Monday, November 30, 2009

More on the historical wrongness of Beck

Dispatches from the Culture Wars has commented on Glenn Beck's attempt to rewrite Thomas Jefferson as a Christian nationalist.

The comments there reminded me of another absurdity relating to Beck's bizarro version of Jefferson.

'"Question with boldness." Um, is he even aware how the sentence is supposed to end?'

Yep, he quotes it all the time. I don't fault him that, since he at least seems to understand the point that Jefferson was making to his nephew in that letter...

... If you'll notice in that segment, Beck is also citing the Jefferson quote at the Jefferson Memorial. This one: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Beck completely misses the point of the quote. It's not indicative that Jefferson believes that the United States is supposed to be a theocracy (which Beck apparently does, given that he believes the country is "founded" on the injunctions of the Ten Commandments, including the ones that command worship of God); The form of tyranny Jefferson is referencing in the letter that quote is taken from is that of those who seek to establish religion and that he is thus sworn to oppose them!

The delusion into which the X. Y. Z. plot shewed it possible to push the people; the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion on the clause of the constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro' the U. S.; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

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