Barton Strikes Back, Now Considers Himself to be a Historian

As we have noted several dozen times before, David Barton has something of a problem with telling the truth.  And we have not been the only ones making note of it, especially since the release of his "The Jefferson Lies" book has prompted Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter to write an entire book questioning his claims while other Jefferson scholars have criticized Barton's shoddy scholarship.

Now it appears that Barton has gotten fed up, as he posted a response to his critics on the WallBuilders website in which he basically says that all his snooty academic critics are just jealous that he has written a bunch of best-selling books while nobody reads their boring works:

I have penned numerous best-selling history works, and characteristic of each is a heavy reliance on primary-source documentation ... Not many individuals in America have read more original works (or fewer modern ones) than I have; and the general public has responded enthusiastically to this history based on original documentation... [T]ypical history works by modern elitist professors generally sell very poorly; and seeing their own influence wane, they often lash out and condescendingly criticize the more popular documentary works.


A common mantra for today’s academics is “Publish or die.” Believing that if they are not publishing something new that their academic career is regressing, they therefore regularly “discover” something they believe to be a new revelation on some obscure micropoint of history, and then, as if having received an earth-shattering revelation, write an article or book giving their personal opinions about it. Significantly, however, the public does not respond well to these works, for publishers claim that with few exceptions most academic scholars’ books sell only two hundred or so copies a year.

Barton is particularly angry with those smug "academic elitists" who dare to suggest that he is not an actual historian: 

After The Jefferson Lies, rose to a New York Times best-seller, similar attacks were launched against it from academic elitists. I will address three of these attacks below, but first, I must tackle their oft-repeated talking-point that I am not a qualified historian – a claim they make to cast a shadow of doubt over all the facts I present. However, this charge, like their others, is completely false. After all, I am:

  • Recognized as an historical expert by both state and federal courts;
  • Called to testify as an historical expert by both the federal and state legislatures;
  • Selected as an historical expert by State Boards of Education across the nation to assist in writing history and social studies standards for those states;
  • Consulted as an historical expert by public school textbook publishers, helping write best-selling history texts used in public schools and universities across the nation.

The funny thing is that it is not only actual historians who don't consider Barton to be a historian, but Barton himself who just last year blatantly stated - and we quote - "I don't consider myself a historian; I just happen to know some things about it.":

David Barton says Gov. Perry is Raising Millions to Promote Anti-Obama Film

The guest on today's edition of "WallBuilders Live" was Gerald Molen, the producer of the new anti-Obama film "2016: Obama's America," which is based on the book "The Roots of Obama's Rage" by Dinesh D'Souza.

Molen was on the program to discuss a recent incident in which a scheduled speech he was to deliver to some high school students was supposedly canceled because of his conservative views, but after the interview, David Barton and Rick Green talked about how excited they were about his forthcoming film, with Barton revealing that Texas Governor Rick Perry was so enamored with it that he has "agreed to raise millions to put this thing in theaters":

Green: Well this new project he's doing - you know we had Dinesh on when he wrote the book "The Roots of Obama's Rage." I love Dinesh D'Souza, I think he's the C.S. Lewis of our day, just a great guy. But to make this a movie now that's going to reach far more people that's actually going to be in theaters even.

Barton: Well, I was just with Governor Perry and Governor Perry has agreed to raise millions to put this thing in theaters. He is committed to this thing in a big way ...

Green: To getting the truth out there for people to really know ...

Barton: He said it's phenomenal ... because they called him and asked him to help and he said "is it okay if I see the movie first before I agree to raise [money]?" And so he saw it and, man he is all over this thing.

Rep. Tom Price Cites Bogus Study to Attack Health Care Reform, Warns of Government 'Subjugation'

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) appeared on WallBuilders Live today alongside hosts David Barton and Rick Green to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the health care reform law. The congressman maintained that the law “removes the very freedom and liberty that our founders fought for at its very core” and if it is implemented then America will no longer be “the America that you and I love” and that “our founders fought for.” Price went on to cite a sham, Tea Party study heralded throughout conservative media, to claim that “around eighty percent of the physicians surveyed would say if this comes to its full conclusion, that is Obamacare becoming fully implemented, they don’t see how they could practice.” He said that doctors following rules under the reform law will be violating their professional oath, representing the “subjugation of a free citizen, a formerly free citizen.”

Green: It’s allowing government to take over these very personal decisions.

Price: It removes the very freedom and liberty that our founders fought for at its very core. Nothing is more personal, as a physician I can tell you when I would treat patients they understood that it was either an insurance company or the state or federal government that were dictating to them what might be available to them in terms of treatment or diagnosis, they’d bristle, as would I. This is just turning that into the system for every single American and that is a system where Washington decides what you can get, what kind of treatment you can get for yourself and for your family. That’s not America, that’s not the America that you and I love, that’s not the America our founders fought for, that’s not the America that recognizes that our liberty and our freedom comes from God almighty and not from the federal government.

