Home > America > Liberals Have Lied About the Aitken Bible and Congress

Liberals Have Lied About the Aitken Bible and Congress

 

David Barton

 

[Godless liberals tell us the Founders intended there be a separation between church and state therefore Congress was to become totally secular and even anti-Christianity. This is a lie from the pits of Hell itself. “Religion” in the minds of the Founders simply meant denomination which would make it illegal for the Congress to establish (let’s say) the First Baptist Church of America, and then force membership and support of it. It had nothing to do with Christianity since most Congressmen were members of Christian churches]. –Dr. Mike]

Because English language Bibles could not be printed in America but had to be imported, when the Revolution began and the British began to blockade all materials coming to America, the ability to obtain such Bibles ended. Therefore, in 1777, America began experiencing a shortage of several important commodities, including Bibles. On July 7, a request was placed before Congress to print or import more, because “unless timely care be used to prevent it, we shall not have Bibles for our schools and families and for the public worship of God in our churches.”

Congress concurred with that assessment and announced: “The Congress desire to have a Bible printed under their care and by their encouragement.” A special committee overseeing that project therefore recommended:

[T]he use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great, . . . your Committee recommend that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the States of the Union.

Congress agreed with the committee’s recommendation and ordered Bibles imported. While those Bibles were ordered imported by Congress, there is no indication that any ever arrived.

Four years later, in January of 1781, Robert Aitken (publisher of the Pennsylvania Magazine in Philadelphia) petitioned Congress for permission to print an English-language Bible on his presses in America rather than import the Bibles. In his memorial to Congress, Aitken said “your Memorialist begs leave to, inform your Honours That he both begun and made considerable progress in a neat Edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools” and went on to say “your Memorialist prays, that he may be commissioned or otherwise appointed & Authorized to print and vend Editions of, the Sacred Scriptures, in such manner and form as may best suit the wants and demands of the good people of these States.” Congress appointed a committee that was to “from time to time [attend] to his progress in the work; that they also [recommend] it to the two Chaplains of Congress to examine and give their opinion of the execution.” The committee, comprised of Founding Fathers James Duane, Thomas McKean, and John Witherspoon reported back to Congress in September of 1782 giving its full approval. They also included assurances from the two chaplains of Congress that “Having selected and examined a variety of passages throughout the work, we are of opinion that it is executed with great accuracy as to the sense, and with as few grammatical and typographical errors as could be expected in an undertaking of such magnitude.” Congress gave Aitken a ringing endorsement in the form of a congressional resolution to “publish this Recommendation in the manner he shall think proper” to help sell and circulate the Bible.

Robert Aitken then proceeded to print his Bible, now known as the Aitken Bible or the Bible of the Revolution. That Bible – approved by the Founding Fathers in Congress – was the first English-language Bible to be printed in America.

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