Daily Jefferson: On June 28, 1776 a Draft of the Declaration of Independence was Given to Congress

The Declaration of Independence was one of the three accomplishments Thomas Jefferson wanted written on his tombstone. His tombstone reads:

HERE WAS BURIED
THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE 
DECLARATION OF
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA 
FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

Today in 1776, the draft of the Declaration of Independence written by Jefferson and edited by the remaining committee members (Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston) was given to the delegates assembled from the colonies to discuss.
From the Library of Congress website:

Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia behind a veil of Congressionally imposed secrecy in June 1776 for a country wracked by military and political uncertainties. In anticipation of a vote for independence, the Continental Congress on June 11 appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston as a committee to draft a declaration of independence. The committee then delegated Thomas Jefferson to undertake the task. Jefferson worked diligently in private for days to compose a document. Proof of the arduous nature of the work can be seen in the fragment of the first known composition draft of the declaration, which is on public display here for the first time.
Jefferson then made a clean or “fair” copy of the composition declaration, which became the foundation of the document, labeled by Jefferson as the “original Rough draught.” Revised first by Adams, then by Franklin, and then by the full committee, a total of forty-seven alterations including the insertion of three complete paragraphs was made on the text before it was presented to Congress on June 28. After voting for independence on July 2, the Congress then continued to refine the document, making thirty-nine additional revisions to the committee draft before its final adoption on the morning of July 4. The “original Rough draught” embodies the multiplicity of corrections, additions and deletions that were made at each step. Although most of the alterations are in Jefferson’s handwriting (Jefferson later indicated the changes he believed to have been made by Adams and Franklin), quite naturally he opposed many of the changes made to his document.

Daily Jefferson: June 27, 1813 Letter to John Adams

Jefferson wrote to Adams on June 27, 1813:

the summum bonum with me is now truly Epicurean, ease of body and tranquility of mind; and to these I wish to consign my remaining days.

He did a lot of Epicurean pursuits in his older age, but he did not completely retire from public life. He had a major hand in directing the development of the University of Virginia toward the end of his life.

Glenn Beck Says David Barton Has a PhD in Education

It certainly appears that Beck meant his remarks to be taken seriously. Watch:
[youtube]http://youtu.be/g3tKEVq0ENA[/youtube]
The transcript of the interview is here with the relevant section below:

GLENN: Bless you too. David Barton. President of Wall Builders. You know, we should call him Dr. Barton. You know, he has his PhD I think in history and education. Too many people just dismiss him as — as — you know, oh, just some guy who thinks he knows history. No, he has his doctorate in hist…education and he’s a brilliant, brilliant man.

I have never heard that claim before. The only education I know about is a BA in religious education from Oral Roberts University. Barton’s bio doesn’t mention it. I am pretty sure we would have heard about that before now.
Perhaps Barton was off the phone, but I think he should correct the record now. If you listen to Beck and Barton, Mr. Barton has a PhD in education, played Division I basketball while in college on a record setting team, and translated for the Russian national gymnastics team.
I wonder if Barton also told the truth about chopping down a cherry tree.

Reaction to the Supreme Court Ruling Requiring Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages

In the most anticipated decision of the term, the Supreme Court this morning ruled that

The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.

The decision is here.
Reaction was swift.
Russell Moore representing the Southern Baptists: Don’t panic, articulate a counter-cultural view of marriage. Watch:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/qsp59P1sFro[/youtube]
GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker: “I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges ‘has been with us for millennia.’”


Mark Woods writing for UK’s Christian Today asks readers not to worry. He writes:

So here’s a discussion starter.
It is entirely up to the state to declare what relationships it will recognise as marriage, and the Church should not have a problem with that.
It is entirely up to the Church to declare what relationships it will recognise as Christian marriage, and the State should not have a problem with that.
The state should jealously guard its prerogative from the Church, and ensure that it provides equality under the law for all its citizens.
The Church should jealousy guard its prerogative from the state, and ensure that it is never coerced into bringing its beliefs and practices into line with those of the majority if it doesn’t want to.
Evangelicals (and others) have got themselves into a knot because they think the state is trying to define Christian marriage. It isn’t; it can’t, and it never could. But the long history of Christendom has allowed Christians to think that the two are the same. Most Americans have always been keen on the separation of Church and state; well, now’s the chance to find out whether you mean it.


