David Barton

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.”

Why is David Barton Ducking Debates About his Work?

Last year, Warren Throckmorton began writing a series of blog posts about the false claims made by David Barton about Thomas Jefferson, which eventually culminated in a new book he co-authored called "Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President."

At the time when Throckmorton was just beginning this undertaking, he was invited to appear on a radio program hosted by Paul Edwards to discuss his work alongside Barton himself, who had initially agreed to appear on the program but then reneged once he learned that he'd actually have to defend his work against someone who could challenge his false claims and set the record straight. Barton eventually agreed to appear on the program but refused to debate Throckmorton directly, insisting that he would only speak with Edwards.

Throckmorton has not been the only one working to debunk Barton's brand of right-wing pseudo-history, as history professor John Fea has also taken on Barton's work in both his book "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?" as well as on his blog.

Today, Fea reported that he and Barton were invited to appear on a radio program hosted by Jerry Newcombe of Truth in Action Ministries last night to discuss Barton's work ... and once again, when faced with the prospect of having to defend his work against someone capable of setting the record straight, Barton backed out

Newcombe didn't waste any time bringing up David Barton's new book on Thomas Jefferson. He thought that Barton's argument in the book was on the mark and he questioned why I had called him a "pseudo-historian." He reminded me that "pseudo" was a derivative of the Greek word for "liar."

I responded to Newcombe by saying some of the same things I have written about numerous times here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home. I think Barton's work is problematic for two reasons.

First, he often gets his facts wrong. (On this point I gave a plug for Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter's e-book, Getting Jefferson Right). Newcombe defended Barton by pointing to the numerous "unconfirmed quotations" that Barton put on his website after he was called out by historians. He saw this as a mark of Barton's integrity. I wonder if Barton will do the same thing about some of his factual inaccuracies and misleading interpretations in The Jefferson Lies.

Second, Barton misrepresents the past by manipulating it for his own partisan political views. Historians need to be somewhat removed from the political process so that they can interpret the past in a disinterested and nonpartisan way. If they get too broiled in promoting causes they lose some of their integrity as historians.

...

I was originally supposed to appear on the show with David Barton, but Barton backed out.

UPDATE: Fea clarifies that Barton was not necessarily scheduled to be on at the same time as him, but rather later in the program:

I think I should clarify. I was never scheduled to be on the Newcombe show AT THE SAME TIME as Barton. He was going to follow me. In other words, we were never scheduled to be on the air together. All I know is that I was contacted by a publicist (who was contacted by Newcombe) who asked me to appear on the show. I was told that Barton would be on the air following my interview with Newcombe. Then a day or two later I was told that Barton would not be on the show. I should say that this has happened more than once. Draw your own conclusions.

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. 

David Barton, Jon Stewart, and the Myth of Raymond Raines

Last night, David Barton was the guest on "The Daily Show," ostensibly to discuss his new book "The Jefferson Lies." And while Barton did discuss his book a bit at the beginning of the interview, most of the extended discussion revolved around the intersection of faith and public policy and on issues like public prayer and the Obama administration's contraception mandate.

During the first part of the interview (starting around the 5:00 mark,) Jon Stewart made the point that, looking at things from a non-Christian or non-religious perspective, Christianity seems pretty safe in America and rather ubiquitous, contrary to Barton's claims that it is constantly under attack.

Barton responded that that was not necessarily the case, especially when it comes to public policy issues, where he cited an incident in St. Louis where a five year old student was supposedly yanked out of his chair and yelled at by a teacher merely for praying before eating his lunch in the school cafeteria:

Stewart was justifiably skeptical of this story, but Barton insisted that it had happened and that the school principal also yelled at the student for praying, which prompted Stewart to declare that, if that was the case, then those school officials are "idiots" and the discussion moved on. 

But Stewart's initial skepticism was correct, though it helps to be rather well-versed in Religious Right mythology in order to recognize the incident that Barton was citing.