Green: Amen. It looks like as the White House begins to spin this it looks like we’ll be where we were in 2009 where both sides are trying to say whether or not this is a good idea as we go into the 2012 elections. It looks like a lot of doctors are actually saying, ‘If this thing goes forward I’m out of here, I can’t even practice medicine under this system.’

Price: You all have been following this very closely and there’s a recent survey that puts it at somewhere around eighty percent of the physicians surveyed would say if this comes to its full conclusion, that is Obamacare becoming fully implemented, they don’t see how they could practice. The reason is, it’s important for people to appreciate the reason for this, it’s not that things just get too difficult it’s that as a profession we take an oath, physicians take an oath, to provide the highest quality care they are capable of for their patients. If the federal government is going to come in and say ‘we know that you believe Mrs. Smith deserves this and needs this for her treatment but we don’t believe that that’s what Mrs. Smith needs and we will tell you what to give Mrs. Smith,’ that’s no longer a profession, that’s a subjugation of a free citizen, a formerly free citizen, that physicians will not tolerate and I think that’s why you’re seeing that kind of response that you’re seeing from doctors across the land.

Barton: Government Regulation is the 'Most Dangerous Attack ... on our Liberties Since the British'

On yesterday's installment of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green complained that government regulation was destroying the free market system ... not too much government regulation, mind you, but any government regulation.

In fact, Barton declared that the mere existence of federal regulatory agencies represent "the most dangerous attack on our liberties since the British" while Green explained that there was no need for federal agencies to prevent companies from dumping toxic waste because the truly free market will hold them accountable when they get sued:

Barton: What's going on right now in DC is government at the regulatory level, particularly at the cabinet level, whether it's the Department of Agriculture or Health and Human Services or whatever, those are now pretty much unaccountable agencies. And what they're starting to do to the country, they have no sense of accountability, they fear no one - they don't fear the President, they don't fear Congress, they sure as heck don't fear the people because we don't elect them. the stuff that's now going on with those agencies is, I think, unprecedented and the most dangerous attack we've had on our liberties since the British, quite frankly.

By definition, a free market means there is no government intervention or regulation. So the more these agencies get involved, the less you have the free market and the less prosperity you will have and the less freedom you will have.

Green: You know, people say if you don't have [regulatory agencies] you're gonna have some company that dumps toxic waste or whatever; well then you the company and you go through the civil courts and there's accountability there.

Yes, I am sure that if some company recklessly dumped toxic waste that ended up making one of Green's children seriously ill, he's response would be "thank goodness our truly free maket has no agencies in existence that can prevent things like this from happening so that now I have the opportunity to sue this company and hold them accountable for gravely injuring my child."

David Barton Needs to Hire a Fact-Checker

It is no exaggeration to say that we have watched or listened to several dozen of the pseudo-historical presentations that David Barton delivers to church groups and political gatherings alike.  And we continue to watch them because Barton is constantly adding new unverifiable and downright false claims to his speeches.

But it turns out that even some of the claims that have long served as the foundation for his presentations are also problematic.  Over the last week, we have watched two recent presentations that Barton delivered in which made a point that, while today we may only know a bit about a handful of our nation's Founding Fathers, the Founding Fathers themselves regularly pointed to preachers as having played an extremely important role in the founding of this nation.

And to "prove" this, Barton routinely cites a letter that John Adams wrote to a man named Hezekiah Niles in 1818 responding to a question from Niles about which people were most responsible for the ideas and principles upon which the nation was founded. In Barton's telling, Adams' reply was that it was preachers like Samuel Cooper, Jonathan Mayhew, George Whitefield, and Charles Chauncy who must be placed at the top of any such list:

Of course, if you actually bother to take a look at the letter Barton cites, here is what you find:

This produced, in 1760 and 1761, an awakening and a revival of American principles and feelings, with an enthusiasm which went on increasing till in 1775 it burst out in open violence, hostility, and fury.

The characters the most conspicuous, the most ardent and influential in this revival, from 1760 to 1766, were first and foremost, before all and above all, James Otis; next to him was Oxenbridge Thatcher; next to him Samuel Adams; next to him John Hancock; then Dr. Mayhew; then Dr. Cooper and his brother.

That's it.  So not only are the individuals Barton's cites not listed "right up front," but two of the people (Whitefield and Chauncy) are not even mentioned in Adams' list, or anywhere in the letter, at all! 

We have heard Barton make this claim regarding this Adams letter several dozen time only to discover today that, like so much else that he says, it is fundamentally untrue; thereby proving once again that just about every factual assertion Barton makes needs to be checked simply because so many of them turn out to be undeniably false.

