September 6, 2012

Amidst the Culture War, David Barton Merits a Court-Martial: a Dispatch from an Ex-Wallbuilder

David Barton has argued his point on primetime cable, including the Jon Stewart Show (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Just when we thought it would end, David Barton and his organization Wallbuilders have published yet another controversial tome: The Founder’s Bible (in the NASB, just like the Founders read it!). No doubt this new study Bible will attract the same audience and exude the same spirit as the prior Patriot’s Bible.

Supporter and detractor alike have to appreciate the perseverance; one would think that the infamous Jefferson Lies debacle might have caused other men to keep a low profile for a while. After all, conservative and liberal historians alike vilified the sketchy claims of the book. The outcry rose to such a level that publisher Thomas Nelson ceased printing. Thankfully for Wallbuilders, Glenn Beck—that most circumspect of political analysts—decided to publish Barton’s suspect revisionist history.

Like Beck, Barton never fails to elicit passionate polarization. Fellow Wallbuilders expressed shock and disgust (via electronic media and stationery) with IRD president Mark Tooley’s moderate criticism and fact-checking. The outcry against these hedged statements was telling.

Up until now, I have kept my comments and opinions to myself. After all, we can say embarrassing things in the heat of the moment. Summer intern Christian Stempert and I quietly monitored the David Barton reports and responses. We’d both been exposed to his histories as we grew up. We were both homeschooled, and it was in the homeschooling circles that Barton first found popularity. But now with a study Bible on its way to shelves, perhaps I should speak.

Not only was I homeschooled, but I also received a history degree from Patrick Henry College, which retains rather pristine Christian and conservative credentials. I only have a bachelors; I am not “elitist academic” (though I have had to do the heavy-lifting of research). I came in to the university enthralled by the older Barton. I hoped to join him in providing historical ammunition for politicians, journalists, and preachers on the front lines. What I found in the actual texts killed this elation.

I am afraid I must put this shortly. It is well nigh impossible to cram four years of reading and discussion into a paragraph. I had been deluded by historical exaggerations about a “Christian nation” and a “Biblically-based” Founding. The truth was much messier: in colonial America, the Enlightenment skepticism met with Dissenter Protestantism (plus magisterial Anglicanism and even some Catholicism thrown in). Various liberalisms embodied in the moderate Whig and radical Jacobin strutted about the world revolutionary stage. From a larger, longer perspective: what is a “Christian nation” anyway and how does it apply to America? Wasn’t the Holy Roman Empire a Christian nation which was blessed by the undivided church and in constant communion with the Pope? What about Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire or Canterbury and England, in which the monarch governs the church? The “Christian principle of religious freedom” can be more accurately described as the “Baptist principle of religious freedom.” It was a more recent development that found wide acceptance in a pluralistic confederation of states. Thinkers like Richard John Neuhaus thought America could be Christian, but only in a certain sense. This is left open for debate.

The Court of Emperor Frederick II in Palermo by Arthur Georg von Ramberg (Photo Credit: The Telegraph)

Many intellectual historians argue that America—as a nation built around a document and abstracts rather than birth and concrete lands—is the first quintessentially liberal-Enlightenment state; others (I among them) claim that this is not really the case. Again, the consensus is harder to discover. The pious lived alongside the colder heathen; the liberal with the traditionalist. The revivalistic First and Second Great Awakenings occurred before and after the actual Founding. The concerns and assumptions differed from today, but like the 21st century there was a vast panoply of opinion. There were indeed many Deists amongst late 1700s American leaders. To the uninitiated reader, Deism sounds Christian. Nevertheless, if one reads earlier works and Christian teaching, he will notice that Enlightenment Deism clashes with the faith—the former uses “Christian-ish” language to argue for different positions. If one is searching for a Golden Age of Christian America, this is disheartening. If one sees that truth had to struggle there as it does today and that it endured, then it is encouraging.

The honest-but-sympathetic refer to David Barton’s claims as “exaggerations.” This is too euphemistic; they are lies. Since I built my historical framework on such a foundation, it came crashing down under the light of truth. Here my mind was fragile; the anger of disenchantment, disappointment, and embarrassment pointed to throwing everything away. I was set for a radical pendulum-swing. The Founders were all secularists! I had to either get with the rationalistic mechanistic program in some way or reject the American experiment. Providentially, I was surrounded by caring professors and fellow concerned students who helped guide me to a deeper and more appreciative understanding of our country. I did not follow that dark road. That way leads to a vision of a Founding era that dreamed of a godless society; and the sooner we remove the obstacles, the better. I, however, saw the American story as more variegated. There were earnest Christians then in various positions of influence just as there are today.

Not all young pupils are that lucky. Even in a more cordoned-off environment, the crestfallen are left exposed for the wolves. Students abandon orthodoxy, conservatism, or tradition generally for the cruel arms of liberalism and heresy. After all, their only image of the tradition they needed to conserve was a poor one. They become careless secularists that pitilessly deride any other interpretation of the American narrative.

So, Wallbuilders fans, why do you support this harmful process by deluding the conservatives of the next generation? Everyone’s desires and rationalizations differ, but here is my guess. The American people are rightly worried, and Wallbuilders provides an outlet for them to combat harmful forces in the culture. Atheist and secularist complaints have stripped the public architecture of cross and nativity, public schools of prayer and Christian conviction, and primetime TV of Little House on the Prairie’s homespun domestic piety. Amoral sex education and comedies about the “New Normal” of single parenthood and homosexuality have filled their place. State and federal laws push harder and harder against public manifestations of religion. Any complaint about the ghettoizing of Christianity meets with the retort of “separation of church and state” accompanied by “sensitivity and tolerance.” Parents are worried for their children. They react to these arguments by grasping to whatever tools make sense and offer a devastating counter-narrative.

Wallbuilders provides this desired story. Look again at who first supported this fanciful revisionism: homeschoolers. They have strong and very legitimate concerns about who is in charge of the spiritual and intellectual formation of their offspring. The Wallbuilders narrative is sometimes the only one at hand due to its popularity. There are great curriculum resources out there that don’t commit these errors and give homeschoolers the usual leg-up in the quality of their education. However, popular critics have picked up the revisionist history and have held it up as a helpful instrument for societal reform. Progessives have rewritten the Founding era; we must respond with our own story. Note that in this debate on both sides, history is seen as a tool.

And as for the powerhouse spokespeople for such reactions, David Barton provides the material to meet the agenda. Thus, the “exaggerations” are propped up even more since they meet the requirements of a belly-aching pattern of decline and ruin. Unfortunately, the agenda comes at the expense of individual souls. Students—especially the scholastically adept—are hurt very badly by the misinterpretations, misportrayals, mistruths. I barely survived coming across the knowledge, and there are many who do not. David Barton isn’t helping by circulating lies. Those of Christian-cultural influence must realize that we their children are not just bullets in the culture war. I’m not really much for the metaphor in the first place, but if we’re really serious about protecting marriage, life, and the Western heritage, we ought never to stretch the truth to get our way. Proceedings have already gone underway; it’s time to court martial David Barton.


98 Responses to Amidst the Culture War, David Barton Merits a Court-Martial: a Dispatch from an Ex-Wallbuilder

  1. Zachary says:

    Loved the article. I too am a former homeschooler and recent college graduate, but I’ve always found Barton obnoxious and in general harmful to the discussion.

  2. […] Writing at Juicy Ecumenism, the blogging community of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, Bart Gingerich describes himself as an “ex-Wallbuilder” (I guess change is possible). Gingerich looked up to Barton at one point but now calls for his court-martial from the culture war. […]

  3. oft says:

    Explain one part of the enlightenment pertinent to the Founding that was not part of the Reformation, and prove the majority of orthodox founders: Sherman, Madison, Washington, Ellsworth, Lee, Wilson, Witherspoon, Mason, King, Boudinot, Pinckney, Hancock, Adams, etc. were dissenters?

  4. pastorJ says:

    This is a good post. I came to know Christ in 2001 and all I heard was this and that about America being a “Christian nation” in the past and how we needed to go back to that. I really didn’t think too much about it until I decided to do my undergraduate minor in history. I too went to a conservative Christian college but they were also great at teaching the liberal arts in a fair and intelligent manner. When I spent time reading primary sources and reading books from people who were more concerned about how the historical story actually unfolded rather than promoting some ideology – well, I too saw that American story is really complex and multilayered. Neither side in the culture war portrays it rightly.

    I haven’t read this Barton fella but I don’t understand why Christians would be less than honest in anything they do.

  5. Mr. Gingerich, you said exactly what I think — but even better than I could have done. It is cruel to prop up children’s hopes with false information — even if that information provides a temporarily comforting story. If anyone should recognize this, it would likely be homeschooling parents.

