Jesus! Stop her from bearing false witness, Jesus!


Remember the Pennsylvania state legislator I wrote about who started a session with a prayer that had insertions of ‘Jesus’ every so often as if it were some kind of yoga mantra? If you missed it, you really should click on the link and listen because it is a great example of Christian nationalism, a political ideology that hides itself under the cloak of Christianity.

It turns out that throwing out Jesus’s name did not prevent her from making numerous false assertions about the religiosity of key people in America’s history, as Andrew L. Seidel explains.

Brimming with sectarian arrogance and division, it was easy to miss the outright errors in Borowicz’s prayer: “God, for those that came before us like George Washington at Valley Forge and Abraham Lincoln who sought after you in Gettysburg, Jesus, and the Founding Fathers in Independence Hall, Jesus, that sought after you and fasted and prayed for this nation to be founded on Your principles in Your words and Your truth.”

These historical moments were probably meant to be poignant ties to Pennsylvania and American history, but they lacked ties to reality, history, and nuance.

For instance, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is typically rendered to include the phrase, “…that this nation, under God, shall…” But history is a bit more nuanced, and unclear. Lincoln’s first two versions of the speech, written by Lincoln himself, don’t include the “under God” and we cannot say for certain that he added those words during the speech itself.

Borowicz’s other two examples are clear: Neither happened. Washington did not pray in the snow at Valley Forge and the delegates at the Constitutional Convention did not fast or pray. These are invented myths, not historical moments.

The Valley Forge prayer myth was invented by the same cleric, Mason Locke Weems, who invented the story about a young George Washington chopping down a cherry tree and confessing to his father. The framers of our Constitution considered and rejected a call to prayer at the Constitutional Convention, finding it “unnecessary,” according to Ben Franklin’s handwritten notes.

Seidel says that these inventions are not accidents, they are deliberately promoted by the advocates of the dangerous ideology of Christian nationalism to advance their legislative agenda.

Borowicz’s prayer perfectly encapsulates America’s current problem with Christian nationalism. It’s a hypocritical political theology based on bad history and myths that is meant to intimidate non-Christians into silence and compliance.

As more overtly non-Christians enter the political arena, expect the Christian nationalists to become even more vociferous.

Comments

  1. says

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s been reading stuff by so-called historian David Barton, whose writings about the foundation of the United States and Christianity’s role in it are so bad he’s been debunked by fellow conservative Christians.

  2. says

    I think I am going to start making up stories about the founding fathers, and asserting them as true. You know, like that George Washington was a corrupt land speculator, that Thomas Jefferson raped his slaves, and that John Hancock was a slave dealer and smuggler. Oh, and Hamilton was a bigtime masturbator who liked to wear women’s undies.

  3. Marshall says

    I finally forced myself to watch it, but I was cringing the entire time, and the only reason I can think of for being glad that I watched it was so that I can brag about how I made it through the whole thing.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    Marshall: you certainly did better than I did -- I got about four “Jesus”‘s in. You may engage smug mode.

  5. rich rutishauser says

    I have a family member who gives a thanksgiving blessing along these lines….even with the religious ones he gets a lot of side eye.

  6. Steve Lion says

    Was just reading a book that I bought back around ’93 that has quotes on each page from various history makers. One happened to catch my eye. I didn’t fact check it:
    “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
    George Washington 1796
    Jus’say’n