Barton Falsely Claims 'There is not a Single Grocery Store in the City Limits of Detroit'

On today's edition of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green were discussing what they considered several positive changes that were taking place in the state of Michigan thanks to the election of lots of Tea Party candidates to the state legislature.  In making the point that things were really bad in the state, Barton claimed that he was recently there and was shocked to learn that there is "not a single grocery store in the city limits of Detroit": 

Detroit has a population of over 700,000 and Barton is claiming that there is not one grocery store within a city this size?  How exactly does he think these people are getting food? 

Now I haven't been to Detroit in person, but I do have access Google Street View which allows me to find various of grocery stores located within the city in about two minutes, like University Foods located at 1131 Warren Ave W, Detroit, MI 48208:

And an Aldi grocery store located at 15415 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48205:

And Parkway Foods located at 13210 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48215:

In fact, a simple Google Maps search for "supermarket" in Detroit returns dozens and dozens of results:

As we have said several times before, if Barton cannot be trusted to accurately report on contemporary issues that are easily verifiable to anyone with internet access, how can anyone trust anything that he says?

Barton: Activists Hijacked 'Gay' and the Rainbow to Distort God's Blessing on Mankind

Ken Hutcherson in on a mission to take back both the word "gay" and the symbol of the rainbow in his fight against gay rights and made his case on "WallBuilders Live" today with David Barton and Rick Green.

Following the interview with Hutcherson, Barton and Green speculated that the gay rights movement has sought to co-opt these things in order to distort God's blessing upon mankind: 

Barton: We don't even think about "gay" in the term it was, we only think it in the way of the new definition ... You know, I hadn't even thought about why they chose that word or how they came to use that word or how that became the denotation for homosexuals. I don't know.

Green: Well, when you take that or the rainbow, as Hutch was saying [is] a promise from God, isn't that part of the goal? To distort what God gave us and to distort what would normally be a blessing and be something that you enjoy and honor and worship God because of?

Barton: Well, it goes back to the Garden [of Eden.] The Serpent said "oh yeah, if you'll eat this you will have the knowledge." Eh, it wasn't the right knowledge; you got knowledge but it was a distorted form. And that's why the Bible also says that Satan appears as an angel of light - he looks like the real thing, but it's a distortion. He doesn't come to give you the good things, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy, not give you life and not give you all the good things Jesus wants to give you in John 10:10, but he looks the same when he comes. You know, he makes the same offer, it just doesn't ever work out that way. And so it's the same thing, you take something good like "gay" and you distort it into something else.

Barton: Christians who Criticize Me are Just Parroting their Secular Professor

It is no secret that we have been vocal critics of David Barton and his brand of pseudo-historical Religious Right activism, but we have not been going it alone as there a variety of individuals who have criticized Barton, ranging from Chris Rodda and Warren Throckmorton who have thoroughly debunked much of Barton's false history to Christian conservatives like Chris Pinto and Brannon Howse who have criticized him from the right.

Today on his radio program, Barton said he expects to be attacked by groups like us and Americans United and Media Matters because we all "hate God" but said he was surprised to get criticism from Christians and attributed that criticism to the fact that these Christians must have gotten their information from secular professors and are now just "parroting what they heard": 

Barton: Well one of the things I found really interesting is, certainly with what we do at WallBuilders, we got a lot of opponents, we got a lot of people who hate us. I was telling a group of law students the other day that I know of four law schools who have entire websites going after me. The book we recently did on the Jefferson Lies, there's two professors who came out with a book rebutting it before I'd even released the book! We don't have to read this stuff, we just know it's all false.

Rick Green: Hey, but if you're not taking flak you know you're not over the target, right?

Barton: Exactly. And what we have is a number of Christian colleges now teaching entire courses on how bad I am and so I'm one of these targets out there. And I expect that from the secular guys. I expect that from the the Freedom From Religion Society [sic], I expect that from Americans United, I expect that from People for the American Way and Media Matters ...

Green: ... the people that have worked so hard to move us away from our foundation.

Barton: The guys that hate God. What's been surprising is how many Christians have jumped on board - no, no God had nothing to do with the American founding; America was founded as a wicked nation; all the Founding Fathers were atheists and agnostics ...

Green: From the Christian community?

Barton: From the Christian community! Now I expect that from the secular guys but the reason it's coming from the Christian community is it goes back to something Jesus said in Luke 6:40 where he said "every student, when he's fully trained, will be like his teacher." now what's happened is all these secular guys have been training students that were Christians, but now these Christian kids have been trained with a secular philosophy, they've become our professors and they're just parroting what they heard. It's not that they went back and check for themselves, they just assumed that their professors were right- they really like their professors, they were nice guys and they were really educated and had three Ph.Ds and they told me all the Founders were atheists. And so now you've to Christians repeating exactly what they've been taught rather than what truth and what history actually is.

