Wednesday, May 24, 2006


So I'm looking at the online editorial page of my hometown newspaper and see a letter from a guy who's upset about the "Da Vinci Code." He spouts the usual mumbo jumbo about how the founding fathers and the Pilgrims and on and on meant for America to be a Christian nation.

Then he uses a quote from Jedediah Morse, who he says is the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code. I immediately thought, "I thought Samuel Morse invented the telegraph." Well, it turns out that it was Samuel, not Jedediah. But in my reading about Samuel (Jedediah was his father), I learn that Sammy Morse ran for mayor of New York on the Nativist ticket and agitated in favor of slavery.

So I'm like, here's this nutcase writing in to the local paper spouting some nonsense about Christian nations and why aren't Christians more upset and he quotes Jed Morse thinking he's quoting Sam Morse and I'm like--this must not stand.

So the guy also used quotes from Benjamin Franklin about prayer and God will safeguard this nation or whatever, and I'm thinking "didn't Franklin like to get it on with hookers" or something. So I look that up, and it turns out that there's some dispute about his consorting with prostitutes, but that it's an indisputable fact that Franklin had an illegitimate son. Oh, and I also came across this letter in which Franklin says he has his doubts about the divinity of Jesus.

So I'm thinking, this guy who's written to the paper probably isn't aware that Morse dug slavery and Franklin fooled around out of wedlock and wasn't sure if Jesus was a god or not. So I wrote a response to his letter and I was pretty happy with it and I emailed it to my wife for her to look at. She wrote back and said it was cool, and I was all set to email it to the newspaper, but then said to myself, "Why start shit with this guy over this?"

Life's too short to sit and straighten out everybody's factual errors and faulty reasoning. So I'm not sending in the letter, I'm just printing both of them here.

Here's the original:

America is losing its moral fiber
By Jack Faust

A consistent, insidious attack upon the moral fiber and foundation of our nation has been in effect for about the last 40 years, and has met barely a whimper of resistance from this nation's Christian population.

With the recent release of "The Da Vinci Code," yet another attack has been launched upon the veracity of the New Testament.

Irrefutable evidence shows that this nation was not only founded upon this faith, but it has also been sustained by it. The United States was a young nation carved out of the wilderness of the North American continent by Christian pilgrims, established in the name of God, for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, according to the Mayflower Compact.

The founding fathers warned that our nation and government could not stand without the support and reliance upon the pillars of Christian morality.

George Washington observed that religion and morality are indispensable supports to political prosperity.

John Adams stated: "It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principle upon which freedom can securely stand."

In an 1836 American history book, Noah Webster wrote: "Our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is in the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion."

I add finally this prophetic warning from Dr. Jedediah Morse, inventor of the telegraph and the Morse code, who said: "Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican form of government and all the blessings which flow from them must fall with them."

What was once recognized as a vital component of American government and culture is rapidly disappearing with little resistance. The Christian community seems to have relegated itself to some kind of meek subculture rather than becoming salt and light in the midst of moral decay.

I conclude with words from Benjamin Franklin, who observed: "God governs in the affairs of men. We have been assured ... in the sacred writings, that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel."

A final word of advice from Franklin: "Work as if you were to live 100 years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow."

May God save and continue to bless America.

Jack Faust, a resident of Seminary, is a Community Columnist for the Hattiesburg American.

Here's my response that I'm not sending...

Jack Faust might want to reconsider which founding fathers and well-known Americans he quotes in defense of the myth that the United States is a Christian nation that should be upset about “The Da Vinci Code.”

For example, he correctly attributes a quote to Jedediah Morse but mistakenly refers to him as the inventor of the telegraph and Morse code. Morse’s son Samuel is actually the man usually credited with the invention of the telegraph. Samuel Morse was also a defender of the un-Christian institution of slavery, writing in his1863 book “An Argument on the Ethical Position of Slavery” that “Christianity has been most successfully propagated among a barbarous race, when they have been enslaved to a Christian race. Slavery to them has been Salvation, and Freedom, ruin.”

Faust also quotes Benjamin Franklin as saying that “without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel." However, Franklin also said in 1790 that he had his doubts about the divinity of Jesus, which happens to be one of the themes in “The Da Vinci Code,” the movie Faust finds so appalling.

Surely Faust would not have us enslave members of our population just because Morse defended the idea or question the divinity of Jesus just because Franklin did. Yet the words of these men are what Faust selectively uses as “irrefutable evidence” to try to demonstrate that the United States was “founded upon this faith” of Christianity. If that’s true, then I’m a great-great-great-great grandson of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

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