We have already written a number of posts about David Barton and his tendency to proclaim that if something has any sort of parallel to anything in the Bible, then the inspiration for that thing could only have come from the Bible.
Thus, for Barton, there is no doubt that our three branches of government and separation of powers, our free market system, our due process clause, elections, and all manner of other Constitutional provisions were explicitly based on Biblical models – an idea which is based entirely on the fact that Barton happens to see parallels between them and something he read in the Bible.
Lately, he has been expanding upon this trick and started pulling excerpts out of letters and speeches from the Founding Fathers and proclaiming that, in just a few short lines, the Bible is cited multiple time. Barton did it against recently on Glenn Beck with a letter written by George Washington to Marquis de LaFayette in 1785, claiming that in three sentences, Washington quoted the Bible seven times:
Here is the excerpt from Washington’s letter:
I wish to see the sons and daughters of the world in Peace and busily employed in the more agreeable amusement of fulfilling the first and great commandment, Increase and Multiply: as an encouragement to which we have opened the fertile plains of the Ohio to the poor, the needy and the oppressed of the Earth; any one therefore who is heavy laden, or who wants land to cultivate, may repair thither and abound, as in the Land of promise, with milk and honey: the ways are preparing, and the roads will be made easy, thro— the channels of Potomac and James river.
And here are the Bible verses that Barton claims Washington was explicitly quoting:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
This is the first and great commandment.
Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
A voice cries:“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
For Barton, any similarity in language or imagery between Washington’s letter and anything in the Bible can only mean that Washington was intentionally quoting the Bible.
Thus, mentioning the poor and needy must be a reference to Deuteronomy. And Washington’s use of the phrase “heavy laden” can only mean that he was directly quoting Matthew. And imagery about “preparing” is proof positive that he was citing Isaiah.
Barton never provides any evidence that Washington had specific Bible passages in mind when writing these lines; he merely asserts it as fact.
It is Barton who is constantly finding Biblical parallels in letters from the Founding Fathers and in our free market system and our form of government and everything else and then asserting, without evidence, that the latter were all based explicitly on the former.