You will undoubtly shocked to learn that Barton's claim that the book refuting his "Jefferson Lies" book came out before his book was even released is entirely false.  His book was released on April 10 whereas "Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President" was released on May 3.

Also, we hereby challenge Barton to name any of the "four law schools who have entire websites" dedicated to attacking him as well as to name even one of the "number of Christian colleges now teaching entire courses on how bad" he is because, frankly, we have no idea what he is talking about.

An Insight in David Barton's View of History

One of the central components of David Barton's entire brand of pseudo-history is the way in which he holds up obscure documents, sermons, and individuals from the Founding Era and presents them as representative of the entire generation. 

Barton will cite some textbook with references to God, or some sermon discussing the rights of conscience, or some Founding Father who delivered an impassioned defense of Christianity and declare that at the founding of this nation, everyone knew these things and held these views.

Barton is constantly citing unfamiliar individuals from the Founding Era, discussing how religious they were and then asserting that they were extremely influential in drafting the Constitution and shaping the nation.  The fact that nobody today has ever heard of any of them is, for Barton, proof that secularists have been succeeding in erasing our Christian history.

Today, Barton provided some insight into just how his mind works when making these sorts of claims when he hosted Rep. Todd Akin on his "WallBuilders Live" radio program.  Barton and co-host Rick Green were discussing how people today might be aware of maybe 20-25 high-profile members of Congress despite the fact that there are more than 500 hundred serving in office.  Lots of the lesser known members, Barton said, are dedicated Christians while the better-known members frequently are not, giving the American public a skewed view of just how truly Christian our Congress really is.  

Barton and Green held up Akin as proof, explaining that when he speaks to the Pastor's Briefings they regularly host on Washington, DC, the pastors are always blown away by just how deeply religious and biblically knowledgeable he is, prompting Barton and Green to compare Akin to John Witherspoon during the Founding Era:

Green: It's probably like with the Founding Fathers when you start pointing out all these guys that went to a seminary and were pastors and did all that, it changes people's perception of the Founders. I figure Todd Akin, he's like the John Witherspoon, you know Witherspoon was probably quoting a lot of the same stuff that Todd Akin is out there quoting to fellow members of Congress and to these pastors.

Barton: But the problem is, it's like today, you know I show that slide of the 56 signers of the [Declaration of Independence] and I get kids at really sharp schools, I mean Ivy League schools, and the most they can give me is two of the 56. And I start going through like John Witherspoon ... John Who? Never heard of John Witherspoon. Well, her served on a hundred committees in Congress, he was George Washington's boss, he was on the Board of War during the Revolution to direct the Revolution, he was the President of Princeton. You've never heard of him but he's a really significant Founding Father and, by the way, he is a preacher and a minister and wrote a dozen books of sermons and did two bibles - it's kind of like Todd Akin. If you throw Todd Akin out there, people go "Todd Who? Haven't heard of him." He's like that Witherspoon guy. We know the 20-25 out of Congress, not the 535 so the perception is bad.

This is rather telling because is reveals a bit about how Barton operate because, while Akin is certainly an influential member of Congress, he is probably not a "really significant" figure that future historians will be writing about two hundred years from now ... except, of course, for future Barton-like psuedo-historians who will probably look back on this current generation and hold up somewhat obscure elected officials like Akin as representative not only of the views of this Congress, but of this entire generation.

Barton: 'Many of the Clauses we Find in the Constitution are Literal, Direct Quotations out of the Bible'

We have been noticing in recent months that David Barton has developed a new series of talking points claiming not merely that various governmental and social institution were inspired by the Bible, but that specific provisions of the Constitution were taken verbatim from the Bible.

This entire idea hinges on Barton's assertion that the Founding Fathers and their entire generation were so well-versed in the Bible that their writings and speeches were filled with language and imagery that didn't even have to be attributed to the Bible because it was already obvious to everyone what they were quoting.

And this has become a central part of Barton's presentation, as he is going around the country declaring that because the Founding Fathers were so knowledgeable about the Bible, "it is absolutely no surprise that so many of the clauses we find in the Constitution are literal, direct quotations out of the Bible" ... even if they never "put a chapter and verse by it." 

Barton claims that if you "check that language of the Constitution against the Bible, you will go 'that is an exact quote!'" and then declares that Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, which guarantees to every state a Republican form of government, "came directly out of Exodus 18:21, Deuteronomy 1: 13-16, and Deuteronomy 16:18":

We have heard Barton make the bogus claim about Exodus 18:21 before but the Deuteronomy citations are new so, for the record, here are the passages that Barton claims were directly quoted in our Constitution:

Deuteronomy 1:13-16

Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”

You answered me, “What you propose to do is good.”

So I took the leading men of your tribes, wise and respected men, and appointed them to have authority over you—as commanders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens and as tribal officials.  And I charged your judges at that time, “Hear the disputes between your people and judge fairly, whether the case is between two Israelites or between an Israelite and a foreigner residing among you.

