Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Fly in the Ointment

A fly in the ointment is a well known and commonly used phrase. It goes all the way back to the wisdom of Solomon.

     Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
     A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.
     Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
(Ecclesiastes 10:1-3)

The following video begins with a foolish premise. The premise is a lie that makes a fool of anyone embracing it.

     The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
     God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
(Psalm 53:1-3)

Here is the video:

The same author, by the pseudonym yourgodisimaginary, made this video:

Yourgodisimaginary clearly has an agenda behind these videos. This agenda is most certainly the basis for the 44 US Presidents: Quotes From George Washington To Barack Obama video. This agenda is demonstrated in the very first quotation, which is falsely attributed to President George Washington and is quoted in a manner that misrepresents the quotation. The video claims that George Washington said:
The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.

This is only part of the actual quotation. It is lifted out of context and presented contrary to the intention of the statement. Moreover, President Washington did not make the statement.

This partial statement is lifted out of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary. The statement is found in Article 11, which reads:

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 tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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.

The treaty was signed by Joel Barlow on behalf of the United States and President John Adams presented it to the Senate to be considered and ratified by the Senate. An image of the actual document can be viewed here and a transcription can be viewed here .

The intention of Article 11 is clearly to state that the United States was not founded on the same principles as the nation of Islam and that the religious warmongering of the European nations in the name of religion was not the way of the United States of America. The intention of this article is to make known to the signers of the treaty that the United States of America does not make war a means of promoting the Christian religion. The United States wanted it to be known that its connection to the Christian religion was not as had been previously observed by the Mussulmen.

David Barton of WallBuilders gives a more thorough treatment of this matter in an article at Treaty of Tripoli.

Returning to the issue of the agenda of the first video, President Washington is falsely attributed with this misquoted statement to present a false premise that carries through the entire video. From what I have been able to determine, the rest of the quotations are correctly attributed and quoted. However, by setting the false premise at the beginning, the later quotes from Presidents Taft, Clinton, and newly elected President Obama are given the false appearance of being in accord with the moorings of the nation and of the Constitution.

The goal of the video is to affirm the notion that whatever good will come in the cosmos will come by the actions of human beings. This is in direct contradiction to the bold statements of the Declaration of Independence and the founding fathers.

This video has been linked to by various bloggers who seemed to have used it thinking that it affirmed the principles upon which this nation was founded, or at least that it decried the Obamanation. The truth is, however, that the video only embraces certain portions of the nation’s foundation.

The video begins with a lie as the capstone over the selected elements of truth that it enshrouds and overshadows. This is an example of the importance of checking sources of quotations. Anytime that such sources are not supplied, one should question the validity of the quotations and not accept them unquestioningly.

The audio/visual medium is very powerful. What is both heard and seen is perceived as true according to the mind’s natural perception and interpretation of what is perceived.

A person does well always to be on guard.

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