To the Editor:

In his letter “Founders chose to subvert religion to liberty,” Mr. Taylor set me straight as to his source for his rebuttal to Sandy Hartman. I stand corrected.

The opinion piece used by Mr. Taylor, “America’s Forsaken Roots”: The Use and Abuse of Founders’ Quotations,” was written by Derek H. Davis and Matthew McMearty. However, what Mr. Taylor did not mention was that the very quote I gave as to the source of the statement in question, they, too, quoted the same. This quote was taken from a speech that John Quincy Adams gave at a 4th of July speech in 1837 in Newburyport, Mass. In using this quote, here is what Mr. Davis and Mr. McMearty said: “The entire Newburyport Oration is actually a political sermon where one might expect to read the quote in question. The idea is there; the tone is there; although the exact words are not ... although we believe it is an accurate paraphrase based upon the author either hearing or reading JQA’s 1837 Newburyport Oration.”

This is the same as what I said, even though I never read this article before now, and it does give credence to the argument that I was engaging. However, Mr. Taylor chose to leave this out.

Now, one can choose to believe what one writes in an opinion piece or they can believe what was actually stated. What John Quincy Adams actually said on that 4th of July speech in 1837 is this: “Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day (July 4th)? ... Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birth-day of the Saviour? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity...?”

The sole point of my previous letter was that the quote that Sandy Hartman attributed to John Quincy Adams was actually what he said; maybe not in those exact words, but he did say it. That fact one cannot deny.

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