Deuteronomy 16:18

Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.

We challenge anyone to find these "literal, direct quotations out of the Bible" printed anywhere in the US Constitution.

Apparently, Criticizing David Barton is now Proof that he Speaks the Truth

Historians across the board, including evangelicals, have roundly criticized and debunked the work of Religious Right pseudo-historian and WallBuilders president David Barton, whose shoddy history has been repeatedly documented on this blog. However, Barton’s influence among social conservatives and leading Republicans, including presidential candidates, continues to grow.

As exhibited today in a WallBuilders Live interview with David French of the American Center for Law and Justice, it appears that Barton’s clout has increased not despite the overwhelming criticism he has received for his faux-history and extremist views but because of it. French told Barton’s deputy Rick Green that disapproval of Barton’s work is proof that he is speaking the truth!

Green: We’re worried about cratering because someone might say, ‘that’s mean-spirited’!

French: Exactly, or, ‘you’re a bigot,’ and then all of a sudden you are immediately backpedalling. It shows the power that we have allowed peer and cultural regard to have over our lives and heart. One of the best things that any Christian can do is to begin to just break away from that, to become indifferent to that.

You guys, you and David, get such hate all the time from folks who are just appalled that you are bringing truth about America’s heritage into the public square, a truth they have been spending generations trying to squelch. I’m sure it hurts on some occasion when you see it but it’s also a sign that you guys are making incredible progress and incredible headway and you’ve gotten a message out that I can just tell in the Christian community in the past five to ten years, there’s a difference in knowledge about America because of the work that you guys have done.

Green: Hey man, if you’re not taking flak you’re not over the target right?

French: Exactly.

Green: It could be a good thing. I think you’re dead-on, if you are speaking truth, if you are doing something that’s going to make a difference, you’re going to take some criticism. We need to challenge this generation to actually be excited about the opportunity to stand for truth.

Barton certainly has made a “difference in knowledge about America”…by consistently fabricating and disseminating false claims about American history.

Questions arise in Alabama after Public TV Employees were Fired after Rebuffing David Barton Programming

In no uncertain terms, David Barton is not a historian, but a hyper-partisan political activist whose writings have been so repeatedly and thoroughly debunked that he is not taken seriously outside of certain conservative circles. Indeed, right-wing figures regularly hail Barton, whose only degree is a B.A. in religious education from Oral Roberts University, as not just a historian but perhaps even the greatest historian.

Since Barton’s discredited claims about American history have such a following it was no surprise to see that a member of the Alabama Educational Television Commission pressured the state’s educational public television outlet to air one of Barton’s “history” series. And yesterday, the Current Public Media blog reported that Alabama Public Television managers Allan Pizzato and Pauline Howland were fired possibly after refusing a request from commissioner Rodney Herring, a Republican Party official and donor, to broadcast Barton’s program:

The Alabama Educational Television Commission came out of an executive session Tuesday afternoon and ordered veteran pubcaster Allan Pizzato and his deputy Pauline Howland to clean out their desks and leave APT’s headquarters in Birmingham.

Pizzato had served 12 years as executive director of APT, a statewide network governed by a board of seven political appointees.

Howland, deputy director and chief financial officer, described the firings in an interview with Current and said she was "baffled" by the dismissals. But she also recalled how Pizzato had asked staff in April for advice about a series of videos that AETC commissioners wanted APT to air.

The videos featured David Barton, an evangelical minister and conservative activist whose publications and media appearances promote his theories about the religious intentions of America’s founders. He frequently appears on political commentary programs hosted by conservative Glenn Beck.

AETC Commissioner Rodney Herring, an Opelika-based chiropractor, had provided the series to APT for broadcast consideration. Herring joined the commission last year and was elected board secretary in January. As of late Wednesday evening, Herring did not return a voice message from Current.

Kyle Whitmire of the weekly newspaper Weld for Birmingham also reported on the firings and pressure from “members of the commission to air programing produced by David Barton”:

Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told Weld on Tuesday that APTV executive director Allan Pizzato and chief financial officer Pauline Howland were ordered to clean out their desks and escorted from the building on Tuesday, and the two executives were not allowed to speak to staff or explain the change on the premises. The sources requested anonymity because they are not authorized to make public statements about APTV’s internal affairs.

In recent months, APTV has been pressured by members of the commission to air programing produced by David Barton, a Texas evangelist. Barton’s organization, Wall Builders, has produced a series of videos promoting a religious conservative view of American History. The Wall Builders website explains its purpose is to promote Christian religious values.

As Kyle has noted, Barton’s new “Building on the American Heritage Series” features not only the same faux-history but also Creationist and anti-choice claims, demands for greater intolerance of gays and lesbians and an appeal for the criminalization of homosexuality:

But this kind of rhetoric may find its way onto Alabama’s public television soon, all under the guise of “history.”

