One of the most interesting aspects of monitoring David Barton, the right-wing pseudo-historian who is currently running one of Ted Cruz’s presidential Super PACs, is watching how the claims that he makes become more and more dishonest as the misinformation that he spreads goes unchecked by his audience and associates.
A few weeks ago, Barton appeared on Glenn Beck’s television program to promote a new survey conducted by Christian pollster George Barna, which they all falsely claimed had found that the vast majority of churchgoers wanted to hear their pastors preach against things like legal abortion and gay marriage.
As we pointed out at the time, “92% of the total respondents” of Barna’s survey were conservative Christian activists, meaning that it really only represented the views of “spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views.” But despite the fact that this survey was absurdly biased and represented only the views of a narrow segment of the Christian population, Barton has been hard at work falsely claiming that it represents the views of all churchgoers as he seeks to encourage pastors to start preaching on the issues that are central to his right-wing political agenda.
Last night, Barton appeared on Beck’s television program again to misleadingly promote this same survey, which he did this time by claiming that it shows that churchgoers are “unanimous” in wanting to hear these sorts of right-wing issues preached from their pulpits.
Barton, without a hint of irony, stated that conservatives tend to remain quiet on contentious cultural issues because “they’re concerned about truth” and often don’t feel that they know enough to be able to comment intelligently on such issues, unlike liberals, who don’t care about the truth at all and “will just throw stuff out all the time.”
He then proceeded to explain his theory that 20 percent of the population will “oppose everything all of the time,” which means that if a survey finds that 80 percent of people support something, then it is essentially unanimous. As such, he said that Barna’s survey, which supposedly found that upwards of 80 percent of all churchgoers want to hear anti-abortion and ant-gay sermons, means that American congregations are unanimous on these positions.
“It’s a landslide,” he said. “When I see a poll that has 80 percent, that tells me it is unanimous. You’;re going to have 20 percent of the people who don’t think the sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west, so you’ll always have 20 percent who are loudmouths on the other side. When you get 80 percent, you’re talking unanimous.”