My reaction is more along the lines of Mark Woods’ and Jonathan Merritt’s.
I sat in a meeting in 2005 at Catholic University where lawyers, theologians, and social scientists were strategizing about how to prevent this day. I recall a couple of the lawyers who were there opposing gay marriage saying that today was probably inevitable. Anyone who was paying attention over the last decade should not be surprised by the decision today.
I’ll have more to say about the decision once I have read it completely, but my impression is that the five justices see same-sex attraction as an enduring aspect of existence. The state has no compelling interest in requiring people to change it to marry, so the law requires equal recognition of bonds formed by two people so constituted.

Daily Jefferson: June 26, 1822 Letter – Not a Young Man Now Living in the U.S. Who Will Not Die an Unitarian.

Later in his life, Thomas Jefferson became more candid about his religious beliefs in his correspondence. During the presidential years, Jefferson’s view were similar to those expressed in this letter but he was reluctant to give his opponents material to use to criticize him. Thus, it was not uncommon for him to ask his friends not to publicly disclose his views. In this June 26, 1822 letter to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, Jefferson goes full Unitarian and leaves little doubt about his views. The entire letter is reproduced below:

I have received and read with thankfulness and pleasure your denunciation of the abuses of tobacco and wine. Yet, however sound in its principles, I expect it will be but a sermon to the wind. You will find it as difficult to inculcate these sanative precepts on the sensualities of the present day, as to convince an Athanasian that there is but one God. I wish success to both attempts, and am happy to learn from you that the latter, at least, is making progress, and the more rapidly in proportion as our Platonizing Christians make more stir and noise about it. The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

  1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect.
  2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
  3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.

  1. That there are three Gods.
  2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing.
  3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in its faith.
  4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
  5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save.

Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian? He who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus? Or the impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin? Verily I say these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet. Their blasphemies have driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the supposed author himself, with the horrors so falsely imputed to him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian.

But much I fear, that when this great truth shall be re-established, its votaries will fall into the fatal error of fabricating formulas of creed and confessions of faith, the engines which so soon destroyed the religion of Jesus, and made of Christendom a mere Aceldama; that they will give up morals for mysteries, and Jesus for Plato. How much wiser are the Quakers, who, agreeing in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, schismatize about no mysteries, and, keeping within the pale of common sense, suffer no speculative differences of opinion, any more than of feature, to impair the love of their brethren. Be this the wisdom of Unitarians, this the holy mantle which shall cover within its charitable circumference all who believe in one God, and who love their neighbor!

I conclude my sermon with sincere assurances of my friendly esteem and respect.

Jefferson’s optimism about the expansion of Unitarianism was off but his opposition to trinitarian Christianity is obvious.

Waterhouse was a physician who developed the smallpox vaccine. He was born into a Quaker family which I suspect Jefferson knew (note the reference to Quakers at the end of the letter).

JONAH Guilty of Consumer Fraud According to NJ Jury

That didn’t take long.
Today, the jury in the sexual orientation change case in NJ said Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing (JONAH) was guilty of consumer fraud by claiming sexual orientation can be changed.
According the report, the jury found that JONAH founders Arthur Goldberg and Elaine Berk and life coach Alan Downing:

…engaged in unconscionable commercial practices” and misrepresented their services.

This is a big deal and should have a chilling effect on such services elsewhere. Hopefully, fewer therapists will engage in such practices and instead work with clients in conflict over sexual attractions to explore realistic options.
JONAH will have to refund fees collected.
 

Home Schoolers Anonymous Blog Asks For Stories of How David Barton Ruined Conservative Christianity

Here is the title of the post: David Barton Ruined Conservative Christianity for Me: A Call for Stories.
A sample:

By Shaney Lee, HARO Board Member

Recently, a group of homeschool alumni were sharing stories of their “lightbulb moment”: a moment when we realized that we had been taught an agenda, rather than how to think for ourselves, and when we realized that the strains of conservative Christianity we had been raised with were grossly flawed. Some of us are still Christians and some are not, but we all had that “moment” where we realized we wanted to go a different direction with our lives. 

As a result of that conversation, Homeschoolers Anonymous has decided to open up a call for stories from homeschool alumni about their “lightbulb moments.” The purpose of this series is twofold: One, to shed light on the individuals and ideas that need to be weeded out from the homeschooling community; two, to allow homeschooled individuals to tell their stories. Those who don’t continue in conservative Christianity as adults are often referred to as “apostates” or assumed to be “backslidden.” We want to give alumni a chance to share their side of the story.

To start off the call for stories, I wanted to share my story. This is the story of when I realized I needed to find a different path.

