Taking on David Barton

The July/August issue of Church and State magazine from Americans United for Separation of Church and State has an excellent cover story about David Barton. Barton, you will recall, is the head of the Christian-right group WallBuilders, which argues that separation of church and state is a “myth” and that our laws and society overall should be based on Christian biblical principles (as interpreted by fundamentalists). Barton is also serving as a so-called “expert” guiding the revision of public school social studies curriculum standards in Texas (although he is absurdly unqualified, lacking even minimal academic credentials in the field). (See here and here.)

Money quotes from the Church and State piece:

Perhaps somewhat egotistically, Barton apparently likens himself to a biblical prophet who has been ordained by God to rebuild the religious foundations of the nation.

Barton aims to do that by rediscovering an allegedly lost or suppressed Christian history of America. It’s an odd task for him, because although he poses as a historian, Barton isn’t one. . . .

Despite his thin academic credentials, Barton has managed to become a celebrity in the world of the Religious Right based on his research allegedly “proving” America’s Christian character. He has appeared on programs alongside TV preacher Pat Robertson and fundamentalist radio honcho James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. Barton gives hundreds of lectures every year, rallying fundamentalist shock troops to oppose secular government and church-state separation.

All the while, Barton, a tall man who frequently sports boots, a rodeo shirt and a cowboy hat, presides over an interlocking network of for-profit and non-profit groups that have produced a tidy sum for himself and made him a star in the world of the Religious Right.

The article also quotes Texas Freedom Network’s Kathy Miller:

“In some ways, it’s a product of the anti-intellectualism that’s become so prominent not just with the Religious Right, but in the conservative movement generally,” Miller said. “Barton’s pseudo-intellectual nonsense serves to validate the personal beliefs and emotions of people who have been exposed for decades to far-right rhetoric denouncing those with high levels of education as somehow ‘promoting a liberal agenda.’”

The article is a very good review of Barton and his propaganda work over the years. Read the whole thing here. You can read more about Barton on pages 18-21 of a TFN report here.

7 thoughts on “Taking on David Barton

  1. I would like to write one of my famous essays here—just not up to it today. Suffice it to say that Barton’s ideas are pointed towards overthrow of the free American government established by our founding fathers in 1776 and 1787 and instituting an Iran-style Christian Neo-Fundamentalist theocracy in its place. If he wants to lead a new American Revolution, he and his friends need to consider that conservatives are not the only gun owners in the United States and that his activity is treasonous at best.

  2. Ivory Soap 99.44 percent pure.

    A message from the U.S. Criminal Code to all of the Christian Neo-Fundamentalist Nationalists who want to overthrow the government established by our founding fathers and replace it with a theocracy. You are already 99.44 percent there with your treason.

    “Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

    Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

    Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

    If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

    As used in this section, the terms “organizes” and “organize”, with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

  3. Well. I just noticed that Sarah Palin is going to resign as Governor of Alaska in late July. It appears to me that the fruitcake wing of the GOP is imploding into a blackhole. However, I think that will help the sensible Republicans who are not fruitcakes to reclaim their party. That might actually be bad news for the Democrats.

  4. Some people think it is a shrewd move to prepare for a 2012 presidential run. I don’t think so. She might be dumb enough to try, but she won’t be a credible candidate.

    I can hear it now during the campaign, “Sarah, when it gets tough and you get criticised are you going to quit the presidency 2 1/2 years into your first term like you did when you were Governor? ”

    Stick a fork in her, she’s done.

  5. I agree. No one in their right mind would elect her President. Of course, one has to consider all of the people who are not in their right minds.

  6. Speak of the Devil!
    A few minute after reading this blog , I switched on the TV and caught the final segment of Kenneth Copeland’s religious programme starring, you gussed it folks, David Barton. He was flogging a DVD and railing against socialised medicine. I don’t think there were too many viewers at 4am on a cold Sydney morning. Abortion, Dawinism, universal health care are hardly controversial. If you speak to Ken Ham, he will tell you that Australians are more highly evolved.

  7. There is a professor at the Masters College, Dr. Gregg Frazer, who is exposing the truth on the roots of America, he shows America was never a Christian nation. Here is a link to Gregg’s profile at the Masters College which is a very conservative Christian College –


    Here is a message by Dr. Gregg Frazer he gave at John MacArthur’s , Grace Comuunity Chruch –


    Here is a quote from Dr. Gregg Frazer –

    “The fact that some parts of the Declaration and/or Constitution are not in conflict with verses in the Bible does not mean that the Bible was the source. This is especially important when — as in the case of the Declaration and the Constitution — the authors claim other sources, but do not claim the Bible as a source!

    In a May 8, 1825 letter to Henry Lee, Jefferson identifies his sources for the Declaration’s principles. He names as sources: Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and (Algernon) Sidney — he does not mention the Bible. Then again, the terminology in the Declaration is not specifically Christian — or even biblical, with the exception of “Creator.” The term “providence” is never used of God in the Bible, nor are “nature’s God” or “Supreme Judge of the world” ever used in the Bible.

    In the hundreds of pages comprising Madison’s notes on the constitutional convention (and those of the others who kept notes), there is no mention of biblical passages/verses in the debates/discussions on the various parts and principles of the Constitution. They mention Rome, Sparta, German confederacies, Montesquieu, and a number of other sources — but no Scripture verses.

    In The Federalist Papers, there is no mention of biblical sources for any of the Constitution’s principles, either — one would think they could squeeze them in among the 85 essays if they were, indeed, the sources; especially since the audience was common men who were familiar with, and had respect for, the Bible. The word “God” is used twice — and one of those is a reference to the pagan gods of ancient Greece. “Almighty” is used twice and “providence” three times — but neither is ever used in connection with any constitutional principle or influence. The Bible is not mentioned.

    As for freedom and liberty in the Bible, it is always SPIRITUAL freedom/liberty ” as a look at the verses you’ve listed IN CONTEXT shows. That is NOT to say that political liberty is an anti-biblical concept ” it’s just not a biblical one. Arguing that it is a “Calvinist” concept does not make it a biblical one, either. The “disciples” of Calvin did not write inspired revelation.

    The key Founders (J. Adams, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, Wilson, & G. Morris) ” those most responsible for the founding documents ” were religious, but not Christians. They believed that religion was essential to produce the morality that a free society required, but that any religion would suffice. Their religious belief was a mixture of Protestantism, natural religion, and rationalism ” with rationalism as the trump card and decisive factor. They retained elements of Christianity, but rejected the elements of Christianity (and of natural religion) that they considered irrational. However: of the ten CORE beliefs of Christianity (those shared by all of the major Protestant denominations of the day (and by the Catholics), they held to only one (or two, in some cases). Their belief system was, as I have termed it, theistic rationalism.

    If the view of Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin that any/all religions were valid paths to God and that any/all religions would suffice to produce the morality needed was a “minority opinion” among the Founders, why were they chosen to write the philosophical (you say religious) document (Declaration)?”