David Barton

Religious Righting the Republican Platform

Yesterday, the head of the Log Cabin Republicans said that the Republican Party platform might actually contain language saying that all Americans have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Imagine! Although the language included no reference to LGBT people, Log Cabin argued that it would be a “positive nod” toward them. 
A nearly imperceptible, practically meaningless nod, perhaps.  Anti-gay groups typically use similar rhetoric to soften their image.  Even the most stridently anti-gay Religious Right leaders insist they don’t hate gays, they love them so much they want to save them from their evil, wicked, Satanic, hell-bound lives.
Last night, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins provided a bit of a reality check. He sent a memo bragging that “our team has had several hands” working on the platform:
With a presence in the committee meetings, the FRC Action staff has been able to help delegates hold the line of social issues. Just this morning, our efforts made what was already a good document even better.
Before this week, the GOP’s draft platform included solid language defending the family – and FRC Action, in tandem with Eagle Forum, made it even stronger.
Perkins boasts that as a delegate on the subcommittee handling health care, education, and the family, “I was able to reinforce the language on marriage and successfully helped with amendments on conscience rights, abortion in health care, and stem cell research."
Joining Perkins on the Platform Committee is David Barton, the promoter of bogus “Christian nation” history whose recent book on Thomas Jefferson was slammed as grossly inaccurate by so many scholars that his Christian publishing house, Thomas Nelson, pulled the book from the shelves. But Barton’s abuses of the truth have never been enough to discredit him with his friends in the GOP. Barton is serving on the platform committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, where Tony Perkins assures us Barton led efforts that “fended off liberal attacks that would have watered down the wording” on marriage and “life.”
This morning, the Tampa Bay Times reports that the draft moving forward includes a call for a federal constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex couples from getting married anywhere in the U.S., and for a constitutional amendment applying the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment to “unborn children." There is no exception for allowing abortion in the case of rape or incest.
The full Platform Committee will take up the work of the subcommittees today.

Religious Right Groups Hosting Prayer Rally to kick off Republican National Convention

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, disgraced pseudo-historian David Barton and anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly are participating in a prayer rally hosted by Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink and the Florida Family Policy Council in Tampa right before the opening of the Republican National Convention. CitizenLink head Tom Minnery, FFPC’s John Stemberger, former congressman J.C. Watts, Proposition 8 leader Jim Garlow, Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver are also among the speakers at the Prayer Rally for America’s Future at the River Church. The rally will touch on the familiar themes of opposing abortion rights and gay rights…and also to pray for revival in “male leadership.”

Later that day, the River Church is hosting a Tea Party Nation rally with Bachmann, Herman Cain, Neal Boortz, Judson Phillips, Pam Bondi, Niger Innis and Rebecca Kleefisch.

The River Church is pastored by Rodney Howard-Browne, the Word-Faith preacher known for performing faith healings:

And unleashing "Holy Laughter":

Staver: Barton's Book is Required Reading for all Liberty University Law Students

As the controversy over David Barton's shoddy scholarship has roiled for the last several weeks, Mat Staver, dean of the Liberty University Law School, has been one of Barton's most ardent defenders, declaring that he "would put [his] money on David Barton any day" and even proclaiming that he'd be willing to put Barton up "against any historian and would have no question who would win in a debate."

So it was no surprise that Staver was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today where he spent most of the time attacking one of Barton's main critic Warren Throckmorton, for not being a historian.  Of course, Barton is not a historian either and neither is Staver, for that matter.

But Staver did make an interesting revelation on the program when he explained that Barton's book "Original Intent" is required reading for every law student at Liberty Law School:

We actually use his book "Original Intent" in one of our law school classes. We have a lot of different resources and certainly one of those resources regarding original intent and the Founder's vision and views for this country, we use David Barton's book.

...

In "Foundations of Law" at Liberty University School of Law that every first year law school student goes through the first semester, we have David Barton's book as one of the books, and we have excerpts from that and chapters from it that we use. And our law school students read that and we talk about it and we look at the historical issues involving the Founders.

I began using that when I was teaching the course and now our Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Rena Lindevaldsen, uses that. One of our professors, Cynthia Dunbar, she uses that book in that "Foundations of Law" course as well and I know that there's other faculty at Liberty University that also are very much advocates of David Barton's work.

Todd Akin Wasn't 'Misspeaking' but Speaking for a Movement

Missouri Republican senate candidate and congressman Todd Akin is trying to run away from his claims that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy, insisting that he “misspoke” while making “off-the-cuff remarks,” even though they were in an interview with a local reporter. Akin made a similar half-apology following his claim that “at the heart of liberalism really is the hatred for God,” with his spokesman arguing that his claim during a radio interview were “off-the-cuff.”

Akin is a beloved figure of the Religious Right, and his campaign advertises endorsements from Concerned Women for America activists and activists like Mike Huckabee, Phyllis Schlafly, Michele Bachmann and David Barton. Barton, who recorded campaign ads calling Akin a “true Christian leader,” has compared Akin to John Witherspoon and other founding fathers. American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, who hosted Akin on his radio show the day after the congressman’s primary victory, said people need to “lighten up” about his rape comments:

Previously, Akin said he wants to ban the morning after pill, worried marital rape laws will be used as “a legal weapon to beat up on the husband” and sought to narrow the definition of “rape” in legislation. Akin also prominently advertises his endorsement from Schlafly, who has said women cannot be raped by their husbands.

