Monday, July 05, 2010

The "Deist" Founders? Nope. Try Again

History is just so loaded with those damn Facts, mostly contradicting the claims of the Leftoids.

Drat.

The thinkers who formulated the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were deists, not theists, and were inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment movement in England and Europe --Dave Miller

Pure.. Unadulterated.. Poppycock. This flies completely in the face of serious scholarship on the subject by Dr. Miles Bradford (University of Dallas) in which he careflully examined the religious beliefs of 55 of the framers of the Constitutional Convention and found only 3 whose religious leanings were a bit unclear.

Even more of those dratted Facts:

"Over a ten-year period, political science professors at the University of Houston analyzed over 15,000 writings and speeches by the Founding Fathers to determine the primary source of ideas behind the Constitution. The three most quoted sources were the French philosopher Charles Montesquieu, English jurist William Blackstone and English philosopher John Locke. But the Bible was quoted more than any of these: four times more than Montesquieu, six times more than Locke and twelve times more than Blackstone. Ninety-four percent of the Founding Father's quotes were quoted, either directly or indirectly, from the Bible". ---Source: Lillback, Peter; Wall of Misconception, pgs. 30-31, (2007), Providence Forum Press.

So much for Rousseau, Diderot, Bacon, and Voltaire.

HT: Vox

14 comments:

Deekaman said...

Leftist response: "They're just making that up. You can write anything you want, that doesn't make it true." Of course, they offer no counter-evidence, they just say it ain't so.

neomom said...

That is because Progressivism must eliminate God for the Government to become God.

Anita Moore said...

Plus: George Washington converted to Catholicism on his deathbed.

Grim said...

Thank you for that. I will look it over carefully.

Jim said...

Pure.. Unadulterated.. Poppycock. This flies completely in the face of serious scholarship on the subject by Dr. Miles Bradford (University of Dallas) in which he careflully examined the religious beliefs of 55 of the framers of the Constitutional Convention and found only 3 whose religious leanings were a bit unclear.

Funny, I'm unable to find any actual source for the Dr. Miles Bradfor (University of Dallas) guy. I googled him and all I come up is the above quote over and over again which makes it appear to be a chain email as the source.

Same with the "University of Houston study". A number of blogs, as this one does, cite this study but none links to it, only a book that apparently mentions it.

I don't know if this stuff is made up because I can't find a source for your "dratted facts."

Amy said...

You have to remember that these are the same folks who get their understanding of the First Amendment from a *private* letter written by Thomas Jefferson; the fact that official speeches and other writings make clear religion was not meant to be kept out of the public sphere is, on the other hand, irrelevant.

neomom said...

Amy - it is all selective.

A quote from a private letter Thomas Jefferson wrote that meets their goal of eliminating God from the public square and "Voila" we suddenly have something new in the living and breathing Constitution.

But quotes from a private letter from James Madison that would eliminate entitlements as unconstitutional interpretations of the term "General Welfare" in the Preamble? They will have none of that now, because it goes against their Progressive nanny-state goals.

“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” — James Madison in a letter to James Robertson

or even Jefferson again

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.” — Thomas Jefferson

Grim said...

I've spent some time with the University of Georgia library today trying to find the reference, and I can't located it either.

I did find two Dr. Miles Bradford's. One of them, however, is in a different field.

There is a Dr. M. Gerald Bradford (the M. stands for Miles) who wrote a religious biography called Encounters with Erikson, among other works. He appears to be a Mormon, though, and the University of Dallas is explictly Catholic. Not only can I not find any works by him that touch on the subject, but it also seems unlikely that he was employed by U. Dallas.

So, I'm not sure about the sourcing of this claim either. If it's legitimate, it is worth looking into, but it may be a hoax.

Steve Cavanaugh said...

There was a Dr. Melvin (Mel) Bradford at the University of Dallas who died in 1993 (see his NYT obit here), who wrote a book called Religion and the Framers: Biographical Evidence.

Grim said...

Ah! That must be the right one. He wrote a number of books that appear to be on point.

Billiam said...

Here are some more Founders quotes regarding their faith...

Anonymous said...

MEL Bradford is providing ONE of MANY interpretations regarding the religious background of the Founding Fathers.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Bradford


Religious scholar David Holmes described the Founding Fathers as “remarkable, even noble men” who respected the teachings of Jesus, whose beliefs were far from atheistic and who, except for maybe Monroe, believed in a life after death. Yet, he noted that their thinking may not be what Christians today expect. “These men fit the category of men of faith,” he said, “though that faith is different from the faith of most Christians today.”

web.wm.edu/news/archive/index.php?id=6083


I suggest reading his work "The Faiths Of The Founding Founders". Please go to Chapter 12, A Layperson's Guide To Distinguishing A Deist From An Orthodox Christian

http://books.google.com/books?id=s4-6rMfFEJ8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=were+the+founding+fathers+deists&hl=en&ei=AtQzTPOhJYO0lQf5iqXBCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=were%20the%20founding%20fathers%20deists&f=false


Passage--An examination of history cannot capture the inner faith of any man. But in the case of the founders of the United States, readers can use these four indicators--church attendance, approach to sacraments or ordinances, level of activity, and religious language--to locate the founders on the religious spectrum with some confidence.

...A vestryman in both Anglican and Episcopal parishes, George Washington attended church with some regularity, held organized religion in high regard, and was known to pray privately. But he was never confirmed, and apparently avoided Holy Communion for most or all of this adult life. Although Washington's most common term for God was Providence, he also used such terms as Heaven, the Grand Architect, the Deity, and the Great Ruler of Events. Both his official and private correspondence, however, omitted such words as Lord, Savior, and Redeemer, and he rarely referred to Jesus Christ. On the spectrum of early American religion, he would clearly be classified as a Deistic Christian.

Dad29 said...

Anony 8:35PM...

Based only on what you quote above re GWashington, my first thought was that he was a Freemason.

JD Curtis said...

I don't know if this stuff is made up because I can't find a source for your "dratted facts."

That's cute. If you'll notice, his screen name is DAD29, not "yo' momma".

You are encouraged to pick up a copy of Bradford's work, either A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution (1982) or Religion and the Framers: the Biographical Evidence (1991) and look up every single fact for yourself.

Based only on what you quote above re GWashington, my first thought was that he was a Freemason

I had the distinct honor of hearing Dr Peter Lillback (whose organization I link to on my blog) preach twice this year and I sat in on his Sunday School as well.

Lillback described the Freemasons as being a bit "chameleon-like" over their existance, moving more toward orhodox Christianity and away from it at different intervals. He stated that in George Washington's time, it was not uncommon for a Masonic Lodge to invite an Evangelical preacher in to speak.