Over the last year or so, we have been noting how the Family Research Council was slowly becoming more and more intertwined with various leaders within the New Apostolic Reformation movement, the collection of modern-day "prophets" and "apostles" who believe they posses the same miracle working abilities as Jesus.
NAR's public political activism has cooled since leaders had their coming-out at Rick Perry's massive prayer rally last summer, but obviously efforts to work its way into the larger Religious Right political movement continue.
Case in point, today we received an email from the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, the organization run by John Benefiel, who thinks that Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol, revealing that leaders from the organization. along with "50 other intercessors," had been gathered at FRC's headquarters earlier this week, just the day before the recent shooting:
HAPN was represented at this meeting, according to the email, by Jon Hamill, who runs an organization called Lamplighter Ministries and which has deep ties to wide variety of NAR leaders, including Cindy Jacobs and Mike Bickel:
Ordained by James Goll, they are aligned apostolically with Global Spheres International ... In addition to work with Lamplighter, Jon and Jolene serve as MD coordinators and Mid-Atlantic coordinators of the Reformation Prayer Network, founded by Dr. Cindy Jacobs, and the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, founded by Dr. John Benefiel.
Jon and Jolene are also honored to be among the “emerging leaders” of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. For more than a decade, the ACPE has been convened by Dr. C. Peter Wagner and Cindy Jacobs to seek the Lord and share corporate insights for times ahead.
Jon and Jolene reside in metro Washington DC. Jon was formerly on staff with Generals International, founded by Cindy Jacobs, and the International House of Prayer, founded by Mike Bickle. Jolene served for many years in the mortgage industry.
It amazes us that viewers continue to write in to "The 700 Club" seeking Pat Robertson's advice on how to deal with their problems, especially since he's lately been staking out some rather questionable positions, like telling a man to divorce his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer's.
Today a woman wrote in wanting to know why the men she dated always broke up with her when they found out that she had three children that had been adopted from foreign countries, which prompted Pat to declare that it was "because a man doesn't want to take on the United Nations" and that, in general, people should be careful about adopting children because "you just never know what's been done to a child before you get that child; what kind of sexual abuse there has been, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation" that might cause them to grow up "weird."
Robertson went on to explain that people should be willing to help orphans, as he does, "but that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to take all the orphans around the world into my home" before finally seeming to realize that he was just digging a deeper hole for himself and attempting to change the subject, declaring "I'm in trouble":
For the last several weeks, The Blaze has been one of the few media outlets dedicating in-depth coverage to the controversy surrounding David Barton's shoddy scholarship. Given that The Blaze was founded by Barton's BFF Glenn Beck, it is no surprise that most of the coverage of Barton and his work has been, shall we say, rather flattering and one-sided, like when The Blazeran a piece taking a look at the criticisms that Barton's work has received only to follow it up with a piece and a Skype interview where Barton was allowed to respond unchallenged.
In light of the recent developments regarding Barton's work, The Blaze has once again served as the prime outlet through which Barton has been making his case in the media, though this time The Blaze'sFaith Editor Billy Hallowell acknowledged many of the specific criticisms that Barton's work has received, primarily from Warren Throckmorton, and vowed to independently examine "some of the explicit issues" in contention.
Hallowell examined four specific issues where Barton and Throckmorton disagree on aspects related to Thomas Jefferson and his faith, and in every instance the documentary evidence supports the claims made by Throckmorton and refutes the claims made by Barton, yet the conclusions reached by The Blaze were consistently presented in a way that avoids labeling Barton's claims as false.
The first issue addressed was "The Jefferson Bible" and what is said about Jefferson's own religious view. Barton claims Jefferson created it as a tool for use in evangelizing the Native Americans whereas Throckmorton claims Jefferson created it for his personal use, cutting out all the things he didn't believe so as to find the "diamonds in a dunghill." Barton also claims that for most of his life, Jefferson was a rather orthodox Christian, but Throckmorton says that is not so, and even points out that Jefferson once refused to serve as godfather to a friend's child because he refused to affirm the trinity.
The Blaze's brave conclusion on this question was that "clearly, the two sides are in disagreement on a number of fronts when it comes to the so-called 'Jefferson Bible' and on Jefferson’s faith more generally."
