Will David Barton Be Huck’s Secretary of Education?

A few weeks ago we noted that Mike Huckabee was going to be appearing alongside right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton at an event in Iowa and wondered if a Barton endorsement would be forthcoming. That endorsement has not yet come through, but Barton might want to get on the ball because, if Huckabee ends up becoming the next president, he just might be rewarded with a top-level position in his administration.

In a lengthy interview with Terence Jeffrey, Editor in Chief of the right-wing Cybercast News Service, Huckabee discussed his views on education and the two debated the role of religion in public schools, with Huckabee saying he doesn’t support state-sponsored prayer in school mainly “because I’m afraid in this kind of culture we live in you will have some namby-pamby squishy thing that doesn’t even resemble a prayer.” That view then led to this exchange:

Governor, our whole system of government is based on an understanding of natural law that comes from God. The Declaration of Independence says that our rights are inalienable and we are endowed with them by our Creator. Shouldn’t our public schools at least recognize that there is a God, and that our rights come from God, and that the ultimate source of our law is God?

Absolutely, and that’s what our Declaration of Independence said. That’s what our Founding Fathers believed. And we shouldn’t have a revisionist history that denies the part of our spiritual heritage.

So the public schools should teach children there is a God, and our rights come from God? They should teach them that?

If they teach our history, they have to teach that. But they don’t have to teach them how they are going to specifically believe in that God. That’s where the line comes. But the thing is, we shouldn’t be afraid of giving kids the truth about our American history and heritage. We ought to make sure they know what it is. David Barton, who is one of my dear friends, and probably, I think, maybe the greatest living historian on the spiritual nature of America’s early days, is a person who I wish was writing the curriculum. But unfortunately, we have a time where people just don’t even acknowledge what our curriculum is.

For those who don’t know, Barton is a right-wing, Republican Party activist and self-taught “historian” intent on showing that the Founding Fathers intended to create a nation that was “firmly rooted in biblical principles” Lately, he has been peddling a book and DVD that claim to explain the history of the Democratic Party and it responsibility for everything from slavery and segregation to lynchings and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan – a history that conveniently ends with the passage of the civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s makes absolutely no mention of the political transformation that overtook the country in its wake and the rise of the Republican Party’s “Southern Strategy.”

Barton’s “historical” work has been discredited as rife with distortion and “laced with exaggerations, half-truths and misstatements of fact” – but Huckabee thinks he just might be one of the “greatest living historians” and wishes that he was writing public school curriculum.

In fact, Barton has been involved in shaping public school curriculum through his position on the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools’ Advisory Board. The NCBCPS is dedicated to getting Bible courses taught in public high schools around the country and produces curriculum for just that purpose – curriculum that is flagrantly unconstitutional.