  6. HSmom says:

    Thank you! My let down of Barton took place in 2010. Since then, I’ve tried to warn others about him in the HSing community. You can only imagine what kind of flack I get by those who have “cut their teeth” on Barton’s books.

  7. Annie says:

    You really shouldn’t bad mouth Mr. Barton for wanting to set the facts straight about our heritage, after all if we are or are not a Christian nation we still should treat ALL our citizens with respect and tolerance!

    • Annie, I don’t hear anyone “bad-mouthing” Mr. Barton for “wanting to set the facts straight.” Instead, people are rightly criticizing him for his, in turn, inaccurate, out-of-context, and/or exaggerated interpretation of American history. Mr. Gingerich is right to call Mr. Barton to account for his historical errors.

    • Krista says:

      Annie, David Barton ISN’T setting any facts straight, he’s lying. And worse, children are being brainwashed into believing his lies. This is just as dangerous as the “other side” brainwashing our children into believing that sinful living is just an “alternative lifestyle.”

  8. “That way leads to a vision of a Founding era that dreamed of a godless society; and the sooner we remove the obstacles, the better.”

    Wrong Revolution. That’s the French one, and only in its latter stages. Needless to say, *that* didn’t turn out well.

    “I, however, saw the American story as more variegated. There were earnest Christians then in various positions of influence just as there are today.”

    Darned few who were brave enough to admit that they wanted a Geneva-style Theocracy though, unlike today.

    Yes, there were many convinced, orthodox Christians. Quite a few who thought that Religion was by its very nature harmful too (a position I share). Such views were more acceptable in those days. Many were Deists, a third distinct group. A few Theocrats. All but the last had significant influence, though that group of groups had far more influence at the state level. “Variegated” describes it well.

  9. Interesting thoughts and nice to see you emerged from college with a broader perspective. What worries me most about Barton and his ilk is the impact his writings are having on state boards of education like that of Texas, which has recently revamped its high school curriculum to accommodate more of these religious conservative views. It is one thing to entertain dueling notions, but quite another when you bend and utterly distort Jefferson’s and other Founding Fathers’ writings to do so, especially when they are public record.

    The case can certainly be made that these were spiritual men for the most part, but Jefferson explicitly discounted the trinity, which would not make him Christian in the eyes of most Evangelicals. In fact, the strongest arguments against Barton’s Jefferson’s Lies has come from the evangelical quarter, not the liberal academic elite which he tries to sum up in his introduction with his “-isms.” For the most part, the “academic history elite” has ignored his books. I don’t think even Joseph Ellis, who Barton singles out, has responded to him, at least not this particular book. Not even the Christian Science Monitor provided a book review.

    If you are going to entertain competing points of view, which has been the case throughout history, you have to at least argue from a point of view of historical accuracy, not bend quotes which Barton is infamous for on his Wallbuilders site.

  10. David says:

    And this is why our instruction must be focused on Christ and His Kingdom as the source of truth alone. Sure we can teach our children real truthful history and science and it will all fall into place when our focus and our instruction is on the Kingdom of God. To try to elevate man or some society, yes, even the beloved America of many, we fail as it will never fully represent the plan that God has for us. Being a homeschooling parent, I find those in the “movement” littering the way with stuff like Mr. Barton puts out, half truths trying to defend their faith which needs not defense. Truth is truth, regardless of what others believe or intimate about it.

    So, teach truth, and let all things contrary to it fall by the way side. “Let God be true, and every man a liar”

    If there are any that reading this comment that have been offended by the lies and strayed from Christ as a result of that offense, please know that there is truth. It is only required that you seek that and let it, Truth, lead you wherever it may. I’m confident you will find that truth in Christ Jesus, the Lord.

    • Science?

      I’ll quote from the Christian World View of Psychology and Counseling:

      Scientific Method
      We affirm that the scientific method is useful in carrying out the creation mandate of Genesis 1:28 to subdue and have dominion over creation when the investigators have Biblical presuppositions and when the Bible does not directly give us the answers we seek;
      that the use of the scientific method is entirely controlled by the presuppositions of the investigators and therefore the results are a pronouncement of faith rather than of scientific fact;
      and that the faith nature of the results of scientific investigation is evidenced by the investigators’ proselytizing intent, that is, their attempt to transform man into their idea of what man should be.
      We deny that the scientific method can ever be applied in psychology without its being thoroughly determined by the presuppositions of the investigators.

      Science is a weapon of Propaganda, nothing more. It is only useful when it agrees with what is already known through Faith, or when the Bible is silent on an issue.

      Thus it is already known from the Bible that America was conceived as a Christian nation. That cannot be disputed. Any evidence in support is useful, Any “evidence” against – such as the contention that the Bible says nothing about the US’s foundation – can be dismissed out of hand as the products of Liberal anti-Christians and Atheists.

      So it is with reason. If you follow unquestioningly the dictates of reason, then you soon come to conclusions that completely undermine the Truth as it is already known. That hail is not stored in warehouses above the Firmament. That the moon does not shine from its own light. That Thunderbolts are not weapons of God’s Holy wrath. That the Founding Fathers were not devout Christians.

      “Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but – more frequently than not – struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God” – Martin Luther.

      Never rely on Science to defend Faith. It is fickle, and will prove anything that’s objectively true instead of supporting your belief.

    • Nancy says:

      David: thank you for your comment above. It was refreshing. This is what we all have to remember. The truth will always stand; God’s truth especially!!

      • Timothy says:

        I think we err when we seek to differentiate between ‘God’s truth’ and ‘man’s truth’.

        There is no difference. Truth is truth. And for far too long we have justified dishonesty, deception, spin, and downright lying by claiming that we speak for a ‘truer’ truth, God’s truth.

        But when we speak dishonestly we do not lie for God, but rather for the Father of Lies.

  11. henryfrueh says:

    20 years ago my friend asked me for the Scriptural support for a violent overthrow over taxes. He said if there was, then we could overthrow the present government. That began a journey which ended up having my eyes opened to the fallacy of a “Christian nation”. No mention of Jesus in the original documents would seem curious for Christian foundation. Washington never asked for prayer for Franklin or Jefferson’s soul. The Judeo-Christian ethic is an amalgam created by man.

    • oft says:

      This quote will help you:

      “Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received…[to offer] humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot [our sins] out of remembrance…and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth “in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
      –Journals of…Congress (1907), Vol. IX, 1777, pp 854-855, November 1, 1777.

      Jesus is in the Declaration of Independence. He is God the Son, The Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and Saviour of the Universe. He Himself is the fulfillment of the Laws of Nature’s God (Mat 5:17-18). The Constitution is the carrying out of principles laid down in the Declaration. Thus, no need to mention God.

      • Timothy Kincaid says:

        oft: do you know that you are quoting a committee report? Or did you think that you were quoting a Declaration of the founding fathers?

        Just wondering

        • oft says:

          Who wrote the Declaration? A committee of Congress, who carved up Jefferson’s draft. This committee is a representative of Congress. That’s how things get written.

      • Oft, perhaps you know that committee reports do not represent the majority views of any legislative body. Instead, the committee reports are meant to be informative, persuasive, or rankly partisan.

    • I agree, Henry Frueh. Going even further in a similar direction, I don’t see Scriptures that supported the American Revolution.

  12. jimlefferts says:

    Thank you Mr. Gingerich. I am not not an evangelical Christian, nor a conservative, but I do very much appreciate what you have said here. I have long had a great concern about the deleterious effects that Barton’s history have had, and continue to have on so many in our nation, and particularly on those who have been home-schooled .Seeing these (your) kind of statements coming from the midst of the conservative Christian culture, my soul is lifted, And I have hope that perhaps the home-schooled in the future will learn their history from a curriculum which does not include the likes of products such as those from Wallbulders. I know that the people who desperately need to understand this issue would never listen to the voice of those like me….the call must come from within.

  13. […] More: Amidst the Culture War, David Barton Merits a Court-Martial: a … […]

  14. dover1952 says:

    For those of you who are disillusioned with David Barton’s history, I think you would do well to understand the underlying philosophy that has likely motivated his actions with regard to the idea of a “Christian nation.” It is my understanding from publicly stated positions Mr. Barton has taken that he is a Dominionist. Dominionism, Christian Reconstructionism, and Theonomy are all related man-made philosophies that pretend to be Christian—but are actually heresies against Jesus Christ and his church. For those of you who are parents and do homeschooling, the father of Christian Reconstructionism was also the founding father of the Christian Homeschooling Movement in the United States, and Christian reconstructionist organizations create and sell a great deal of the educational materials used by homeschooling parents today—on the sly—their purpose being to intentionally brainwash your children into being future foot soldiers for their cause.

