David Barton Continues to Peddle Falsehoods

It has become pretty obvious by this point that David Barton simply does not care that various claims he makes as part of his standard presentation are demonstrably false; he will simply continue to repeat them as fact because they are useful in promoting his right-wing political agenda.

As we have noted five times already, Barton repeatedly insists that the Constitution is filled with multiple "direct quotations" out of the Bible, insisting that anyone who doesn't see them is simply "biblically illiterate;" an assertion he made again while speaking at Fellowship Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan over the weekend:

And if you know the Bible and you know and read the Constitution, you will see Bible verses and Bible phrases all over the Constitution.  It quotes Bible phrases everywhere.  People today say 'oh, it's a godless Constitution, it's a secular document.' If somebody tells me it's a secular document, I know that they're biblically illiterate. They don't recognize a Bible verse when they see one because the Constitution is loaded up with direct quotations out of the Bible.

Of course, the only person who is illiterate here is Barton himself, as he is apparently unable to comprehend what the phrase "direct quoation" since none of the evidence he provides represent, in any way, "direct quotations."

But Barton wasn't done spreading falsehoods in this presentation, as he also repeated the claim that the Supreme Court ended mandatory Bible reading in public schools because it was causing brain damage to students:

[In 1963] the Supreme Court said no more Bible in schools. Now why would they do that?  We have 320 years, literally, of the Bible in school; the Supreme Court itself said this is without any historical precedent.  There is no historical precedent in our history for not having the Bible in schools, but it's time to take it out.  Why would they take it out?

Well, the Court explained why they would take it out.  As a matter of fact, they called on the testimony of a psychologist - they didn't have any historical precedent, they didn't have any legal precedent, but Dr. Solomon Grayzel told them what was going to happen if kids read the Bible in schools and they said 'that's what we thought.' And so here's the quote the Supreme Court pointed out in its decision on why we took the Bible out of schools; they said 'if portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and had been, psychologically harmful to the child.'

We've now discovered the Bible causes brain damage; we can't let you kids suffer brain damage, we've got to stop the brain damage.  That's the reason given by the Supreme Court on why the Bible went out of schools; it was psychological harm to children.

As we pointed out before, if you actually read the ruling in the case, you will find that the Supreme Court did not cite this as the reason for ending mandatory Bible reading in schools, rather the Court was merely describing the road the case had taken through the court system, noting that Dr. Grayzel's testimony had been heard during the initial trial.

Beyond that, Barton intentionally misrepresents the point of Grayzel's testimony itself, which was to note that forced Bible reading from a Christian perspective in public schools was potentially damaging to Jewish students:

Expert testimony was introduced by both appellants and appellees at the first trial, which testimony was summarized by the trial court as follows:

Dr. Solomon Grayzel testified that there were marked differences between the Jewish Holy Scriptures and the Christian Holy Bible, the most obvious of which was the absence of the New Testament in the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Dr. Grayzel testified that portions of the New Testament were offensive to Jewish tradition, and that, from the standpoint of Jewish faith, the concept of Jesus Christ as the Son of God was "practically blasphemous." He cited instances in the New Testament which, assertedly, were not only sectarian in nature but tended to bring the Jews into ridicule or scorn. Dr. Grayzel gave as his expert opinion that such material from the New Testament could be explained to Jewish children in such a way as to do no harm to them. But if portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be, and, in his specific experience with children, Dr. Grayzel observed, had been, psychologically harmful to the child, and had caused a divisive force within the social media of the school.

In both of these cases, it has been demonstrated time and again that the claims Barton is making are irrefutably false, but he simply does not care and continues to repeat them as truth as he delivers his pseudo-historical presentations to conservative audiences all across the country.

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