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:
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.
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.