Palin's New Book Cites Debunked George Washington Myth As Fact
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 02:31:11 PM EST
Ah, Thanksgiving! - What better time to promote American history revisionism? Enter Sarah Palin. Did George Washington, pledging his oath as the first president of the United States, swear upon a Bible the words "so help me God"? You betcha, claims Palin in her new book "America By Heart: Reflections On Faith, Family and Flag." Bunk, say historians.
Palin chirpily writes, on page 193, "The very first thing Washington as president was to offer a prayer to God to secure the liberties of the new nation... [he] put his hand on the Bible as he was sworn in. And he added the words "so help me God" to the presidential oath."

Wrong, says Beth Hahn, historical editor for the U.S. Senate Historical Office. As described by Beliefnet,

[Hahn] "once made a video describing how George Washington began the tradition of saying "So help me God" during a presidential swearing in. Then she did some research -- and changed her mind. "When I made the video, it was common wisdom that he said it, and I did not check it," Hahn told Cathy Grossman of USA Today. "After investigating this, I would say there is no eyewitness documentation that he did -- or did not -- say this."
Wrong, says Military Religious Freedom Foundation Head Researcher and Talk To Action contributor Chris Rodda, who writes,

"all of the historical evidence points to the opposite. Not a single newspaper article from the time or any other contemporary account of Washington's inauguration has him adding these words. The myth was started by Washington Irving while writing his biography of George Washington in the 1850s, and first appeared in Rufus Wilmot Griswold's 1854 book The Republican Court, or, American Society in the Days of Washington.
Rodda presents a detailed debunking of the claim that Washington's presidential oath contained the pledge "so help me God" in a September 2, 2008 story concerning a fake history-packed book, So Help Me God: A Reflection on the Military Oath that was endorsed by then Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, Commanding General of the Army Corps of Engineers who, as Rodda describes, has called for "a spiritually transformed U.S. military, with Ambassadors for Christ in uniform, empowered by the Holy Spirit."

The Antwerp-endorsed book, edited by a member of Campus Crusade For Christ (which states the goal of turned armed forces members into "government-paid missionaries for Christ"), printed with all 5 emblems of the branches of the U.S. military on the cover, was at the time being sold at military PX's.

As Rodda describes, the book falsely claimed the words "so help me God" in the US military oath trace back to oaths taken during the American Revolutionary War. It rounds out the fictitious Christian nationalist narrative with the myth that George Washington uttered the words "so help me God" during his presidential inauguration.

Washington did, according to accounts from those immediately present and close by at the time, swear his oath upon a Bible - which the new commander-in-chief kissed, per Masonic tradition*. Washington was a Mason and the Bible, hastily scratched up for the event, was a Masonic Bible.

And down the 'Sarah Palin's faith' rabbit-hole

Many charismatic Christians regard Masonry as satanic, and the fact that a number of the architects of American government were Masons has helped feed an entire sub-genre of Christian conspiracy theory purporting to trace the roots of American government to a satanic Illuminati conspiracy.

Alaska evangelist Mary Glazier, whose Wasilla prayer-warfare group Palin joined in 1989 according to Glazier (who claims her prayer group drove a witch out of Alaska in 1995 and in late 2008 released a "prophecy" suggesting president McCain would die during a terrorist attack), is an apostle in the New Apostolic Reformation (see Talk To Action site section on Palin and the NAR), whose leaders promote such anti-Masonic conspiracy theory and even claim to have sent teams of "prayer warriors" to Washington D.C. in attempts to "intercede and bind the spiritual forces associated with Freemasonry and Islam" said to have been drawn to the Capital by the nefarious schemes of the alleged Masonic-Illuminatist founding-father cabal.

Among those commissioning the teams of prayer warriors (headed by a woman named Martha Lucia who specializes in such advanced spiritual SWAT-team work) sent to grapple with Washington's Freemasonry demons were Apostles Cindy Jacobs and Dutch Sheets. While the Glazier-Palin relationship was confirmed (among other sources) by an early 2009 Charisma magazine story, The Faith of Sarah Palin, a month before the Charisma story even hit the press, on January 7, 2009,  Mary Glazier could be found, along with her fellow apostle Dutch Sheets, at Palin's longstanding church, the Wasilla Assembly of God (where Palin was blessed against witchcraft, in October 2005, by Kenyan Apostle Thomas Muthee, another top level leader in the movement.)

During a speech introducing Glazier, who later prophesied from onstage at the January 2009 Wasilla church event, Apostle Dutch Sheets told the audience that Mary Glazier had brought their movement (the New Apostolic Reformation, founded and then-headed by C. Peter Wagner) into Alaska.

At a June 12-14, 2008 conference outside Seattle, Mary Glazier told Peter Wagner and other top NAR leaders that Sarah Palin had joined Glazier's prayer group as a young woman of 24, around the time, said Glazier, when Palin decided to go into politics. During her speech Glazier stated that unbelievers were to be driven from "the land." (see video, below)

[*a correction: I originally wrote that Washington kissed the Bible three times, but accounts only support him kissing the book once, not thrice.]

I wonder if the Winking Wonder Woman from Wasilla has even read her book . Media Matters has a page of links about the peddling of the book & some comments on content:

Chis Rodda's "Liars For Jesus"   should be required reading for every high-school history class. It is remarkable.

Read the Foreword, Introduction, and the first few pages of each chapter as well as three free chapters online at  

Her videos exposing the LIES of Glenn Beck & his 'professor' Barton are wonderful!

by PlacitasRoy on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 10:16:37 AM EST

I think it probable Sarah Palin had a ghostwriter write the book for her, in which case it is likely she may not have read the book before it went out.

by khughes1963 on Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 08:28:47 PM EST

Bruce, you say that Washington kissed the Bible "three times." I don't know of any eyewitness who said that. Are you making this up "per Masonic tradition"?

A little research shows that Chancellor Robert R. Livingston was not only a Mason, but, most importantly, he was the chief magistrate for New York State. He, accordingly, administered the presidential oath according to the usual and customary mode as prescribed by state statute. This meant that the oath-taker would place his hand on the Bible while reciting the oath and kiss it upon completing the oath.

But you are right, no one has ever found a firsthand account saying that Washington expanded upon the presidential oath as defined by the Constitution. In fact, the French ministerial report describing the inaugural ceremony as witnessed from the balcony wrote out the full text as recited by Washington and it did not mention "So help me God."

by raysoller on Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 05:58:22 PM EST can read here:

But on reflection, I think I misread her characterization - "There was a Bible, and Washington did kiss the Bible (a masonic tradition, kissing the Bible three times.) This clearly states Washington kissed the Bible but doesn't necessarily mean he kissed it thrice.

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 09:57:06 PM EST

on this topic is by Peter R. Henriques entitled "So Help Me God: A George Washington Myth that Should Be Disgarded". Professor Henriques wrote a great book on Washington (Realistic Visionary) that I recommend to anyone who wants to read balanced book on Washington that has solid endorsements by other historians. Plus it's only 200 pages.

by monarchmom on Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 02:26:25 PM EST
I wish I'd come across this source when writing this article. But here's the link to Henriques' excellent History News Network article on the subject:

by Bruce Wilson on Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 10:01:00 PM EST

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