Bad History from the Religious Right


Last night the far-right Family Research Council hosted a 90-minute “prayercast” against health insurance reform efforts in Congress. Never mind the abuse of faith to kill efforts to make health care accessible and affordable for all Americans, rich or poor, healthy or sick. That’s become fairly common rhetoric from the right in recent months. But the event included something else not particularly unusual from the religious right these days: a bad history lesson.

TalkingPointsMemo reports that FRC head Tony Perkins told his audience last night that when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 appeared to be failing because of feuding among delegates, Benjamin Franklin urged delegates to join in prayer to save their efforts.

“And you know what happened?” Perkins asked. “History records that they prayed.”

Actually, history records that they did not pray — and this has been a recurring myth of the American religious right that never goes away. As the Library of Congress says: “Franklin’s motion failed, ostensibly because the Convention had no funds to pay local clergymen to act as chaplains.”

If religious-righters like Perkins can’t get simple facts right about our nation’s founding, we shouldn’t trust them to get the big things right — such as acknowledging that the Founders crafted a Constitution and Bill of Rights that protect the religious freedom of all Americans by keeping state and religion separate and forbidding government from favoring or disfavoring any particular faith.


6 Responses to “Bad History from the Religious Right”

  1. PHarvey Says:

    The Religious Right just makes up stories that appeals to their audience.

    Facts are irrelevent and don’t make for a good sermon that plays upon vulnerable peoples emotions.

  2. Country Tom Says:

    Reality is a tool of Satan. Not withstanding verily I say unto you the truth is not the truth if you are a truthy believer. If you are a disciplined Christian truthy believer, then what ever you want to believe, is the truth! God almighty decides from minute to minute what truth is, and passes that message on to his true believers.

  3. Yarral Nahguav Says:

    The more things change the more they stay the same……”the measaure failed because they had no funds to pay a preacher”. You would think after Jesus threw out the money changers in the temple and Martin Luther revolted agains the sale of indulgences that the “clergy” would get the hint.

  4. Coragyps Says:

    Perkins probably got his “facts” exactly right – it’s just that he got them from David Barton, who made them up out of a vacuum.

    That’s actually pretty hilarious for Perkins to appeal to Franklin as a model, anyway: the old geezer was apparently a womanizer in the rarefied league of some of our recent politicians.

  5. Bonnie Boorman Says:

    I think it is laughable to think of a bunch of fundamentalists standing in the cold praying that God will stop the Democrats from healing the sick and helping the poor find jobs!

  6. Charles Says:

    I was always under the impression that the motion to pray was not acted upon for unknown reasons. However, history does indicate that the called upon prayers were never made—for whatever reason. Jesus is not stupid. It takes members of the Religious Right to make something stupid. Fruit…

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