Barton: 'It Makes Perfect Sense' that People are on Welfare Because they are not Reading the Bible

As we have noted several times in recent months, David Barton has a bit of a habit of saying things that are fundamentally and demonstrably untrue ....a tendency he continued today on "WallBuilders Live" when he praised Liberty University by claiming that the LU Law School was one of the top schools in the nation:

Every year, US News and World Report produces a list of the best law schools in America that ranks the top 150 schools and Liberty University Law School was ranked number "Rank Not Published," meaning it didn't even qualify among the top 150.  Thus, it is a little hard to understand how it could be considered one of the top law schools in the nation when it doesn't even make the list of top law schools in the nation.

Later, Barton began musing about some supposed connection linking welfare to failure to read the Bible enough, saying he'd love to see some study done that examines the correlation because "it makes perfect sense":

Wouldn't it be interesting to do a study between those that are on welfare and see how much and how often they read the Bible. You know, if Booker T. Washington is right that Christianity and reading the Bible increases your desires and therefore your ability for hard work; if we take that as an axiom, does that mean that the people who are getting government assistance spend nearly no time in the Bible, therefore have no desire, and therefore no ability for hard work? I could go a lot of places with this. I would love to see this proven out in some kind of sociological study, but it makes perfect sense.

David Barton's Relentless Dishonesty Knows No Bounds

The other day I mentioned that I had begun working my way through "The One Year Chronological Bible" which I am reading in conjunction with The ESV Study Bible. Last night I made it to Exodus 18 and came across this passage:

But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

That passage seemed familiar, mainly because it is what David Barton cites when he claims that God created the concept of elections and that our Founding Fathers explicitly cited that passage as the basis for Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution:

Notice how Barton says "God says choose out from among you leaders of tens, fiftys, hundreds, and thousands"? What I realized last night is that in Exodus 18, it is not God speaking, but rather Moses' father-in-law Jethro. 

After having led the Israelites out of Egypt, "Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God." While Jethro was visiting, Moses went out to serve as judge for the Israelites and settle their disputes, but there were so many that the task lasted all day.  Jethro, seeing that the workload was too great, suggested that Moses should "select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens." Then these judges would hear the simple cases while reserving for Moses the difficult ones and easing his burden. And that is exactly what Moses did:

13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain —and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.

It is flagrantly false for Barton to claim that it was God speaking in this passage and utterly misleading for him to claim that it has anything to do with establishing elections. In fact, it was Moses alone who picked which judges to place in charge, which is pretty much the exact opposite of an election.

As we have said before, it is getting to the point where we now have to check nearly every assertion that Barton makes because so many of them turn out to be fundamentally false.  And if Barton is willing to lie about what the Bible says, it raises the question of whether there anything that he won't he lie about? 

Barton: 'I Don't Care What the Supreme Court Says,' Homosexuality Should be Illegal

Earlier this year, we stumbled upon a few episodes of David Barton's "Building on the American Heritage Series" that had been posted on the TBN website. Today, while searching form something else, we noticed that several other episodes from that same series had also been posted and so we are working our way through them.

Near the end of the episode entitled "Politics In The Pulpit," Barton made a point that the purpose of the church is not to create harmony or unity among the congregants but to preach the word of God's and support God's laws.  As such, Barton cited 1 Timothy 1:8-10 in order to declare that the purpose of the law is to punish ungodly and sinful (like gays) regardless of what the Supreme Court rules:

Once Again, Barton Falsely Claims the Constitution Reflects the Bible 'Verbatim'

Last week we wrote another post in our on-going series highlighting social and governmental institutional that David Barton claims came directly out of the Bible.  And today we found a presentation that Barton delivered last month where he once again made all of these now standard claims, but this time with the additional claim that the Constitution's provision regarding treason "is a verbatim quote out of Ezekiel 18:20":

Here is Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution: 

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

And here is Ezekiel 18:20:

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

This is the second time that Barton has falsely claimed that a specific provision in the Constitution reflects Biblical language verbatim, leading us to suspect that he does not actually know what the word "verbatim" means.

Jesus, David Barton, and the Sixth Amendment

David Barton's insistence that various social institutions and governmental provisions have come verbatim out of the Bible has reached its logical culmination with the release of a new audio presentation entitled "God in the Constitution" in which Barton seeks to lay out the seven specific ways in which Constitution is "explicitly Christian [in] nature."

