Jay Richards

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.”

Glenn Beck Exposes the 'Scary Left'

Glenn Beck appeared alongside James Robison, Jay Richards and Jim Garlow at Garlow’s Skyline Church in San Diego, California, where he warned that America is like a “child being choked to death” because the “scary left” has been “uncorked” and given “free rein.” While holding up a copy of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, he said the left seeks to burn America “down to the ground.” Later in the talk, Beck said that the left wants to eliminate sexual mores to turn people into slaves and have government “rule over us.”

Watch highlights from the panel here:

Jay Richards claims Marriage Equality is Incompatible with 'Individual Rights' and 'Limited Government'

Intelligent Design activist Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute, who recently coauthored the book Indivisible with televangelist James Robison, appeared on Phyllis Schlafly’s radio program Eagle Forum Live this week where he argued that those who believe in individual rights and limited government should oppose the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Richards maintained that stopping the legalization of same-sex marriage is needed to defend the rights of individuals, and argued that since marriage is “outside the jurisdiction of the state” same-sex couples cannot take part in it.

Richards: We argue that there are other pre-political realities besides just the individual that a limited government has to recognize and marriage is one of those realities, it’s a universal human institution, we find it in every time and place, in every culture, every religious tradition has this basic concept of marriage as between one man and one woman with a special connection to children. So a limited government is going to recognize that institution rather than try to redefine it, so that’s why we think, in fact, if you believe in limited government you need to believe in laws that protect marriage as it actually is historically. The institution of marriage is one of those things that is outside the jurisdiction of the state, so quite apart from the consequences, we think, if you believe that government should recognize individual rights, then you need to believe that the government is also going to recognize the rights and realities of this institution which it can’t dictate.

Robison Declares War Against 'Secular Theocracy'

James Robison (aka "God's Hit Man") and Jay Richards, a climate change-denying, Intelligent Design-promoting Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, have teamed up to write a new book entitled "Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It's Too Late" on how Christians can rise up and save America.

For the last few days, Robison and Richards have been promoting it on Robison's "Life Today" television program where, yesterday, Robison threw down the gauntlet, telling secularists that he was trying to save America so that they would be able to "keep preaching your nonsense," because in a world that doesn't believe in God, "you won't have the freedom." 

But even though Robison may be willing to let them preach their nonsense, he most certainly will not grant them "the liberty and the license to continually assault the word of God, to assault marriage, to assault family, and to literally take your secular theocracy and cram it down our throats":

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Jay Richards Posts Archive

Brian Tashman, Tuesday 08/07/2012, 5:20pm
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-... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 04/24/2012, 11:45am
Glenn Beck appeared alongside James Robison, Jay Richards and Jim Garlow at Garlow’s Skyline Church in San Diego, California, where he warned that America is like a “child being choked to death” because the “scary left” has been “uncorked” and given “free rein.” While holding up a copy of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, he said the left seeks to burn America “down to the ground.” Later in the talk, Beck said that the left wants to eliminate sexual mores to turn people into slaves and have government “rule over us... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 04/11/2012, 3:50pm
Intelligent Design activist Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute, who recently coauthored the book Indivisible with televangelist James Robison, appeared on Phyllis Schlafly’s radio program Eagle Forum Live this week where he argued that those who believe in individual rights and limited government should oppose the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Richards maintained that stopping the legalization of same-sex marriage is needed to defend the rights of individuals, and argued that since marriage is “outside the jurisdiction of the state” same-sex couples cannot take... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Wednesday 02/22/2012, 2:25pm
James Robison (aka "God's Hit Man") and Jay Richards, a climate change-denying, Intelligent Design-promoting Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, have teamed up to write a new book entitled "Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It's Too Late" on how Christians can rise up and save America. For the last few days, Robison and Richards have been promoting it on Robison's "Life Today" television program where, yesterday, Robison threw down the gauntlet, telling secularists that he was trying to save America so that they would be able to... MORE >