This myth involved a student named Raymond Raines and it has been around since 1994 when Newt Gingrich and various Religious Right leaders frist started making Raymond's sorry tale the centerpiece of their campaign to pass a constitutional amendment protecting the right to expressions of faith ... despite the fact that it wasn't true:

The St. Louis case concerned 10-year-old Raymond Raines who, his mother said, was given detention because he sought to pray over his lunch. When lawyers for the Rutherford Institute heard about the case, they filed a lawsuit against the principal and issued a press release denouncing the school system.

"I know it sounds bizarre, but we have substantial evidence to believe it happened," said Timothy Belz, the St. Louis lawyer working with the Rutherford Institute.

On NBC-TV's "Meet the Press," Gingrich described the situation as "a real case about a real child. Should it be possible for the government to punish you if you say grace over your lunch? That's what we used to think of Russian behavior when they were the Soviet Union."

But school officials said the incident never happened. Rather, they said, Raymond was disciplined for fighting in the cafeteria.

"I can tell you he was not reprimanded for praying," said Kenneth Brostron, the school's lawyer. "Do you think it makes sense that the teachers would look around the cafeteria and target the one student who was praying quietly at his seat?"

So despite the fact that this incident took place nearly twenty years ago - and never actually happened - David Barton is still citing it today as proof that Christianity is under attack in America.

Next Religious Right Prayer Event in the Capitol's Statuary Hall

Yesterday, Pastor Dan Cummins spoke to Chelsen Vicari of Concerned Women for America to publicize a May 8th prayer event, hosted by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and endorsed by Speaker John Boehner, in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall that Cummins said was inspired by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s The Response:

CWA is sponsoring a similar event called “Prayer in the People’s House,” and Cummis mentioned that David Barton, Jim Garlow, Harry Jackson, Alveda King and Doug Stringer, all of whom also participated in The Response, will be leading the prayer meeting in the Capitol:

Cummins: As part of the activities for National Day of Prayer, we are inviting members of the Congress, of the House and Senate, and their staff, to participate in this prayer event in probably the most sacred hall of the Capitol, Statuary Hall.

Vicari: That sounds fabulous, in conjunction to this event there is an event that our listeners can actually partake in and that’s Prayer in the People’s House, can you tell us about that?

Cummins: While we are having this event in the Capitol, in fact, let me first tell you some of the speakers that will be participating in this event for our members of Congress. Dr. Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church and also Renewing American Leadership will be with us, Bishop Harry Jackson from High Impact Leadership, Dr. Doug Stringer of Somebody Cares International, Dr. Alveda King from Priest for Life, and everybody knows historian David Barton.

Barton of course is best known for his revisionist, pro-Republican writings about American history, Garlow and Jackson for their staunch anti-gay activism, King for her role in the anti-choice movement, and Stringer, who was heavily involved in putting together The Response, for blaming the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on abortion rights and homosexuality.

Barton Suggests We Can't Cure AIDS because it is Punishment for Sin

As we have noted before, Friday episodes of "WallBuilders Live" are generally dedicated to spreading what David Barton and Rick Green consider to be "good news from around the nation the media doesn't report."

We have also pointed out before that Barton believes that everything in our society ought to be governed by what is in the Bible, even our medical practices ... and today Barton returned to this topic, claiming that science cannot create a cure or vaccine for AIDS and that abortion causes breast cancer and mental health problems, proclaiming that to be "good news" because it proves that the Bible is correct:

There's a passage that I love in Romans 1 - I don't love what the topic is - but it talks about homosexuality and it says that they will receive in their bodies the penalties of their behavior. And the Bible again, it's right every time, and studies keep proving that and that's why AIDS has been something they haven't discovered a cure for or a vaccine for, because it's the fastest self-mutating virus known to mankind. Every time they just about get a vaccine discovered for it, it transmutes into something new and they have to start over again. And that goes to what God says, hey you're going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.

The same thing goes with abortion and now we're getting studies, and these are somewhat negative studies, but they're positive studies in that they prove that the Bible is right. So I want to read you the results of a couple of new studies that are out. Here's a new study that out, now this is the second study that shows that women who have abortions double the risk of mental health problems ... Now that's not good news; the good news in this is God says "don't kill unborn babies."

