Back in November 2006, David A. Paszkiewicz, a high school history teacher in
The story was widely reported and discussed, but Paszkiewicz was, for the most part, quiet. This past week, however, he wrote a letter (also available here) to his local newspaper defending his actions in the classroom. In part of the letter, Paszkiewicz argues, through the use of quotations, that the Founding Fathers were Christian and sought to make this a Christian nation.
Example: Thomas Jefferson said, "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus." Paszkiewicz cites as the source of this quotation "Letter to Benjamin Rush
This caught my eye, because I know
(You can read the actual letter, in
These two sentences get exactly at
But I believe Paszkiewicz was actually quoting a different letter, one written later in which
I wonder if Paszkiewicz is aware of all this. Classroom proselytizing is bad enough; I hope he's not also teaching his students that it's all right to take someone's words out of context to prove a point.
Alison, at Alison Blogs Here (where else?), has an interesting take the Paszkiewicz affair.
A posting by People for the American Way suggests that Paszkiewicz got his quotations from David Barton, who is well-known for misquoting, pulling words out of context, etc. I suspected as much--Paszkiewicz's letter had Barton written all over it--but I didn't take time to track it down.
Ed Brayton, at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, has the most thorough analysis. Thanks to Jim Lippard for the tip (in comments).