Last week, David Barton was once again a featured guest on Glenn Beck’s program, this time promoting his new book “The Jefferson Lies.”
In introducing the segment, Beck said to Barton that “when we save the country, a lot of the credit in the afterlife is going to go to you,” while Barton gave all the credit to God, suggesting that God has placed these historical documents in his hands because “He wants it saved and preserved for the country”:
As an aside, I found this clip via professor John Fea’s blog, who commented that he didn’t “even know where to begin with this video” and lamented the success that Barton has had promoting his false history:
Barton’s book is currently ranked #31 at Amazon. It is really sad that the American past is being manipulated for political propaganda in this way. I say this as an historian and an evangelical Christian.
Fea is an Associate Professor of American History at Messiah College and the author of the excellent book “Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction” which I wrote about several times last year, and his comment raises a question that I have been wondering about for a long time, which is why bona fide historians seem so unwilling to take a stand against Barton and his partisan manipulation of history.
For academic historians to generally remain silent as Barton’s brand of pseudo-history becomes increasingly popular seems, to me, to represent a serious disservice to their field of expertise. Barton’s brand of partisan history remains popular, at least in part, because actual historian so rarely speak out against Barton’s flagrant misuse and misrepresentation of history.
Fea laments that Barton’s book is so popular while simultaneously saying he doesn’t even know what to say about this video. Those two things are not unrelated.
If historians, and especially evangelical historians like Fea, remain reluctant to get involved in the task of debunking and discrediting Barton and his pseudo-history, they can expect to continue seeing books by the likes of Beck and Barton at the top of the best-sellers list.
UPDATE: Fea has responded to this post and makes several fair points in defense of his own efforts to debunk Barton’s phony history.