Texas SBOE Chair Praises 'Leading Historian' David Barton, Who Gets His History from Louis L'Amour

At her Texas Senate Nominations Committee hearing last month, State Board of Education Chairwoman Barbara Cargill made a number of commitments should her appointment to a second term be confirmed. (It was.) Among those was a commitment to beef up qualifications required for individuals appointed by SBOE members to serve as “expert” advisers during the revisions of curriculum standards for Texas public schools. But perhaps it would be good to know just how Cargill defines “expert.”

During her hearing, Cargill offered an example of someone she thinks is a true history expert: David Barton, the pseudo-historian who founded the Texas-based advocacy organization WallBuilders. Barton, whose bachelor’s degree was in religious education, has made a living by running around the country claiming that our nation’s Founders intended to create a distinctly Christian nation with its laws and government based on Christian biblical principles. Distinguished (and exasperated) historians have repeatedly said such claims are a gross distortion based on an ideological conviction, not facts.

In any case, when asked during her hearing about proposals for various qualifications that should be required of “experts,” Cargill had this to say about Barton:

“One of the experts that we used for social studies has worked in the field of history for decades, but his degree is not in social studies. But I would consider him a leading historian of our state, if not the nation…. I certainly want access to the David Bartons, and I’m sure many of you are familiar with him. He can rattle off historical facts and etcetera in an amazing way.”

As the video above points out, Barton’s version of “facts” is so distorted that he says things like this:

“It is absolutely no surprise that so many of the clauses we find in the Constitution are literal, direct quotations out of the Bible…. Check the language of the Constitution against the Bible, and you go, ‘that is an exact quote.'”

That’s not true. Our friends at Right Wing Watch have caught Barton spreading this falsehood numerous times, including here, here and here.¬†And if that’s not bad enough, Barton has now admitted that he gets some of his history “facts” from Western novelist Louis L’Amour. Seriously.

David Barton is “a leading historian of our state, if not the nation”? Oh sure. And dentist Don “Somebody Has to Stand Up to Experts” McLeroy must be “a leading biologist,” too. Right?

16 thoughts on “Texas SBOE Chair Praises 'Leading Historian' David Barton, Who Gets His History from Louis L'Amour

  1. OK – Barbara needs to be “called on the carpet…” Who is pulling the strings on this puppet? There has got to be some serious, “dark” money calling her shots. Much less so would be her personal religious convictions, but that doesn’t explain, to me at least, why she keeps pushing this agenda. I’m getting to be beyond angry w/ these religious right circus performers. They are beyond irresponsible because they are deliberately sabotaging our children’s education.

  2. I guess the thing that troubles me so much is that she is a member of a United Methodist Church. However, her positions are in many ways so opposed to basic United Methodist beliefs that, were this 1254, she would most likely be excommunicated for being so different from the church fathers in what she believes. Just sayin’.

    1. Charles: Your comments, as always, are thoughtful and tasteful. I grew up in a family of “culture vultures.” No one, except me, played music but sisters bought that Van Cliburn way back in 1953. Thanks for the link, as well.

  3. I just noticed that your fellow Texan Van Cliburn died today. My condolences. Go to the Wikipedia article and scroll down to the personal life section:


    I feel certain that Cargill and Barton are not shedding any tears tonight because he was just an another abomination before the Lord that got the Old Testament death sentence he deserved. Possibly, but I will say this. In my opinion, he did more to brighten this sad Earth in a positive way during his time here than either of them have ever done in their time here. He was also a devout Baptist who attended church every Sunday. My guess is that he is playing a command performance tonight, and the house is packed.

  4. Cargill;The nomination board extracted promises from her not to bring unqualified
    non educational system “experts” in to SBOE as advisors. This includes david barton and the Discoveroids from the Discovery Institute
    cdesign proponentists( a typo when IDers inserted design propoent over creationist in their “textbooks”.
    Cargill is untrustworthy and badly misinformed. Faith run amok ignores things like data and facts. Ergo; Barbara.

  5. Why is it so difficult for Texans to understand that the problems, the outright stupidity and the moronic behavior of our Texas government is the result of their choices at the ballot box. The republican religious right would be more than happy to see our state run as a theocracy simular to the Muslim Taliban. Please vote all of these wackos out of office before it is to late.