WorldNetDaily Rewrites American History

Buffoon Award

We’ve previously written about the non-religious nature of the American Revolution, and we’ve also discussed the entirely secular contents of Articles of Confederation and the Constitution — see Is America a “Christian Nation”? But creationists insist on not only their peculiar fantasy version of science, they also imagine a fantasy version of history — one in which people like them, with their theocratic ideas, founded America.

A good example of this was brought to our attention by the blaring sirens and flashing lights of the Drool-o-tron™. The blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). As you know, WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo displayed above this post.

The Drool-o-tron™ had locked our computer onto this article at WND’s website: Faith infused Articles of Confederation. There’s a comment section at the end.

WND’s headline is hysterical. Faith infused? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! As we’ve said before:

The Articles of Confederation — our first constitution — was drafted by another committee of the Continental Congress [different from the one that drafted the Declaration of Independence], and was presented to Congress for approval the same month as the Declaration — July of 1776. But it was voted down (it created “too strong” a government) and sent back to committee for re-drafting. It was finally ratified by the smallest of the thirteen states in 1781, but only after New York and Virginia gave up their Western land claims — which is where the Northwest Territory came from. Despite the ratification delay, we pretty much operated under the Articles from 1776 until the new Constitution was ratified and went into effect in 1789.

There’s no mention of religion — Christian or otherwise — in the Articles. Well, there is a vague (probably Deist) phrase in the signature section, which says, with bold font added by us:

And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify …

Despite the pleasure of the “Great Governor of the World,” the document was signed pursuant to the authority granted by the state legislatures, and in the name of the signers’ constituents. So where is the “infusion” of faith? It’s nowhere to be seen in the document.

But WND’s headline says that faith infused the Articles of Confederation. Let’s take a look at their argument. They begin with some basic history about the Articles, which we’ll skip, and then they start jumping all over the place. The bold font was added by us:

In his First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861, Lincoln cited the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union to justify his opinion not let southern states leave the Union: “The Union is much older than the Constitution. … The faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation in 1778.”

That’s the “faith”? Then they quote from the Articles’ signature clause, but only the “Great Governor of the World” part, ignoring the rest that says the delegates signed it by the authority of their states and their constituents, and not by divine mandate. In other words, WND is quote-mining.

What else have they got? If you click over there, you’ll see that the rest of WND’s long article consists of quotes (which we haven’t checked) from the state constitutions as they existed in 1776. Most were older than the Revolution, although WND says that Virginia’s was ratified in that year. Many had religious provisions, a legacy from the colonial period. It took a while for the states to revise them in that respect, and indeed, some had established churches. But the national government didn’t.

Virginia was probably the first state to disestablish its church — see The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. For the rest of them, see Wikipedia’s article on Former state churches in British North America, which indicates that Massachusetts was the last state to disestablish its church, in 1834.

Okay, let’s sum it up. Does WND’s article live up to its headline? Did faith “infuse” the Articles of Confederation?” We don’t see it, but maybe you do, dear reader.

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18 responses to “WorldNetDaily Rewrites American History

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    Let me steal from one of the commenters:

    This article only serves to highlight the start (sic … stark) omission of ANY reference to God or to Christianity in the US Constitution. The Framers certainly had bountiful examples of state constitutions (as quoted in this article), but chose to write an entirely secular document for forming the federal government.

    Proof that not every reader of that site drools on themselves.

  2. Good one, althouygh technically there is an indirect reference by way of the boilerplate reference in Article VII:

    “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth.”

    This would be insignificant to any sane mind, but I’ve heard it cited by fundamentalists as “proof–proof, I tell you!” that the Framers intended the United States to be a “Christian nation” and its government to be “Christian” as well.

  3. To quote me ‘who the pluck cares!!’
    Even if everything the religious dimwits say is 100% true, the Constitution & Bill of Rights say what they say and is the base of most laws, so if they don’t like it? Tough! Keep electing more rePUKEians and get the laws changed.
    And Eric’s comment shows why I hate traditions, they used a TRADITION way of stating the date so now that’s proof that the founders where all delusional enough to believe in talking snakes, talking donkeys, believe the claims of a young slut (by their own definitions and book o’BS),

  4. Never mind what WND thinks is in the US Constitution, I defy anyone to sit down with a ream of blank paper and draft a model of government, which is consistent and coherent, that is solely and exclusively derived from the Bible. Each element of the model must provide specific Biblical citations to justify its inclusion.

