Saturday, July 29, 2006

So that's where it came from

Not too long ago, in the course of a discussion on why the 1st amendment entails the separation of church and state, I heard someone claim that the Jefferson Bible - The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth - was created as a Christian primer to help convert Indians to Christianity. This is a ridiculous claim, considering that Jefferson created his edited version of the New Testament as a personal edition that he kept private.

Today, I see that Ed Brayton links to an article that shows that this claim originated with David Barton, who is infamous for using to fraudulent quotes to argue that church/state separation is a myth. And Barton was hired by the RNC to tour the country to promote the idea of the separation "myth" and to encourage pastors to endorse political candidates in church (despite that being prohibited by law so long as the church has tax-exempt status).

Update: I forgot to add - for more on the Jefferson Bible, see "Jesus Without the Miracles" by Erik Reece for Harper's.

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