Aug 24, 2009

Context Matters

I found a fun picture to post first thing this morning, and to kick off the week.

But, unlike our friends and competitors at the AP and other news outlets, I decided to dig a little deeper. In what context was Washington speaking? Are those even his words?

This quote is actually part of The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Wow. That's pretty interesting, isn't it?

However, here's where Jerry's quote comes from. It was an article titled The Idiots of Whom I Speak - which is a answer to calling anti-war folks idiots. Here's his whole quote in context.
But my passion for this nation sometimes brings about zealous words. I will never apologize for fearlessly defending the Judeo-Christian values on which this nation was founded. And I will never back down from a battle with those who seek to destroy this nation that has traditionally embraced and pursued those historic values. I think it's time we drop the gloves and start fighting for a return to moral sanity in our nation.

Maybe "idiots" was the wrong word, but I really can't think of a better one.
I really don't want to defend Jerry Falwell - especially first thing in the morning - but context does matter.

Jerry was talking about values and George never said that, it was a treaty. So, who's lying? The guy who made a misleading .jpg and put it on the internet.

1 comment:

Cthulhu said...

Something taken out of context?! On the Interwebs?! Never.

Many people on both sides of the collectively imagined friend debate cite this treaty. Those who denounce the great sky wizard say "see, we told you so" while thoe who embrace said wizard claim "the U.S. was small, young, and weak, so we had to stroke a little Mohametan something in order to ensure the safety of our ships & citizens."

Personally, I like to believe that the founding fathers were better than politicians of today. I would like to think that they considered the international reputation of these United States more dear than we do now.

None of us were there, so we do not know. There is a preponderance of evidence that says that George was speaking the truth (Thomas Paine, the Deist Movement, Jefferson's thought v.a.v state-sponsored religion, &tc). If that is the case, then Jerry is at the least sorely mistaken about his facts and his history, if not deluded himself and others regarding our nation.