*****

In October 2012 I was invited to the annual banquet for Texas Alliance for Life (TAL). Being a pro-life individual and lover of fancy events, I decided to go, despite not being thrilled with their keynote speaker: David Barton. At that point, Barton had recently been in WORLD News because his most recent book, The Jefferson Lies, had been rejected as full of inaccuracies by conservative Christian historians, and Thomas Nelson eventually decided to pull the book entirely.

Well, I certainly remember that event. Shaney then summarized the talk Barton gave and realized the audience had been hoodwinked. Go to her post to read about it.

In this room were NCFCA coaches, parents, and adult alumni. People who had taught me debate, logic, and rhetoric. Yet here they were, applauding a man who had just fed them lies, logical fallacies, and more fluff than a cotton field.
Something inside of me broke that night. I realized that I couldn’t trust these people to have given me a solid foundation of any sort. When given false assurance that their beliefs were correct and would prevail, they ate it up.
So I started questioning everything.

I have encountered quite a few students here at Grove City who were told many false things by Barton and teachers like him at youth conferences or in church and face a crisis of faith when they learn that the teachings are far away from reality. It is positive that they have this crisis here in an environment that is supportive with respect to matters of doubt and faith. Otherwise, I think they might cast it all aside.

Shaney ends with sobering words:

I tell my story today not to belittle conservative Christians. I still know many who are good, honest people. I tell my story as a wake-up call to conservatives, especially to the conservative Christian homeschool community. If you continue to teach your children based on David Barton’s “history” or Ken Ham’s “science,” continue to follow leaders who then get exposed as sexual abusers, and don’t teach your children true logic and critical thinking, I predict the homeschool movement will eventually collapse under its own weight.

Despite being warned, Missouri Baptists are sponsoring David Barton tomorrow and the next day at a conference in Springfield, MO.

The Institute on the Constitution Again Falsely Ascribes Quote to Thomas Jefferson (UPDATED)

If the Institute on the Constitution leaders can’t get these easy quotes right, then how can they be trusted to teach the Constitution?
This time it is Jefferson again. IOTC has Jefferson saying, “That government is best which governs least.” According to the ever reliable Anna Berkes at Monticello, Jefferson didn’t make that quote. 
iotc jefferson governs least
The IOTC has falsely attributed quotes to George Washington (twice), Thomas Paine, and to Jefferson (twice). It certainly looks like they don’t care. To my knowledge, they have never corrected the false information or removed the fake quotes.
UPDATE: Someone who runs the IOTC Facebook page said the following in response to my assertion that the Jefferson quote was false.

Actually he quoted Henry David Thoreau’s work called “Civil Disobedience”. The quote is also part of his philosophy.

In fact, Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 and Civil Disobedience was published in 1849.

SCOTUS Blog: We Probably Have Two More Opinion Days; No Same Sex Marriage Decision Today

I’ve been watching the Supreme Court blog a bit today. One of the bloggers there just wrote the following in response to this question “So – at the end of tomorrow’s session we’ll find out if there will be opinions or just orders on Monday?”

Tejinder
We’ll definitely know for sure then. But we predict already that there will be opinions on Monday. It’s customary, on the second-to-last opinion day of the Term, for the Chief Justice to announce that the remaining opinions are coming on the next day. He didn’t do that today, so we think we have 2 more opinion days.

So tomorrow or Monday, the news cycle will stop and focus on gay marriage. I intend to have a post on the decision as will nearly all other bloggers.
Many evangelicals have predicted doom and gloom if the Supreme Court issues a ruling in favor of gay marriage. However, I predict the sun will come up the next day and after a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, not much will change. Same-sex couples are getting married and divorced now in most states. Heterosexual couples are still doing that too and will do it no matter what the Supreme Court does. Ministers who don’t want to officiate at same-sex marriages won’t have to.
They are here and I am pretty much used to it.
 

Univision to Donald Trump and Miss Universe Organization: "You're Fired!"

Subtitle: Esta es la razón por Donald Trump nunca será presidente
His swaggy speech announcing his run for president included some offensive remarks about Mexicans and so Univision said,”you’re fired” to Trump and his Miss USA pageant. They aren’t going to carry the broadcast slated for July 12.
“Estás despedido!”
Press release from Univision:

English version
Today the entertainment division of Univision Communications Inc. announced that it is ending the Company’s business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants.
At Univision we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12th or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.
Univision News and the local news division will continue to provide comprehensive coverage of all candidates, including Mr. Trump, to ensure our audience continues to have access to all points of view.
©Univision.com