Lying on billboards for Jesus

You know, no matter how many times I encounter religious people happily admitting that they’re willing to lie in order to sell their religion, it never ceases to amaze me. Here’s the latest example. Terry Kemple, president of the Florida chapter of the pro-theocracy Community Issues Council, proudly admits that they knowingly falsely attributed quotes promoting their own ideology to great historical figures to sell their anti-separation of church and state message:

The billboards showcase quotes from early American leaders like John Adams, James Madison and Benjamin Franklin. Most of the quotes portray a national need for Christian governance.

Others carry the same message but with fictional attribution, as with one billboard citing George Washington for the quote, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

“I don’t believe there’s a document in Washington’s handwriting that has those words in that specific form,” Kemple said. “However, if you look at Washington’s quotes, including his farewell address, about the place of religion in the political sphere, there’s no question he could have said those exact words.”

This guy just comes out and says George Washington never said what we’re specifically claiming he said but since it will fool people, that’s okay. What?! I seem to recall something in the Bible about baring false witness.

Let’s see if Kemble is right that Washington could have said those quotes. Here are a few REAL quotes from George Washington:

Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society. [George Washington, letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 726]
There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. [George Washington, address to Congress, 8 January, 1790]

If they are good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa or Europe; they may be Mahometans, Jews, Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists…. [George Washington, to Tench Tighman, March 24, 1784, when asked what type of workman to get for Mount Vernon, from The Washington papers edited by Saul Padover]

…I beg you be persuaded that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution. [George Washington, to United Baptists Churches of Virginia, May, 1789 from The Washington papers edited by Saul Padover]

Eat it, Kemble!

Oh, and did I mention that Kemble was considered last year for the Republican nomination to replace a state representative? I bet I can guess which political party too.

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