University of Pennsylvania historian Richard Beeman was yesterday’s guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart following an appearance by pseudo-historian David Barton. Beeman, like other real historians, notes that Barton greatly embellishes the religious views of the Founding Fathers and misrepresented the Constitution.
“The Constitution is federally devoid of any mention of religion except for one provision which says there shall be no test for public office or any position of public trust, so the only mention of religion is keep religion out of our government,” Beeman says, and “the debate in the [constitutional] Convention is virtually devoid” of religious references. Barton, on the other hand, made this pathetic case that the Constitution incorporates the Bible.
Right Wing Watch looked into Barton’s many fabrications, falsehoods, obfuscations, revisionist history, as well as his total neglect of the Fourteenth Amendment’s incorporation of the First Amendment to the states and his warped view of constitutional jurisprudence while he was on The Daily Show.
During part II of the interview with Beeman, Stewart noted that while Barton told him that he was OK with Sharia law in the US, he would likely make the opposite case to his conservative supporters.
Such dishonest actions reflect the fact that Barton is a political activist, not a historian — he even was paid by the Republican National Committee to mobilize church groups to support President Bush’s reelection and Republican candidates. As Kyle notes, even his documentary on African American history is brazenly partisan.
As Beeman and other credentialed historians make clear, Barton is simply distorting history for his own political purposes.