Sarah Posner in Religion Dispatches notes that Akin, who has a masters in divinity, received his degree at a denomination which teaches that rape seldom leads to pregnancy and should not be relevant to laws on abortion rights, and as Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones pointed out, anti-choice luminary John Willke asserts that hormones make pregnancies resulting from rape “extremely rare” and Physicians for Life believes “the rate of pregnancy is actually very rare” because the stress from the rape “alter[s] bodily functions, the menstrual cycle included.”

Those opinions are commonplace among anti-choice activists.

Human Life International says “it is very useful to be able to show just how rare rape- and incest-caused pregnancies really are” in order to expose women who falsely state they were raped in order to have abortions: “Women who are willing to kill their own preborn children for mere convenience obviously see lying as a relatively small crime.”

40 Days for Life, the group which holds hundreds of protests outside of abortion clinics throughout the country, in “ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments” also says that pregnancies resulting from rape are “extremely rare” and “can be prevented”:

“What about a woman who is pregnant due to rape or incest?”

a. Pregnancy due to rape is extremely rare, and with proper treatment can be prevented.

b. Rape is never the fault of the child; the guilty party, not an innocent party, should be punished.

c. The violence of abortion parallels the violence of rate.

d. Abortion does not bring healing to a rape victim.

It remains to be seen which conservative leaders will condemn—or defend—Akin as pressure mounts on the candidate to quit the race.

Update: Fischer is now even claiming that “Todd Akin is right,” citing an article by Willke.

Glenn Beck's Hard-Hitting Interview With David Barton

As we noted yesterday, Glenn Beck is doing his best to address the current controversy over David Barton's shoddy scholarship by pretending to be searching for the truth while simultaneously doing all he can defend his close friend's reputation.

Thus, Beck' The Blaze ran a long piece that purported to independently examine the claims made by Barton along with the criticism of those claims and which found that, in every instance, the claims made by Barton were inaccurate, at best. But The Blaze simply could not bring itself to actually acknowledge Barton's untruths and instead bent over backwards to avoid reaching any conclusions.

Last night, Beck dedicated his entire program to "clearing the air" on the controversy ... by letting Barton make his case, unchallenged, for an entire hour.  

Just how hard-hitting was this interview that Beck conducted with Barton?  Why don't you take a look at these excepts we grabbed from Beck's ten minute opening monologue where he positively gushed about Barton while casting aspersions on this "campaign against one of America's most respected people" and just take a guess:

Beck says that he has never seen Barton "insist that he is right when the facts demonstrate otherwise," but we are assuming that that is because Beck never actually asks Barton to show him where the Constitution directly quotes the Bible "verbatim":

The David Barton-Rick Green Pity Party Drags On

David Barton and Rick Green continued their crusade to salvage Barton's tattered reputation by quickly putting together a two-part program on "WallBuilders Live" dedicated mostly to once again attacking Warren Throckmorton has unchristian and untrustworthy - which they know because, among other things, he uses information from Right Wing Watch.

But mostly they just wanted everyone to know that the mounting criticism of Barton's shoddy scholarship is really an effort to "disenfranchise Christians":

Barton: So this really is an attack, not at us per se; this is an attack on religious involvement in general from religious conservatives who have gotten into the process in the last twenty-five years.

Green: They recognize that you are kind of the voice of that for so long. I mean, you've been tireless over the last twenty-five years speaking across the nation and educating us on these things and putting those original documents on-line, putting out there in front of us. So, like you said, they know if they can go after you and somehow taint your image and create this image of you that isn't true that it helps to bring down the whole movement, it helps to kind of disenfranchise Christians, really, from being involved.

Once again, let us state unequivocally that people are not criticizing Barton's scholarship because he is a Christian; they are criticizing it because it is full of falsehoods; falsehoods that Barton's knowingly propagates in order to promote his political agenda.

When we point out that it is not true that "many of the clauses we find in the Constitution are literal, direct quotations out of the Bible," as Barton so regularly claims, it is not just a difference of opinion or a matter of interpretation, but rather undeniable proof that Barton has a documented history of intentionally making false claims.

So why wouldn't Throckmorton cite Right Wing Watch in making the case that Barton's history cannot be trusted?  Especially when one considers that we have dozens and dozens of documented examples of Barton saying false and absurd things? 

What Happens When Glenn Beck's 'The Blaze' Tries to Fact-Check David Barton?

For the last several weeks, The Blaze has been one of the few media outlets dedicating in-depth coverage to the controversy surrounding David Barton's shoddy scholarship.  Given that The Blaze was founded by Barton's BFF Glenn Beck, it is no surprise that most of the coverage of Barton and his work has been, shall we say, rather flattering and one-sided, like when The Blaze ran a piece taking a look at the criticisms that Barton's work has received only to follow it up with a piece and a Skype interview where Barton was allowed to respond unchallenged.

In light of the recent developments regarding Barton's work, The Blaze has once again served as the prime outlet through which Barton has been making his case in the media, though this time The Blaze's Faith Editor Billy Hallowell acknowledged many of the specific criticisms that Barton's work has received, primarily from Warren Throckmorton, and vowed to independently examine "some of the explicit issues" in contention. 

Yesterday, Hallowell finally released "The Blaze’s Extensive Analysis of Their Claims & Thomas Jefferson’s Faith" and the thing that is most remarkable about it is the extent to which Hallowell bends over backwards to avoid having to declare Barton wrong on all accounts.

Hallowell examined four specific issues where Barton and Throckmorton disagree on aspects related to Thomas Jefferson and his faith, and in every instance the documentary evidence supports the claims made by Throckmorton and refutes the claims made by Barton, yet the conclusions reached by The Blaze were consistently presented in a way that avoids labeling Barton's claims as false.

