Barton’s Faulty Scholarship

Barton’s Faulty Scholarship

Why does David Barton have such a poor reputation in the academic community? It’s not because of his religious convictions, his politics, or even his shortage of formal training. It’s his poor track record as a self-described historian. Numerous scholars, reporters and other writers have taken Barton to task for manipulating historical fact to promote his agenda.

The following is a clearinghouse of resources on Barton’s poor scholarship. (If you know of an article or resources we have overlooked, please let us know.)

Key Resources

Americans United for Separation of Church and State
David Barton Resources

Baptist Join Committee for Religious Liberty
A Critique of David Barton’s Views on Church and State

Chris Rodda
Liars for Jesus

People for the American Way
David Barton Resources

Southern Poverty Law Center
Barton: Extremist ‘Historian’ for the Religious Right

Warren Throckmorton & Michael Coulter
Getting Jefferson Right



John Fea
Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction

Michelle Goldberg
Kingdom Coming

Steven K. Green
The Second Disestablishment: Church and State in Nineteenth-Century America

Mark A. Noll, et al
The Search for Christian America

Richard T. Hughes
Christian America and the Kingdom of God

Chris Rodda
Liars for Jesus

Warren Throckmorton & Michael Coulter
Getting Jefferson Right

Mainstream Press

The Christian Century
American Idol: David Barton’s dream of a Christian nation, by Kurt W. Peterson

The Most Influential Evangelist You’ve Never Heard Of, by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Cue The Tape: How David Barton Sees The World, by Elise Hu and Barbara Bradley Hagerty

How David Barton Won the Christian Right, by Yoni Appelbaum

Journal of Church and State
Texas Tall Tale, by Rob Boston

David Barton’s “Christian Nation” Myth Factory Admits Its Products Have Been Defective, by Rob Boston

Thomas Jefferson and the “Wall of Separation” Metaphor, by Derek H. Davis

Law, Morals, and Civil Religion in America, by Derek H. Davis

Christian Faith and Political Involvement in Today’s Culture War, by Derek H. Davis

Religious Pluralism and the Quest for Unity in American Life, by Derek H. Davis

Reappropriating History for God and Country, by Richard V. Pierard and Charles McDaniel

Martin Marty Center
David Barton’s Christian America, by Martin E. Marty

 Mother Jones
The GOP’s Favorite Fringe Historian

The New York Times
How Christian Were the Founders?, by Russell Shorto

Using History to Mold Ideas on the Right, by Erik Eckholm

Religion Dispatches
The Limits of David Barton’s “Freedom of Religion” Argument, by Julie Ingersoll

Selling the Idea of a Christian Nation: David Barton’s Alternate Intellectual Universe, by Paul Harvey

Why Won’t David Barton Submit to Peer Review?, by Joanna Brooks

Religion in American History
Glory Hallelujah: While Barton Marches On, Historians Live to Fight Another Day, by Paul Harvey

Not into History, by Randall Stephens

TIME Magazine
The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America

Texas Monthly
King of the Christocrats

History News Network
David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies Voted the Least Credible History Book in Print

WORLD Magazine
The David Barton Controversy, by Thomas Kidd

Associated Baptist Press
Pastors Call for Thomas Nelson Boycott, by Bob Allen

First Things
David Barton’s Errors, by Greg Forster


TFN Insider

Religion in American History

Right Wing Watch


Warren Throckmorton

The Way of Improvement Leads Home (John Fea)

Journal Articles

Cardozo Law Review
Understanding the “Christian Nation” Myth, by Steven K. Green

Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy
Defending the Wall: Maintaining Church/State Separation in America, by Arlen Specter

Journal of the American Academy of Religion
A Textbook Example of the Christian Right: The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. by Mark A. Chancey

Kentucky Law Journal
Religion, Establishment, and the Northwest Ordinance: A Closer Look at an Accommodationist Argument, by Thomas Nathan Peters

 Law, Text, Culture 5, No. 1 (2000): 265-90
Competing Notions of Law in American Civil Religion, by Derek H. Davis

 Liberty University Faculty Publications and Presentations
A Critique of the Historiographical Construal of America as a Christian Nation, by John David Wilsey

 Religion & Education, Volume 35, Issue 1, 2008
“Complete Victory is Our Objective”: The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, by Mark A. Chancey

SMU Law Review
Take Care of Me When I Am Dead: An Examination of American Church-State Development and the Future of American Religious Liberty, by Mark G. Valenci

Southwestern Journal of Theology
In God We Trust? Evangelical Historiography and the Quest for a Christian America, by Stephen M.Stookey

William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal
Public Education and the Public Good, by Robert S. Alley


Learn More About Barton:
David Barton Watch Home
Who is David Barton?
Review of Barton’s Textbook, “Drive Thru History”
Review Of The Jefferson Lies (2012)
Barton on the Issues