Tim Kaine at the George Washington Library

Here is Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s new running mate, talking about politics and character at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington.  I love the setting of this interview.  Kaine is seated in the magnificent reading room with the print edition of the Papers of George Washington behind him.  I assume that Doug Bradburn, the Founding Director of the library, is conducting the interview.

Eric Metaxas and David Barton Team Up Against “Angry” Historians

MetaxasToday David Barton, the GOP activist who uses the American past to promote his political agenda, appeared on the Eric Metaxas Show.  Thanks again to Warren Throckmorton for providing an audio clip of the part of their conversation related to Metaxas’s book If You Can Keep It.

As some of you know, I have been critical of Metaxas’s book.  I have also been critical of the work of David Barton.

This is what Metaxas and Barton had to say today:

Metaxas: David, one thing I have to say that I have in common with you other than writing about American history and God’s role in it, and the role of Christians and faith and virtue, is that I have been outrageously attacked…I was thinking of you because, man, you took it on the chin.  There are some people that are just…  My thesis is that they are annoyed by our conclusions so they kind of nitpick and they find one little thing.  If there’s something that’s in my book that’s wrong I want to change it, I don’t want it to be there.  But they kind of jump on that and they write a whole essay on the thing that is wrong.

Barton: Or they take it out of context too.  Not only will they nitpick, but they never tell the reader to go read the book and look at the context.  That’s what these guys notoriously do. We’ll have a thirty minute broadcast and they will take a seven-second clip out of it and say “look what you said.”  Well, listen for thirty minutes [and] it’s a whole different thing.

Metaxas: It is extraordinary I have to say. And I feel like because you’ve been through it I take it as a point of pride, you know.  Because I thought to myself “I know what I’m writing is true.”  You know, a number of people were criticizing me for interpreting John Winthrop on the Arbella when he preached this sermon about that we’re a city on a hill, and that whole thing.   It’s real clear to me, it underscores my larger thesis, that America has always been a nation for others–that we want to be a shining beacon of liberty and truth and the gospel.  That’s been who we are and a number of folks have said that I totally take that out of context, it meant something else.  And I thought to myself, that is simply wrong.  You can “quibble”–that would be the verb–you can quibble with what I’m saying, but really you cannot say that what I am saying is wrong, and I am sure it’s not wrong. 

Barton: Well, in my case, we actually have the original documents. Give me a break. But they say “yeah, but we got all these Ph.Ds who say you’re wrong.  Well, that’s alright–I’ve got the original documents. But they don’t go there. The same with your.  They’re going to criticize your through academic channels because they don’t like your conclusions.

Metaxas: It’s so funny.  It’s so funny.  It’s a lot of angry quibbling.  I take it as a point of pride because I’m called by God to do what I am doing.  It doesn’t mean that God is always on my side, but it does mean that I care about my country, I love my country. It goes way beyond this country.  If you care about the world  you need to care about America. God has a point to this country as a beacon to the whole world, a share our liberties.  So it really is something I consider important.  Your work has been foundational.  I want to thank you for the tremendous work you have done.

Listen to the exchange here.

Just a few quick points:

  1.  Metaxas’s view of Winthrop’s use of the phrase “city on a hill” IS taken out of context.  I encourage you to take David Barton’s advice and read the original source– “A Modell on Christian Charity.”  You should also read Hillsdale College professor David Gamble’s  In Search of the City on a Hill: The Making and Unmaking of an American Myth. And don’t forget the post by Tracy McKenzie, chair of the history department at evangelical Wheaton College.
  2.  I am sure I have addressed this before, but it needs to be said again.  For years Barton has been telling the ordinary evangelicals who follow him that he is right about American history because he owns a lot of documents.  He claims that he reads the original documents and suggests that professional historians do not.  This is a completely absurd claim.  ALL professional historians read and interpret primary sources.  This is what we do.  Doing history–especially the history of political ideas– has very little to do with whether or not someone one can hold an original document in their hands.  For example, if Barton had a copy of the Declaration of Independence would he be in a better position to interpret the ideas in the document than someone who was merely reading the Declaration of Independence online or in a textbook?  I have never been to Wallbuilders or seen David Barton’s collection of documents, but I am pretty certain that most of the documents he possesses are easily accessible for historians in online and print collections.  Unless one is writing a history about these books, letter, and manuscrpts as physical objects or pieces of material culture (which is not how Barton uses the documents–he peddles in ideas), the fact that Barton owns these documents and can actually them does not make his interpretations of history any more right or wrong.
  3. I will admit that many websites do take Barton’s words, especially when he is on the radio, out of context.  But the best and most thorough critiques of his work do not.
  4. Metaxas claims that he is called by God to write such flawed history. He thus sees the criticism of his work as a “point of pride.”  As an evangelical Christian who also believes he has a calling, I find this sort of “blessed are the persecuted” mentality to be offensive.