The first issue addressed was "The Jefferson Bible" and what is said about Jefferson's own religious view.  Barton claims Jefferson created it as a tool for use in evangelizing the Native Americans whereas Throckmorton claims Jefferson created it for his personal use, cutting out all the things he didn't believe so as to find the "diamonds in a dunghill."  Barton also claims that for most of his life, Jefferson was a rather orthodox Christian, but Throckmorton says that is not so, and even points out that Jefferson once refused to serve as godfather to a friend's child because he refused to affirm the trinity.

The Blaze's brave conclusion on this question was that "clearly, the two sides are in disagreement on a number of fronts when it comes to the so-called 'Jefferson Bible' and on Jefferson’s faith more generally."

The next issue was whether or not Thomas Jefferson could have freed his slaves, with Barton claiming there were dozens of laws in Virginia that prohibited him from doing so and imposing fines on those who did, whereas Throckmorton pointed out that there were multiple instances of owners freeing slaves and that the "fines" that Barton cites where really only clerk's fees.  It seems pretty obvious that Barton is wrong on this question, but once again The Blaze passed it off as a matter of interpretation:

Part of the debate on this point may be centered upon semantics. While Barton purportedly said that there were essentially fines against releasing slaves, Throckmorton said there was no evidence of this. However, the clerk’s fee, in some peoples’ eyes would be a “fine” of sorts. Still, others would distinguish between a clerk’s fee and a fine.

While Jefferson certainly could have freed his slaves based on the laws of that time, his finances may have been a problem preventing him from doing so. If Barton‘s contentions about Jefferson’s devotion to stopping the institution are accurate, one would assume that, if Jefferson had the means to free the slaves, he would have. On the flip side, if the president was immensely devoted to the cause, opponents like Throckmorton could argue that freeing these men and women should have taken precedence.

The next issue was Jefferson's role is supposedly financing the publication of a Bible.  Barton claims that Jefferson “put up the financial backing” for the printing, while Throckmorton notes that Jefferson merely subscribed to its publication.  But in Barton's view, they are one and the same because "subscribers really are investors." Obviously, the idea that someone who subscribes to a publication can be said to be a "funder" of that publication is nonsense ... but instead of calling Barton out on this, The Blaze once again hedged:

So, here we have a difference between the definitions surrounding “investor” versus “subscriber” (the primary definition of the former word is: “to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value”).

Finally, The Blaze took a look at Barton's claim that Jefferson founded the University of Virginia as a Christian university,  a claim which Throckmorton disputes, pointing that there was no chapel on campus and Jefferson declared that "a professorship of theology should have no place in our institution." Throckmorton also noted that Barton, while quoting Jefferson to make this case in his book,  intentionally omitted a line from Jefferson's letter that undemined the very point he was trying to make ... and once again, The Blaze merely shrugged:

But, an omission doesn’t necessarily mean that the meaning of the overall message is debunked, of course. The difference here is over whether the school was planning to formerly align itself with these denominations — or whether it was simply attempting to respect its student body by providing access to numerous faiths.

Then, after demonstrating on in all four cases that the claims put forth by Barton could not be substantiated, The Blaze ended the article by turning to several of Barton's Religious Right allies to defend him:

Mathew D. Staver, vice-president of Liberty University, an evangelical higher educational facility, defended Barton. Aside from saying that he doesn’t put any credibility into “Throckmorton’s self-published ebook” (the book is also available in print, as we’ve noted), he dismissed the professor as “a psychologist [and] not [a] historian.”

“I have never heard him speak or write on Jefferson until now,” he continued,” going on to share some interesting information about his recent interaction with Thomas Nelson:

“I have not had the opportunity to look at all the allegations, but I have looked at some of Throckmorton‘s claims and Barton’s responses. I would put my money on David Barton any day. Herein lies a serious issue for Thomas Nelson. I was asked to review Throckmorton’s arguments, but before I could respond, Thomas Nelson shocked everyone by its knee jerk reaction to criticism by non-experts only two weeks or so after ask[ing] for my response. I am very disappointed in the way Thomas Nelson handled this matter.”

Staver also noted that Dr. Roger Schultz, dean of Liberty’s colleges of arts and sciences and an expert on American history, and Rena Lindevaldsen, associate dean for academic affairs at the university, both back Barton. In speaking of critics, Staver warned that they should “be prepared to eat crow.”

The Rev. James Robison, too, weighed in on the scenario. While not directly placing blame or accusing Barton of inaccuracies, he told TheBlaze about the importance of upholding godly values — and embracing truth. On a grander scale, he discussed the attempt to ongoing attempt by liberals to “minimize the importance of Judeo-Christian principles.”

“We must stand together against the liberal, progressive mind-set that is seeking to destroy what made us great. The bottom line is: Truth matters,” he continued. “We must exalt the truth and always be willing to be corrected by it. It is truth that makes us free, and only truth can keep us free.”

Robison went on to stress the double standard that he believes any and all Americans — and in this case, conservatives and evangelicals — risk falling prey to.

“If we expect our nation’s leaders to respond to truth and correction, each one of us must also be anxious to respond to the standards our founders put in place,” Robison continued. “Those standards corrected many founders who had signed them. I, for one, am anxious to be corrected and directed by God’s truth, which is marching on.”

If The Blaze's handling of these questions was bad, Robison's remarks are even worse considering that it was Robison who was sitting directly across from Barton when Barton falsely declared on his television program that the Constitution directly quotes the Bible "verbatim":

If Robison really believes that "the bottom line is: truth matters," maybe he ought to stop promoting Barton and his falsehoods until Barton starts to demonstrate a willingness to "exalt the truth and ... be corrected by it."