Now, along the same thing, here's another study, a new study now shows those who have abortions nearly triple the risk of breast cancer. It's bad news, but it's good news in the sense that it does show that the Bible is right. When God says don't kill those unborn babies, there's a reason. And He tells us in Deuteronomy 6:24 and Joshua 1:8, everything I tell you to do is for your good, for your benefit, so that you can prosper and you can have success. So when he tells us not to do this stuff, whether it's homosexual behavior or whether its abortion, hey it's for our benefit he tells us not to do it and now studies prove that to be true.

Barton: Solution to Concerns About Muslims in Congress is to Convert them to Christianity

Last month, we wrote a post featuring a video clip from a presentation that David Barton delivered just before Memorial Day back in 2007 in which he made the case that God was pro-war and even claimed that the United States was one more bombing run away from winning the war in Vietnam when our troops were withdrawn.

Today, we stumbled upon a similar presentation Barton delivered at Calvary Chapel in California in 2009 on the anniversary of 9/11.  In it, Barton was making his standard claim that War on Terror actually goes back to the 1800s when the US was engaged in conflict with Barbary pirates, whom Barton claims were really “Muslim terrorists.” 

During the presentation, Barton mentioned the election of Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and took issue [PDF] with the claim that Ellison is the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, claiming that John Randolph of Virginia, who served in Congress from 1799-1834, was really the first Muslim to be elected.  And Barton insisted that though it is worrisome to have a Muslim in Congress when we are engaged in the War on Terror, the solution is simply to convert Ellison to Christianity, just as Randolph was reportedly converted by Francis Scott Key:

You may remember back in January of 2005 [sic], Keith Ellison from the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota was sworn in to Congress on the Quran - he refused to take the oath on the Bible, said I'm going to take it on the Quran. He was reported to be the first Muslim member on Congress ... Now it distressed a lot of people that we had a Muslim sworn into Congress at a time of a global war on terror. And it's interesting while the media said he's the first Muslim sworn into Congress, I'm not sure that's the case because if you go back to Founding Father John Randolph of Roanoke ... he said "I hated Christianity and I loved Islam." He made it real clear ...

So here we have a professing Islamic person, Muslim, serving in the House of Representatives? What do we do with that? Real simple. Francis Scott Key knew exactly what to do: he converted him and led him to Christ. Real simple way to take care of the thing.

Francis Scott Key did the Star Spangled Banner, but he was an outspoken Christian, he was a strong evangelist and he led John Randolph of Roanoke to Jesus Christ and he became a firm and committed Christian and that's the simplest way to handle the concerns that people may have about who is serving in Congress. So, get another Francis Scott Key.

John Hagee Claims Saudis are 'Poisoning the Minds of America's Young People' by financing 'Secular Universities'

Televangelist John Hagee stopped by WallBuilders Live today where the preacher and conservative activist told hosts David Barton and Rick Green that universities are “poisoning the minds of America’s young people” as a result of Saudi financing of “anti-American” professors. He went on to claim that the US is facing decline because of prohibitions on public school-organized prayer and legal abortion as America “in the ’60s turned our back on the very foundations of spiritual and moral greatness that established this nation and we have been going downhill ever since”:

Hagee: The American people simply do not realize that whenever they pull up to the gas pump and pay, what they’re paying, that much of their money is going straight to Saudi Arabia who’s sending it back to our universities and to interests here who are building mosques and who are sponsoring professors at America’s universities who are anti-American and anti-Israel and who are poisoning the minds of America’s young people at secular universities about the exceptionalism of America, about our destiny as a great people and about our future.



All people need to do is sit down and consider how far we have fallen in the last forty or fifty years. For instance, in 1948 the first initiatives were made called separation of church and state and then in 1960 came the edict that you cannot pray in school, and we thought that would never happen, but it has happened. We now have federal judges threatening to send children who pray at graduations to jail and then came the abortion issue, oh that will not happen, but it did happen, now we have the systematic state supported murder of 4,000 children every day in America’s abortion mills. We in the ’60s turned our back on the very foundations of spiritual and moral greatness that established this nation and we have been going downhill ever since. Now we are opening our society to the concept that Jehovah God is one of many Gods and I assure you the word of God says ‘if you deny me before men I will deny you before my Father.’ ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,’ there is one God, he’s Jehovah God, the God of Israel, Isaac and Jacob, and there is no other.

