It is no exaggeration to say that we have watched or listened to several dozen of the pseudo-historical presentations that David Barton delivers to church groups and political gatherings alike. And we continue to watch them because Barton is constantly adding new unverifiable and downright false claims to his speeches.
But it turns out that even some of the claims that have long served as the foundation for his presentations are also problematic. Over the last week, we have watched two recent presentations that Barton delivered in which made a point that, while today we may only know a bit about a handful of our nation's Founding Fathers, the Founding Fathers themselves regularly pointed to preachers as having played an extremely important role in the founding of this nation.
And to "prove" this, Barton routinely cites a letter that John Adams wrote to a man named Hezekiah Niles in 1818 responding to a question from Niles about which people were most responsible for the ideas and principles upon which the nation was founded. In Barton's telling, Adams' reply was that it was preachers like Samuel Cooper, Jonathan Mayhew, George Whitefield, and Charles Chauncy who must be placed at the top of any such list:
Of course, if you actually bother to take a look at the letter Barton cites, here is what you find:
This produced, in 1760 and 1761, an awakening and a revival of American principles and feelings, with an enthusiasm which went on increasing till in 1775 it burst out in open violence, hostility, and fury.
The characters the most conspicuous, the most ardent and influential in this revival, from 1760 to 1766, were first and foremost, before all and above all, James Otis; next to him was Oxenbridge Thatcher; next to him Samuel Adams; next to him John Hancock; then Dr. Mayhew; then Dr. Cooper and his brother.
That's it. So not only are the individuals Barton's cites not listed "right up front," but two of the people (Whitefield and Chauncy) are not even mentioned in Adams' list, or anywhere in the letter, at all!
We have heard Barton make this claim regarding this Adams letter several dozen time only to discover today that, like so much else that he says, it is fundamentally untrue; thereby proving once again that just about every factual assertion Barton makes needs to be checked simply because so many of them turn out to be undeniably false.
As Brian noted in the previous post, Buster Wilson, general manager of the American Family Association’s radio network and host of the program "AFA Today," declared on his radio program on Friday that he carries a "great inward burden about the truth and validity of the things that I say" because he knows he will be held accountable by God while, at the same time, spreading false information.
The burden is so great, in fact, that Wilson felt it necessary to warn his audience, like Bryan Fischer did earlier this year, that the Department of Homeland Security is buying up millions of rounds of ammunition, possibly with plans to launch some sort of war against American civilians.
In particular, Wilson pointed to an executive order that President Obama issued back in March that updated policies for dealing with national emergencies, including the National Defense Executive Reserve (NDER), a program that has existed for decades that allows private and public sector experts who are not full-time government employees to fill executive positions in the federal government in the case of a national emergency.
But for Wilson, "these NDER units are basically the President's version of the Brownshirts," no different than "Hitler's own private civilian army," and people who don't believe it just need to "go read it and tell me how crazy I am":
Inspired by a suggestion from a listener, Bryan Fischer hit upon a brilliant idea on yesterday's radio program: using health care reform to mandate that everyone attend church and assess a tax on all those who don't.
As Fischer explained, "people who have an active, vibrant spiritual life are healthier" and since "Obamacare is all about improving the health of the American people," we ought to "mandate that you go to church for your own health and we are going to tax the atheists who don't go to church":
On her radio show Tuesday, Janet Mefferd warned listeners who tuned in that they might vomit like a sick child with a stomach ache over the story they were about to hear…about Anderson Cooper coming out of the closet. While Mefferd noted that Cooper’s sexual orientation was no real secret, she was most upset about an article by Baptist minister and Huffington Post Religious Editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush’s reflecting on Cooper’s statement that “the ability to love another person is one of God's greatest gifts, and I thank God every day for enabling me to give and share love with the people in my life.”
After spending time quoting from Raushenbush’s column, she warned that greater acceptance of “neo-pagan” homosexuality will ultimately lead to the de-stigmatization of pedophilia and a return to the sexual mores of Ancient Rome, cautioning that “Jerry Sandusky thirty years from now may be a normal thing.” “You already have pedophiles who are trying to be normalized at the American Psychological Association, I think that’s the name of it, they’ve succeeded in having homosexuality removed from the playbook as some sort of disorder,” Mefferd said, “and now they’re working on pedophilia and I’m sure they’ll be successful because that’s where it is all headed.”