David Barton Can't Avoid Growing Criticism of his Pseudo-History

David Barton usually dismisses the daily Right Wing Watch blog posts and two reports on his sham history and litany of patently false and absurd assertions by calling us “radical left social guys” who don’t like America. Barton, who is not a historian and does not submit his work to peer review, says that academics who criticize his “scholarship” are simply elitists who are jealous of his popularity. But as Barton’s unraveling continues, he has now lashed out at his critics by attacking one of his critic’s religious beliefs and insisting that an anonymous group of scholars has approved his work.

But Messiah College professor John Fea notes that Barton’s ability to paint his critics “as godless and liberal” isn’t working as an increasing number of evangelical pastors have denounced him:

Through it all, Barton continues to insist that his interpretation of Thomas Jefferson is accurate despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. When legitimate historians criticize his work he paints them as godless and liberal. But can all these historians and critics be wrong? Apparently David Barton is the only one out there who has correctly interpreted Thomas Jefferson. This kind of arrogance not only shows a deep disrespect for the work of historians, many of whom have devoted their lives to the study of Jefferson, but, perhaps more importantly, it is an embarrassment to the Christian church. Perhaps Barton needs to take a lesson from Rev. Dudley Rutherford, the evangelical pastor who misinterpreted the story of the Star-Spangled Banner. When Rutherford, the pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, California, learned that his YouTube presentation contained several inaccuracies, he quickly apologized and pledged to look deeper into the historical record.

But even if we allow Barton to dismiss non-Christian historians, he will have a hard time dismissing his fellow evangelicals. Many of his critics have very solid evangelical credentials. Throckmorton is a Romney supporter (or at least “likes” Romney on his Facebook page) and is a conservative evangelical Christian. When I spoke at Grove City College in January 2012, he apologized for having to miss one of my lectures. It turns out that Throckmorton is an elder at his local Evangelical Free Church and had to attend a meeting there on that particular night. Ray McMillian, one of the Cincinnati pastors who led the boycott of Thomas Nelson, runs an organization called “Race to Unity.” Speakers at Race to Unity events have included evangelical luminaries such as Tony Evans, Joseph Stowell, Ed Dobson, and Bill Hybels.

Gregg Frazer, one of the ten historians chosen by Jay Richards, teaches at The Masters College, a school founded by popular evangelical preacher John MacArthur. (Frazer has also written an excellent book on the religious beliefs of the founding fathers which I highly recommend). Glenn Sunshine is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL—certainly not a bastion of godless liberalism. Charles Dunn, who has endorsed Getting Jefferson Right, is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Government at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Even the folks at WorldView Weekend, an organization that used to partner with Barton, have turned their collective backs on him.

Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics mentions that a number of Baptist scholars have consistently criticized Barton’s “dubious” work:

One of the nation's premier historians, Martin Marty, wrote critically of Barton's new book in May.

"Barton is publishing 'The Jefferson Lies,' which most historians would title 'Barton's Lies about Jefferson,'" said Marty.

A year earlier, Marty said that Barton cherry-picked material.

Another preeminent historian and a Baptist, Richard Pierard, referred to Barton's work as "pseudo-history."

Bruce Prescott, another Baptist scholar and leading advocate for the separation of church and state, wrote in 2010: "For more than two decades, David Barton has been deceiving many honest but naïve Christians with a revisionist history about our system of government that promotes the mythology of Christian nationalism."

In addition to columns, EthicsDaily.com has had news stories about Barton's role in shaping the public education curriculum in Texas.

Now, conservatives are challenging Barton's use of history and distancing themselves from his misuse of history. When Thomas Nelson Publishers backs away from Barton, one knows Barton's work is dubious.

But according to Barton’s deputy Rick Green, their group WallBuilders need not respond in a serious way to any criticism since criticism of them is just like the Nazis’ anti-Semitic propaganda.

Another Conservative Denounces David Barton's 'Prevarications' while Rick Green Compares Criticism of Barton to the Holocaust

As Kyle pointed out, David Barton is trying to salvage his collapsing support by yet again attacking the religious and political views of his critics, joining American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer today in smearing Warren Throckmorton as a tool of the left. Unfortunately for Barton, more and more conservatives are denouncing his right-wing pseudo-history on the heels of a scathing NPR report and the news that Thomas Nelson has yanked his latest book, “The Jefferson Lies,” from publication.

Now, the former dean of Regent University’s Robertson School of Government—named after televangelist Pat Robertson—and a leading conservative writer is adding his voice to the growing chorus of historians criticizing Barton’s sloppy scholarship. Regent University professor Charles Dunn endorsed the book, “Getting Jefferson Right,” written by professors Throckmorton and Michael Coulter of Grove City College, which is also an evangelical school. “Getting Jefferson Right” debunked many of the claims found in Barton’s book on Jefferson, and Dunn said the book “stands up for truth in scholarship against the prevarications in David Barton’s The Jefferson’s Lies”:

Getting Jefferson Right by Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter stands up for truth in scholarship against the prevarications in David Barton’s The Jefferson’s Lies. Because of the courage of Throckmorton and Coulter, Barton has now fallen from his pedestal of preeminence as a scholar of the early American era. Throckmorton and Coulter deserve the “Medal of Honor” for courage and probity.

Meanwhile, Barton’s deputy at WallBuilders and radio talk show co-host Rick Green who last week likened Barton’s critics to Adolf Hitler, is now comparing reasoned criticism of Barton to the Holocaust in another post denying that any of Barton’s claims have been “proven faulty”:

Hitler loved to give “examples” of Jewish “offenses” to support his effort to annihilate the Jewish people. Not only were they most often false “offenses,” even if they had all been true it would not have supported the conclusion that the entire race should be wiped out. Any intelligent observer of today’s debate must challenge the premises presented and make sure that the “facts” of the critics support the conclusion they want you to believe. In every accusation I have seen so far in this debate, no premise or conclusion of David Barton has been proven faulty.

