Published On: Wed, Mar 28th, 2012

‘Monumental’ Questions: Battling Over American History

Kirk Cameron’s film “Monumental:  In Search of America’s National Treasure” is thrust into the middle of the battle over American history and the role of God, Christianity in the founding of America.

One of the key opponents is Chris Rodda (Senior Research Director, Military Religious Freedom Foundation; Author, ‘Liars For Jesus’), who wrote piece in the Huffington Post entitled: “Monumental Lies – Kurt Cameron visits David Barton.”

Described as a ‘pseudo-documentary’, Rodda asserts the film is full of ‘Christian nationalist historical revisionism’, targeting David Barton personally. Barton is the Founder and President of WallBuilders and collector of these documents.

Rodda makes the following charges against the film in her Youtube video:

  • Barton doesn’t have any credibility by ‘simply’ owning these original documents
  • Thomas Jefferson didn’t have any part in the family Bible mentioned in the film
  • The family Bible is not a family Bible at all and the founders role is insignificant
  •  Aitken Bible wasn’t printed by Congress or was intended for schools

One ‘expert’ arguing the credentials of another critic has grown tiresome for many Americans. With the Internet, every Average Joe can track down articles, documents and opinions to Fact Check claims for themselves. Whether Barton owns documents or not, whether than warrants him being labeled an expert or not, none of that makes strides toward finding “the Truth” either in the film or in our own interpretations.

For example, the debate over the “Family Bible” is rooted in  it’s official name  (The Holy Bible, Containing The Old and New Testaments; Together with the Apocrypha Translated out of the Original Tongues And with the Former Translations, Diligently Compared and Reviled. Volume II. Philadelphia, Printed for John Thompson & Abraham Small, From the Hot Press of John Thompson) and history.

Barton argues that the founders who bought copies (or donated funds) for the Bible printing can be a signal of the desire to “evangelize” while Rodda and critics offer that Jefferson was a scholar and wanted a copy, but would never pursue spreading the gospel.

It’s important to note that the critics will harp on the role of Jefferson and not acknowledge the role of other founders and the over 1200 subscribers who made the Bible printing possible.

Next, the Robert Aitken Bible, a small Bible which could fit in the soldier’s pocket during the Revolutionary War (The Bible of the Revolution), was indeed commissioned by Congress, but not necessarily for educational purposes or paid for directly by Congress.

The only Bible printing ever called for by an act of the United States Congress; this King James Version Bible helped meet the need for scriptures while England refused to allow their Bibles to be imported by the rebellious colonists, during the embargo of the Revolutionary War. – Source

Two-thirds of the soldiers had been discharged by the time Aitken got the Bibles out of print, so selling them and distributing them through the military became nearly impossible. George Washington did offer some assistance as Rodda states, but Rodda’s commentary and those in “Monumental” shortchange a complex story in history with neither side being completely wrong or right.

There were certainly founders who were deists, a point of contension by critics, but there was not a campaign or movement to secularize government, society or create isolation from religion. Critics like Rodda of “Monumental” share guilt in nitpicking details trying to rewrite and revise history.

One fact is true: Religion was a large part of America’s history and there was no movement to abolish, remove or isolate faith from the public square, even if (as the film conveys) the founder didn’t share the Christian beliefs personally.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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