She concluded by telling Cooper that he “did receive from God an ability to love, but not that kind of love,” which she claims is a “a lie from the pit” of Hell:
I don’t know about you, when your kids are sick like mine sometimes are and they’ll come down in the middle of the night, ‘mommy I have a stomach ache,’ I always give them the same words of advice, ‘get a bucket, put a little bit of water in it and put it next to your bed and that way if that upset stomach does what it might do, you’ll be prepared.’ So in that vein I would like to give you the same advice, given what I’m about to talk about you might want to get yourself a bucket with a little water in it and that way if you feel a little sick and it manifests itself in a physical way you’ll be prepared. I wasn’t going to even talk about this but I can’t resist because this has got to be the neo-pagan story of the day. Did you know—I know this isn’t going to be a shock to you—Anderson Cooper is gay. I know, what a shock, I’m reeling from this news, I had no idea, yes I’m being sarcastic. But there is something very funny about this because Paul Brandeis Raushenbush over at the Huffington Post has a headline on his story about Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor, announcing that he is gay and it says “Fact is.. Anderson Cooper Thanks God He’s Gay.”
If this were pagan, Ancient Rome, Jerry Sandusky wouldn’t have been in trouble at all because homosexuality and man-boy love was so common and so accepted that outrage would’ve been inconceivable. It is only the vestiges of Christianity in our culture that give people the moral framework by which you can look at a Sandusky and feel revolted. And you know what the way we are going, Jerry Sandusky thirty years from now may be a normal thing. You already have pedophiles who are trying to be normalized at the American Psychological Association, I think that’s the name of it, they’ve succeeded in having homosexuality removed from the playbook as some sort of disorder and now they’re working on pedophilia and I’m sure they’ll be successful because that’s where it is all headed.
Anderson Cooper did receive from God an ability to love, but not that kind of love. That’s not love, it’s not love. All you need to do is go back to Romans Chapter 1. This is an absolute pagan expression that has twisted love beyond recognition and turned it into something that is not God’s design at all. This is a lie from the pit, and we must oppose it. And unfortunately, we have so-called evangelicals getting on this train to nowhere.
Last year, the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer created a bit of controversy when he wrote a piece claiming that the Native Americans deserved to be wiped out by European Christian settlers because they were "steeped in the basest forms of superstition, had been guilty of savagery in warfare for hundreds of years, and practiced the most debased forms of sexuality."
The AFA quickly removed Fischer's piece, with Fischer claiming that his critics were just "not mature enough" to handle the truth. In defending his view, Fischer offered a rather telling insight into his worldview when he warned that it was necessary to view the establishment of this nation and the related treatment of Native Americans as sanctioned by God, otherwise we are essentially admitting that "the entire American experiment is rooted in evil":
A lot is at stake here. If Americans believe that the entire history of our nation rests on a horribly evil foundation, then there is nothing to be proud of in American history, and our president is correct to identify America as the source of all evil in the world and to make a career out of apologizing for her very existence.
If, however, there is a moral and ethical basis for our displacement of native American tribes, and if our westward expansion and settlement are in fact consistent with the laws of nature, nature’s God, and the law of nations, then Americans have much to be proud of.
This latter view certainly would not compel us to believe that Americans were never guilty of evil themselves. But saying that America was wrong here, or there, is certainly a different thing than saying that the entire American experiment is rooted in evil.
Since Fischer believes that America was established by God and founded by Christians for Christians, then everything that happened in establishing this nation must be fundamentally godly because to say otherwise is to believe that the nation was founded on evil.
This framework popped up again on Tuesday when Fischer discussed the American Revolution and claimed that it "was not a war of rebellion" because rebellion against governing authorities is a violation of Romans 13:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Since Romans 13 says that all governing authorities have been established by God and that rebellion against them is rebellion against God, it was necessary for Fischer to explain why the American Revolution was not actually a rebellion. And he did that by claiming that once the colonies declared their independence from England, they had formed a new and sovereign government, meaning that the subsequent war that erupted was the result of a foreign power (i.e. England) invading our "sovereign, free, and independent territory":
The next time you hear this sort of pseudo-historical foolishness spread by Fischer or David Barton or any other Religious Right figure and wonder to yourself "how can these people believe this nonense?," just remember that they really have no choice but to believe it because their entire worldview hinges on it.