Tweets from 2016 RNC

I posted some tweets from day 1 here.

Below I have embedded some  tweets from days 2-4

Follow @johnfea1

“Law and Order”: Some Historical Perspective

Tricky Dicky

Earlier today I posted a video of Richard Nixon’s acceptance speech at the 1968 GOP convention.

I also tweeted this last night during Donald Trump’s acceptance speech at the 2016 GOP convention:

Over at Politico, historian Josh Zeitz offers some context on just what Nixon meant by “Law and Order.”

Here is a taste:

Safe from what? By almost any measure, the United States is safer than it has been in decades. Notwithstanding localized spikes in urban homicides, for the past decade the crime and violent crime rates have hovered at near-50 year lows. And despite the recent tragedies in Dallas and Baton Rouge, the same is true of the number ofpolice officers killed in the line of duty.

If the country is calm by comparison, why would Trump sound a cry for “law and order” once again? The answer may lie with the first successful soothsayer of the “Silent Majority,” Richard Nixon, who in 1968 created the very playbook that Trump seems to be recycling. Nixon came to power in an era of profound discord, marked by urban riots, anti-war protests (some, violent), and an unraveling of longstanding social and cultural mores. Then as now, crime was a powerful proxy for other concerns. But even with all that to worry about, Nixon’s appeal wasn’t just about crime. His political insight was that crime was a powerful proxy for other anxieties.

Running for president in 1968, Richard Nixon sought to exploit very legitimate popular anxiety over crime and disorder. Needing to distance himself from far-right third-party opponent George Wallace, whose own law-and-order venom was a transparent cover for racial incitement, Nixon walked a thin line between statesmanship and demagoguery, promising to speak for the “forgotten Americans … non-shouters, the non-demonstrators, that are not racists or sick, that are not guilty of crime that plagues the land. This I say to you tonight is the real voice of America in 1968.”

By focusing incessantly on racially coded issues like crime and urban unrest, Nixon signaled to white voters that he offered a respectable alternative to Wallace. Campaigning throughout the upper South, he endorsed the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which banned segregation in public schools, but also assured white voters that he felt it was wrong for the federal government to “force a local community to carry out what a federal administrator or bureaucrat may think is best for that local community.” Even the conservative Wall Street Journal criticized Nixon’s “harsh and strident efforts to capitalize on deep-seated discontent and frustration. This is the Richard Nixon who tells a whistle-stop rally in Deshler, Ohio that in the 45 minutes since his train left Lima, one murder, two rapes and 45 major crimes of violence had occurred in this country—and that ‘Hubert Humphrey defends the policies under which we have seen crime rise to this point.’” The former vice president was peddling a brand of “extremism [that] seems not only unnecessary but self-defeating. … In a society already deeply divided by fear and mistrust, Mr. Nixon’s hard line seems sure to deepen the divisions.”

Nixon was not the first Republican candidate to fuse rhetoric about law and order to a racial message. As early as 1964 conservatives began trying to exploit grassroots concerns about integration by using code words like “welfare,” “morality” and “crime” to tap into white—and suburban—racial resentments. That year, conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign sponsored a 30-minute televised infomercial entitled Choice, which juxtaposed imagery of nude dancers and pornographic literature with film footage of black urban rioters. The subtext was unmistakable: the same liberal forces that were unraveling the moral fabric of American society were driving racial minorities to lash out violently against public authority and private property. Though Goldwater claimed to be personally opposed to segregation, he played fast and loose with racial incitement. The New York Times observed that as the fall campaign wore on, Goldwater “began to link directly his ‘law and order’ issue—in which he deplores crime and violence—with the civil rights movement, mentioning the two in juxtaposition.” During a speech in Minneapolis, he “mentioned ‘gang rape’ and civil rights disturbances in the same paragraph.”

Read the rest here.

“I Alone Can Fix It”: Some Historical Perspective

Trump can fix it

Some of you may remember our interview with Yoni Appelbaum on episode 3 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home podcast.  Appelbaum is the Washington Bureau Chief for The Atlantic.  He also has a Ph.D in American history from Brandeis University.

Today at The Atlantic, Appelbaum applies some good historical thinking and context to Donald Trump’s claim that he “alone” can “fix” this country.

