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July 4 Bush Speech Censors Thomas Jefferson

'Mr. President, it's just a goddamned piece of paper.'Thomas Jefferson invented July 4, by writing the Declaration of Independence for “Independence Day,” and later writing the Constitution, and then patriotically dropping dead on July 4. This is why George W. Bush went to Jefferson’s famous slave brothel, Monticello, to read a July 4 speech that quoted Jefferson except for the part of the quote where Jefferson said Christians were idiots.

Here’s what Bush tried to read while everybody heckled him:

On the 50th anniversary of America’s independence, Thomas Jefferson passed away. But before leaving this world, he explained that the principles of the Declaration of Independence were universal. In one of the final letters of his life, he wrote, “May it be to the world, what I believe it will be — to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all — the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.”

The actual letter says this:

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.

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Bush Edits Out Jefferson’s Religious Views [Dispatches From The Culture Wars]
Bush, Jefferson, and the Theocratization of America [IARNUOCON ]

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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne

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52 comments

  1. Them

    Need it be said that Bush is a big fan of monkish ignorance and superstition?

    That said, Jefferson wrote a bunch of shit. Why couldn’t he have just quoted something else the guy wrote, like a free press being more vital than governance? Oh, wait … Anyway, I’m sure Jefferson wrote something Bush could get behind.

  2. anabellum

    give him a break…its really hard to find sound bites in Jeffersons letters that support irrationality…

  3. RaptorAvatar

    Jefferson had his own version of the gospels as well. It replaced all the miracles with booty, extraordinarily potent tobacco, and patriotic death.

  4. Canuckledragger

    Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.
    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
    -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

    Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

    In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.
    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

  5. Guppy06

    So, without the bit explaining the metaphor, does that mean W has dreams of people literally breaking chains? Because I’m sure we can go down to the local Lowe’s and start buying bolt cutters to ship off to Iran and DPRK.

  6. historybuff

    So…Jefferson did NOT write the Constitution. His ideas were influential and some of his protegees were involved, but he was not.

  7. SayItWithWookies

    Jefferson also didn’t add “…even if we have to bomb the crap out of them until they accept self-governance, with the proviso that Blackwater has total immunity and the US Army retains operational autonomy — but other than that, perfectly, completely free and self-governing.”

  8. Uncle Al

    So Jefferson was like Barry, warning us about the bitterz clinging to their Jeebuses….Who knew?

  9. Dr. Spaceman

    [re=30648]historybuff[/re]: Then by all means, edit his quotes to mean the opposite of his intention.

  10. mephistopheles jefferson

    “Such is the moral construction of the world, that no national crime passes unpunished in the long run… Were your present oppressors to reflect on the same truth, they would spare to their own countries the penalties on their present wrongs which will be inflicted on them in future times. The seeds of hatred and revenge which they [sow] with a large hand will not fail to produce their fruits in time. Like their brother robbers on the highway, they suppose the escape of the moment a final escape and deem infamy and future risk countervailed by present gain.” –Thomas Jefferson to Francois de Marbois, 1817. ME 15:130

  11. TGY

    Oooh, ‘arousing men’. Also ‘chains’. Very sexy speach. ‘Hubba-hubba’ or mirable ‘dicktu’ as I always say, or would if I were drunk.

  12. mephistopheles jefferson

    “I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it.” -Thomas Jefferson to John Holmes, 1820. ME 15:250

  13. NotUrEvryDayWEzl

    [re=30669]TGY[/re]: You’re not? Well, damn, happy hour starts in ten minutes! Get going!

  14. mephistopheles jefferson

    Last one…

    “Cannibals are not to be found in the wilds of America only, but are reveling on the blood of every living people.” –Thomas Jefferson to Charles Clay, 1815. ME 14:234

    Some words of wisdom from one half of my namesake. Tune in tomorrow whilst I tell tales of Mighty Satan, hoary host of the halls of Hell!

  15. anabellum

    [re=30648]historybuff[/re]: then perhaps bush should have quoted from someone else?…maybe Samuel Adams?…

    “How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!”…

  16. Siren of Titan

    [re=30661]Dr. Spaceman[/re]: Come back down to earth, Spaceman.

    Jefferson was in France when the Constitution was written. Pointing out such an elementary fact does not a Bush supporter/defender/apologist make.

  17. Siren of Titan

    [re=30684]Siren of Titan[/re]: That said, perhaps historybuff should have realized Layne was in Wonkette mode by the point of, say, his mention of “Independence Day.”

  18. Advocatus_Diaboli

    Say what you will, but Jefferson knew those Nigras had to be kept down. Also, he died deeply in debt, although he spent his life railing against banks.