Barton and Fischer Defend 'The Jefferson Lies' by Attacking Warren Throckmorton

When David Barton penned his first defense of his book "The Jefferson Lies," he asserted that his critics were motivated by "hostility toward me and my personal religious beliefs" and therefore could never point to anything that he got wrong and instead simply attack him for his faith and the worldview that he promotes. 

That is obviously nonsense, but today Barton appeared Bryan Fischer's radio program to discuss the developments that led to his book being pulled from print where the two men spent a good deal of the discussion personally attacking Warren Throckmorton, one of Barton's (and Fischer's) most vocal critics and the co-author of "Getting Jefferson Right."

The crux of their attack was that Throckmorton was once a true evangelical but then turned away from supporting the use of reparative therapy to "cure" gays, at which point he lost his moral compass.  Throckmorton is now, according to Barton, a radical member of the "Religious Left" .... and you know that because he associates with Right Wing Watch!

Apparently simply pointing out that the Constitution does not, in fact, directly quote the Bible verbatim now makes you a member of the Religious Left. 

Boykin: 'The Bible is Referenced Four Times More Than Any Other Document in our Constitution'

The problem with David Barton's false statements and pseudo-history is not simply that it receives support from leaders like Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann,Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich; it is that his claims get picked up by other Religious Right speakers and, in doing so, get twisted even beyond Barton's original bogus claims. 

Case in point: today we came across these recent remarks delivered by Jerry Boykin where he claimed that "there is no question that there was divine inspiration" behind the writing of the Constitution, which is why "the Bible is referenced four times more than any other document in our Constitution": 

Of course, the Bible is not referenced at all in the Constitution ... but you will not be surprised to learn that Boykin's claim finds its inspiration in Barton's "America's Godly Heritage" (skip ahead to the 4:00 mark) though Barton simply claims that the Bible was cited by the Founding Fathers four times more than they cited figures like Montesquieu and Blackstone.

Yet even Barton's original claim was itself problematic and Boykin has only made it worse by falsely claiming that the Constitution directly references the Bible multiple times, when it obviously does nothing of the sort.  

Top Five Books Thomas Nelson Found More Credible Than David Barton's 'The Jefferson Lies'

The world’s largest Christian publisher Thomas Nelson has pulled David Barton’s book “The Jefferson Lies” because of Barton’s “unsupportable” claims regarding the third president’s views on religion. Barton’s deputy Rick Green accused academic “elitists” of acting like Adolf Hitler to smear Barton, while Barton ironically defended his book by insisting that a group of anonymous academics endorsed his work. Now that Thomas Nelson has recalled Barton’s book and removed all mention of it from its website, we wanted to see what books the publisher apparently found to be more credible than Barton’s “The Jefferson Lies”:

1. Todd Burpo’s “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.” Pastor Todd Burpo describes how his 3-year-old son Colton went to heaven during surgery where he saw God literally “fit the entire world into his hands” and Jesus’ “sea-blue eyes”!

 

 

 

2. Rick Joyner’s “The Vision: A Two-in-One Volume of The Final Quest and The Call.” Thomas Nelson considers not one but two books by the self-proclaimed prophet who claimed to have miraculously made a dish of casserole multiply and stopped the Asian Flu, blamed Hurricane Katrina on homosexuality and warned of the West Coast’s impending doom, as more supportable than Barton’s “The Jefferson Lies.”

 

 

3. Hank Hanegraaff’s “The Creation Answer Book.” This book claims that humans and dinosaurs walked on the earth together and that the earth was created in six consecutive 24 hour days, apparently less of a stretch than Barton’s argument that Jefferson and the rest of the Founders were fundamentalist Christians.

 

 

 

4. John Hagee’s “The Beginning of the End.” The televangelist describes how the Antichrist will soon come to power, using microchips implanted in humans and hate crimes laws to secure his authority.

 

 

 

 

5. Michael Savage’s “Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder.” It’s a book called “Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder”!

 

 

 

 

 

Again, these are the books seen as more reliable than Barton’s “The Jefferson Lies.”

Rick Green, We Gladly Accept Your Challenge!

Last week, we noted how odd it was that seemingly nobody was coming to David Barton's defense after his shoddy scholarship was exposed by NPR and then Barton's publisher announced that it had "lost confidence" in his work and was ceasing publication and distribution of his book.  

Late on Friday night, WallBuilders finally issued a statement defending Barton's work and announcing that his "book has already been picked up by a much larger national publisher and distributor" and would soon be in publication again.  Given Barton's, shall we say, lack of credibility at the moment, we remain a bit skeptical and so the veracity of this announcement remains to be seen.

Around the same time, Barton's "WallBuilders Live" co-host and side-kick Rick Green took to his blog to pen a furious screed against Barton's detractors that was replete with references to Hitler and attacks on the "elitists" who criticize Barton's pseuo-history: 

Hitler and Alinsky were both masters of this tool. Hitler said: “All propaganda has to … accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.”

These elitist professors and reporters attacking David Barton know that most people will not actually go read the supporting material behind David’s books…certainly not the bloggers and reporters who have so quickly jumped on the attack wagon. They are exactly the “least intelligent” Hitler was able to fool, Alinksy taught radicals to fool, and now even Christian “leaders” are joining.

...

These elitists do not enjoy seeing themselves replaced.

They believe they are the high priests of history and the law.