    I am a Christian with two college degrees from a major university and have a lifetime of work experience in research, including research into culture war issues. Although written by an organization that you might describe as liberal, the information in the article below (See URL) agrees well with my own independent research into the subject of Rousas Rushdoony (now deceased) and Christian reconstructionism.

    I guess my point is this. David Barton is just the tip of the iceberg that shows above the water line. A much larger set of lies floats beneath the water and is having a profound, extensive, and deep influence on the church and individual Christians, usually without their even being aware of it.

    This sounds like some nutty conspiracy theory, but people like Rousas Rushdoony wrote volumes about their philosophy and plans before they died. You do not have to be a conspiracy theorist when the main protagonists are writing out their plans in black and white and publishing them.

    My warning is this. Anyone who is doing Christian homeschooling needs to do some serious research into who is providing their lesson materials and textbooks and understand that they are likely to be lied to if they bring up the term “Christian reconstructionism.” The Bible instructs us to be very careful about who we choose as our teachers. We chose unwisely with Mr. Barton. We need to take a lesson from that and look much deeper and far more critically to avoid being taken by evil and heresy unawares in other areas of our lives. As the Apostle Paul said, we need to test the spirits to determine if they are true—and not just believe everyone who dangles the name “Jesus” as an ornament in their sales pitch.

    Read this very good and true article about Rousas Rushdoony and Christian reconstructionism. It is a good bet that only one Christian out of 100 in the United States knows about this imposter philosophy that is so deeply affecting the church. Even the correspondents at CNN had never heard of it, until recently, even though the philosophy dates back to at least 1958 in published form. CNN was shocked, as was I, when I ran into this philosophy many years ago. Here is the URL:

    http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/RousasRushdoony

  15. cynthia curran says:

    Well, what I found interesting in Rushdoony is he knows old church councils and the Justinian Code and the Basil in regard to moral issues like abortion and homosexuality. In the case of the Justinian Code and the Basil Code he is more informed than a lot of Eastern Orthodox who are more involved with Justinian Code canons in regard to the church not secular society. I don’t agree completely with Mr Rushdoony but he wrote and it is true that Justinian thought that God punished countries for Sodomy a lot of modern Eastern Orthodox would stay away from that.

  16. cynthia curran says:

    Well, with me the Mitt Romney disagreement within Evangelical circles, that you can go too far as regards the christian nation.l I usually thought that the media exaggerated about but since Romney ran twice his Mormon religion can into full play. I decided that Romney is better than Obama to me on several issues besides moral issues.

  17. cynthia curran says:

    Well, both Eastern and Oriental Churches have made the Empress Theodora a saint. In the Eastern her bad reputation by Procopius is accepted and that it might have been exaggerated. She was an actress and a courtesan that had an affair with the governor of a roman province before she met Justinian. However, some historians thought that she remain a monosphysite while some of the Eastern Orthodox in Russia claim she corrected her error. The Oriental Churches accept a different view that Justinian met her on Campaign in the East this is a medieval view by Michael the Syrian. She was a daughter of a priest and her father made Justinian promise that he would not changed her religion if she married him. There are half-truths and non=truths among other Christian traditions like the Eastern and Oritental that changed history to explain Theodora being a saint in their traditions. So Protestants are not the only ones that changed history or exaggerate to make their founders more christian or godly men.

  18. cynthia curran says:

    Well no wonder Rushdoony has an interested in the Byzantine Empire since he thought his ancestor was there in the 4th century but like I said I would not take his theory as correct but some of his insights into ancient laws into morally. I do agree with him that in-spite of the flaws probably the common law and the Justinian Code are inspired by God but we don’t understand its complete effective upon nations and history.

  19. Keith jones says:

    The easy road is to call someone a liar; it seems to be the haven that the left and the right resort to. It is a conversation stopper and adds nothing to debate. People come to the table with world views that taint their research of history; but liars? If they are lying then bring forth the evidence, do not just throw out that convenient accusation.

    • mark273 says:

      You are obviously new to the conversation. A quick google would take you to many places where the details have been gone through in great detail. The purpose of the article was not to go through what has already been done to comment on a conclusion from the point of view of someone who was once a great fan of Barton. The thorough research of showing Barton’s lies has been done and is easy to find. Here is one place to start (http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/08/08/david-bartons-errors/), but there are many others.

  20. K Dawes says:

    I believe that the impact of Wallbuilders on homeschool students is relatively minimal. Yes, you will always find some homeschoolers, as well as some that aren’t homeschoolers, uncritically reading Wallbuilder and other Reconstructionist material. Let’s not stereotype homeschool students or their parents, past or present. Yes, once upon a time, there were few materials available for homeschoolers as large education publishing houses would not sell their texts to homeschoolers, but Calvert Schools has sold materials to homeschoolers for over 100 years; Rod and Staff (Mennonite) and Oak Meadows also provided a non-reconstructionist viewpoint for over 20 years. Homeschoolers have had options. Even certain parents who use Reconstructionist materials supplement or replace certain passages with original sources and other material because they want to raise critical thinkers. Nevertheless, some Reconstructionists, recently smelling a business and conversion opportunity, sell their wares from companies such as Vision Forum and have tried to edge out more moderate businesses, such as Sonlight, from “Christian Homeschool” conventions. The result: there are now two homeschool convention tracks for Protestant Christians, and there are certainly all kinds of other flavors of homeschool conferences such as military, Catholic, Waldorf, black, secular….I can now purchase pretty much any curriculum that I want from any publisher, and I have been welcomed as a “teacher” by every organization that I have approached with the glaring exception of the New York Times which denied me the education rate for school use of their online paper. I hardly think homeschoolers are uniformly the brainwashed masses. They even outperform their public school peers in the Social Sciences section on (secular) achievement tests. [Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics, 11,739 homeschoolers/ 50 states/who took either the California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, or Stanford Achievement Test scored 84th percentile vs. 50th% of their public school peers for the 2007-8 academic school year. My former state of North Carolina required all homeschoolers to take annual achievement tests.] So…homeschoolers aren’t doing so bad. The bottom line: homeschoolers are incredibly diverse, have access to a myriad of curricula, and should not be stereotyped as Wallbuilder or Reconstructionist zombies.

  21. K Dawes says:

    I would add to my prior comments that I much appreciate Mr. Gingerich’s article; history texts always will have a bias, but they should not contain lies. I do believe homeschoolers do well in training their children to think critically. In my case, I deliberately use a secular World History text with my high school daughter, but I provide some correction and contrast with the use of Scripture and alternative sources such as Test of Faith (in regards to origins) and Mark Noll’s Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. I want my daughter to understand that God made it (the universe) with the controversy over the “how”, and God still intervenes in creation. Like Mr. Gingerich, I think that children, whether private, public, or homeschooled, who do not understand that humans and history are rather messy and learn a romantic view of American history risk feeling betrayed by their church and parents and use this as an excuse to turn away from God. Let us teach, instead, that God’s history predates the big bang for he preexisted before he created everything and that in human history God, in his grace, seeks us out and urges us to turn back to him. This is the real “Big History”—a much, much bigger one than proposed by Bill Gates, et al, for high school history in the Big History Project.

  22. […] Gingerich writes an interesting, if too brief, article at the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s blog about David Barton and Wallbuilders. […]

  23. Instead of reading David Barton’s books, I recommend folks research the Scottish Covenanters and national covenanting. Also, read Gary North’s book “Conspiracy in Philadelphia.” As a side note – home schooled children need to honor their parents more, IMO, as they educated you the very best they knew how. Of course, there is better curriculum available now than at the beginning of the home school movement, but your parents used the best tools available and should be commended for not sending you to gov’t schools which sadly have become a baby sitting service for busy parents. I speak as a former gov’t school board member who sent my children to gov’t schools.

    • oft says:

      I wouldn’t recommend Gary North’s book at all. It will only lead you astray. It has countless errors in it, claiming that the framers were heretical masons, including Evangelical Christians: Roger Sherman and William Livingston. 18th Century Masons were orthodox Christian Trinitarians, not what North claims.

      • The book explains why there was opposition at the Constitution Convention due to the exclusion of Jesus Christ in our founding document. This is well documented and something evangelicals need to know. North’s book won’t lead thinking people astray.

        • oft says:

          That what you say, “why there was opposition at the Constitution Convention due to the exclusion of Jesus Christ in our founding document” is absolutely false. The major anti-federalists: Samuel Adams, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, George Mason, et al. were fundamentalist Christian Evangelicals. The anti-federalists did not question what you and North say. They questioned the Constitution gave too much power to the Central govt. and worried it would destroy the States.

