Josh Hawley tweeted a fake quote to push religious propaganda regarding Independence Day
HuffPost highlighted a related senatorial misstep from yesterday:
“Sen Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is coming under fire for a Fourth of July tweet that managed to include both a false claim and a false quote at the same time. Hawley tweeted a quote he claimed to be from Founding Father Patrick Henry saying the United States was founded “on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Just one problem: Henry ― a slave owner perhaps best remembered for his “give me liberty or give me death” quote ― never said it.”
It was late in the afternoon on the Fourth of July holiday when the Missouri Republican published this tweet — which, as of this morning, has not been taken down — with a purported quote from Patrick Henry, a prominent figure from late-18th century Virginia.
“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,” the quote read. “For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
What Hawley should’ve realized before promoting the quote is that Henry didn’t say it. The line was reportedly published instead by a white nationalist publication in 1956 — more than a century and a half after the founding father’s death.
On the surface, it’s obviously unfortunate to see a senator — a graduate of Stanford and Yale — make a mistake like this, especially as so many other Republicans also fall for fake quotes.
But let’s not brush past the underlying point the Missouri Republican was trying to make by way of a made-up line: Hawley seems certain that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, with members of one faith tradition — his own — enjoying exalted status over others.
Indeed, the GOP senator’s misguided tweet was part of a larger rhetorical push. It was just two weeks ago when Hawley spoke at a far-right event and declared his belief that the Christian faith had “formed the soul of this country.” He went on to say, “There is not one square inch of all creation over which Jesus Christ is not Lord,” adding that he believes “the time for Christians to rise is now.”
It was against this backdrop that Hawley — on Independence Day — pushed the line that the United States was “founded ... on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
It really wasn’t. The Constitution is a secular document that created a secular government. Thomas Jefferson — in an actual quote — wrote in 1802 that our First Amendment built “a wall of separation between church and state.” In 1797, John Adams agreed: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.”
It’s unfortunate that Hawley made a rather obvious mistake, but more important than the senator’s sloppy error is the fact that a prominent Republican senator thought it’d be a good idea to tout an inherently theocratic vision on the Fourth of July.
The right wing Christian Wackos just can't resist spewing their nonsense onto the rest of us. They love pushing this garbage, even though deep down they know it's a load of bullshit. As pointed out above, “the Constitution is a secular document that created a secular government. Thomas Jefferson — in an actual quote — wrote in 1802 that our First Amendment built “a wall of separation between church and state.” In 1797, John Adams agreed: “The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.””
So, Josh Hawley, and all your fucking Wacko friends, do us all a favor and spare us your steaming pile of bullshit.