Thursday, August 16, 2007

Those that bear false witness and the false witness that they bear

Via Ed Brayton, here's the most dishonest quote-mining I've ever encountered:

"Religion is the basis and foundation of government" - James Madison

Christian fundamentalist Stephen Mansfield cites that in his new book, which is his contribution to the Dominionist cause of rewriting American history in order to lay the ideological foundations for the replacement of our secular liberal democracy with theocracy.

Mansfield took that "quote" from "Memorial and Remonstrance"; he doctored the following passage to get the above lie.

Because finally, "the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience" is held by the same tenure with all his other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consider the "Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the basis and foundation of government," it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis."
No matter how many times one comes across such dishonesty it still ceases to amaze. Among his other lies (and Chris Rodda - the one who found them in the first place - plans on documenting them further) is that Thomas Jefferson wanted the Bible to be part of the curriculum at the University of Virginia. That is the opposite of the reality ... Jefferson established the University of Virginia as one of (if not the, too lazy to look it up at the moment) first secular colleges in America.

Over at Deborah Lipstadt's blog I remarked in her comments section that

What I find interesting is the commonality in methodology ... the quote-mining, the selective use of facts or figures, the emphasis on minor flaws or corrections as if they constitute major challenges to an overall truth, the fabricated "facts", starting from "The Truth" and then revising reality accordingly etc. - of ideological thinking.
That was in response to this post about David Irving stating that Professor Lipstadt is wanted in the UK because some kind of judgement has been passed against her.

Irving has inverted reality similar to what Manfield did with Jefferson. In reality, Irving had sued Lipstadt for calling him a Holocaust denier and lost that case because he IS a Holocaust denier. There are no judgements against Lipstadt, at all.

What you see in both Irving and Mansfield is reality subjugated to ideology.

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