Here is a taste:

Has any American political leader claimed so directly to embody the nation, to speak for it, to be its sole hope for redemption?

In 1968, Richard Nixon spoke of a nation torn apart by crime at home, and by wars abroad. But, he promised, better days were ahead. “Without God’s help and your help, we will surely fail; but with God’s help and your help, we shall surely succeed.”

In 1980, Ronald Reagan painted a similarly dark picture of a troubled nation, and offered a similar message of redemption. But his acceptance speech called on Americans to work together to solve their problems. “I ask you not simply to ‘Trust me,’” Reagan said, “but to trust your values—our values—and to hold me responsible for living up to them.”

In 2000, George W. Bush called a troubled nation to renewal, and ended with a note of humility. “I know the presidency is an office that turns pride into prayer,” he said, “But I am eager to start on the work ahead.”

In 2016, Donald J. Trump mounted the stage, and told America that the nation is in crisis. That attacks on police and terrorism threaten the American way of life. That the United States suffers from domestic disaster, and international humiliation. That it is full of shuttered factories and crushed communities. That it is beset by “poverty and violence at home” and “war and destruction abroad.”

And he offered them a solution.

I am your voice, said Trump. I alone can fix it. I will restore law and order. He did not appeal to prayer, or to God. He did not ask Americans to measure him against their values, or to hold him responsible for living up to them. He did not ask for their help. He asked them to place their faith in him.

He broke with two centuries of American political tradition, in which candidates for office—and above all, for the nation’s highest office—acknowledge their fallibility and limitations, asking for the help of their fellow Americans, and of God, to accomplish what they cannot do on their own.

Read the rest here.

Most Popular Posts of the Last Week

Here are the most popular posts of the last week at The Way of Improvement Leads Home:

  1. Metaxas: “Some Guy Won a Six-Part Series.”
  2. Why I Signed “Historians Against Trump”
  3. Is Governor Mike Pence An Evangelical Christian?
  4. Why Robert Jeffress Should Not Be Talking About American History
  5. The Prayer of Pastor Mark Burns
  6. Are Missouri Synod Lutherans Evangelical?
  7. Historians Must Counter the Jedi Mind Tricks
  8. Plagiarism Happened Last Night
  9. The GOP Platform on Bibles in Public Schools: Some Historical Context
  10. Evangelical Options in November

It’s Official: James Dobson Endorses Trump

Dobson and Trump

Apparently James Dobson wants to be part of the big Trump celebration tonight.  Time is reporting that he just officially endorsed Donald Trump for POTUS.

Here is a taste:

James Dobson endorsed Donald Trump for president hours before the newly minted GOP nominee is slated to take the stage the final night of the Republican National Convention.

“I have decided to endorse Donald J. Trump for President of the United States, not only because of my great concern about Hillary Clinton,” Dobson said in a statement. “I am supporting Mr. Trump primarily because I believe he is the most capable candidate to lead the United States of America in this complicated hour.”

The Focus on the Family founder’s decision to endorse Trump was prompted by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s address to the RNC on Wednesday night, a Dobson spokesperson told TIME. Cruz congratulated Trump for winning the nomination but did not endorse him, and was booed as he spoke and left the stage.

Dobson was one of the evangelical leaders to endorse Cruz early, in attempt to rally evangelical voters around one candidate. “Ted Cruz’s record on religious liberty, life, and marriage is second to none in this Republican field,” Dobson said in December. “Shirley [Dobson’s wife] and I have been praying for a leader such as this, and we are confident that Ted Cruz has the moral and spiritual foundations to lead our nation with excellence.”

Read the rest here.

I am not going to analyze this here.  Instead I will just direct you to this post.

 

The Author’s Corner with Thomas Robinson

Preacher-Girl-Uldine-Utley-and-the-Industry-of-Revival-by-Thomas-A.-RobinsonThomas Robinson is  Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Lethbridge, Canada. This interview is based on his new book, Preacher Girl: Uldine Utley and the Industry of Revival (Baylor University Press, 2016).

JF: What led you to write Preacher Girl?

