By Bill Mattox, JMI Resident Fellow
First, it was the secular left that snubbed the author of the Declaration of Independence. As my blog last month reported (wwMLKd?), south Florida fundraising dinners for the Democratic Party have ceased the long-standing practice of referencing America’s third president (since he was a slave-owner). Now, it’s apparently the religious right’s turn to scrub Mr. Jefferson from the history books (since he was a deist). According to several published reports, the Texas State Board of Education has proposed that Jefferson no longer be included in U.S. history textbooks as one of the intellectuals whose ideas helped shape America’s founding. Instead, the Texas board wants to give emphasis to the influence that Catholic philosopher Thomas Aquinas, Protestant reformer John Calvin, and British law scholar William Blackstone all had on our nation’s beginning. While the Board deserves credit for elevating the often-overlooked influence of men like Aquinas, Calvin, and Blackstone, it does not follow that these men’s gain must come at Jefferson’s expense. In an imperfect world, history is invariably shaped by imperfect people. It’s time for those on the left and the right to embrace the idea of “common grace” – that noble truths can be championed by flawed individuals. As we celebrate Mr. Jefferson’s April 13 birthday, let’s quit denying the truth and give poor Tom Jefferson his due.