    Think about it. Do you go for a criminial justice system based on ‘an eye for an eye’, or one based on ‘turn the other cheek’? Dietary laws of Leviticus to be enforced by central government? Forget about a bicameral house of popularly elected representatives, ain’t nothing like that in scripture. And so on.

    What do these clowns really mean when they talk about government based on ‘Christian principles’? I just don’t get it.

  5. “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason。“ Benjamin Franklin

  6. My thought for the WND article’s author comes from Alice: The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.

  7. I like your point Mega…
    With 400 cults of jesus they can’t even get a consistent faith much less consistent laws and gov’mint!!

  8. aturingtest

    Does WND’s article live up to its headline? Did faith “infuse” the Articles of Confederation?” We don’t see it, but maybe you do, dear reader.

    It takes the eye of faith to see faith “infusing” the AofC (or the DofI, or the Constitution), the kind of eye that’s blindered* to anything but just what it’s looking for and is determined to see it..

    *Apparently not a word, according to my spellcheck; but then neither is “spellcheck,” so…there’s that.

  9. It makes no difference. That was hundreds of years ago. We live in a world in which there is no rational excuse for the State endorsing a religion. Period.

  10. Holding The Line In Florida

    @tiffany267. Yet today, my mother, a “liberal” Southern Baptist, if such things really exist, handed me, an atheist Science Teacher, a copy of the Baptist Record saying, “read this, you might find this interesting.” The article was about the debate between young earth creationists and old earthers. The Ham Man was mentioned as a person to be reckoned with. The topic was how should a thoughtful Southern Baptist handle this critical issue. She was serious, I replied, “it was like discussing the different concepts of the Easter Bunny. They are all mental deficents.” She frowned. These people are serious. They want to run the country and the rest of us. At least half of the commentators in the article were anti-Ham, however. But that only meant they were old earthers. Theistic evolutionists were still considered the slippery slope towards gay marriage and abortion!

  11. Dave Luckett

    Well, if you want Biblically mandated government, you have to give up the idea of humans electing or selecting governments altogether, by any method or process whatsoever. Government is not by the consent of the governed, according to the Bible. Governments and governors are appointed by God (Romans 13:1). Kings may be appointed, but they govern by laws dictated by priests, not by any legislature. (Deuteronomy 17:14 and following.)

    You can’t get away with holding that vox populi, vox Dei – that idea is extra-biblical in itself. No, you’d have to hold that trust in God implies that his Will must prevail, and that therefore whatever the political struggle among factions, power-blocs or tribal groups throws up is an expression of that Will. If those misled by Satan to oppose God’s Will must be chastised by war, flat-out massacre or genocide, then so be it.

    Historians – secular historians, ptui! – might object that the necessary result would be warlordry punctuated by chaos, eventually defaulting to the feudal system and the Divine RIght of Kings within a theocracy, but this is irrelevant, of course.

    There is a faction actually advocating this… this abomination in the US at this moment. I trust that I will not offend non-theists here – or my own agnosticism – by hoping that God forbids it, but also expressing, more confidently, my opinion that the American people will.

  12. Dave Luckett

    Oh, and there is no rational excuse for the state endorsing a religion. There never was one. But that’s not a “period”, because saying that it’s so pre-enlightenment doesn’t stop it from happening.

  13. I’ve heard something of this before, “The Northwest Ordinance” has some religious speak in it, which in the absence of any other religion in the U.S. constitution sometimes comes up. Here is an essay about the controversy.

  14. Troy, the Northwest Ordinance has popped up here a couple of times. It’s the second item I wrote about in: WorldNetDaily: Two Quickies, and it also appears here: Creationist Wisdom #227: Jefferson the Creationist.

  15. SC, I may have been thinking of the second link you mention.

  16. LLong – make that 40,000 sects of Christianity! Not that it matters much once you get beyond one.

  17. For goodness sake, that “faith” was “plighted” means that they *promised*, not that they believe in anything!

    WND, please learn English word usage.