          • Dear oft,
            Check Presbyterian history during the period of the signing of the Constitution – in particular the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. Patrick Henry is my favorite Founding Father – too bad he didn’t take up the cause of the Presbyterians along with the states rights issue. You and I probably agree more than disagree. 🙂

          • oft says:

            Dear friend,

            Do you have an online link for the Presbyterian source? That would be nice to look at. I think Roger Sherman, who is the biggest player at the Convention, and Elias Boudinot, and Livingston, the leaders of the Presbyterian Church, were correct to leave God to the States. The Fed should have nothing to do with religion, unlike now.

          • This is rather lengthy history of the RPCNA – you’ll have to scroll down to the opposition to the Constitution: http://www.rpcla.org/rpcna-history/ . You can also do a search for RPCNA Constitional Convention and perhaps get more on-line resources. May the good Lord bless your search. 🙂

  24. tacitus says:

    Good discussion on Barton’s lies, but when you start generalizing with talk about the “…cruel arms of liberalism…”, then I guess that this website’s title of “Juicy Ecumenism” is a hollow one…

    • stringfold says:

      (Whoops — apologies for the double post under two separate ids, not intentional. WordPress suddenly wanted me to login when I posted this first one, after which I did look for it, but couldn’t find it — feel free to delete this one and this reply.)

  25. stringfold says:

    Interesting discussion of Barton’s lies, but when you start using generalizations like the “…cruel arms of liberalism…”, it leads me to believe that the principle behind the website’s title of “Juicy Ecumenism” is a hollow one.

    Certainly, it’s hard to distinguish between your aims and Barton’s goals when it comes to the second part of the article, even if you’re not willing to go to the lengths he does to justify them.

  26. William Reed says:

    We are not Islamic, we need to tell the truth. The USA was founded by people who wanted to expand their country’s influence and for the natural resources AND for freedom to worship the God of the Bible. It was a combination of these three things. In some people the desire for economic growth was greater than theological reasons, for others it was a big desire to expand a Christian mission.

    • stringfold says:

      Wow — talk about a gratuitous (and unjustifiable) swipe at all Muslims in a thread that has nothing to do with Islam. In my experience, Christians are just as happy to lie than people of any faith (and none), fundamentalists more so. Your unnecessary sideswipe says more about your personal prejudices than it does about their faith.

  27. ngussman says:

    Thanks for your post. Some people think Barton can be defended, but they don’t see the hurt he causes up close. In 2009 I deployed to Iraq and met many young soldiers who enlisted to get away from the rubbish they were fed from David Barton, Ken Ham, Pat Robertson, et al. These young men and women still love their country enough to die for it, but they want nothing more to do with the crazy parallel culture their parents bought into. Several of these soldiers were surprised I could be a believer and accept that Darwin and Einstein were right and Ken Ham was wrong. They also began to realize that its more important for a historian to be trained than to have an Evangelical seal of approval.

    If I could re-write Inferno, Barton and Ham would be way down in the circle of fraud and heresy.

    • dover1952 says:

      I would also write in the national Christian reconstructionist leadership both then and now—whoever they may be. Their chief problem is that they are “just so, so, so, so misunderstood.” Yeah, right.

      • I am a Christian Reconstructionist and would like more information (especially Scriptural) on why you feel the need to mock my beliefs. I’m not mocking yours. Thanks.

      • Neil Gussman says:

        Friend for Life–Mocking may be better than my view. I believe Christian Reconstructionism to be genuinely dangerous. America is so rich it is easy to be a radical in thought, but difficult in practice because revolutionaries must give up their remotes, smart phones and lattes. But if our country descended rapidly into poverty, radical ideas could take hold. Just the list of death penalty offenses under Institutes of Biblical Law (J R Rushdoony) makes me fervently hope your beliefs never become law.

  28. Ezekiel geswho says:

    I read this article and I have also checked many of Barton’s claims in the Library of Congress. For some reason, I am not seeing why he is being called out. If he is going to be “called out” then please post specific references for verification.

    I, however, believe the Body of Christ has a bigger problem than David Barton. Maybe we are not who we say we are! The Body of Christ is comprised of many churches which have very little in common – I am beginning to wonder if we even have the same Jesus Christ. There is a conservative estimate of 5,000 theological/doctrinal variations. If David Barton is wrong then he is a symptom of all our problems. We cannot agree on how to read or interpret the Bible and we definitely cannot follow the Apostle Paul’s directive found in 1 Corinthians 1:10 ‘Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.’ We all claim to have the same Holy Spirit but we all claim the Spirit tells us each something different, really?

  29. […] Amidst the Culture War, David Barton Merits a Court-Martial: a Dispatch from an Ex-Wallbuilder « Ju…. Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  30. Christopher says:

    It’s funny because Barton is a collector of documents and researches his work very carefully. You don’t pull someone’s book because you lost faith in it without giving that person a chance to prove his case, yet they did. Barton has the proof to back up his claims, and he will get that chance. Not only has he had bigger publishers that want to re-release his book that was pulled, but he has very big named law firms interested in defending him in a court of law. The “conservative” professor that started the whole thing has found out to be anything but conservative. He works with many liberal groups and of them is known for trying to destroy the credibility of people on the right. You are helping this happen, but you will be put in your place when the truth comes out.

  31. dover1952 says:

    Christopher.

    Barton will not take his historical detractors to court for one good reason. The defense will immediately publicize it as a show trial like the O.J. Simpson trial. They will subpoena the greatest living experts in American history to testify against Barton’s revisionist history in detail. In the end, his fate will be worse that the William Jennings Bryan fate after the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. All he has ever worked for, his reputation (whats left of it), and his organization will be nothing but a burned out cinder when the napalm of historical truth falls. He surely knows that this would be his inevitable fate. Warren Throckmorton and his associates are aware of this possibilty but doubt that Barton would have enough guts to do it. You can bet your last nickel they are loading for bear (legally speaking) just in case he might choose to exercise the 1 percent foolishness option.

    Friend for Life.

    This is nothing personal against you. I believe that the “isms” that we call Christian reconstructionism, Dominionism, and Theonomy are heresies that are far from Jesus Christ and his church—and heresies are not up for debate in my book. I am a member of the United Methodist Church and one of many people around the nation who are becoming more aware of the goals and stealth political activities of the dominonist belief system. We are committed to awakening the entire nation to its dangers and the extremism embodied in it. As a professional writer/editor, I am in a good position to do this. In addition, I am beginning to lay the plans for a developing a portable workshop that can be presented at churches across the nation to educate ordinary Christians about Christian reconstructionism and the totalitarian barbarism that it represents. I have no problem being ruled by Jesus himself. I have vast problems accepting the notion that Christian reconstructionists should rule my country because they are God’s appointed representatives on Earth—self-appointed ones is more like it—just like every other tin horn dictator with bloodthirst that has ever walked the Earth.

    • Christopher says:

      Dover

      I have yet to see how you can label Barton with Dominionism or Theonomy. What I have read and heard of him, his goal is for people to understand the truth about the history of our nation and for Christians to stand up for their faith. Christians should apply their faith to every aspect of their lives, but I don’t think that means you want a Theocracy. I’ve even heard him talk about why we wouldn’t want that. You talk about people being self appointed ones. What are you? You are going to fight, attack and publicly try to destroy anyone you see as a Christian Reconstructionist? That term is such a vague term anyway. It’s a very diverse set of beliefs and goals. It’s like someone saying all Tea Party people are this, or all Calvinist believe this. This sounds like an Alinsky tactic to me. At least, generalizing people and judging them accordingly. You come off very full of yourself. Where is the love and grace of God, when you so eagerly label people heretics and throw them into a pile and call them enemies. Especially when the labels you use are vague and being abused by people like you.

      Btw, I think Barton will have the guts, and I would bet he has the proof to back up his claim. The fact that they pulled his book without even giving him a chance to show his proof and defend himself speaks volumes. Either way, we will see how this plays out.

    • oft says:

      Christopher,

      You are missing the point. When referring to “representatives on earth” you are referring to catholicism. You have the wrong country. The Bible is the authority in the Constitution, which means this was formed a Christian nation:

      “Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received…[to offer] humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot [our sins] out of remembrance…and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth “in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
      –Journals of…Congress (1907), Vol. IX, 1777, pp 854-855, November 1, 1777.

      • Timothy Kincaid says:

        A proclamation for celebrating a day of Thanksgiving is quite something other than a declaration that the Bible is the authority in the Constitution. In fact, this is such a weak “evidence” that it actually suggests the opposite – that the vacuum of support for the notion highly suggests that it is a false presumption.

        But I wonder… how would it effect you if you were convinced that this is not a Christian Nation and never was intended to be?

        Would it impact your politics? Would it effect the way in which you interact with others, especially those whom you believe are living in ways that your religious doctrines find objectionable?