As Brian noted the other day, phony ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem has been a guest on Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program where he has been warning that the Muslim Brotherhood is plotting to take over America.
On today's episode, Mat Staver revealed that, according to "two sources" involved in the intelligence community, the Obama administration has implemented an "affirmative action program" to place unqualified Muslims in important national security positions. This revelation prompted Saleem to warn that the administration is also bringing in Muslim students from all over the world and enrolling them in military academies where they are being made ranking officers all as part of an effort by the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate and dismantle our civilization:
Christian publisher Thomas Nelson Inc. is offering a July 4 special, with several books available at the patriotic price of $17.76. Among them is the American Patriot’s Bible, edited by Atlanta-based pastor and Religious Right figure Richard Lee. Nothing could better demonstrate the effort by Religious Right leaders to claim a divine blessing for their political views and their view of America’s founding.
The American Patriot’s Bible attracted some unflattering attention when it came out in 2009. Ethics Daily reported that some critics charged that it “promotes idolatry and glorifies nationalistic violence.” One of those critics was theologian and pastor Greg Boyd, author of The Myth of a Christian Nation, who called the Patriot's Bible "one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever witnessed coming from a Christian publishing house.” Boyd published an in-depth critique that ended this way:
In the Introduction Dr. Richard Lee promises that, "If you love America and the Scriptures, you will treasure this Bible." I truly love America and deeply love the Scriptures, but for just this reason, I was thoroughly appalled by this Bible.
But not everyone was appalled. In 2010, Glenn Beck told viewers that he had a copy of the Patriot’s Bible at home and one at his office and said, “this should be in every person’s home.” Lee was part of Beck’s show on the eve of his “Restoring Honor” rally, and has been active in Religious Right efforts to shape the 2012 campaign and defeat President Barack Obama.
Spending a little time with the Patriot’s Bible makes it clear why the Gingrich campaign invited Lee to serve on its faith leaders coalition during this year’s presidential primary. Religious Right political rhetoric appears in an introduction and in articles sprinkled throughout the Patriot’s Bible. It complains that Supreme Court rulings against requiring prayer and Bible readings in the public schools amounted to “censoring religious activities long considered an integral part of education.”
On abortion: “If people and nations do not grant ultimate respect and protection to both the born and the unborn, all other professed morals and values are meaningless.”
On marriage: “The plan of God, nature, and common sense is a man and a woman producing children within the institution of marriage. What that plan is lost, “marriage” and “family” become meaningless, and a nation and its people will follow the road to ruin….”
The American Patriot’s Bible also promotes Religious Right propaganda about the supposed threat to religious liberty in America:
Our freedom to serve God and to promote the gospel in our land is disintegrating. We are engaged in a great spiritual battle that threatens our county, our families, and our lives. Only God’s intervention will return America to solid footing and restore a moral nation that righteousness will exalt.
And, for those who keep hoping that the Religious Right is going to fade away:
When fighting for the right, we must never cease until we prevail. The battle is not always won by the strongest, the smartest, or the most elite, but ultimately it comes to those who persist and persevere.
The formal complaints against the American Legislative Exchange Council are mounting. A group of clergy in Columbus, OH have filed a complaint with the IRS alleging that ALEC violated its tax-exempt status by “significantly misrepresenting its activities to the IRS, the states, and the public in order to advance a legislative agenda — an agenda largely crafted by the organization’s corporate members — that elevates commercial gain for a few over the well-being of society’s less fortunate.”
ALEC is an ultra-conservative organization that works to shepherd pro-corporate, lobbyist-drafted bills into model legislation to be introduced in statehouses around the nation. Their extreme agenda seeks to bolster corporate profits by privatizing public resources, defunding public education, damaging the environment and attacking working families.
As such, Clergy Voice, composed of 18 pastors from mainstream Christian churches, believes that such an organization has no right to the same tax status reserved for charitable organizations:
“It has angered a lot of us that there is this group of the big and powerful in terms of industries and the extremely wealthy that is courting legislators to pass cookie-cutter legislation that really favors their particular interests,” said the Rev. Eric Williams, spokesman for the group and pastor of North Congregational United Church of Christ on the Northwest Side.
Earlier this year, Common Cause submitted a similar whistleblower complaint against ALEC to the IRS.
Bryan Fischer has dedicated almost every minute of his program since the Supreme Court upheld the health care reform legislation last week to railing against it and has been growing increasingly outraged and apocalyptic with every passing day.