They do not want you to read the actual writings of the Founders because that negates the need for their position of being the keeper of the keys to history ... The elitist professors like Kidd, Throckmorton, Coulter, & Jenkinson write boring books that very few people read and they give boring lectures that are only attended by students forced to do so in order to get a grade.

When these guys see Barton telling history in a way that is BOTH accurate and fun and they see millions of people are captivated and want to learn more, then perhaps it could be just a little jealousy could be causing them to lash out at Barton with innuendoes backed by no actual merit. But the bigger issue is that they do not want to lose the power of being the keepers of the keys to history. They want their “interpretation” of historical figures to control how generations view history, rather than letting historical events and historical figures speak for themselves.

Near the end of his rant, Green issued a challenge for anyone to show "a specific inaccuracy or false claim by Barton" and promised to post them on his blog for everyone to see:

In the meantime, I’m still waiting for someone to show me a specific inaccuracy or false claim by Barton ... They are claiming that Barton is purposefully presenting a false picture of history and using inaccuracies and distortions to do so. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it is these critics who are using inaccuracies, innuendo, and distortions to attack Barton in the first place.

If you can show me specifics that back up the image created by the critics innuendo, I’ll post it right here for the world to see.

Well, Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter wrote an entire book documenting Barton's false claims, so he could start there.  Or he could turn to Chris Rodda who tried to take up Green's challenge only to discover that Green refused to post her comments on his blog and instead wrote a follow-up post asserting that he was not about to allow his blog to be used by "critics who have proven themselves to be illogical and slanderous" to promote their "ridiculous, unrelated, illogical ramblings."

We unsuccessfully attempted to take up Green's challenge as well, but he is blocking our comments and refusing to allow them to appear on his blog ... so we will just do so here. 

Last week, we posted a collection of ten absurd claims that Barton has made along with ten demonstrably false claims that Barton has made and we hereby issue our own challenge to Green to defend them.  He doesn't even have to defend all of them; he merely has to show us just one place where the Constitution directly quotes the Bible "verbatim":

Ten Patently Absurd Claims Made by David Barton

As we noted earlier, it has not been a very good week for David Barton, so this seemed like a good opportunity to pull together a list of some of the most absurd things that he has said over the last year or so just to give people who might not be particularly familiar with Barton or his work a better sense of just what sort of claims he likes to puts forth.

Yesterday we posted a list a ten demonstrably false claims Barton has made in recent months but this list, though also filled with falsehoods, focuses more on the sorts of patently ridiculous claims that Barton is prone to making:

Given this sort of record, is anyone surprised that a publisher that agreed to print a book written by Barton ultimately had to recall it? 

The Most Perfectly Bartontonian Response Imaginable

As we noted yesterday, it has been a rough couple of days for the David Barton as first his shoddy scholarship was exposed by NPR and then the publisher of his latest book announced that it has "lost confidence" in it and was ceasing publication and distribution.

The Tennessean caught up with Barton to get his reaction to these developments and the criticism that his work has been receiving and he offered up the most perfectly Bartontonian defense one could have imagined:

Barton said he met with a different group of scholars recently and they approved of his work.

“I can’t tell you how many Ph.D.’s were in the room,” he said.

But he would not give any names, saying the scholars hadn’t given their permission for him do so.

While we are not surprised by Barton's defense, we have to admit that we are a bit shocked by the utter silence from the Religious Right to these developments because we have been searching high and low and have so far been unable to find any evidence of anyone stepping up to defend him or his work.  

Where are Glenn Beck, or Michele Bachmann, or Mike Huckabee, or Newt Gingrich or any of the others who routinely hail Barton as America's greatest historian?  Will nobody stand up and defend Barton in his hour of need? 

David Barton's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today has not been a good day for David Barton.  First, NPR ran a devastating piece exposing his biased and shoddy scholarship and now the publisher of his book "The Jefferson Lies" has announced that it is pulling his book

The Thomas Nelson publishing company has decided to cease publication and distribution of David Barton’s controversial book, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.” (See “The David Barton controversy,” Aug. 8.)

Casey Francis Harrell, Thomas Nelson’s director of corporate communications, told me the publishing house “was contacted by a number of people expressing concerns about [The Jefferson Lies].” The company began to evaluate the criticisms, Harrell said, and “in the course of our review learned that there were some historical details included in the book that were not adequately supported. Because of these deficiencies we decided that it was in the best interest of our readers to stop the publication and distribution.”

Barton is currently preaching out in Hawaii, but we imagine he is not getting much rest or relaxation as he deals with this string of bad news.

Maybe he will be a little more careful about making demonstrably false statements from now on.

Ten Demonstrably False Claims Made by David Barton

In honor of all the attention that David Barton's shoddy scholarship is currently receiving, we thought we'd take some time to pull together a list of some of the demonstrably false statements that he has made in just the last several months alone.

Keep in mind, these are not simply crazy things that he has said - like life begins before conception or that Jesus opposed the Minimum Wage or that the government should regulate gay sex - but rather verifiably false claims that can be easily refuted with a basic Google search.

  • The Southern Poverty Law Center called him a "domestic terrorist." Nope.
  • There are no grocery stores within the city of Detroit. Wrong.
  • An elementary school student was yelled at for praying before lunch.  Didn't happen.
  • Mentions of Jesus were banned at military funerals.  Not quite.
  • Hate Crimes legislation was designed to imprison pastors. Please.
  • Abstinence will make you richer.  Guess again.
  • God created our system of elected government. Nice try.
  • The Constitution quotes the Bible "verbatim." Huh?
  • Again claiming the Constitution quotes the Bible "verbatim."  Still not true.
  • Many of the clauses in the Constitution are "direct quotations out of the Bible." Are you seeing a pattern here?

Those are just ten examples we pulled together from recent months, though there are several others we could have also included.

