I find it necessary to put my intended blog entry on hold for a bit while I revisit a topic I discussed sometime back. The original post – found here http://randomtheoloblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/a-repudiation-of-brannon-howse-and-chris-pinto/ – as well as the follow up post – found here http://randomtheoloblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/a-brief-response/ – were meant to direct attention to the work of John Eidsmoe, a brilliant constitutional scholar. Instead I stirred up a hornets nest of protest against my ignorance as to the real history of the United States. Since then I have periodically received messages in response to my postings, some supportive and many reminding me of my ignorance.
If you recall, my original intent, as already stated, was not to deal directly with the video, Hidden Faith of Our Founding Fathers (HFOFF), but to direct people to John Eidsmoe’s treatment of it. Although I had watched several videos produced by Pinto and talks he had given, I had not watched this particular Pinto film. Based on my previous viewings I felt comfortable commenting briefly with some of the stances the Pinto takes that I disagree with, but did not go into detail on HFOFF. Recently I received yet another critique of my post and the challenge to watch the three hour video on YouTube. In response to that challenge I found the video. The man who challenged me said that he would wait for my inevitable recantation of my original beliefs. I’m not doing that here.
I want to share just a few things that I observed as I began watching. The first 1 min. and 42 sec. or so of the video dealt with Charles Thomson, a man known as the Secretary of the Continental Congress for 15 years (17740-1789). According to the sources I read and in agreement with Pinto, he was the one person most intimate with the signers of the declaration, the founders. Pinto’s video presents a startling quote from Mr. Thomson concerning the reason for not publishing the manuscript of the history of the founding of the United States: “I shall not undeceive future generations.” Here are some problems I have with this whole opening portion. First it is based on a manuscript that doesn’t exist so the whole thing is a straw man. There is nothing there to even consider since there is no manuscript – everything is speculation suited to fit Mr. Pinto’s thesis. Second, the quote given is a third hand quote (recorded by Benjamin Rush, cited in “Rulers of Evil,” by F. Tupper Saussy, p.125). That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is entirely inaccurate, but it does mean that Mr. Pinto is quoting a quote of a quote that has been tainted by the view of the third party from whom he took the quote. On top of that the quote is completely void of context. Therefore, to use it to bolster one’s own position is senseless since we can’t be sure exactly what was being addressed by the quote.
I attempted to gain some context for the quote and found a brief biography of Mr. Thomson. In that biography it states his reason to not publish and subsequently destroy the manuscript: “He gave as a reason, that he was unwilling to blast the reputation of families rising into reputation, whose progenitors were proved to be unworthy of the friendship of good men, because of their bad conduct during the war” (http://colonialhall.com/thomson/thomson.php accessed August 7, 2012 Source:Lossing, Benson J. Eminent Americans: Comprising Brief Biographies of Leading Statesmen, Patriots, Orators and others, Men and Women, Who Have Made American History. New York: John B. Alden, 1883. Pages 46-47. Emphasis mine.)
Pinto’s presentation of the quote leads one to conclude that the founding fathers were secretly evil men, but according to Mr. Lossing’s account, Mr. Thomson’s reason had little or nothing to do with the founders (they were not men whose families “were rising into reputation,” but men whose families already had reputation). Neither was he referring to the founding but the behavior of certain men during the war itself. Apparently their antics in war were less than exemplary. This has no bearing upon what the founding father’s believed and thus the first 00:1:42 of the video was a total waste of time.
Now allow be to address this another way. Assuming that Mr. Pinto’s assertions were 100% accurate and Mr. Thomson was actually talking about the nefarious character of our founders. Does it make sense to base your “proof” on a man who would have such low character as to hide from future generations what he knew to be the truth thus condemning them to live under the cloud of deception? Wouldn’t that make him as bad or worse than the founders for whom he has chosen to cover? Why would Mr. Pinto expect us to trust Mr. Thomson and not the other founders? And how does that reflect upon Benjamin Rush since Dr. Rush would also take part, to some extent, in the cover-up? He never wrote about it. Dr. Rush has a stellar reputation to this point. He was a respected physician, signer of the declaration, outstanding Christian, and fought in the war of independence. Who will do an expose on him now?
Another problem that I had was with something that Mr. Pinto said. He accused David Barton and others of wanting us to take our focus off of the spiritual battle that we are in and instead focus on “the politics of this world.” I have news for all of you; spiritual warfare is fought everywhere and especially in the political arena. Is Mr. Pinto suggesting that Christians not participate in politics? The Marxist/Liberals would love to see that happen. It would make it easier for them to completely take away our rights to proclaim the gospel and strip God from every area of American life. Nowhere in Scripture does it state that Christians should not participate in government or politics. There is ample evidence that the early Church contained men of political standing. Here again I disagree with Mr. Pinto.
Mr. Pinto also stated that many want us to fight for Christianity at the political level based on a belief that the founding fathers were Christian. I don’t believe he has a point here, but if he does that does not make his assertion completely accurate. Regardless of the intricate religious beliefs of the founders mountains of evidence from multiple studies have shown that biblical principles were instrumental to the founding of our nation. It is because of this that we have a system of government based on the rule of law and not on the whim of men. We fight for the rule of law to protect our representative republic with the Constitution as the foundation. We fight because the rule of law is being destroyed and we are becoming a lawless society. Would God have us sit back and allow the lawless to rule when He has given us the greatest government ever established? Side note: If you believe in the sovereignty of God then you must believe that God was in control when the United States established its system of government. Since it is God who establishes kingdoms and tears them down, then our society finds its origination in His will.
Mr. Pinto further states that Barton, et.al., want to springboard from the fallacy of “Christian Founders” to “vote for Christian presidents and congressmen,” etc. This is a non sequitur. There is no necessary logical connection here. First of all it is a completely baseless accusation. He is attributing motive to Mr. Barton and others, something that he cannot prove and does not know. Secondly, most of those who vote for Christians do so because of biblical principles – Job 34:17; Prov. 29:2. His assertion is either naive or misleading.
Finally, Mr. Pinto makes what I believe to be another baseless and outrageous accusation. He believes that many homeschoolers and other educators teach the writings of the founding fathers as “equal with the Bible.” I find that very difficult to swallow. As a homeschooling father I can say that is not true in my family. We have profound respect for the founders, but their teachings are not on par with Scripture. Another straw man to knock down to prove a point.
Here is the kicker; all of this was in the first 00:6:12 of the video. I couldn’t go any further and refuse to waste my time watching an agenda-driven video participating in a past time begun by Marxist/Liberals – revisionist history. I don’t know what is driving Mr. Pinto’s desire to destroy the reputations of our founding fathers. I’m sure it is sincere, but I believe, from my personal studies, that he is misguided.
It is not my desire to fight with my brothers and sisters in Christ on this subject. I prefer discussing biblical/theological topics. But this subject matter strikes at the heart of freedom and liberty, ideas that are purely biblical. If you desire an argument from here on, you may want to argue elsewhere.
God bless. I pray this helps.