Kenneth Copeland Spreads False Christian Nationalist History

Televangelist Kenneth Copeland appeared on the “Joni Table Talk” program recently to promote his latest book, “God, The Covenant, and the Contradiction.” During the course of the discussion, Copeland made a series of demonstrably false Christian nationalist claims about George Washington and the founding of this nation.

“Study George Washington,” Copeland said. “He pushed in the Declaration [of Independence]—he’s the one that pushed this—’All men are created equal.’”

Copeland’s claim is absurd, considering that Washington had been commissioned Commander In Chief of the Continental Army in June 1775 and was serving in New York when the Declaration was written over a year later in July 1776.

Copeland’s history just got worse and more confusing from there, as he attempted to explain what took place during Washington’s first inauguration in April 1789.

“He turned his Bible right there [to] the 17th chapter of Genesis, and he opened his Bible there at that place so the United States is one of the many nations,” Copeland claimed. “That’s the reason this country belongs to God, because of our first president … And he got on his knee and he kissed his Bible and he said, ‘You will be our God and we will be your people.’”

Copeland seems to be asserting that Washington placed his hand upon a Bible open to Genesis 17 while taking his oath of office (Genesis 17 being when God makes a “covenant of circumcision” with Abraham.) It is actually unknown precisely which passage was used during Washington’s inauguration, with professor Daniel Dreisbach explaining in his book “Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers” that most likely “the Bible was opened in haste and at random to Genesis chapters 49 and 50.”

Copeland’s claim that Washington got down on his knee, kissed the Bible, and pledged this nation to God is likewise false. While Washington did reportedly kiss the Bible, he certainly did not declare that ‘You will be our God and we will be your people.’” It is most commonly claimed that Washington declared, “So help me God” upon taking the Oath of Office, but there is reportedly no contemporaneous historical evidence to support even that assertion.

But Copeland was not finished.

“And the Liberty Bell from the great Jubilee out of the book of Leviticus—’Let liberty ring throughout the land’—and they rang it till they broke it!” he added.

The Liberty Bell did not crack until the 1840s, a half century after Washington’s inauguration.

“And then he walked from there down the street to St. Paul’s Chapel, and there they prayed,” Copeland concluded. “The first act of Congress was to dedicate this land to God. We must never forget that.”

This is also untrue, as Right Wing Watch reported the last time Copeland made this claim:

Contrary to Copeland’s assertion, Congress never made any such covenant with God; not in its official capacity as a legislative body, nor during the “divine service” that followed Washington’s inauguration, which was presided over by Rev. Samuel Provoost, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, who merely read from The Book of Common Prayer.

Nearly every claim made by Copeland in this segment is either unverified 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. One likely answer may be that they simply do not care about the truth as long as they think these stories will convince Americans that the Christian nationalists’ political agendas are justified by our history.

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