The hour-long program consisted primarily of various familiar claims Barton has made over the years, merely consolidated into one presentation.  But Barton did add a few new wrinkles, like his assertion that every one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights was rooted in the Bible, including the Sixth Amendment's provision guaranteeing the accused the right to confront their witnesses, which Barton claimed was rooted in the passage about of Jesus and the woman accused of adultery:

Now how can you say Due Process protections come out of the Bible? Due Process is the right to a trial by jury, the right to compel witnesses on your behalf, the right to confront your accuser, all these different things that we have in the 4th-8th Amendment. How in the world can that come out of the Bible? Well, the answer is real simple ... You have trials throughout the Bible. Peter was in several trials, Paul was in several trials, Jesus was in trials. Jesus was actually supposed to be judge over a trial - they brought to him the woman caught in adultery and He looked around and said "woman, where are your accusers?" In other words, what are you doing here and your accusers aren't here to make the accusation, you can't do hearsay charges.

Of course, just as he does with Matthew 20's Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Barton totally misrepresents the context and message of this passage, which appears in John 8: 2-11:

And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down and taught them.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said unto Him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned but what sayest thou?”

This they said testing Him, that they might have cause to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not.

So when they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even unto the last, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted Himself up and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”

She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.”

First of all, the woman was not brought to Jesus for trial, but rather as a test to try and entrap Him.  And secondly, the reason there were no accusers left to condemn the woman was because they had all dispersed after Jesus delivered his famous "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" statement. 

The lesson of this passage is that all people are guilty of sin and in need of repentance and forgiveness ... but Barton presents it as proof that our Constitution is based specifically on the Bible.

How Prayer Ended the Drought in Texas and Stopped the BP Oil Spill

As we have noted before, Rick Scarborough of Vision America is organizing an effort called 40 Days to Save America which seeks to mobilize Christians who will engage in forty days of prayer, fasting and repentance leading up to the election. As part of the organizing effort, Scarborough has been hosting conference calls featuring Republican members of Congress and Religious Right leaders. 

Earlier this month, Scarborough teamed up for a call with David Barton, who discussed the importance and effectiveness of prayer and fasting, which then prompted a discussion between the two about how Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally ended the drought in Texas as well as how prayer controlled the BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast:

Scarborough: Our Governor here in the state of Texas called for a day of prayer and fasting last May. We were at the height of a drought that meteorologists were telling us was part of a cycle that would last perhaps for a number of years and that it would take us years to get our lake levels back up and so forth. It occurs to me that, not immediately, but after that prayer event that thirty thousand people participated in, we started getting rain and in less than a year, our lakes are full, our fields are brimming. A lot of people seem not to connect the dots on that, but we've got a fresh illustration of how God honors prayer.

Barton: Yeah, that's one of those many things that historians will looks back upon and say 'look at the correlation.' But I look back over the last few years at Sonny Perdue of Georgia who called, in the middle of their drought - that was an unprecedented century drought that they had there - he called for prayer and within three days they had rain falling in Georgia again. They're back in good condition.

I recall what happened with the oil spill in the Gulf, how all the Gulf governors except for Charlie Crist of Florida got together and called for a time of prayer that God would mitigate the damage of that and cause that thing to be sealed. And guess what? All the expected damage along the shorelines to all the wildlife, it didn't happen.

Barton Presents Legend as Fact at Capitol Prayer Event

As we noted in our earlier post about the prayer event recently held in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol, the event was called "Washington: A Man of Prayer" and was organized around honoring the 223rd anniversary of George Washington's inauguration.

As such, it was totally expected that David Barton would be there to present his patented brand of pseudo-history, which he did when he trotted out his favorite myth about Washington as captured in this famous painting that Barton used for the cover of one of his books:

As Barton relates the tale, a British loyalist named Issac Potts owned a home near where Washington was camped at Valley Forge and one day stumbled upon Washington alone in the woods making supplication to God on behalf of his army and the American cause, causing Potts to rush home and declare to his wife that the British cause was lost since God would most assuredly answer the prayers of any man who prayed with such conviction:

You will surely be shocked to learn that, contrary to Barton's assertion, this apocryphal incident never actually happened, as History Professor John Fea explained in his book "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?:

There is one major problem with Potts's story of Washington praying at Valley Forge - it probably did not happen. While it is likely that Washington prayed while he was with the army at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778, it is unlikely that the story reported by Potts, memorialized in paintings and read to millions of schoolchildren, is anything more than legend. It was first told in the seventeenth edition (1816) of Mason Lock Weem's Life of Washington. Weems claimed to have heard it directly from Potts, his "good old FRIEND." Potts may have owned the house where Washington stayed at Valley Forge, but his aunt Deborah Potts Hewes was living there alone at the time. Indeed, Potts was probably not even residing in Valley Forge during the encampment. And he was definitely not married.  It would be another twenty-five years before he wed Sarah, making a conversation with her in the wake of the supposed Washington prayer impossible. Another version of the story, which appeared in the diary of Reverend Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, claims that it was John Potts, Issac's brother, who heard Washington praying. These discrepancies, coupled with the fact that Weems was known for writing stories about Washington based upon scanty evidence, have led historians to discredit it.

As we have said before, just because something might be demonstrably untrue, that is not going to stop Barton from repeating it.

