Given all the criticism that David Barton has been receiving for his pseudo-scholarship and misrepresentations of history in recent weeks, you would think that he would be making an effort to reign in his tendency to make blatantly false statements … but you would be wrong.
But Barton was giving a presentation at Northwoods Community Church in Illinois over the weekend and made the claim yet again, claiming that those who claim the Constitution doesn’t quote the Bible are just biblically illiterate:
If you will take the Constitution in one hand and read its language and take a Bible in the other hand and read it, you’ll say “wow, that’s a direct quotation out of a Bible verse.” Yeah, exactly. If you’ll look through the Constitution, you’ll find so many direct quotations right out of Bible verses because that’s what they put in the document.
Now today we’re often told, on no, the Constitution is a secular document, it’s a godless document. When people tell me that, I know that they’re biblically illiterate, they don’t recognize Bible verses. If you read the content of that and you know the Bible, you’ll say “hey, that’s a direct quote out of Ezra 7:24 and there it is out of Deuteronomy 17:5.” It’s just throughout the Constitution.
Let’s take a look at Barton’s claims and see if any of them hold up:
To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Does that look like a “direct quote” to you? How about this?
No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President.
You shall surely set him king over you, whom the LORD your God shall choose: one from among your brethren shall you set king over you: you may not set a stranger over you, who is not your brother.
Nope. Or this?
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.
On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.
Again, no. What about this one?
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.
The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.
Not even close. Barton also claims the idea for separation of powers came from Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse — who can understand it?
And the concept of the three branches of government came from Isaiah 33:22:
For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us.
And the idea for elections came from Exodus 18:21:
You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
Clearly, not a single one of Barton’s claims holds up, nor does his claim that tax exemption for churches comes out of Ezra 7:24:
You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this house of God.
And that is primarly because the Constitution does not actually say anything about tax exemption for churches.
The ironic thing is that Barton says that people who point out that his claims are patently false are “biblically illiterate” when, in fact, it seems that Barton is both constitutionally and biblically illiterate since he is unable to realize that these passages he cites clearly do not say the things that he claims that they do.