The next issue was whether or not Thomas Jefferson could have freed his slaves, with Barton claiming there were dozens of laws in Virginia that prohibited him from doing so and imposing fines on those who did, whereas Throckmorton pointed out that there were multiple instances of owners freeing slaves and that the "fines" that Barton cites where really only clerk's fees. It seems pretty obvious that Barton is wrong on this question, but once again The Blaze passed it off as a matter of interpretation:
Part of the debate on this point may be centered upon semantics. While Barton purportedly said that there were essentially fines against releasing slaves, Throckmorton said there was no evidence of this. However, the clerk’s fee, in some peoples’ eyes would be a “fine” of sorts. Still, others would distinguish between a clerk’s fee and a fine.
While Jefferson certainly could have freed his slaves based on the laws of that time, his finances may have been a problem preventing him from doing so. If Barton‘s contentions about Jefferson’s devotion to stopping the institution are accurate, one would assume that, if Jefferson had the means to free the slaves, he would have. On the flip side, if the president was immensely devoted to the cause, opponents like Throckmorton could argue that freeing these men and women should have taken precedence.
The next issue was Jefferson's role is supposedly financing the publication of a Bible. Barton claims that Jefferson “put up the financial backing” for the printing, while Throckmorton notes that Jefferson merely subscribed to its publication. But in Barton's view, they are one and the same because "subscribers really are investors." Obviously, the idea that someone who subscribes to a publication can be said to be a "funder" of that publication is nonsense ... but instead of calling Barton out on this, The Blaze once again hedged:
So, here we have a difference between the definitions surrounding “investor” versus “subscriber” (the primary definition of the former word is: “to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value”).
Finally, The Blaze took a look at Barton's claim that Jefferson founded the University of Virginia as a Christian university, a claim which Throckmorton disputes, pointing that there was no chapel on campus and Jefferson declared that "a professorship of theology should have no place in our institution." Throckmorton also noted that Barton, while quoting Jefferson to make this case in his book, intentionally omitted a line from Jefferson's letter that undemined the very point he was trying to make ... and once again, The Blaze merely shrugged:
But, an omission doesn’t necessarily mean that the meaning of the overall message is debunked, of course. The difference here is over whether the school was planning to formerly align itself with these denominations — or whether it was simply attempting to respect its student body by providing access to numerous faiths.
Then, after demonstrating on in all four cases that the claims put forth by Barton could not be substantiated, The Blaze ended the article by turning to several of Barton's Religious Right allies to defend him:
Mathew D. Staver, vice-president of Liberty University, an evangelical higher educational facility, defended Barton. Aside from saying that he doesn’t put any credibility into “Throckmorton’s self-published ebook” (the book is also available in print, as we’ve noted), he dismissed the professor as “a psychologist [and] not [a] historian.”
“I have never heard him speak or write on Jefferson until now,” he continued,” going on to share some interesting information about his recent interaction with Thomas Nelson:
“I have not had the opportunity to look at all the allegations, but I have looked at some of Throckmorton‘s claims and Barton’s responses. I would put my money on David Barton any day. Herein lies a serious issue for Thomas Nelson. I was asked to review Throckmorton’s arguments, but before I could respond, Thomas Nelson shocked everyone by its knee jerk reaction to criticism by non-experts only two weeks or so after ask[ing] for my response. I am very disappointed in the way Thomas Nelson handled this matter.”
Staver also noted that Dr. Roger Schultz, dean of Liberty’s colleges of arts and sciences and an expert on American history, and Rena Lindevaldsen, associate dean for academic affairs at the university, both back Barton. In speaking of critics, Staver warned that they should “be prepared to eat crow.”
The Rev. James Robison, too, weighed in on the scenario. While not directly placing blame or accusing Barton of inaccuracies, he told TheBlaze about the importance of upholding godly values — and embracing truth. On a grander scale, he discussed the attempt to ongoing attempt by liberals to “minimize the importance of Judeo-Christian principles.”
“We must stand together against the liberal, progressive mind-set that is seeking to destroy what made us great. The bottom line is: Truth matters,” he continued. “We must exalt the truth and always be willing to be corrected by it. It is truth that makes us free, and only truth can keep us free.”
Robison went on to stress the double standard that he believes any and all Americans — and in this case, conservatives and evangelicals — risk falling prey to.