        I suspect that viewing the US as a “Christian nation” allows one to presume that Christians should have preference in policy. That laws should reflect “Christian views” (or, more accurately, the views of one’s own particular denomination).

        I also wonder whether letting go of the notion of a “Christian nation” might put everyone on an equal setting. And if Christian beliefs had no intrinsic political and social advantage over those which were not (in your view) Christian, I wonder whether you might find it more necessary to treat your neighbor (and his rights and privileges and political and social standing) the way you treat your own.

        In other words, I highly suspect that by not living in a “Christian nation”, we become more Christian in our behavior. Letting go of our sense of entitlement and superiority allows us to follow Christ, rather than follow “Christianity”.

        • oft says:

          Congress is showing Nature’s God in the DOI is Jesus Christ. You can’t refute that. That is the orthodox belief of the Protestant Churches out of the Reformation and the indisputable context of the New and Old Testament. That the nation is now not Christian is irrelevant. That the nation was formed a Christian nation is beyond dispute.

      • Timothy Kincaid says:

        Well, no. I can refute and dispute that. Mostly, because it’s not only untrue, it’s obviously so.

        The term “Nature’s God” has never in any other setting been equated with Jesus Christ. In fact, the absence of the reference to Christ Jesus is, in retrospect, astonishing. This was a people who – as is noted – shared an understanding of Scripture and a familiarity with the name of Christ.

        Your assertion that the deliberate omission of any mention of Christ or Christianity from the founding documents (DOI, Constitution) nevertheless presumes that He’s present due to non-orthodox and unconventional terms which you insist applies to Him is, frankly, absurd.

        Basically, your argument devolves to ‘I believe that this was established as a Christian nation because I believe that the founders were orthodox Christians. And I believe that they were orthodox Christians because I believe that the nation they established was a Christian nation.’ Convinced that it must be true (because you wish it to be true) you reverse-assign meaning to what was clearly not intended to be a reference to Jesus.

        This was a nation founded by people who were either Christian or influenced by Christian thought. It was also a nation founded by people who had experience with state religion or officially sanctioned religion and had not found that experience to be a positive one.

        Clearly they believed that most people in the country would be Christians and share Christian values. They still are and do today. But they certainly never intended that Christian sectarian doctrine be codified or give preference.

        To put it simply: there is zero evidence to support the notion of a Christian Nation, and language in the Constitution to support the notion that this country was established in a way so as to avoid having officially sanctioned doctrine.

      • Timothy Kincaid says:

        oddly enough, I don’t think that I find any necessity to read your blog.

        At the risk of insult… if the depth of knowledge, expanse of intellect, and sophistication of thought that you have brought to this site is to be an advertisement for what one would find on your blog, I don’t t6hink that I would much benefit by doing so.

        • oft says:

          Don’t try and trick yourself. Looking at my blog will help you. If you don’t believe my words that Nature’s God in the DOI is ultimately Christ, read: Francis Bacon–Jefferson’s idol, Montesquieu, Locke, Grotius, Puffendorff, Blackstone, Rutherford, Calvin, Luther, and Hooker. They will tell you so. They all adhered to the Reformation, rejecting the tyranny of Catholicism, upholding Christ as God the Son, the Second Person in the Triune Godhead. The Laws of Nature’s God is found only in the New and Old Testament.

  32. Christopher says:

    Oft.. I think you got my comment mixed up with Dover’s response to me and “Friends for life”.

    Timothy Kincaid.. This nation was built on Christian values. To deny that or try to erase that from history because it makes some people uncomfortable is insane. Just because this is a nation built off of Christianity, and you could say it’s a “Christian Nation”, doesn’t mean you have a Theocracy. We have freedom of religion without interference from government. In pulling away from that identity and with people trying to fundamentally changed American into something it was never meant to be, we now have government impeding on religious liberties, trying to push charities out to make a class of dependents, a push to not allow people to teach their children about creationism or even home-school, abortion on demand (even for underage people without parents involvement), gay marriage being legalized against the will of the people, and so much more. So, we should throw away our history and our values so everyone can feel hunky-dory? Everyone is driven by their beliefs. That is fine. So, why should Christians be the ones to set their beliefs aside when dealing with people, government and life? Our faith should be a vibrant factor in every part of us and our lives.

    • Timothy Kincaid says:

      Yes, this nation was build on Christian values. In that rather vague sense, you could say (descriptively) that it’s a “Christian nation”, in a similar was to how Iceland and Denmark are “Christian nations” (though much less so as these have official state churches).

      But when you speak of how America “was meant to be”, I’m not sure what you mean. Was it “meant to be” a nation that gave preference to religion, that based civil law on religious doctrine?

      I’m not a fan of government imposing on religious denominations. But unless your argument is that religious denominations have a right to taxpayer funds to distribute in accordance with their religious doctrine or that certain denominations have veto power over educational positions, I don’t know of any of these examples actually happening.

      Administering government programs funded by the taxpayers is not a charitable act. If you spend the dollars of your Christian donors, they come with not strings. If you spend the money given to you by politicians, you can’t complain about restrictions. There is no religious right to taxpayer dollars.

      I am unaware of any restrictions on the teaching of abortion or creation in the home. That would be something I would oppose if it happened.

      Nor am I aware (other than in Iowa) where gay marriage was legalized against the will of the people. Same-sex marriage has strong popular support in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire (where it was just upheld by a strong majority of legislators, including a majority of Republicans), and New York. In fact, gay marriage currently has the support of the people in a number of states where it has been banned (and we will see in the next decade a number of them reverse the bans if the Supreme Court does not find that they violate the constitutional rights of gay people to chose whom they will marry).

      And, for that matter, same-sex marriage is not a Christian v. Non-Christian matter.

      If you accept that a majority of Lutherans, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, and Methodists (within the US) along with sizable percentages of Presbyterians and some American Baptists are “Christians”, then any law that prohibits them from conducting the rites of marriage in accordance with their own beliefs is a blatant violation of the freedom of Christians to practice their faith.

      In other words, be careful when you wish too strongly for a Christian nation. The end result is either the mass violation of the rights of “not REAL Christians” (and we know how easy it is for those in power to deny the realness of those who are not), or else this Christian nation may well decide that “Christian values” and priorities are very much other than what you wish. Perhaps both.

      As I told my father (who is a pentecostal pastor) once long ago, “Dad, if and when they get around to setting up faith-based law, do you REALLY believe that it will be YOUR faith that gets chosen?”

      • oft says:

        No, Tim. This country was founded governmentally, politically, and in every foundational sense, on the Bible, period! Nature’s God in the DOI is indisputably Jesus Christ. The Constitution leaves Religion to the States, and they formed their States on orthodox Christianity.

      • Timothy Kincaid says:

        Oh my goodness. “period” followed by an exclamation point. Well, I guess that shows me, doesn’t it.

        I think that I’ll let you believe that if you like. But, if you’ll forgive me, I won’t be taking your word for it.

      • Christopher says:

        Timothy.. What I mean by “as meant to be” is a country with freedom of religion and the ability to pursue happiness without interference from the government. The government was to meet very few needs, not become a socialistic nanny-state and impede on personal and religious freedom.

        The agendas I mentioned are very easy to back up. They are the agenda of the “progressive” left, and they will keep pushing these agendas, and they have a president who has the same ideology. There is no being honest and denying that. He has shown a disrespect for the process, law and the constitution and used the executive order like it’s not a big deal. He has lied every step of the way and gone back on every promise he has made. I have never seen a politician just openly lie on so many things that are easily fact-checked and get away with it with the media’s blessing.

        You are wrong about gay marriage. When it has come up for a vote, it has always been voted down, even in California. The places where it has become legal is because they bypassed letting the people vote on it.

        The movement to keep marriage traditional doesn’t prohibit anyone from getting married. It prohibits that marriage from being a legal marriage, and it certainly doesn’t forbid churches to perform marriages of same sex. As far as the protection of property and the lives people build with each other, that is what civil unions and wills are for.

        The gay movement talks about tolerance, and yet, they don’t want to simply be tolerated, they want to be saluted and celebrated. The Southern Poverty Law and others have labeled anyone who believes homosexuality is a sin as a hate-group. We are headed into where other countries like England are, where a pastor can be arrested for a hate-crime for teaching that homosexuality is a sin. The argument that gay marriage will lead other things such as legal bestiality is not just a scare tactic. It is a truth. Did you know that bestiality if now legal in the military? There are already people pushing for us to legalize it and to decriminalize pedophilia.

