Fake Quotes in Texas Bible Classes

In the Texas Freedom Network’s new report on the appalling content of many of the Bible courses offered by public schools in that state after the passage of a state law encouraging them to do so, they note that many of those courses include a lot of the fake quotes that we see again and again in “Christian nation” discussions, most of which can be traced to David Barton.

“The most common technique for making such arguments is to string together quotations lauding the Bible, Christianity or religion in general from political philosophers, historic documents, the Founding Fathers and other famous Americans. These quotations are typically cited in a completely decontextualized manner, almost as if they are biblical proof texts with self-evident meanings. Fake quotes never actually uttered by the speaker to whom they are attributed are cited side by side with legitimate ones. Even authentic quotes are sometimes presented in such a way as to misrepresent the views of their sources, and no quotes that would support alternative viewpoints are discussed or acknowledged.”…

“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 the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (attributed to Patrick Henry)

“The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.” (attributed to Herbert Hoover)

“The Bible is the source of liberty.” (attributed to Thomas Jefferson)

All fake quotes. All have been debunked many times. And all of them appear in more than one Bible course in a Texas school.

13 comments on this post.
  1. jnorris:

    No one is surprised. Barton’s Big Bad Babbling Books of Bad Bible Bits is a big seller on the Christian Illiterate circuit.

  2. =8)-DX:

    Well, I remember we had plenty of legends and fake “history” in primary school. They just said: this is fake history, these are old legends, all we actually know is x y z.

  3. John Pieret:

    … almost as if they are biblical proof texts with self-evident meanings.

    Is there such an animal? Maybe ‘Do unto others …’ or ‘Give up all thou hast …’ but the people who are writing these “text books” probably wouldn’t agree.

  4. patricksimons:

    As a “historian”, David Barton is kind of like a “doctor” who never went to medical school. He is a great example of how far one can go in this country by telling some people what they want to hear, which is not, of course, the same thing as telling the truth.

  5. Marcus Ranum:

    And all of them appear in more than one Bible course in a Texas school.

    This is just a good example of how the bible got written in the first place. I mean, does anyone really think “John” wrote all that stuff? Plenty was added later. Give it another couple hundred years and Thomas Jefferson will be an apostle.

    I know the christards think they’re being clever when they pull this crap but what they’re really doing is giving us all a nice illustration of how their holy book was put together in the first place. If they cared about that, they’d stop.

  6. raven:

    I know the christards think they’re being clever when they pull this crap but what they’re really doing is..

    If their religion was really true,. they wouldn’t have to lie all the time.

    Xians create more atheists in a day than Dawkins and Myers do in a year.

    Give it another couple hundred years and Thomas Jefferson will be an apostle.

    They are still rewriting the bible. What they do is “retranslate” it, change some things, and hope no one notices. They do notice but no one much cares.

    In another century or two, jesus will be roaming the US south on his horse Holy Ghost, with his gang of 12, and his six shooter “peacemaker”, dealing out justice to atheists, scientists, and Democrats wtih hot lead.

  7. raven:

    “The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets.

    This is BTW, totally false. Democracy isn’t even mentioned in the bible despite being known at the time. Slavery is and is taken for granted as the norm.

    The roots of western civilization reach all the way back to Egypt and Mesopotamia. Who invented irrigation, livestock, cities, and farming. Significant legal and political additions were made by the Greeks and Romans.

    The xian contribution is pretty late and not all that significant.

    The Enlightenment and science did more.

  8. Dave Maier:

    And what if Herbert Hoover really did say that? Who cares? He’s not exactly a founder, or even in the top few tiers of presidents for that matter.

  9. PatrickG:

    In another century or two, jesus will be roaming the US south on his horse Holy Ghost, with his gang of 12, and his six shooter “peacemaker”, dealing out justice to atheists, scientists, and Democrats wtih hot lead.

    Actually, that book sounds like kind of an awesome read. Do I have to wait that long for it to be released?

  10. John Hinkle:

    “The Bible is the source of liberty.” (attributed to Thomas Jefferson)

    He said, with his arm around the waist of Sally Hemings, goblet raised in the air.

  11. d.c.wilson:

    Jefferson owning slaves was, ironically, the most biblical thing he did during his entire life.

    In two hundred years, they will probably be proclaiming Reagan as the second coming of Jesus with Obama cast in the role of Pontius Pilate.

  12. wholething:

    In another century or two, jesus will be roaming the US south on his horse Holy Ghost, with his gang of 12, and his six shooter “peacemaker”, dealing out justice to atheists, scientists, and Democrats wtih hot lead.

    Actually, that book sounds like kind of an awesome read. Do I have to wait that long for it to be released?

    There’s a fictional book out now that has him riding two donkeys a la Captain Morgan in first century Judaea. He chases people out of the Temple with bull whip. He has 12 sidekicks but only three of the characters are developed. The Samaritans are the atheists, the Pharisees were eggheads so they correspond to scientists, but the Saducees were more like Republicans than Democrats.

    It could use an update.

  13. PatrickG:

    @ wholething:

    Eh, that sounds too much like an apologetics book to me. I much prefer Wild West Jesus. :)

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