of the billboards to the group’s president and sole employee, Terry Kemple. Smith put up $50,000 to rent the billboard ad space and Kemple paid the bill for a new Web site, www.noseparation.org.

It would be one thing if CIC was somehow misled to believe these statements were true, or that they failed to do some thorough fact checking. But Kemple admits to knowing he is broadcasting complete lies.

Kemple told the St Petersburg Times:

I don’t believe there’s a document in Washington’s handwriting that has those words in that specific form. However, if you look at Washington’s quotes, including his farewell address, about the place of religion in the political sphere, there’s no question he could have said those exact words.

Bathija adds:

George Washington could have said those words?

I’m sure he could have said a lot of things, but it’s irrelevant unless he actually said them. Besides, putting the statement in quotations implies he actually said them, not could have said them.

All this is not surprising. It just goes along with all of the other Religious Right propagandists who continue to push “Christian nation” nonsense, despite knowing the real truth.

What is interesting is how CIC aims to keep America for the “moral and religious,” because last I checked liars don’t fall in that category.

CIC has even managed to annoy Brent Walker, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. In an opinion piece in the Associated Baptist Press, he says:

When those with an agenda cherry-pick – and completely make up – quotes from our founders, they do a disservice to all.

39 responses to “Lying for the Lord – again!”

  1. Eonir says:

    Hey, somebody should post billboards with “F*CK OFF!” written on them. Because I’m quite sure Washington could have said that.

  2. When you don't have a leg to stand on, knock the other's legs out from under him to level the playing field.

  3. valdemar says:

    This is just crying out for another competition – religious bollocks famous historical characters might have said, more or less!

    'Christianity is the only basis for a decent society' – Pontius Pilate

    'Jesus wants me to make a mountain of the heads of my foes, in a good way' – Tamerlane

    'Look! It's the Virgin Mary, up in that tree!' – Bertrand Russell

    'We Christians are just ace' – Nietzsche

    I get extra points for spelling NIetzsche, twice, without looking it up.

  4. Tom Estes says:

    Barry, this post is dishonest. Have you read the Declaration of Independence? It says that our Creator has given us rights, does it not? To say that America wasn't founded by people who were Christian is just not true.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Very good, valdemar: must be a nietzsche market!

    You beat me to it, actually, as I was just thinking of all the things that famous people "could have said". Jesus probably said: "Fuck this for a game of soldiers!" at some stage, and I'm SURE that Mary must have said, "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!", but I think someone may already have suggested that one elsewhere!!

    This could run and run!

  6. CybrgnX says:

    Who cares what the founders said. The Consitution/Declaration is written and has Seperation written in.
    The damned (insert your BS here) can get over it and deal.

  7. Angela_K says:

    Mr Estes, The US Declaration was conceived and written by human beings, not by someone's imaginary friend; so how can something that doesn't exist bestow rights?

    And another thing: you religious types slaughtered the indigenous population and stole their country.

  8. barry_duke says:

    Tom, each time you venture onto this site, you expose more of your ignorance. Here are a few paragraphs that demonstrate how wrong you are to suggest that the US Constitution is based on Christianity:

    "One of the most common statements from the ‘Religious Right’ is that they want this country to ‘return to the Christian principles on which it was founded’. However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States had little use for Christianity, and many were strongly opposed to it. They were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true.

    "When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that 'no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." (Article 6, section 3) …

    "They wanted to ensure that no single religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention religion, except in exclusionary terms. The words 'Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God' are never mentioned in the Constitution – not once …

    "Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea of divine authority.

    "The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was 'in no sense founded on the Christian religion' This was not an idle statement, meant to satisfy Muslims – they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.

    See full article here:

    That's right Angela_K, where was the right of the American Indians to "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness"? If "all men" were created equal, where were their "unalienable Rights"? It's funny how the law always seems to be interpreted in favour of the powerful!

  9. barry_duke says:

    Tom, each time you venture onto this site, you expose more of your ignorance. Here are a few paragraphs that demonstrate how wrong you are to suggest that the US Constitution is based on Christianity:

    "One of the most common statements from the ‘Religious Right’ is that they want this country to ‘return to the Christian principles on which it was founded’. However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. The men responsible for building the foundation of the United States had little use for Christianity, and many were strongly opposed to it. They were men of The Enlightenment, not men of Christianity. They were Deists who did not believe the bible was true.

    "When the Founders wrote the nation's Constitution, they specified that 'no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States'. (Article 6, section 3) …

    "They wanted to ensure that no single religion could make the claim of being the official, national religion, such as England had. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention religion, except in exclusionary terms. The words 'Jesus Christ, Christianity, Bible, and God' are never mentioned in the Constitution – not once …

    "Thomas Jefferson wrote that the power of the government is derived from the governed. Up until that time, it was claimed that kings ruled nations by the authority of God. The Declaration was a radical departure from the idea of divine authority.

