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Once Again David Barton Claims That The Constitution 'Came Right Out Of The Bible'

As we noted yesterday, we make an effort to watch every presentation that David Barton delivers because we just never know when he is going to drop in some new pseudo-historical claim that five minutes of research reveals to be an absurd misrepresentation of the truth. Last month, Barton spoke at Victory Christian Center in Austin, Texas where he did just that yet again.

Near the end of his presentation, Barton made his standard claim that the Founding Fathers knew that the Bible applied to every aspect of life, which is why they directly quoted and cited the Bible countless times when drafting the Constitution, asserting that both Alexander Hamilton and John Adams explicitly cited Luke 11:20 as the reason why the United States has a written Constitution.

Barton then repeated his claim that the idea for the separation of powers came out of the book of Jeremiah, but also added a new one, asserting that a passage from 1 Samuel is "the reason we have circuit courts and courts of appeals."

"It came right out of the Bible," he said:

As usual, Barton provides no documentation during his presentation so it is almost impossible to even try to track down the sources he is using to make these claims unless you have a copy of his "The Founder's Bible." Fortunately, we have a copy of his book, so we were able to take a look at his sources and, predictably, they do not support Barton's claims at all.

His assertion that both Hamilton and Adams cited Luke 11:20 as the reason that the United States has a written Constitution rests entirely upon the fact that they both used some version of the phrase "finger of God" when talking about the Constitution:

“For my part, I sincerely esteem it a system which, without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.” (Alexander Hamilton)

"It is impossible to any man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution." (John Adams)

Luke 11 says:

14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

How Barton concludes that the United States has a written Constitution because of one phrase in the book of Luke about casting out demons and which has nothing to do with writing or constitutions or government whatsoever is anybody's guess.

Barton also claims that America has circuit and appellate courts because of this passage from 1 Samuel:

15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

For some reason, Barton attributes the idea of such courts to James Kent, a Founding-era attorney and scholar who was practicing law in New York at the time that the Constitution was being written and literally played no role in its drafting or construction, as far as we have been able to determine.

Barton's claims are nonsense and his scholarship is laughable, but he will continue to spread his misinformation all over this nation to gullible audiences of conservative Christians who are so eager to embrace Barton's message and worldview that they can't be bothered to hold him accountable for his relentless dishonesty.

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/8/14

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/8/14

  • Craig James allegedly lost his last job for being anti-gay so, of course, he has now been hired by the Family Research Council.
  • Anti-immigration activists are not reacting well to Jeb Bush's statement that those who enter this country illegally do so as an "act of love."
  • Robert Knight does not support the push for marriage equality: "It’s one thing to have the idea that a cow is now a horse. It’s another to use the power of the law to impose this delusion on everybody else. Same-sex 'marriage' is a direct attack on freedom of conscience for millions of people."
  • Liberty University dismisses concerns that it has hired a gay choreographer for an upcoming production of Mary Poppins.
  • Finally, James Dobson has a long list of ways that America is collapsing, including "in early March, Lena Dunham, the creator and star of the cable sitcom, Girls, appeared totally nude in a two minute skit on Saturday Night Live. She was naked as a jaybird.  Dunham was accompanied by her co-star, Taran Killam, who was wearing nothing but a scanty leaf.  Not only was the skit obscene; it mocked the biblical account of Creation and the Creator. Was there any outrage to the response? None that I heard about."

Fischer: It Is Now A Crime To Be A Christian In America

Yesterday, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from a New Mexico photography studio that had refused to photograph a lesbian couple's commitment ceremony on the grounds that doing so was a violation of the owner's religious beliefs. The New Mexico Supreme Court had ruled against the photographers and ordered them to pay attorney's fees.

Now, according to Bryan Fischer, by rejecting their appeal, the Supreme Court has effectively declared that being a Christian in America is a crime.

"It is now a criminal offense," Fischer said on his radio program yesterday, "it is now a punishable offense, you can be fined for being a Christian in the United States of America. For living, behaving as a Christian, it has now become a crime in the United States of America":

Another Lesson In False History From David Barton

As part of our regular monitoring, we try to watch every David Barton presentation that we can find because, even though it is generally all of the same material, every once in a while he works in some absurd new point that we don't want to miss.

But, for the most part, Barton's presentation is more or less the same every time he delivers it, regardless of how it is billed, so even when he is supposedly speaking about "Why Common Core Is A Failure," the presentation turns out to be the standard one that we have heard a hundred times before.

Listening to Barton repeat the same points time and again occasionally inspires us to do a bit of research into some of the more innocuous claims that he makes and, inevitably, we discover that even on these sorts of benign issues, Barton's history cannot be trusted.

One of Barton's favorite points to drive home during his presentations is that, before the Bible was removed from public schools, school children were better educated and far more mature than they are today. As such, boys as young as 12 or 13 were routinely heading off to college or serving in government positions or otherwise engaging in a wide array of activities that today are not done until people are much older.

To help illustrate this point, Barton flashes an ad on the screen that supposedly ran seeking riders for the Pony Express that read:

WANTED. YOUNG, SKINNY, WIRY FELLOWS. NOT OVER 18. MUST BE EXPERT RIDERS. WILLING TO RISK DEATH DAILY. ORPHANS PREFERRED.