“If we expect our nation’s leaders to respond to truth and correction, each one of us must also be anxious to respond to the standards our founders put in place,” Robison continued. “Those standards corrected many founders who had signed them. I, for one, am anxious to be corrected and directed by God’s truth, which is marching on.”
If The Blaze's handling of these questions was bad, Robison's remarks are even worse considering that it was Robison who was sitting directly across from Barton when Barton falsely declared on his television program that the Constitution directly quotes the Bible "verbatim":
If Robison really believes that "the bottom line is: truth matters," maybe he ought to stop promoting Barton and his falsehoods until Barton starts to demonstrate a willingness to "exalt the truth and ... be corrected by it."
Yesterday Kenneth Miller was convicted of aiding an international parental kidnapping for the role he played in helping Lisa Miller (no relation) flee the country with her daughter rather than abide by a court order transferring custody to her former partner, Janet Jenkins.
But that was not the only interesting development in the case, as Jenkins has now filed a civil RICO lawsuit [PDF] against Kenneth Miller and several others who allegedly played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country, including Liberty University Law School and Thomas Road Baptist Church:
41. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff Janet Jenkins, in 2009 Victoria Zodhiates (now Hyden) was an employee of Response Unlimited, Inc., and also a "student worker" at Liberty University School of Law. On information and belief, Victoria Zodhiates sent an email during this time period to her co-workers at the law school requesting donations for supplies to send to Lisa Miller to enable her to remain outside the country. Lisa Miller's attorney, Matthew Staver was the Dean of the Law School and Ms. Zodhiates's boss. Matthew Staver and Philip Zodhiates were also personal
acquaintances at this time. On September 20, 2009, both Philip Zodhiates and Victoria Hyden called Lisa Miller's father, Terry Miller in Tennessee to assist in arranging her and Isabella's transportation from a Walmart parking lot in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Waynesboro, Virginia, from whence they would depart for Canada and Nicaragua the next day.
42. In early November, 2009, elders of the Thomas Road Baptist Church packed up the personal belongings of Lisa Miller in two bags. These bags were picked up from Lynchburg, Virginia by Philip Zodhiates who arranged to have the bags transported to Nicaragua by sending them with his son's school teacher who was taking some children on a mission trip to Managua. Philip Zodhiates arranged for the teacher, John Collmus, to deliver the bags at the airport to Timothy Miller. The bags also contained some supplies for Lisa Miller, such as peanut butter.
47. Lisa Miller's attorneys Mathew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen also routinely instructed their Law School students that the correct course of action for a person in Lisa Miller's situation would be to engage in "civil disobedience" and defy court orders.
48. Also in 2009, TRBC Head Pastor Jonathan Falwell was among several religious leaders who made a call for "Christian civil disobedience" and published a public declaration, known as The Manhattan Declaration stating that they:
"will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family."
49. Hence, Defendants TRBC and its related ministry Liberty University School of Law encouraged its agents to disregard state laws governing parental rights, particularly Vermont's law giving rights to members of same-sex families. The TRBC and Liberty University School of Law through its public declaration promoted, condoned and explicitly ratified its agent's tortious, racketeering activity. These agents and employees have followed this direction, making TRBC and Liberty University School of Law liable in respondeat superior for the consequences.
57. At the trial of Kenneth Miller in August 2012, a number of Lisa Miller's friends and supporters testified, including Defendant Wright, and several members of the PIC. When asked if any of them had met or heard of Philip Zodhiates, the answer was no. At the trial, the government introduced phone records that showed phone calls made from Philip Zodhiates's cell phone between 1:28pm and 1:30pm on September 22, 2009, to a cell phone with an Orlando area code that is registered to Liberty Counsel, a landline registered to Liberty Counsel, and a landline registered to Liberty University School of Law. Mathew Staver, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, splits his time between Lynchburg, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. At the time that the calls were made, Philip Zodhiates was still en route back to Virginia after depositing Lisa Miller and Isabella near the Canadian border.
58. Lisa Miller's attorneys, Matthew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen have at all times maintained that they did not know their client's location to various courts in Vermont (including in sworn testimony of Rena Lindevaldsen) and Virginia, and to the press that she simply stopped communicating with them and disappeared.
