The David Barton of Kearny, NJ?

Last week we mentioned David Paszkiewicz, the teacher at Kearny High School in New Jersey, who has been using class time when he should have been teaching U.S. History to tell his students that they are going to hell if they “reject [Jesus’] gift of salvation.”

On Wednesday, the Kearny Observer published a letter to the editor from Paszkiewicz that puts forth the standard right-wing claim that the separation of church and state is bogus and reads as if it were written by David Barton, the Right’s premier pseudo-historian whose work has been described as "laced with exaggerations, half-truths and misstatements of fact."    

In fact, just about every quote Paszkiewicz offers up that is attributed to one of the nation’s Founding Fathers appears to have come directly from the WallBuilders website:

Paszkiewicz: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

WallBuilders: “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

Paszkiewicz: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits and humbly to implore his protection and favors.”

WallBuilders: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

Paszkiewicz: “God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”

WallBuilders: “God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that "except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel.”

Paszkiewicz also offers this quote which he attributes to George Washington: “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ.”  WallBuilders offers a slightly different interpretation of this quote, saying “in his speech on May 12, 1779, [Washington] claimed that what children needed to learn ‘above all’ was the ‘religion of Jesus Christ.’”

In fact, what Washington said on that day in his “Speech to the Delaware Chiefs” was entirely different:

I am glad you have brought three of the Children of your principal Chiefs to be educated with us. I am sure Congress will open the Arms of love to them, and will look upon them as their own Children, and will have them educated accordingly. This is a great mark of your confidence and of your desire to preserve the friendship between the Two Nations to the end of time, and to become One people with your Brethren of the United States. My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.

As a history teacher, Paszkiewicz ought to know better than to rely on a "historian" whose credentials are as suspect as Barton's. If he keeps this up, Paszkiewicz may soon need to issue his own list of “Unconfirmed Quotations.”