Moral Contradictions

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mr. Madison's quote?

Many people believe that James Madison had this to say about religion in our government:

Religion is the basis and foundation of government. We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

This writer included it in his letter to the editor. However, that quote is false. Any serious student of history will recognize that this statement is totally out of line with other writings and speeches by President Madison. In short, Madison never said that. Ever. It's a lie that many people believe.

It is troubling when quotes are taken out of context to support one's beliefs. It is even more troubling when words are placed into the mouths of historical figures and used to propagate lies.

For more study on James Madison's writings, click here.


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