The Tea Party has never been happy with some of the people who are considered Founding Fathers of the Unites States. Although no official list really exist, the Founding Fathers are generally assumed to include at least the Committee of Five (Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin), and often include other notable early American political figures as well, including George Washington, James Madison, Patrick Henry and George Mason. Some people consider anyone who signed the Declaration of Independence to be a Founding Father.
But several of the core Founding Father members, even members of the Committee of Five, don’t quite sit well with today’s Tea Party Conservatives. As a result, they have formed a new House Committee to propose legislation to officially declare the list of Founding Fathers to be Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, George Washington, John Calvin, Ronald Reagan, and Jesus.
“George Washington was cool,” the chair of the committee remarked, “He said ‘It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible.’ Which is basically what we think, as Christian conservatives. But some of those other guys… come on. Thomas Jefferson? John Adams? And don’t even get me started with that weirdo freak Ben Franklin!”
This movement in the Tea Party really began in 2010, when the Texas Board of Education officially re-wrote history textbooks to eliminate Thomas Jefferson from the list of people who influenced the founding of the United States, and replaced him with John Calvin. Thomas Jefferson offends Tea Party politicians because he said, among other things,
“I am a Materialist. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to [Jesus] by His biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same Being.”
John Calvin, on the other hand, is well-known for having put Geneva under religious martial law in 1537, and throwing people into prison for sleeping in church or inappropriately smiling during baptisms. Definitely a Tea Party Patriot.
John Adams is a bit more ambiguous. He did say, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were. . . . the general principles of Christianity.” However, he also signed into a law a treaty that included the phrase, “the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.” There is some dispute over where that line originally came from, but Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, and other members of the Tea Party caucus insist that any list of Founding Fathers must be totally and completely pure… and so John Adams is out. The Tea Party proposes Ronald Reagan as an alternate to fill his slot, although it is important to note that it wouldn’t be the real Ronald Reagan but actually just a collection of specific quotes and ideas from Ronald Reagan that the Tea Party likes.
Finally, Benjamin Franklin is definitely out. He overtly and plainly described himself as a “thorough Deist.” A Deist is a person who believes in the existence of a God or supreme, being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on his own reason and observations of nature. Deists reject the Judeo-Christian accounts of God as well as the Bible.
Jesus is considered by many to be a favorite to replace Ben Franklin, although there is still some debate over whether “that hippie should cut his hair first.”