Quantcast


Twitter icon


Facebook icon

About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Is this your first visit?
Contact us
External links

Recommended books

Visitors' essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD of this site
Vital notes

World religions
BUDDHISM
CHRISTIANITY
Christian def'n
 Shared beliefs
 Handling change
 Bible topics
 Bible inerrancy
 Bible harmony
 Interpret the Bible
 Persons
 Beliefs & creeds
 Da Vinci code
 Revelation 666
 Denominations
HINDUISM
ISLAM
JUDAISM
WICCA / WITCHCRAFT
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing Religions

Non-theistic beliefs
Atheism
Agnosticism
Humanism
Other

About all religions
Main topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handling change
Doubt & security
Quotes
Movies
Confusing terms
Glossary
End of the World?
True religion?
Seasonal events
Science vs. Religion
More information

Spiritual/ethics
Spirituality
Morality & ethics
Absolute truth

Peace/conflict
Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious freedom
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten Commandments
Abortion access
Assisted suicide
Cloning
Death penalty
Environment

Same-sex marriage

Homosexuality
Human rights
Gays in the military
Nudism
Origins
Sex & gender
Sin
Spanking
Stem cells
Transexuality
Women-rights
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news

Sponsored links

 

!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

Quotations

Quotes that never were: Forged
religious quotations: a cottage industry

horizontal rule

Sponsored link.


horizontal rule

Concerning the accuracy of religious quotes:

There has been an enormous proliferation of false quotations of a religious nature attributed to American political and religious leaders. In particular, many authors and webmasters attribute sayings to the American Founding Fathers that appear to have been made up out of thin air. I suppose that this extends to sayings by the Founding Mothers on religion as well, except we don't recall having ever seen any of the latter.

James Hutson, Chief of the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress has written a book titled "The Founders on Religion: A book of Quotations." The cover states:

"Partisans of various stripes have long invoked quotations from the founding fathers to lend credence to their own views on religion and politics. This book by contrast, is the first of its genre to be grounded in the careful examination of original documents by a professional historian." 1

Hutson cites only quotations known to be valid. We hope that he has a second book in mind: one which documents the common forgeries attributed to the founders. That would be a fascinating study.

horizontal rule

A famous "quotation" by Patrick Henry:

The first apparent forgery that we ran across was a famous sentence allegedly written by Patrick Henry:

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!"

An impressive statement. It certainly gives credence to the belief that the founders of America were all or predominately devout Christians. It is a popular quotation. A search for the phrase "this great nation was founded not by religionists" on www.google.com returned almost 1,000 hits! One common feature of most of the quotations is that they do not cite the source. We suspect that most webmasters have simply quoted the writings of other webmasters.

It turns out that Patrick Henry probably never said this. At least, nobody has been able to locate it in any of his surviving papers. It is almost certainly a forgery. 2,3,4,5

horizontal rule

Sponsored link:

horizontal rule

A famous "quotation: by George Washington:

According to about 580 web sites, George Washington stated:

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." 7

According to Wikipedia:

"Washington is known to have made some official statements of public piety, but this is not one of them. Though this assertion is very widely reported to have been said in Washington's Farewell Address (17 September 1796), this is not actually the case, as any search of the documents would reveal. It has also been presented as having been part of his Proclamation on 1795-JAN-01 of 1795-FEB-19 as a day of national Thanksgiving in this form:

"It is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced. It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason, as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason, in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to."
 
In the above paragraph the italicized portion appears to be entirely bogus, and there is no actual record of such a statement ever having been made by Washington. The first sentence is an almost accurate rendition of one from Washington's official proclamation, being a portion of this segment:
"In such a state of things it is in an especial manner our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.
 Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation..."
 
It is to be noted that there is genuine piety expressed in this statement, but it is not of any sectarian kind, Christian or otherwise. The last portion of the bogus statement which uses it is a truncation of what might also be another genuine statement. In A Life of Washington (1836) by James K. Paulding, Washington is quoted as having stated:
 
It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being. Religion is as necessary to reason as reason is to religion. The one cannot exist without the other. A reasoning being would lose his reason in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to; and well has it been said, that if there had been no God, mankind would have been obliged to imagine one.
 
In the spurious version of the Thanksgiving proclamation which uses a portion of this, Washington's allusions to Voltaire's famous statement that "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him" has been omitted. In the cases of these "quotations" it seems that if statements suitable to their sectarian interests do not exist, some people feel it necessary to invent them. 8

horizontal rule

References used:

  1. James Hutson. "The Founders on Religion: A book of quotations," Princeton University Press, (2005). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

  2. Barbara and David Mikkelson, "National Capital," Snopes.com, at: http://www.snopes.com/\

  3. "Patrick Henry: Misquotations," God & Country, at: http://www.geocities.com/

  4. Tom Peters et al., "Misquoting by the Religious Right," at: http://members.tripod.com/

  5. David Barton, "The Myth of Separation," WallBuilder Press, (1991), Page 120.

  6. Dave Barton, "Questionable Quotes," WallBuilders. This is apparently no longer online.

  7. Results of a Google search for the full quotation on 2005-NOV-06.

  8. "George Washington," Wikiquote, Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikiquote.org/ This text is reproduced here under the terms of the GNU General Public License. See the GNU Free Documentation License at: http://www.gnu.org/

horizontal rule

Site navigation:

 Home page > Religious Info > Quotes > here

or Home page > Spiritual menu > Quotes > here

horizontal rule

Copyright 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2005-NOV-06
Last updated: 2005-NOV-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)


horizontal rule

Go to the previous page, or to the "Quotation menu," or choose:

Google
Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?


Twitter link

Facebook icon

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sponsored links