Josh Hawley tweets fake quote about US founding, sparking allegations of Christian nationalism

by | Jul 6, 2023 | Religion

WASHINGTON (RNS) — Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is fielding allegations of Christian nationalism this week after he tweeted out a quote falsely attributed to a Founding Father claiming the U.S. was founded “on the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and later tweeted out a thread of other quotes along similar lines.The controversy began on Tuesday (July 4), when Hawley marked the U.S. celebration of Independence Day with a tweet erroneously quoting Patrick Henry, the Founding Father known for his declaration “Give me liberty or give me death!”
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” read the quote. “For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
As others were quick to note, Patrick Henry never said those words. Rather, as Willamette University professor Seth Cotlar pointed out, the quote appears to originate from a 1956 edition of The Virginian, a magazine known for espousing antisemitic and white nationalist views.
Prem Thakker, writing for liberal outlet The New Republic, derided the tweet as a “vessel to rear for Christian nationalism.”
Despite the criticism, Hawley has not yet deleted the inaccurate tweet. Instead, the Republican senator claimed in a tweet on Wednesday that liberals were “major triggered by the connection between the Bible and the American Founding,” and proceeded to post six quotes from early U. …

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