It is too bad that Barton refuses to engage in debates because it would be nice to see him defend his own claims instead of always just complaining that people are attacking him because of his Christian faith.

NPR Looks Into David Barton's Bunk History, Refusal to Respond to Criticism

NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty profiled David Barton yesterday on “All Things Considered,” and in the devastating profile debunked many of the claims made by the right-wing pseudo-historian. Messiah College professor John Fea pointed out in the story that Barton, who will be a “a Texas representative to the GOP Platform Committee” at the upcoming Republican National Convention,” is a political activist who tries to present himself as a historian: “He’s in this for activism. He's in this for policy. He’s in this to make changes to our culture.”

In typical Barton fashion, he said any of his critics only “come after me” because “they disagree with me, and my religious faith, and my view on America.” Of course, Fea and other Barton critics quoted in the story, Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton and Rev. Ray McMillian of Cincinnati’s Oasis Church, are evangelical Christians. But since Barton can’t defend his own discredited “research,” he simply plays the victim and says he is being attacked for his patriotism and Christian beliefs.

Liberty University Law School dean Mat Staver, who made Barton required reading for his students, said he “would put him against any historian and would have no question who would win in a debate.”

Of course, Hagerty notes, Barton “has a policy of not debating anyone.”

Right Wing Watch readers will be familiar with many of Barton’s claims presented in the piece, including his assertion that the Constitution quotes the Bible “verbatim”:

“We looked up every citation Barton said was from the Bible, but not one of them checked out,” Hagerty writes.

Or that the Founders “already had the entire debate on creation-evolution,” long before Charles Darwin was born:

NPR also covered Barton’s belief that he will influence the minds of America’s future leaders through his work shaping in the Texas textbooks, “it’s in the pipe coming down”:

That is also the dream of Mike Huckabee, who wished that “all Americans will be forced, forced — at gunpoint, no less — to listen to every David Barton message”:

Todd Akin, Darling of the Religious Right, Wins Senate Primary

Missouri congressman Todd Akin eked out a win last night over  two rivals in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, adding to a list of Religious Right backed candidates winning competitive primaries, including Richard Mourdock of Indiana and Ted Cruz of Texas. Akin is more than just a dogmatic conservative-- he's a darling of the Religious Right, earning perfect 100% ratings from the Family Research Council, National Right to Life and Concerned Women for America . Akin has also worked Religious Right with activists Tony Perkins, Janet Porter, Rick Scarborough, Tom DeLay and David Barton, who even recorded an ad on his behalf.

Akin gained notoriety after he told Perkins on his radio show that “at the heart of liberalism really is a hatred for God,” a remark he refused to apologize for.

The congressman is also a virulent opponent of LGBT rights, pushing a ban on same-sex unions of any form in the military and as Think Progress noted, has co-sponsored nearly every piece of anti-gay legislation in the current House session. He thinks that “the liberal agenda has infiltrated our military” due to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and tried to overturn Washington, D.C.’s marriage equality law.

He took to the House Floor in 2006 with a warning that “anybody who knows something about the history of the human race knows that there is no civilization which has condoned homosexual marriage widely and openly that has long survived.”

In a documentary for Truth in Action Ministries, he claimed that the left “will snuff out the light of freedom” by “rewriting the history of America,” and warned that the health care reform law is “an unbiblical threat” that violated the Ten Commandments. Akin even believes that Medicare is unconstitutional, wants to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy and the Environmental Protect Agency, wants to impeach judges for “making decisions not based on the U.S. Constitution,” and likens student loan reform to “stage three cancer.”

Akin said that Thanksgiving should be remembered as a day to renounce “unbiblical” socialism and that the U.S. should use the Pilgrim society as a model because the Pilgrims used the Bible as a “blueprint” for economic, education and government policies.

He consistently pushes anti-choice legislation and even said that legal abortion is the reason for illegal immigration: “If you think about it we’ve aborted however many – 40 million – Americans through abortion. If those Americans had not been aborted, we might have more laborers here. Consequently, America is not reproducing itself in terms of our own internal repopulation of having a bunch of kids.”

Akin thanked God and Mike Huckabee for his primary success in his victory statement:

First, I want to give thanks to God our Creator who has blessed this campaign, heard your prayers, and answered them with victory. Through the months, we have seen frequent instances of His blessing and are reminded that with Him all things are possible!

I also wanted to thank Governor Mike Huckabee, who was with us from the start, stayed by our side, lifted us up in prayer, and tonight celebrates with us in victory. Governor Huckabee – I thank you, my family thanks you, and our volunteers thank you for your dedication to our campaign and devotion to saving the America we love.

From the depths of my heart I want to thank every single volunteer who served in our campaign and brought our winning message to the people of Missouri. Tonight one campaign ends…tomorrow another begins.

Is David Barton's Sloppy Scholarship Starting to Catch up With Him?

Pseudo-historian David Barton has been receiving significant criticism from conservative and evangelical historians who are aghast at his numerous and deliberate misrepresentations of American history, and yet Barton continues to claim that the only people who find trouble with his work are members of the liberal, secular, anti-American elite who just don’t like him exposing the “truth” about the founders. Barton said that he is like Jesus and chooses to ignore his critics, even though he usually attacks or sues them.

But as Barton’s star continues to rise in right-wing media and the Republican Party, his work has received even more scrutiny.

Today the evangelical publication WORLD Magazine ran a story about how a leading conservative Catholic became “increasingly troubled about Barton’s writings,” finding them to be full of “embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.” The activist was none other than Jay Richards, who this year co-authored a conservative polemical with televangelist (and Barton-ally) James Robison and has also spoken alongside Glenn Beck, one of the top endorsers of Barton’s work. Richards even shared the stage with Barton at the Religious Right rally Beck and Robison co-hosted in Texas last week, Under God: Indivisible.

