snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Archived Forums » Questionable Quotes Archive » Religious George Washington quote

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Religious George Washington quote
Mickey Blue
Let There Be PCs on Earth


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mickey Blue     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I have always been under the impression that the founding fathers in general did not believe in imposing religion or that we, as a country, were a "christian nation". However, I saw this quote on a billboard while driving through the heartland which made me wonder if its..

A: Fake
B: Out of context somehow, but real
C: Real

The quote was (and I'm paraphrasing to a degree, but grasping the bulk of it):

"It is impossible to run a government without God and the bible."

Just thought I'd throw this one out there, it has the url for some website under it but I drove by too fast to catch it (something like "hisword.com" but when I put that in it didn't work).

Thanks

--------------------
"All people are responsible for the good that they didn't do"

Posts: 4774 | From: Virginia | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bonnie
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 104 posted      Profile for Bonnie   E-mail Bonnie       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The complete quote that's (incorrectly, it turns out) attributed to Washington is,

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

Paul Boller and John George, who co-wrote They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions, indicate that no one's found any evidence that Washington ever wrote or spoke such a thing. And Boller's written separately on the topic of "Washington and Religion" before, so he would know.

(I see that some sites on the Internet maintain that Washington issued this statement on 17 September 1796, which happens to be the date on which he delivered his famous farewell address. That line in nowhere to be found in his farewell.)

-- Bonnie

--------------------
Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

Posts: -99014 | From: Chapel Hill, North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bad Ronald
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Bad Ronald   E-mail Bad Ronald   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Oddly enough, I had just put down my copy of His Excellency : George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis when I read the o.p. Here is a short passage from the book:
quote:
A lukewarm Episcopalian, he never took Communion, tended to talk about "Providence" and "Destiny" rather than God, and - was this a statement? - preferred to stand rather than kneel when praying.
This seems in rather sharp contrast to the quote above.

--------------------
Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
Winston Churchill

Posts: 821 | From: Delaware | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Wintermute
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Wintermute     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mickey Blue:
[QB] I have always been under the impression that the founding fathers in general did not believe in imposing religion or that we, as a country, were a "christian nation".

They did not want a church of england concept in the united states.
Posts: 4580 | From: Walnut Creek, CA | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for pinqy   E-mail pinqy   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
They were mixed on their opinions. Some of the individual states did have official religions. Some offered freedom of religion to Christians only, some to those who acknowledged a "Creator," some to those who acknowledged a Creator, and an afterlife with rewards and punishments and some freedom of religion for all. But in any case it was considered a judgement of the states. In the decades following, almost all the states followed the lead of the Federal government and eliminated their official religions and denominational preferences.

pinqy

--------------------
Don't Forget!
Winter Solstice Hanukkah Christmas Kwanzaa & Gurnenthar's Ascendance Are Coming!

Posts: 8671 | From: Washington, DC | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve Eisenberg
The "Was on Sale" Song


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve Eisenberg   E-mail Steve Eisenberg   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Bonnie:
Paul Boller and John George, who co-wrote They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions, indicate that no one's found any evidence that Washington ever wrote or spoke such a thing. And Boller's written separately on the topic of "Washington and Religion" before, so he would know.

Yep. As befits a mason, Washington looked on religion as a good thing with being particularly partial towards any one. This is a legit quote from his first innaugural address where he expands on the theme at some length:

quote:
it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration, to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either: No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations, and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with an humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.
Jews can point to Washington's famous letter to the Touro synagogue wherein he also nods favorably towards religion without showing preference for one kind over another.

--------------------
"Hillel says yes, naturally, and Shammai says no, and Maimonides is perplexed, and what do I know?"
Julius Lester

Posts: 5780 | From: Suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
First of Two
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 1 posted      Profile for First of Two   Author's Homepage   E-mail First of Two   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Thanksgiving Proclamation
quote:
[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor--and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be--That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions--to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

What a fanatic. [Roll Eyes]

--------------------
"Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for western civilization as it commits suicide." - Jerry Pournelle

Posts: 14567 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
hoitoider
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for hoitoider   E-mail hoitoider   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I believe "It is impossible to run a government without God and the bible." was derived from "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." (from the 1796 Farewell Speech)

--------------------
No man has a right in America to treat any other man "tolerantly" for tolerance is the assumption of superiority. -Wendell L. Willkie

Posts: 3833 | From: Virginia | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bonnie
The Red and the Green Stamps


Icon 600 posted      Profile for Bonnie   E-mail Bonnie       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
For what it's worth, David Barton claims that the root of this alleged quote probably lies in something that appeared in James Kirke Paulding's A Life of Washington, published in 1835. Barton mentions that,

quote:
In a description of Washington's character, with supporting quotations, Paulding declares Washington to have said:

It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being.

Barton feels that the current attribution ("It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible") may have arisen from a paraphrasing of Paulding's presentation of Washington's (alleged) statement.

http://www.wallbuilders.com/resources/search/detail.php?ResourceID=20#8

Bonnie "I cannot tell a lie" Taylor

--------------------
Se non è vero, è ben trovato.

Posts: -99014 | From: Chapel Hill, North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2