"Liars For Jesus"
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 09:24:36 AM EST
Would self professed spokespersons, in the name of Christianity and whose words are routinely broadcast to millions around the United States and the globe, attend public events in honor of, and present awards to, politicians who have derived financial profit from a regime of forced abortion and sexual slavery ? Well, yes. Might the leader of a major world religion have conspired to cover up the sexual molestation of thousands of children ? The answer, again, is yes.

So, it is no great stretch to suppose that Christian historical revisionists might - in the words of author Chris Rodda - "Lie For Jesus" and, in her new book "Liars for Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History" (the first of two in the series) Rodda undertakes what an entire generation of professional historians, burrowed in and tenured in America's finest universities, has largely failed to do: acknowledge, confront, and refute the emergent school of Christian historical revisionism that amounts to the construction of an entire fictitious parallel history of the United States - with numerous interwoven and self-referential accounts claiming that the intention of the founders of the United States was to create an expressly Christian nation.

One might envision such an enterprise to springing from pages written Jorge Louis Borges or Philip K. Dick, but no - it is quite real. And it is also deadly - for that mythology has become firmly lodged in the minds of millions of Americans and so propels the political advance of Christian nationalism.

That failure of contemporary historians -  to confront the miasma of distortion, misrepresentation, misquotation, and bald fabrication that characterizes the historical myth of "America, the Christian Nation" - stretches even into complicity. A few outside the hallowed halls of academe have stood up, however, to challenge the veneer of Christian Nationalist pseudohistory descending over America, and Chris Rodda is one. One could characterize the project as a form of patriotism, or a passion for truth :  in four hundred painstaking pages of analysis extensively footnoted and tied to numerous original and sometimes never before cited source documentation, Rodda methodically traces and debunks the references of alleged works of history by leading Christian nationalist authors and, in the end demonstrating them to be rooted in vanishingly little truth and extensive artifice, calls into question the entire revisionist oeuvre.

At four hundred pages, "Liars For Jesus" is not an easy or a quick read, but Democracy itself is neither easy or quick and - as Benjamin Franklin's alleged words challenge us still ( to paraphrase ) We have our republic... but can we keep it ?.

Thanks to the work of a few such as Chris Rodda, we may yet do that.




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Does anyone have other favorite sources for refutations of Christian historical revisionism ?

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 09:28:03 AM EST
The Search for Christian America by Noll, Hatch, and Marsden is a well known evangelical refutation.

by Carlos on Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 12:44:24 PM EST
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It would be good to have a bibliography of such books and articles.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Oct 04, 2006 at 01:01:41 PM EST
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One of the better-researched sources I have come across to use in rebutting Christian Nationalist/historical revisionist types is Jim Alison's website, The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State.  Jim has done historical research on the issue of Church-State Separation for years, and has contributed a lot to Mike Newdow's C/SS litigation.  He has accumulated a large quantity of original and reproduced primary source documents over the years, and enjoys seeing revisionists being "hoist on their own petard."


by ninewands on Sun Oct 08, 2006 at 11:24:51 PM EST
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Why the Religious Right Is Wrong: About Separation of Church & State by Rob Boston of Americans United

The Myth of Christian America : What You Need to Know About the Separation of Church and State by Mark Weldon Whitten

The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America's Founders by Forrest Church

The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness by Isaac Kramnick


by Vesica on Tue Oct 10, 2006 at 09:52:22 AM EST
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It's good to gather these resources together.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Oct 10, 2006 at 11:17:57 PM EST
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I'm not a Christian myself, but isn't "bearing false witness" on the top ten list of sinful behavior?

The propbelm is that Christians have been the cultural "royalty" for so long that now they fear losing their privliged status. Their arrogance is astonishing. They behave like Dauphins because that's how they've been treated throughout American history, and they see no reason why that should change. "How dare those peasants non-Christians try to take away our royal perogatives!"

by Joe Max on Tue Oct 10, 2006 at 12:42:11 PM EST



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