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More Bible myths

Von: buckeye (buckeyeelo@nospam.net) [Profil]
Datum: 27.05.2010 21:29
Message-ID: <lvhtv5tdligalaljcf8acbk58m4u92d24u@4ax.com>
Newsgroup: alt.history alt.society.liberalism alt.fan.rush-limbaugh alt.religion.christian alt.atheism alt.education alt.politics.usa.constitution
There is a lesson here for those who have eyes to see it

From: buckeye-...@nospam.net -
Date: Wed, Apr 5 2006 12:53 pm
Groups: alt.politics.democrats.d, alt.politics.usa.constitution,
alt.education, alt.atheism, alt.religion.christian,
alt.politics.liberalism, alt.politics.usa.republican

Another had once said in a post:

>:|The Bible was the primary book used in schools.

In some, maybe, not in all by any stretch of the imagination.

>:| Thomas Jefferson supported Bible reading in school; this is proven
>:|by his service as the first president of the >:|Washington, D.C.
>:|public schools, which used the Bible and Watt's Hymns as textbooks for

The above is a myth by DAVID BARTON, but when corrected does give some
information about a early public school system.

Thomas Jefferson supported Bible reading in school; this is proven by his
service as the first president of the Washington D. C. public schools,which
the Bible and Watt's Hymns as textbooks for reading.

Research by Jim Allison

On page 130 in his The Myth of Separation, David Barton makes the following

Thomas Jefferson, while President of the United States, became the
first president of the Washington D. C. public school board, which used the
Bible and Watt's Hymnal as reading texts in the classroom. Notice why
felt the Bible to be essential in any successful plan of education:

I have always said, always will say, that the studious perusal of
the sacred volume will make us better citizens.

Barton's reference for Jefferson's service on the Washington D. C. school
is J. O. Wilson, "Eighty Years of Public Schools of Washington," in the
of the Columbia Historical Society, vol. 1, 1897, pp. 122-127. Barton's
quotation from Jefferson is taken from Herbert Lockyear, The Last Words of
Saints and Sinners, 1969.

Apparently, Barton wants us to conclude that, since Jefferson was president
the board for a school system that used the Bible for reading instruction,
must have approved of using the Bible in this manner. In fact, some readers
this web site have claimed in their e-mail correspondence with us that
requested the Bible to be used for reading instruction. But nothing in
source supports either of these claims. In fact, Barton's source suggests
someone other than Jefferson was responsible for introducing the Bible into
schools, and that this policy was adopted after Jefferson had left
for retirement in Virginia. Here are the facts:

On September 19, 1805, toward the end of Jefferson's first term as
President of the United States, the board of trustees of the Washington
public schools adopted its first plan for public education for the city.
its resemblance to a similar plan proposed several years earlier by
for the state of Virginia, Wilson (Barton's source) suggests that it is
that "he [Jefferson] himself was the chief author of the...plan." The plan
called for the establishment of two public schools in which:

...poor children shall be taught reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, and
branches of the mathematics as may qualify them for the professions they
intended to follow, and they shall receive such other instruction as is
given to
pay pupils, as the board my from time to time direct, and pay pupils shall,
besides be instructed in geography and in the Latin language.

As you can see, there is nothing in this plan that mentions religious
education or the use of the Bible in reading instruction. Nor, we might
add, was
the Bible mentioned in any of Jefferson's plans for public education in the
state of Virginia, either before or after his presidency (check out an
from Leonard Levy's book Jefferson and Civil Liberties: The Darker Side for
documentation on this point). There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in
source that connects Jefferson to the practice of Bible reading. So how did
Bible come to be used in the Washington public schools? Remarkably,
Barton's own
source provides an answer to that question.

In 1812 the board of trustees established a school that used a curriculum
developed by the British educator Joseph Landcaster, who's system of
was becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Wilson describes
Landcaster as an "enthusiastic but somewhat visionary schoolmaster, who
an inexpensive method of educating, especially the masses of the poor. The
curriculum of his schools included reading, writing, arithmetic, and the
In an 1813 report to the board of trustees, Henry Ould, the principle of
Landcasterian school, related the progress his students had made in reading

55 have learned to read in the Old and New Testaments, and are all
able to spell words of three, four, and five syllables; 26 are now learning
read Dr. Watts' Hymns and spell words of two syllables; 10 are learning
words of
four and five letters. Of 509 out of the whole number admitted that did not
a single letter, 20 can now read the Bible and spell words of three, four,
five syllables, 29 read Dr. Watts' Hymns and spell words of two syllables,
10 words of four and five letters.

In other words, the first mention of the use of the Bible and a Christian
in the Washington public schools is in connection with a curriculum adopted
1812, three years after Jefferson has left Washington and the school board
retirement in Virginia. Contrary to Barton's implied claim, Jefferson was
president of the school board when the Bible was being used for
Barton simply omits information he doesn't want his readers to know, and so
allows them to draw an conclusion that his own source refutes. Barton, we
conclude, is either sloppy or dishonest in his use of evidence. Either
alternative should cause the reader to question the soundness of Barton's

So what about Barton's quote from Herbert Lockyear's The Last Words of
Saints and Sinners? We tracked down the book and discovered that it had no
footnotes that direct the reader back to either Jefferson's own writings,
or to
secondary accounts of Jefferson's life; the quote, in other words, is
untraceable. Moreover, we've never seen this quote referenced in any
work on Jefferson's attitude toward religion, or in any account of
death (the context of Lockyear's book). If Jefferson uttered these words,
it has
apparently escaped the notice of most historians.

