Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the founders were not fundamentalists

Smirking Chimp | "God made the idiot for practice, and then He made the school board." --Mark Twain

The New York Times Sunday Magazine has highlighted yet another mob of extremists using the Texas School Board to baptize our children's textbooks.

This endless, ever-angry escalating assault on our Constitution by crusading theocrats could be obliterated with the effective incantation of two names: Benjamin Franklin, and Deganawidah.

But first, let's do some history:

1) Actual Founder-Presidents #2 through #6 -- John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams -- were all freethinking Deists and Unitarians; what Christian precepts they embraced were moderate, tolerant and open-minded. (10 more like this on the list)

It's no accident today's fundamentalist crusaders and media bloviators (Rev. Limbaugh, St. Beck) seek to purge our children's texts of all native images except as they are being forceably converted or killed.

Today's fundamentalists would have DESPISED the actual Founders. Franklin's joyous, amply reciprocated love of women would evoke their limitless rage. Jefferson's paternities with his slave mistress Sally Hemings, Paine's attacks on the priesthood, Hamilton's bastardly philandering, the grassroots scorn for organized religion -- all would draw howls of righteous right-wing rage.

Which may be why theocratic fundamentalists are so desperate to sanitize and fictionalize what's real about our history.

God forbid our children should know of American Christians who embraced the Sermon on the Mount and renounced the Book of Revelations...or natives who established democracy on American soil long before they saw the first European...or actual Founders who got drunk, high and laid on their way to writing the Constitution.

Faith-based tyranny is anti-American. So are dishonest textbooks. It's time to fight them both.