TR: I had just written (with Lanette Ruff) a book on girl evangelists in the 1920s and 1930s (Out of the Mouths of Babes: Girl Evangelists in the Flapper Era, Oxford University Press, 2013), and I had considerable material left over related to the main star of the phenomenon, Uldine Utley. I saw that this material could serve well as a basis of a biography of a young girl who stood toe-to-toe with Billy Sunday and Aimee Semple McPherson, the adult revival greats of the early twentieth century, and that, in itself, was a story worthy of telling. But more important was a collection of unpublished poems where Utley laid out the clash between the demands of her religious calling and the attraction of a normal life. As she was sinking, at age twenty-four and keenly aware, into a world of mental confusion and breakdown, she knew she needed to tell the private side of public life, so she started to gather her poems for publication under the title Kindly Remove My Halo. That title captured precisely the struggle of the religious worker. Her collapse prevented that publication, and the poems remained forgotten until Utley’s nephew and niece made them available to me.

JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of Preacher Girl?

TRBased largely on Uldine Utley’s life and in particular on her unpublished poetry, I explore the inner workings of American revivalism from its earliest days in the Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield era into the twentieth century. In particular, I look at how revivalism is a “one-man show,” even when that “man” is an eleven-year-old girl, and the common failure to recognize burnout and mental strain by those caught up in the industry of revivalism.

JF: Why do we need to read Preacher Girl?

TR: There are several reasons. One is to add to the portrait of the wild and sometime bizarre world of the “roaring twenties” and of American revivalism. Another is is understand the parallel religious track of the child star phenomenon that developed in this period. A third is to bring from the shadows of history a largely forgotten girl who mastered the stage of the 1920s in a way few did, whether secular entertainers or religious leaders, and whose name was then a household word in both the secular and religious press. A fourth is simply to appreciate the compelling poetry of this star, who in a few choice words could capture the range of human emotions that we all experience but most cannot adequately articulate. Finally, there is the issue of the demands of religious work and the failure to account for and accommodate burnout and mental stress in a world where religious players have often been treated as somehow untouched by the chaos and cares of everyday life.

JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?

TR
: I became an “occasional” American historian by accident when the girl evangelist phenomenon more or less fell into my lap. Most of my writings deal with Judaism and Christianity in the Greco-Roman world (most recent: Who Were the First Christians? Dismantling the Urban Thesis, OUP, 2016). Since I teach in a small Religious Studies department, I cover a wide range of courses, including one on the history of Pentecostalism. While searching for something in that field, I discovered in newspaper databases thousands of references from the 1920s and 1930s to girl preachers. I had my question: why so many from this period? My quest to answer that question has resulted in two books on a topic that had been largely forgotten in scholarship.

JF: What is your next project?

TR: My next project is an attempt to explore how post-Holocaust scholars have tried to understand the anti-Jewish tone of much of early Christian writing, often sanitizing that past or redirecting its target.In this work, I challenge efforts to remove the grit and grime of history for the sake of easier relationships in the modern period. Other paths must be explored as a basis of dialogue. Understanding the past in all its rough and raw drama is a better option than a photoshopped portrait of the past or a certain kind of revisionist history developed for modern sensibilities and consumption.

JF: Thanks, Thomas!

Will Ted Cruz Be Reaganesque Tonight?

Cruz and Trump debate

Ted Cruz has yet to endorse Donald Trump.  Some of you may remember that during the campaign Trump liked to call Cruz “Lying Ted” and mocked the appearance of Cruz’s wife Heidi. Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar” and a “narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen.”  Oh yes, Cruz also called Trump a “serial philanderer.”

When Gerald Ford ran for POTUS in 1976 he faced strong opposition in the primary season from then former California Governor Ronald Reagan. At the time of the GOP convention in Kansas City, Ford had a slight delegate lead over Reagan, but he did not have the 1130 delegates needed for the nomination.  Reagan, the favorite of the conservative wing of the GOP, came to the convention with 1070 delegates.  After a tough battle on the convention floor the Mississippi delegation switched its support from Reagan to Ford and secured the nomination for the sitting POTUS.  Ford would go on to lose the general election to Jimmy Carter.

After he realized he had lost the nomination, Reagan took to the microphone and called for party unity.  Here is what he said:

No historical analogy is perfect. Trump came to Cleveland this week with enough delegates to get the nomination.  Cruz has no chance.  But the Texas Senator will be speaking tonight.  It will be interesting to see what he says.  Will he endorse Trump and call the GOP and his delegates and supporters to rally around the pathological liar, narcissist and serial philanderer?

Remember what happened to Reagan.  In 1980 he ran again and was elected POTUS. Rumor has it that Cruz wants to run again in 2020.  Whatever he says tonight will leave an important legacy that GOP voters might remember in four years.

Historically Black University Ends Its History Program

Lincoln U

Lincoln University, a historically-black university in Jefferson City, Missouri, has decided to temporarily end its history program due to low enrollments.

