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Michele Bachmann, Queen of Christian Nationalist History Lies

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On Tuesday April 21, 2009, Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was granted 5 minutes by the House Speaker pro tempore, and proceeded to emit a short pious speech on behalf of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, that included the following history lie, which was then duly entered into the Congressional Record:

George Washington, our first President, demonstrated that he was not offended by the image of the risen Christ. In fact, our Nation's first President let his views be known quite clearly on his inauguration by a prayer which George Washington himself gave at his inauguration. He said, and I quote, Mr. Speaker:

'Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally, that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'

It wasn't the first time that the falsified, debunked "Washington's Prayer" has been declaimed in Congress - it has been recited numerous times by members of Congress and the Senate and even more frequently by chaplains - but Bachmann might well be the first member of Congress to have attributed the debunked "prayer" to Washington's inaugural speech, a bizarre tactic considering how easy it is to access the text of Washington's speech at the U.S. National Archives.

In my two previous installments of this sporadic series, I've covered the promotion of falsified American history in Book From Alan Grayson Opponent Todd Long Features Falsified American History and In '05 and '08, Todd Akin Entered Christian Nationalist History Lies in the Congressional Record.

But among the packs of history falsificationists roaming the chambers of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Michele Bachmann is almost suis generis (I suspect that only Congressman Randy Forbes comes close, but that's for a later installment.)

As came out late last year (see this New Yorker story), Bachmann's ties to the unregenerate Christian Reconstructionist, falsified history-addled core of the religious right trace back to her days as a student at Oral Roberts University, when she worked as a research assistant for Law Professor John Eidsmoe, on his book Christianity and the Constitution, published in 1987.

That's even earlier than when now- disgraced pseudo-historian David Barton came out with his landmark history lie-packed book The Myth of Separation which claimed (among other things) that scheming liberals, humanists, and secularists had reversed the original meaning of church-state separation as envisioned by the founders. Explains Chris Rodda, author of Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History,

"Eidsmoe is another Christian nationalist history revisionist, whose Christianity and the Constitution book predates the first edition of Barton's book The Myth of Separation by a year. In fact, some of Barton's lies are adaptations of Eidsmoe's lies and half-truths, a number of which are debunked in my book. But I had no idea that Bachmann had been involved with Eidsmoe or his book until she talked about it at the [2012] Rediscover God in America conference, or that it was Eidsmoe who introduced her to Barton's material."

So, given how important Barton has been to the field, Michele Bachmann can therefore lay claim to being a grand dame of Christian nationalist American history lies, because she helped to establish some of them.

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