59. Meanwhile, Matthew Staver's acquaintance, Philip Zodhiates, and his daughter Victoria, an assistant in the Law School knew of Lisa Miller's whereabouts and solicited donations from other Law School employees for her aid. Upon information and belief, other law school employees who spoke to Victoria about Lisa Miller's whereabouts were too intimidated to come forward to law enforcement for fear of angering Dean Staver and losing their jobs. During the time that Lisa and Isabella were missing, Dean Staver fired several members of the admissions and financial aid department who were under his supervision. To this day, Victoria Hyden is still an employee of the law school, even though her tortious conduct involving Isabella Miller-Jenkins has been in public court records for over a year. Also, while Lisa Miller and Isabella were missing, Lisa Miller's attorneys continued to press appeals on Lisa Miller's behalf until the last appeals were exhausted in November 2010 (more than a year after she was missing), stating that they had advance instructions from Lisa Miller as to her wishes for the ongoing litigation.
62. Based on the foregoing, all of the Defendants named herein, in both their individual capacities and as agents of TRBC, Liberty University Law School, Response Unlimited, Inc., and CAM are liable for conspiring with Lisa Miller and with each other to kidnap Isabella Miller-Jenkins, assure her continued detention outside the State of Vermont, and for conspiring with Kenneth Miller to participate in the affairs of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite Brotherhood through a pattern of racketeering activity .. Defendants are also liable for conspiring to violate Janet Jenkins' and Isabella Miller-Jenkins' rights to a parent-child relationship on account oflsabella having two mothers instead of a mother and a father, and Defendant Wright is liable under 42 U.S.C. 1986 for failing to prevent the violation of Plaintiffs' civil rights.
As Kyle pointed out, David Barton is trying to salvage his collapsing support by yet again attacking the religious and political views of his critics, joining American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer today in smearing Warren Throckmorton as a tool of the left. Unfortunately for Barton, more and moreconservatives are denouncing his right-wing pseudo-history on the heels of a scathing NPR report and the news that Thomas Nelson has yanked his latest book, “The Jefferson Lies,” from publication.
Now, the former dean of Regent University’s Robertson School of Government—named after televangelist Pat Robertson—and a leading conservative writer is adding his voice to the growing chorus of historians criticizing Barton’s sloppy scholarship. Regent University professor Charles Dunn endorsed the book, “Getting Jefferson Right,” written by professors Throckmorton and Michael Coulter of Grove City College, which is also an evangelical school. “Getting Jefferson Right” debunked many of the claims found in Barton’s book on Jefferson, and Dunn said the book “stands up for truth in scholarship against the prevarications in David Barton’s The Jefferson’s Lies”:
Getting Jefferson Right by Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter stands up for truth in scholarship against the prevarications in David Barton’s The Jefferson’s Lies. Because of the courage of Throckmorton and Coulter, Barton has now fallen from his pedestal of preeminence as a scholar of the early American era. Throckmorton and Coulter deserve the “Medal of Honor” for courage and probity.
Hitler loved to give “examples” of Jewish “offenses” to support his effort to annihilate the Jewish people. Not only were they most often false “offenses,” even if they had all been true it would not have supported the conclusion that the entire race should be wiped out. Any intelligent observer of today’s debate must challenge the premises presented and make sure that the “facts” of the critics support the conclusion they want you to believe. In every accusation I have seen so far in this debate, no premise or conclusion of David Barton has been proven faulty.
When David Barton penned his first defense of his book "The Jefferson Lies," he asserted that his critics were motivated by "hostility toward me and my personal religious beliefs" and therefore could never point to anything that he got wrong and instead simply attack him for his faith and the worldview that he promotes.
The crux of their attack was that Throckmorton was once a true evangelical but then turned away from supporting the use of reparative therapy to "cure" gays, at which point he lost his moral compass. Throckmorton is now, according to Barton, a radical member of the "Religious Left" .... and you know that because he associates with Right Wing Watch!
Apparently simply pointing out that the Constitution does not, in fact, directly quote the Bible verbatim now makes you a member of the Religious Left.
Late last year, Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission announced that his organization would be releasing a series of monthly videos leading up to the election detailing "ten new irrefutable proofs that Barack Obama is not a Christian."