The ad always generates a good laugh from the audience, but Barton uses it to highlight the "not over 18" requirement to demonstrate that, once upon a time, young men were routinely sent out to do dangerous jobs because they were expected to be fully mature by the time they became teenages ... and that was because they were taught the Bible from a young age.

Yesterday, after having heard Barton repeat this claim yet again, we decided to investigate and, lo and behold, it turns out that the ad is a complete fabrication:

The advertisement has been famous for generations: "Wanted. Young, skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred."

It's on T-shirts and other souvenirs celebrating the short-lived Pony Express that carried mail between St. Joseph, Mo., and San Francisco from April 3, 1860, to late 1861.

Joseph Nardone, national executive director and historian of the Pony Express Trail Association, spent years searching through newspaper archives looking for the ad, before concluding it's a hoax dating no earlier than 1902.

As a matter of fact, author Christopher Corbett has written a book examining the mythology that surrounds the Pony Express that is entitled, appropriately enough, "Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express."

In a presentation that Corbett delivered in 2011 at the National Postal Museum, he revealed that he had scoured the historical records in eight states along with various libraries and was unable to find any evidence that the ad was real, concluding that it had been made up by a newspaper writer long after the Pony Express had ceased operation:

Of course, as with so much else that Barton "teaches" during his presentations, the simple fact that this entire claim is false is probably not going to stop him from continuing to repeat it.

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/7/14

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/7/14

  • Gary Glenn and the American Family Association of Michigan oppose a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance in Saginaw because "we consider these ordinances to be, themselves, discriminatory."
  • Liberty University clarifies that it is not involved in a partnership with Benny Hinn.
  • If Hollywood is going to make movies based on the Bible stories, then those movies must "adhere strictly to the details of the original story."
  • Former Congressman Bob Dornan has endorsed Bob Marshall for Congress.
  • Finally, Erik Rush continues to advocate that Muslims be slaughtered en masse.

Crampton: Banning 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Is Just Like Promoting Eugenics

Matt Barber and Steve Crampton began today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast by attacking Rep. Nancy Pelosi for accepting the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood last month, but the discussion quickly got sidetracked into criticism of efforts to outlaw the use of "ex-gay" reparative therapy on minors, with Crampton comparing it to efforts by mental health professionals to promote eugenics in the early 1900s in order to sterilize and eliminate "undesirables":

And the side to the whole eugenics movement that I think still underlies the abortion industry in America is that it was pioneered by and championed by the so-called experts.

In 1909, California adopted laws forcing sterilization of those they deemed unfit. It took some six decades before they stopped the practice, during which time sixty thousand Americans were sterilized involuntarily by the experts. We're talking the California Psychiatric Association, in particular.

Interestingly enough, here we are today at Liberty Counsel litigating against the California psychiatrists and the American Psychiatric Association that so many folks hold in high regard and now they're touting theories about homosexuality rather than eugenics, but the theories are equally devoid of any kind of scientific basis.

And what I want to say to our listeners is beware the experts. So often, it is the experts that get us into the deep, deep weeds and the darkest places of the experience of humanity and so blindly following them can get us into horrific places.

Just Days From Failure, Rick Green Finds A Convenient Excuse To Start Over

Last month, we reported that Rick Green, David Barton's right-hand man at WallBuilders, had launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $45,000 to fund a reality television program featuring his family "traveling the nation’s historical sites and teaching about American exceptionalism and our Constitution."

The effort had not been particularly successful as, with just nine days to go, Green had only raised a little over half of the money he needed:

As luck would have it, the Religious Right is currently up-in-arms that Kickstarter had allegedly "censored" a campaign by conservative filmmakers to raise money to produce a movie about Kermit Gosnell, which was all the excuse that Green needed to justify re-launching his effort using a more "family friendly" service called FaithLauncher and starting over, as he announced in an email he sent out today:

Two weeks later, we are more than halfway to our funding goal with plenty of time to reach it. But last night I learned something that made me immediately regret my decision to do business with them and has caused me to kick Kickstarter to the curb.

As you may have seen in the news, successful documentarians Phelim & Ann McAleer (Fracnation, Mine Your Own Business, Not Evil Just Wrong) had their new project rejected by Kickstarter. The Gosnell Movie tells the horrific story of mass murder in Gosnell’s abortion clinic and exposes the media for ignoring the worst mass murderer in U.S. history. But the Kickstarter execs were concerned about offending their community by talking about abortion, despite the fact they have multiple projects about rape, stabbing, and more.

Kickstarter executives most certainly have the right to accept or reject any project they choose. That is the free market at work and I’d fight and die for their right to do so freely.

However, it cuts both ways.

We also have the free market right to choose vendors that support our values. Or at the very least, that do not reject our values. This is not a perfect science and not always possible. Conservatives are often forced to use market-dominated products like Apple or Google, despite the fact their corporate management supports left-wing causes.

But there is no monopoly on crowd funding sites. There are more than twenty options and I even found one that specifically supports faith-based projects, FaithLauncher.

Interestingly, Green's Kickstater page is still operational as of the writing of this post, so we are not quite sure what Green means when he says that he decided "to kick Kickstarter to the curb" other than that it provided him with a convenient excuse to re-launch his fundraising effort which appeared destined to fail to reach its stated goal.

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/4/14

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