What is it with right-wingers who seem to have so much trouble with American history? See this tweet today from Peggy Venable, Texas policy director for the Koch-funded, anti-government Americans for Prosperity:

“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading” — Thomas Jefferson

Except that there’s no evidence Jefferson ever said that. The Monticello website notes that this quotation has been making the rounds on the Internet since about 2001:

This quotation has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. The language is somewhat uncharacteristic of Jefferson’s style. “Stand around” in the sense used here is not an expression that can be found in Jefferson’s letters. He almost always wrote “every body” instead of “everybody.” And there are no instances of the word “reload” (or variations thereof) referring to firearms in Jefferson’s writings.

Of course, someone posting a dubious quote from a famous American is hardly news on the Internet. Venable has plenty of company there — on both sides of the political spectrum.

But we’re fascinated by how often leaders and activists on the far right misquote the Founders and get so much else about our nation’s history so incredibly wrong — especially since… Read More

During his talks at the Texas Renewal Project on April 3-4 in Austin, David Barton didn’t just mislead hundreds of pastors and their spouses about San Antonio’s new nondiscrimination ordinance or use the Bible to justify right-wing policies on taxation. He also repeated a favorite falsehood of the religious right about the U.S. military supposedly censoring Christian pastors. Barton told the pastors in Austin audience that military chaplains “can’t mention Jesus in a prayer”:

“The last two years the biggest debate has been over the rights of conscience. You see, two years ago when we did this… the issue was chaplains are being told, ‘You cannot use the word Jesus when you pray. We’ll tell you what words to pray, and you can’t use the word Jesus.’ Wait a minute. We’ve got chaplains for all faiths. We’ve got military chaplains that are Hindus, that are Buddhists, that are Muslims… Because whatever soldiers there want to be [garbled] according to their faith. About 88 percent of American soldiers are Christians, so 88 percent of our chaplains tend to be Christians, and that’s what they minister to. So you got Christian folks come to a Christian chaplain and have Christian chaplains who… Read More

We told you some of the whoppers David Barton shamelessly spouted to hundreds of pastors and their spouses at the Texas Renewal Project event in Austin on April 3-4. His dishonest claims on Thursday evening that someone who criticizes homosexuality is barred from running for the San Antonio City Council were clearly designed to rile up conservative pastors at the gathering. But when Barton returned to the podium on Friday, he vomited out even more nonsense — this time explicitly trying to tie the Bible to a conservative political agenda.

Barton suggested that too many Americans don’t vote the right way because they are “biblically illiterate.” And the reason they supposedly don’t know much about the Bible, he insisted, is because public schools don’t teach students about it. Barton, who absurdly served as an “expert” adviser when the Texas State Board of Education revised social studies curriculum standards in 2009-10, even invented an example — suggesting that he faced opposition when he proposed requiring textbooks to identify civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. as a minister:

“They said ‘we can’t put reverend doctor in the textbook. What are you thinking?… Read More

When hundreds of pastors and their spouses descended on Austin on April 3-4 for a Texas Renewal Project event, it was clear that the effort to drag houses of worship into partisan politics was kicking into high gear for the 2014 elections. But we were stunned by the sheer audacity of speakers who told the gathered pastors one mistruth after another — all designed to rile up pastors and encourage them to turn their congregations into political machines.

Some of the most outrageous comments came from David Barton, the religious right’s favorite phony historian and founder of WallBuilders, the Texas-based organization that argues separation of church and state is a myth. Laurence White, a Houston pastor who headed up the Texas Renewal Project’s predecessor organization, the Texas Restoration Project, introduced Barton:

“He knows more about the Founding Fathers than George Washington does. He is the most articulated, informed, knowledgeable defender of America’s Christian heritage and the values and the truths and the convictions that shaped and brought this country into being. I’m proud to call him my friend and the greatest historian of the Founding Fathers I’ve ever known.”

“Greatest historian”? Oh please.… Read More

We’ll give this to him: David Barton is one of the most prolific propaganda artists around. If he’s not torturing facts himself, the religious right’s favorite phony historian is often promoting someone else who does.

We were reminded of this again after seeing one of the guests Barton has scheduled this week for his web/radio program WallBuilders Live. He’ll be talking to Kamal Saleem in a segment titled “From Terrorism to Truth in Christ.”

As we told you in a post last year, Saleem is a Lebanese-American and self-proclaimed Islamic-terrorist-turned-Christian. He claims to have known or worked with so many Middle Eastern bigwigs — like Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Qaddafi — that a skeptical Kansas City Star columnist once referred to him as the “Forrest Gump of the Middle East.” Mother Jones magazine has also written about the many holes in Saleem’s claims to have been a radical Islamic terrorist who came to America to blow us all up but then discovered Jesus.

Iranian-American scholar Reza Aslan has described Saleem as one of “trio of self-proclaimed ex-terrorists …… Read More