Today, Cass released part seven of the series which lays out that Obama has been friendly to Islam while being hostile to Christianity, even though the Bible says that "Islam is the doctrine of demons and originates in Hell." And the reason Obama doesn't believe that America is a Christian nation, the CADC explains, is because he had a "Moo-slum father and step-father":
A few years back we noted how Chuck Pierce, Dutch Sheets and a group of prophetic intercessors took credit for the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003. But it seems they were not alone in using the power of prayer to capture world leaders as Cindy Jacobs revealed on Friday's episode of "God Knows" that another group of intercessors were responsible for the capture of Manuel Noriega in Panama back in 1983 after they drove buses around the nation, praying that God would bind Satan so that "the power of the Strong Man was broken":
Members of the African American Ministers Leadership Council (AAMLC), a program of People For the American Way Foundation, spoke out today against efforts to restrict early voting opportunities in four Ohio counties that are home to 56 percent of the state’s African American population.
"Jim Crow is alive in the 21st century and evident in the struggles we still face for equal access to the ballot box," saidRev. Dr. Tony Minor of Cleveland, Ohio. "There are politicians doing the unthinkable: they are making it harder for their constituents to exercise our constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. And once again, these suppression efforts are aimed directly at African Americans in swing states.”
Officials in four Ohio counties -- Cuyahoga, Franklin, Summit and Lucas -- are set to deny night and weekend early voting to their citizens. Those four counties are home to some of Ohio’s largest cities and over half its African American population. The state has already ended early voting for most residents in the final three days before the election. Last year, nearly 20 percent of early voters in Cuyahoga and Franklin counties went to the polls during that final time period.
The African American Ministers Leadership Council, founded in 1997, has been working nationwide to help bring African Americans to the polls in every election, most recently through the newly-launched non-partisan “I Am A VESSEL and I Vote!” program. The new early voting restrictions in Ohio are a setback to efforts to increase turnout and ensure that every vote counts.
"These efforts are intended to discourage and distract voters in the state of Ohio, but they will not succeed,” added Rev. Minor. “We have strengthened our efforts to educate our congregations and our communities about their rights and their civic responsibilities. Believe me, no matter how hard they try to stop us, we will fight back against these restrictions and we will show up at the polls and vote."
Case in point: today we came across these recent remarks delivered by Jerry Boykin where he claimed that "there is no question that there was divine inspiration" behind the writing of the Constitution, which is why "the Bible is referenced four times more than any other document in our Constitution":
Of course, the Bible is not referenced at all in the Constitution ... but you will not be surprised to learn that Boykin's claim finds its inspiration in Barton's "America's Godly Heritage" (skip ahead to the 4:00 mark) though Barton simply claims that the Bible was cited by the Founding Fathers four times more than they cited figures like Montesquieu and Blackstone.
Yet even Barton's original claim was itself problematic and Boykin has only made it worse by falsely claiming that the Constitution directly references the Bible multiple times, when it obviously does nothing of the sort.
Today on "Faith and Freedom," Matt Barber railed against health care reform legislation, in particular the contraception mandate, declaring that it was like something out of George Orwell's 1984." Barber blasted the "secular socialist Obama administration" for having "trampled" over the Constitution and the Bible and essentially declaring "we're going to burn them both":
As we noted earlier, it has not been a very good week for David Barton, so this seemed like a good opportunity to pull together a list of some of the most absurd things that he has said over the last year or so just to give people who might not be particularly familiar with Barton or his work a better sense of just what sort of claims he likes to puts forth.
Yesterday we posted a list a ten demonstrably false claims Barton has made in recent months but this list, though also filled with falsehoods, focuses more on the sorts of patently ridiculous claims that Barton is prone to making:
Joining us at a launch party for the report and a discussion of the issues it raises were Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress; Sister Simone Campbell, director of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK; and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Here are some photos of the event from People For Foundation’s Dylan Hewitt:
Sister Simone Campbell talks with People For’s COO, Nick Ucci
People For President Michael Keegan, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery
Michael Keegan and Rep. Keith Ellison
Sister Simone Campbell and Rabbi David Saperstein
Rabbi David Saperstein
Rep. Keith Ellison and Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Conference.
On yesterday's installment of "AFA Today," Buster Wilson returned to the topic of Chick-fil-A to declare that the company has been successful because "they live according to God's word" and have kept God's command to meditate on His law day and night.
And that prompted Wilson to issue a not-so-subtle warning to "Big Gay" activists who oppose Chick-fil-A's anti-gay views they they are destined for Hell and therefore must "read the Bible and they need to try to believe it because it's going to have a bearing on their soul one day":