    "The 1796 treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was 'in no sense founded on the Christian religion'. This was not an idle statement, meant to satisfy Muslims – they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams.

    See full article here: http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.htm

  10. MelM says:

    "Liars For Jesus" by Chris Rodda
    http://www.liarsforjesus.com/

    Page down to see the series of videos debunking Barton.

  11. barriejohn says:

    It seems from what I have read that George Washington studiously avoided giving support to the Christian faith, though he did refer to "Providence" etc from time to time. There has been much debate as to what his beliefs actually were, but he was certainly NOT an evangelical Christian!

  12. Tom Estes says:

    Barry, did you read my comment? I did NOT say my country was founded as a theocracy, I said we were founded by Christian people, which is true.
    As Christians, we do not believe people should be FORCED to believe in God, it's a choice, a choice that all people should be free to make. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons the we left England was to escape the oppression of the church of England. You surely know all of this right?

    Hey CybrgnX,
    Can you please show me Seperation in the Constitution? I would love to see it. Seriously, show me. I'll be waiting.

  13. Broga says:

    And they are still at it. Skeeter, a Native American, has recently been fried alive in the electric chair at Polunsky Unit, Livingstone, Texas. I am told, by a member of the staff sickened by what they know, that the usual audience for these grisly events contained a supportive christian contingent. The same source says that the first person who was offered the chance to attach his name to the infamous Polunsky Unit refused. He was a Politician. Polunsky, who is surely a piece of human shit , accepted. This is hearsay; i cannot confirm it; the source is good. How good, you would scarcely believe. Perhaps Bill Clinton could have a look at that Hell Hole. Closer than North Korea and he could get a result.

  14. sailor1031 says:

    Sure a few were christians but most were deists like Jefferson or atheists like Franklin. Those were the days of the enlightenment after all. There's a BIG difference between deists and christians, one being that deists don't believe in the mythical christ – go check it out Tom. BTW this post refers to an egregious lie allegedly quoting something George Washington didn't say. The dishonesty clearly is on the part of liars who would make up quotations and attribute them to heroes of the nation to try and give them credibility. But that's an old trick with you christians, starting with the liar who claimed to be mark and the liars who claimed to be matthew and luke and especially the christian liars john of patmos and sauls #2 & #3 of tarsus. Making stuff up and attributing it to someone well known has a long history amongst christians.

  15. sailor1031 says:

    Well another christian lie. The puritans in England were not, in fact, persecuted. They left England to found their own colony where their ways would be the law because the english sensibly would not let them rule England. And of course they did found their oppressive, dull, squalid little theocratic dictatorship in America and, as a result ,we are still plagued with narrow-minded, puritanical, hypocritical, superstitious anti-rationalists who want to force us all to live their way!

  16. piltdown man says:

    Here is separation of church and state in the Constitution:
    In his "Final Letter, as Sent" to the Danbury Baptists, Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence and a major contributor to the U.S. Constitution, referred to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…") as “building a wall of separation between church and state”

    You can read the letter at the library of Congress’ web site: http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9806/danpre.html

    J.C.

  17. barriejohn says:

    The First Amendment:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

  18. piltdown man says:

    Check out these interesting quotes by some of America's Founding Father's, including our friend George:

    Benjamin Franklin:
    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758.

    "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies."

    Thomas Jefferson:
    Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear".

    "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823.

    George Washington:
    "Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would have reconciled the Christians so that their [not our?]* religious fights would not endanger the peace of Society." Letter to Sir Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792

    Quotes from http://atheistempire.com
    *brackets from Atheist Empire.

    J.C.

    P.S. I can't resist adding my favorite quote. It is from Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, a well known critic or organized religions:

    "Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion–several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven." -Letters from the Earth.

  19. William Harwood says:

    Letter from Thomas Jefferson, Jan 1, 1802 :
    "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
    The Puritans left England, not to escape a tyranny, but to establish a theocracy in which the Puritans were the totalitarian tyrants. The authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights frustrated the attempt tp make America a theocracy, and no serious attempt was made to reverse church/state separation until the tyrannies of Reagan/Bush Republicanazism.

  20. Buffy says:

    If they were forced to tell the truth their stranglehold on much of humanity, and their cash flow, would vanish. Hence the pathological lying.

  21. Rog says:

    Tell me Mr. Estes, does your church tithe? how much does a pastor earn these days?

    Thanks in advance.

  22. Stuart_W says:

    The 'oppression of the church in England', Tom? I don't think that the church in this country has ever been more powerless or frustrated with its image.

  23. William Harwood says:

    John Steinbeck faked Lenny Small's death. He is alive and flourishing at a website called HardTruth. Steinbeck also portrayed his retard as far more intelligent than he really is, as anyone who checks out the website can easily verify.