You can read all the details in this piece at Inside Higher Ed, but a couple of paragraphs in caught my eye:

Kevin D. Rome, university president, said in a statement, “Our students deserve academic offerings that allow them to be competitive with their peers as they move from our campus into a career.”

Although eliminating or restructuring programs is a “difficult decision,” he continued, “we can better use the resources from those programs to strengthen those degrees with a higher demand from the student and global standpoint. … We must make decisions like these as we look toward the future and the needs of the changing workforce.”

I could respond to this, but James Grossman, Executive Director of the American Historical Society, beat me to the punch:

James Grossman, executive director of the organization, on Tuesday said he agreed with Rome, Lincoln’s president, that a college education should prepare students for a career. AHA has worked with employers through its Tuning Program and learned that they value skillslearned by history majors, he said.

“A history major prepares some students for a specific job,” Grossman said, and “prepares all students for a career.”

Like other critics of Lincoln’s plan, Grossman said that an HBCU “ought to be especially aware of the centrality of history to the intellectual vitality of any institution.” Quoting the provost’s statement, he asked how “‘students, the taxpayers and the university as a whole’ understand the role and identity of an institution that defines itself in part by its history if the institution doesn’t think history is important?”

 

This is sad news indeed.  Some historians on the faculty will be retained to teach general education courses in history.

 

Historians Must Counter the Jedi Mind Tricks

Hillary Congress

Historians are not merely fact-checkers. We try to encourage kids to get excited about doing history by telling them that it is more than just the memorization of names and dates. History, of course, is an act of interpretation.

But in this political cycle, historians need to be getting back to basics as they speak to public to and write for public audiences.  We need to remind people that a proper reconstruction of the past requires, first and foremost, that we do our best to find out what happened in the past. At the most fundamental level historians are truth-tellers. We are not the only thinkers in society who care about the truth, but finding out what happened is a pretty important part of our job description.

Historians will ultimately be the ones who will explain this crazy election cycle to future generations. But it is going to take some time before we gain enough perspective to interpret it fairly.

As we wait for perspective we can still remind the public about the importance of empirical facts. Historians make arguments based on evidence. Our POTUS candidates and those who follow them still need to learn a lesson that they should have learned in their 5th-grade history class.

Please WATCH THIS VIDEO featuring CNN anchor Jake Tapper. (Can’t seem to embed it). Historians have a responsibility to counter the “Jedi mind tricks.”

Why Robert Jeffress Should Not Be Talking About American History

Trump Jeffress

If you read this blog regularly you know about Robert Jeffress.  He is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas and one of the first evangelicals to endorse Donald Trump. Some of you remember that I debated him on an National Public Radio program a few months ago.  The other day he said he would vote for Donald Trump over Jesus.

Recently Jeffress explained to his followers why he has decided to get involved in presidential politics:

Part of Jeffress’s argument here is based on his belief that pastors have always been at the forefront of change in American history.  He is correct.  Clergy played a vital role in American political history.  Yes, they precipitated change. But they also used their role as pastors to in resist meaningful change.

There is a lot of historical problems with Jeffress’s remarks, but the most egregious issue is his failure to recognize that the former pastor of his church and one of the most prominent 20th-century Southern Baptists–W.A. Criswell-– used his position to promote racial segregation.  This is a dark chapter of Southern Baptist history.   It is probably not a good idea for Jeffress to invoke the Civil Rights movement as a moment in American history when pastors brought positive change to the United States.

Over at Religion News Service, Tobin Grant, a political science professor at Southern Illinois University, draws on the historical work of Curtis Freeman and Joseph Davis to call Jeffress out on this.

Here is a taste:

In 1956, Criswell spoke at the State Evangelism Conference in South Carolina. Against instructions to stay clear of segregation, Criswell gave a fiery sermon that linked the fight against integration with evangelism. All Southern Baptist pastors should, according to Criswell, speak out against those who were advocating integration.

Criswell did not mince words. He railed against both the National Council of Churches and the NAACP as those “two-by scathing, good-for-nothing fellows who are trying to upset all of the things that we love as good old Southern people and as good old Southern Baptists.”

He even used racist humor to make his points: “Why the NAACP has got those East Texans on the run so much that they dare not pronounce the word chigger any longer. It has to be cheegro.”

Criswell saw integration an attack on both state rights and democracy by carpetbaggers. Even more so, it was a blow to Southern Baptist religious liberty:Churches had the right and the responsibility to keep their congregations segregated.