Romney Successfully Wooing the Religious Right with Promises of Right Wing Judges

Last week, we unveiled a campaign featuring a website, web ad, and report exposing Mitt Romney’s dangerous agenda for America’s courts, as demonstrated by the fact that Robert Bork has been tapped to lead Romney's constitutional and judicial advisory team.

As the report noted, Romney's choice of judicial advisors "spells serious trouble for the American people" ...  and it is no surprise that it is also music to the ear of the Religious Right.

On today's episode of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green invited Jordan Sekulow, who worked for Romney back in 2008, to make the case as to why the Religious Right can and should support Romney.  While Green was skeptical at first, Barton needed no convincing because Jay Sekulow (Jordan's father) was going to be involved in picking Romney's judges and that was all he needed to hear:

This has not been a hard thing for evangelicals to get over and support Romney and it shouldn't be a hard thing. When Romney ran four years ago, he wasn't my first choice but the reason I never got really worried about Romney was Jay Sekulow. And I tell you he has been very intimately involved in helping get folks like Alito and Roberts on the court. And four years ago, I heard that Sekulow is the guy that Romney has tapped to choose his judges and I said "that's it." I don't have any trouble with Romney because Isaiah 1:26 tells me the righteousness of nation is determined, not by the legislature, but by its judges. And if Romney's got folks like Sekulow picking his judges, I can live with that in a heartbeat.

When Jordan Sekulow joined the program, he made the case that conservatives should support Romney because he has pledged to nominate judges like Samuel Alito and John Roberts and has filled his campaign with people who are going to keep his feet to the fire:

Green: How important is it for us to recognize that if Romney is president, who has his ear? Who are the people that will consider those judges versus another four years of Obama if he gets another quarter of the judiciary appointed?

Sekulow: You've already got people who are long-time Romney supporters like my dad, who has argued thirteen cases before the Supreme Court and was very involved with President Bush - he was one of four people that were involved in the nomination process in the Bush White House - and so if you like Alito and Roberts, these are the kind of people. You have Judge Bork, who was filibustered by the Senate, voted down by the Senate actually, and he is on the Romney committee.

...

You want Kagan and Sotomayor, and I was at the Supreme Court during the 'Obamacare' oral arguments, you probably don't want more of that, or do you want more Alito and Roberts? And he's made those pledges; I think we need to come to the campaign say "alright, you made these pledges, we're going to keep you honest to them and keep your feet to the fire."

Beck: Barton will Receive 'a lot of the Credit in the Afterlife' for Saving America

Last week, David Barton was once again a featured guest on Glenn Beck's program, this time promoting his new book "The Jefferson Lies."

In introducing the segment, Beck said to Barton that "when we save the country, a lot of the credit in the afterlife is going to go to you," while Barton gave all the credit to God, suggesting that God has placed these historical documents in his hands because "He wants it saved and preserved for the country":

As an aside, I found this clip via professor John Fea's blog, who commented that he didn't "even know where to begin with this video" and lamented the success that Barton has had promoting his false history:

Barton's book is currently ranked #31 at Amazon. It is really sad that the American past is being manipulated for political propaganda in this way. I say this as an historian and an evangelical Christian.

Fea is an Associate Professor of American History at Messiah College and the author of the excellent book "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction" which I  wrote about several times last year, and his comment raises a question that I have been wondering about for a long time, which is why bona fide historians seem so unwilling to take a stand against Barton and his partisan manipulation of history. 

For academic historians to generally remain silent as Barton's brand of pseudo-history becomes increasingly popular seems, to me, to represent a serious disservice to their field of expertise. Barton's brand of partisan history remains popular, at least in part, because actual historian so rarely speak out against Barton's flagrant misuse and misrepresentation of history.

Fea laments that Barton's book is so popular while simultaneously saying he doesn't even know what to say about this video.  Those two things are not unrelated. 