We have simply never encountered a legitimate scholar that reports an
unfootnoted quotation from a secondary source writing some 140 years after
fact as the truth, especially when that quotation seems not to be known to
scholars. If Barton wants us to accept this quote as authentic, he should
able to indicate to where it can be found in Jefferson's works, or else
point us
to a secondary source that provides the relevant documentation. Barton does
neither. It's hard to resist the conclusion that this quote was fabricated
Lockyear, and that Barton reports it knowing full well that there are
as to its authenticity. [Newsflash: Barton now admits this quotation is
Check here for details.]

Finally, we draw your attention to a last, nagging inaccuracy in Barton's
passage. While it's true that Jefferson was elected president of the
public school board in 1805, Wilson (Barton's source) goes on to note that
Jefferson was "prevented from ever discharging its duties by others of
concern." Once again, Barton misreports his source; he leaves out
that indicates that Jefferson was not as involved in the work of the school
board as the title "president" suggests. There is no good reason for Barton
omit this information unless, of course, he wants
to mislead his readers.

More info about Jefferson and the Bible, religion in schools

Jefferson, Religion, and the Public Schools.


Fisher Ames was lamenting the decline of the use of the Bible in schools
this was 1801. When he wrote this: "Should not the Bible regain the place
once held as a schoolbook? Its morals are pure, its examples are
captivating and
noble .... "

Think about that, the Bible was being phased out as a school book as early
1801 in Mass. a state with an established religion until 1833.

Jefferson designed a educational system for the lower grades that did
not include religion being taught in any form or fashion.

Fisher Ames wrote


The Palladium, JANUARY, 27, 1801

IT HAS BEEN THE CUSTOM, of late years, to put a number of little books
into the hands of children, containing fables and moral lessons. This
is very well, because it is right first to raise curiosity, and then
to guide it. Many books for children are, however, judiciously
compiled; the language is too much raised above the ideas of that
tender age; the moral is drawn from the fable, they know not why; and
when they gain wisdom from experience, they will see the restrictions
and exceptions which are necessary to the rules of conduct laid down
in their books, but which such books do not give. Some of the most
admired works of this kind abound with a frothy sort of sentiment, as
the readers of novels are pleased to call it, the chief merit of which
consists in shedding tears, and giving away money. Is it right, or
agreeable to good sense, to try to make the tender age more
tender'' Pity and generosity, though amiable impulses, are blind ones,
and as we grow older are to be managed by rules, and restrained by wisdom.

It is not clear that the heart, at thirty, is any the softer for
weeping, at ten, over one of Berquin's fables, the point of which
turns on a beggar boy's being ragged, and a rich man's son being well
clad. Some persons, indeed, appear to have shed all their tears of
sympathy before they reach the period of mature age. Most young hearts
are tender, and tender enough; the object of education is rather to
direct these emotions, however amiable, than to augment them.(2)

Why then, if these books for children must be retained, as they will
be, should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school
book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The
reverence for the sacred book that is thus early impressed lasts long;
and probably, if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of
the mind. One consideration more is important. In no book is there so
good English, so pure and so elegant; and by teaching all the same
book, they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the
standard of language as well as of faith. A barbarous provincial
jargon will be banished, and taste, corrupted by pompous Johnsonian
affectation, will be restored.
(2) Probably Amaud Berquin, (ca.) 1749-1791 . The Looking Glass for
the Mind ... Stories and Tales Chiefly translated from L'Ami des
SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Works of Fisher Ames, by Seth Ames. Volume 1,
Edited and enlarged by W.B. Allen, Liberty Classics, (1983) pp 11-12

The above shows an apparent decline of the use of the Bible in schools
even in Mass.

Jefferson created one of the first if not the first secular University on
soil of this nation and after his death Madison kept it that way.

You are invited to check out the following:

The Rise of the Theocratic States of America

American Theocrats - Past and Present

The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State

[and to join the discussion group for the above site and/or Separation of
Church and State in general, listed below]

HRSepCnS · Historical Reality SepChurch&State

. . . You can't understand a phrase such as "Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion" by syllogistic reasoning.  Words
take their meaning from social as well as textual contexts, which is why "a
page of history is worth a volume of logic."  New York Trust Co. v. Eisner,
256 U.S. 345, 349, 41 S.Ct. 506, 507, 65 L.Ed. 963 (1921) (Holmes, J.).
Sherman v. Community Consol. Dist. 21, 980 F.2d 437, 445 (7th Cir. 1992)
. . .
James Veverka wrote:
One of the ways to counter the attack on American Constitutional principles
by the religious right is to address their revisionism, misinformation and

USAF LT. COL (Ret) Buffman (Glen P. Goffin) wrote

"You pilot always into an unknown future;
facts are your only clue. Get the facts!"

That philosophy 'snipit' helped to get me, and my crew, through a good
many combat missions and far too many scary, inflight, emergencies.

It has also played a significant role in helping me to expose the
plethora of radical Christian propaganda and lies that we find at
almost every media turn.




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