Wednesday, August 31, 2011

John Adams in Tennessee

Stopped in at the Walker Library yesterday, at Middle Tennessee State University, to check out the visiting "John Adams Unbound" exhibition. Don't miss it if you're in Murfreesboro, it'll only be there through September. Adams used to be a relatively unsung revolutionary hero, but David McCullough, HBO, and PBS have chipped away at his obscurity.

Another side of Adams was a bit misrepresented by the religion panel, though, which played up his Unitarianism and portrayed him as a more-or-less conventionally pious pilgrim. In fact, as Jennifer Hecht points out in Doubt: A History, he was a doubter and a skeptic both before and after his affiliation with the Unitarians. Just like me.

As President he declared: "The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation." And as for those who would ban questioning the Bible's allegedly divine origins? "I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind."

You hear that, Rick & Michelle? Probably not.

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