        You sound like you’ve been sitting around the fire listening to scary stories from the left about how the Christian Right want to make everyone go to church and to make everyone live according to biblical standards. It’s ridiculous. I don’t expect everyone to live a Christian life and have faith based laws. At the same time, I do expect my government to not sanction the killing of innocent lives, including unborn children and the elderly who are sick. If you are going to be scared of something, I’d be scared of what the progressive are pushing, not what the Christians are pushing. They are the ones that talk about “killing God” and ending Christianity. Watch the video of the DNC where they voted to put God back in the platform. They booed because they didn’t have the votes to do it, and they did it anyway.. against the will of their own people within their party.

        And home schooling… There is a push to outlaw homeschooling and to end teaching children about creation. This is the agenda of the progressives, and yet you focus on destroying a segment of the Christian right that you labeled with a broad term and assigned what their beliefs are. And you don’t see a problem with that?

      • Timothy Kincaid says:

        Christopher, I completely agree that we were meant to be a country with freedom of religion and the ability to pursue happiness without interference from the government. I suspect I support that more than you do.

        I have no interest in debating right/left, progressive/conservative, or any of the other labels used to distract us from underlying principles. Neither the president nor his opponent are remotely interested in securing freedom or liberty for all; rather they seek advantage for their “side” and disadvantage for those disinclined to vote for them. I’ll not be drawn into that pig trail.

        And I don’t want to debate gay rights with you. And I’m not interested in “they just want”. Regardless of whether “they” are gay rights advocates or conservative Christians, such language usually is an evidence of animus and hostility and very seldom based on any real understanding of “they” or what they want.

        However, I would like to correct a few statements of fact. This is not spin or an attempt to change your views. It’s merely fact that can be easily verified:

        1. It is true that all popular votes have gone against gay marriage. However polling done since that time has shown significant shifting in opinion since 2008 and it is likely that at least one (and probably three) of the four votes this year will reverse the trend.

        2. You say that “the movement to keep marriage traditional doesn’t prohibit anyone from getting married.” You argue that it’s just not legally recognized and civil unions can do that.

        You may be unaware, but 18 of those same bans which prohibit marriage also prohibit civil unions. Two even tacked on “anything else” to make sure that even provisions like hospital visitation were banned in their state.

        3. You say that “it certainly doesn’t forbid churches to perform marriages of same sex.”

        Actually, a bill introduced this week by Sen. Inhofe would make it illegal for more liberal chaplains to conduct ANY same-sex ceremonies on ANY base.

        (And as a side note – do you really believe that laws which make Catholic marriages legal but Lutheran marriages illegal respect the freedom of religion?)

        4. You say, “The Southern Poverty Law and others have labeled anyone who believes homosexuality is a sin as a hate-group.” That is absolutely false.

        The SPLC has labeled exactly 26 groups as anti-gay hate groups. Yes, only 26 and none of them are your church. You know a few of the names (Fred Phelps and his “God Hates Fags” church along with the Family Research Council where a security guard was recently shot.) Most of the others are tiny couple-people organizations, and it’s pretty hard for a Christian to get on the list.

        Because to be classified as a hate group, you MUST disparage gay people (use language that demonstrates hatred like “pervert” and “filth” and the other names we won’t use here) AND disseminate false “information” (for example the bogus “studies” of Paul Cameron which claim that gay people die at age 42). Hatefulness and lying are not Christian attributes and opinions about sin or marriage or any other matters of theology will not get you on the list – and SPLC will remove groups from the list if they stop, well, hating.

        You have been lied to by one of the very few on that list. I suspect that they would prefer that you not look at the criteria or their behavior too closely.

        5. You say “We are headed into where other countries like England are, where a pastor can be arrested for a hate-crime for teaching that homosexuality is a sin.”

        In England no one is arrested for teaching that homosexuality is a sin. (Wouldn’t it be nice if those who call themselves Christians would just stop lying?) There was one guy who was arrested in 2010 for preaching in the public square from on top of a step-ladder. It appears that in the UK, it’s considered harassment to climb on a step-ladder and yelling at people that they are going to hell. But that’s the UK, not here. As much as I find them annoying, the men with the bullhorns preaching on street corners in my neighborhood do so legally and I support that right.

        6. You say, ” Did you know that bestiality if now legal in the military?” No. It’s not. And you really need to promise to yourself that you will find out who told you that and never believe a word they say again.

        In a rather bemused tone, the Stars and Stripes Magazine (military publication) started a December 8, 2011 article with this sentence: “Just in case you weren’t sure, bestiality is still illegal in the U.S. military.” The cavalry horses are safe.

        7. You say, “There are already people pushing for us to legalize it and to decriminalize pedophilia”. Well, I’m sure “there are people pushing” pretty much anything you can imagine. But no, there are no credible efforts to legalize bestiality or pedophilia.

        8. You say, ” The argument that gay marriage will lead other things such as legal bestiality is not just a scare tactic.”

        Oddly enough, bestiality is only officially illegal in 37 states. There are states where bestiality is perfectly legal but gay people cannot marry. Which is kind of the opposite. Should we assume that legal bestiality will lead to gay marriage bans?

        As for the DNC, while I’m not a Democrat, I’m not remotely interested in the “they” game. Nor am I familiar with any movement to ban homeschooling, though it wouldn’t surprise me.

        Look, you seem like a nice guy. You are legitimately seeking to engage and persuade and I think that’s cool.

        But you have been fed a pile of, ummm, Bartonistic “facts” by someone and they did you a great disservice.

        I am all for defending your views but there really are liars out there masquerading as Christians and saying “as a Christian you have to believe what I say”. They are the enemies of Christ – they are lovers of dishonesty – and when you look closely you’ll note that the love of Christ is not in them.

    • Timothy Kincaid says:

      “So, why should Christians be the ones to set their beliefs aside when dealing with people, government and life? Our faith should be a vibrant factor in every part of us and our lives.”

      Of course we should not set our beliefs aside. Nor should be politely smile when others insist that we do. And yes, our faith should be a vibrant factor in every part of us and our lives.

      But we err when we begin to think that our faith should be a vibrant factor in every part of the lives of others… or else they are deserving of punishment or a lesser status.

      • Christopher says:

        Timothy Kincaid.. “But we err when we begin to think that our faith should be a vibrant factor in every part of the lives of others… or else they are deserving of punishment or a lesser status.” It’s so strange that you and Dover think that this is a common way the Christian right think. Like I said in my last comment to Dover, I am a conservative Christian that lives in Texas, and I go to a Southern Baptist Church, and I don’t know anyone that thinks like this. I think this is probably a very small minority, and it’s not even Biblical. It’s odd that this the what you guys have decided to make your “issue”, when there are so many real threats out there right now. It amazes me.

      • Timothy Kincaid says:

        No… i think this is a common way that conservative politically motivated think. They aren’t really very quiet about it.

        I think most Christians want to get along with their neighbors and if it weren’t for the political activists masquerading as religious leaders, they would.

        But you and I differ on what “lesser status” means. For example… you probably would not think it a violation of anyone’s rights to decide, to tie this to another thread, whom they can marry. You might see it as a Biblical principle which God defined and man must follow (I’ve heard that a lot). Which is, of course, another way of saying your faith should be in the lives of others or they get lesser status.

      • Timothy Kincaid says:

        By the way, Christopher, I see a real imminent shift in the SBC political activism. In very recent years they’ve pulled back a bit from trying to legislate doctrine. In their place, there’s an odd alliance between the Catholic hierarchy and the Mormon Church.

        It seems a natural alliance as both are top-down structures in which one man dictates dogma while protestants are more democratic.

  33. dover1952 says:

    I think this film clip is a good re-emphasis for what Timothy Kincaid just said. I am absolutely convinced that many conservative (read that as “Bible-believing”) Christians seek to impose their beliefs by government force on other people, and given the political power to do so, would kill those who fail to comply. I think Dominic Crossan’s talk is salient to how it would occur. This is why we United Methodists believe in separation of religion and government—because we know that we would be first in the execution chamber when the “true” Christians finally take over. Our founding fathers recognized this danger and took measures to prevent it by intentionally failing to create a Christian nation. See the film clip. This is how it happens once power is gained:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f0ZHaoSnf0

    • Christopher says:

      Dover.. I watched the video, and I don’t know any conservative Christians that think this way, and I live in Texas and go to a Southern Baptist Church. This thinking isn’t even Christian and is contrary to the word of God. This is the type of scary-stories that the progressives and the Christian left are spreading. You have got to be kidding me that this is what you fear when you have progressives pushing agenda where they spell out for you that, “Yes, we want to kill God and end all religion.”. Go to the progressive liberal sites and read what they say and what they are pushing for. This is so silly. You really think this is a big secret agenda of so many fundamentalist? I think you need to stop over-intellectualizing everything and get back to the basics because you seem to have really gone off the deep end. Sorry, I’m not trying to be disrespectful or smug. I’m serious.

