Dutch Sheets Spreads False Christian Nationalist History

Yesterday, Right Wing Watch noted how Christian nationalists routinely spread fake pseudo-history regarding the founding of this nation in support of their Christian nationalist political agenda. In that post, we exposed televangelist Kenneth Copeland for making a myriad of demonstrably false claims, primarily about George Washington.

Last night, as if to drive home this point, “apostle” Dutch Sheets appeared on the “FlashPoint” program, which airs on Copeland’s own Victory Channel network, and rattled off several false claims of his own in defense of Christian nationalism.

Sheets, a highly influential leader within the New Apostolic Reformation who mobilized spiritual warfare on behalf of former president Donald Trump’s efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election, kicked things off by falsely claiming that the Constitution was finalized only after the delegates at the Constitutional Convention turned to God for help.kicked things off by falsely claiming that the Constitution was finalized only after the delegates at the Constitutional Convention turned to God for help.

“It’s an indisputable fact that our founders were God-honoring men,” Sheets said. “Even [Benjamin] Franklin—who wasn’t a strong professing Christian, although many believe that at the end of his life, he did become a Christian—but he’s the one that spoke up and asked for these prayers to take place at the beginning of Congress. And they prayed, of course in Jesus’ name, and then they attributed their success—after not being able to get the Constitution written—they attributed their success to the fact that they began to call on God and ask for his help.”

Christian nationalists love to cite this myth over and over again, always conveniently ignoring the fact that, as Right Wing Watch explained in 2022, “the delegates to the Constitutional Convention chose not to heed Franklin’s call to prayer and adjourned without taking any action on his suggestion.”

As historian Richard Beeman recounts in his book, “Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution“:

At the conclusion of the day’s session in which the delegates rejected his suggestion, [Franklin] scrawled a note on the bottom of the speech he had written expressing his incredulity: “The convention, except three or four persons, thought prayer unnecessary!”

So, no, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention (which was not “Congress,” as Sheets said) did not pray in Jesus’ name or “call on God” for help in crafting the Constitution. Likewise, they did not attribute their success to those prayers, as those prayers never happened.

“God is the most quoted person among all the writings of our Founding Fathers,” Sheets later asserted. “Montesquieu is second and John Locke is third. This is all undeniable. These people knew that this was a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles. They wanted to be under God’s authority and God’s wisdom and God’s help, and it’s undeniable.”

This is hardly “undeniable,” as Sheets’ claim that “God is the most quoted person” during the Founding Era is likewise completely misleading.

As Right Wing Watch has explained multiple times before, this particular bit of misinformation originated with religious-right pseudo-historian David Barton, who misrepresented a 1984 study conducted by professor Donald S. Lutz of the University of Houston titled “The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late Eighteenth-Century American Political Thought” that sought to identify which writers and sources of ideas were most cited in “the political writings of Americans published between 1760 and 1805.”

The finding, Lutz reported, was that “there was no one European writer, or one tradition of writers, that dominated American political thought” during that era, but that the Bible was cited most frequently solely because many of the pamphlets included in the research were sermons that had been reprinted for mass distribution.

As Lutz explained:

Anyone familiar with the literature will know that most of these citations come from sermons reprinted as pamphlets; hundreds of sermons were reprinted during the era, amounting to at least 10% of all pamphlets published. These reprinted sermons accounted for almost three-fourths of the biblical citations, making this nonsermon source of biblical citations roughly as important as the Classical or Common Law categories.

As Lutz noted, once the sermon pamphlets were excluded, quotes from the Bible appeared no more frequently in the political writings of the era than citations of the classical or common law.

More importantly, Lutz also noted that when the focus was solely on the public political writings from 1787 to 1788, when the U.S. Constitution was written and ratified, “the Bible’s prominence disappears” almost completely:

Tables 4 and 5 illustrate the pattern of citations surrounding the debate on the U.S. Constitution. The items from which the citations for these two tables are drawn come close to exhausting the literature written by both sides. The Bible’s prominence disappears, which is not surprising since the debate centered upon specific institutions about which the Bible had little to say. The Anti-Federalists do drag it in with respect to basic principles of government, but the Federalists’ inclination to Enlightenment rationalism is most evident here in their failure to consider the Bible relevant.

Not only is the claim that the Bible was the most cited document during the founding era misleading, the very article upon which this claim relies completely debunks the Christian nationalist narrative that the Bible was a key source in crafting the Constitution by demonstrating that the Federalists, who drafted the document and supported its ratification, did not publicly cite the Bible once during the crucial time period.

Like Copeland yesterday, nearly every claim made in this segment is either misleading or outright false, which seems to be a common theme as time and again, Christian nationalists spread blatant falsehoods in defense of their ideology, leading one to wonder why, if their position is true, they have to keep lying to try and “prove” it. Likely, they simply do not care about the truth as long as these stories remain useful in convincing Americans that the Christian nationalists’ political agenda is justified by our history.

Every day, Right Wing Watch exposes extremism to help the public, activists, and journalists understand the strategies and tactics of anti-democratic forces—and respond to an increasingly aggressive and authoritarian far-right movement. The threat is growing, but our resources are not. Any size contribution will help us continue our work and become more effective at disrupting the ideologies, people, and organizations that threaten our freedom and democracy. Please make an investment in Right Wing Watch’s defense of the values we share.

The post Dutch Sheets Spreads False Christian Nationalist History appeared first on Right Wing Watch.


You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes