Fake Quotations: Congress on School Bibles
Posted by sbh on Monday, 15 June 2009
Did the United States Congress pass this resolution
The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.
No. Not in 1782 or any other year.
On this one there’s no real story behind it all, no misunderstanding to clear up—it’s a fake pure and simple. And it’s the sort of fake that shouldn”t deceive anybody who has the slightest understanding of American history.
First, of course, the United States Congress didn’t exist in 1782. Even assuming that its predecessor, the Continental Congress, is meant, it’s still nonsensical (and of course the Continental Congress never passed such a fatuous resolution). What the forger seems to have done in this case is to use a genuine resolution recommending a Bible published by a Philadelphia printer, Robert Aitkin, for its care and accuracy in printing (colonial printers were notoriously careless and inaccurate) as the basis for this forgery:
Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and being satisfied of the care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorise him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper.
The words in bold are the ones lifted by the forger. The phrase “for use in all schools” is apparently the forger’s own, though it may have been suggested by these words in Robert Aitkin’s petition: “your Memorialist begs leave to inform your Honours that he hath begun and made considerable progress in a neat Edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.”
Debunking an Email (Ken Ashford)