The trend continued yesterday when Fischer seized upon an old Brietbart article about a survey conducted by a Tea Party-affiliated group called the Doctor Patient Medical Association Foundation that supposedly found that 83% of doctors are thinking about quitting the practice of medicine and nearly half would stop accepted Medicaid/Medicare patients because of the changes in legislation.
As such, Fischer declared, President Obama was going to have to create an army of "enforcers," "Stormtroopers," and "Medical Nazis" to go around forcing doctors to remain in business and ordering them to provide treatment to patients:
Guerilla anti-abortion videographer Lila Rose was interviewed on the "BreakPoint This Week" radio program where host John Stonestreet asked her how her anti-choice activism compared to the civil rights movement, prompting Rose to declare that her efforts are just as important as the efforts to end slavery and the Holocaust, and perhaps even more so since she is dedicated to fighting the "greatest human rights crisis ... our country has ever seen":
Stonestreet: I've heard you kind of talk about the civil rights movement as, as some level as where you get some of the inspiration. Where do you see the connections between the human rights struggle that they were involved in and the human rights struggle that you're involved in?
Rose: Of course, we'll there's a fundamental connection. I mean, the civil rights movements that have been fought in this country against slavery, against segregation and discrimination, against even women's suffrage have all been done because we want to protect basic human rights and we want a country that is a place that we're proud to live in, that our neighbor, the person next to us, their human rights are protected too. And so the fight for the most fundamental human rights, which is life - and it's in our Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - this is the defining civil rights movement of our country because if we don't get the right to life right, if we don't protect that basic foundation, then we can't survive as a nation, all the other rights are meaningless.
And especially it's a concern because, in terms of victims, we're talking fifty million children that have been killed since Roe v Wade, since abortion became legal. We're missing fifty million children, boys and girls who have been attacked and killed in the womb, torn apart and aborted, and that's a human rights crisis of a proportion we've never even seen before, it's hard to even imagine.
So I think that history will look back on this time as we look back on the anti-slavery movement and even the movement to try to, you know, be truthful about what was happening with the Holocaust and try to do something to stand up to fight for the rights of those that were being persecuted like the Jews in Germany, history will look back and say "what did we do?" We're living in the middle of the greatest human rights crisis I believe our country has ever seen; what are we going to do about it?
Bryan Fischer has not been reluctant to voice his hatred of the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the constitutionality of health care reform, calling it "legal garbage" and total gibberish that signals the end of America.
On Friday's radio program, Fischer continued the assault, declaring that the decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts was so fundamentally illogical and irrational that there must be something was wrong with his brain, perhaps rooted in the fact that Roberts takes medication for epilepsy:
Fischer has spent three days absolutely tearing apart this ruling and blasting it as utterly incoherent and unconstitutional, and then began attacking Chief Justice Roberts for supposedly changing sides at the last minute ... just like Justice Anthony Kennedy did during Roe v Wade:
[Roberts] ruling was absolutely irrational, it's absolutely illogical, it is absolutely unconstitutional, and it is so bad it will make your eyes water trying to make sense of it. And it's my position that ruling doesn't even make sense; you couldn't even imagine a world, you couldn't even create a parallel universe in which this ruling could make any kind of sense.
Now Roberts apparently switched his vote very late in the game. This happened on Roe v Wade, by the way - Anthony Kennedy originally was going to be against Roe v Wade [but] somebody got to him. So the first vote on Roe v Wade was to uphold the pro-life position, sanctity of life was going to be protected by the Court. But over the course of the month between when the first vote was taken and when the opinions were written, Anthony Kennedy switched teams, he went over to the dark side of the force. So they had to change and so the majority opinion became the one that struck down Roe v Wade and made abortion legal in all nine months of pregnancy.
Hmmm, apparently Fischer is such a scholar that he knows that Roberts' opinion is incoherent nonsense and totally unconstitutional .... but doesn't realize that Roe v Wade was decided in 1973 on a vote of 7-2 and that Kennedy didn't join the Court until 1988 or that there as never been a "majority opinion ... that struck down Roe v Wade."
As Kyle has been documenting, there is no shortage of rhetorical excess from right-wing leaders upset about the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act. But the response from Rick Joyner, head of MorningStar Ministries and the dominionist Oak Initiative, has to be among the most unhinged. Joyner has a penchant for apocalyptic rhetoric, warning of demonic threats and natural disasters facing an unrepentant America.