Segregation was best for blacks and whites, Criswell said. Blacks, he argued, would never be able to excel, teach, or lead in a congregation of whites. Instead, they should stay in churches with other blacks. Segregation also limited miscegenation. And that, Criswell warned, was going to cause problems for everyone.

Read the entire piece here.

At the risk of making this post too long, I think it is also worth noting that some of the founding fathers did not think clergy should be getting involved in politics.

Many of the early eighteenth-century states banned clergymen from running for certain offices.  These included North Carolina (1776), New York (1777), South Carolina (1778), Delaware (1792), Maryland (1799), Georgia (1799), Tennessee (1796), and Kentucky (1799).

Here is article XXXI of the 1776 North Carolina Constitution:

That no clergyman, or preacher of the gospels of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the Senate, House of Commons, or Council of State, while he continues in the exercise of the pastoral function.

Here is article XXXIX of the 1777 New York Constitution:

And whereas the ministers of the gospel are, by their profession, dedicated to the service of God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function; therefore, no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall, at any time hereafter, under any presence or description whatever, be eligible to, or capable of holding, any civil or military office or place within this State.

Here is article XXI of the 1778 South Carolina Constitution:

And whereas the ministers of the gospel are by their profession dedicated to the service of God and the cure of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function, therefore no minister of the gospel or public preacher of any religious persuasion, while he continues in the exercise of his pastoral function, and for two years after, shall be eligible either as governor, lieutenant-governor, a member of the senate, house of representatives, or privy council in this State.

Here is Article I, Section 9 of the 1792 Delaware Constitution:

The Rights, privileges, immunities, and estates of religious societies and corporate bodies shall remain as if the constitution of this state had not been altered. No clergyman or preacher of the gospel of any denomination, shall be capable of holding any civil office in this state, or of being a member of either branch of the legislature, while he continues in the exercise of the pastoral or clerical functions.

It is clear that the framers of these state constitutions wanted clergy to tend to the souls of churchgoers, not the soul of the United States of America.  I need to explore this deeper, but it seems at first glance that these framers wanted to keep religion out of politics and did not want the purity and witness of the church to be tarnished by politics.

What Do These Republicans Have in Common?

b6343-george-w-bush

George W. Bush, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, John McCain, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Condoleeza Rice, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey, Jeff Flake, Nikki Haley, Greg Abbott, BRian Sandoval, Trey Gowdy, and Mark Sanford.

Metaxas: “Some Guy Wrote a 6-Part Series”

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz speaks with moderator Eric Metaxas at the National Religious Broadcasters Annual Convention at Oryland in Nashville

Head over to Warren Throckmorton’s blog and listen to Eric Metaxas mock me on his radios program for my 6-part critique of his book.  He and Ann Coulter have a good laugh over the fact that there are errors in their recent books.

Here is Metaxas:

There are errors in my book and people have written ESSAYS–I’m not even kidding.  People have attacked my book so much. This never happened to me before. They take a sentence that I could just change that sentence and everything would be okay.  They have written ESSAYS about this sentence.  I said something about freedom in our early days, implying that it was universal, which of course it was not (we had a lot of problems with religious freedom)–peoplek have written essays and essays.  Some guy wrote a 6-part blog thing, 4000 words criticizing my book. There’s another thing–oh–that I misinterpret John Winthrop when he says that we are a shining city on a hill–Jesus’s words–and he says I misinterpreted them.  In fact, I did not misinterpret it. But even if I had it is not worth and ESSAY correcting me

To get the full effect (and the sarcasm and smugness in Metaxas’s voice) you really need to LISTEN to the exchange with Coulter.  It is only about one minute long.

A More Important Convention Took Place 158 Years Ago Today

Wesley Chapel

July 19-20, 1848: Seneca Falls Convention.

Read about it at the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History web page. (HT: Nate McAlister).

Here is a taste:

In 1848 the modest Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls in upstate New York was the site of a groundbreaking gathering. The two-day event was the first women’s rights convention in history. Modeling their Declaration of Sentiments on the Declaration of Independence, sixty-eight women, many of them veterans of the abolition movement, put to paper the radical notion that men and women should stand equal before the law and in the democracy of the young American nation. Only two of the convention’s participants would live to see the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote in 1920.

Now you can visit the chapel and other important sites included inWomen’s Rights National Historical Park. Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in Seneca Falls!

The push for women’s rights was part of a larger reform movement that flourished in the mid-nineteenth century. Learn more about those reform movements here and more about the broader picture of women’s history here through essays, featured primary sources, and videos.