David Barton says Americans have been misled about their history. And he aims to change that.
"It's what I would call historical reclamation," Barton explains, in his soft but rapid-fire voice. "We're just trying to get history back to where it's accurate. If you're going to use history, get it right."
Barton has collected 100,000 documents from before 1812 — original or certified copies of letters, sermons, newspaper articles and official documents of the Founding Fathers. He says they prove that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious men who built America on Christian ideas — something you never learn in school.
For example, you've been taught the Constitution is a secular document. Not so, says Barton: The Constitution is laced with biblical quotations.
"You look at Article 3, Section 1, the treason clause," he told James Robison on Trinity Broadcast Network. "Direct quote out of the Bible. You look at Article 2, the quote on the president has to be a native born? That is Deuteronomy 17:15, verbatim. I mean, it drives the secularists nuts because the Bible's all over it! Now we as Christians don't tend to recognize that. We think it's a secular document; we've bought into their lies. It's not."
We looked up every citation Barton said was from the Bible, but not one of them checked out. Moreover, the Constitution as written in 1787 has no mention of God or religion except to prohibit a religious test for office. The First Amendment does address religion.
What about the idea that the founders did not want government entangled in religion? Wrong again, says Barton. On his tours of the U.S. Capitol, for example, he claims that Congress not only published the first American Bible in 1782, but it also intended the Bible to be used in public schools.
"And we're going to be told they don't want any kind of religion in education, they don't want voluntary prayer?" Barton asks his audience rhetorically? "No, it doesn't make sense."
But historians say Barton is flat-out wrong in his facts and conclusion. Congress never published or paid a dime for the 1782 Bible. It was printed and paid for by Philadelphia printer Robert Aitken. At Aitken's request, Congress agreed to have its chaplains check the Bible for accuracy. It was not, historians say, a government promotion of religion.
Vision For A Religion-Infused America
David Barton is not a historian. He has a bachelor's degree in Christian education from Oral Roberts University and runs a company called WallBuilders in Aledo, Texas. But his vision of a religion-infused America is wildly popular with churches, schools and the GOP, and that makes him a power. He was named one of Time magazine's most influential evangelicals. He was a long-time vice chairman for the Texas Republican Party. He says that he consults for the federal government and state school boards, that he testifies in court as an expert witness, that he gives a breathtaking 400 speeches a year.
Seeking his endorsement are politicians including Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz of Texas and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who's mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich is a fan. So is Mike Huckabee.
"I almost wish that there would be like a simultaneous telecast," Huckabee said at a conference last year, "and all Americans will be forced, forced — at gunpoint, no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country will be better for it."
John Fea, chairman of the history department at evangelical Messiah College, doubts that. He says that Barton is peddling a distorted history that appeals to conservative believers.
"David Barton is offering an alternative vision of American history which places God, the providence of God, Christianity, at the center," he says.
The rest along with the audio can be found here..
Seems there's been a bit of an updates since I originally posted this...
I know this may not sound like a big deal unless you know who the players are but, trust me, it’s a BFD!
David Barton is a right wing “historian” who literally just makes shit up. Mike Huckabee loves him. Michele Bachmann loves him. Glenn Beck loves him. Newt Gingrich claims to love him but Newt’s far too smart for anyone to believe that he believes a word Barton says. Barton is a regular guest on Fox. Among his “factual” claims are quotes for Jefferson and Madison that just happen to support his claim that the Constitution was meant to allow Christians to run the country. Of course, Barton cannot provide sources for these quotes.
The Discovery Institute is devoted to forcing “Intelligent Design” aka Creationism aka Religion into public schools. They also claim to have “disproven” evolution. So, that’s all you really need to know about how seriously they (don’t) take honesty and integrity.
And then this happened:
Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute, previously a close ally of Barton’s, has broken with him due to concerns his work contains “embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.” A group of 10 Christian professors he consulted about Barton’s work largely agree.
And then Barton’s publisher pulled his new book from store shelves for its glaring inaccuracies. When the Discovery Institute says you’re factually challenged and your book is banished, you are officially screwed in the academic world. That’s like being called a greedy amoral monster by Mitt Romney and fined by Goldman Sachs for ethical violations! Does it get any worse?
He’ll be on Fox complaining about the liberal conspiracy against him in 3…2…1…
The follow-up can be found here..