On Monday night, Tim Barton appeared on the Truth & Liberty Coalition’s weekly livestream, where he repeated many of the same false claims regularly made by his father, the pseudo-historian David Barton, such as the bogus assertion that the Constitution is filled with “phrases that are almost verbatim from the Bible.”
“The Founding Fathers referenced very specific [Bible] verses as the reason why they were doing what they did,” the younger Barton claimed. “George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Adams all wrote [that] the reason we needed separate powers, they said, [was] because the heart of man is wicked and deceitful and can’t be trusted.”
That phrase comes from Jeremiah 17:9, which prompted Barton to insist the framers of the Constitution “literally quoted and referenced the Bible as the reason we had to have a separation of powers because they knew that the word of God taught was true.”
“There’s actually dozens of examples from scripture that the Founding Fathers literally quoted the Bible for what they did,” Barton added. “And actually, if you read the Constitution and then you read the Bible, you will find phrases that are almost verbatim from the Bible in the Constitution.”
Barton declared that if people knew the Bible, “they would recognize it was Isaiah where the Bible says that ‘The Lord is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king.’ That’s your three branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial. These were literally the ideas the Founding Fathers referenced in what they did.”
Barton, who is president of WallBuilders, the Christian nationalist organization founded by his father, urged viewers to visit the WallBuilders website to access “links to those original writings and letters where you can see this is what they wrote. So, when someone says the Constitution is not related to Christianity, or Christianity didn’t influence Constitution, it just tells me they don’t know nearly as much about history as they think they do, and they probably don’t know as much about the Constitution or the Bible as they probably should.”
Of course, if one does go to the WallBuilders website, the “evidence” provided is laughably thin.
WallBuilders’ claim that the three branches of government came out of Isaiah 33:22 relies entirely upon the fact that French political philosopher Charles de Montesquieu advocated for the separation of powers in government and that the Founding Fathers had read Montesquieu’s works. Since Montesquieu was a Christian, that is apparently enough for the Bartons and WallBuilders to assert that the idea of the three branches of government came straight out of the Bible.
Barton’s claim that the concept of separation of powers was rooted in Jeremiah 17:9 is equally absurd, as the “evidence” provided is little more than a letter written by John Adams in 1794. Given that Adams was not even involved in the drafting of the Constitution, as he was serving as ambassador to England at the time it was written and didn’t even return to the United States until it had been ratified, a letter written by him years later is hardly sufficient grounds to claim that the Founders “literally quoted and referenced the Bible as the reason we had to have a separation of powers.”