Richards said he spoke to ten “conservative Christian professors to assess Barton’s work,” and the responses were not good, as many criticized Barton for not only his much criticized book on Thomas Jefferson but also his sweeping claims about the founders at large.

Jay W. Richards, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and author with James Robison of Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late, spoke alongside Barton at Christian conferences as recently as last month. Richards says in recent months he has grown increasingly troubled about Barton’s writings, so he asked 10 conservative Christian professors to assess Barton’s work.

Their response was negative. Some examples: Glenn Moots of Northwood University wrote that Barton in The Jefferson Lies is so eager to portray Jefferson as sympathetic to Christianity that he misses or omits obvious signs that Jefferson stood outside “orthodox, creedal, confessional Christianity.” A second professor, Glenn Sunshine of Central Connecticut State University, said that Barton’s characterization of Jefferson’s religious views is “unsupportable.” A third, Gregg Frazer of The Master’s College, evaluated Barton’s video America’s Godly Heritage and found many of its factual claims dubious, such as a statement that “52 of the 55 delegates at the Constitutional Convention were ‘orthodox, evangelical Christians.’” Barton told me he found that number in M.E. Bradford’s A Worthy Company.



A full-scale, newly published critique of Barton is coming from Professors Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter of Grove City College, a largely conservative Christian school in Pennsylvania. Their book Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President (Salem Grove Press), argues that Barton “is guilty of taking statements and actions out of context and simplifying historical circumstances.” For example, they charge that Barton, in explaining why Jefferson did not free his slaves, “seriously misrepresents or misunderstands (or both) the legal environment related to slavery.”



Richards emphasizes that he and the scholars he consulted about Barton are politically conservative evangelicals or Catholics. They largely agree with Barton’s belief that Christian principles played a major role in America’s founding, but Richards argues that Barton’s books and videos are full of “embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.”
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David Barton Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 09/04/2013, 3:05pm
Last week, we posted a clip of Bryan Fischer explaining that liberals can never be wise because they do not have the "fear of the Lord" that is required for true wisdom. It comes as no surprise that a similar view is shared by David Barton, who claims that our entire educational system was based on the assertion from Proverbs that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." As such, Barton said, if someone wants to be a good scientist or mathematician, they must first have the proper "fear of the Lord." But in recent decades, Barton lamented, education... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/28/2013, 1:57pm
Rep. John Fleming was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today, discussing his effort to prevent the military from creating positions for atheist chaplains. After Fleming alleged that the proposal itself was nothing more than an effort to drive religion out of the military, David Barton blamed the entire thing on the Supreme Court, delivering a convoluted argument alleging that atheism is itself a religion and therefore should be banned from public school in the name of separation of church and state: The Supreme Court opened the door to all of this. Back in decisions like U.S. vs... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/26/2013, 10:41am
As we noted several months ago, Glenn Beck has transformed his The Blaze network into a public policy organization dedicated to fighting the implementation of Common Core because he is convinced that it is going to lead to a 1984-like learning environment where students are strapped to computers and monitored at all times. Leading this effort has been none other than David Barton, who, after hosting another gathering of anti-Common Core actvists and state legislators at Beck's headquarters, sat in for Beck on his television program on Friday for a hour-long program dedicated to Common... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 08/19/2013, 2:06pm
John Stemberger was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today, discussing the new anti-gay alternative to the Boy Scouts that will be announced later this Fall. During the discussion, Stemberger stated that with the formation of this new organization, something good will finally result from the vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay scouts, likening it to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. "Sometimes things have to die," Stemberger said, "before there's a new birth and it comes back better than before. And, not to extend the analogy too far, but even... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/14/2013, 2:10pm
Today on "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green hosted Ray Comfort, who was on to promote his new "God vs Evolution" film, which he claims utterly destroys the theory of evolution. Following the conversation, Barton commented that atheists are really angry about the film and are, in fact, pretty angry in general about all sorts of things, which doesn't make any sense.  After all, Barton said, he doesn't believe in UFOs or Bigfoot, but he is not out there trying to shut down people who do: You challenge what they believe about evolution and they... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/14/2013, 12:02pm
As we noted several months ago, David Barton is now leading the fight about Common Core and, in that capacity, recently sat down for a discussion about it in Oklahoma where he made the standard, utterly unfounded claims about how Common Core would lead to the use of iris scanners on students who will be implanted with biometric tracking devices. But it wasn't only where Common Core would lead that Barton was worried about, as he also warned that the content of the curriculum is heavily focused on indoctrinating students by teaching them about things like global warming. Barton insisted... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Monday 07/29/2013, 2:16pm
The guest on "WallBuilders Live" today was Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel church in California who came on to warn the audience about SB 323, the "Youth Equality Act," which would require youth nonprofit organizations operating in the state to comply with California’s nondiscrimination laws. That, of course, is an outrage to folks like David Barton, who warned that gay activists don't just want equality, they want to dominate and force everyone else to accept their views, which is something that Christians would never do: Notice that this bill is pointed... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 07/25/2013, 11:56am
On several occasions, Glenn Beck has made it clear that he does not share the Religious Right's panicked belief that marriage equality will destroy the nation and even stated that the push for equality is winning "because the principle of it is is right." So it was a little odd that he handed over his television program last night to David Barton and Rabbi Daniel Lapin who spent the entire hour making the case that, in fact, marriage equality will destroy the nation and that government has no right to change God's definition of marriage. While Barton claimed that the... MORE >