    • Fisher says:

      Dover, this man is describing evolution fundamentalists not Christians as he claims. Stalin, Marx, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung and Darwin taught or practiced such fundamentalism. It’s funny how the side that is guilty of something paints their opposition doing what they have done and plan to do. Get your history straight, true Christianity brings real liberty anything else will lead to oppression. That oppression comes in the form of regulating the amount of water in a toilet, what kind of lightbulbs people may purchase, forcing healthcare, controlling pastors sermons, fines on people that don’t wear seat belts, strip search or body scanners at airports, and so on. These people are control freaks and they will use any excuse to gain control, they’ll use terrorist attack, climate change, safety, or whatever they can think of to control. You better wake up because they have these looney toons teaching at universities through out this land. One in Texas, Dr. Eric Pianka, proposes world population reduction of 90%, do you think he’ll protect you by saying not this one if e he is able to convince the right people to begin the process? He’s not alone, Prince Charles says he wants to come back as a virus to decrease the population, Bill Fates is proposing population reduction via vaccines and other methods. Many other influential people are carrying the water for the ideal non of which are fundamentalist Christians, all are evolution fundamentalist. This guy is throwing up a smoke screen for the real fundies.

  34. Christopher says:

    Dover.. Timothy.. I think you two are radicals. This conversation is going no where, and you love to set rules to it, so you can control it. I’m moving on.

    • Timothy says:

      Cristopher,

      I’m sorry you think I’m a radical. I tend to think I’m pretty much middle of the road.

      But I’ve enjoyed our conversation. And I hope that going forward, when people try to stir up dissent between the brethren by telling you that “they…”, you’ll either ignore those who are trying to get you to hate and fear others or that you’ll demand proof AND then go check out their proof before you believe it.

      There are a lot of liars on both sides of the culture war. They don’t love you and they don’t love God. They love battle.

      May God richly bless you,
      Timothy

  35. dover1952 says:

    I am leaving too Christopher. Nice talking to you. By the way, Jesus, the real Jesus of the New Testament and not the plastic, corraled, compromised, and domesticated Jesus of the extreme right wing—was and still is a radical.

  36. Ezekiel geswho says:

    This is Ezekiel again; I am still waiting for specific evidence that Barton is intentionally deceiving anyone. Repeating what I stated earlier, I have checked some of what David Barton claims in the Library of Congress. So far I have found no deception. How can anyone “let us reason together” if there are no facts to back up the rhetoric. I want the Truth, but so far no one is providing a legitimate reason to tear the “Wall Builder” down.

    I am beginning to wonder if the enemy, maybe one of you, is trying to turn Christian against Christian and ruin someone trying to educate US Citizens on the truth of our country’s history. Too often we hear a clever statement about something or someone and we repeat it as fact without checking its authenticity – shame on us or shame on you who are wolves in sheep’s clothing trying to turn Christian against Christian or keep our country in the Dark.

    • Neil Gussman says:

      Ezekiel–Many people come up with crazy interpretations of the Bible by looking at a verse or passage out of context. And they consider themselves Biblical scholars without any training in Greek or Hebrew. Barton may quote specific passages correctly, but he is quoting subtle and learned men in a black and white context. Many of the founders read Greek, Hebrew and Latin. They are just as likely to have read Aristotle’s Politics in Greek as The Gospels. Many of the founders admired Roman law and founded much of our Republic on the best of Greek and Roman writings. Barton ignores the blend our Constitution is of Greek, Roman and Biblical sources. And it is a document of compromise and necessity. Barton portrays the Constitution the way a Fundamentalist interprets Scripture–as an absolute document, not at all a work of faith. Barton’s history is only readable by people who think Our Lord dictated Scripture and that there is a perfect original. It’s magic–Paul was in a trance and said exactly what he was told. Yet Paul by his own admission is a man just like us. He wrote a letter to the Galatians and it was found to be inspired by other men who, like Paul, were guided by the Holy Spirit.
      By dumbing down reality Barton damages history the same way naive literalism squeezes living faith out of the Scriptures.

    • Timothy says:

      Ezekiel,

      At wthrockmorton.com a great number of Barton’s falsehoods are debunked.

      • Ezekiel geswho says:

        I went to your link. What I was expecting was a reference in Barton’s writings/claims with a reference to a paper/letter/document in the Library of Congress proving he changed the text. I did not see Barton debunked – what I did read is the fear of Christians in government positions including elected officials.
        Maybe I missed the whole point in this Blog’s Title. The Title should have been – Barton proposed Christian State. I would not have bothered discussing on a deceptive blog. It is obvious to me that the intent of blogs like this is to cause division and create fear and try to paint Christians as worse or the same as Hitler, Obama, Kim Jong-Il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Maybe some other time!

    • Christopher says:

      Ezekiel.. They are relying on debunking by a man with an agenda. A man who claimed to be a very conservative psychology professor, but we’ve found out now that he is very liberal and works with several liberal groups, including “Right Wing Watch”.. and uses that as a source for material.

      If you want to hear Barton’s side of the story in his own words listen to Wallbuilders podcast from 8/16/12 titled “Jefferson Lies and Thomas Nelson’s Fiasco”. I get it off of iTunes, but it’s probably also on their site.

      These guys, from this thread and Throckmorton, are on a campaign against conservative Christians, yet wait.. we aren’t allowed to use words like “liberal”, “conservative”, “progressive” in this thread. They want to control the conversation.

      I fully believe that Barton will come out on top in the end, but I think these guys will still be against him and what they see as right-wing Christians. In that podcast, Barton talks about not only does he have the facts and documents to prove his case, since then he has gathered even more.

  37. Tracy says:

    In light of Christopher’s post above, I have just two more things to say before I leave:

    1) Christians have been divided on theology for 2,000 years. I agree with Christopher that those divisions have become more profound, heated, and politicized over the past 30 years. However, the people who caused those much deeper divisions were not the ordinary liberal Christians or conservative Christians sitting in the pews. Rather, they were caused intentionally and premeditatedly by one man on a mission from Satan in the 1970s. His name was Paul Weyrich, and his mission was to further divide the universal church of Jesus Christ and use (as in the phrase said with tears, “You used me!!!) a cleaved-off portion of it as a tool to win elections and destroy those Jesus called “the least of these.” It was a mission to determine how the church could be deceived, captured, and used to serve one particular group’s political ambitions, selfishness, and worldly passions. In particular, the initiating cause for the current church-based conservative movement that Mr. Weyrich started was racism against black people. Please refer to the first-hand story told by Minister of the Gospel (Randall Balmer) in this film clip. This is a true story witnessed face-to-face by Reverend Balmer himself:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gf4jN1xoSo

    2) Christopher is denigrating the character and reputation of Dr. Warren Throckmorton rather than examining the veracity of the points the good doctor makes about the poor scholarship in Mr. Barton’s books. I would suggest staying on the facts of the criticism and the “supposed” facts in Mr. Barton’s books to determine which are indeed correct.

    This is a common tactic practiced by the extreme right wing in this country and is used all of the time to bamboozle conservative Christians. It plays on a common folk belief, within Christian fundamentalism, that being a sinner or apostate (or one who is perceived to be so) makes one incapable of telling the truth or doing any right thing in life.

    I had a now deceased Christian uncle who used to live in Nashville, Tennessee. He was one of the best Christian men I have ever known in many ways, probably more conservative and more moral overall than any person posting on this thread. However, he was an open and avowed racist against black people—and would tell you so to your face. He also believed that any person with a sexually transmitted disease should be required to keep in their constant possession a government-issued card certifying that they had the disease. Furthermore, when applying for a job or as a prerequisite to any other potential role of public responsibility in society, that person should be required to present their card to the interviewer. Possession of the card would be a signal that the person is a sinner and would therefore be certain to steal money from the cash register, lie, cheat, and do other dangerous or deceitful things on the job. The end result would be that the person could not support themselves or otherwise engage the society and its benefits. In other words, if you own a card, you never get hired.