  19. loudmouthredhead

    The founding fathers’ lack of faith is one reason I haven’t given up completely on the foundations of this country, or in humanity. Often they had to censor themselves (even in their own day) to get things passed and written.

    I bet they’d all be shaking their heads at who the dumb-fuck masses have elected to head the ship of state, a man who doesn’t even know the meaning of the word “monkish”.

    Maybe this country will be able to survive those that run it, maybe not. I’m building my bunker in the plains states just in case…

  20. anabellum

    [re=30699]Advocatus_Diaboli[/re]: isnt dying deeply in debt the only way of screwing the banks?…

  21. lawrenceofthedesert

    Jefferson’s considerable intellect did him little good in spiritual matters, where he was a dilettante. Nominally Anglican, but intrigued by Unitarian Universalism, ultimately he was a creature of the Enlightenment, which had rejected religion for logic. He spent a good part of his Presidency editing out parts of the New Testament he found offensive (including the virgin birth and the claim that Jesus was Divine); the work was published, in fact. Using logic to explain humankind has proven useless (look at the last two Presidential elections), but the original E! produced some other nifty stuff — Mozart, for example.

  22. mephistopheles jefferson

    [re=30772]Makeithurt[/re]: Which one? I’m partial to the cannibal quote…

  23. FreshCliches

    Ken – what, no “hat tip” for linking that article in the Code Pink protest comments? Harrumph. Harrumph I say!

    [re=30742]lawrenceofthedesert[/re]: As a creature of the Enlightenment, Jefferson, like a good number of the Founding Baby Daddies, leaned towards the writings of John Locke and the “””practice””” (finger quotes there) of Deism…..where God plays the prankster (“Joker God” as Bill Hicks would say) by creating the universe and then goes all hands off on it while he watches us fuck it up big time.

    And as a Deist, the “Jefferson Bible” didn’t have the “offensive” parts removed in as much as the “supernatural” parts – no virgin birth, no water into wine, blah blah blah. (Yeah, I realize there could be some overlap…)

    And……dick joke.


  24. Post author
    Ken Layne

    [re=30809]FreshCliches[/re]: Sorry, people emailed that to me. Did you put it in the comments of Jim’s post? THEN YOU MAY TIP A HAT, SIR!

    Anyway, Nick Nolte was in Paris when the Constitution was made up by the Fascists. LOOK IT UP.

  25. WonkaBee

    [re=30641]AxmxZ[/re]: Monks *are* awesome. I wanted to be a monk once. Then I found that most of the ways to go an be a monk involve a lot of pain. I want to be a comfy monk. Yeah, an air-conditioned monk. I want to be .. one of the Snarking Monks!

  26. Cape Clod

    I’ve never met a fan of Thelonius Monk who was ignorant. Thomas Jefferson wrote rubbish.

  27. Lionel Hutz Esq.

    So that fuck Jefferson wrote “Independence Day.” I always hated that movie. Can’t the world just say no to Randy Quaid?

    [re=30814]Ken Layne[/re]: [re=30729]shortsshortsshorts[/re]: No. The Constitution always existed as one of the pearls in God’s Giant Pearl Necklace. It was when Jesus moved to Bethlehem, PA, that it first appeared and was adopted by the Masons.

  28. Paradise

    damn i just realized that they misspelled it without a “c” and not with two “r”s … now my joke sucks even more.

  29. Baiowulf

    [re=30908]Lionel Hutz Esq.[/re]: In the words of noted statesmen William “Fresh Prince” Smith, WELCOME TO EARF!!

  30. jimh

    [re=30849]WonkaBee[/re]: All monks are snarking monks. That’s why the vow of silence was invented, to silence the snark.

    Also, since when did the staffers get to wear their hair all long like that? Dirty hippie!

  31. gurukalehuru

    Tom Jefferson was to Sally Hemmings what George Bush is to Condi Rice.
    I know Dr. Spacedude said it first, but he talks too fancy.

  32. zhubajie

    [re=30635]Them[/re]: “Need it be said that Bush is a big fan of monkish ignorance and superstition?” I’ll bet he prefers the Protestant televangelical variety.

    Zhu Bajie

  33. The Neoskeptic

    [re=30648]historybuff[/re]: Madison wrote the constitution, but Jefferson was his chief mentor, fact-checker, and editorial adviser. They also occasionally wife-swapped and made tin daguerreotypes of Martha and Dolly doin’ a little girl-on-girl.

    They’d be proud of you, wonkette, fulfilling the dream of the founding fathers…freedom and ass-fucking for all!

  34. jagorev

    [re=31037]The Neoskeptic[/re]: James “Butch” Madison was queer, and Dolly was his beard. LOOK IT UP.

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