Barton Continues to Peddle the Myth of Raymond Raines

Just last week David Barton was on The Daily Show where he trotted out a nearly twenty year old piece of right-wing mythology about some poor public school student who was reportedly yanked out of his chair and yelled at by a teacher merely for praying before eating his lunch in the school cafeteria.

As we pointed out, this incident took place way back in 1994 and involved a student named Raymond Raines who, contrary to Barton's claims, was not yelled at for praying before lunch, but rather for fighting in the cafeteria.

But just because something might be demonstrably untrue, that is not going to stop Barton from repeating it, which he did again today on "WallBuilders Live":

Here's a good one: [In] St Louis, Missouri, an elementary student was praying over his lunch; a school official jerked him out of his seat - lifted him up physically out of his seat - reprimanded him in front of the other students for praying over his lunch and took him to the principal who ordered him to stop praying over his lunch. Can you believe that?

No, as a matter of fact, we cannot believe that ... because it is not true. 

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WallBuilders is an organization founded by Republican Party activist and self-proclaimed historian David Barton for the purpose of "educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country." Barton and his work are routinely cited by those on the Right who claim that the United States was founded by Christian men on explicitly Christian principles. MORE >

Wallbuilders Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Friday 01/10/2014, 12:22pm
We are starting to suspect that David Barton either owns a time machine or else he simply has a tendency to exaggerate about the amount of work that he does. Last year, Barton was the keynote speaker at the Family Leader's "Celebrate The Family" dinner where he delivered his standard presentation, but one thing caught our attention, which was his standard assertion that he speaks to hundreds of groups every year. In this case, Barton said that he personally "spoke to over 600 different groups" in the last year, which averages out to speaking to a group and a half every... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/02/2014, 2:34pm
Back before the holiday break, we noted that just because some right-wing tale of supposed anti-Christian persecution happened to be totally false, that would never stop the Religious Right from repeating it endlessly, as they have been doing with the saga of Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, who claims he was relieved of duty for disagreeing with a lesbian commander over the issue of gay marriage. As we noted last time, a military investigation found Monk's claims to be baseless ... which means that David Barton and friends are just going to keep on repeating them time and again, as he... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 01/02/2014, 10:31am
During his time in office, Ken Cuccinelli worked to pass a personhood law which would have criminalized not only abortion but also several forms of contraception and fertility treatments. On top of that, he declared that God will punish America over abortion rights, which he compared to slavery, and routinely pressed to close clinics that provide abortions as well as to defund Planned Parenthood. But to hear David Barton tell it, the only reason that Cuccinelli lost his bid to become governor of Virginia last year was because he was not anti-abortion enough! Filling in for Glenn... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 12/13/2013, 1:53pm
Texas state Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco, co-author the the state's "Merry Christmas" bill was a guest on "Wallbuilders Live" today where he told host Rick Green that if people get offended by public schools hosting "Christmas" parties, well, that is their problem and they ought to "look into your heart and ask why." MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 12/09/2013, 2:42pm
For the last several months, spurred on by the publication of Mark Levin's "The Liberty Amendments," right-wing activists have been floating the idea of convening a "Convention of States" through which representatives of the individuals states would gather together for a convention to amend the Constitution and reign in the federal government. Under Article V of the Constitution, "legislatures of two thirds of the several states" have the power to "call a convention for proposing amendments" and the idea to convene such a convention has been warmly... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 12/05/2013, 2:59pm
One of the main points that we try to make whenever we write about David Barton is not just that he is a pseudo-historian who has a problem telling the truth, but that he is also a borderline theocrat who believes that our nation's laws ought to be literally based upon the Bible. During his recent appearance on "The Gospel Truth" with Andrew Wommack, Barton explained that Scott Peterson, who was convicted of having murdered his wife and unborn child back in 2002, should not have received the death penalty because there were no eyewitnesses to the crime. Citing Deuteronomy 17:6,... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 12/04/2013, 3:01pm
As anyone who has read any history knows, the idea that slavery was ordained by God through the Bible was an argument frequently and forcefully put forth by the institution's most dedicated Christian defenders leading up to and throughout the Civil War. But in the telling of modern day revisionist historians like David Barton, it is now taken as an established fact that the Bible does not support slavery and never did, meaning that it was failure to follow the Bible that was responsible not only for the institution of slavery but for every bad thing that has ever happened in America. As... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 12/04/2013, 1:21pm
One thing that you realize after studying David Barton for any bit of time is that one key to his success is the fact that his audiences blindly accept everything he says without question, never bothering to actually verify anything he says.  And Barton is fully aware of this, which is why he has no qualms about lying to them time and again about things that a simple five minute Google search would prove to be false. For example, Barton recently sat down for a series of programs on "The Gospel Truth" with Andrew Wommack where he falsely declared that President Obama does not... MORE >