    This is the approach Christopher is taking with Dr. Throckmorton. Dr. Throckmorton is loving and lenient with homosexual people; therefore, he of necessity must be incapable of telling the truth on historical matters or any other matter—just as all sinners are incapable of pressing the brake pedal at a red traffic light. The fact of the matter is that Dr. Throckmorton and numerous other real American historians (Christian and non-Christian) have “the goods” on Mr. Barton. In my opinion, anyone who is a Christian and has the Holy Spirit living within them should be able to recognize that fact and stand with the truth against Barton’s revisionist history. The Holy Spirit should make the scales fall from their eyes. If that is not happening, people need to be asking and praying about why it is not happening when it is so obvious that Mr. Barton is wrong. The truth is not what our soul desperately wants it to be. The truth is what it is. As Harry Truman famously stated, “I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”

  38. dover1952 says:

    In light of Christopher’s post above, I have just two more things to say before I leave:

    1) Christians have been divided on theology for 2,000 years. I agree with Christopher that those divisions have become more profound, heated, and politicized over the past 30 years. However, the people who caused those much deeper divisions were not the ordinary liberal Christians or conservative Christians sitting in the pews. Rather, they were caused intentionally and premeditatedly by one man on a mission from Satan in the 1970s. His name was Paul Weyrich, and his mission was to further divide the universal church of Jesus Christ and use (as in the phrase said with tears, “You used me!!!) a cleaved-off portion of it as a tool to win elections and destroy those Jesus called “the least of these.” It was a mission to determine how the church could be deceived, captured, and used to serve one particular group’s political ambitions, selfishness, and worldly passions. In particular, the initiating cause for the current church-based conservative movement that Mr. Weyrich started was racism against black people. Please refer to the first-hand story told by Minister of the Gospel (Randall Balmer) in this film clip. This is a true story witnessed face-to-face by Reverend Balmer himself.

    2) Christopher is denigrating the character and reputation of Dr. Warren Throckmorton rather than examining the veracity of the points the good doctor makes about the poor scholarship in Mr. Barton’s books. I would suggest staying on the facts of the criticism and the “supposed” facts in Mr. Barton’s books to determine which are indeed correct.

    This is a common tactic practiced by the extreme right wing in this country and is used all of the time to bamboozle conservative Christians. It plays on a common folk belief, within Christian fundamentalism, that being a sinner or apostate (or one who is perceived to be so) makes one incapable of telling the truth or doing any right thing in life.

    I had a now deceased Christian uncle who used to live in Nashville, Tennessee. He was one of the best Christian men I have ever known in many ways, probably more conservative and more moral overall than any person posting on this thread. However, he was an open and avowed racist against black people—and would tell you so to your face. He also believed that any person with a sexually transmitted disease should be required to keep in their constant possession a government-issued card certifying that they had the disease. Furthermore, when applying for a job or as a prerequisite to any other potential role of public responsibility in society, that person should be required to present their card to the interviewer. Possession of the card would be a signal that the person is a sinner and would therefore be certain to steal money from the cash register, lie, cheat, and do other dangerous or deceitful things on the job. The end result would be that the person could not support themselves or otherwise engage the society and its benefits. In other words, if you own a card, you never get hired.

    This is the approach Christopher is taking with Dr. Throckmorton. Dr. Throckmorton is loving and lenient with homosexual people; therefore, he of necessity must be incapable of telling the truth on historical matters or any other matter—just as all sinners are incapable of pressing the brake pedal at a red traffic light. The fact of the matter is that Dr. Throckmorton and numerous other real American historians (Christian and non-Christian) have “the goods” on Mr. Barton. In my opinion, anyone who is a Christian and has the Holy Spirit living within them should be able to recognize that fact and stand with the truth against Barton’s revisionist history. The Holy Spirit should make the scales fall from their eyes. If that is not happening, people need to be asking and praying about why it is not happening when it is so obvious that Mr. Barton is wrong. The truth is not what our soul desperately wants it to be. The truth is what it is. As Harry Truman famously stated, “I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it’s hell.”

    • Christopher says:

      This is what you are good at.. trying to destroy someone you disagree with. It’s an Alinsky tactic. You are a liberal, whether you want to face it or not. Not just a liberal, but a progressive. You show your true colors in your attacks and paranoid ramblings and the videos you share.

      This is from Emory. I lived in Atlanta for over a decade, and I know that the their Candler School of Theology is very liberal and very hateful towards conservatives. Your attacks on me are transparent and sad, and your paranoid delusions of conservative Christians are bizarre. You’d rather align yourself with progressives and then demand not to use labels, unless you are using them.

      My best friend is gay. He is like a brother to me. I have two gay relatives, and I’ve been around gay people most of my life. Do I hate them? No. Do I understand them? Probably better than you do. Can you love someone without condoning what they are doing or the way they choose to live their lives? Yes. I do love them, and I also don’t preach to them and get in their face about it. I had one gay relative that became a born-again Christian before he died (I wasn’t even a Christian yet, and I don’t come from a Christian background). The only thing I’ve talked to my gay friends and relatives about is God’s love and what he did for us on the cross and the basic gospel. The same I would with anyone. The rest is between them and God.

      You can try to protect your precious profession Throckmorton from evil horrible right-wingers like me, as ridiculous as that is, but he is the one that misrepresented who and what he is. As you lift him up in your battle against your fellow Christians, just remember he is a man, and he is capable of lying. As we’ve already found out.

      Barton hasn’t even been given the chance to defend himself yet. Doesn’t that strike you at all? So, you just know that he is lying. I guess you have the gift of prophecy. If Barton is lying, then why does he claim to have even more proof now since all of them has come out? I’m sure you don’t believe this either because you see Barton as this dangerous freak that wants to rewrite history and start a Theocracy. I guess you see me that way too, and yet, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

      Your statement about anyone that has the Holy Spirit in them should know the truth about Barton and stand against him is just bizarre. That is just an abuse of the Holy Spirit and blasphemy.

      Barton doesn’t claim that Jefferson was the most righteous Christian around, but he does claim that Jefferson was a Christian. That is what this is all about. It’s amazing that instead of looking at the facts and proof to see if maybe it’s true, you just attack and assume there is no way it’s true. It’s like you don’t even want to see what Barton has. You are convinced.. mind closed.

      I believe there is always the odd chance that Barton could be lying, but I doubt it very seriously. We will see when he gets to prove his case, but I have a feeling, you won’t accept any proof he may have. You are the one that has come off like a fanatic here. Seriously, you come off very unbalanced.

      Lie about me. Trash me. Analyze me and try to destroy me all you want. It’s not going to work. You have shown yourself for who and what you are. I will not be commenting or answering anything in this thread again. I have found there is no reasoning with fanatics.

  39. dover1952 says:

    “I would suggest staying on the facts of the criticism and the “supposed” facts in Mr. Barton’s books to determine which are indeed correct.”

  40. Fisher says:

    Thank you for showing me where not to send my homeschooled teens. I hope your parents, who sacrificed much to educate you, are ashamed of the poison your higher education put in your mind for which they paid. I don’t know where Mr. Barton went for higher education but he learned how to reference his work, you have not. You claim to have learned history is not what Barton makes of it with nothing to back it up. All you have done is encourage his naysayers and enraged his supports with your rant.

    • Fisher,

      Your comments sound biting and nasty. May I ask you a question? Would you speak in such a nasty way to Mr. Gingerich in person? Or would you weigh your words a bit more? Did anyone ever really benefit from sharp, biting comments?

      • Fisher says:

        Connon,

        Did you even read the title of this piece? It reads, in part “Amidst the Culture War David Barton: Merits a Court Martial a Dispatch From an ex-Wallbuilder.” Why would you ask me those questions before you asked the author? Is he special because it’s his blog? Are you the rule sitter here? Did you get a liberal education that taught you only your side of an argument can make sharp comments? Do you think things through before you post comments or do you just post the first thing that comes to your mind? Did you know that Jesus made sharp comments even to the point of name calling.? :-O You have clearly shown your bias by not asking these questions weeks ago to the author of this article of sharp comments toward David Barton. If I remember right, he tweeted this at Mr. Barton, so it was, at least, as direct as my reply.

  41. Mark says:

    Thank you for this. I was shocked to say the least to find out Barton’s book was so flawed it was pulled. With so many crackpot, tin foil hat theories out there unapposed (see Alex Jones and the “Truth” movement) , for a book to be pulled it had to be pretty bad. It is nice to know it was a pattern of poor scholarship and not someone with an agenda.

  42. Tori says:

    Wow! I think this is the first time that I heard if Christians take over they will burn everyone at the stake. Seriously, I don’t think any of the Westboro Baptist Church members stand a chance in an election, they just don’t have the people skills!

    This great divide that we all experiencing was predicted in the Holy Bible. I’ve lost a few friends who turned very vile toward me in the past few years. People I have known almost my entire life, and a few family members. I’m the easiest person to get along with, most days. It was like they just flipped a switch one day. I see it happening in the news, forums, and everywhere else. There is very little unity these days.

    When I began homeschooling my son I chose a secular text because of the fear of misinformation. I think the lesson we all can learn here whether you are secular or Christian is that we need to get back to classical education and rely on primary sources more. I spend more time going back and forth on history curriculums trying to choose one than any other subject. I’m a first generation homeschooler so the idea of winging it is terrifying even with a good guide. I did find the Researching American History Series today and will be looking further into that because it is based on primary sources and research.

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