Fictitious Madison quote
EDarr1776 at AOL.COM
Wed Jun 18 15:38:59 PDT 1997
The quote is printed in a book by David Barton, a math teacher in Waco,
Texas, who publishes history books by his company, Wallbuilders, marketed to
Christian nationalists and militia groups (Barton is tracked by Klanwatch for
his activities supporting Christian Identity militias).
The particular quote attributed to Madison has been discredited in several
places -- you might want to check the article mentioned below, from _Church
and State_ , the July/August 1996 issue, to see if they have a good
reference. I've seen several Christian and right wing groups warn members
from using the quote. Newsletters from these groups say Barton's company,
Wallbuilders, issued an errata sheet or press release listing 12 quotes that
had been called into question, including the one from Madison. I've been
unable to find a copy of the list or press release, and last time I tried the
web address at the end it didn't work (that may be a problem from my server).
From one of the conservative newsletters, here is the list of the 12 quotes:
**ARE THOSE QUOTES YOU'RE USING ACCURATE? -- A LIST OF QUOTES TO
Quotes from our founders have become quite popular in Christian and
Conservative circles, but are they all accurate? The WallBuilders issued a
statement in which they list 12 quotes that are either questionable or
inaccurate. Already, members of the left have picked up on this and have
begun to discredit the WallBuilders for using the quotes in the first place.
They portray David Barton as a fraud [see "Church and State" July/August 1996
in the article "Consumer Alert! -- WallBuilders' Shoddy Workmanship"] who has
been teaching "phony history."
It is very important that we only use facts that can be documented with
PRIMARY sources. Secondary sources are just not good enough. So please avoid
the quotes below, lest liberals discredit our message.
1. "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 on
the gospel of Jesus Christ!" Patrick Henry (unconfirmed)
2. "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
George Washington (unconfirmed)
3. "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody
the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be
otherwise. In this sense and to this extent, our civilizations and our
institutions are emphatically Christian." Holy Trinity v. U. S. (Supreme
4. "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the
power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our
political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern
ourselves ... according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison
5. Religion ... [is] the basis and foundation of government. James Madison
6. "Whosoever shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive
Christianity will change the face of the world." Benjamin Franklin
7. "The principles of all genuine liberty, and of wise laws and
administrations are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its
authority. The man therefore who weakens or destroys the divine authority of
that book may be assessory to all the public disorders which society is
doomed to suffer."
8. "There are two powers only which are sufficient to control men, and secure
the rights of individuals and a peaceable administration; these are the
combined force of religion and law, and the force or fear of the bayonet."
Noah Webster (unconfirmed)
9. "The only assurance of our nation's safety is to lay our foundation in
morality and religion."
10. "The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the
philosophy of government in the next." Abe Lincoln (unconfirmed)
\/You can use this one!!\/ It has been CONFIRMED!!
11. "A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely
overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.
While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose
their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first
external or internal invader." Samuel Adams ( WAS unconfirmed; NOW confirmed)
12. I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the
Sacred Volume will make us better citizens. Thomas Jefferson (unconfirmed)
13. "America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be
good, she will cease to be great." Alexis de Tocqueville (unconfirmed)
I recommend that you read the statement from the WallBuilders. I have placed
the text of it on my web page: http://www.cybergate.net/~jvinci/quotes.html
[end of quoted material]
Perhaps more telling, I've never found the Madison "quote" with a citation to
anything that Madison is known to have written, a letter, a tract, a speech.
Madison seems an odd candidate to invent quotations for, but I've seen more
Hope that helps.
More information about the Religionlaw