Joyner is embraced by other right-wing leaders, appearing at the Awakening conferences organized by the Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation, a Religious Right super-group of which Joyner’s organization is a member. Sen. Jim DeMint spoke earlier this month at a “Freedom Congress” organized by Joyner.
In a “special bulletin” appropriately titled “Dazed and Confused,” Joyner goes after Chief Justice John Roberts with literally hellish relish. Roberts’ reasoning, he says, “could potentially open the biggest gate of hell into our nation and culture by the Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade” and “has potentially released the most evil hounds from hell against the American people.”
Joyner even suggests that Roberts is, quite literally, on drugs:
It is understandable that some are now making the assertion that Chief Justice Roberts’ medication used to control his epilepsy has taken a toll on his mental abilities and reasoning. Nothing else has come forward as an adequate explanation for why he would be the one to free Obamacare like he did to become the biggest grab of totalitarian power over America in history.
“This decision,” says Joyner, “has deepened our national crisis, and jeopardized our Constitution at a most inopportune and dangerous time.”
It now seems that the American Republic is under unrelenting attack from every possible direction. Let us not faint, but keep in mind that the greatest victories only come when there are great battles. No doubt this will wake up many more Americans to the battle we are in. Great souls run to the sound of battle, not away from it. America still has many great souls who will fight regardless of the odds against them, and who will stand and never surrender for the sake of the freedom that was their birthright. This Supreme Court Decision has only increased the volume of the alarm and we can expect many more to hear it now.
Joyner had much kinder words for Mitt Romney, quoting the candidate’s response to the ruling and his “resolve” to repeal the health care reform law.
On today's edition of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green were discussing what they considered several positive changes that were taking place in the state of Michigan thanks to the election of lots of Tea Party candidates to the state legislature. In making the point that things were really bad in the state, Barton claimed that he was recently there and was shocked to learn that there is "not a single grocery store in the city limits of Detroit":
Detroit has a population of over 700,000 and Barton is claiming that there is not one grocery store within a city this size? How exactly does he think these people are getting food?
Now I haven't been to Detroit in person, but I do have access Google Street View which allows me to find various of grocery stores located within the city in about two minutes, like University Foods located at 1131 Warren Ave W, Detroit, MI 48208:
And an Aldi grocery store located at 15415 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48205:
And Parkway Foods located at 13210 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48215:
In fact, a simple Google Maps search for "supermarket" in Detroit returns dozens and dozens of results:
As we have said several times before, if Barton cannot be trusted to accurately report on contemporary issues that are easily verifiable to anyone with internet access, how can anyone trust anything that he says?
While collecting reactions from the Religious Right to yesterday's ruling upholding health care reform legislation, one person we didn't include was Bryan Fischer since we were waiting until his radio program aired to see just how outraged he was over the ruling.
And was he ever outraged, kicking off his program by declaring that "America no longer exists as a constitutional republic," suggesting that the authors of the decision ought to be impeached, questioning Chief Justice John Roberts' sanity, and calling the decision "legal garbage" that should be tossed in a landfill and left to rot:
Ladies and gentlemen, today the Grim Reaper has visited the United States. Unless this Supreme Court decision from today is repealed, unless it is overturned, unless it is repealed, America no longer exists as a constitutional republic and Chief Justice John Roberts will do down in history as the man who shredded the Constitution beyond recognition. His ruling today is unconscionable, it's inexcusable for somebody who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States to issue a ruling like John Roberts issued today.
This is bad behavior. All five of the judges that participated in this ruling could be impeached, tried, convicted, and removed from office. This is a gross dereliction of duty on their part.
I mean, John Roberts, ladies and gentlemen, this is embarrassing. John Roberts today participated and wrote legal gobbledygook, it is legal gibberish, it is irrational, it makes absolutely no sense. Not only is it unconstitutional, it's not even rational what he wrote in his opinion that is going to take away the freedom of million and million and million of Americans. It actually makes you wonder if something has gone wrong with his brain. He's not thinking clearly, he's not writing clearly.
The main ruling is just garbage, I mean it is legal garbage, ladies and gentlemen. That's the most polite term I can use to describe what John Roberts has written. It is legal garbage. It belongs in a landfill somewhere where it can be left to rot and decompose and decay in peace. That's how bad it is.