If historians, and especially evangelical historians like Fea, remain reluctant to get involved in the task of debunking and discrediting Barton and his pseudo-history, they can expect to continue seeing books by the likes of Beck and Barton at the top of the best-sellers list.

UPDATE:  Fea has responded to this post and makes several fair points in defense of his own efforts to debunk Barton's phony history.

David Barton Takes Credit for Obama's Easter Message

Back in February, David Barton released a document declaring that President Obama was "America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President" and today, on his "WallBuilders Live" radio program, Barton credited that document with pressuring President Obama to release a "powerful Easter address." Barton claims that the White House Press Secretary was asked about his document and suggests that it was that "embarrassing situation" that forced the administration to issue the Easter greeting earlier this month:

Barton: A few weeks ago we put out a piece through WallBuilders that was entitled "America’s Most Biblically-Hostile President." And unbeknownst to me, that actually made it to the White House. And so at the White House press conference, they actually asked the Press Secretary about it ... and asked "what do you have to say about this list?" What list? And they went down the list and the Press Secretary [said] "I didn't realize all those things had happened." And they said "so, does that mean no comment?" [And the Press Secretary said] "I'll have to look more at this."

And so that was a few weeks ago. And so lo and behold, what happens this past Easter was that President Obama came out with a powerful Easter address, I mean a Jesus Christ, Bible .., this was like Billy Graham ... We haven't had that in three and a half years.

Green: Amazing how, in an election year after being called on the carpet for how anti-Christian they've been ...

Barton ... I don't care why it came, it came. And the reason is, a hundred years after you and I are dead, if the Lord hasn't come back, this is going to still be there in the presidential records for other generations to read and see about Jesus Christ and the Resurrection and what it means on Easter ... It is good news and if it took an embarrassing situation in a press conference to do it, who cares.

Like so many other claims that Barton make, he rarely provides any evidence or details to support his assertions, which makes them difficult to verify.  Not surprisingly, we have been unable to find any reports or transcripts to support his statement that the White House was ever asked about his document, much less commented on it.  That, of course, doesn't mean it never happened, so if anyone out there happens to have any evidence that it did, we'd love to see it, so drop us a line or send us a Tweet.

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David Barton Posts Archive

Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 08/14/2013, 1:10pm
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, 11:02am
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, 1:16pm
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, 10:56am
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 >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 07/23/2013, 4:33pm
Peter Montgomery @ Huffington Post: Ted Cruz Pushing Religious Right Lies About Marriage Equality. TFN Insider: C’mon, Texas. Evolve Already. Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Virginia's McDonnell repays loans, says he's 'deeply sorry/' David Badash @ The New Civil Rights Movement: AFA’s New Christian Coffee Company Proselytizes In Uganda, Funds Anti-Gay Hate In US. Luke Brinker @ Equality Matters: The Blaze Imagines That Marriage Equality Will Lead To Criminalization Of Anti-Gay Speech. Warren Throckmorton: David Barton Says 4 Professors... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Tuesday 07/23/2013, 10:39am
It has been no secret that there have been some among the Religious Right who have raised concerns about the prominent role that Glenn Beck has been playing within the movement because he is a practitioner of the Mormon faith.  And given David Barton's close ties to Beck, Barton has also received criticism for defending Beck, often by claiming that if you judge Beck simply by the "fruits" of his works and not his label, he is really a Christian. While Beck himself openly embraces his Mormon faith and has even dedicated entire programs to defending it, Barton continues to... MORE >
Peter Montgomery, Wednesday 07/17/2013, 10:02am
Senators and presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will head to Iowa this week as featured speakers at a closed-door event for conservative pastors that has been organized by David Lane, an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.” He... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Friday 07/12/2013, 9:01am
A few weeks ago, End Times radio host Rick Wiles did an entire program on how Glenn Beck's unique brand of  Islamo-Mormon deistic universalism was dangerously leading his mostly Christian audience into heresy. Earlier this week, Wiles returned to the topic with the help of anti-Mormon activist Bill Keller as the two spent an hour attacking David Barton and others who have worked and worshiped with Beck as "modern day Judases" who will be held accountable by God for "selling out the gospel for thirty pieces of silver": Beck has really played that same game of... MORE >