  24. BuzzLOL says:

    .. My "CREATOR" was my PARENTS!! Not some imaginary 'god'. Jefferson was an atheist in private, but softpedaled it a bit in public because up till 1776 it was still legal to kill someone for being a Normal Person with no religious addiction to being lied to… and no religious psychosis…

  25. BuzzLOL says:

    .. You're right, "Buffy", the constant barrage of religious lies is all about making MONEY off the psychotic gullible everyday… 24/7… weekly… monhly… yearly…

    .. Isn't it AMAZING that the WISDOM shown and written by our forefathers in that era 250 years ago is still well above what many people have today?!?!

  26. In 1776, political speech was full of christian originated words. That's a fact. Another fact is that founding fathers were influenced by the Enlightenment, and that was a humanistic, rationalist, non theist movement.

    USA was founded not in christian principles, but enlightenment ones.

    Treaty of Peace and Friendship:

    "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."

    First amendment:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    And so on.

    And please, i know there is such a tradition there, but America is not a country, is a full continent. You live in USA.

  27. TLP says:

    George Washington could have said that E=MC2. But he didn't!

    "Thou shalt not lie" ? My ass!

  28. barriejohn says:

    That video on your link is incredible, TLP: I hope everyone has seen it!

    Penn and Teller are hilarious!!

    Thanks.

  29. Donald Eric Kesler says:

    Hello,

    It is true that Christians are not supposed to lie; however, many Christians are comfortable with violating their own taboos if they believe it is the will of their God. Instead of wasting time correcting their lies, we should be looking at what these individuals are hoping to accomplish. We should be asking ourselves, what greater good would justify this deception in the eyes of these religious conservatives?

    Obviously, there is a desire to re-write history, but to what end? The purpose of this revision seems clear. Once the religious conservatives are able to convince a sizable percentage of the population that the founding fathers never intended for there to be a separation between church and state, then they will press for changes to the bill of rights. I don't think I am being a reactionary by saying that this is what is really at stake here.

    Regards and Best Wishes,

    Donald Eric Kesler

  30. […] Christian billboards are using George Washington quotes to fight separation of church and state&#823… […]

  31. barriejohn says:

    I think we are aware of their objectives – we just don't think they should be allowed to get away with this nonsense!

  32. Brad says:

    I'm afraid you're mistaken in this post friend, indeed Washington said exactly that in http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/mileston

    Google is your friend, well only if you're trying to provide accurate information anyway.

  33. Susan Ingram says:

    'The Declaration of Independence does state

    "the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them"
    and
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights"

    It's the Bill of Rights, a seperate document which states

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
    which is Article III

    Check your facts you can't fights lies with half truths.

  34. William Harwood says:

    Washington wrote, "Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it?" To anyone who has passed Logic 101, it is transparently clear that Washington was conceding that religion can enjoin peace and harmony, while pointing out that "good policy," meaning behavior NOT motivated by religion, can do likewise. Anyone who would distort that message into, "Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle," is an unmitigated LIAR.

  35. Tom says:

    I think we need to take a closer look at the actual writings of our founding fathers. You would be surprised how Christian they were. Every single one of them would be ashamed of the situation going on right now in Florida, arresting 2 teachers for blessing a meal. Really? Mean while it's ok to have a huge billboard on the side of the road advertising a gentleman's club. What is the more difficult conversation to have with your child, what is prayer or what is a gentleman's club. We are headed down a nasty path!

    The info below was from the following website
    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp

    George Washington

    JUDGE; MEMBER OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS; COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY; PRESIDENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; “FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY”
    You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.122

    While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.123

    The blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.124

    I now make it my earnest prayer that God would… most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of the mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion.125

  36. Richard Mason says:

    Atheism, in all is misaligned thought, is fueled by unfounded pride and those who are unenlightened.

    Matthew 13:13-15 (New Living Translation)
    13 That is why I use these parables,

    For they look, but they don’t really see.
    They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

    14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

    ‘When you hear what I say,
    you will not understand.
    When you see what I do,
    you will not comprehend.
    15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
    and their ears cannot hear,
    and they have closed their eyes—
    so their eyes cannot see,
    and their ears cannot hear,
    and their hearts cannot understand,
    and they cannot turn to me
    and let me heal them.’

    You see, atheism is just a religion of unbelief rooted in half-truths. Amen?

  37. Brenden says:

    You can't try to prove something is a lie if you have to lie about it. Sorry, but George Washington clearly knew that God had created us and that it is impossible to do anything without Him.

  38. uncle daddy d says:

    The founding fathers were top level masons, they were privy to the most secret of Masonic beliefs. All of you are either too ignorant, inconvenienced or in denial to even mention it here.

    Google It. On top of that, look at all the symbolism. Where in the Bible are there pentagons, one eyed pyramids and obelisks?