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Josh Hawley Tried To Use Fake Founding Father Quote To Make Religious Claim About U.S. In July 4th Tweet—It Did Not Go Well

Senator Josh Hawley got a swift fact-check after misquoting Patrick Henry in a July 4th tweet claiming the U.S. was founded on the 'Gospel of Jesus Christ.'

Josh Hawley
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley after sharing a Fourth of July tweet containing a false claim and an incorrectly attributed quote.

The tweet, falsely attributed to Founding Father Patrick Henry, asserted that the United States was founded "on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

However, historical records indicate the quote does not belong to Henry, and the notion of the United States being a Christian nation contradicts the principles enshrined in the First Amendment.

Hawley tweeted:

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason, peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

You can see Hawley's tweet below.

Following Hawley's tweet, it quickly became apparent that the quote did not originate from Patrick Henry or any other Founding Father.

Instead, the quote can be traced back to a 1956 magazine article discussing Henry's faith. This misattribution undermines the credibility of the statement and its association with the founding principles of the United States.

As news of Senator Hawley's tweet spread, users on Twitter swiftly criticized him for disseminating false information.

The misattribution of the quote, coupled with the claim that the United States was founded on Christianity, drew particular attention and condemnation.

Public figures and politicians have a responsibility to present accurate information, particularly when discussing historical events or quoting prominent figures from the past.

One of the core tenets of the United States' founding principles, as enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution, is the separation of church and state.

The First Amendment ensures the freedom of religion and prohibits the establishment of a state religion. Consequently, the notion that the United States was founded as a Christian nation goes against the fundamental principles that shaped the country's foundation.