Thursday, January 20, 2011

Misquoting Adams

I just looked over a clip of Bill Maher insulting the tea party movement. In it he has a direct quote from Adams saying
This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.

This is pretty damning and a home run for the "Founders were deists" school of thought. Unfortunately for Maher it's a misquotation (misleading really). The full, in context quote provides the opposite meaning
Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, 'this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!' But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company—I mean hell.