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.’”